Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Zack Cozart, Chris Carter, Yasmani Grandal

by Chris Hadorn on June 24, 2011 @ 14:29:02 PDT

 


Your fantasy baseball rankings look a little stale. KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting series highlights the exploits of minor league baseball players, including top MLB prospects. Find out who'll make an impact, whether it's in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game next week or in your fantasy baseball keeper league two years from now.

Cincinnati Reds fans may be growing restless with their weak-hitting shortstop tandem of Paul Janish (.234) and Edgar Renteria (.222). There have been rumblings around the Queen City that Triple-A shortstop prospect Zack Cozart is on the cusp of a promotion.

In 273 at-bats with Louisville, Cozart is hitting .322 with seven home runs, 25 doubles, 29 RBIs, 52 runs, eight steals and an .864 OPS. Known for his combination of power and speed, Cozart cr Articles (Edit) ushed 17 home runs and stole 30 bases in 136 games with Louisville in 2010.

With a .270 lifetime average in the minors, the 25-year-old hasn't been much of a hitter in his career. But his .322 mark this season is 42 percentage points higher than his career best of .280, set in 2008 with low Single-A Dayton.

Oakland Athletics 1B/OF Chris Carter
Carter can touch 'em all - often

The Reds' 2007 second-round selection doesn't have the best feel for the strike zone; at times he goes through slumps because he is too focused on swinging for the fences. Last year he hit just .255 with 107 strikeouts in 553 at-bats.

While Cozart doesn't project as a five-category contributor, he is capable of reaching double digits in both homers and steals and being a productive shortstop in NL-only formats. A sure-handed defender who has committed eight errors this year, the former Ole Miss star has the glove skills to handle an everyday gig at the position in the majors.

Cozart has made a strong case for a promotion, at least if an injury occurs. Not too long ago, Walt Jocketty stated that a call-up isn't imminent. It may only a matter of when the Reds will part ways with aging veteran Edgar Renteria, a favorite of Reds manager Dusty Baker.

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With outfielder Josh Willingham (Achilles) headed to the 15-day disabled list, the Oakland Athletics called up Triple-A slugger Chris Carter yesterday to take his spot on the roster.

Carter was limited to only 85 at-bats at Triple-A Sacramento because of a thumb injury that plagued him early in the year. He was hitting .235 with five home runs, 21 RBIs, 12 runs and a .494 slugging percentage at the time of his call-up.

The A's are hinting that Carter's stay in Oakland could be temporary; they might not need his bat after their interleague series are over. However, the club has been so deficient in power (dead last in baseball with 40 home runs) that Carter is an ideal fit. If he goes on a tear during his call-up, expect Carter to stick around.

Carter, who averaged 31 home runs a season from 2007 to 2010, has light-tower power. He's not going to win batting titles and he will go through some ugly slumps, but this is a slugger who has a chance to hit 30 round-trippers some day if he gets the at-bats.

Because of his batting average woes and his uncertain situation, Carter is not a standard mixed league add, but he's a good pickup in deep leagues because of his rare power.

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Catcher Yasmani Grandal, the Reds' 2010 first-rounder from the University of Miami (Fla.), has been promoted to Double-A Carolina of the Southern League. The switch-hitter played the first half with high Single-A Bakersfield, where the slugger hit .296 with 10 home runs, 40 RBIs, 47 runs scored and a .920 OPS. Grandal, a California League All-Star, showed a firm grasp of the strike zone with 41 walks to 57 strikeouts.

With two potential All-Star backstops in Grandal and Devin Mesoraco, who's at Triple-A, it will be interesting to see how the Reds handle this situation in years to come.

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About Chris Hadorn

Chris Hadorn has covered minor league and amateur prospects for more than a decade. He writes for San Diego's North County Times and has been a KFFL fantasy baseball contributor since 2006.


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