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.
Pomeranz, the agreed upon player-to-be-named later, is the centerpiece of the deal. The No. 5 overall pick of the 2010 draft has been outstanding in his pro debut this year, registering a 3-3 record, 1.98 ERA and 112:38 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 91 innings between high Single-A Kinston and Double-A Akron. The former Ole Miss star attacks hitters with a low- to mid-90s fastball, an exceptional 12-to-6 curveball and a developing changeup.
Even though he is not a heavy ground-ball pitcher, Pomeranz has held opponents to only three homers this year, a good sign for a hurler who is eventually headed to Coors Field. The 22-year-old lefty projects as a No. 2 starter, possibly an ace.
Following a solid professional debut in 2010, White appeared to be taking his pitching craft to another level early this season. He raised his strikeout rate from an average of 6.99 whiffs per nine between Kinston and Akron in 2010 to 10.6 at Triple-A Columbus early in the year. The 2009 first-round pick was shortly promoted to Cleveland after registering a 1.90 ERA in four Triple-A starts.
In the majors, White held his own with a 3.60 ERA in three starts but hasn't pitched in a game since May due to a finger injury that he has since recovered from. The North Carolina alumnus is a sinkerballer whose ground-ball tendencies should suit him well at Coors Field. He also throws an above-average splitter, but his slider is an inconsistent offering. White profiles as a middle-of-the rotation starter.
Gardner had a splendid pro debut in 2010 by winning 13 games, compiling a 2.75 ERA and averaging 8.67 strikeouts per nine innings. However, Gardner's stock has fallen in Double-A, where he has posted a 4.99 ERA and an ugly 60:47 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 97 1/3 innings.
Despite the struggles, Gardner's craft is tailor-made for Coors Field. Utilizing a power sinkerball, Gardner has averaged 1.91 ground-outs per every air-out this season and has allowed only six home runs all year. His sinker-slider repertoire draws comparisons to Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson. Command has always been a weakness for the UC Santa Barbara alumnus because his sinker generates so much movement that Gardner has a hard time getting it to stay in the strike zone.
McBride, a 26-year-old first baseman in his sixth professional season, has slumped in Triple-A (.156 batting average) after posting an .895 OPS at Double-A Akron. The Rockies' scouts gave positive reports of his bat, though, and are willing to work in finding a permanent position for him; he has played catcher, first base and outfield but hasn't found a home yet.
Newly acquired outfielder Trayvon Robinson went 1-for-3 with a stolen base in his Seattle Mariners organizational debut, suiting up for Triple-A Tacoma in their 4-2 win over Las Vegas. The switch-hitter is hitting .294 with 26 home runs, 71 RBIs, 71 runs scored, nine steals and a .937 OPS in 371 Pacific Coast League at-bats this year.
While Robinson has grown as a power hitter, he still struggles with strikeouts, having whiffed 123 times this season. Turning 24 in June, he still profiles as a solid across-the-board contributor (potentially a 15-15 type) and warrants an add in dynasty formats.
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.