Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Brett Lawrie, Johnny Giavotella, Nathan Eovaldi
by Chris Hadorn
on August 5, 2011 @ 15:47:42
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.
With young flamethrower Rubby de la Rosa (elbow) expected to miss at least a year due to Tommy John surgery, the Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to call up another promising young gun in Nathan Eovaldi to take his spot in the rotation. According to reports, Eovaldi will have his contract purchased from Double-A Chattanooga tomorrow and will start Saturday night's game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Eovaldi, 21, has gone 6-5, with a 2.62 ERA and a 99:46 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 103 innings with Chattanooga.
Eovaldi has always drawn praise for his fastball that can touch the mid-90s. Utilizing a fluid delivery, his fastball jumps out of his hand. His fastball also has heavy, sinking action that has helped him hold opponents to only three home runs and post an average of 1.49 ground-outs per every air-out this season.
The Texas native has struggled with his command of his secondary pitches throughout his professional career. He has averaged 3.71 walks per nine innings during his pro career, including an average of 4.02 free passes per nine frames this year.
His slider has come around to the point where Eovaldi will trust it when he needs an out, but he still doesn't have the consistency or the confidence to use his changeup and curveball in pressure situations.
Based on his thin repertoire and issues with walks, it's hard to recommend Eovladi outside of NL-only formats. He is skipping an entire level and doesn't have the well-rounded assortment of pitches to overcome his propensity for walking batters.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound righty still has a bright future ahead of him; he just needs more seasoning. If he doesn't develop a third pitch, he already has the power repertoire to be an effective reliever.
The Kansas City Royals are promoting second base prospect Johnny Giavotella from Triple-A Omaha. He becomes the third rookie in the Royals' infield, joining first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Listed at 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, Giavotella doesn't get the press clippings like many of the Royals' blue chippers like Hosmer and Moustakas due to his short stature.
Don't be fooled by his size, though. Giavotella has developed a reputation for being able to handle any fastball, and he often puts takes big rips in the batter's box as he isn't afraid to drive the ball.
In 453 at-bats with Omaha, the 24-year-old is hitting .338 with nine home runs, 34 doubles, 72 RBIs, 67 runs scored, nine steals and an .871 OPS.
2011 marks the second straight year Giavotella has posted a gaudy batting average as he hit .322 in 522 at-bats with Double-A Northwest Arkansas last year.
The New Orleans native doesn't project as an All-Star, but he is a solid offensive contributor that can help a team in many ways. He doesn't strike out much, has a knack of getting on base and is a doubles machine.
With his promotion, Giavotella is expected to get the bulk of the keystone starts over veteran Chris Getz. In time, Giavotella could end up being a fantasy contributor in the Mark Ellis mold, with a bit more upside. AL-only managers in need of a middle infielder should pick him up immediately. He's worth watching in deep mixed leagues.
Brett Lawrie has finally made it to "The Show." After a hand injury delayed his pending call up in late May, Lawrie was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas yesterday where he was hitting .353 with 18 home runs, 61 RBIs, 64 runs scored, 13 steals and a 1.076 OPS.
Lawrie is expected to be the Jays' everyday third baseman, but in most fantasy formats he will have second base eligibility, the position he played last season in the minors.
The 21-year-old profiles similarly to the Philadelphia Phillies' Chase Utley with the bat and is a must-add in all fantasy formats. The big question is whether Lawrie can play sufficient defense to stick at the hot corner.
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.
Don't miss these great reports....
Recent KFFL releases
Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Kevin Gausman, Christian Yelich, more
Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Common Delusions About Trades
Fantasy football players in the news
Fantasy baseball players in the news