Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Julio Teheran, Trevor May, Aaron Hicks, more
by Chris Hadorn
on April 13, 2012 @ 15:10:53
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.
Atlanta Braves right-hander Julio Teheran (1-0) picked up the win after scattering three hits and two walks over five shutout frames in Triple-A Gwinnett's 7-1 victory over Durham. The Colombian struck out four and was clocked as high as 98 mph, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.
The 21-year-old Teheran is widely considered one of the minors' top five pitching prospects because of his advanced pitching know-how, fine command of his fastball and big league quality changeup. Some say his performance level hasn't quite matched the talent, but according to reports he has done a much better job of finding consistency with his curveball, which could give him three quality offerings he can depend on.
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is hitting .222 (6-for-27) with a double, a triple, one RBI and a steal in seven games with Triple-A Syracuse. Against left-handers, Harper is just 1-for-12 (.083) with five strikeouts.
Considering that this is Harper's first exposure to Triple-A pitching and that he is the youngest position player in the International League by more than a year and a half, there's no reason to be alarmed by the slow start.
In two starts, the 20-year-old is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA and a 2:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 5 1/3 innings. He is the second youngest player and youngest pitcher in the International League this season. He's expected to miss only one start.
The Philadelphia Phillies' starting pitching is the envy of baseball, and they may have more arms on the way. Double-A Reading right-hander Trevor May made quite an impression last year by fanning 208 batters in 151 1/3 innings with high Single-A Clearwater
But he wasn't considered an elite pitching prospect by some because of his high walk rate (3.98 free passes per nine innings). Much of his wildness has been attributed to trouble repeating his delivery because of his big 6-foot-5, 220-frame. The effectiveness of both his curveball and changeup suffered because of it.
Last night in Reading's 4-1 win over Harrisburg, May (2-0) was victorious after giving up one run, four hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out six. In two starts so far, May has compiled a 2-0 record, a 3.75 ERA and a 12:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 12 innings. His strikeouts are down from last year's pace, but it could be a worthwhile trade-off if he continues to cut down on the walks, like he did last night.
Ever since being taken with the 14th overall pick of the 2008 draft, Minnesota Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks hasn't lived up to his billing as a five-tool prospect. The switch-hitter hasn't flashed much power (career high of eight home runs) and has been critiqued for being too passive of a hitter.
Hicks might be turning the corner this year. Through eight games, the 22-year-old is hitting .308 (8-for-26) with three home runs, eight RBIs, seven runs and a 1.064 OPS with Double-A New Britain. His three home runs are just two shy of the dinger total he registered in 443 at-bats in the Florida State League last year. And he is taking a more aggressive approach to hit those home runs, as he has just two walks to seven strikeouts.
The Texas Rangers continue to develop quality arms that might not have the upside of frontline starters but make up for it with their diverse arsenals and pitching aptitudes.
Standing at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, right-handed pitcher Cody Buckel doesn't have ideal size. But he makes up for it with his athleticism, a deceptive delivery and the ability to pound the strike zone with a four-pitch mix that includes a low-90s fastball, a good changeup, a curveball and a cutter.
In high Single-A Myrtle Beach's 1-0 shutout of Potomac last night, Buckel threw six scoreless innings of two-hit ball. He fanned nine and walked none. He also generated seven of his outs in play via grounders.
The 19-year-old has struck out 16 batters in 10 scoreless innings while surrendering just four hits and three walks. Last year, the 2010 second-round pick posted a 2.63 ERA and a 120:27 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 96 2/3 innings with low Single-A Hickory.
Buckel could develop into a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are promoting reliever David L. Carpenter from Triple-A Salt Lake. In 2011, the 24-year-old went 1-1 with a microscopic 0.57 ERA, 16 saves and a 52:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 47 2/3 innings between high Single-A and Double-A.
Armed with a heavy sinkerball, Carpenter surrendered one home run all year and averaged 3.10 ground-outs per air-out during a 18 2/3-inning stint at Double-A Arkansas. At Salt Lake this season, Carpenter had allowed no hits in three scoreless innings while averaging six ground-outs per air-out.
Despite his impressive numbers and ground-ball tendencies, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound righty isn't viewed as a potential closer. His sinker-slider combo is effective but doesn't excite scouts from a pure stuff standpoint.
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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