Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Kole Calhoun, Jean Segura, Andrew Chafin, more
by Chris Hadorn
on May 22, 2012 @ 16:45:15
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.
In just a matter of weeks, the outfield of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has gone from a logjam to a thin spot, ravaged by injuries and other circumstances.
Last week, right fielder Torii Hunter left the team following the arrest of his son in Texas. This past weekend the Halos suffered two outfield injuries that landed Vernon Wells (thumb) and Ryan Langerhans (shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list.
As a result, the Angels have promoted outfielder Kole Calhoun from Triple-A Salt Lake, where the former Arizona State star was batting .296 with five homers, 31 RBIs, 30 runs scored, six steals and an .856 OPS in 169 at-bats.
It's a meteoric rise for Calhoun. Last season, he spent the entire season with high Single-A Inland Empire, where he hit .324 with 22 home runs, 99 RBIs, 94 runs scored, 20 steals and a .957 OPS in 512 at-bats.
Drafted as a college senior in the eighth round of the 2010 draft, Calhoun entered pro ball as an older player, so this year the Angels decided to accelerate his track by having him jump the Double-A level, a rare move in the minors.
Standing at 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, Calhoun doesn't pass the eyeball test, and his tools grade out as average at best. However, the 24-year-old has shown thus far that he can do a little bit of everything on the baseball field. Calhoun holds a career .311/.402/.527 line in the minors, and he has shown the base-stealing capabilities of a 10- to 15-base thief.
Labeled a fourth outfielder type, Calhoun is a sleeper to watch because of his well-rounded game.
Calhoun is expected to be with the Angels only until Hunter returns, later in the week. For AL-only owners in dynasty formats, this is a good opportunity to pick up a potentially productive value prospect on the cheap and stash him.
At Double-A Arkansas, the Angels have a middle infielder in Jean Segura who has the potential to steal 40 to 50 bases in the majors. The 22-year-old is batting .275 with three homers, 18 RBIs, 22 runs scored and 18 steals in 22 tries. At his current rate, Segura is on pace to steal 59 bases this season.
Unlike most speed demon middle infielders, Segura is a stocky 5-foot-10, 185-pound specimen with a thick base. Many scouts believe the Dominican has the combination of bat speed and size to develop into a 10- to- 15-home run hitter.
The big question is whether Segura is going to remain at shortstop or move to second base, where most evaluators feel he is better suited to play.
With shortstop Erick Aybar signed through 2016 and second baseman Howard Kendrick locked up through 2015, there is no clear path to Anaheim for Segura, but he's talented enough to force the Halos to move one of their veterans to find room for him.
New York Yankees left-handed pitching prospect Manny Banuelos has been placed on the seven-day disabled list with a sore elbow. This setback could be much more serious than the injury Banuelos had when he spent time on the seven-day disabled list earlier this season with a back ailment. However, the severity of the injury hasn't been reported.
In 24 innings with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Banuelos was 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA, two homers allowed and a 22:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
There might be no team that has a deeper stable of minor league arms than the Arizona Diamondbacks. We have devoted our share of words to Trevor Bauer (Triple-A Reno), Tyler Skaggs (Double-A Mobile) and Archie Bradley (low Single-A South Bend), but we have yet to mention high Single-A southpaw Andrew Chafin.
In 50 2/3 innings with Visalia this season, Chafin is 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA, three homers allowed and a 66:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He averages 11.72 strikeouts per nine innings this season. In Visalia's 6-4 loss to Bakersfield Monday, Chafin fanned 12 batters in seven innings while allowing two runs on eight hits and no walks.
Selected with the 43rd overall pick of the 2011 draft out of Kent State, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound lefty attacks hitters with a low-90s fastball and a swing-and-miss slider. He also throws a developing changeup.
Entering this season, there were polarizing opinions on whether Chafin was better suited to be a starter or a power arm coming out of the bullpen. Many of the advocates of a spot in the bullpen were concerned about Chafin's durability because of his mechanics and injury history (Tommy John surgery in 2010). So far, however, the 21-year-old has shown that he deserves a fair shot as a starter.
Minnesota Twins rookie right-hander Cole De Vries is going to make his major league debut Thursday versus the Chicago White Sox on the road. The 27-year-old was 1-4 with a 4.24 ERA, six homers allowed and a 37:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio with Triple-A Rochester.
A strike thrower who has yielded just 1.35 walks per nine innings this year, De Vries makes up for having marginal stuff with pinpoint control. He attacks hitters with a fastball, a couple of different breaking balls and a changeup.
Fantasy owners should take a wait-and-see approach with De Vries. He might have immediate value in deep AL formats, but his background doesn't hint at something much better than that. Scott Diamond has a similar M.O., but he's been to the majors before and is a left-hander who has developed his secondary pitches.
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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