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.
Triple-A has not been kind to Shelby Miller (6.00 ERA and 31 walks in 66 frames) after his impressively rapid climb through the lower levels of the St. Louis Cardinals' system, including the hitter-friendly Texas League (Class AA). The right-hander, considered one of baseball's best young hurlers heading into 2012, lost his fourth straight outing in a Saturday disaster (seven runs - five earned - on seven hits and three free passes in 4 2/3 frames).
The Redbirds are trying to shake him up ... by installing a no-shake rule. Miller won't have the liberty to disagree with the signs put down by his catcher, forcing him to utilize his off-speed weapons more frequently. Per farm director John Vuch's estimation, hitters are sitting on Miller's heat.
They're trying mechanical alterations, too, and video work to replicate his delivery from his time in previous stops already has shown dividends. During Miller's otherwise deflating Saturday outing, he showed improved velocity, topping out at 96 mph while sitting between 92 and 94.
St. Louis was concerned about Miller's weight loss heading into camp; they thought his durability might suffer. Maybe that has been playing a part in his endurance. In his last 10 starts, he has reached six innings only twice.
At least Miller has sustained his dominance with 73 punchouts (9.95 per nine), and, turning 22 in October, he has plenty of time to turn things around. His quick stints at high Single-A and Double-A probably masked some of his flaws, and the fact that the organization is addressing them with focused methods keeps his future bright.
If Miller's owner in your dynasty league has a duller view of his commodity, put in a call and see what the righty will cost.
At least temporarily, Jacob Turner has supplanted Drew Smyly in the Detroit Tigers' rotation after an impressive recovery from preseason shoulder tendonitis that cost him a starting gig. He has the stuff to produce high K totals but has become more of a pitcher, even as his arm strength has returned.
The 21-year-old becomes the latest in a long line of tyke Tigs tossers thrown into the MLB fire. Considering he's faced adversity at such a young age and has seemingly learned how to endure with a maturing makeup, he could be with Motown for the balance of the year. Detroit needs a jolt to the back end of their quintet.
Keith told us a bit about 24-year-old Ryan Kalish, whose torrid rehab stint pushed him back up to the Boston Red Sox after Ryan Sweeney (toe) joined the Beantown fly-chaser infirmary. Kalish's 2011 campaign was halted by a torn left shoulder labrum and a balky neck, which followed a 2010 that saw him club 13 homers in just 293 at-bats.
While he might struggle reaching base and posting an above-average clip over a significant big-league sample size, he might be useful for at least a few weeks, depending on the health of a slew of injured shaggers - including Carl Crawford (elbow) and Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder). His talent makes him worth a flier in deep leagues with voluminous outfield requirements.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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