Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Wil Myers, Anthony Rizzo, Tyler Thornburg

by Chris Hadorn on June 19, 2012 @ 12:19:35 PDT'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.

If you haven't done so all ready, now's the last time to stash Chicago Cubs 1B prospect Anthony Rizzo in your standard 10- to 12-team mixed league. Last night, big league 1B Bryan LaHair started the game in right field, which is a harbinger for an eventual promotion of Rizzo.

In 231 at-bats at Triple-A Iowa, Rizzo is batting .364 with 23 home runs, 59 RBIs, 46 runs scored and a 1.170 OPS. The 22-year-old has nothing left to prove in the Pacific Coast League. Yes, his .141 showing with San Diego in 2011 wasn't pretty, but he deserves a mulligan considering he was playing half his games at PETCO Park.

There are concerns about Rizzo's long swing and how it will fare against major league pitching, and his strike zone judgment could use a little improvement. But overall the positives outweigh the negatives, and the downtrodden Cubs have every reason to be patient with Rizzo's development and keep him in the lineup during potential down cycles.


In Tyler Thornburg, Wily Peralta, Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley, the Milwaukee Brewers are loaded with promising middle-of-the rotation types. Thornburg is scheduled make a spot start today versus the Toronto Blue Jays in place of Shaun Marcum (elbow tightness).

In 75 innings with Double-A Huntsville, Thornburg was 8-1, with a 3.00 ERA, and a 71:24 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He allowed six home runs.

With a smallish 6-foot, 190-pound frame, Thornburg has a funky, deceptive delivery which draws comparisons to Tim Lincecum's.

The 2010 third-round pick out of Charleston Southern attacks hitters with a fastball that usually sits in the low 90s and he complements it nicely with a killer changeup that confounds hitters. He also will use a curveball that can be effective.

In the scouting community, some believe the diminutive Thornburg is better suited for relief duty in the long term. For now, his combination of performance and stuff indicate that he can be a successful No. 3 or 4 starter in the big leagues.

Considering that Marcum underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009, his current bout with elbow issues could be a prolonged matter. If so, Thornburg's stay could be prolonged, and he's capable of being a steady, middle-of-the-road performer this year in majors. In NL-only dynasty formats, he should be picked up immediately based on his long-term promise.

Because this could be a one-start deal, he's not a slam dunk acquisition in standard NL-only leagues, but he's worth an add if a manager has a spot to spare or a marginal player to cut.


Yesterday Kansas City Royals OF prospect Wil Myers went 4-for-5 to lift his batting average at Triple-A Omaha to .331.

Myers, the favorite for minor league player of the year, has hit a combined .337 with 24 home runs, 61 RBIs, 59 runs scored, five steals and a 1.127 OPS in 252 at-bats with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Omaha.

While the Royals brass has been vehement that Myers is not close to a promotion, the big league club currently sits only five games out of first place. One can make a strong argument that the Royals would be crazy not to consider a Myers promotion with a division title still within reach. Also, rumors say KC might eventually or has already made Jeff Francoeur available for trade to open up a spot.

This is a team that in 2011 called up Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas during the middle of the season when the Royals were clearly out of contention. So don't buy the rhetoric at all.

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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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