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.
Dodged a bullet
Even with injuries to Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals RHP pitching prospect Shelby Miller hasn't been able to take advantage of openings in the big-league rotation this year.
In the month of June, Miller has been rocked to the tune of a 9.88 ERA, and he has allowed five home runs over 13 2/3 innings. As a result of his struggles, Miller skipped his last start to work on his mechanics and he is scheduled to return to the mound Wednesday night as Triple-A Memphis hosts Albuquerque.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miller worked with the team's minor league pitching coordinator Brent Strom on his mechanics during his one-start hiatus. They reviewed video of Miller's past starts in the lower minors, and the instruction worked as the 21-year-old displayed newfound low- to mid-90s velocity in a Saturday side session.
The Cardinals are also employing a rule where Miller will be prohibited from shaking off his catcher. They want Miller to be less reliant on his fastball and encourage him to use his inconsistent changeup more. It's a secondary pitch that he will need to be effective at the major league level.
Miller's long-term fantasy value remains high, but his potential 2012 impact has taken a hit with his recent woes.
Southpaw Edwar Cabrera, who led the minors last year with 217 strikeouts, is slated to start and make his major league debut in the Colorado Rockies' home contest versus the Washington Nationals Wednesday night.
Over 98 innings at Double-A Tulsa this season, Cabrera was 8-4, with a 2.94 ERA and an 82:23 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While these numbers look promising, it's important to note that Cabrera that surrendered 15 home runs at Tulsa, not a positive sign for a pitcher headed to Colorado.
The 6-foot, 175-pound left-hander features a fastball that can touch 92 mph on the radar gun, and he complements it well with an outstanding changeup which serves as a true out pitch. Cabrera exhibits impressive command of his changeup and at times will put screwball action on the pitch to throw off hitters.
Cabrera lacks a third dependable pitch, though. The consistency of his curveball varies from start to start.
Despite good numbers for the most part, the 24-year-old Dominican is probably not ready for the majors. His big-fly tendencies and his shallow repertoire don't bode well for success at Coors Field.
Cabrera is entering a four-man Rockies rotation that has posted the majors' worst starters' ERA (6.38) and is being held to a 75-pitch limit, which drastically decreases his chances to go five innings and earn a win. He's basically being thrown into the fire in a bad situation.
NL-only owners are advised to look elsewhere for pitching help.
All of a sudden the New York Yankees' starting staff has been hit hard by injuries to veterans CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. The Yankees plan to turn to right-hander Adam Warren to take Sabathia's turn in the rotation this upcoming Friday.
In 86 1/3 innings at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Warren is 5-5, with a 3.86 ERA and a 59:27 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 24-year-old has allowed nine home runs.
Last season, he yielded 13 home runs in 152 1/3 innings at Triple-A, so he has a history of being hit hard when he misses his spots.
The former North Carolina Tar Heel attacks hitters with a low- to mid-90s fastball, but his secondary stuff is rather ordinary. His slider is his best offspeed pitch, but his curveball and changeup are usually inconsistent and unreliable offerings.
Because of his underwhelming repertoire, Warren profiles as a back-of-the rotation starter, but he throws strikes and he is capable of winning games pitching behind a lethal Yankees lineup that can light up the scoreboard.
Due to an advantageous run support situation, Warren is actually a decent, short-term play in AL-only formats. But don't expect him to carve out a long, prosperous career as a starter in the Bronx.
Making his big league debut Tuesday night, Minnesota Twins left-handed reliever Tyler Robertson struck out the side during a one-inning appearance versus the Chicago White Sox.
A converted starter, Robertson has found his way in the bullpen since making the transition in 2011.
The former third-round pick features a heavy two-seamer, which generates a high percentage of ground balls, and has made tremendous strides with a slider that serves as a swing-and-miss pitch.
The 24-year-old was 2-2, with a 3.77 ERA, two saves, and a 33:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 28 2/3 innings with Triple-A Rochester. He also induced 2.17 ground outs per every air out in the International League.
Considering the Twins are toiling in last place, there is a chance they could move veteran reliever Matt Capps at the trade deadline, which could open up some late-inning opportunities for a rookie like Robertson. Robertson is far from being a late-innings option, but he's a promising lefty to monitor this summer.
Pittsburgh Pirates RHP pitching prospect Gerrit Cole left Tuesday's start following the first inning after being hit by two line drives. Cole escaped major injury as he suffered just a bruised jaw. The 2011 first overall pick is expected to resume baseball activities with Double-A Altoona Wednesday.