Young players have become more prominent in Major League Baseball. Properly valuing farm players' talents, timetables and opportunities will help rotisserie and head-to-head managers win their fantasy baseball leagues.
6. Tyler Skaggs, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Skaggs was taken with the 40th overall selection in the 2009 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim out of Santa Monica High School in California. He was shipped to Arizona as part of the Dan Haren deal in the summer of 2010. Skaggs spent the past four seasons in the minors, and he went 9-6 with a 2.87 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 122 1/3 innings (22 starts) between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno last year.
This 21-year-old southpaw measures in at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and produces easy velocity with his smooth and repeatable mechanics. He doesn't light up the radar gun with his fastball, but it has nice deception and movement to it. His lean and athletic frame make him the ideal size for a major league starter, and he features three quality pitches - fastball, curveball and changeup. Skaggs is very close to major-league-ready and can throw strikes consistently with all three of his offerings, which is hard to find from a lefty his age.
After pitching well at Reno last year, Skaggs, despite a 5.83 ERA in six major league starts, pitched rather well in his big league debut. He'll need to improve his command some in order to reach his ceiling in the majors, but he's not far off at all. He's competing with the likes of Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado for the final rotation spot in the desert this spring. Skaggs hasn't blown anyone away in camp (12.79 ERA in 6 1/3 innings), but the D-backs haven't announced their plans. He could very well start the year at Reno but should factor into the rotation picture at some point this year. He has the stuff and makeup to be a fantastic middle-of-the-rotation starter.
On to No. 7
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About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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