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Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Wil Myers, Derek Norris, more
Your fantasy baseball rankings look a little stale. 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.
Last season, the Kansas City Royals were aggressive when it came to promoting some of their top position player prospects to the majors. Both first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas reached the majors prior to the All-Star break.
This season the Royals will have a tough time keeping right-field prospect Wil Myers in the minors for the duration of the regular season if he continues to swing a hot bat. In 73 at-bats with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Myers is hitting .342 with six homers, 14 RBIs, 16 runs scored, three steals and a 1.085 OPS.
In Northwest Arkansas' 6-3 win over Springfield on Thursday, Myers went 3-for-4, with a home run, a double and a pair of runs scored. The 21-year-old is batting .410 with four homers and 12 RBIs over his last 10 games.
A former catcher, Myers is a five-tool talent who is similar in style to Dale Murphy and Jayson Werth, athletic, power-hitting outfielders who used to squat behind the plate. Blessed with outstanding bat speed, Myers has the makings of a .300 hitter with 25-home run pop and 20-steal speed in the majors.
Myers will likely need to master the Triple-A level before the Royals put serious consideration into a promotion. Furthermore, right fielder Jeff Francoeur is locked up through the 2013 season, so Myers' 2012 path to Kansas City might be via center field, where Myers has played in four games so far.
There are some factors working against Myers to make the jump to the majors this summer, but if he continues to hit at his current pace, he will force Royals general manager Dayton Moore to consider such a move.
Considering that Kurt Suzuki has kind of devolved into an average catcher at best, Oakland Athletics catching prospect Derek Norris is building a case this year that he could be ready to assume full-time backstop duties by 2013.
Norris, one of four prospects acquired by the A's in the winter deal that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals, is hitting .365 with three homers, 16 RBIs, 15 runs scored and a .992 OPS in 74 at-bats with Triple-A Sacramento.
Although it's early, Norris' .365 batting average is particularly encouraging after the catcher hit just .210 in Double-A during the 2011 season and .235 during a 94-game stint in high Single-A.
Norris has made a name for himself with his ability to slug. The 6-foot, 210-pound catcher smacked 20 home runs in 104 games last year and ripped 23 homers in 2009 during a stretch in low Single-A.
Norris offsets some of his batting average woes because he is a walk machine, averaging 85.3 walks per season from 2009 to 2011. Despite having just a .255 career batting average in the minors, Norris' propensity to draw free passes has helped him register an outstanding .401 on-base percentage in his professional career.
The Kansas native couldn't have landed with a more suitable organization for his strengths, as Oakland tends to favor players who have mastered the art of the base on ball.
Norris is considered a middle-of-the-road catcher defensively, but he has thrown out 44.4 percent of base-stealers since the start of the 2010 season, so he is far from chopped liver.
Norris projects as a "three true outcomes" catcher - one who will hit home runs, rack up walks and whiff frequently. If Oakland is able to move Suzuki prior to the trade deadline, there's a chance that A's fans see Norris in the majors by early August.
Once again, Bauer had some control issues, with three bases on balls issued, and he allowed four runs (three earned), one homer and six hits. The dinger is the first he has given up this year.
The UCLA alumnus now holds a 1.26 ERA and an eye-popping 37 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings. However, he has also issued 17 walks, an average of 5.34 free passes per nine frames. Until those walks come down, Bauer might have to wait awhile before he gets his shot to start at the back end of the Diamondbacks' major league rotation.
In Triple-A Nashville's 7-1 loss to Iowa last night, Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Wily Peralta did not look like a pitcher who is ready to push Marco Estrada for the parent club's fifth starter's spot. In five innings, Peralta allowed five runs (all earned) on four hits and five walks. He fanned five.
Armed with a heavy mid-90s fastball and a fine slider, Peralta has a formidable arsenal, but he's still working on honing his changeup and polishing his command.
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