Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Yamaico Navarro, more

by Chris Hadorn on July 1, 2011 @ 14:05:09 PDT

 


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.

Yesterday when the Boston Red Sox designated veteran outfielder Mike Cameron for assignment, they called up an intriguing infield prospect in Yamaico Navarro.

Navarro, 23, has above-average tools for a middle infielder. He has good raw power, and he can run a little bit; he stole 18 bases last year. At Triple-A Pawtucket this year, Navarro showed his versatility and athleticism by playing second base, third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions.

Boston Red Sox IF Yamaico Navarro
Tools aren't boxed yet

Despite his talent, Navarro's tools haven't really translated into production throughout his minor league career. In 128 at-bats at Pawtucket, the Dominican was hitting only .258 with five home runs, 13 RBIs, 25 runs scored and an .831 OPS.

He has also been critiqued for having a poor work ethic, which is one of the reasons why he hasn't lived up to his talent.

With third baseman Kevin Youkilis (ankle) expected to miss a few games, Navarro could find his way into the lineup for one of Boston's games at the Houston Astros this weekend.

Based on his recent production, Navarro is probably not worth a pickup even in the deepest AL-only formats. Down the road in future seasons, though, he could surprise in a utility role if the light bulb ever turns on and his tools come to fruition.

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The Detroit Tigers' bullpen was dealt a severe blow today when impressive rookie reliever Al Alburquerque (forearm) was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The club called up an erratic fireballer in Lester Oliveros to take his spot in the bullpen.

Beginning the season at Double-A Erie, Oliveros shined in the Eastern League by posting a microscopic 0.56 ERA and recording a 27:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 innings.

After his promotion to Triple-A, the Venezuelan was plagued by command and control problems that have affected his performance throughout his career. In 22 2/3 innings at Toledo, Oliveros has compiled a 4.37 ERA, issued 13 walks and surrendered four home runs. However, Oliveros did record five saves at Toledo, showing the organization's confidence in his stuff.

The 6-foot, 225-pound right-hander throws both a four-seam fastball that touches the mid-90s and a sinking fastball that sits in the low 90s. He also throws a decent changeup.

Oliveros has an arm that profiles well in the backend of the bullpen. Now he just needs to find the form that made him unhittable in Erie earlier this year.

***

In yesterday's trade that sent veteran Mark Ellis to the Colorado Rockies, the Oakland Athletics received Triple-A right-hander Bruce Billings in return, a fly-ball pitcher who should find more success in the East Bay than in the high altitude of Denver.

In 50 1/3 relief innings at Triple-A Colorado Springs, Billings was 6-2, with a 4.47 ERA and a 47:21 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Despite having a lackluster fastball, the former San Diego State star has been able to average 9.07 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors because of his pitching know-how, good command, and an above-average slider.

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Young St. Louis Cardinals fireballer Carlos Martinez made his high Single-A debut for Palm Beach last night, getting the victory in his club's 9-3 victory over Bradenton.

In six innings, the 19-year-old allowed two runs on four hits and four walks, while fanning seven.

***

The Kansas City Royals have promoted Jake Odorizzi from high Single-A Wilmington to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Odorizzi was the key pitching prospect acquired in the winter trade that sent former Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Over 78 1/3 innings with Wilmington, Odorizzi went 5-4, with a 2.87 ERA and he recorded a gaudy 103:22 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

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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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