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.
Miguel Batista, 41, has been an OK filler arm throughout his nearly 15-year career. As the second half begins tomorrow, apparently the New York Mets are OK with his inclusion in their rotation as the replacement for Dillon Gee, who could miss the season following his blood clot episode and upcoming shoulder surgery.
Batista awaits NL-only scroungers, but most other fantasy players long for the day the competitive Metropolitans bring in someone with more punch: Matt Harvey, the North Carolina alum whose buzz has swelled over the last year.
The hype machine's latest step came when he was named one of the Stars of the Game in Wednesday's Triple-A All-Star showdown. Though Harvey's International League squad lost to the Pacific Coast League, Harvey logged two hitless frames and fanned a pair.
That's not straying far from his 3.39 ERA, 102 K's and seven wins in 18 starts (98 1/3 innings) for Buffalo this season. He's gradually improved each month up to a 2.45 June ERA and a quality start to ring in July.
To survive in the majors, he'll need an improved changeup to go along with his heat-curveball combo. Walks continue to hold back the 23-year-old, as well. Of course, mid-90s fastballs can often alleviate such control weaknesses, if only for small post-call-up sample sizes redraft fantasy owners care about.
The Mets reportedly aren't yet ready to unleash the right-hander, but Buffalo skipper Wally Backman has changed his tune over the last month, touting Harvey's maturity and improvement at keeping the ball down in the zone in playing to his readiness to join the big boys. Concerns about his location remain, though. Some scouts note the hurler occasionally loses his release point. There's been talk of him being a future closer considering his power makeup, but he's toned those down with his increasing, albeit still adjusting, frequency.
College arms don't always need long farm trips, and despite his flaws, Harvey fits that mold and could hold down a back-end rotation spot for the Mets this year. If he gets the call to Queens, Harvey could put up high-K, high-walk lines with varying results. The upside to such profiles comes with risk but could also turn the tide in many a league.
Single-universe owners probably have already tucked him away. It might be a tad too early to do so in deeper mixers, but he should be close at hand for when the Mets decide to rope him in. The odds are good for him to be up in September, in whatever role New York brass decides.
Per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss, the St. Louis Cardinals might make Shelby Miller available this summer, most likely if it would land them a stud starting pitcher. Player Prospecting readers know about Miller's trials and tribulations this season for Triple-A Memphis, and the big-league birds might be developing some long-term doubts.
If only Miller could consistently put forth the skills he showed in his June 27 quality start. He's altering his mechanics and pitch grips to try offsetting the fact his stock has stumbled below its former future-ace level. Though it's flickering, he still holds that candle, and it's not a bad time for fake and MLB owners to capitalize on the Cardinals' potentially changed minds.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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