StrategyApril 21, 2009

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Future Rookies: Derek Holland Promoted to the Show

By R.J. White

Tip of the cap to our first Future Rookies graduate: Derek Holland. The transition from future rookie to current rookie came earlier than expected, but there’s a good chance Holland is already the most talented pitcher in Texas, even at such a young age. The Rangers want to start him out in the bullpen, like the Twins did with Johan Santana, but with Kris Benson’s injury and general ineffectiveness, there’s a good chance Derek Holland will be in the rotation for good by the All-Star break. It actually seems likely they’ll use him to spot start for Benson this week, if Benson is to miss his start. Holland is likely to struggle early, especially in such a hitter-friendly environment, but dynasty leaguers must stash him if they can.

Featured Add – Hitter

Mat Gamel, 3B, MIL, Age 23, Triple-A

2008 AA508961996655111.329.395.537.932
2009 AAA4112415078.439.510.8781.388

Gamel is quickly proving that his bat is more than ready for the majors. He has been hitting everything in the zone and taking more walks than he had in previous seasons. He projects to be a good average, great power slugger and will be a great addition to fantasy teams. Unfortunately, his Achilles’ heel is his defense, and he’s already racked up five errors early in the season. Most teams would have shifted him from the hot corner by this point, but Milwaukee really doesn’t have any other place to play him, with Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, and Corey Hart taking up the rest of Gamel’s possible positions. With the way Gamel is hitting, the Brewers will be hard-pressed to leave him in Triple-A much longer. I’d expect to see him up soon, getting two to three at-bats a game before being pulled for a defensive replacement.

Hitter Performance Review (as of 4/19/09)


Matt LaPortaAAA35937014.314.368.7141.082
Brett WallaceAA3582801111.229.471.429.900
Andrew McCutchenAAA441001344.273.333.500.833
Alcides EscobarAAA46715459.283.353.391.744
Kyle BlanksAAA4092100913.350.480.5751.055
Gaby SanchezAAA46819129.348.367.435.802

Other Yahoo-available Hitters Review

Nolan Reimold continues to impress, with a .415/.457/.659 line in 41 at-bats. He’s posting an ugly 13/4 K/BB ratio, so it will be very interesting to see if he keeps it up. Kila Ka’aihue still has a Mendoza-line type average but has tallied 11 walks versus 12 strikeouts, giving him a respectable .352 OBP. Billy Butler has struggled in the majors, and it’s conceivable that Kansas City flip-flops the two guys to give Butler a change of scenery. Lars Anderson has his average up to .280, but the rest of his game is still lagging behind. Max Ramirez looks lost, with an 11/0 K/BB ratio and a .401 OPS in 32 at-bats.

Featured Add – Pitcher

Carlos Carrasco, SP, PHI, Age 22, Triple-A

2008 AA114.24.321.341345109
2008 AAA36.21.721.3611346
2009 AAA12.01.500.920010

Carrasco was the last player I decided to write about in the first Future Rookies article, and he seems to have improved enough to be in line for a call-up soon. Carrasco’s main problem has been harnessing the wildness, and his minor league career has been plagued by a high walk rate. Imagine how the Phillies feel looking at Carrasco’s first two starts: zero walks, on top of ten strikeouts in 12 innings. He’s also kept the ball in the park thus far, a repeat of his reduced home run rate in Triple-A last year. Bottom line is that Carrasco is very close to being major-league ready and could conceivably be in the Phillies’ rotation by the All-Star break.

Pitcher Performance Review (as of 4/19/09)


Tommy HansonAAA14.22.451.160523
Michael BowdenAAA8.21.041.27048
Jeremy HellicksonAA10.20.000.75039
Chris TillmanAAA8.02.251.38069
Junichi TazawaAA15.22.301.281615

Other Yahoo-available Pitchers Review

Wade Davis is racking up a lot of strikeouts (nine) and walks (five) in his first two starts for Triple-A Durham. Through three starts with High-A Frederick, Brian Matusz has an 18/7 K/BB ratio in 15.2 innings. Neftali Feliz has issued eight free passes in nine innings, yet has a 2.00 ERA. And saving the best for last, Jarrod Parker in two starts has only given up four hits and one walk in nine innings for High-A Visalia, and his 11 strikeouts show he’s much too advanced for this level of competition.

Non-available Player Notes

Mark Melancon (NYY, AAA), the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera as the closer for the Yankees, has a 15/3 K/BB ratio in nine innings, with only two hits allowed! He definitely looks like he will help the Yankees with their playoff push in 2009. After a big step forward in Double-A in 2008, Mike Carp (NYM, AAA) is continuing to add up a high average with an impressive walk rate (.361/.467/.694 line thus far). Despite a low average, Carlos Santana (CLE, AA) has shown plus power and maintains a great K/BB rate. Keith Weiser (COL, AA) has continued to keep the walks and home runs down, while ratcheting up the strikeouts in his first two starts (14 in 11.1 innings), and it’s not like Colorado is well-stocked at the major-league level. Weiser might be a bit old for his level.

That’ll do it for this week. Be sure to check out the Minor League forum for extended farm coverage and e-mail with your questions and potential prospects you’d like to see in this space.

R.J. White (or daullaz) has been actively involved in fantasy sports for over 14 years, making him an addict at this point. He loves writing, the Atlanta Braves, music, the Buffalo Bills, theatre, the Philadelphia Eagles, his family, and the number 42, though not in that order.
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