StrategyMay 5, 2009

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Future Rookies: LaPorta Shown the Door

By R.J. White

Future Rookies promoted Derek Holland from its column two weeks ago, and now we’re proud to send along Matt LaPorta, the top hitting prospect in the Indians organization and one of the best hitting prospects in all of baseball. With Travis Hafner hurt, Cleveland has decided to call up the prized acquisition in the CC Sabathia trade last year. He’s likely gone in your dynasty leagues, but anyone that plays in a keeper league that designates more than a couple keepers should pounce on LaPorta if he’s still available.

Is there anyone you’d like to see featured in Future Rookies? Send along your requests and questions to, and you could be featured in Monday’s Mail Call article.

Now Available

In the first edition of Future Rookies, I suggested you keep an eye on the “Added Players” list for Brett Cecil. After being called up by the Blue Jays to be inserted into the rotation, Cecil is now available in Yahoo. He’s struggled so far in 2009, but the 22-year-old pitcher dominated Single-A and Double-A last year. Those people in deep leagues looking to strike gold at pitcher should consider adding Cecil; for the rest, keep an eye on his first couple starts to see if he can stick in the majors.

Featured Add – Hitter

Josh Whitesell, 1B, ARI, Age 27, Triple-A

2008 AAA4758626110174136.328.425.568.993
2009 AAA801832002020.363.490.5751.065

For this week, I wanted to go a little deeper into the minor league pool and find a guy that’s not as highly-touted as most that come through this space. Whitesell was once a pretty solid power prospect, until the Nationals took things slow enough that he’s now a little old for the minors. In 2007, Whitesell’s numbers improved across the board in his second stint in Double-A. After moving to the Arizona organization in the offseason, Whitesell had a great first year in Triple-A, with an OPS near 1.000. He’s been even better in 2009, adding a 20/20 K/BB ratio to his game. Chad Tracy has been manning first base for an Arizona team that’s last in the majors in batting average and on-base percentage. Arizona would be better served playing Whitesell at first base against righties and Tony Clark against lefties, while shipping Tracy and his affordable contract to a contender in need of a backup corner infielder.

Hitter Performance Review (as of 5/3/09)


Mat GamelAAA781872701520.385.474.7561.231
Last 10AAA334280712.303   
Nolan ReimoldAAA821782441117.390.469.7561.225
Last 10AAA35859154.371   
Gaby SanchezAAA871941611114.345.414.517.931
Last 10AAA381137085.342   
Kyle BlanksAAA841351701423.298.410.524.934
Last 10AAA34436039.265   
Brett WallaceAA871851301525.276.422.483.905
Last 10AA427350413.262   
Andrew McCutchenAAA881816469.261.309.466.774
Last 10AAA40503114.200   
Alcides EscobarAAA93152711614.269.320.387.707
Last 10AAA37612513.243   

Featured Add – Pitcher

Jarrod Parker, SP, ARI, Age 20, Double-A

2008 A117.23.441.24833117
2009 A+19.00.950.840421

Those of you with Parker on your team still have quite a wait on hand before you can use him. Everything about the 20-year-old prospect suggests that it will be worth the wait. He mixes a high-strikeout arsenal (about a K per inning) with excellent command, and the results in 2009 have been amazing. He’s done so well that the Diamondbacks have already promoted him to Double-A, where he was promptly roughed up to the tune of three earned runs in 4.1 innings. However, he did post a great 5/1 K/BB ratio in the start and still has a sub-2.00 ERA overall. We’ll keep a close eye on Parker in the coming weeks to see if he can continue to dominate new players at this higher level.

Pitcher Performance Review (as of 5/3/09)


Tommy HansonAAA26.21.691.050938
April 30AAA6.00.000.83029
Michael BowdenAAA20.01.350.900717
May 1AAA6.03.000.50022
Jeremy HellicksonAA28.01.930.931833
April 30AA6.03.001.00019
Chris TillmanAAA19.02.371.110921
May 1AAA5.05.401.20026
Carlos CarrascoAAA26.04.501.232531
May 1AAA4.14.151.62128
Junichi TazawaAA26.13.761.2231025
May 1AA5.01.800.80026

Minor League Non-Rookies

Ian Kennedy (AAA, NYY) continues to shine, posting a 25/7 K/BB ratio in his four starts this season to go along with a 1.59 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He missed a start because his hands were cold – he has a constriction in his middle finger called a vasospasm, which is normally brought about by cold weather – but he shouldn’t miss much time. Andy Marte (AAA, CLE) has been smacking the ball around lately, going 5/10 with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs against Durham this weekend. If he keeps it up, some unsuspecting team may swoop in with an offer, thinking he might be their long-term answer at third base.

Homer Bailey (AAA, CIN) pitched seven scoreless innings on May 2 and has a 31/11 K/BB ratio in 27.1 innings. He had an unbelievable 15-K performance on April 26 as well. Luke Hochevar (AAA, KC), the once-prized top prospect, is rebuilding his value in Triple-A, posting a 1.13 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in his first five starts of 2009. With the Royals sending out some bad arms, one has to think Hochevar will get another chance with the big league club before soon.

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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