StrategyJuly 14, 2009

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Future Rookies: The Futures Game

By R.J. White

Welcome to another edition of Future Rookies. With All-Star festivities in full swing, let’s focus on the Futures Game this week. Both featured adds appeared in the game, as did several Future Rookies that have been featured in the column. Alcides Escobar went 2-for-4 with two runs as the leadoff hitter for the World team. Joining him in the lineup eventually was Carlos Santana, who went 0-for-1 with a walk. On the U.S. side, Brett Wallace started at third and drew two walks before giving way to Josh Vitters, who drew a walk as well in two plate appearances. Jason Heyward, last week’s featured hitter, went 1-for-2 in the game. Jhoulys Chacin (1 IP, 2/1 K/BB), Chris Tillman (1 IP, 0/1 K/BB, 2 ERs), Brian Matusz (1 IP, 0/1 K/BB, 1 ER), and Jarrod Parker (0.1 IP) all appeared throughout the contest. Junichi Tazawa was scheduled to start, but a four-hour rain delay at game-time prevented him from throwing a pitch in the game.

Tom Huffman, Fantasy Cafe
Mike Stanton (Florida Marlins) coils in preparation to swing.

How did our two new members do?

Featured Add – Hitter

Desmond Jennings, OF, TB, Age 22, Double-A

2009 AA33560741324045.313.391.487.877
Last 1039915466.282   

A Cafe favorite, Jennings has all the tools to be the next big thing in the majors. A shoulder injury cost the Tampa Bay prospect most of last year, and there were concerns he wouldn’t be the same upon return. And he’s not the same — he’s better. Jennings is turning his best slugging percentage yet while posting an outstanding 45/40 K/BB ratio. He’s also nearly impossible to catch on the basepaths, with only four failed attempts in 36 tries. He exhibited this speed by stealing three bags at the Futures Game. Since the Rays are stacked with young talent, there’s no need to rush the speedster. He’ll likely spend the entire year at Double-A and all of next year at Triple-A. Be prepared for a steals explosion in the majors when he arrives.

Hitter Performance Review (as of 7/13/09)


Matt LaPortaAAA23346114302540.309.387.536.924
Last 10AAA368210066.389   
Justin SmoakAA1833062903935.328.449.481.930
Last 9AAA29512078.103   
Brett WallaceAAA1951761901339.303.355.446.801
Last 10AAA37215047.351   
Alcides EscobarAAA34561328302457.296.348.417.765
Last 10AAA36501368.278   
Gaby SanchezAAA2123583552336.297.367.448.815
Last 10AAA36417155.306   
Kila Ka’aihueAAA29353133606464.259.390.474.865
Last 10AAA36213045.222   
Josh WhitesellAAA1762974503637.313.422.494.916
Last 10AAA357310078.229   
Mike CarpAAA24346103204455.272.393.473.866
Last 9AAA32600087.094   
Jason HeywardA+18934103142130.296.369.519.888
Last 7AA25307040.360   
Michael TaylorAA318591565183551.333.408.569.977
Last 10AA34505494.235   
Carlos SantanaAA26756145805947.266.394.494.888
Last 10AA376311039.270   
Jesus MonteroAA1081251501115.287.353.472.825
Last 10AA39524039.256   
Josh VittersA2694215464742.316.351.535.886
Last 10A+37304013.189   

Former features Nolan Reimold, Mat Gamel, Andrew McCutchen, and Kyle Blanks have moved on to the majors.

Tom Huffman, Fantasy Cafe
Several Future Rookie pitchers (including this week’s feature) enjoy the festivities.

Featured Add – Pitcher

Mat Latos, SP, SD, Age 21, Double-A

2009 A25.10.360.511327
2009 AA47.01.910.870946

After giving up two runs to Northwest Arkansas at home, Latos faced the team in their home stadium in his subsequent start on July 9. All he did in that one was allow no hits or walks in five innings while striking out seven batters. He only needed eight pitches to retire the side in the fourth inning of the Futures Game. Listed as San Diego’s #2 prospect at the beginning of the year by Baseball America, Latos’ health remains his biggest question mark, but he’s stayed on the mound every fifth day for San Antonio. Having Latos on your dynasty league team brings with it the added plus of him eventually making his way in the majors to pitch in the league’s best pitcher’s park.

Pitcher Performance Review (as of 7/13/09)


Chris TillmanAAA86.12.501.0942288
July 8AAA6.00.001.00006
Michael BowdenAAA81.13.321.2493154
Jake ArrietaAAA36.24.421.2451133
July 12AAA5.29.531.41235
Carlos CarrascoAAA102.25.001.38113499
July 12AAA6.24.051.05216
Madison BumgarnerAA57.01.741.0521645
July 8AA4.02.251.50112
Brian MatuszAA26.10.340.650632
July 7AA8.00.000.130011
Jarrod ParkerAA63.12.981.4502961
July 9AA5.03.601.20035
Jeremy HellicksonAA50.22.491.0141356
July 8AA6.22.701.05123
Jhoulys ChacinAA94.13.431.23103280
July 6AA5.24.761.59234
Jeanmar GomezAA75.23.211.1942262
July 9AA5.01.801.40044
Junichi TazawaAA87.02.791.1182579
July 8AA5.01.800.40102

Former features Scott Elbert, Kris Medlen, Derek Holland, and Tommy Hanson have moved on to the majors.

That’s all for this week. Remember to send your queries to, and enjoy the All-Star game tonight!

R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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