We might be getting a look at one of our prized Future Rookies very soon. Rumors abound that have Chris Tillman joining the Orioles on Wednesday and making his first start in the big leagues. Despite being lit up in his last Triple-A start, Tillman has proven why he’s one of the best pitching prospects in the minors, posting a 99/26 K/BB ratio, allowing just five HRs en route to a sub-3.00 ERA. He’s available in many fantasy leagues already, so be sure to make the preemptive pickup if you need a pitching lift.
In other news, Junichi Tazawa has been moved up to Triple-A after compiling a 2.57 ERA and 88 Ks in 98 Double-A innings. Jeremy Hellickson also has moved to Triple-A and had a solid first start. As you probably know by now, Brett Wallace has been traded to the Oakland A’s, expediting his path to the majors. Jhoulys Chacin is now in the majors as a reliever, while Gaby Sanchez and Mat Gamel switch places in our column, with the former being promoted and the latter being sent down. Jason Heyward already looks too advanced for Double-A pitching. Carlos Santana put up a big HR streak, hitting a homer in three consecutive games over the weekend.
Featured Add – Hitter
Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pit, Age 22, Double-A
Last year’s #2 overall pick, Pedro Alvarez was a difficult sign for the Pirates, but he is well on his way to being worth the trouble. Pittsburgh’s top prospect initially struggled when brought up to Double-A, ultimately missing some games with knee trouble. He’s been on fire lately though, with a 9-for-20 stretch before Sunday’s 0-for-5. As Alvarez has adjusted, he’s been more disciplined at the plate, one of his strengths. Three of his seven walks at the level have come in his last six games. He’s also flashing some power — six HRs in nearly 100 ABs speaks to 30+ HR power. The Pirates will be tempted to bring Alvarez up in 2010, but 300-400 Triple-A ABs will only help his progression. Expect to see him up late in 2010 for a cup of coffee.
Hitter Performance Review (as of 7/26/09)
Former features Nolan Reimold, Gaby Sanchez, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Whitesell and Kyle Blanks have moved on to the majors.
Featured Add – Pitcher
Kyle Drabek, SP, Phi, Age 21, Double-A
Speculation has the Phillies trading for a marquee pitcher in an attempt to strengthen their chances at defending their championship. The Blue Jays told Philadelphia that in order to acquire Roy Halladay, the Phillies had to give up three specific players, one of which is Kyle Drabek. The son of former major-league pitcher Doug Drabek, Kyle has really blossomed in 2009, turning on the strikeouts while keeping the walk rate and HRs allowed low. There was concern about Drabek’s long-term prospects after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he’s looked great so far. The Phillies have rejected Toronto’s offer, but we’ll see if either of these teams budge by the deadline.
Pitcher Performance Review (as of 7/26/09)
Former features Mat Latos, Scott Elbert, Jhoulys Chacin, Kris Medlen, Derek Holland, and Tommy Hanson have moved on to the majors.
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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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