StrategyJune 7, 2011

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Future Rookies: Week 10

By Josh Shepardson

In perhaps the least surprising news of the fantasy baseball season, Rafael Furcal has navigated his way back to the disabled list. That news has opened the door for the promotion of a man most prospect sources rate as the top prospect in the Dodgers organization, and with it, a shout out here. Also featured this week is a Rangers prospect arm pitching well in Triple-A.

Dee Gordon, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers, 23 years old

2011 AAA20034018221430.315.361.370.731

Monday night marked Dee Gordon’s debut for the Dodgers, when he entered the game in the ninth inning as a pinch runner and scored his first major league run. Flash’s kid will have an opportunity to see time while Rafael Furcal nurses his latest injury on the disabled list, just how much remains to be seen as Jamey Carroll has played effectively at short stop so far this year. Considering Gordon’s long expected long term role with the club, how much playing time he receives is likely entirely dependent upon how quickly he’s able to acclimate himself to the majors.

A burner, Gordon is capable of swiping bags in bunches, and if he’s able to see steady playing time, could prove an asset to stolen base starved owners in medium sized mixed-leagues using a middle infielder, or larger leagues. A total non-contributor in power categories, his value will be tied to him getting on base and getting the green light. While he was only moderately efficient stealing bags last year (53 stolen bases and 21 caught stealing), he’s seen that rate improve greatly this year nabbing 22 bases in 25 attempts. Playing a talent deprived position makes him a reasonable gamble even for owners that don’t need help up the middle, as he’ll likely have value on the trade market if he gets off to a hot start.

Neil Ramirez, SP, Texas Rangers, 22 years old

2011 Hi-A4.20190.000.43
2011 AAA52.1421583.441.22

Barely cracking the Rangers top-30 prospects in The 2011 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, prospect guru John Sickels had a rosier outlook for Neil Ramirez, pegging him as one of his favorite breakout candidates. Breaking out is exactly what Ramirez has done. Never pitching above Lo-A for the Rangers in his three seasons after being drafted, he has made the daunting jump to Triple-A (the Pacific Coast League no less) look like child’s play.

There aren’t any immediate openings in the Rangers rotation for Ramirez, but a couple of hurdles, Brandon Webb and Scott Feldman, may prove not to be obstacles after all. Webb was messy in his first rehab start in Double-A, and Feldman’s rehab has been shut down indefinitely. Also on the mend is Tommy Hunter, and he’s likely to get the first opportunity to start for the parent club if they decide to remove someone from the rotation. Leading the American League West by three games, the Rangers may opt to pull out all the stops in their quest to repeat as the American League champions, and that could mean promoting Ramirez should he continue to pitch at a high level. While it would have been nearly unthinkable for Ramirez to have a fantasy impact this year coming into the season, it’s not entirely out of the question at this point. It will be difficult for him to be a contributor in anything but the deepest of mixed-leagues or AL-only formats, but those in dynasty leagues should be on high alert.

Josh is a graduate of SUNY Cortland's Sport Management program, and an aspiring fantasy writer. You can catch up with Josh in the Cafe Forums where he posts as B-Chad. You can also follow his work at The Hardball Times and follow him on Twitter (BChad50).
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