StrategyAugust 1, 2011

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Future Rookies: Week 18

By Josh Shepardson

In the spirit of Major League Baseball’s trade deadline, Future Rookies features one of the more notable prospects dealt, though not technically dealt yet. Also featured this week is a 20 year old arm in the Tigers system who, somewhat surprisingly, debuted Saturday before being optioned back to the minors.

Drew Pomeranz, SP, Cleveland Indians, 22 years old

2011 Hi-A77.0332951.871.14
2011 AA14.006172.571.14

That’s not a typo above, technically Drew Pomeranz is still a Cleveland Indian, as he can’t be dealt until one year after signing as a 2010 draft choice. It has been reported that he is the player to be named later in the Ubaldo Jimenez blockbuster deal. Pomeranz has been nothing short of spectacular in his first professional season. The 2010 Southeastern Conference player of the year for Mississippi was the top college arm drafted, and is on the fast track for the majors already reaching Double-A. His strikeout rate is gaudy, at approximately 11 K/9 is fully supported by his stuff.

Pomeranz features a fastball, that by all accounts, sits in the low-90’s comfortably with a little more giddy up when he needs to reach back. He also throws a plus curveball, that Lincoln Hamilton of Project Prospect suggests could develop into one of the very best in all of baseball. Baseball America and John Sickels describe the curveball as a knuckle curve, and also glow about the pitch. All of the above prospect sources mention that he throws a change-up as well, but that it is still in the developmental stages. At his current rate of development, a summer of 2012 debut seems within reach, meaning he’ll be a non-contributor to fantasy teams this year. Not currently in the Yahoo! player database, look for him to possibly appear there next season as they have made an effort to include a large number of notable prospects recently.

Jacob Turner, SP, Detroit Tigers, 20 years old

2011 AA113.2332903.481.18
2011 MLB5.10363.381.13

True to their word, the Detroit Tigers called up Jacob Turner for just one start this weekend before optioning him back to the minors. Reaching the majors at 20 years of age is quite the accomplishment, and while he took the loss, he pitched an effective game. The Tigers are not shy about getting their young arms to the big leagues, take a look at Rick Porcello for example, so perhaps it shouldn’t have been so shocking that Turner took the mound for the parent club before being of age to legally purchase an adult beverage.

His numbers have been solid in Double-A, but not as impressive from a fantasy standpoint as the pitcher he shares the spotlight with in this week’s article. Offsetting his okay, but not exceptional, 7.13 K/9 rate is a tremendous 2.53 BB/9 in Double-A this year which underlies his excellent control. Baseball America projects all three of his pitches, fastball, curveball and change-up to be above average or plus offerings. John Sickels estimates he could develop into a number one or two starter at the major league level and challenge for a rotation spot as soon as next season. His status as a number one or two type starter at the major league level will bely his fantasy baseball value if he’s unable to bump up his strikeout rate, but given his age, minor league level he’s pitching at, and stuff, I’d guess that rate will rise. That said, if asked the same about Rick Porcello when he started his major league career I’d have said the same, so it remains to be seen how Turner develops. For now, remember Turner’s name next year during spring training and fantasy draft season, and monitor him the remainder of the year.

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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