StrategyAugust 15, 2011

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Future Rookies: Week 20

By Josh Shepardson

Catchers that can rake are a rare breed, and when one comes along the fantasy community tends to take notice. A high profile catching prospect, catcher being used loosely, should be promoted sometime in August so as to be eligible for the postseason for his parent club. If he’s able to see regular playing time down the stretch, he’s capable of helping fantasy squads. The other feature player this week will have a tough time reaching the big leagues this year, but is already making the team that drafted him this June look good as he mows down hitters.

Jesus Montero, C, New York Yankees, 21 years old

2011 AAA37444135503287.283.344.439.782

A popular rumor around the internet is that Yankees’ top prospect Jesus Montero’s regression at the plate is the result of boredom. I can’t help but roll my eyes at the speculation, as it seems more likely that a 21 year old blue chip hitting prospect is having a lesser season than his phenomenal age 20 season. It is possible though that he is bored, as he is only human. Regardless, his stats are plenty good for a player his age, at the Triple-A level and armed with catcher eligibility in Yahoo! leagues. It should be noted that his Scranton-Wilkes Barre squad plays in the International League, not the Pacific Coast League where seemingly anyone who steps into the batters box has numbers displayed on the scoreboard that would stand up well against the prime years of George Herman Ruth.

It’s difficult to find any scouting reports that suggest Montero can stick behind the plate for an extended period of time, and some believe he should already be playing first base or designated hitter. However, it’s even more difficult to find a scouting report that doesn’t gush over his ability to punish baseballs. A rare slugger who can hit for power and average, Montero is a near certainty to be promoted before September 1 so that he’ll be eligible for the Yankees’ postseason roster. Owned in just one percent of Yahoo! leagues, shrewd owners with bench flexibility lacking an elite catcher have a chance to get above average position contributions for free. He’s unlikely to see any playing time at catcher, and will get his hacks from the designated hitter position, so expect to see him shed his catcher eligibility going into 2012 Yahoo! leagues.

Trevor Bauer, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 20 years old

2011 Hi-A9.004173.001.22
2011 AA5.00180.001.20

It’s rare for a player to reach the majors in his draft year, but Trevor Bauer might follow in the footsteps of 2010 draftee Chris Sale if the Diamondbacks continue to find themselves in a position to win the National League West. Bauer is doing a darn good job of living up to his draft slot in his first four professional starts. The UCLA Bruins put a heavy workload on Bauer, so expect the Diamondbacks to be cautious with his innings, but even a bullpen debut or spot start or two would put him in the Yahoo! player database. That fact shouldn’t be lost on dynasty leaguers.

Bauer is noted as much for his unorthodox mechanics and workout regimen as he is for his fantastic stuff and college statistics. Those wishing to read a scouting report about him should take a look at this piece by Lincoln Hamilton of Project Prospect. For those who want the cliff notes version, Bauer throws both a two-seam and four-seam fastball in the low-to-upper nineties depending on which variation he throws as well as a swing and miss curve ball that he can change speeds on. He also has a change-up in his repertoire, but it lags behind his other offerings due to less usage. All pitchers carry the inherent risk of injury thanks to doing something, throwing a baseball over hand repeatedly, the body isn’t built to do naturally. Qualifying Bauer as an extraordinary injury risk because he does things differently seems a bit silly without a history of health problems on his resume. Until he gives gamers a reason for concern, consider Bauer an exciting high ceiling prospect who is playing at an advanced level for his age.

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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