StrategyAugust 29, 2011

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Future Rookies: Week 22

By Josh Shepardson

September 1st roster expansion is just around the corner. A Brewers arm that’s a near certainty to make his major league debut this coming month is highlighted below, along with a Diamondbacks southpaw putting together a jaw dropping campaign.

Wily Peralta, SP, Milwaukee, 22 years old

2011 AA119.29481173.461.29
2011 AAA25.0210332.161.00

While a 0.15 improvement in ERA at the Double-A level from 2010 to 2011 may not seem like much, it is the rest of Wily Peralta’s 2011 statistics that better underscore the marked improvements he has made developing as a pitcher this year. A three pitch pitcher, low-to-mid-90’s fastball, above average slider and above average changeup, Peralta was unable to use his stuff to strike hitters out much in 2010. His strikeout rate in Hi-A was 6.43 K/9, and dropped to 6.17 K/9 when he was promoted to Double-A. His walk rate was also less than stellar at 3.43 BB/9 in Hi-A before ballooning to an unacceptable 5.10 BB/9 in Double-A. Everything has clicked for him this year though, as his strikeouts have taken a step up and his walks have been dialed back. He struck out a hair under a batter-per-inning at 8.80 K/9 in Double-A before seeing his strikeout rate soar to new levels at 11.88 K/9 in Triple-A this year. He’s also kept the free passes in check at 3.61 BB/9 in Double-A and 3.60 BB/9 in Triple-A. Further aiding his chances at major league success is a batted ball profile that has seen him induce more groundouts than flyouts at both stops.

Already on the Brewers 40-man roster, he’s a near certainty to be summoned to the parent club when rosters expand September 1. With a gigantic lead in the National League Central, he may have a chance to see a spot start or two spelling one of the rotation regulars. It’s also possible they work him into the bullpen in an effort to determine whether he’d be an asset there in the postseason. Regardless, Peralta is a solid prospect who is unavailable in the Yahoo! player pool, and will be hitting the waiver wire after his first big league appearance. Dynasty leaguers should pay close attention to when he’s added to the pool, as a better prospect not currently in the Yahoo! player pool is unlikely to surface down the stretch. All of this year’s Brewers rotation is under contract or team control once again next year, so it is unclear what that means for Peralta in 2012. One thing is for certain, he is a much more desirable prospect this year than he was at this point last.

Tyler Skaggs, SP, Arizona, 20 years old

2011 Hi-A100.25341253.221.14
2011 AA53.2412662.180.93

When the words dominant southpaw have been used to describe a minor league pitcher this year, the name Matt Moore has often followed. He hasn’t been alone this year though, and the same adjective, as well as a host of others, could be used to Diamondbacks farmhand Tyler Skaggs. Many, including myself, questioned the haul the Diamondbacks got in return for Dan Haren which included Joe Saunders and three prospects. Those prospects were reliever Rafael Rodriguez, who has since been released, left-hander Pat Corbin, who has been tremendous in Double-A, and Corbin’s rotation mate Skaggs. Suddenly the Haren deal looks considerably better than it initially did.

Skaggs strong pitching helped him land at 19 on Baseball America’s mid-season top-50 prospect list, passing fellow Diamondbacks arm Jarrod Parker for top honors in the organization. He features a fastball that came into the season sitting in the 88-92 MPH range and has a chance to climb a few ticks as he fills out. He also throws a changeup and a curveball. His curveball rated as the best in the Diamondbacks farm system coming into the season by Baseball America, and it would appear that it has done a number on minor league hitters this year. His strikeout-to-walk rate is outstanding at 4.15 across both levels this season. The Diamondbacks have an embarrassment of riches in minor league arms with Skaggs, Parker, Corbin and 2011 draftee Trevor Bauer. Of the bunch, Bauer is the most likely to be called on if Arizona needs a little extra something for their playoff push. In all likelihood, none will throw a pitch in the majors in 2011, in my opinion. All four will be showcasing their skills next year in the hopes of a 2012 promotion, and each should be major league mainstays by 2013.

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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