Friday, June 15, 2012

Service Time Clock Can Now Start

Now that the projected deadline has passed that qualifies prospects for super two status, you in the fantasy realm should expect these elite prospects to get the call-up and possibly contribute to your fantasy team.  Super two status give the player an extra round for arbitration which in turn turns into an additional big pay day for the player and hurt the organization financially. That is why teams do not call up their elite players until the service time clock puts them in a position that favors the club and not the player. As you remember, players like Strasburg, Wieters, and Stanton were all held back from joining the big league club in turn saving their clubs roughly 5-8 million dollars.

With that said here are the players I expect to get a quick call-up and contribute on the fantasy landscape by the end of the month. All of these players are already on the Yahoo waiver wire and can be picked up immediately. Scouting summaries are courtesy of Scouting Book.

Shelby Miller 1% owned: The Cardinals first round pick in 2009, pitcher Shelby Miller is a raw but talented prospect with a wicked-hot fastball that has excellent and natural late movement. He's learning to rely on more than just his admittedly-great heat to excel in pro ball, too, so it's not surprising to see his nifty 12-6 curve frustrate batters. More exciting is the extra sink he's starting to trust on the less-explosive two-seam version of his fastball, a pitch that even good hitters will beat into the ground with abandon. With a projectable body that could probably add muscle in the years to come, he looks like a good workhorse candidate in St. Louis come late 2013 or so, though he'll probably get a look-see a bit sooner than that.

Trevor Bauer 20% owned: The fourth overall pick in the draft, righthander Trevor Bauer was overshadowed by rotation mate Gerrit Cole while at UCLA, but after turning pro he became one of the most impressive young arms anywhere in the minors, and he's a hotter ticket in our book than even Cole is today. After blowing past high-A ball last year, he found his level in AA, though he still struck out an ungodly 14 batters per nine innings even at the higher level (hey, it's more sane than the 17-per-nine he racked up in A ball.)

Bauer is a smallish pitcher, with a bit of an unconventional motion, but his quirks are not the flaky flamethrower type, they're more of a dazzling bag-of-tricks variety. While he can reach 100mph if he wishes (we promise), he doesn't actually pitch there, preferring to stay down around 94mph with great and varying movement on his selection of sliders and cutters. He's also got a good head for the game and shows an Ichiro-level commitment to stretching and conditioning exercise. It's possible he will break camp with the Diamondbacks, but with the team not hurting for starters just yet, it's possible that his real prime time won't be until midseason or even 2013.

Tyler Skaggs 1% owned: The main return for the departing Dan Haren, Arizona's Tyler Skaggs is almost ready to compete at the major league level, and should contend for a rotation spot in early 2012. Skaggs was 8-6 with an ERA of 2.99 across 25 starts last year, including a 2.51 ERA in eight starts at the higher-level stop in Mobile. If he doesn't break camp with the Diamondbacks, he'll join them before the year is up.

Danny Hultzen 3% owned: The number two overall pick in 2011, Seattle pitching prospect Danny Hultzen is a solid lefthander who draws more than his share of Cliff Lee comparisons. With a fastball that drops in around 94mph and a no-nonsense workmanlike approach to the game, the comparison isn't far off base, either. In three seasons of duty at the University of Virginia, Hultzen went 32-5 with a 2.08 ERA. The Cavs ace also struck out a nasty 148 batters in 103 innings last season. Unlike some of the sexier prospects in baseball, that majority of Hultzen's ability is probably already on display: in 19 1/3 fall league innings for Seattle he posted a tidy 1.60 ERA in six starts. In addition to the well-advertised pinpoint fastball, he showed advanced ability to find and locate a nifty cutter, a decent change, and an occasionally-wicked slider, though he may back-shelf that one for awhile. His contract guarantees him a Spring Training spot, but we shouldn't actually see him in Seattle before midseason: there's just no good reason to rush, here. In fact, if the team somehow manages to hold him back all year, it could save some money for a competitive window a few years down the road.

Mike Montgomery 0% owned: A flame throwing lefthander, Montgomery was grabbed early by the Royals in the 2008 draft. So far, he's looking pretty legitimate, if unspectacular. He's assembled a 3.47 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a 349/148 collection of strikeouts versus walks. He's only 22 years old, and he could probably use another year of polish after his stumbles in AAA last season, but the nothing-to-lose Royals might take a look at him sooner than that.

Manny Banuelos 0% owned: With a nickname that sounds like something out of a Radical Feminist Manifesto, Manny Banuelos is a young and tiny lefthander signed out of Mexico who's already being heralded as a shining success story for the Yankees international scouting team. Man-Ban's fastball is an easy 92mph, while his changeup already looks like a plus pitch, remarkable in such a young player. He's been working on adding a curve and/or slider to his mix, which would silence those calling him a bullpen-only piece, but even his existing two-pitch arsenal has been effective so far. He'll be brought along slowly, as the ever-conservative Yankees have no need to rush him, but if his next year is as good as his last, he'll have to be considered one of the top young arms in the minor leagues.
Brett Jackson 1% owned: A toolsy centerfielder pushing his way up the Cubs ladder, Brett Jackson is a well-rounded player without a single defining skill, but with the right mix for a top-of-the-order role in the future. A .297/.388/.551 hitter at AAA Iowa in 2011, Jackson's mix of plus speed and mature plate discipline portends a leadoff role, though his developing power (from 12 to 20 homers last year) might make him slot into the three hole just fine, too. He's primed and equipped for an opportunity in MLB, probably the only Cubs prospect really ready to do so, so he should get a chance in 2012.

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