Archive for October 31, 2009

Is Josh Thole the Mets Catching Savior?

Sometimes it is tough to be a Mets fan, isn’t it?  You sit and you watch other teams, both big market and small, call up player after player from their minor league system who step foot on a major league diamond and instantly make an impact.  Some of these players they had a chance to draft like Jered Weaver & Phil Hughes in 2004 (when the Mets selected Phil Humber at #3).  Others they never had the opportunity, due to forfeiting their first round draft pick because of signing a Type A free agent.

If it is poor prowess (or lack of dedication and finances) in the draft or just simply trading away any player with a reasonable opportunity to produce, when you see a viable Mets prospect reach the major leagues fans just drool at their potential.  We not only want to see him on the roster, but we want to instantly hand him a starting job, especially when there is a whole to fill.

Enter Josh Thole, who made the jump from Double-A last season to hit .321 over 53 AB in September.  That came after hitting .328 with 1 HR and 46 RBI over 384 AB in the minor leagues.

His hot hitting has continued this winter in the Venezuelan League, going 21-54, good for a .389 average, while striking out just five times.

The 2005 thirteenth round draft choice certainly has proven that he can hit, though a few of the numbers can be a little deceiving.  He is only a .292 career minor league hitter, with last season’s average being buoyed by a .359 Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP). Read more

2010 Dynasty Rankings: Top 15 Second Baseman: A First Look

Our dynasty second baseman rankings are similar to the yearly league rankings (click here to view), but only at the top.  There is quite a bit of movement, with some younger players seemingly primed to emerge as steady fantasy options.  Let’s see how things currently look:

  1. Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies
  2. Ian Kinsler – Texas Rangers
  3. Robinson Cano – New York Yankees
  4. Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds
  5. Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
  6. Aaron Hill – Toronto Blue Jays
  7. Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
  8. Brian Roberts – Baltimore Orioles
  9. Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels
  10. Ian Stewart – Colorado Rockies Read more

Will Rick Porcello Take the Next Step in 2010?

by Jimmy Hascup

While most 20-year-olds are in the midst of their college careers, a different type of career has begun for a Detroit Tigers pitcher.  One of the more highly touted prospects coming into this season, Rick Porcello slid into the fifth spot and proved that even the least experienced arms can have success in the major leagues. The former 2007 first round draft pick wasn’t in the Professor’s top-35 pitchers, nor is he likely to be awarded the Rookie of the Year, but that doesn’t mean his season was any less spectacular:

14 Wins
170.2 Innings
3.96 ERA
1.34 WHIP
89 Strikeouts (4.69 K/9)
52 Walks (2.74 BB/9)
.281 BABIP

Even when the Tigers acquired Jarrod Washburn to lesson the strain on Porcello and give them a solid lefty for the pennant push, Porcello was still the better pitcher. In fact, with the season on the line against the Twins in the one-game playoff, Porcello may have had his most encouraging start of the season on the biggest stage of his career, up to this point. Porcello took it upon himself to lead the Tigers to the playoffs: 5.2 innings allowing four hits and a run, while striking out eight.  Ultimately it didn’t work out. It could have been a blessing in disguise for the Tigers, as the 170.2 innings was already a career-high for the righty. Though it did get me thinking, was this final start a precursor for what’s to come? Read more

2010 Dynasty Rankings: Top 15 First Baseman: A First Look

Many of the top first baseman in the league are still just entering their prime.  Of the top eight from our yearly league rankings (click here to view), the oldest is Ryan Howard, who turns 30 in November.  While that doesn’t call for many changes at the top, the bottom half certainly saw some movement so let’s see how they look:

  1. Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
  3. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
  4. Prince Fielder – Milwaukee Brewers
  5. Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies
  6. Justin Morneau – Minnesota Twins
  7. Mark Reynolds – Arizona Diamondbacks
  8. Adrian Gonzalez – San Diego Padres
  9. Kevin Youkilis – Boston Red Sox
  10. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds Read more

Is Grant Desme More Than An AFL Wonder?

Drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Oakland A’s, Grant Desme was a virtual unknown after collecting just 49 at bats through 2008 (due to injuries to his wrist and shoulder).  Splitting time between two levels of Single-A in 2009, he began to make his presence felt before completely erupting in the Arizona Fall League, putting him on the prospect map.

First, let’s look at his 2009 statistics:

486 At Bats
.288 Batting Average (140 Hits)
31 Home Runs
89 RBI
98 Runs
40 Stolen Bases
.365 On Base Percentage
.568 Slugging Percentage
.355 Batting Average on Balls in Play

If those numbers weren’t impressive enough, he’s been on fire in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .442 with 8 HR (double anyone else) and 16 RBI in just 10 games (43 AB).  That didn’t come from just one big game either, as he’s homered in five straight games and seven of his last eight. Read more

2010 Dynasty Rankings: Top 15 Catchers: A First Look

Having already rolled out our yearly league rankings (click here to view our Top 15 catchers), it’s time now to look at rankings for dynasty leagues.  We all know that finding a catcher who can produce offensively for the long-term is tough to come by, which is why players like Montero, Wieters and Suzuki jump up a bit.  Still, you can’t ignore the consistent producers, no matter what the age, do let’s see how things play out:

  1. Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins
  2. Brian McCann – Atlanta Braves
  3. Victor Martinez – Boston Red Sox
  4. Miguel Montero – Arizona Diamondbacks
  5. Matt Wieters – Baltimore Orioles
  6. Ryan Doumit – Pittsburgh Pirates
  7. Kurt Suzuki – Oakland Athletics
  8. Geovany Soto – Chicago Cubs
  9. Jorge Posada – New York Yankees
  10. Mike Napoli – Los Angeles Angels Read more