Looking to take a flier on a young pitcher who can make an impact down the stretch this season? Let’s take a look at a few options:
Shelby Miller – St. Louis Cardinals
Considered one of the top prospects in baseball entering the 2012 season, Miller had been a bitter disappointment. That is until recently when he has suddenly put things back together and could get a shot to help the Cardinals down the stretch.
In regards to the stunning turn around, Derrick Gould of the St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting (click here for the post):
“This surge corresponds with the midseason break the Cardinals gave Miller to reset. He had struggled to a 4-8 record and a 6.17 ERA in his first 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis. The Cardinals pulled him briefly from the rotation so that he could recapture his mechanics — they had started to erode a bit from previous seasons. And they instituted a no-shake rule. Miller had become too dependent on his fastball, and that allowed opposing hitters to wait for it and hammer it. The no-shake rule meant that Miller could not shake-off the catcher, no matter what the catcher called.”
The results are evident. Over his past four starts he has 33 strikeouts vs. 1 walk over 25.2 innings of work. In fac,t from July 20 through August 11 he went five consecutive starts without issuing a walk. Since the All-Star Break he has a 3.32 ERA, no small feat in the Pacific Coast League.
We all know the potential talent he has and, if he continues to throw the way he is, he may force the Cardinals hand. That said, the team recently got Jaime Garcia back, putting them five strong in the rotation.
Could he get a spot start? Absolutely. Could he get the call if there is an injury? No doubt. In fact, with Adam Wainwright having missed 2011, if the Cardinals pull away would it be surprising to see them rest him and need an additional starter?
Joe Kelly, moved to the bullpen for Garcia, would also be in the mix. However, Miller offers tremendous potential and could be one the anchors of the rotation in 2013 and beyond. He should get his first taste in 2012, so stash him now.
Tyler Skaggs – Arizona Diamondbacks
Rumors persist that he will be called up to start one of the two games for the Diamondbacks double header this week. The real question is if he has a chance to stick after that or if he is one and done.
While he is coming off an awful start, between Double and Triple-A this season he has a 2.87 ERA, 116 K and 37 BB over 122.1 innings of work. While no one is going to claim he is a prospect along the lies of a Trevor Bauer, he also isn’t too far behind.
Prior to the season Baseball America ranked him as the team’s third best prospect saying:
“Skaggs’ money pitch is his 12-to-6 curveball with late, sharp break that’s a true swing-and-miss pitch. He sets it up by moving his lively 88-93 mph fastball around the strike zone. His fastball velocity increased in 2011, sitting in the low 90s more consistently, and he may add more as he fills out his projectable frame. His changeup is at lease an average pitch, a 78-82 mph offering that sinks below the zone with a side-to-side curl. Skaggs repeats his delivery well and throws strikes. He has great poise on the mound and is a fierce competitor.”
If he impresses in his first start he could earn another, at some point in 2012. However, it could take a stumble from one of the other Diamondbacks pitchers or an injury to get him into the regular rotation.
Still, he is a pitcher with talent who is going to get an opportunity to prove he belongs. That makes him instantly worth stashing.