Angel Salome – Catcher – Prospect/Deep Sleeper
The Brewers have Jason Kendall as their starting catcher, meaning that any offensive production a minor league catcher can bring to the table will give him an inside track. In 516 AB, Kendall hit .246 with 2 HR, with the team even toying the concept of hitting the pitcher eighth and him ninth.
Meanwhile, Salome raked in Double A, hitting .360 with 13 HR, 83 RBI and 67 R. The average came courtesy of a BABIP of .401, so we all obviously know it is going to drop. He did show a solid eye, however, striking out just 15.5% of the time, while walking 8.3% of the time. Yes, the average is going to fall significantly, but with that type of ratio and his career .322 minor league average, he has proven that he can hit.
His biggest detriment may be his defense, much like another Brewers top prospect, Mat Gamel. Baseball America recently said, “Salome often gets his footwork messed up behind the plate, resulting in inaccurate throws and stolen bases. He threw out 26 percent of basestealers while allowing 90 swipes in 78 games last year. He still needs to work on his game-calling.”
In a line-up that features Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Corey Hart, the team may be willing to trade offense for defense, especially from their catcher. With a young pitching staff, they will need someone who can handle the load and get them through the tough times.
Still, what happens when the team is struggling to score runs? Will they continue to be able to stomach AB from a player who has hit a total of 18 HR since the start of the 2002 season? How about the fact that he has hit under .250 each of the past two years?
Salome has his problems, but if things get tough, the good should outweigh the bad. He’s worth keeping an eye on.
Manny Parra – Pitcher – Moderate Sleeper
In his first full season, Parra showed signs of brilliance, despite his 4.39 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. He posted a BB/9 of 4.07 and a BABIP of .337, leading to the elevated WHIP. Obviously, the BABIP is high and could easily significantly decrease in 2009.
Over his minor league career, he posted a BB/9 of 2.5 over 539.1 innings of work. He was able to put up a number similar to that as he moved to the higher levels of the minors, and while it should not be expected that he duplicate it, an improvement should be in order.
A decreased walk rate + a lower BABIP should lead to a significantly better WHIP.
He also has posted a solid K/9, even at the major league level (8.10). That is very comparable to his 8.6 over his minor league career, meaning he should be a solid option there as well.
With a solid offense behind him, he could also win his fair share of games, making him a pitcher worth considering late in your drafts.
So, there you have my sleepers for the Brewers. Are you looking at either of these two? Are there any others you’d consider taking?