by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It’s easy for fantasy owners to get infatuated with the top pitching prospects. They are the shiny new toy and we all can’t wait to see what they can do (though there’s an inherent risk involved in trusting them). However, when you put on those blinders you run the risk of overlooking pitchers who may get the first opportunity. Let’s take a look at a few examples to try to determine if the savvy owner should be paying attention or if they are being overshadowed for a reason:
Trevor May – Minnesota Twins
Overshadowed By – Alex Meyer
Acquired as part of the deal that sent Ben Revere to Philadelphia, May had struggled at Double-A in 2012 (4.87 ERA) and 2013 (4.51 ERA). However, the Twins still decided to promote him to Triple-A this season and thus far they have been rewarded. Over 10 starts (55.2 IP) he has posted a 2.62 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Should we get excited, however?
Strikeouts have never been an issue, and while they are down in 2014 they are nothing to sneeze at with an 8.84 K/9 (10.6 for his minor league career). The question has always been his control, though while he’s improved it this season (3.60 BB/9) it still isn’t “great”. That’s especially true when you consider that it could regress upon reaching the Majors. Throw in that he’s not a groundball pitcher (33.3% in ’14, 36.5% since 2011) and you start to wonder how he’s gotten the job done…
His line drive rate of 17.7% is slightly below average (18.5%), but he has benefited greatly from a .255 BABIP. He hasn’t given up home runs (0.33 HR/9), something that won’t likely be the case (0.7 HR/9 in minor league career) moving forward.
In other words, even if he does get the first shot all eyes should remain on Alex Meyer. He is the better option with the higher upside.
Allen Webster – Boston Red Sox
Overshadowed by Rubby De La Rosa/Brandon Workman
In this case the Red Sox have allowed it to happen, calling up the other two and leaving Webster to marinate at Triple-A. The question is if it will be long before Webster takes over for one of them?
He hasn’t generated many strikeouts thus far in 2014, though it’s a bit misleading given his split:
- April – 4.73 K/9
- May – 8.41 K/9
Considering his minor league career mark is 8.6, there is no question which one is closer to the truth. He’s generally been a solid groundball pitcher (50.5% since 2011) and has shown a bit of an improvement in his control in 2014 (3.46 BB/9).
Is it enough? Possibly, though he’d hardly be a must own option pitching in the AL East (even though it’s down this season). Consider him more of a potential streamer/spot play, unless he can routinely throw strikes.
Sources – Minor League Central, Baseball Reference