Prospect Tracker: Arrieta, Holland, Drabek & More

As the calendar turns to May, prospects are going to slowly become a bigger factor for fantasy owners.  Who could be on the verge of being recalled and making an impact?  Let’s take a look at a few of the bigger names (remember, who we look at will rotate on a weekly basis, so check back every Friday for the latest):

Lars Anderson – Boston Red Sox – 1B
With David Ortiz continuing to struggle, the Red Sox are inching Anderson along towards the Major Leagues.  He dominated Double-A through 62 AB, hitting .355 with 5 HR and 16 RBI and has now been pushed to Triple-A.  Of course, the Red Sox could always opt to acquire a replacement, but you have to think they could at least consider Anderson on a short-term basis.  Still, realize that his success came courtesy of a 52.1% flyball rate and a .415 BABIP.  He’s a top talent, but chances are his average could be poor in the Major Leagues.  He deserves a little bit more of an in-depth look in the near future.

Derek Holland – Texas Rangers – Pitcher
Starting back at Triple-A after his fairly disastrous Major League experience in 2009 (6.12 ERA), Holland looks like the pitcher he did in 2008.  In his first four starts he’s sporting a miniscule 0.67 ERA while posting 21 Ks vs. 3 BBs.  In 2008 across three levels in the minors he posted a 157:40 ratio, so don’t think the control is an aberration.  Entering the year his minor league K/9 was 10.0, so again, what he’s showing right now is extremely realistic.  With him dominating the Pacific Coast League, it’s just a matter of time before the Rangers give the lefty a shot once again.  Once he does, he’s going to have potential value in all formats.  If you are in need of some pitching and have room on your bench, now is probably the perfect time to stash him away because it could soon be too late.

Jake Arrieta – Baltimore Orioles – Pitcher
He had allowed just 1 earned run over his first four starts before getting touched up a bit yesterday.  He allowed three earned runs over six innings, raising his ERA to 1.16.  It’s terrible, I know.  Prior to this season he had posted a K/9 of 9.2 and a BB/9 of 3.7, so while he has electric stuff, the control is a bit of a question.  He’s already walked 14 batters over 31 innings, a BB/9 of 4.1.  If he gets a chance in a tough AL East and doesn’t have his control, the results are not going to be pretty.  For more on Arrieta, click here.

Desmond Jennings – Tampa Bay Rays – Outfield
A sprained wrist caused his season to start on April 18, so we don’t have much of a sample size to look at quite yet.  In just 17 AB he’s hitting .235 with 0 HR and 2 RBI at Triple-A.  He has been awfully impressive, however, already scoring 6 runs and stealing 5 bases.  We all know he’s among the elite prospects in the game, and look towards a potential recall at some point this season.  For more on Jennings, click here.

Chris Carter – Oakland Athletics – First Base
Power, power, power.  That’s about all we need to know about Carter, isn’t it?  Unfortunately, the power has not been overly impressive just yet, considering he calls the Pacific Coast League home.  He’s hitting .282 with 4 HR, 12 RBI and 14 R over his first 71 AB.  That puts him in a tie for ninth, four HR behind the league leader, Brett Wallace.  Additionally, Daric Barton has gotten off to a good start, keeping Carter a little bit further away.  His power will translate, even in a huge ballpark, but he’s really going to need to turn it up if he wants to force the A’s hand.

Tanner Scheppers – Texas Rangers – Pitcher
He’s been putting up video game-esque statistics in a relief role, with a 0.90 ERA and 0.30 WHIP over 10 innings of work.  Oh, I almost forgot the 18 Ks and 0 BBs.  With stuff like that, it’s just a matter of time before he finds a spot in the Rangers bullpen.  He’s not going to step into the closer’s role, with Neftali Feliz and Frank Francisco there, but if you are in a league that uses middle relievers he will instantly have value.

Danny Valencia – Minnesota Twins – Third Baseman
The Twins have a hole at 3B, but Valencia has done little to step up and force the team to give him a chance.  Through 70 AB he is hitting .243 with 0 HR, 7 RBI and 7 R.  Amazingly, he hasn’t been extremely unlucky either, with a BABIP of .298.  He showed more last season at Triple-A (.286, 7 HR, 41 RBI in 269 AB), so there is hope, but even those numbers don’t give owners much hope that he will be a usable option outside of the deepest of formats.

Jacob Turner – Detroit Tigers – Pitcher
He has looked good early on in 2010, but he hasn’t had much opportunity yet, either.  He’s pitched just nine innings in two starts, posting a 1.00 ERA while striking out 11 against 0 walks.  He may be on the fast track, but right now he’s out due to tightness in his forearm.  We’ll keep a close eye on the injury before drawing any conclusions on his potential impact this season.  Still, from what we’ve seen early, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make the jump from Single-A all the way to the Tigers bullpen late in the year.

Jason Castro – Houston Astros – Catcher
Prior to the season many thought that it was inevitable that Castro would be the Astros catcher at some point in 2010.  Then the 2008 first round pick opened the season at Triple-A hitting .224 with 0 HR and 5 RBI in 49 AB.  What are we all saying now?  Granted, it is a small sample, but still, in the Pacific Coast League fantasy owners want to see significantly more.  The power just isn’t there yet, with a 52.4% groundball rate (though he has a career mark under 40%, so there is hope).  Give him some time and he will likely come around, but he clearly needs to develop against upper level pitching.  For more on Castro, click here.

Kyle Drabek – Toronto Blue Jays – Pitcher
The former Phillie has struggled with his command early on, walking 12 batters in just 21.1 innings.  He also hasn’t gone more than 5.2 yet, another bit of a red flag.  We like the strikeouts (20) and the ERA is alright (3.80), but it’s not enough to get me overly excited right now.  I expect him to turn things around in due time, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned just yet.  His career walk rate is 3.2, so I’m pretty confident he’ll get the righted and the rest will follow suit.  For more on Drabek, click here.

Jordan Danks – Chicago White Sox – Outfielder
In 2009 he showed little power (9 HR) and speed (12 SB), so why should we be interested at all in him?  He’s giving us a little taste, with 2 HR and 6 SB over his first 74 AB at Triple-A.  That’s nice and all, but his 23 Ks in 74 AB clearly gives significant cause for concern.  If he can’t make contact against Triple-A pitching, what are we supposed to expect against Major League pitchers?  He’s going to need to improve considerably before he should give owners the impression that he could make an impact.

Carlos Peguero – Seattle Mariners – Outfielder
Baseball America did not have him ranked among the team’s top prospects prior to 2010, despite having hit 31 HR at High Single-A in 2009.  He’s proving that it was no fluke, opening up at Double-A by hitting .378 with 9 HR and 18 RBI in 74 AB.  The lefty has destroyed right-handers in the early going, hitting .418 with 8 HR.  Yes, the average has come courtesy of an unrealistic BABIP (.388), but the strikeout rate isn’t awful (21.6%) and we all know the Mariners are in desperate need of some thunder in the middle of their order.  At 23-years old, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him get a shot at some point in 2010, so keep the name filed in the back of your mind if you think you may need a power boost.

What are your thoughts on these prospects?  Who is the most likely to make an impact in 2010?  Which are you highest on?

To view the first Prospect Tracker, including Carlos Santana, Pedro Alvarez & more, click here.

For more looks at prospects, you can check out the following articles:

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