In spring 2013, a trip to the Arizona Backfields to scout top pitching prospects for the Seattle Mariners afforded a look at a group of Indians pitchers including Scott Kazmir (later signed as a free agent with the Athletics) and Corey Kluber. Kluber was an older pitcher who’d achieved mixed results across a dozen 2012 starts. Moving behind the plate for a closer look, his command of a 90 mph fastball was impressive. However, it took a few sliders for the scouts in the stands to perk up and pay attention. And while the sum of the parts was impressive (not best pitcher in the American League impressive, WOW!), watching Kluber come off the field and walk directly to his wife and young child waiting by the locker room was a highlight of the trip from a fellow father’s perspective.
Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Corey Seager’s name has appeared in several speculative deals involving elite starting pitching trade rumors for Phillies star left-hander Cole Hamels and Red Sox Jon Lester. With L.A., the top-100 prospect joins outfielder Joc Pederson (Scouting Report) and pitcher Julio Urias (Scouting Report) as prospects worthy of building around. Will a win now, spend big Dodgers franchise sell it’s controllable assets for more star power? Or, is Seager two talented to pawn off?
With Thursday’s MLB trade deadline quickly approaching, contending teams have been afforded as much time as possible to determine if a “rental” player is worth acquiring. Since both pitchers are performing admirably this season, Jon Lester and David Price’s, ahem, prices are largely distinguished by the extra year of team control for Price. Lester, on the other hand, is a free agent at year’s end and is analyzed by (1) how much he costs to acquire and (2) how much better he makes the team for the rest of the year. A third consideration, his financial cost, is mostly negligible for 2014 if the acquiring team makes the playoffs. Though both are squarely on the hot stove, Lester is a different acquisition than Price.
For two months, a rival owner has coveted Astros Dexter Fowler in the TDGX Experts League and offered fantasy baseball trades for the outfielder. Between struggles and injuries to my top four picks (Jose Fernandez, Eric Hosmer, Gerrit Cole and Pedro Alvarez), Team ROTOscouting has been out of contention since May. But while other bottom teams have pawned off veteran talent for prospects, my 40-man roster includes few, if any players above 30. So when the inquiring team repeatedly asked for Fowler, the outfielder didn’t fit the profile of a player typically sold off at this time of year.
Jon Lester is in the midst of a career season. With 4.6 WAR, the left-hander is a top target at the MLB trade deadline for a handful of teams. David Price has been worth 3.7 WAR, good for eighth best in baseball to date. If asked who’s the better pitcher, my answer would have been David Price up until last week when Baseball Prospectus’ Harry Pavlidis (HarryPav) suggested the opposite. Turns out the Brooks Baseball maven was right and ROTOscouting’s piece idea of Price to the Cubs for a bounty of young positional talent made little sense given the ability for Chicago to sign Lester as a free agent and keep its young talent.
Troy Tulowitzki trade rumors have become commonplace for Colorado Rockies fans. Ownership claims a reluctance to trade Tulowitzki and teammate Carlos Gonzalez. However, rumors continue to fly. Tulo fueled the rumor mill further by taking in a Sunday matinee at Yankees Stadium. In nearby Philadelphia for a surgical consultation on a thigh injury which forced him to the disabled list last week, Tulo made the short drive to the Bronx “to see (Derek) Jeter play one more time.” Even the most cynical Rockies fan didn’t see this coming.
Current and former top-100 prospects Aaron Sanchez and Rymer Liriano headlined ROTOscouting’s week in scouting reports. Along with the Blue Jays right-hander, Toronto shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto provided a glimpse into the future. Another American League East prospect, Ian Clarkin of the Yankees and his Clayton Kershaw-esque delivery was profiled. Finally, Rangers five million dollar man Nomar Mazara was scouted across multiple series. At ROTOscouting, our fantasy baseball information comes from the ballpark.
Last week, Felix Hernandez was the focus of ROTOscouting’s ongoing look into the impact of Solo Home Run situations. Hernandez has maintained his health to the degree of throwing another third more Major League innings than the seven previous Solo Home Run pitchers combined (1983 IP for Felix versus 1469.1 IP). Part one discussed the importance of Hernandez reaching his late twenties without sustaining a significant injury. Part two looks at some other possible ways King Felix’s reign has lasted.
As the MLB trade deadline looms, a similar zero hour awaits most fantasy owners as the last big chance to improve their team’s fortunes is about to slip away. What is the key to making a move to push one’s team over the top? A former MLB executive explains how fantasy should mirror reality.
The San Diego Padres have had a rough 2014 with few players performing above replacement level. In Double-A, the recently-turned 23-year old Rymer Liriano had 14 home runs and 17 stolen bases with the San Antonio Missions before a promotion. With the Padres floundering and the top-100 prospect regaining his form after missing all of 2013 with an injury, how long will San Diego be able to keep him in the minor leagues?
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