It’s been years since the St. Louis Cardinals developed a quality Major League shortstop. While guys like Brendan Ryan and Pete Kozma have been one dimensional players at short, their offensive skills forced the Cardinals to sign Jhonny Peralta to provide value on both sides of the ball. Having last drafted a shortstop in the first round in 2007, the Redbirds a gaping organizational hole to fill. Enter Oscar Mercado. St. Louis hopes Mercado is their shortstop of the future.
In April, the New York Mets solved their first base log jam by trading Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor-league reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named later reported to be a significant 2013 Pirates draftee. On June 15th, Pittsburgh sent former second round pick Blake Taylor to New York to complete the deal. Assigned to the team’s complex in Port St Lucie, Taylor debuted with the GCL Mets. After three appearances, the 19-year-old was promoted to the Mets’ Appalachian League affiliate in Kingsport, Tennessee.
When interviewing Mookie Betts 16-months ago, the Nashville, Tennessee native joked about brain farts at shortstop and beamed about his first (and maybe last) professional home run. 31 round trippers later and the top-100 prospect is likely to receive a long look in center field after Jackie Bradley Jr. fell flat offensively. Having scouted Betts withing a week of being promoted, is the 21-year old ready to flash the well-rounded set of skills displayed at the minor league level?
The key piece of a substantial deal for Tigers closer Joakim Soria, 22-year old Texas Rangers pitching prospect Jake Thompson has become a name of much intrigue in 2014. The current Frisco RoughRider has enjoyed a fantastic season, posting a 2.90 ERA while striking out nearly a batter per inning across High-A and Double-A at 20. Is he a future rotation stalwart for a big league club in need of healthy arms?
Since the beginning of ROTOscouting, diehard subscribers have clamored for a baseball Podcast. It’s here! After a handful of enjoyable appearances on The Fantasy Insiders show with Joel Henard, he was an obvious candidate for c0-host and we began discussing the formation for an hour long show about a month ago. Episode 1 features Joel and I talking everything Red Sox as an example of what ROTOscouting brings to the table in terms of well-rounded baseball coverage with a trained eye on the prospect world as it pertains to fantasy baseball.
Yesterday’s part I of the Fantasy Football Creates Fantasy Baseball Opportunity explained how watching the MLB transaction wire reveal under-the-radar opportunities — especially during the “dog days of August” when fantasy players turn their attention to fantasy football drafts. Staying diligent and investigating the transactions of non-contenders is a great place to find fantasy baseball value. However, the focused fantasy owner is able to find value even without a formal “transaction” taking place. An example of this occurred recently.
We are now in the “dog days” of August. The trade deadline has passed and heavy lifting for fantasy baseball is done. The NFL exhibition season is in full swing and it’s time to start thinking fantasy football. ESPN will keep fantasy owners posted on important baseball news (as well as what Johnny Manziel ate for lunch), so put the fantasy baseball team(s) on auto-pilot with confidence, right? Hardly.
Triple digit velocity is rare. In six seasons at the ballpark, only one pitcher has hit triple digits. Not a household name, former Dodgers and Braves farmhand Luis Vasquez’s top fastballstouched 100 mph several times as a member of the Chattanooga Lookouts in 2012. An elite, 80 grade fastball is clocked at 97 MPH or higher. And while the Aroldis Chapman’s of the world make velocity look easy, few pitchers are able to push triple digits with top fastballs.
From 2007 through 2009, Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco was ranked as one of the top-54 prospects in baseball per Baseball America. At his peak, the right-handed pitcher was the key piece leveraged by the Phillies to acquire Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. Five seasons and a Tommy John surgery later, Carrasco has 15 career wins to his credit and a career FIP of 4.16. His 2.2 WAR is just .5 wins more than Lee’s disappointing 2014 season. However, the Venezuelan native has been strong contributor to Cleveland’s bullpen this season, earning a starting nod on August 10th. Is he a post hype sleeper primed to finally cash in on his promise?
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Luis Heredia has hit a development wall. After a stellar 2012 season, Heredia ranked as a top-100 prospect. Then, the youngster disappeared. Expected to debut in full season West Virginia at the start of 2013, the youngster was held back for fitness reasons in extended Spring Training. Debuting in June, Heredia struggled with control and doubled his walk rate, earning a return trip to the South Atlantic League. With the right-hander’s value at an all-time low, is a rebound possible?
1-On-1 ROTO Strategy Session
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