You might think I took a week off from the Deep Impact series because of the Memorial Weekend. I mean, who really wants to write when there is BBQ smoke in the air, beer in the hand, and extra time off for everyone? You could think that. And it might be part of the reason, but frankly, I looked at the list of players I wanted to talk about, and that list started and ended quickly with Trevor Crowe. So we could pretend that I enjoyed a vacation due to a holiday, but really, I enjoyed a vacation because I really can’t figure a way to write more than ‘fml’ in a Trevor Crowe blurb. But this week is different, since I’ve figured out a way to bloat some space with quality, not quantity. Oh, wait, scratch that. I have it backwards. Quantity over quality! Wooo!
Yes, I’m going to talk about *that* Jeff Baker, the one who’s been around forever, and, at the same time, been able to carve out quite a niche of appearing in 80 games a year and doing just enough to be a ‘meh’ fill-in. Well, he’s been on fire lately, and might be worth an MI stab while hitting 373/458/725. A lefty masher, it definitely helps his platoon at-bats, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that David Murphy is struggling mightily. He could be a strong temporary fill-in if needed.
So, if Jeff Baker is the offensive high point of this post, we’ve already reached rock bottom with the likes of Brayan Pena. And while he’s certainly not the worst thing to ever happen to the catchers position, he’s made a career of being irrelevant. The one skill he has though, contact, is keeping him afloat this year with the Tigers. So far, hitting 314/338/443 in 75 PA’s, he’s a passable option on your bench. Don’t expect many number stats, but the rate ones won’t hurt you.
Currently getting reps in the Twins bullpen, Ryan Pressly was considered a modest prospect in the very best of descriptions. Now solely a bullpen arm, his starter’s fastball of 92 MPH has raised into the mid-90’s and he’s enjoyed quantifiable success as a LOOGY. While his ERA is very good at 1.37, some regression will hit, but not to a terrible extent. The strikeouts are middling, but if you need a stopgap option or hedge for your bullpen, there’s enough here to help with that.
One of the last men standing in the Red Cross disaster zone known as the Braves bullpen, Anthony Varvaro is somewhat similar in function and form to Ryan Pressly. He pounds the zone and throws strikes. While this doesn’t translate to a gaudy total of strikeouts, Varvaro is stable with a 2.45 ERA, and comes with a chance for holds.
Don’t let the 5.04 ERA in High-A fool you, Aaron West is one of my favorite sleepers. His FIP sits at 2.41, and since drafted in the 17th round back in 2012 by the Astros, he has done nothing but impress. A 6-1, 200 lbs right-hander, West throws a low-90s fastball, an above average slider and an improving changeup. The command is there, right now, and I could see a #2 MLB starter if we’re dreaming. Keep your eyes on him, he’s a true sleeper if there ever was one.
Though not faring well in the Nationals Rookie league, Deion Williams still has the raw tools you’d like to build on. There’s power and speed somewhere, but the learning curve has been steep so far. He’s still only 20, so there is enough time for something to take hold, especially since players who project to stick at SS are few and far between anyhow. Keep your tabs on the kid, if it all comes together, we are looking at a nice power/speed combo at the most shallow position currently.