Liam Hendriks | RHP (SP) | Minnesota Twins | D.o.B: 2/10/89 | 6’1″ | 190 lbs | B/T: R/R | Australia 2007 | MIN #6 ranked prospect per Baseball America 2011 | MiLB Player
This Aussie throws a 90 to 93 MPH fastball with solid sinking action, a tight slider with late break, a quality changeup and a curveball. All pitches are rated as average to above-average. Scouts debate over whether his changeup or slider is his best pitch. Injury history is of concern, in 2010, had appendectomy, and in 2008 had season-ending back surgery that cut into part of his 2009 season. Before his back surgery, his curveball was his best pitch. With a compact, efficient delivery, Hendriks is able to command all four pitches and projects as an innings-eating ground ball pitcher. ETA: 2012.
Career Stats (inc. 2011): 8.6 K/9 | 1.6 BB/9 | 326 1/3 IP | 2.51 ERA | 1.09 WHIP | .3 Hr/9 | 8.2 H/9
2011 Stats (AA): 8.1 K/9 | 1.8 BB/9 | 90 IP | 2.70 ERA | 2.82 FIP | 1.12 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 8.5 H/9 | .310 BABIP | 76.8 LOB%
The Twins always seem to have solid pitching prospects lining up for their major league debut. Kyle Gibson and Alex Wimmers may be larger names, but Hendriks has wedged himself into the conversation as a possible rotation option for the 2012 season. Statistically, he has marvelously performed at each level; good enough to be placed on the World Future All-Star game roster both in 2010 and 2011. With impeccable control, a solid strikeout rate and good ground ball ratios (1.09 GO/AO in 2011, 1.39 GO/AO in 2010), this Aussie has the ability to be a solid fourth starting pitcher option in fantasy leagues. I believe, he’ll have more real world value than in the fantasy game.
Jaff Decker | LF | San Diego Padres | D.o.B: 2/23/90 | 5’10″ | 190 lbs | B/T: L/L | 1st rd supp. 2008 | SD #7 ranked prospect per Baseball America 2011 | MiLB Player Page
Decker has a compact, powerful swing (power to all fields) with good hip rotation and good bat speed; possesses good hand-eye coordination and strike zone judgment which scouts predicts should translate to an average, um, average. Then again, his bat isn’t what raises questions marks. It’s his nonathletic body (squat and weight in lower body), below average speed, skills that don’t age well (power and batting eye) and being a defensive liability – though arm is strong enough for right field. Prototypical all-bat prospect. ETA: 2012.
Career Stats (inc. 2011): .279/.424/.494 | 1117 AB | 126 XBH | 52 Hr | .225 ISO | 33/15 SB/CS | 309:266 K:BB
2011 Stats (AA): .237/.397/.443 | 300 AB | 32 XBH | 14 Hr | .206 ISO | 9/4 SB/CS | 96:77 K:BB | .300 BABIP
I’ve liked Decker for the last two years, mostly because I have a thing or two for hitters who have the ability to take a walk, hit home runs, and are able to hit for solid average. However, in 2011, he has struggled to hit for average, and his BABIP isn’t to blame (.300 BABIP). Peripherals remain sound, his wOBA is above average (.380 wOBA), meaning he is still providing solid sabermetric value due to his power and frequent walks despite the low batting average. He reminds me of Mark Reynolds. Decker has the ability to hit .260 with 20 to 25 home runs and 5 to 7 steals over the course of a major league season. Petco is going to limit his power potential and his arrival to the majors is blocked by several players and prospects, including James Darnell, who’s on fire this year. I still believe his ETA will be September 2011 with a real opportunity in June 2012. (*Stats are from 7/11/11)