And the Prospect Gods looked down at the Cardinals pitching staff and proclaimed, “And so it Shelby…” But the Gods decided to keep Oscar Taveras for themselves — at least for a little while. Bunch of Federalist-loving pigs. So, the Cardinals make up for starting Jon Jay over Oscar Taveras by giving prospect, Shelby Miller, the 5th starter role over non-descript-in-every-way, Joe Kelly. When I say, boo, you say ya. Boo…ya! Boo…ya! Cherimo…ya! Ah, fooled you. In November, I wrote a Shelby Miller 2013 fantasy. There I said, “The final answer on (whether he makes the rotation) will probably be decided on the last few days of Spring Training. In 2012, he was called up towards the end of the season and gave a 10.54 K-rate and a 1.32 ERA in 13 2/3 innings. If you look up that stat line in the thesaurus, its synonym is “lights out.” Due to a butterfly flapping its wings in Indonesia, Miller also had a 10.54 K-rate in Triple-A through 136 2/3 IP. His ERA wasn’t as purdy, but he “re-committed” himself in the 2nd half of 2012 and had a 2.88 ERA in his last ten starts with a 70/7 K/BB. Weird, cause I had an aunt who was “re-committed” and things didn’t turn out half as well. He can be a number one pitcher. When I say that about a 22-year-old, we’re talking about someone having the possibility at a top ten pitcher in all of baseball. Knowing the way Cardinals turn out young men… Um, I mean, knowing the way the St. Louis Cardinals can turn prospects into solid major league pitchers (the Vatican asked me to specify), I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shelby Miller being a productive member of the Cards rotation in 2013. For 2013, I see 10-4/3.63/1.27/155 in 150 innings and 21 starts. That’s a huge projection for a rookie pitcher. And there’s a chance for more.” And that’s me quoting me! I’m in love. He should be owned in all leagues. Yes, even your eight-person league where you own all eight teams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in Spring Training for 2013 fantasy baseball:
David Freese – Cardinals were encouraged by his MRI. See, Freese didn’t get hurt going through the MRI machine, so that was encouraging. Still sounds like he might miss a week or two to start the season. Don’t worry, that won’t be the only week or two he misses.
Kyle Lohse – Milwaukee takes St. Louis’s sloppy seconds like a frat kid starting the night with Bud Light and ending with Milwaukee’s Best. When will teams learn not to sign pitch-to-contact starters from St. Louis? Milwaukee got burned by Suppan, Piniero was a flame-out with the Angels…. I’m gonna save you the trouble, major league baseball teams, don’t sign Jake Westbrook. Ever. St. Louis has the magical elixir for pitch-to-contact starters: The Ghost of Dave Duncan. He’d spook Scooby and friends, why doesn’t everyone else learn? With this signing, nothing changes for Lohse in my top 80 starters and projections. I didn’t like Lohse before the signing, I still don’t like him. Or if you like your fantasy baseball put through a “Quick Change” title generator, Flores Por Lohse Milwaukee. However, it is kinda cool how he has the bat signal on his chin. Oh, and this absolutely kills Wily Peralta’s fantasy value, as he’ll either be the long man out of the bullpen or back in the minors.
Wilson Betemit – When I say DL’d with a knee ligament tear, you say you better, you better, you Betemit! This should mean more ABs for Reimold, who could surprise with a 25-homer, .260 and a handful of steals-type season, if he can stay healthy. Last year, he had 5 homers in the first 16 games before herniating a disk in his neck and missing the rest of the season. Another April like that and he’ll be on everyone’s team by May. *flashing lights* Post-hype sleeper! *flashing lights*
Brett Lawrie – Will open the season on the DL. Well, there’s always 2014. Kidding. Sorta. If draft season were just starting and not ending, I’d say stay away from Lawrie. I’d say it loud. I’d say it proud. I’d wrap a rainbow flag around my shoulders and marry Yunel Escobar in Hawaii before drafting Lawrie. But, that ship’s sailed. So, you have to DL Lawrie and hope for the best. Honestly, he’s still so young that even if he didn’t produce until his age 24 season (next year), he’d still be fine. I know; a lot of good that does you if you’ve drafted him for this year.
Casey Janssen – Cleared for Opening Day. Turned out CJ making the Opening Day roster is a lot easier path than being on the DL and having to get back to Top Closer via Last Chance Kitchen.
Xander Bogaerts – Sent to the minors. I haven’t talked much about Bogaerts this year (at all, actually). That’s because he’s not going to be up until September, at the earliest, and next June at the latest. Here’s what our minor league writer, Scott, said, “Aside from super-prospects Jurickson Profar and Oscar Taveras, Bogaerts was the only teenager making noise at the plate in the upper levels last year. He’ll likely end up at either 3B or a corner OF post, but his outstanding 2012 makes him a top-5 hitting prospect.” And that’s me bogarting Scott’s Bogaerts info! Xander should be someone to file away in deeper keeper (rhyme time!) leagues.
Pablo Sandoval – Bochy said that Pablo is determined to play on Opening Day. He’s also determined to fit into size 42 pants.
Chad Billingsley – Optimistic about making his first start of the season. That’s nice, I’d leave Chad hanging on waivers.
Yasiel Puig – Here’s what I said when the Dodgers first signed Puig, “The latest Cuban raftee to make it stateside was the fastest player playing in Cuba. Fidel once remarked, “He’s faster than that servant I threw plantain flambé at.” But for someone so fast, he did get caught trying to escape Cuba numerous times. In all seriousness, Fidel’s slipping as a dictator if he’s going to let someone try to escape numerous times and still let them play baseball. The Eternal General Secretary and All-Around Serious Worker Bee, Kim Jong-il, would’ve kiboshed that like underseasoned kimchi or a less-than-ostentatious fur hat. Never the hoo! Puig was also caught a bunch of times on the base paths. His numbers read five tooly – .330 with 17 home runs, 47 RBIs and 78 runs scored in 327 at-bats — without the defense tool. Guess that’s four tooly like a pair of Siamese twins.” And that’s me quoting me! Puig’s hitting .500-something in the spring and threatening to make the Dodgers team out of spring. Right now, the Dodgers have Schumaker and a plethora of crizzap in left field, but that will change once Crawford is back, which could be the first week of the season — maybe even Opening Day. If Puig makes the team, he’s not going to get enough ABs, and I don’t see him making the team. The hype is nice, but, really, the Dodgers are benching Kemp, Ethier or Crawford? Rhetorical!
Erik Bedard – Got the nod for the Astros’ fifth starter job, and I give him the head shake.
Scott Kazmir – Won the 5th starter job in Cleveland. He’s the owner of a 4+ BB/9 and a 4+ ERA in over 1000 major league innings, and not recommended in any leagues. With their rotation, the Indians only have a fighting chance to even make it to the fifth game of the season because of Brett Myers.
Jason Giambi – Indians purchased his contract and immediately DL’d him. Damn, they beat the Yankees to the punch! Right now, the Yankees are poring over videotape of old Rock n’ Jock games. “Hey, has anyone signed this Dan Cortese guy?”
Brandon Maurer – After dropping the excess baggage of Jon Garland, Maurer is now the favorite for the fifth starter job in Sea-town. Scott, our prospect writer, said Maurer has a big frame and is good with breaking balls. Sounds like Andrew “Dice” Clay. The Mariners blow — hey, they need some money! Maurer looks like the epitome of a Marginer. Think a high-6 K/9 and a 4-ish ERA.
Erasmo Ramirez – Relegated to the Mariners bullpen. You can *pinkie to mouth* Erasmo any thoughts of his upside.
Vernon Wells – Took the Yankees physical yesterday. “Can you breathe? All right, he’s good!”
Jose Valverde – Boras said that Valverde has lost 18 pounds. The soul weighs 21 grams. Evidently, the SAGNOF weighs much more. There goes Taco Bell’s promotion for Nachose Val Verdé: it tastes like stale Doritos.