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Razzball’s weekly look around the minors is back for 2012.  In case you’ve forgotten, this is where we’ll highlight notable performances by fantasy-relevant prospects.  We’ll keep track of any minor league storylines which might carry fantasy significance here, too.  In this first edition we’ll get things started with baseball’s top prospect, Bryce Harper, who’s off to a slow start at Triple-A Syracuse.  Harper’s collected just two XBH’s in 29 trips to the plate through Friday.  It’s his first taste of Triple-A pitching, so the early struggles aren’t necessarily surprising.  Harper has the tools to adjust and turn things around in a hurry, though.  I suspect he’ll heat things up before long.

Mike Trout | OF, Angels - Like Harper, Trout is getting his first action at the Triple-A level.  Unlike Harper, though, Trout is off to a blazing start.  Through 40 PA’s, Trout’s posted a slash line at .389/.425/.556 to go along with three stolen bases.  If this keeps up, Trout could push his way through to the Angels’ outfield before mid-season.

Trevor Bauer | SP, D’backs – Bauer’s posted a 0.00 ERA and a 15.19 K/9 through two Double-A starts.  He’s walking a few too many batters, but he’s better than Josh Collmenter right now and I can’t imagine the D’Backs will let Collmenter linger for too much longer if he continues to get pounded.  If you have room to stash him, Bauer might be worth a speculative scoop already.

Dylan Bundy | SP, Orioles - Bundy has thrown just six innings as a pro:  six perfect innings.  The fourth overall selection by the Orioles last June is backing up the hype in the early going as he’s been utterly unhittable in his two appearances.  Some are wondering if Bundy will be ready to debut in the bigs by year’s end.  Reason tells me no.  A few more perfect outings will have me believing otherwise, though.

Matt Adams | 1B, CardinalsLance Berkman is no beacon of health and there’s already cause for concern with regard to his well-being early on in 2012.  Should Puma land on the DL, Matt Adams would be a candidate to fill that void.  After an impressive spring in big league camp, Adams has continued to smash the ball in Triple-A.  Through 33 PA’s he’s slashing .419/.455/.806 with three homers and a stolen base.

James Paxton | SP, Mariners - Paxton is one of a few high-ceiling arms in the Seattle system, but of that group, he’s off to the most noteworthy start.  Through two Double-A outings, Paxton has a 0.87 ERA and a 14.81 K/9.

A.J. Griffin | SP, Athletics - Griffin has allowed just four baserunners through his first two outings (11 IP) while striking out 16 and posting a 0.00 ERA.  He’s expanded his repertoire for 2012 and it’s paying dividends so far at the Double-A level.

Manny Machado | SS, Orioles – The O’s 19-year-old shortstop didn’t take long to adjust to Double-A.  Having already smacked two homers, Machado has the early edge on the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar in the battle of AA teenage shortstops.

Anthony Rizzo | 1B, Cubs – Rizzo is having no trouble with PCL pitching so far as he’s already blasted three homers and knocked in ten through 33 PA’s.  Unfortunate for Rizzo is that Bryan LaHair is off to an equally impressive start with the Cubs.  Rizzo will need to stay hot while LaHair cools off considerably if he’s to reach Chicago by mid-season.

Kolten Wong | 2B, Cardinals – After skipping High-A, Wong has been impressive in his Double-A debut.  Through 29 trips to the plate he’s hit .440/.517/.760.  He’ll have to improve quite a bit defensively if he’s to supplant either Daniel Descalso or Tyler Green at 2B in St. Louis this year, but his advanced approach to hitting should allow him to be ready for full time duties with the Cardinals a year from now.

Anthony Rendon | 3B, Nationals – The highly touted third base prospect in the Nationals’ system fractured his ankle in the first week of the season at High-A.  He’ll miss the next couple months.

  1. Curt says:
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    Any update on Danny Hultzen?……just wondering if he might be brought up this year, if he’s dong well in the minors.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Curt, 7 runs allowed in 9.2 IP at AA. 16 K’s, though… He’ll get it together, but Paxton will get the first shot at the M’s rotation if he continues on his pace.

      • Jay29 says:
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        @Scott Evans, Paxton is that close to the majors?

  2. jeffjam says:
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    There must be some kind of curse towards 1B prospects. First, Belt gets shackled by Bochy who says he wants his hottest batters in the lineup, yet he starts Huff who is hitting .220. I guess there is some gay reference in “hottest” baters and he just has mancrush on Huff. Than there is Rizzo who gets traded from hitters wasteland in Petco to a team who starts LeHair instead of him and to make things worse LeHair is actually hitting meaning Rizzo will stay down there for whoever knows how long.

    • Hawk says:
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      @jeffjam,

      To make matters worse, the Cubs GM has already said he wants Rizzo to spend all year in the minors.

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        @Hawk, Theo & Jed have been firm on this, but GM’s are good at spewing bullshit. If LaHair keeps producing & they can afford to keep Rizzo in the minors all year, I suppose they will. More likely, LaHair stinks & Rizz is up for the second half.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @jeffjam, We’ll see if LaHair can keep this up. I’m confident Rizzo will hold up his end & I still think we see Rizz up for the second half.

  3. Alcesto says:
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    Yo Grey (or anyone else), 12-team mixer with 1450 ip limit, Ive got Anibal going against the ‘Stros, but what do you think about Vogelsong in his first game back going against the Pirates, and/or Volquez at Chavez Ravine? Are you starting either or both of those guys?

    • Hawk says:
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      @Alcesto,

      I’d pitch my mother against the Pirates. If you are concerned about IP, I’d stay away from Volquez vs the Dodgers.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Alcesto, I’d steer clear of Volquez today.

  4. gbaked says:
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    yo grey,

    who should I sit next week?

    M.Minor (@ari)
    B.Zito (@nym)
    E.Santana (oak)
    k.millwood (cle, chw)

    I have 3 spots for the 4 of them.

    thanks dude.

    • gbaked says:
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      @gbaked, also down for others opinion.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @gbaked, I’d go with Zito, Santana & Millwood.

  5. Bud says:
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    Is it time to pull the plug on JP Arencibia? I’m in a points league with -1 for strike outs and his 12 k’s are killing me. Should I hold or pick up another catcher like Ramon Hernandez, Suzuki, IannettA, Lucroy, Ruiz, or Doumit?

    • uncdrew says:
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      @Bud,

      I just dropped him. I tend to finish in fifth place in a 12-team mixed league with about 4 guys who don’t manage their teams. So you know it’s good advice. I added the White Sox old dude with the funny name and dropped Arencibuhbye.

    • gbaked says:
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      @Bud, no. its been like two weeks and those other catchers are not good.

      • gbaked says:
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        @gbaked, case in point, this little gem from yahoo update on McCann shows why not too freak out yet.

        “The night raised his average from a paltry .158 to a much more respectable .292″

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Bud, It is early to be jumping to any conclusions on players. Hold for now.

  6. JungleMike says:
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    For my third reliever in 6 team ROTO…. Joe Nathan or Sean Marshall? Got both, but want to drop one for a better bat. I like Marshall’s potential, but he hasn’t had any save chances. Nathan scares me…

    Thoughts?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @JungleMike, Nathan scares the piss out of me. Hold Marshall.

      • JungleMike says:
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        @Scott Evans, Same here. I think, over the whole season, Marshall will be more valuable.

  7. Poo Holes says:
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    With Arencibia struggling and Jeff Mathis being Jeff Mathis, when do you think we’re gunna see the Travis d’Arnaud era in Toronto?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Poo Holes, I initially thought he’d push through for August/September. Could be sooner if he can get his bat going in AAA — off to a slow start thus far.

  8. TheNewGuy says:
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    So for us in deeper leagues (16 team H2H im in), seeing as Trout and Harper are already stashed, is Bauer the next best add available? Could he be the first of all the top prospects to make the show?

    Getting a bit fed up of Hochevar, might drop him for him.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @TheNewGuy, Bauer is worth a stash in a 16-teamer, sure.

    • AJ says:
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      @TheNewGuy, Bauer’s line from today looks awful (2 ks, 5 bb). Nobody seems to agree, but I think that if Arizona decided to pull the plug on Collmenter today, out of the two, Tyler Skaggs (15/2 k/bb) would get the first shot.

  9. Kane says:
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    Can only pick up one: Sale, Volquez, Peavy, Samardzija, Niese, Lynn, or Blanton for 2 starts this week (SF, SD)?

    Can only pickup once per week using free agent budget, so I’d have to bid on these guys. Thanks

    • beardcrabs says:
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      @Kane, niese… i think his next start is vs. the giants…

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        @beardcrabs, All nice options so it comes down to matchups. First four names are guys you could hang on to. I like Lynn an awful lot after his first two starts.

    • AdamH says:
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      @Kane, Niese

  10. Tbonez says:
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    What about nolan arenado? Any new rumblings on his eta?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Tbonez, nothing just yet. Mid-season at the earliest.

  11. Kevin says:
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    No update on Nolan Arenado?

  12. EK says:
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    Pick one for tomorrow:
    Humber v. Arrieta

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @EK, I like Arrieta in that matchup.

  13. Brian says:
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    I just dropped Belt to stash Trout on my 7 years dynasty league. However should I drop Chacin for Doubront? I also already have some low risk high reward guys like Worley and Holland.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Brian, I’d hold Chacin for now.

  14. TualatinTwoStep says:
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    Guys in a vacuum who do you like better for the rest of the year: Jordan Schafer or Nate Schierholtz?

    • Ozzie says:
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      @TualatinTwoStep, schafer

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @TualatinTwoStep, Yes. Schafer.

  15. will says:
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    here are my current SP’s – Daniel Hudson, Ubaldo, Marcum, Morrow, Sale, and Volquez. I have Fielder at 1B and Uggla at UTIL with Cano my starting 2B. Any thoughts on this trade that I am thinking about proposing?

    Fielder and Uggla

    for

    Teixera and Kershaw (or Halladay)

    I would drop one of my SP’s (which one?) and I would put either Goldschmidt or Bourjos in my UTIL starting spot if this trade goes through

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @will, I think you’d be better served hanging on to Fielder & maybe trying to move Uggla alone for a lesser SP than Kershaw. And I suppose Volquez would be your drop…

      • Will says:
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        @Scott Evans, Any thoughts on Uggla for Sabathia? Seem fair and beneficial for me? Yes probably volquez, even though he has the most K’s for me so far.

  16. Carlos says:
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    Which one should I drop, Delmon Young or JD Martinez?

    Delmon Young CONSTANTLY comes up with people on base but has not really been producing.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Carlos, I’d lean toward dropping Young.

  17. Goose says:
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    Thoughts on SF’s AAA closer Heath Hembree?

    Now that B. Wilson is dunzo he’s gotta be on the radar. Hembree’s minor league numbers are ridic: 67 IP, 43 SVs, 1.60 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 13.90 K/9, 3.48 BB/9. I don’t like how Bochy and the Giants handle their young guys (see: Belt, Brandon), but is this guy the real deal? In a 14team roto, think he’s worth grabbing now in anticipation of a call-up sometime soon-ish?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Goose, Hembree is filthy. Touches 100 with the fastball & he’s been tabbed as the closer of the future. But San Fran already has a few established arms in the ‘pen, so a couple of guys will have to slip up before Hembree gets his shot.

  18. Bean says:
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    Long term……G. Blanco or Parra. Pagan looks much better but how much is Parra going to see with Kubel there?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Bean, I lean toward Parra — take the better player when looking long-term.

  19. Peter says:
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    I fail to see how stashing Bauer is wise since he is still pitching in AA. Granted he has potential, but what makes you think he will skip AAA and be called up this month? Or even this year?

    • Hawk says:
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      @Peter,

      Nothing is a given but when a top prospect minor leaguer posts a K/9 over 15 and there are weak starters in the back end of the major league rotation and they are playoff contenders….that’s worth a stash.

    • AdamH says:
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      @Peter, AAA is routinely skipped by top prospects.

      • Jay29 says:
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        @AdamH, Peter, it depends on your league size. If there are pitchers like Niese, Lilly, and Masterson on the waiver wire, then it’s probably not worth stashing. Also if you have a shallow bench. But in leagues where the free agent pitchers are guys like Saunders, Garcia, and Wolf, then it’s worth the stash. As AdamH said, it’s not uncommon for studs to skip AAA (which is often filled with more has-beens than future stars), and Bauer could be a stud second half pitcher.

        Thankfully, I just get to keep him in my Minors slot until he arrives. :-)

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