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Neil Ramirez | RHP (SP) | Texas Rangers | D.o.B: 5/25/89 | 6’3″ | 185 lbs | B/T: R/R | 1st rd, supplemental, 2007 | TEX #27 ranked prospect per Baseball America 2011 | MiLB Player Page

Ramirez has been quite the story this year. He started the year at High-A. After just one start, the Rangers promoted him to Triple-A where he has dominated hitters with his 92 to 95 MPH fastball, overhand power curveball that rates as a plus pitch, and an average changeup offering. Mechanically, he’s a “short-armer” who has worked to lengthen his arm action, improve his command and to repeat his delivery. He has taken a long time to develop, but John Sickels stated in his 2011 handbook, “He’s a pitcher on the verge of a breakout.” If Ramirez is able to sustain consistency in his delivery and form command of his pitches, he has a chance to remain a starter. Projects as a mid-rotation starter or power bullpen arm.

Career Stats (inc. 2011): 9.3 K/9 | 3.8 BB/9 |298 2/3 IP | 4.07 ERA | 1.34 WHIP | .9 Hr/9 | 8.2 H/9
2011 Stats (AAA): 10.0 K/9 | 3.9 BB/9 | 43 1/3 IP | 3.74 ERA | 3.04 FIP | 1.32 WHIP | .4 Hr/9 | 7.9 H/9 | .319 BABIP

I’ve always been a sucker for high-strikeout pitchers, especially for fantasy baseball. His track record suggest some modest optimism restraint. Looking at his minor statistics, he compares favorably to Carlos Marmol and his pitch selection compares to Joe Nathan. Ideally, Ramirez would stay in the rotation, but Neftali Feliz should be starting. On pure stuff, he could sufficiently replace Feliz. The restraint is based in his walks and future role. Statistically, he could have value similar to the likes of Craig Kimbrel, Feliz and Marmol if given a bullpen spot, and Marmol and Kimbrel have had good success while being wild, but that doesn’t always mean Ramirez is a guarantee. I like his darkhorse fantasy option in a late summer call-up.

Tim Wheeler | RF | Colorado Rockies | D.o.B: 1/21/88 | 6’4″ | 200 lbs | B/T: L/R | 1st rd, 2009 | COL #21 ranked prospect per Baseball America 2011 | MiLB Player Page

Wheeler was the Rockies first round draft pick in 2009. He is working on changing his pure pull hitting approach to utilize the full field. He has struggled in his young career to recognize breaking pitches, especially from lefties. Furthermore, he has always struggled to hit lefties. Tends to be a streaky hitter. Defensively, he is very athletic, able to play center field with plus-speed and a solid-average arm, which would translate well in right field. He is a smart base runner and should continue to steal bases as he progresses in the minors. His bat needs to improve significantly if he wants to be more than a platoon player or a fourth outfielder with stellar defensive capabilities.

Career Stats (inc. 2011): .267/.352/.434 | 974 AB | 89 XBH | 31 Hr | .167 ISO | 41/18 SB/CS | 219:113 K:BB
2011 Stats (AA): .330/.412/.644 | 191 AB | 29 XBH | 14 Hr | .314 ISO | 9/6 SB/CS | 45:25 K:BB | .362 BABIP

Every time I turn around, the Rockies seem to have another outfield prospect worth mentioning. Wheeler has struggled in his first two professional seasons. Even during 2009 and 2010, Wheeler had solid walk rates (~9.7%) and moderate strikeouts rates (~22%). It was that he wasn’t really driving the ball, or hitting lefties. Currently, he’s sporting a .254/.346/.448 slash line in 67 at-bats against southpaws. It appears that the new hitting approach – utilizing the whole field – is paying off early dividends this year. He’s still struggling against lefties, but not nearly as much. With a similar walk rate (10.8%) and strikeout rate (22.4%), he has increased his ISO over 2.5 times. Tulsa (the Rockies Double-A Affiliate) does hold a slight reputation for a hitters park, but not California League hitters park. Wheeler’s success is buttressed by a moderately high luck factor (.362 BABIP) – never had a BABIP higher than .310 in career. The steals are not coming as effortlessly. Nevertheless, Wheeler has 20/30 potential if he can keep developing his hitting approach, and learn to hit lefties. Otherwise, think 15/20 over a full year, or 375 at-bats as a ceiling for a fourth outfielder. Then again, this is Colorado, we could err on the side of optimism.

From Around The Web

  1. BlinkULDHC says:
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    I totally get Granderson being the Fantasy MVP so far, but J. Bautista deserves some recognition. Yeah, it’s not exactly out on a limb as an inspired choice, since Bautista’s ADP/$ was far higher than Grandy….

    But given the abysmal 3B crop this year, Bautista is really carrying fantasy teams (if he’s played at 3B). Just look at the 3B class: Longo, Wright, Zimmerman, Sandoval, Freese, have all been DL’d at one point. Youkilis and Beltre have produced runs, but are hitting .250. Reynolds, P. Alvarez, McGehee, Aramis have destroyed seasons. Bautista has far and away been the most productive hitter, and he’s doing it at a historically thin position that has been even thinner in ’11.

    .363, 20 HRs, 45 R, and even 5 SB is great in any season at any position, but this year at 3B? it’s MVP material (so far).

    And if we’re just looking at best pure fantasy season overall, I think Braun and Kemp have good cases as well.

  2. BlinkULDHC says:
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    Also, what’s going on with Alex Rios this year? Is it injury, mechanics, age….?

    I did a bad thing.

    I traded M. Pineda for Rios straight up, thinking that Pineda will be capped (not by a gatt) in Sept., and hoping that Rios can go back to his .280, 22HR, 30SB pace.

    Rios has to heat up eventually, right? I’m in a H2H league, and if I kept Pineda….if/when Pineda gets shutdown in September during fantasy playoffs, I’m going to look up Latin curse words and shout them like I’m Glorida Pritchett.

    Hopefully I reverse-jinx’d the trade by posting it here, like I did a month ago (5/4) trading CJ Wilson, Lance Berkman and JSanchez for Latos and J. Bruce (Bruce: .350-11-30 in 24 games; Berkman .241-2-8 over the same span) — I got skewered for that trade, and I’m sure I’ll get the same feedback for Pineda-for-Rios.

  3. kcmp says:
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    How legit is Eric Hosmer? His 162-game pace is .283, 35 HRs, 120 RBI, 14 SB. Obviously his stats will come down once pitchers have more info on him, but I think he’s a good bet for .285, 25-28 HRs, 90-100 RBI, 12 SBs next season.

    Any guesses as to his auction value next year? I can see him getting $15-20 in the standard 23-spot, $260 12-team league.

  4. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @BlinkULDHC: re:Fantasy MVP: You’re points are well taken.

    @kcmp: re:Hosmer: I would expect more a .270, 20 to 25 hr with 85 to 90 RBI with 7-9 steals. I’m a conservative projector. Value next year will be hype driven. I’d say $19-22.

  5. aconstipatedmonkey says:
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    What’s up with this Josh Harrison guy? Seems to be hitting well in his first few games, and no K’s. I’m looking at him in a few deep leagues. What do you know about him Stephen?

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