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(Note from Grey:  Stephen, who you may recognize from his comments, will be doing a weekly feature about fantasy baseball prospects down on the farm.  Enjoy…)

Neftali Feliz – Texas Rangers – SP at AAA

The hidden gem in the Teixeira summer rental/trade from the Atlanta Braves back in 2007 (Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Salty, Beau Jones, and Feliz for Teixeira and Ron Mahey) is starting to live up to his silent hype (pretty sure that trade is textbook fleecing).  Ranked by Baseball America as the 10th top prospect in the minors and the top prospect in the Rangers system is the quietest arm in the minors.  That is pretty impressive with the high talent depth of the Rangers farm.  Everyone talks about Hanson and Price, but where does Feliz fall then?  There must be reason that the pitching starved Rangers haven’t called him up yet.

Feliz may be happy, but his manager must swear he’s bi-polar watching this mighty fine talent.  Despite his lack of control (4.2 BB/9 career minor league), the eye popping K-rate (11 K/9 career) makes anyone drool.   This season the K-rate is 9.4K/9, but the walks have raised to 5.3BB/9.  It is the walks that are killing his rise to the big show.   Price is sitting at 9.2k/9 but has been walking 4 batters per.  Hanson has a 12k/9  and a 2.5BB/9 to his name.  But what Feliz has going for him is he has only allowed 6 homers in 229 innings.  Even more impressive is he has only allowed one, yes 1, this year and he is pitching in the PCL league.  For those who do not know the PCL, or the Pacific Coast League, its like the homerun derby for top hitting prospects.  However, Tim Lincecum earned a 14K/9 back in 2007.

Having recently turn 21, Feliz has plenty of time to improve his control, but how long does Texas allow their prized pitcher stay in AAA?  More like, are the Rangers for real this year?  Sitting atop the West, Texas might rush Feliz to the bigs sometime in the near future.  No pitcher is safe to stay healthy… ever!  Plus, Arlington destroys pitchers, though if he can keep that homerun ratio the same and cut his walks he may thrive sooner rather than latter.  But buyers beware.  I would not use a waiver priority on Feliz unless you have had your Pepcid AC for the day. Or if your WHIP is, well, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates – OF at AAA

Seems that McCutchen was pushed to the gutter once Nyjer Morgan started raking to start the season.  Just three months ago during spring training the hot debate was Morgan, Steven Pearce or McCutchen going to make the team.  While, we all know how that has turned out.  Pearce seems destined to stay in the minors until there is a 1B job or an abundance of injuries and McCutchen is befuddled that Craig Monroe and Delwyn Young continue to tromp their ineptitude out to center-field.

As the 33rd ranked prospect according to Baseball America, and the 2nd ranked prospect in the Pirate’s farm Andrew is proving to be adept at his job.  Drafted in the first round back in 2005 straight out of high school, he has never spent more than one full season at each level.  Bred for speed, his thieving skills is his strength but also his bane.  Having stolen 34 bases last year he was caught 19 times.  This year’s ratio is exponentially better having succeeded in 9 of his 10 chances.  He isn’t much of a power hitter and his .190 ISO is misleading because of his 8 triples.  Last year he hit 9 HR in 512 AB.  He doesn’t strike out much (10% K-rate) and walks near the same (8.1% BB-rate), but doesn’t provide much fantasy upside.  That’s like a Crawford-lite, or a Pierre-esque upside for fantasy owners.

The Pirates have a tremendous talent in McCutchen because of his stellar defense and PED-enhanced Juan Pierre-esque hitting and running abilities.  As a fantasy owner he is on my radar only for the potential steals and runs.  I only envision seeing his call up when the brass decide that Monroe and Young are done – so, after the All-Star break.

From Around The Web

  1. ETmcgee says:
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    jake fox called up for the cubbies, any thoughts on his potential impact??

  2. get figgy with it says:
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    won’t get much PT

  3. MikeE says:
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    Given your negative outlook on Vlad, should I keep him or Cameron on a team that has lots of OF depth, but no bench spots (I also have Beltran, Crawford and Ibanez)? Also, is there any chance I could get Cano for him and Felipe Lopez?

  4. brad says:
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    @MikeE: offer it, it depends on the owner, but I could see someone thinking that’s a great buy low on Vlad.

  5. nmdunkel says:
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    Steve, baby….you cribbing the obvs from ‘ESPN Insider’ here? How ’bout Kyle Drabek (relation to Doug? Or his mad-dog mullet?) Or Brian Matusz? Or Madison Bumgarner?

  6. Stephen says:
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    @nmdunkel: I actually don’t read ESPN Insider and would never pay for something from ESPN. I wanted the first article to a bit more obvious. Madison Bumgarner was, and still is on the docket for next week. I will keep the hitter under wraps.

    @ETmcgee: Something resembling Jesus Guzman situation. It depends if the Cubs are willing to actually play him.

    @MikeE: I like Cano a lot and I don’t see Vlad returning to the same level, but I would try to package with another player besides Lopez.

  7. nmdunkel says:
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    @ Stephen

    Just bustin’ those balls a bit. Good article, btw. The peripheral info about Neftali’s HR rate in the PCL was something I didn’t know and was very glad you dug up. Still pissed we let him go for a Tex-aco rental (’cause he’s expensive and everyone had to have him). Looking forward to the Mad-Bum article (hey, not a shot! I swear!)

  8. cws05nuts says:
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    Nice post Steve. Maybe too many Monroe jerseys are selling.

  9. Stephen says:
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    @nmdunkel: I might be using Mad-Bum nickname for it too. I was surprised by those homer rates too actually. I wish I could have found out the ground ball to flyout ratio though. However, I am poor and frugal and haven’t paid for any of my information. Keep bust balls, it makes people stay on their toes and have their own snappy comebacks.

    @cws05nuts: That and arbitration seems to push a lot of prospects further away.

  10. SP says:
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    Start Holland tonight?

  11. JR says:
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    Any love for Porcello here? This guy’s been golden for me thus far…

  12. Stephen says:
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    @JR: The love will be for those who are not in the majors yet who aren’t hyped by everyone and their mom.

    @SP: I am skeptical. Millwood got rocked and I don’t see Holland dominating the Yanks.

  13. Maximus says:
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    Good post. I love hearing about the prospects! I would love to hear what your outlook is on some guys like Moustakas, Vitters and Eric Hosmer (the 18yo phenom that has been struggling in pro ball).

  14. Good stuff, Stephen. Can’t stress how important paying attention to AA/AAA is for single league formats. My NL-only expert league team (http://games.espn.go.com/flb/standings?leagueId=180606) has McCutchen stashed and I picked up Guzman and Fox on the cheap before they got called up (and, in Guzman’s case, sent down).

    No way to know if any of these guys pan out but it’s the only real way to acquire an impact hitter…

  15. JR says:
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    @Stephen: Sorry. Wrong thread. That was a general comment to the peanut gallery.

  16. Tony B. says:
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    Drop Cuddyer for Reimold? Is this a case of dropping what you know you’re getting in Cuddyer for big upside in Reimold?

  17. Chomp says:
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    Hey Steve, thanks for your insights. I’m in a super deep 16-team league with 2 minor-league roster spots so most of the top-notch prospects are already owned. Here are some interest-piquing numbers from lower-radar and unowned minor league peeps I’ve been sweating. Any quick thoughts on call-up prognosis or long-term potential?

    Hitters:
    Jordan Brown (OF, 1B/BAL) 141 ABs in 40 G, .362 AVG, 1.025 OPS, 7 HRs, 16 KOs, 25 RBI. Also note, murdering lefties to the tune of .452

    Hector Luna (SS/LA) 137 ABs in 39 G, .372 AVG, 1.103 OPS, 9 HRs, 19 KOs, 92 TB, 13 BB

    Brandon Wood (3B/ANA) 103 ABs in 27 G, .320 AVG, 1.076 OPS, 10 HR, 23 KOs. 1 SB/1 CS

    Oscar Salazar (2B, 3B/BAL) 163 AB in 42 G, .380 AVG, 1.056 OPS, 103 TB, 8 HRs, 21 KOs

    Fernando Martinez (CF/NYM) 165 AB in 42 G, .291 AVG, .337 SLG, .889 OPS, .337 OBP, 2 SB/1 CS, 91 TB, 8 HR, 2 3B, 15 2B, 31 KOs

    Pitchers:
    David Hernandez (BAL) 2.91 ERA in 8 GS, 60/13 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP in 43.1 IP – Just called up

    Carlos Torres (CHW) 7 GS, 1.85 ERA, 43/15 K/BB in 39.0 IP, 1.10 WHIP

    Casey Fossum (NYM) 1.69 ERA in 8 GS, 37.1 IP, 1.04 WHIP, 36/12 K/BB

    Eddie Bonine (DET) 2.61 ERA, 6 GS, 38.0 IP, 0.89 WHIP, 19/7 K/BB

    Matt Maloney (CIN) 7 GS, 2.64 ERA, 38/6 K/BB; 44.1 IP, 1.13 WHIP

    AA SPs worth mentioning: Charles Lofgren (CLE), Brad Lincoln (PIT), Jake Arrieta (BAL), Troy Patton (BAL)

    I had Bowden and Swarzak. When Swarzak got the call, I picked up Torres.

  18. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Tony B.: I just dropped Span for Reimold in one league. I believe!

  19. jollie fingers says:
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    Please write a post about the epic collapse in Toronto. AS only you can.

  20. Stephen says:
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    @Chomp: I will have to look into that. I have just recently been hounding the minors, and only recognize a few of those players. However, the intent will be leaning more towards AAA and blue chip AA players.

    Brandon Wood has been getting the shaft though. He should be providing those wiffs and homers for the Major leagues.

    Martinez just got the call up and I guess we’ll see what he can do now.

    Swarzak just started pitching like top prospect once he reached AAA. He wasn’t very successful in AA. Lead writer over at Rotoworld for fantasy baseball news is a hard core Twins fan and wrote a wonderful article about him a week or so ago here:

    http://www.aarongleeman.com/ on the 21st of May and

    http://www.aarongleeman.com/2009_02_15_baseballblog_archive.html#7820767755278927462

    @jollie fingers: I don’t think that is directed at me… or is it?

  21. would you deal TULO for Mark Reynolds?

    a guy needs a SS in my league, wondering if he might buy? and am i getting out right before TULO goes off? He was hot 2nd half last year…

    all i know is this guy was the guy that when i drafted TULO this year he goes “FOCCCKKKKKKKK”

  22. Tony B. says:
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    @IowaCubs: Okay, okay, if you had to drop one for Reimold, who would it be

    Cuddyer or Swisher?

  23. Stephen says:
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    @Tony Y: I would definitely do that.

    @Tony B.: I konw I am not IowaCubs, but Swisher.

  24. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    bruce number 2 tonight,any sunofabenchers out there?

  25. Stephen says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: Yup, Riemold… sonofabench

  26. johnson21 says:
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    Reimold…. drop Gamel to get him?

  27. Stephen says:
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    @johnson21: Reimold has been relatively hot of late, but neither are promised PT. I like Reimold right now as he is playing for the O’s and they have nothing to lose playing him right now.

  28. nick m. says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: yep, bruce is on my bench with those two bombs – it is about the only thing he is hitting these days and i just can’t bring myself to slot him in over holliday, granderson, or markakis.

  29. Pops says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: I took Bruce out of my lineup just before game time. What an IDIOT! I also had Crush Davis on my bench last night. Two nights, four homers. I hate myself.
    Sonovabench!!!!

  30. Infamous says:
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    Nelson Cruz and Ian Stewart for David Wright?

  31. Stephen says:
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    @Infamous: Cruz is a streaky hitter and Ian Stewart is much the same. If you are on the receiving end of that deal I would do it. Otherwise I would nix that asap.

  32. RogerDorn says:
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    how much would you give up to get jose reyes in a keeper league??

    i offered the guy jay bay, lind, garza, jurrgens, valverde

    for

    adamjones, reyes, capps

    i dont care about jones anymore…but if i offered him jaybay, what else should i offer to be fair????

  33. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @nick m.: @Pops: I did the same damn thing.

    Right now I’ve got Dye, Holliday, Pierre, Bruce and Votto to fill 3 OF slots and 1 Util. I benched Votto the other day, and he went yard twice. Tonight I benched Bruce, and he does the same. Thing is, Holliday, Dye and Pierre are all hitting as well.

    grumblegrumblegrumble

  34. BKK says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: So I pulled a Baron and up’ed you one. I am 3B’man-less. There is no one on the wire worth picking up, I am tired of Bonafacio’s 0-5 nights. So, I dropped him for Nelson. I feel better now. Peralta should be 3B eligible shortly and all will be good again until A-Ram returns.

  35. Infamous says:
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    Aaron Hill for Matt Holliday? Or do you think he was really just a product of Coors.

  36. Stephen says:
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    @Infamous: SO far this season…. Hill, but for the whole year Holliday

  37. Infamous says:
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    @stephen: I have Cano as my 2b and Hill at a Util spot( I picked him up off waivers). This is also a keeper league so which side do you think wins.

  38. James says:
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    Nolasco in AAA vs. the Vegas 51s – 8 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, and 7 K. Solid, but I expected more from him against a AAA team. Apparently, the last two runs were scored on what could have been a blooper with two outs. I am not sure, but from the scoreboard, it sounded like that was the case. I assume they will give him one more go before recalling him.

    I was hoping for a very strong start, which would have given me reason to believe his poor start was truly bad luck (his LD% was so high that the bad luck stuff isn’t flying with me). This start gives me some confidence in him, but not enough to pick him up right now. What do you guys think?

  39. Stephen says:
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    @Infamous: I think Holliday pays off in the long term. If you are looking to get rid of Hill, you might try to pawn him off for something more of a sure thing though.

  40. Stephen says:
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    @James: Well, I think Grey and Rudy placed him with a red flag telling everyone to keep away from him like the plague… or maybe that was just me. I don’t really like any Marlins pitchers and I have Josh Johnson and Leo Nunez and wish I could trade the latter. I would hold Nolasco if you think he will come back a different man or trade him to one that thinks that.

  41. Infamous says:
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    @Stephen- Thanks for the replies. What do you think I should expect in return. Would Mclouth be a good trade, His owner is in desperate need for a 2b and he said hes interested in Hill. Or can I can get better.

  42. James says:
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    @Stephen: I mentioned picking him up off the wire (I don’t own him). Plus, his velocity is fine, which would indicate he isn’t hurt.

  43. Stephen says:
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    @Infamous: Hill is the youngest of this trio we’re talking about… McLouth will continue to have similar years like last year but not much if any better. Holliday is the oldest but is the largest question mark. … Who does this owner have. It is hard to tell you who to target it if there isn’t enough info.

  44. Stephen says:
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    @James: Who are you dropping for him? If he can pull it together he is a decent pitcher.

  45. Stephen says:
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    @James: I just looked at his stats again – if he could increase his deathly strand rate and cut back on those homers then I would think about it. Sometimes letting someone else take the risk is better.

  46. Billy says:
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    @James: i picked up Ricky today, low risk high reward…

  47. RogerDorn says:
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    grey,
    can you order these scraps for me? lol

    blackburn, marshall, pelfrey, rickyromero, carmona, holland

    thanks

  48. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @RogerDorn: Marshall, Holland, Romero, Blackburn, Pelfrey….

    Oh, and in the future, please ask questions to me in a post I’ve written, preferably the latest one. Just hard to follow old comment threads. Thanks!

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