The Rangers have promoted two pitchers from their minor league ranks to fill openings in the big league rotation. Familiar fantasy face, Roy Oswalt, is one of the two. The other is 23-year-old Justin Grimm, who debuted last week and was rather effective. Grimm was having a nice campaign in Double-A — nothing eye-popping, but he was among the most efficient pitchers in the Texas League, which is surely why the Rangers are giving him a look. I’m not so sure he’s worth the same look in the fantasy game, however. He’s slotted to throw twice next week, so if you’re two-start streaming… whatever. But he’s hardly rosterable outside of AL-Only formats. What’s interesting to note here is that Grimm leaped over the Rangers’ top pitching prospect Martin Perez. Perez had been having a lousy year in the PCL, so it’s not necessarily surprising that Grimm was given the nod, but the move seems to have ignited Perez. He’s surrendered only two runs through his last two outings, one of those being a complete game (only 90 pitches, too). Featuring a plus fastball with sneaky velocity, a plus-plus change, and a sharp curve, Perez has frontline stuff. It’s hard to say how long the Rangers will have room for either Grimm or another arm, but if Perez continues this recent hot streak, I’m confident he’ll supplant Grimm. Should that scenario come to pass, add Perez in all formats.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jorge Soler | OF, Cubs | Born: 2/25/1992
On Monday, the Cubs finalized terms with Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler. The $30 million contract will span nine years, and on the front-end, it appears to be a fantastic deal for the Cubs. The long term nature of the signing puts zero pressure on Chicago to rush the 20-year-old to the bigs. They’ll be able to develop him gradually, to ease him into stateside baseball. After this signing, plus a nice take at last week’s draft, and then assuming the pieces they’ll fetch in trades for Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, the rebuilding efforts of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are clearer than ever. Were I a Cubs fan, I’d be giddy about the future. I’m not. No, I’m a Cardinals fan and I loathe the damn Cubs, so this all frightens me a bit. Nonetheless, here’s a little of what to expect from the Northsiders’ newest prospect:
Standing 6-3, 225, Soler profiles as a big, athletic corner outfielder. Plus arm strength makes right field his most likely destination, but he’ll spend time at all three outfield posts on his way through the minors. The real attraction here is the bat. Soler’s ability to hit for average is the most debated tool in his arsenal. Some think he’ll fare ok in that regard, and some think the whiffs will pile up and he’ll struggle. No one, however, denies his power potential. Soler possesses raw power, which many liken to that of Giancarlo Stanton. That sort of pop will play big in the fantasy game. The Cubs will be patient with him, though. They’ll keep him in Arizona for instructional ball for a good month before they send him to A-ball (probably Low-A Peoria). If everything goes as planned, Soler arrives at Wrigley sometime in 2014.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Billy Hamilton is the fastest player in the game. There’s really no disputing it, at this point. In his first 51 games at High-A, Hamilton has 60 steals. Over his last ten games, he’s been on a bit of a rampage, swiping 20 bags (!!!) and putting himself in position to surpass 100 steals before July. Now that’s just plain silly. Hamilton tallied 103 in a full season at Low-A Dayton in 2011, and people thought that was ridiculous. And while there’s no denying the truly remarkable nature of what he’s accomplishing this year, it’s important to keep in mind the other end of this equation: the opposing defenses. I absolutely believe that Hamilton is the fastest dude in baseball, at any level. That speed, however, is only being tested by A-Ball defenses. Pitchers are slower to the plate, catchers misfire to second, infielders are sloppy with tags. Watch any highlight reel of his, and you’ll see what I mean. Not to suggest that his wheels won’t translate as he climbs the ladder — he’ll be stealing plenty of bags when he arrives in the bigs with the Reds. But, don’t expect this kind of absurdity on the basepaths.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I don’t think I saw an organizational ranking all off-season that didn’t have the White Sox dead last. Not that they deserve to be ranked higher – the Sox simply refuse to spend big money in the draft, and their presence in the Latin markets has been lacking of recent. The first month of the 2012 baseball season, however, has brought a bit of good news to the Southsiders, as former top prospect Jared Mitchell has reemerged as an elite outfielder in Double-A. Mitchell, who had a rough go at High-A in 2011 after missing all of 2010 with an ankle injury, has posted a .962 OPS through 28 games with Birmingham. He’s gathered 13 XBH and 6 SB within 120 PA. Mitchell’s hot start is greatly encouraging for a system in need of a boost.Please, blog, may I have some more?