Every once in a while, I enjoy checking in on prospects that caused my red flag alarm to chirp. One of these prospects was Josh Vitters of the Chicago Cubs. In 2009, I wrote a Scouting the Unknown article that raised the war banners across the prospecting battlements. He ended that 2009 season on a positive note and followed up in 2010 like Delmon Young did his 2010 season in 2011. Vitters has rebounded nicely at age 21 in Double-A, currently hitting .285/.315/.455 (.297 BABIP) in 376 at-bats with 38 XBH (12 Hr) and 46:15 K:BB ratio. Allow myself to quote the StU article, “[free swinger] … walks less, or about the same as Delmon Young. Folks, that isn’t a compliment … K-rates are similar to Delmon Young too …Not to be a Debbie Downer or to have a Vitters Vendetta, but I don’t trust those peripherals.” Same concerns remain. As a free-swinging, hype driven prospect, his name has quickly become stale, especially when realizing he lacks professional hitting discipline even if his swing is exceptional.

Matt Moore | TB | LHP (SP): Just for schoolgirl giggles, here is Moore’s last two starts: 12 2/3 IP, 9 baserunners (2 BB), 2 ER, 20 Ks. Remember 2010’s rush for Strasburg? Rinse, wash and repeat for Moore, except the puns will only be worse.

Jacob Turner | DET | RHP (SP): Rumors of him replacing Brad Penny in the rotation. He’s not like Porcello, but more like Michael Pineda.

Henderson Alvarez | TOR | RHP (SP): Shortly – two days – after I stated he was getting passed over for a start, he gets called up to face the A’s. Pitched 5 2/3 IP with 3 ER, 9 baserunners (1 BB) and 4 K. I feel this would be his typical stat line give or take a few baserunners and a run or three.

Garrett Richards | LAA | RHP (SP): The Angels 7th ranked prospect was dominated by the Yankees lineup on Wednesday to the tune of 6 ER in 5 IP with 8 baserunners (2 BB) and 2 Ks. Up next, the Texas Rangers. I’d avoid his next start. His talent is mid-rotation starter or power reliever. Personally reminds me of a slightly better Scott Baker.

Ryan Lavarnway | BOS | C: Every good captain needs a rude awakening that he’s vulnerable. Jason Varitek’s happens to be a young chap by the name of Ryan Lavarnway. He has 29 home runs in 402 at-bats across two levels. Currently, he is hitting .320/.401/.634 in 194 at-bats with a .373 BABIP at Triple-A (International League). Luck-schmuck, he should still receive a September promotion with that production.

Stephen Strasburg | WAS | RHP (SP): Grey mentioned him in Friday’s Buy/Sell article. At this point, he’s not going to save your team. He might add a few solid starts to solidify your standing. Seems to me he’s rushing. Most TJ pitchers returning in their first year struggle with command. This would be his first year.

Adeiny Hechavarria | TOR | SS: The Blue Jays promoted him to Triple-A Las Vegas. Not that his .235/.275/.347 slash line at Double-A warranted the reward. Best asset is defense and speed (is 19 for 32 on steal attempts), the same can be said for Alcides Escobar. With Yunel Escobar holding the fort, the Jays shouldn’t be rushing this young Cuban prospect.

Yonder Alonso | CIN | 1B/LF: Rotoworld informed that the world that, “Reds manager Dusty Baker said it’s possible Yonder Alonso could be demoted to Triple-A Louisville in order to get some playing time at third base.” I swear Dusty hates young prospects. If he cannot be a Sweatshop Foreman and cause an arm to fall off, he demotes them to waste their talent(s). Bawh!

Kyle Gibson | MIN | RHP (SP): This was not the way to start my work week. The Twins top pitching prospect, and arguably the Twins best prospect, has a partial tear in ulnar collateral ligament.Read: Dr. Freeze will have a new patient in no time. With what happened to Liriano, maybe the Twins shouldn’t assume modern medicine went the way of the dodo bird. Save the future and just have Dr. James Andrews perform TJ surgery. His June and July months have been razztastic (5.17 ERA in June and 13 ER in July over two starts). It’s possible the injury has been bothering him for a while. Here’s to crossing fingers and playing voodoo with GM Bill Smith’s intelligence.

Yasmani Grandal | CIN | C: Before Devin Mesoraco went all Mario on the koopa troopas in 2010, Grandal would have been the Reds top catching prospect when he was drafted in June 2010 – still is the better defender. Nevertheless, Mesoraco’s bat returned from a scurvy ravaged voyage across the Florida State League (2010 season) to steal his title. To further put a damper on Grandal’s season he has been placed on the DL due to a concussion suffered from a foul-tip off his mask. He was slashing .291/.386/.487 in 407 plate-appearances with 14 homers and 60 RBI. I see a Texas Rangers catching situation occurring in 2012. No, I am not saying Mesoraco and Grandal will struggle in the majors. I am saying that one can never have too many catching prospects. You never know if one will actually pan out.

Robbie Erlin | SD | LHP (SP): He’s one (new) Padres pitching prospect that I would love to own in the future. Check this out: 138:13 K:BB ratio in 133 1/3 innings at 20 years of age. Could easily become the present version of Cliff Lee.

  1. yankees2011 says:

    Thanks for the continuously solid information concerning rookies and the Minors.

    I am in a 12 Team H2H Keeper League where we can keep 2 Players with their rounds maxing out at 11 and 12. I have been holding Strasburg on my DL assuming (hoping) he will be a good keeper even with our rules. Any chance Matt Moore would also be one? I have Desmond Jennings who would probably be my other one.

    Thanks much Stephen.

  2. Scott says:

    Would you trade Dee Gordon for James McDonald?

  3. Pops says:

    Would Jacob Turner be a no – brainer pickup in deep leagues if he replaces Penny?

  4. JD Hassett

    JD says:

    Long time Twins fan. Not sure why they would not have Gibson have the TJ surgery and get it over with. Gibson fell in the draft because of forearm problems. There was mention at the time that some teams thought he would have elbow problems. This is not going to just go away with rest.

  5. Stephen

    Stephen says:

    @yankees2011: Moore is a strong hold, but may not be up until June.

    @Scott: No.

    @Pops: Yes.

    @JD: Concur.

  6. Scott says:

    Sweet I actually phrased it wrong. I’m trading McDonald for Gordon so seems good. Dynasty league

  7. Scott says:

    Or should I do Putz for Gordon?

  8. Phil says:

    Any chance Jarrod Parker or Trevor Bauer are called up, as Jason Marquis looks like hes out for a while

  9. Phil says:

    PS is Erlin > Casey Kelly? Who’d you rather have in a keeper league?

  10. thorbs says:

    Hey Stephen,

    Not sure if you check messages on your articles, but I wanted to get your thoughts on Josh Bell. I just dropped Matt Dominguez for him and have the following minor league roster ATM…I also have a high waiver priority so could snag back Dominguez, but I’m thinking Dominguez will be one of those league-average bats with plus-plus defence, which isn’t great for fantasy:

    Brandon Belt
    Nolan Arenado
    Leonys Martin
    Yasmani Grandal
    Josh Bell
    Simon Castro

    Part of me thinks I should have dropped Castro, but if he sorts his mechanics out and is pitching in Petco by 2013 he could do real, real well.


  11. Stephen

    Stephen says:

    @Phil: Sorry for the delay. I would think Trevor Bauer might be. Parker, probably not.

    @Phil: I’d personally take Erlin over Kelly.

    @Thorbs: Josh Bell has too many strikeouts. I Dominguez has the ability to be a Jeff Cirillo. Bell looks like a poormans Mark Reynolds.

  12. thorbs says:

    Sorry, wasn’t clear — not Josh Bell, the Orioles 3B, but Josh Bell, the HS outfielder drafted by the Pirates. Does that change your thinking at all?

  13. Stephen

    Stephen says:

    @thorbs: Definitely makes a difference. However, I don’t know enough about Josh Bell (OF) to make a fair analysis.

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