This week’s StU is looking at Bill Bavasi and laughing at his face, and wondering if Chris Davis can manage to reach enough ABs to destroy Mark Reynolds strikeout record or if Mister Smoak can push Davis into the abyss and let Reynolds hold his title.

Chris Tillman – SP – Baltimore Orioles – DOB 4/15/1988 – 6′ 5” – 195 lbs – Throws Right

Acquired in the fleecing of former Seattle Mariners GM Bill Bavasi for Eric Bedard, Tillman seemed to be an afterthought. I am still trying to comprehend that trade, let alone giving up two top prospects (Adam Jones and Tillman), a decent reliever and two fillers for a starting pitcher just after he finished having a career year. Praise Jesus/Allah/any deity of your choice, that Mr. Bavasi is gone. Nevertheless, the Orioles are soaking in some young talent. They have the top prospect, according to the majority of sources, in Wieters, a young stud budding in Markakis and aging veterans like Roberts, Mora, Huff, and Sherrill. What they lack is a major league worthy rotation. With Tillman and his partner in crime Brian Matusz (who was just drafted in 2008 and is supposed to make it to the majors within the next couple of years), the rotation may be fixed from within.

I am not going to say that the Orioles have a chance at contending in that division because Chris Tillman may be more hype than reality (plus, the Yankees and Red Sox won’t let it happen). Remember Daniel Cabrera? I sure do. Remember the hype? The 100 mph fastball? The lack of control? Tillman may not have a 100 mph fastball, but he does have a 91-95 mph fastball with some late movement, but its his curve that the scouts drool over. He throws the curve in the mid 70’s and it’s his strikeout pitch. However, he lacks a reliable change-up and consistent control and this is why he isn’t major league ready. This year, his numbers are better and I am assuming he has been consistently working on that change-up, and with the Orioles going nowhere and needing pitching, we may have to wait to see his game until September. Nevertheless, here is what he has done the last 3 years since A ball:

’07 [A] 33 IP, .27 (1) HR/9, 3.55 BB/9, 9.27 K/9, 3.55 ERA [2.81 FIP], 1.27 WHIP, .337 BABIP, 55.1 LOB%
’07 [A+] 102 2/3, 1.05 (12), 4.21, 9.2, 5.26 [4.43] 1.51, .340, 58.6
’08 [AA] 135 2/3, .66 (10), 4.31, 10.22, 3.18 [3.41], 1.33, .315, 77.1
’09 [AAA] 60, .6 (4), 2.70, 10.05, 2.55 [2.78], 1.17, .320, 71.9 ranks players attributes on a scale of 0 to 100 such as power, patiences, k-rate, control, etc, and his ratings are:

Control: 26 (as compared to Mad-Bum and Alderson’s 100 and 97)
K-Rating: 98 (Mad-Bum and Alderson: 98 and 84)
Efficiency: 47 (Mad-Bum and Alderson: 100 and 100)

Those are a ton of numbers, but hang in there. As the Cube states, the strikeouts are there and the control is the issue. The last three years proves that with the numbers. Other than this year, his lowest BB/9 has been an even 4. That is a little scary, only for the fact that Daniel Cabrera had similar minor league numbers. I am not saying that he is the reincarnation of Cabrera, but that is a possibility, unless he harnesses his control. Also, BABIP has been unfriendly to him, which makes me think that having a better defense behind him might help us see some better peripheral numbers. But the key operative word here is might, and that is a awfully large might!

He is ranked higher than Tommy Hanson, but rankings are frivolous if the results beg to differ. After doing the research, I am holding a lot of reservations for this lanky kid. He may have good mechanics, a plus curve, great mound presence, but this year’s control seems to be the outlier. How many players reach AAA and cut their walks in half? Few.

He may not reach the majors and be a #1 starter, but definitely a middle of the rotation because he limits the homers, has a stellar k-rate, and the mechanics to have moderate success. Picture the success Kevin Slowey has had in the majors with the control of a rookie Lincecum. That is essentially what Tillman is as of now. That isn’t anything to be embarrassed over, but the hype surrounding Tillman may not be as warranted. In fantasy leagues this year, I would hold off and let the rookie nookie suckers bite.

Justin Smoak – 1B – Texas Rangers – DOB 12/5/1986 – 6′ 3″ – 200 lbs – Bats/Throws: Switch/Left

Imagine this, up to bat is catcher Matt Wieters and on deck is Justin Smoak. These two guys were just teammates during high school. Maybe there’s something in the water…?

Playing for his hometown college, South Carolina, Smoak rose in their all-time home run hitter list to second by hitting 62 with only Rafael Palmeiro ahead of him. That is some nice company, even with the steroid hoopla. In 739 ABs in college, Smoak produced a line of .334/.449/.658. Those are stellar numbers. Calling him country strong would seem a bit presumptuous and lacking creativity, how about Sumac strong (That’s tree strong. Lame yes, even if I am making a play on his name which isn’t even pronounced like Sumac)? You may want to object and claim that they use metal bats, but he played in some games in the Cape Cod league during the summer and had mild success. Even more, the scouts are claiming that the swing is legit and so is the power.

The Cube gives him these ratings:
Power: 99
Speed: 1
Contact: 80
Patience: 98

His swing is praiseworthy, and several sites back up claims on his stellar swing. One amateur scout for the Rangers said that he has a great swing because his hands move together with his body producing a short, solid swing with few holes (his plate coverage is great). His hips and hands rotate simultaneously which is where all that power comes from. So the swing is legit, the power is there, he walks (and runs) like he’s at a retirement center and strikes out like your average power hitter (151 BB to 107 K’s in college).

The only downside is his fielding as he is quite the klutz, or more just a roaming troll. He’s at best an average fielder (and that may be stretching it), and his sloth like speed restricts his range. Nothing the great ole DH can fix. Speaking of DH, have you seen the one man wrecking crew, I mean the one man migraine inducing player named Chris Davis? Smoak may get his spot… but then again, I hear the Rangers want Davis to break Mark Reynolds’s strikeout record (*sarcasm).

On a serious note, Smoak really only has about 200 minor league AB under his belt. So most stats are just there for looking at and not seriously analyzed because the sample size is too small. However, if his college numbers translate, we may have a similar player to Mark Teixeira who is projected to hit 35-40 homers a year with decent average. A few scouts claim he may have reached his potential and is a player who is a “get what you see” kind of player. Nevertheless, I would love to have a player who can hit 35-40 homers and not destroy my team.

He may get a look at this year with Chris Davis struggling mightily. However, I think Peter Gammons hype and talk about Smoak reaching the majors and thriving latter this year is a bit optimistic, it may be a reality in September. Why make a player of this caliber arbitration eligible earlier than you have to? Fantasy wise, he is a dark horse for ROY in 2010.

  1. RIP Harry says:

    Lindstrom to DL, pick up Nunez?

  2. Stephen says:

    @RIP Harry: Nunez just hurt his his right ankle. It might be Dan Myers if Nunez is seriously hurt. Otherwise, Nunuz is your add.

  3. Hardcore Midget says:

    Isn’t Meyer the LOOGY for the Marlins? I was assuming Nunez is next in line.

  4. JR says:

    I thought Smoak was supposed to be a pretty good first baseman. BP calls his defense “outstanding.”

  5. Stephen says:

    @zk: I missed the E, and I didn’t realize it until after I posted the comment.

    @JR: He fields well, but he doesn’t have great range. I don’t think he will be earning any Gold Gloves. He should be adequate, but nothing spectacular. I didn’t find much about any “outstanding” defense though.

  6. zk says:

    @Stephen: Didn’t mean to be a jerk. I actually like it—reminds me of where I grew up.

  7. Stephen says:

    @JR: I found he has good hands, and is good around first base (no sexual puns intended). I am not thinking that would be outstanding defense though?

  8. Stephen says:

    @zk: You weren’t being a jerk, just observant. Where did you go up?

  9. JR says:

    @Stephen: Minor league slot in a keeper league: Maybin or Smoak?

  10. zk says:

    Good Hands and Good Around First Base is actually part of what Eric Karabell looks for in a sleeper. The best closers have soft hands. Er, wide receivers.

  11. zk says:

    @Stephen: In Meijer country. Just outside of Chicago. By just outside I mean a solid 45-minute drive. I go’d up there. Joke.

  12. Stephen says:

    @JR: Depends on what you want – Power or 5 tools? I haven’t looked enough at Maybin, but Smoak might be something like Mark Teixeira, Maybin could be like Upton now… Just matters what else you are going to be keeping.

  13. Smoak is an excellent defensive first baseman.

    @JR: Smoak. He will be an absolute stud.

    His only downside obviously is his speed.

    Expect a bunch of homers, .300+ average and a ton of walks.

    @Stephen: Nunez will get the first chance, but not tonight. He rolled his ankle, nothing serious, but he isn’t available tonight.

  14. so is it meyer/myers or is it NUNEZ?

    i grabbed DAN M early today on pure speculation…. lucky me, we’ll see… last time i picked up the “next guy in line” he got me a win, then a loss, then finally a save…. (frasor)

  15. Stephen says:

    Nunez is the closer. Meyers may get it tonight if the Marlins are in line for a save.

    @SaltyBiscuits: Have you seen him play 1B? I struggled to find any information on his defense.

  16. play bruce tonight vs. RHP RICHMOND?

    It means I have to bench kemp, choo, eithier, rivera, TULO, or Votto….

    3 OF spots, 3 utility spots…. I can’t bench any of those guys over a guy that hits .216!? LOL

    Bruce is irritating.

  17. Stephen says:

    @Tony Y: Maybe for Rivera. If you have Bruce, you almost have to commit, or you’ll be sonovabenching

  18. Joel says:

    lindstrom to the disgraceful list.. good riddance. I picked up Leo Nunez, hoping he steals the job permanently, so I can dump that ratio killing bum.

  19. @Stephen: OH i sonovabench all the time on bruce…. he’s got what 17 homers? I probably have gotten credit in my H2H league for about 7 of them, LOL

    EFFF’ing bruce….

  20. Stephen says:

    @Joel: I’ve had Nunez all season hoping that the Marlins manager would dump Lindstrom into oblivion, oh about 2 months ago!!!

  21. Stephen says:

    Some good news on the Prospects front, even if Homer Bailey has flamed out a few times already (from Rotoworld):

    In light of Edinson Volquz’s MRI revealing elbow inflammation, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay expects Triple-A Louisville’s Homer Bailey to start Saturday in Cleveland.

    Bailey has bombed in 18 career major league starts, but fantasy owners should consider taking him for a spin this weekend. He’s been lights out with a 0.47 ERA and 38/7 K/BB at Louisville since developing a nasty split-fingered fastball just over a month ago. Bailey has also been closing out games at 96-97 mph and drawing praise from Bats manager Rick Sweet, who says he’s never seen the 23-year-old throw better.

  22. paulzone says:

    i need to part with a 2b…who would you rather have for the rest of the year…

    hill or cano

    ps. if it matters to you, i two other yanks – posada and gardner filling in for ibanez (SAGNOF)

  23. youngcapitalist says:

    I just received an offer where I give Mauer and C. Buchholz (non-keeper league) and I get Jose Reyes, Aramis Ramirez, and Matt Thornton. I feel like Reyes is a gamble but I also have no real investment in Buchholz and it doesn’t appear he’ll make it up this year with all of Boston’s depth. So, which side would you want?

  24. Eric C. says:

    I trade Ellsbury/Bedard for Choo/Lester. Anyone like this trade for me? I also have Victorino/Bourne/Kemp/Beltran and plan on nabbing Asdrubal-Cab off waivers tomorrow. My thinking was that I’ll still be pretty competitive in steals/average/runs while making good improvement in HR/RBI.

  25. paulzone says:

    drop qualls an pick up frasor?

  26. youngcapitalist says:

    @Eric C.: No question about it, in my opinion. You’re getting a top tier K pitcher and a very very good OF. Easy choice, take the trade.

  27. cockyphoenix says:

    aw yeah that cock be smoakin

    I saw Smoak hit a few home runs in college. That bat may have been metal, but I’m pretty sure one of his balls bounced off the moon before headin on down to Georgia. I’d definitely wager that he’s the real deal. His fielding isn’t spectacular, but it could definitely be much worse

    And yeah, even as an O’s fan I’m holding off on Tillman for now, too

  28. Should I trade Ethier for Kershaw? Ethier is like #6 or 7 of my OFs, play 4 and I have Quentin on the DL, so I’m fairly deep there. Or, otherwise, what kind of pitcher should I try to get for Ethier?

  29. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Maitland: I’d take Kershaw there.

  30. @Maitland: IDK manny is coming back…. eithier eats mannys butthole with a spoon, and hits…

    figures i’m playing my nemisis this week and losing since my team is studly all year until i play frickin darth vader! F.

    pardo’n my francais…. DRINK!

    ga night….

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