Minor Achievements: Adding it all up
Guys, I don't know about how you handle your leagues, but I constantly find myself adding/dropping, adding/dropping. Try as I might, I have as much patience as Steinbrenner after back-to-back Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez whiffs ("Release the bums!").
So, this week, I started doing something some of the more intelligent members of the audience must already be doing: I started a diary. No, I'm not writing about man-crushes or going through "the change" (though I do have the mentality of a prepubescent). But I am noting whom I cut, whom I added, the date, and what each player was doing when I sliced.
For example, on April 21, I cut Phillies shortstop Brad Harman and added Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer. Harman was batting .245-.259-.340, and Schafer was batting .328-.391-.586. I often find myself revisiting my cuts later in the season, and I sometimes grab players I trimmed. For example, I cut University of Miami second baseman Jemile Weeks (Rickie's kid bro) last April. & After Jemile and the U. went bonkers in the 2006 College World Series, I reacquired him last June. If I continue keeping up with Dear Diary, I'll know what each player was doing when I cut (i.e. why I did it), and when I acquired. Perhaps this will lead to more intelligent decisions in the future. Perhaps this will also lead to more patience on the part of yours truly.
• Adam Lind, our old friend -- he turns 24 in July, that makes him old to me -- is back in the majors, playing in left field for the Jays because of an injury to Reed Johnson. In shallow leagues, Lind might be worth a bench grab. In deeper leagues, go get him. The jury is out on his plate discipline (he had zero walks, 10 whiffs in Triple-A this season, and his minor-league history is inconsistent), but Lind has a good swing and potential 25-homer pop. He should provide average, double-digit homers and a load of doubles if he gets 350-plus at-bats.
• Cubs' right-hander Carlos Marmol is looking like a beeg sleeper. He has a mid-90s fastball, a good breaking ball, and he's jammin' in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He's fourth in the league with a 0.92 WHIP, and his 1.65 ERA is fifth. Personally, I'm diggin' his 13.4 whiffs per nine innings (24 in 16.1 frames). He's someone to consider if the Cubs get desperate.
• Didn't think I'd write about Jordan Schafer, eh? Wrong! Schafer is an athletic outfield prospect in the Braves' chain. He's such a gamer that he has been compared to Mark Kotsay. Currently, Schafer is batting .357-3-13 with 12 doubles in only 84 at-bats at low-A Rome. He is slugging .607 and has a .413 OBP. His K/BB ratio is a lackluster 21-8, but that's a dramatic improvement over last season. He is one of the hardest-working players in the minors. Someone to watch in NL-only leagues.
• The Jays' Dustin McGowan is dealing for Triple-A Syracuse with 24 whiffs in 16 innings (1.65 ERA, 1.19 WHIP). He has a power fastball, a good change, and it looks as if his slider is coming around. Don't be surprised if he gets a shot at the big-league rotation or the pen in the next 45 days.
• Arizona's Jamie D'Antona is batting .474-.563-.754 (B.A., OBP, Slugging) for Triple-A Tucson. He has 12 extra-base hits in 57 at-bats (one homer) and a 7-12 K/BB ratio. D'Antona turns 25 in a week or two, so he's no spring chicken. What he is, though, is a quality hitter. He is blocked at first base by Conor Jackson, but he also can play third and the outfield in a pinch. Keep watching him.
• Billy Butler is batting .338-6-21 with a 10-12 K/BB ratio for Triple-A Omaha. Seriously, when a 21-year-old is slugging .662 in the high minors, isn't it time you bring him up and let him play left field or DH? It's not as if the Royals are a game out, and it's September. ...
• Shin-Soo Choo is back with Cleveland after batting .294 at Triple-A Buffalo. He had a weak spring, and he didn't hit for power in his most-recent bush-league stint, but he is a solid outfielder who should be fine if he gets enough playing time. He's worth a shot in deeper leagues, as he has solid five-category potential.
Carlos Triunfel, SS, Mariners
OK, before you laugh me off the stage, check out Triunfel's age. At his age, most kids are high school sophomores and juniors. Most kids don't hit full-season Single-A ball until they are 20 or 21. Barry Larkin was a junior at Moeller High School in Cincinnati when he was 17. Triunfel has every tool: power, speed, arm strength, the ability to hit for average and a strong glove. What he lacks is a high number of repetitions versus good pro competition. If you are in a deep, deep situation, and you can sit on a player for a few years, Triunfel is worth a gamble. He might be the best prospect in the Mariners' chain by this time next year. Then again, realize what you're doing when you gamble on players such as this guy. They are unknowns, and you are drafting based purely on the forecasting/wishcasting of an organization's scouts. The Mariners say the kid has solid plate discipline, but if he doesn't, he'll be a washout. They are obviously betting big, because the kid got a $1.3 million bonus. In deep leagues such as mine, I roll the dice on guys such as Triunfel all the time. I'd say I'm batting in the .150-.250 range on 'em, but the payoffs can be enormous.
Will Inman, RHP, Brewers
Like Fernandez, Inman is short and somewhat bulky, about 6-feet, 200 pounds (Fernandez was 6-foot-1, 215 during his playing days.) Inman's fastball isn't superb velocity wise, but it hits the low-90s, and his control is exceptional. Toss in a decent breaking ball, the ability to change speeds, and a fiery demeanor that gives Inman immense drive, and you have a heady little pitching package. Last season, Inman went 10-2 with a 1.71 ERA in 111 innings in the low-A Sally League. He had a 0.89 WHIP and a 134-24 K/BB ratio. If Inman keeps it up, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a cameo in the bigs this season. Honestly, the Brew Crew could become the N.L. Central's monsters if they can keep all their top players, and Yovani Gallardo and Inman come to the rescue. Inman's merely solid tools and lack of intimidating physical presence might scare some folks off, but I think the guy is for real.
The Sloan of fantasy writers, David Srinivasan deals in statistics and the minors for ESPN.COM. If you have questions, suggestions or have never heard of The Crunge, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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