Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fenst's Farm Report: Now Arriving, Matt Weiters!

Welcome back to another edition of Fenst's Farm Report. In this edition I will feature a number of the recent call ups from around the league along with a few players who were just sent down that will have an impact again in the big leagues this year. Let's start with the top two prospects in the minor leagues with David Price, the top pitching prospect, and Matt Wieters, the top hitting prospect.

Price has been on the radar for over a season now (really, since he was drafted out of Vanderbilt) and he may finally get his permanent crack at the rotation. It was the injury to the ace lefty of the staff that brought up the future left-handed ace in Price. Kazmir's injury vaulted Price to the big league squad when things were starting to look like Price might be down for a while. It was only a matter of time before he took the job of Jeff Niemann or the struggling Andy Sonnanstine. I think this move will keep Price in the rotation and be most likely the end of Niemann in the rotation. Sonnanstine needs to turn it around real quick or another top pitching prospect in Wade Davis will take his job in the rotation as well.

Expect a very high K/9 ratio from Price as he is one of the premier strikeout pitching prospects. He may struggle with his command at times, but that is something that comes with the inexperience. He is capable of coming out and striking out 10+ at any time. That kind of talent is undeniable. He should provide a well needed boost to a struggling rotation. He will be sitting comfortably in the four spot of the rotation by the end of the year with endless potential to fill.

Price has some new competition in his own division that he is going to have to deal with come this Friday. One of my newest man crushes, Matt Wieters, is getting the call to the majors and will make his debut on Friday. Now I will have a reason to want to watch Orioles games. Wieters will be considered by many to be a top 5 hitting catcher day 1 in the major leagues. There is a lot of pressure on him to help turn things around in Baltimore. Hopefully he doesn't fold under the pressure that comes along with being the #1 prospect. Alex Gordon was talked as being the start of the turnaround for the Royals, but they have thrived without him in the lineup during his DL stint and when he was in the lineup there was little to no production.

His ability and potential are, again, hard to deny. I know I sound like a broken record, but this kid is a polished hitter and all the tools of a superstar are there. Baseball, however, is a mental sport as well as physical. If he starts off slumping right out of the gates it will be interesting to see how he handles adversity. There is always the other factor with a catcher of managing a major league staff, which is never easy. Even with all the risk that comes along with Wieters I am a Strong Buy for him. Try and get him on your fantasy team now before he starts making his name in the bigs.

There are a few other call ups that also happened this week. I talked about Jake Fox and his insane numbers a few weeks ago. He is getting his shot with the Cubs and could be an outfielder to keep your eye on. He was leading the Pacific League in arguably every category 40 R, 17 HR, 50 RBIs, .423 AVG, .503 OBP, .886 SLG. Every time I have looked at his numbers I feel like its from a video game and my created character in Road to the Show mode is just having an insane first half because I am still playing on the rookie level. Mets prospect, Fernando Martinez, is going to see some playing time with all of the injuries that are destroying the Mets roster. Martinez is still very raw at 20 years old and his numbers were good in the minors this year, but not outstanding. I don't see him coming into New York and being an instant success. It is a tough place to play and the fans expect so much of that team this year after choking in back to back Septembers. With top players getting hurt the pressure will fall onto others shoulders, including their top hitting prospect.

A player who was recently sent back to AAA that I feel will be back hitting homers in bunches by seasons end is Matt LaPorta. He is a masher, there is no other way to put it. I think that the Indians will be out of the race soon enough in the Central and there are a lot of injury prone vets in front of him that will bring him back up into the everyday lineup. Don't give up on him yet if you are in a deep league and can spare the bench spot. Well, that's all I got for this edition. Come back in two weeks for another exciting edition of Fenst's Farm Report.

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