Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Buzz Around The Bullpen: A Couple O's That Can Lead To W's

Welcome back to another edition of the "Buzz Around the Bullpen." The beginning of June marks an intriguing time in the world of fantasy baseball. As we've already seen, the start of June is when organizations throughout baseball make decisions to promote some of their most heralded prospects to their major league club. While it gives an organization an opportunity to see how a prospect's talent will translate to the major league level, it has also proven to be quite beneficial for teams struggling to put together W's.

Already, Fernando Martinez (OF, NYM), Matt Wieters (C, BAL) and Kris Medlen (SP, ATL) have been promoted and it will only be a matter of time before we see the likes of Tommy Hanson (SP, ATL) and Gordon Beckham (SS/3B, CHW). Although it is unlikely that all of these players will have an immediate impact, their upside is too much to ignore. If you're not sure if any of these guys are worth a waiver move, take a look at what coveted prospects Ryan Braun and Evan Longoria were able to do after their early season promotions.

Big Hits

Matt Wieters (C/DH, BAL): Speaking of young studs worth going after, Matt Wieters was called up last week and he enters the league with immediate star potential. In researching for this article, what surprised me the most is that he is still available in nearly 20% of leagues. While there is always a chance of a prospect being a bust, this guy is as about a "sure thing" as there is. He's dominated at every professional level and I don't believe it will be long before he finds himself mentioned among the top offensive catchers in the league. During his short-lived minor-league career, Wieters earned the nickname "Mauer with power". Now that Joe Mauer has asserted himself as a power hitter in '09, you might want to just compare Wieters to Joe Mauer. Take a look at Mauer's numbers this season; even being in the same sentence as him is something to say. If you can't get your hands on him off of the waiver wire, it can't hurt to throw his owner an offer. It could pay huge dividends down the stretch.

Luke Scott (OF, BAL): There's not a hitter in baseball hotter than Luke Scott right now. Since his return from the disabled list, Scott has shown off a power stroke that has resulted in six HR's in five games through Sunday. Although Scott's explosion of power came as a surprise to some, he has shown the ability in the past to hit the ball out of the ballpark. In fact, last year in only 475 at-bats, Scott hit an impressive 23 HR's with 65 RBI's. The one difference in Scott's numbers over the first third of 2009 in comparison to his career numbers is the dramatic increase in his batting average. A career .272 hitter, Scott currently possesses a .333 average over 114 at-bats. Though I don't expect Scott to maintain his current average, I predict Scott can finish the year somewhere around .280. This definitely makes him worthy of a waiver move to add some depth to your outfield.

Randy Wells (SP, CHC): Wells has run into some tough luck since his move into the Cubbie's rotation but that shouldn't deter you from giving him a look. Wells' luck didn't get any better in his last start when he pitched 7 strong innings only to take a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Although Wells currently has an 0-2 record, he has a 1.80 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP over 25 innings pitched. He's also averaging just below a strikeout/inning and if you look at his minor league statistics, he's shown the ability to rack up some above average strikeout numbers. The Cubs' offense should get better and that will only help his chances of earning victories. The only thing to keep an eye on is what will happen to his spot in the rotation when SP Rich Harden returns. Even if he does lose his spot in the rotation, it will only be another week or so until Harden's next injury.

Big Miss

Armando Galarraga (SP, DET): Galarraga stormed onto the fantasy scene last season racking up 13 wins with 126 K's, a 3.74 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Unfortunately, Galarraga has been anything but impressive in 2009. In fact, depending on the progression of SP Jeremy Bonderman's rehabilitation, Galarraga is potentially looking at a demotion to the Tigers' bullpen or possibly even the minor leagues. Manager Jim Leyland has been patient with Galarraga especially over his last six starts where he's struggled mightily resulting in an 0-5 record, and 28 earned runs in in 29.6 innings. It doesn't get any easier this week when Galarraga will face-off against Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox. For the time being, keep an eye on Galarraga's status and if you can no longer afford to carry him on your bench, scour your waiver wire for a more consistent option.
As with any SportsJudge article, please feel free to post comments or questions. Until next time, keep your ears open for the "Buzz Around the Bullpen."

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