Prospects are a funny thing in baseball. Sometimes you get those can’t miss talents that come up and absolutely tear the walls down and then you have those same can’t miss talents that get lost in their progression to the Major Leagues. In the 2006 MLB amateur draft, the Seattle Mariners had the 5th pick and was torn between selecting the then unknown, home grown talent Tim Lincecum or the hard throwing right hander out of UC Berkeley, Brandon Morrow.
Flash forward to 2010, Lincecum racks up two NL Cy-Young awards while Morrow was mishandled, switching from starter to reliever back to starter then eventually traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brandon League during the off season. While it took very little time for Lincecum to find his groove, Morrow is beginning to show the abilities that made him the 5th overall pick just a few years ago.
So, how about that Brandon Morrow (TOR-SP) kid, eh? The north of the border sensation, who made his first appearance on the Long Island Press in June, nearly no-hit the Tampa Bay Rays before settling on a complete game shutout with 17 strikeouts. He’s still available in 32 percent of Yahoo! Leagues and if you’re starved for strikeouts, Morrow is among the league leaders in K’s with 151 on the year.
Sometimes you can learn a lot from just watching how baseball organizations go about handling their business concerning the players they bring aboard. The same concept applies to fantasy baseball and taking a chance, just as the Jays did, on highly touted prospects that begin to appear come the twilight of the 2010 Major League Baseball season.
Chris Carter (OAK-1B): 1 percent owned- The Oakland A’s are renowned for always have a strong farm system under the guidance of GM Billy Beane and one of their prized prospects will finally get the call. Chris Carter’s main appeal lies in his ability to drive the ball a very long way. Despite posting a .233 AVG in the first half in AAA, Carter still managed to blast 19 homers in 330 AB’s and it appears that Carter has made significant strides in the second half, cutting down on his strikeouts while tearing the cover off the ball. In the 2nd half with the Sacramento River Cats, Carter has 34 hits in 94 ABs (.362 AVG) while driving eight balls over the wall and driving in 25 runs, prompting the Oakland A’s to bring the promising prospect to the show. While Carter retains 1B eligibility at the moment, he’s expected to see a lot of time in left field as Daric Barton has solidified a spot at first with his solid play thus far. Carter was ranked as a top 50 prospect according to Baseball America’s midseason top 50 prospect report.
Jeremy Hellickson (TAM-SP,RP): 6 percent owned- One of the most prized prospects in all the land might be making another appearance in the bigs should either Jeff Niemann or Wade Davis hit the DL after both starters were sent for shoulder exams today. Hellickson had made a spot start already this season, stifling a tough Minnesota Twins team for seven innings, surrendering only two runs while punching out six Twinkies in his big league debut. Hellickson had improved his two-seamer and added a cutter to his repertoire to complement a plus-changeup which could make the right-hander a top of the line starter for years to come. As for this season, Hellickson was held out of his last start at Class AAA Durham in case the Rays need him for another start against the Tigers on Tuesday. If Davis and Niemann are unable to contribute in the starting rotation due to injury, Hellickson may get his chance to shine down the stretch.
Josh Tomlin (CLE-SP): 4 percent owned- Tomlin really impressed me with his first three career starts, all against foes from the powerful AL East. Tomlin produced three bulldog outings against the Yankees, Jays and Red Sox, coming out the other side with only 6 earned runs in over 19 innings of work. Prior to his promotion to the Indians, Tomlin posted compelling numbers at Triple-A Columbus, working towards a 2.98 ERA, 1.08 WHIP while averaging 6.72 K/9. His starting schedule appears to be favorable and should yield some great results- BAL, at KC, Det, KC and at SEA. Pick him up and enjoy the next few starts out from this rookie right-hander.