Starting Squad: 5 Fantasy Pitching Prospects for your Playoff Push
Last week I mentioned hitters, this week I’m going to talk about five pitching prospects that can help your team for it’s playoff push. There are two rules for eligibility. First, they must be owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Second, they must still have their prospect status. To the arms!
Tyler Skaggs: It seems like Skaggs has been around forever, but key cog in the Dan Haren trade is still just twenty years of age. It was just recently reported that the the left-hander may be making his debut Wednesday against a fairly weak Marlins line-up. He’s owned in just 1% of Yahoo leagues and is a must add in daily roster move formats. He’ll definitely bolster your roster this week, but a strong showing could have him in the rotation for the remainder of the year. He’s thrown just 122 innings thus far in 2012 after throwing above 160 innings in the prior year, so it’s safe to say the Diamondbacks are ready to take the gloves off with their top pitching prospect.
Marcus Stroman: A Duke product, Stroman should be the first 2012 draftee to reach the show after Toronto predictably moved him to the bullpen. In a small professional sample the right-handed Blue Devil has struck out 21 batters of 67 batters faced. He likely won’t get saves, but as Mike Curtis explained last week, relief pitchers gain considerable value when you’re reaching an innings or games started limit.
Shelby Miller: Yes, Miller has struggled. Yes, the Cardinals rotation is crowded. And yes, Miller should still be called up. As I noted at Fangraphs, Miller has turned a corner recently by mixing in his curveball more often. With the Cardinals just two games out of a wild card birth and with four teams to leap-frog, they can’t afford to leave Miller in the minors. Maybe they bring him up as a relief arm, or maybe he gets a few spots starts, but in either role he’ll be a nice source of strikeouts for your team.
Victor Black: Like the rest, Black is a former first round pick. But he never had the kind of success the others did in the rotation. After moving to the bullpen this season, Black’s career has been revived. His stuff has ticked up and he’s finally missing bats like many predicted he would at draft time. Still, the Pirates pen is crowded so Black many just be an aid to those who need strikeouts.
Bruce Rondon: Yes, another reliever. The Tigers bullpen has a bunch of good right-handed pitchers but that shouldn’t stop Rondon from being called up and quickly lighting up MLB radar guns. Again, saves are unlikely but holds could manifest in certain situations.
Avoid Jake Odorizzi – Should Dayton Moore get sassy and call up his top pitching prospect, I’d avoid him in 2012. His upside is as mid-rotation innings eating type rather than front of the rotation guy. While he’s been brilliant at times, he still has a lot of on-the-job learning to do before contributing. There is a lot of value to a guy like Odorizzi in real baseball, but not nearly as much in fantasy.