May 21, 2008

More Rookies - S8

Atlanta - Al Melendez - RF

Al Melendez
Age: 21B/T: L/L
Born: Villa Mella, DO
Position(s): RF
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Melendez is a corner outfielder who does a bit of everything well, but nothing spectacularly. The 21-year old Dominican should be capable of driving plenty of balls to the gap particularly against righties. Currently penciled in as the Ripettoes leadoff hitter vs. righties, Melendez should be able to take advantage of his blend of power and baserunning ability to get himself into scoring position for Michael Snow and friends.

Chicago - Davey Hernandez - CF

Davey Hernandez
Age: 21B/T: S/R
Born: Preston, CU
Position(s): CF
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Chicago, who acquired this Cuban import as an IFA in Season 5, will turn to Hernandez to patrol CF in S8. Hernandez has above-average range, but has been known to occasionally turn a routine flyball into high adventure. Hernandez will more than cover these missteps with his bat, which should produce more like that of a quality first baseman’s than a centerfielder’s.

Oakland - York Cornelius - RF

York Cornelius
Age: 25B/T: R/R
Born: Camarillo, CA
Position(s): RF/1B/LF/DH
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Cornelius garnered Season 7’s AAA MVP honors and has nothing left to prove in the minors and should make an appearance with the Dragons in Season 8. The RFer thrives against left-handed pitching, but could be neutralized somewhat by ML-level right-handers. Regardless of the handedness of the pitcher, Cornelius has a discerning eye and should hammer mistakes into the stands.

Fargo – Sherman Atchley - SS

Sherman Atchley
Age: 21B/T: R/R
Born: Tarpon Springs, FL
Position(s): SS
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Dealt to the NL Champs in S7 from surplus SS talent in Tacoma’s farm system (now Chicago), Atchley is another player who sacrifices a modicum of defense for a wealth of offense. The youngster from Tarpon Springs FL is capable of prodigious power displays and makes contact with most of what he swings at. Power like that would be valuable at a corner spot, but will provide a substantial advantage coming from the SS position.

San Antonio - Harry Pena – SP

Harry Pena
San Antonio
Age: 22B/T: S/L
Born: Los Llanos, DO
Position(s): P (SP1)
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San Antonio GM niss has been silent regarding whether this pitching prodigy will make an appearance with the big club in S8, but there is little doubt that Harry Pena is ready now. Pena features a four-pitch repertoire, including an excellent sinker/slider combo offset by and average change-up and a show-me curve. Hitters have difficulty punishing Pena’s rare mistakes, as the 6-1 lefty keeps the ball down in the zone. If promoted, Pena could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate.

Honolulu - Rico Andujar – SP

Rico Andujar
Beach Bums
Age: 20B/T: R/R
Born: Rio San Juan, DO
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Arguably the prize of the S6 IFA class, Andujar dominated the minors in S7, posting a 1.02 WHIP across two levels. Andujar is in AAA now; some might contend that a full year in AAA would be prudent for his development, but it would be almost impossible for management to keep the talented righty in the minors if the Beach Bums find themselves in the pennant chase.

May 20, 2008

Rookie Watch - Season 8

Below are 10 rookies in the majors now or soon-to-be called up that should make immediate impacts in Season 8 (presented in no particular order).

Salem Warlocks – Wayne Morris – LF

Wayne Morris
Age: 21B/T: S/R
Born: East Weymouth, MA
Position(s): LF
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Morris, the Warlocks’ first-round draft pick from S7, sniffed the big leagues at the end of the season last year and has locked down a starting job in S8. The left fielder, who features an impressive throwback-era mustache reminiscent of a Pringles can, hits lefties and righties equally well and could be a 50+ SB man this season. A little better range and glove would allow Salem to play him at 2B, but Morris features enough pop in his bat to pass expectations for a left-fielder.

Washington Foo Fighters - 1B Clint Ramirez

Clint Ramirez
Washington D.C.
Foo Fighters
Age: 23B/T: L/L
Born: Atascadero, CA
Position(s): 1B
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Clint Ramirez, the first pick of the S6 draft, will be defending the Beltway from Foo this season. The first baseman has 50-HR power with patience to match -- and still has room to improve at the plate.

Cheyenne Duck Snorts – Lou Young - RF

Lou Young
Duck Snorts
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Portola Valley, CA
Position(s): RF/2B/LF/DH
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“When GMs come calling, this is the guy I get asked about more than anyone,” stated bajoraa, the Duck Snorts’ GM, in reference to this five-tool slugger. Young, who has deceptive speed for a 220-pounder, should be capable of launching moonshots and maintaining a .300+ batting average from the middle of the champs’ lineup this season. Detractors note that Young has mediocre durability and sometimes lacks the accuracy necessary to harness his bazooka throwing arm.

New York Cyclones – Miguel Perez – SP

Miguel Perez
New York
Age: 20B/T: S/R
Born: Luverne, MN
Position(s): P (SP3)
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Griffey World owners drooled over Perez’s potential in the S6 draft, but the stocky right-hander gave indication that baseball may not be his future. Consequently, this talented hurler fell to the Cyclones at #13, where veener provided 6.5 million reasons to come to New York. Perez is only 20 years old, and still has not developed an ML-caliber 3rd pitch, and his 2nd pitch is currently only passable. However, the Cyclones have a fantastic talent on their hands, and assuming continued growth, Perez should contend for the AL Cy Young by S10.

Pittsburgh – Dennis Martin – C

Dennis Martin
Age: 23B/T: R/R
Born: Tokyo, JP
Position(s): C
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Martin was an S4 IFA developed slowly by perennial favorite Pittsburgh. More than strictly a catch-and-throw receiver, this Japanese import has impressed scouts with his plate discipline and gap power, especially against portsiders. That said, the man can throw, too – a near imperative skill as stolen bases escalate in Griffey. Look for Martin to receive 250-300 plate appearances as part of the Ponies’ catching platoon.

Anaheim Jack A$$es – Vince Andrews – SS

Vince Andrews
Jack A$$es
Age: 22B/T: L/R
Born: Sacramento, CA
Position(s): SS
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Another prospect who came on to the scene in S4 is ready for the majors in S8. Poor player development practices by previous owners may leave whiffs of unrealized promise where Andrews’ defense is concerned; however, the 22 year-old should be an extra-base hit machine. A move to RF or 3B may be in Andrews’ future, but he should have the bat to stick in the big leagues for a while.

Rochester Regal Beagles -- 2B Dusty Farrell

Dusty Farrell
Regal Beagles
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Stuart, VA
Position(s): 2B/IF/OF/DH
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Farrell is a future Gold Glove winner at 2B, with a bat that NL pitchers will have to respect. The tall (6-4) keystone sacker punishes left-handed pitching and can more than hold his own against righties. Farrell is no slow-poke, but lacks the basestealing prowess one might like to see in a middle infielder. Look for Farrell to belt 30-HR from a key defensive position.

Florida Tropic - Elvis Bailes – 3b

Elvis Bailes
Age: 25B/T: R/R
Born: Pekin, IL
Position(s): 3B
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Elvis Bailes projects to have a shortstop’s glove at 3B, and has plus-gap power to boot now. The durable 3B continues to develop defensively, and should provide a solid anchor at the hot corner, helping a listless Tropic franchise right the ship.

Chicago Cubs – Kirt Jensen RP

Kirt Jensen
Age: 26B/T: L/L
Born: West Branch, MI
Position(s): P (ClA)
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The Cubs took their time promoting this burly southpaw under chejay, but erffdogg has finally promoted Jensen to the Northsiders’ bullpen. Jensen features a five pitch repertoire, including a cut fastball, which is a borderline plus-plus offering. In addition, Jensen has the durability to toss 150 IP, handling both lefties and righties with aplomb.

Cincinnati centipedes - Pep Zentmeyer OF(?)

Pep Zentmeyer
Age: 23B/T: R/R
Born: Wills Point, TX
Position(s): 2B/3B/SS/OF
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Another player with a great bat, but who is a defensive tweener, Zentmeyer owned AAA pitching the last two seasons. Like Vince Andrews, Zentmeyer’s value would be increased if he can stick defensively in the infield, but the right-hander’s future may be patrolling a corner outfield spot at the GABP. Zentmeyer, who has posted an OPS in the minors no worse than 1.012 in any of the last three seasons, looks to guide the centipedes one last step toward the post-season.