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.

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