You knew Matt Wieters and David Price were hotshot prospects last season but where were you when Chris Coghlan and Andrew Bailey snagged Rookie of the Year honors? Your league was buzzing about Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg on draft day this year but what other phenoms were banished to the waiver wire? Monitoring the minors is essential to success in deep fantasy leagues. Don’t get beat to the punch when the next wave of studs get called up to the Show. Farm Fresh is your weekly look at the minor league prospects your league-mates don’t know about.
In The Box: Mark Trumbo, 1B, Triple-A Salt Lake City Bees (Angels)
Power-starved team loses slugger to freak accident whilst celebrating walk-off grand slam forcing team to consider a variety of costly replacements via trade. Sound familiar? The team might consider opting for an underhyped behemoth raking in Triple-A, instead. The Angels need to replace Kendry Morale in the middle of the lineup and the 24-year-old Trumbo may be an ideal in-house candidate, at least on a temporary basis. Trumbo, an 18th-round pick in 2004, is the 11th best prospect in the organization and has the best raw power in the entire system according to Baseball America. Exhibit A: 58 combined homers in 2008 and 2009. He can play first base or the outfield and is currently third in the Pacific Coast League with 12 homers and sports an impressive 41 RBI through 51 games.
My favorite stat by which to gauge minor league pitching prospects is strikeouts-per-9 innings. Atlanta’s Mike Minor is starting to take “swing and miss” to a whole new level. Through 63.2 innings spanning 11 starts, Minor has fanned an astonishing 91 batters. While the 12.9 K/9 speaks for itself, prospective fantasy owners must also note the shiny 1.18 WHIP and solid 3.68 ERA. Not bad for a 22-year-old in only his second pro season. Atlanta’s first-round pick last season, Baseball America lauds Minor’s four-pitch repertoire and mound savvy. The Braves will likely take their time with Minor, but one should expect major expectations as word of his exploits begins to spread.
Anthony Federico covers all levels of the game for Baseball Digest and Gotham Baseball. He is the author of “Must Be Nice” – a novel about the glory of beer-league softball. Check out www.mustbenicebook.com for more info or follow him on Twitter @AntFeds