In a week peppered with some top flight prospects, just about every serious roto owner had his or her eyes focused on Pittsburgh's #1 pick of 2011, Gerrit Cole.
Cole's primary stats actually do look pretty good, with a 14-10, 2.84 ERA, although his strikeout rate (183 K over 200 innings) of 8.2 is not really that good for a first-rounder with a mid-90's fastball.
The UCLA alum did pull a minor league WHIP of 1.150, with 154 hits and 73 walks allowed, and Cole did fare well his first start in the Bigs, beating the Giants, but I am haunted by the Rising Stars All Star game, where I saw Cole get completely shredded, overpowering no one (Billy Hamilton killed him), throwing fast, and unfortunately straight.
In the end, I think Cole could be a decent #3 or #4 starter, but I also have to think his strikeout-to-innings number will not improve in the Majors, and that tells me the right-hander is not really a #1 overall pick. He could have an adequate Major League career, but I would expect some lumps, and would not anticipate Cole ever wearing the mantle of "ace."
The Mets anticipate advancing another first-rounder this coming week in Zack Wheeler, although it was the Giants who selected the pitcher sixth overall in 2009 out of East Paulding High School, in East Paulding, Ga.
Wheeler pitched well enough for San Francisco over 29 starts, going 10-8, 3.99 split between the Sally League and the California League before the Giants tried to shoot the moon in 2011, swapping their pitcher for Carlos Beltran. Overall, Wheeler is 28-20, 3.56 over 73 starts and 391.1 innings in the Minors, with 420 punch-outs to 176 walks and 323 hits (1.275 WHIP), and that totals to a 9.7 strikeout rate, more promising than Cole, but Wheeler also walked 176 batters, good for a 4.0 per nine innings walk rate.
Like Cole, Wheeler should have his struggles as a rookie, but his totals do point to more potential dominance than Cole (they also point to more fits of wildness), but I think the thing Wheeler has going for him over Cole is that Matt Harvey is the #1 guy at Citi Field, and just those lower expectations should prove to be helpful with respect to Wheeler's development.
Then, Seattle decided to summon their #1 selection--and third overall--of last year, Mike Zunino. The catcher was actually selected first by the Athletics in 2009 in the 29th round from Cape Coral, Florida, but the now 22-year-old chose time at the University of Florida instead.
After being drafted, Zunino hit very well, going .360-13-43 over 44 games, with 23 walks to 33 strikeouts between Class-A Everett, and Double-A Jackson, thus Seattle moved him to Tacoma for 2013. There he hit .238-11-43 over 44 games, although with just 14 walks to 59 strikeouts, good for a troubling .303 OBP. Not that I would expect that to continue, for if given a chance to play regularly, Zunino should be a pretty good everyday catcher.
What this boils down to--that is three first round selections all debuting over a week--is that the players are promising, but don't be surprised if it takes them awhile to get the hang. Sure, it does happen, but temper your expectations so that success makes you pleasantly surprised rather than woefully disappointed. In other words, be realistic.
And, if this marks the end of Kelly Shoppach's career, thanks dude. Among the best $1 catchers ever.
Advancing as a full-time starter from the Minors, from the get-go, Wood has really blossomed this year, going 5-5, 2.65 over 85 innings, with 60 whiffs to 28 walks, to 57 hits, good for a WHIP of 1.00 on the nose. Wood looked very good at Wrigley on Wednesday, tossing seven innings (four hits, two walks, and a Zack Cozart dinger) and 102 pitches, though he was saddled with the loss. With all the struggles on Chicago's North Side the last couple of years, the emergence of Wood, along with Jeff Smardzija, are the center of a promising rotation.
Colorado's Jordan Brown has that ubiquitous traveling salesman resume of the journeyman hitter, being drafted by the Indians in 2005, purchased by the Brewers in 2011, then granted free agency and signed by the Astros, then released by the Astros, then signed again by the Brewers, then released again, and finally signed by the Marlins.
With a .303-81-478 line over 855 games, Brown has a pretty good .819 OPS in the Minors, and the outfielder/first baseman, who bats left, might deliver a little pop, and is hitting .333-0-5 over nine at-bats. Of course we are talking filling a hole in a deep league here.
Ben Revere is one of those guys who seems to start slow, then pick up steam. Revere hit .464-0-2 last week with 13 hits, a pair each of RBI and steals, and four runs, raising his season line to .272-0-8, with 16 steals and 24 runs scored. If you have been sitting on Revere--a .277 career hitter, albeit with 90 steals--activate or even grab him. True, he is much like having a closer, being able to deliver steals and some runs for the most part, but his average certainly will not hurt.
With Pablo Sandoval on the DL, look for Joaquin Arias (he hit .407-0-2 last week) to get the bulk of playing time at the hot corner in San Francisco. Arias has a .274-5-65 Major League line and some position flexibility. Of course, the Panda's return is unclear, and the Giants really want him to work and drop some poundage.