Happy Memorial Day, all around, the first real milepost of the fantasy--and baseball--season. Again, sorry for the late posting, but Diane and I got home yesterday after 3400 miles, five National Parks, nine cities, over ten days. Needless to say, we were fried (though it was a good time).
One thing that was cool, though, is we were able to listen to the Cards, Rangers, Dodgers, Royals, Giants, Athletics, Cubs, White Sox, and Brewers on the radio. Not to mention Fresno State. And, a million oldies and 80's stations. I do love my IPhone and the IPod on it, but there is really nothing quite like the radio.
Needless to say, when we were listening to the Giants Saturday, after crawling out of the Death Valley, and got close enough to hear the Giants broadcast, who was the first at-bat I heard, but super prospect Buster Posey. Posey, the Giants first round selection in 2008, and the #5 guy selected overall has had a stellar minor league career (.333-25-118 over 172 games) though it was thought a little more minor league seasoning would be good for Buster. Apparently going .349-6-32 at Fresno was enough, so the Giants advanced Posey, who debuted with an RBI single and six hits over nine at-bats his first two games. Posey is the everyday first baseman now, with Aubrey Huff manning left field. Posey is a guy--for he was drafted as a catcher--you want on your team, apparently now and in the future.
Looking to another first rounder, take a look at Florida's Taylor Tankserly, the Marlins first round pick in 2004. Tankersly has made splashes with the Fish before, going 8-3, 4.18 over 107 innings, but injuries wrecked his 2008 (0-1, 8.15) forced him to sit out 2009 after surgery. Prior, howver, Tankersly was pretty good with 110 strikeouts over 107 innings as a major leaguer, and 209 over 205.2 minor league innings, mostly as a reliever. The Marlins are a National League version of the Twins, able to use their players and develop them well. He is a nice and safe middle reliever gamble in an NL only format.
Looking to the N: Central, The Reds Sam LeCure is another interesting arm just promoted. LeCure was a fourth round pick of the Reds in 2005, and list his counterparts above, LeCure has some nice minor league numbers, with a 44-35, 3.67 mark, including 575 whiffs over 656.2 innings, allowing 641 hits to 224 walks. This season LeCure was 5-2, 2.55 over nine Louisville starts, and he won his debut Friday with a good performance over the Astros to earn his first big league win. When you think of the Reds recent young arms--Bailey, Cueto, Chapman, and Leake--LeCure makes an interesting choice as well.
Another first rounder who made his debut this weekend is the Cards Adam Ottavino, a first round pick of St. Louis in 2006. Ottavino went 5.2 innings during his debut, though on the losing end. But, he did pitch pretty well (four runs, five hits, six walks and five whiffs). He was 30-25, 4.17 as a minor leaguer, with 444 whiffs over 519 innings. I have to say I am not as sold on Ottavino as some of the other young arms on this list.
Over in the American League, Oakland's Craig Breslow appeared in 77 games last year (17 for the Twins, then 60 more for Oakland after being swapped) and this year he is again picking up a lion's share with 20 appearances to go with a 1-1, 2.21 mark that includes 21 strikeouts to eight walks and 14 hits. Breslow, a Yale grad, is one smart cookie and is a great addition to an AL only bullpen.
On Saturday, the Orioles Chris Tillman made his return to the majors pitching 5.2 pretty good innings, worth a no-decision. Tillman, part of the spoils of the Eric Bedard swap with Seattle has posted dominant (484 whiffs over 456.1 innings) numbers in the minors including 427 hits allowed and 184 walks. He was 5-4, 3.12 this year at Norfolk when called up. Note too that he is just 22 years old, so his totals need that context. He is a definite investment on the good side.
As a possible reclamation project, the Brewers recalled Chris Capuano, who ideally is over his arm difficulties. Capuano won 18 games for the Brewers in 2005 and 11 more in 2006, tossing over 200 innings each season before he blew his arm out. It has been a rough road back for Capuano, who did go 3-1, 1.59 over two levels this year and 25 minor league innings (25 innings, 21 hits, 16 strikeouts and four walks). Looks like he is ready to return and the one thing that Capuano--now 31--has over most of the others on today's list is experience.
The Padres seem to come up with a new young player each week, and this week the honor goes to Lance Zawadzki, a middle infielder. Zawadzki was a fourth round pick by San Diego in 2007, he has some pop (.285-15-77 with 17 swipes last year over two levels), but speed is the big part of his game (49 steals over 310 minor league games). So far Zawadzki is hitting .200 over his first 15 at-bats. Unlike Mr. Posey, the jury is still out.