Blowing Smoak?

April 23, 2010

This was supposed to be Chris Davis‘ break-out year. The experts touted him, tantalized by the thought of his monstrous power, nestled in that potent Rangers lineup. So many fantasy owners followed suit in spite of a lifetime .302 OBP and 6.1%/34.6% BB/K rate. Sorry guys but I have to share a little schadenfreude, since now I know I’m not the only miserable fantasy owner in my leagues this week. I guess it was inevitable. If you carry a line of .200/.265/.311, you’re not going to stick around in the majors too long. And that’s with a .300 BABIP no less! The Texas Rangers waited and waited for Chris Davis to develop into a solid hitter. After another 0 for day, The Rangers decided they couldn’t wait anymore.

Enter: *POOF* Justin Smoak! (How’s he do that?!)

Ranked the #13 prospect by Baseball America, the switch-hitting first baseman has been absolutely pwning the PCL with a line of 326/.500/.587 and a gaudy 16/6 BB/K ratio. That said, I’ve been hearing comparisons between Smoak and former Ranger, Mark Texiera for a couple of years now and frankly, I’m not buying it. The power numbers just aren’t there to make such lofty projections. While he may not have a ton of pop (10 HR in 464 2009 AA & AAA PA) Smoak does possess the sort of advanced plate discipline that should keep him out of severe slumps and keep him in the Texas lineup for a long time to come. Since Arlington is a homer haven, Smoak’s power should get a little boost playing at home.

Rotoworld dropped the story at 11:15 PM apparently. I heard the news, while on Razzball, about an hour later. In the Big Ballers League, he was gone by 12:03 AM. Gotta move quick to catch Smoak!

I don’t think I’m going to make a claim on him in my Keeper League, as my corners are deep and I have Carlos Santana waiting for his call up. Smoak looks like an excellent pickup in that format however, as I suspect he will develop his power and turn into a solid hitter and on base machine. I really do want to take him though, just to stick it to Davis’ owner… like Pinella stuck it to me yesterday. Yeah I’m still bitter.

Welcome to the bigs kid. Don’t go blowing Smoak up our asses now.

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Next In Line…

April 21, 2010

A few quick notes about some high profile prospects, who are not “The Last In line,” like Ronnie James Dio:

  • Giants prime-time pitching prospect, Madison Bumgarner has seemed to regained the form that earned him a ton of hype over the past couple of seasons. In his last start, Bumgarner’s velocity had improved greatly, reaching into the low-90’s, rather than topping out in the 80’s, as he had been doing in his previous starts this season. Giant’s GM, Brian Sabean claims that Bumgarner’s struggles had a lot to do with his spending the off-season preparing for his wedding, rather than preparing for the 2010 season where he was expected to be S.F.’s 5th starter. Todd Wellemeyer has been awful so far in the starting role so Bumgarner getting back on track is fantastic news for the Giants and fantasy owners in 16 team keeper leagues that might own Bumgarner.
  • 2008 saw Armando Galarraga emerge as a fantastic sleeper for fantasy owners, as he posted 13 Wins and a 3.73 ERA over 178 1/3 IP. With a FIP of 4.88 in ’08 however, it was plain to see that Galarraga would take a step backwards in ’09. After a predictably forgettable campaign last year, the 28 year old righty began this season in AAA, where he has been pounding the K zone at eye-popping rates (18/1 K/BB with a 1.96 ERA in 3 starts). If he keeps this up, you can bet that The Tigers will find a place for him if one of their starters falters.
  • Cleveland’s stud catching prospect Carlos Santana, collapsed in agony after fouling a ball off of his leg in a AAA game this afternoon. Scary stuff for the promising young backstop, who should be getting the call up to Cleveland some time in late May to early June. Also scary for fantasy owners like me, who have already hitched a lot of hope on the kid. Santana is currently mashing Independent League pitching to the tune of .727 SLG. Early reports say that Santana is not seriously hurt. With Lou Marson and Mike Redmond hitting a combined .125 with 1 XBH so far, Santana has a clear path to an everyday catching job when he arrives in the bigs.
  • Chris Davis is still swinging at everything and what he is hitting is not leaving the yard. In 40 PA’s this season, the Texas 1B has actually swung at slightly more pitches outside the zone, than he did last season (34.4% O-Swing % currently, 34.1% in ’09). While it’s a small sample size, it’s a bit alarming, especially when you consider that the young slugger has yet to hit a HR. As Justin Smoak keeps progressing, it looks more and more likely that he will be replacing Davis at first sooner, rather than later. On Saturday, ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote:

“Chris Davis is off to a terrible start that is a lot like his start in 2009… Meanwhile, Smoak is off to a strong start in Class AAA, hitting .300; he drew a walk on Friday night in Oklahoma City’s victory over Memphis, his 10th this season, in nine games; he’s got just three strikeouts, and four extra-base hits.


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