Saturday, May 14, 2011

Minor League SP Who May (or may not) Help This Year: National League

This is the second of a two-part series focusing on minor league pitchers who may or may not help this season. Part One focused on the American League. Tonight I'll look at the National League.

Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
Age 20
Level: AAA
2011 (AAA only): 6 GS, 37 2/3 IP, 28 H, 12 BB, 32 K, 0 HR, 1.91 ERA.

I'm cheating somewhat by kicking this off with Teheran. The Braves already used him for a spot start and will announce Wednesday whether it will be Mike Minor or Teheran to fill in for injured Brandon Beachy. Teheran is one of the best pitching prospects in the game, but his start against the Phillies was a sign that you shouldn't expect great things out of Teheran right away. While his stuff looked great, he had trouble throwing his change or curve for strikes with consistency and the Phillies just waited on his fastball. Teheran might be a match-up play against weaker line-ups than the Phillies, and is definitely worth grabbing immediately if he's somehow available in your league.

Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals
Age 20
Level: High-A
2011: 6 GS, 35 IP, 27 H, 14 BB, 49 K, 2 HR, 3.09 ERA.

I include Miller here because he's owned in 11 percent of CBS leagues. It is extremely unlikely he'll be up this year, though. If he keeps pitching like he has so far, Miller may get promoted to Double-A at some point this season and start 2012 in Triple-A. A mid-year 2012 Major League call up looks like Miller's best case scenario.

Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates
Age 19
Level: Low-A
2011: 4 GS, 15 IP, 12 H, 3 BB, 14 K, 0 HR, 1.80 ERA

Here's another guy I'm including because of his relatively high ownership percentage in CBS (10%). After a rocky 2011 debut, Taillon has simply dominated in his next three starts. Next year is your last chance to grab him in keeper leagues if he's not gone already.

Jarrod Parker, Arizona Diamondbacks
Age: 22
Level: Double A
2011: 6 GS, 28 IP, 27 H, 19 BB, 24 K, 4 HR, 6.11 ERA

The overall numbers look lousy, but that's because Parker was awful in his first two starts (14 ER in 7 IP). Since then, he's put a 2.14 ERA in 21 IP with 18 strikeouts. The control/command still isn't quite there; Parker has walked 13 in those 21 innings. Rotoworld thinks that the Diamondbacks wouldn't hesitate to use Parker if the need arose, but given their investment in him and the fact that he's recovering from TJ, I don't think they'll bring him up unless everything's clicking.

Casey Kelly, San Diego Padres
Age: 21
Level: AA
2011: 7 GS, 39 1/3 IP, 40 H, 11 BB, 26 K, 2 HR, 3.43 ERA

Anthony Rizzo is off to such a hot start that the other key component to the Adrian Gonzalez trade has often been overlooked this year. Kelly's numbers look pretty pedestrian to me, though he gets the "young for his level" bump. I don't like the sub 6 K/9, though Kelly's severe G/F rate (3.21) nullifies this to some degree. Any Padres prospect that is pitching well in the minors deserves some attention, since he'll get to pitch half his games in Petco. Simon Castro seemed like the more logical in-season call-up at the beginning of the year, but with Castro sucking wind at AAA, Kelly still might get the call if the Padres have a need.

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