“Precision Tayloring” Rookie Report: Checking In on Some Young Arms

“Jimmy, I’ve been a scout for a long time, and the number one rule is, arms slow down when they get old. Now, if I call the office and tell ’em I got a guy here almost twice these kids’ age, I’m gonna get laughed at. But, if I don’t call in a 98-mile-an-hour fastball, I’m gonna get fired! I’m just saying there’s a chance you might get a call on this.” – Dave Patterson

Welcome back readers. The season is not even a month old yet but it has already been an exhilarating one with a lot of volatility left in the air. Also, there seems to be an injury plague sweeping across the MLB nation as more and more notable players are popping up on the DL. This creates opportunities for lesser known or younger MLB players to contribute (or destroy) our real-life and fantasy baseball teams. Today we are going to examine the performances of some young rookie arms.

Better hope you have…

1. Matt Harvey

harvey, matt, matt harvey, mets, new york, ny, starter, pitcher, pitching 2013 Stats: 4-0/ 0.93 ERA/ 0.66 WHIP/ 32 Ks-9 BBs

Outlook: Currently the #1 pitcher on ESPN’s player rater, Harvey has started this season off with a bang. He missed the cut to have his rookie eligibility still by 9.1 innings (You must pitch less than 50 innings in any season prior to keep rookie eligibility), but I have seen the most questions about Harvey. Other than getting lucky with his BABIP (currently at .148), everything about what Harvey is doing is legit. I was very bullish about him during the spring, and everything I said about him then is still true. He has the arsenal, makeup, and mechanics of a true ace, and we should start treating him as such. This leaves us a short list of pitchers that I would rather have than Harvey (Verlander, Kershaw, Stras, & Darvish). Those of you lucky enough to own him in dynasty and keeper leagues, hold onto him for dear life, because he has the ability to backpack your fantasy rotation.

2. Shelby Miller

shelbymiller 2013 Stats: 3-1/ 2.16 ERA/ 0.88 WHIP/ 26 Ks-7 BBs

Outlook: Miller should be the current front runner for NL Rookie of the Year with the way he has opened up the year for the Cardinals, anchoring the back end of their rotation. So far into 2013, Miller has been all Fastball/Curve ball (has thrown 7 change-ups this year) with both offerings being plus or a touch better. Surprisingly, however, Miller has still been able to keep lefties from doing any serious damage against him (.211/.268/.237), which is a very positive sign for Miller’s future outlook, especially when he gets a feel for his change-up at the highest level. Even if his change-up never grades better than a 5, he still has the pitch sequencing and movement with his fastball and curve that he should still slot in as a future #1 or 2 starter.

3. Jose Fernandez

fernandez 2013 Stats: 0-2/ 4.50 ERA/ 1.25 WHIP/ 19 Ks-8 BBs

Outlook: To any normal human being, becoming a pitcher in the major leagues can be a pretty daunting task. Fernandez is no normal human being in terms of make-up and his ability to pitch. When you read about what the 20-year-old Cuban has been through already in his life, you quickly realize that Fernandez is more than capable of mentally handling the task of being a major league pitcher. Fernandez’s arsenal features a mid 90’s fastball that will consistently sit at 94-97mph, with fierce late arm side run to it. His curve currently grades out as a 6 and could easily grade out at a 7 when he is fully developed. His change-up is his third pitch and can get a little too firm when he overthrows it. He is still learning how to pitch with a plan and how to set up hitters with proper pitch sequencing. When he develops that aspect of his game, his numbers are really going to take off. Definitely a pitcher whom is way more valuable in a keeper or dynasty league than single season leagues, as he will still be working out some kinks in his game this season and his numbers may not indicate how good Fernandez really is as a pitcher.

Keep your eyes on..

1. Tony Cingrani

cingrani 2013 Stats: 1-0/ 2.25 ERA/1.08 WHIP/ 17 Ks-3 BBs

Outlook: The only left-handed member of the Red’s rotation, Cingrani features average to slightly above average velocity from the left side that plays up because of the deception in his delivery. It’s still, however, undetermined if he will be able to get away with only having 2 major league ready pitches (fastball/changeup), once teams in the league get their 2nd or 3rd look against him. His short-term success, however, has provided Cingrani some leash, so you should feel comfortable rolling him out there in any fantasy format.

2. Zack Wheeler

wheeler 2013 Stats: 0-1/ 4.91 ERA/ 1.75 WHIP/ 21 Ks-12 BBs @ AAA Las-Vegas

Outlook: The Mets are actually off to a decent start, but if they have any hope of staying competitive in that division, they are going to have to do something about the back-end of their rotation, which currently features Dillon Gee, and Jeremy Hefner. The Mets have already told wheeler that if he wants to come up, he needs to start throwing strikes, but leaving him in the heavily offensive bias that is the PCL won’t help him develop anything if he is worried about getting rocked every night. Wheeler’s fastball sits 92-97 and has explosive late run to it, and both his curve and slider grade are out at a 6, and can be major league out pitches. In my opinion, the Mets would be better off calling Wheeler up and helping him adjust his problem with walks in New York, than having him constantly getting blown up in starts at AAA Las-Vegas while still allowing yourselves to start Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner for 2 games of any series.

Folow me on twitter: @roormatt09

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