Friday, June 28, 2013

NL King - Breaking Down the Brew Crew

Today we are breaking down the state of the Milwaukee Brewers and when they are at. They have a number of core players but to become a contending team they need a lot of work. As of Wednesday morning the Brewers were in 4th place, just a game ahead of the last place Cubs with a 32-43 record and 15 games behind the 1st place Cardinals & well behind the wild card teams.

Bats:
They are strong with bats as the Brewers have Braun, Aoki & Gomez in the outfield & Segura at Shortstop & Jonathan Lucroy at catcher. Aramis Ramirez just turned 35 and had an excellent first year with the Brewers. Ramirez is making 10 million this year and is signed for at least one more season in 2014 for 16 million with a team option in 2015 (that carries a 4 million dollar buyout). Given his contract probably would be tough to move Ramirez and get any good assets for him. The Brewers I think have to hope that Rickie Weeks can be the player he was a couple of years ago as he is signed through next year 2014 as part of his long term deal. Corey Hart has yet to take the field this year and maybe out for the year now, is in the final year of his deal making 10 million dollars. Might be wise for the Brewers to use that money elsewhere.

Arms:
Brewers have control of Gallardo through 2015 and he would have to fall off the map for them not to pick up his team option for 2015. Kyle Lohse is also signed the next 2 years through 2015. After that the Brewers currently have no one they can count on in their rotation. However their bullpen might be in worse shape and I don't think anyone in the Brewer front office is ready to sign off on the fact that Jim Henderson is the closer for years to come. They have to see more. John Axford and his 5 million dollar salary will be gone after this season.

Prospects Coming?
Going into this season the Brewers had the 22nd Ranked farm system according to Baseball America. The Brewers only had 1 prospect in the top 100 in Wily Peralta at #69. Peralta is going to get the whole season in the big leagues to get comfortable and show the Brewers if he can be someone they can write into their rotation. The Brewers 2nd best prospect starting pitcher Tyler Thornburg who they hoped they could get a long look at this season is having a nightmare kind of year (0-9, 5.79 ERA in AAA). I would expect that starting pitching prospects Jimmy Nelson & Johnny Hellweg would get a number of starts in the 2nd half to see if the can be counted on to be part of the Brewers rotation come opening day next year. Even though he is only hitting .238 in AAA Hunter Morris might get a long look in the 2nd half to see if he can be counted on for taking over at 1B. Morris does have 14HR's this year in 70 games at AAA & had huge year last year at AA.

Summary:
The Brewers need to find a 1B, get depth for their starting rotation from within (hopefully Marco Estrada can get healthy and regain last years form as well), and somehow get some strong bullpen arms. If the Brewers don't bring Corey Hart back along with John Axford's contract the Brewers should have some money to play with although their will be a good amount of internal raises from their current group. The Brewers do have a competitive payroll around 90 million (about the same as the Mets) but for the most part I believe they are going to have to solve their issues from within because I don't really see any big trade chips that they have that GM Doug Melvin would be willing to part with.

Follow me on Twitter @ TheNLKing

NL King - C.Lizza



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NL King - State of the Union for Phils

Recently GM Ruben Amaro Jr said the Phillies are not rebuilding. Well I am here to tell you that either the Phils GM needs to wake up and smell the coffee or he doesn't want to let anyone know he is looking into rebuilding trades. As of Tuesday morning June 25th the Phils are in 3rd place with a record of 36-41 and are 8 games behind the 1st place Braves & are 11 games behind in the loss column to the Pirates in the wild card race.

The core of the Phillies is getting long in the tooth and quite simply they are no longer a top team because currently are not throwing 3 aces ever 5 days and Ryan Howard, Chase Utley & Jimmy Rollins are not the players they once were. The Phils have a number of free agents after this year highlighted by Doc Halladay, Chase Utley, Michael Young & Carlos Ruiz. These players salaries this year add up to 48 Million towards the Phillies payroll.

The Phillies farm system going into Spring Training was ranked by Baseball America as the 23rd best system out of 30. On Baseball America 2013 Top 100 the Phillies had 2 prospects on the list with Jesse Biddle (SP) at # 89 & Roman Quinn (SS in A Ball, 20 years old) at # 100. Biddle who is a 21 year old lefty in AA is doing good and projects as a middle of the rotation innings eater. That describes most of the Phillies top prospects, starting pitchers projected to be middle of the rotation guys who are innings eaters. We saw one of them this year in Jonathan Pettibone, I mentioned Biddle in AA, there is also Adam Morgan & Ethan Martin both in AAA but struggling. In terms of position player prospects I mentioned Roman Quinn but he is between 2-3 years away as well as catching prospect Tommy Joseph. The Phils are hoping that power hitter slick fielder Cody Asche who is doing decent in AAA can be their starting 3B come opening day next year. I would imagine the Phils will see what they have with 26 year old Outfielder Darin Ruf sometime this summer although he is not having anywhere close to the year he had in 2012.

Considering the Phils roster and their farm system this is not an organization currently in great shape and one that you would think would contend in the next 3 years. Jimmy Rollins is guaranteed just one more season after this season and Cliff Lee & Jonathan Papelbon just one more after that in 2015. The Phillies look like they have a declining Ryan Howard at age 33 who is making 20 million this season & is guaranteed 85 Million from 2014 - 2016. The Phils have Cole Hamels locked up long term although he is having a bad year in the first year of his mega contract and the only other future core player you can say the Phils have is Domonic Brown.

So given the young talent of the Braves & Nationals its hard to see the Phillies competing. In fact this season the Phillies are 9-4 versus the Marlins which means against everyone else their record is 27-37 (.422). So The NL King is telling Ruben Amaro that if the right trades are there he would be foolish not to move Papelbon & Cliff Lee to get some talented young players to this organization. In addition to doing that Amaro would be freeing up some major payroll giving him money to spend on other free agents. I will also give Amaro some trade ideas. The Tigers are a team where it's World Champs or bust and they do not have a closer. They know with this fact they will not make it through 3 rounds of the playoffs. Papelbon would be a perfect fit for the Tigers and if Amaro can pry loose top OF prospect Nick Castellanos (Rated # 21 by Baseball America Top 100) that's the kind of deal Amaro has to make. As far as Cliff Lee goes sending him back to Texas who is also another team desperately trying to get the brass ring (The Rangers have never won a championship) makes all the sense in the world. Lee really enjoyed his time in Texas, not sure if Texas is one of the 9 teams he can veto a trade to but even if it is I think Lee can be persuaded to go. The Rangers have the 3rd best Farm System in Baseball according to Baseball America and they are very deep. Perfect fit for the Phils.

Don't believe Ruben Amaro, believe The NL King.

Follow me on Twitter @ TheNLKing

NL King - C.Lizza  


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NL King - Checking In on Cole & Wheeler

Today's article is taking a look at two of the top 2 pitching prospects not just in the NL but in MLB who are now in the show.

Gerrit Cole:
3 Starts in the big leagues and Cole is 3-0. It's not suppose to be this easy. In 18 1/3 innings Cole has given up 18 Hits but just 1 walk and 1 HR allowed. Cole has faced the Giants, Dodgers & Angels. Cole has pitched into the 7th inning twice & the 6th inning his other start. Cole has only 8K's in 18+ IP but had 5K's in his last start. Cole's K's were way down this year in the minors even though going into this year he was a K per inning guy. Again in terms of being an effective pitcher and pitching deep into games that may not be a bad thing. Cole in 3 starts has a 3.44 ERA with a ratio slightly above 1. His next start will be this weekend at home versus the Brewers. Have to be impressed with Cole so far especially his control.

Zack Wheeler:
His first start was very impressive especially after his first inning where he walked a couple of batters. Wheeler got his 1st major league win in his first ever start at Atlanta last week. He went 6 innings gave up 0 runs, 4 Hits & 5 Walks with 7K's. Wheeler should be a much better option than Cole when it comes to K's but his control is not as good as Cole so he probably will be a higher ratio guy and pitching for the Mets versus the Pirates probably means Cole will be in line for a lot more wins. Wheeler pitches tonight at the White Sox and then at the end of the weekend in his first home start versus the Nationals.

We will keep an eye out on the progress of these two talented youngsters.

Follow me on Twitter @ The NLKing

NL King - C.Lizza

Monday, June 24, 2013

NL King - NL Team by Team Thoughts

Lets get a thought or two on each NL team shall we.

Atlanta:
Brandon Beachy injury setback should remind Fantasy Baseball owners that until a player is activated he is not off the DL. After Justin Upton's April I really thought this would be a monster year for him instead he has been awful.

Washington:
Has anyone noticed the year Ian Desmond has had? I know it's not the year Segura of the Brewers is having but Desmond reaffirming last years breakout season.

Philadelphia:
After I wrote look for the Phillies to really look into rebuilding with Lee & Papelbon, GM Reuben Amaro denied his team would rebuild. Hmmm, obviously the Phillies GM reads the NL King. I don't believe him Phillies going wrong way and getting old with a high payroll. That's a bad combo if the right deals are there the Phils would be foolish not to rebuild.

Mets:
If Niese has to have him major surgery that will keep him out until next summer that's a huge blow for the Mets. As thin as their organization is that's a blow they cannot take. With Duda now on the DL smart move keeping Ike in AAA Vegas. While Ike is hitting some HR's still way too many strikeouts down there with a bad average.

Miami:
This past week called Stanton a building block. While I don't think he will be traded before the deadline I don't trust a thing the Marlins say. I can easily see Stanton traded this off-season.

St.Louis:
I be surprised if Cards do not get proven closer by July 31st deadline for the September pennant race and playoffs as good as Mujica has been.

Cincinnati:
After a strong start to the season Todd Frazier has been ice cold.

Milwaukee:
Braun thumb injury probably means we do not see him until at least right after the all-star break. Hart who knows at this point.

Pittsburgh:
So glad to see them playing well, the GM needs to get a proven 5th place RBI guy for the 2nd half for this team.

Cubs:
Everyone is talking about Garza being on the trade market and will be moved by July 31st but what about Scott Feldman who is also a free agent at the end of the year?

D-Backs:
Aaron Hill is inching closer and closer back and it seems like David Hernandez is finally going to get his chance to show he can be a closer.

San Fran:
Pagan injury sounds really really bad. With Pence, Lincecum & Zito all becoming free agents after the season that's 56 Million coming off the payroll.

San Diego:
How is this team over .500 and in a penant & wild card race with that roster?

Colorado:
If Rocks fall out of race and with the year Cuddyer is having be a perfect trade chip for them. He would be the perfect fit for Pirates.

Dodgers:
Will be interesting to see how the Dodgers react to this season if they don't get on a roll after spend spend spend philiosphy. Ethier would be the logical guy to trade but with his back loaded contract and bad year at this point LA will have to east a lot of that money.

Follow me on Twitter @ TheNLKing

NL King - C.Lizza

Saturday, June 22, 2013

NL King - MLB Free Agnecy Next 2 Years

I thought a good article would be on free agency in MLB this coming off-season and next. This can dictate trades coming up be it before this summer's deadlines or this off-season and of course effect the fantasy landscape especially from an NL only league perspective. In terms of being a fan of a team you will see that free agency the next two years is not a loaded list.

2014 Free Agents (Free Agents after the 2013 Season)

The Elite:
Robinson Cano - By far the #1 free agent and the Yankees do not want to lose Cano in the worst way and Cano wants to stay in this worse way. Ownership and his new agents have been talking quietly during the season and I wouldn't be surprised to see an agreement reached this summer.

Jacob Ellsbury - Capable of some very big years but also has been very injury prone and will be 30 next year. Scott Boras is his agent so it will take a mega deal. It seems Ellsbury who is a West Coast kid is not happy in Boston and I would look for a change of scenery.

Shin-Soo Choo - Having his best year in 3 years and again Boras is his agent so the then 31 year old will be looking for a mega pay day.

Low 30 Year Old High Quality Bats:
Nelson Cruz - Strong corner outfield power bat but part of the Miami investigation which could really hurt his free agency.

Curtis Granderson - Has been hurt all year but even outside Yankee stadium can be a 30HR, 100R guy who can play Center Field for the next 2 years easy.

Corey Hart - Strong power bat and can play 1B & OF and the fact he has been hurt all season maybe can get for a reasonable price in off-season. Has been with Brewers since mid way 06 so good chance Brewers keep him especially if deal is reasonable.

Brian McCann - Will be 30 next February and with the mileage on McCann & Gattis on the roster Braves & freeing up a big number in payroll Braves might move on.

Kendrey Morales - Perfect fit would be an AL team where he can DH and a homer haven kind of ballpark like Camden.

Michael Morse - Big power and can play 1B & OF. Could be great fit for Mets.

Mike Napoli - His body and hip might be all beat up but having another quality season. Based on his health might have to go on incentive laden year to year contracts.

Hunter Pence - Having the best year of his career and played in competitive markets such as Philly & SF already in his career.

Mark Reynolds - Low average and a lot of K's but a lot of Pop and can play 1B & 3B.

Vet Bats Over 35 - Beware of Injury
Carlos Beltran (Oscar Taveras probably means Cards move on), Paul Konerko (been with White Sox forever might retire) & Chase Utley (2 bad knees not sure what happens with him but figure incentive 1 year deal from somebody).

Pitching:
There is no #1 starters or ace closers available in this free agent class. Field is lead by 2nd tier and nice to good starters. Very thin in terms of relievers. Arroyo, AJ Burnett (said he might retire), De La Rosa, Feldman, Garza, Halladay, Hughes, Josh Johnson (Great stuff but needs consistency & health big IF for him), Kuroda (wants to finish his career in Japan), Lincecum (another below avg year is the magic gone?), Maholm, Nolasco, F.Rodney, & E.Santana.

The following year class of 2015:
Sounds like Clayton Kershaw is close to signing a huge extension with the Dodgers which would mean he would not be apart of this free agent class. The big free agents of this class left would be R.Martin, M.Cuddyer, A.Cabrera, JJ Hardy, J.Lowrie, H.Ramirez, C.Headley, P.Sandoval, M.Cabrera, B.Gardner, J.Willingham, H.Bailey, R.Dempster, J.Peavy, J.Grilli, J.Johnson, J.Motte, C.Perez, JJ Putz & S.Romo. Some good players for sure but almost everyone has question marks / flaws to their game or situation.

Follow me on Twitter @ TheNLKing

NL King - C.Lizza





Friday, June 21, 2013

NL King - Top 5 Closers So Far

Today we finish the Top 5 articles by looking at the closers. Again the stats are reflective through the games played June 16th.

Coming in at # 5 is Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon - 0W, 13SV, 1.46 ERA, 0.69 Ratio, 23K in 24 2/3 IP
Not his fault he only has 13 saves. Could be trade bait come July as the Phils I think are heading to a rebuilding plan.

Coming in at #4 is Edward Mujica

Edward Mujica - 0W, 19SV, 1.82 ERA, 0.64 Ratio, 27K in 29 2/3 IP
This will be a 1 year wonder but if you have Mujica this year feel like the Roto Gods are smiling on you. Come July 31st I expect the Cards might trade for a proven closer for down the stretch and for them hopefully deep in the playoffs.

Coming in at #3 Craig Kimbrel


Craig Kimbrel - 2W, 19SV, 1.71 ERA, 1.03 Ratio, 37K in 26 1/3 IP
His K's are still excellent but not the ridiculous numbers they were last year.

Coming in at #2 Arodolis Chapman

Arodolis Chapman - 3W, 17SV, 2.10 ERA, 1.00 Ratio, 52K in 30 IP
One would think Chapman & Kimbrel will be elite closers in the NL for at least the next 5 years but then again with closers you never know.

And at #1 we have drum roll please

#1 is Jason Grilli, Jason Grilli is that right?

Yes it is

Jason Grilli - 0W, 25SV, 0.88 ERA, 0.78 Ratio, 51K in 30 2/3 IP
The journeyman reliever / 1st time closer is having a Joe Hardy like season. For those of you who don't know who Joe Hardy is please get some more culture outside of Fantasy Baseball.

Follow me on Twitter @ TheNLKing

NL King - C.Lizza




Thursday, June 20, 2013

NL King - Top 5 NL SP So Far

Okay today we take a look at the top 5 NL Staring Pitchers as of Monday morning June 17th. The stats reflected are through June 16th.

Coming in at #5 Mike Minor

Mike Minor - 8W, 2.68 ERA, 0.97 Ratio, 85K in 90 1/3 IP
For those of you like my buddy Ed who would read the off-season NL King article talking about 2013 would be the year Minor would break through you have been rewarded.

Coming in at #4 Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee - 8W, 2.55 ERA, 0.98 Ratio, 89K in 102 1/3 IP
Has been his usual money in the bank just have to hope he doesn't get traded to the AL come July.

Coming in at #3 Shelby Miller

Shelby Miller - 7W, 2.21 ERA, 0.97 Ratio, 91K in 81 1/3 IP
Went from being very on the fence at the end of Spring Training on making the rotation to most likely an All-Star. Should be dominant for years to come.

Coming in at #2 Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey - 5W, 2.04 ERA, 0.91 Ratio, 102K in 97 IP
If Harvey was on a decent team he would have 10 Wins. Come September I can see the Mets shutting him down as those IP add up.

And at #1 we have, drum roll please

#1 is Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw - 5W, 1.85 ERA, 0.97 Ratio, 104K in 107 1/3 IP
Lets face it he is the best starter in all of MLB in real life and in fantasy.

Follow me on Twitter @ TheNLKing

NL King - C.Lizza

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

NL King - Top 5 NL Hitters For 2013 So Far

I am going to break down the top 5 NL Fantasy Hitters as of Monday morning June 17th. All stats shown are reflecting through games played June 16th.

Coming in at #5 we have Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence - 11HR, 38RBI, 41R, 13SB, .297 Avg
Can you say contract year? Pence is running again as Pence did not break double digit steals the last 2 full seasons and already has 13. Also so far great rebound from his career low season average of .253 last year.

Coming in at #4 we have Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt - 15HR, 59RBI, 45R, 6SB, .301 Avg
Goldy has cooled off recently but still across the board huge production. Last year he was a quiet 5 category player this year there is nothing quiet about his game.

Coming in at #3 we have Jean Segura

Jean Segura - 10HR, 30RBI, 40R, 19SB, .330 Avg
No doubt the biggest surprise of the group by a country mile. Do you think the Angels regret giving up Segura in the Greinke deal? 5 Category player at Shortstop as Patrick McEnroe the tennis announcer would say "HELLO!"

Coming in at #2 we have Carlos Gomez

Carlos Gomez - 12HR, 37RBI, 43R, 13SB, .318 Avg
Showing last year was not a fluke and that the contract extension did not impact his focus. For years he was a guy who could give you 15 to 20 steals and not much more but with a poor average. No more.

And the #1 hitter in the NL is, drum roll please

Number One is Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez - 20HR, 56RBI, 57R, 13SB, .316 Avg
His talent, his tools, the lineup he is in, the ballpark all adds up to a monster year for Cargo as he just needed to stay healthy (has only missed 2 games so far this year) & be more consistent. Many people have been waiting for this year the last couple of years.

Follow me on Twitter @ TheNLKing

NL King - C.Lizza


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

NL King - The All NL End of Draft Squad

Listed below is the team one could have put together with all these players, as almost all of them in an NL only draft what at the very end of the draft at the lowest prices. Some of these guys you could have got in the reserve rounds or they may not have even been drafted at all.

Catcher - Evan Gattis- Atl - 14HR, 37RBI, 24R, 0SB, .252 Avg
Unfortunately he just landed on the DL with an oblique but look at the thunder he has provided already.

First Base - Kyle Blanks - SD - 8HR, 26RBI, 23R, 1SB, .282 Avg
Are we heading for another Dominic Brown situation out west?

Second Base - Matt Carpentar - Stl - 5HR, 25RBI, 52R, 1SB, .316 Avg
Yes he started the year as the so called starter but most leagues you could have got him for a song on draft day.

Shortstop - Brandon Crawford - SF - 5HR, 28RBI, 33R, 1SB, .285 Avg
Providing nice numbers across the board. Never hit for a good average until this year.

Third Base - Eric Chavez - Arz - 7HR, 25RBI, 18R, 1SB, .325 Avg
Still on the DL with oblique but should be back no later than end of the month and look at the production he has provided.

Outfield - Domonic Brown - Phil - 19HR, 49RBI, 34R, 8SB, .280 Avg
Pretty much a 5 category guy at the end of the draft.

Outfield - Nate Schierholtz - Cubs - 9HR, 26RBI, 26R, 4SB, .297 Avg
Quiet 5 category player production so far.

Outfield - Chris Denorfia - SD - 4HR, 22RBI, 27R, 7SB, .282 Avg
Provides great depth

Starting Pitcher - Patrick Corbin - Arz - 9W, 2.28 ERA, 1.01 Ratio, 74K
Went from barely making the team to an ace

Starting Pitcher - Mike Leake - Cinn - 7W, 2.64 ERA, 1.22 Ratio, 62K
Has eliminated the blow out starts

Starting Pitcher - Jeff Locke - Pitt - 6W, 2.19 ERA, 1.14 Ratio, 60K
Again made the team at the end of Spring Training and has produced like a front of the rotation starter.

Staring Pitcher - Scott Feldman - Cubs - 6W, 3.05 ERA, 1.10 Ratio, 60K
Went from an over 5 ERA in the AL to slightly above 3 in the NL and that's pitching in Wrigley. Have to love the NL

Starting Pitcher - Francisco Liriano - Pirates - 5W, 2.44 ERA, 1.25 Ratio, 55K
Pitches like this but couldn't pass his physical on the original contract?

Closer - Edward Mujica - Stl - 0W, 20SV, 2.03 ERA, 0.68 Ratio, 27K
Most leagues at best was taken in the reserve rounds.

Setup Man - Rex Brothers - Col - 2W, 3SV, 0.30 ERA, 1.20 Ratio, 29K
That ERA is not a misprint

Setup Man - Mark Melancon - Pitt - 1W, 1SV, 1.05 ERA, 0.90 Ratio, 37K
It's easier for a lot of reasons to pitch in the NL for the Pirates or Houston when they were in the NL vs for the Red Sox.

Follow me on Twitter @ TheNLKing

NL King - C.Lizza

NL King - Not Much Help Coming

During the course of the year a fantasy team can get help off their league free agency / waiver wire be it from a prospect getting promoted or an American League Player getting traded to the NL. Of course a team can get hurt depending upon one's league rules in an NL only league if one of their players got traded to the AL. So let's take a look of what to expect from now through the end of August under each.

Help from the AL? I don't think so
The free agent class coming up this off-season is probably one of the worst classes we
have seen in years. Other than upcoming free agent Michael Morse I don't see any real impact guys in the AL being available at the trade deadline that teams would want. I am sure the White Sox would love to unload some players but do to those contracts of those players teams are not going to be interested. Conversely I think it's going to be a short list of sellers in the NL especially if the Rockies & Padres remain in their Division race as well as the wild card. I think the big name that you will hear that will be available at the trade deadline is Cliff Lee. Cliff Lee is owed a ton of money between now and over the next two years (making 25 Mil this year, 2014, 2015 & 2016 salary is vested at 27.5 Mil with 12.5 Mil buyout). So the Phillies I think are going to have be willing to pay part of his future salary in order to get a good package of prospects. Also Lee has a 9 team no trade list. The team I heard that will make the most sense given all the parameters is Texas. The Phillies are a .500 team at best and Doc Halladay is probably done and the Phils have a number of older players as their core. It's time for them to rebuild. This is something to watch. There was also a reporting on Monday in the Boston Globe that there are 3 teams interested in trading for Papelbon (Red Sox, Tigers & Cardinals). If your rebuilding why do you need a very expensive closer? Papelbon is making 13 Million this season is signed for 2014 & 2015 for 13 Million each season as well with a vesting option for 2016 at another 13 Million.
 
Also to keep in mind is pending free agents Matt Garza & Rickey Nolasco will be moved by the July 31st trade deadline. Other than that of the teams that are bad there are no real selling chips. Cubs would love to move Alfonso Soriano who is signed for 17 Mil next season but would anyone take him on even if the Cubs pay part of that salary? If Soriano is moved 99% it will be to an AL team to DH. The Brewers could move pending free agent Corey Hart if he comes back healthy and is producing but right now that's looking like a big IF. I don't expect Stanton of the Marlins or Headley of the Padres to be moved until the off-season at the Winter Meetings if that happens.

Help from more Top Prospects? It's Thinning Out
Gerrit Cole just came up and Zack Wheeler will make his MLB debut tomorrow Tuesday the 18th versus the Braves. After that you won't see one of the top prospects to hit an NL roster until at least early August when Travis D'Arnaud gets called up by the Mets. That's assuming D'Arnaud does not have a setback with his foot injury. After him the rest of the top prospects to be called up in the NL will be in September as September callups and they will be their to spell the regulars and get a taste of the big leagues.

So my advice is for all teams to start working the phones, the e-mail etc with your fellow owners in your NL only league because not much help is coming.

Follow me on Twitter @ TheNLKing

NL King - C.Lizza

Monday, June 17, 2013

NL King - Met Fans We Have a Problem

With Zack Wheeler making his MLB debut Tuesday in Atlanta and with many Met fans I believe reading my articles I thought I would do an article of where the Mets are at as organization in a brief summary.

The good news is the Mets are pitching deep as it seems. On the major league level they have Matt Harvey & Jonathan Niese to start their rotation and now Wheeler gets added. Most people will tell they expect Wheeler to be at least a front of the rotation starter (at least #2). Later this summer Met fans should see Travis D'Arnaud (part of RA Dickey trade) as he gets his feet wet this season and to take over the #1 catching position for the Metropolitians for the next few years. D'Arnaud has a very good bat and should be a middle of the order type of player which is much needed as those who watch the Mets these days can attest to. With Ike Davis trying to find himself in AAA Las Vegas the Mets really only have two hitters in Wright & Daniel Murphy going forward who are currently on the MLB roster. The Mets are praying that Ike finds himself and at least can be counted on going forward as a good 1B while provide power and hit around .250 and be at least a hitter who can bat 6th in the lineup. The Mets need a Shortstop, all 3 Outfiled Positions, depth in the starting rotation and most certainly depth in the bullpen. Other than Bobby Parnell the Mets bullpen is a disaster area.

The good news is the Mets do have depth in starting pitching with now the addition of Wheeler, Rafael Montero just recently getting promoted to AAA, and with Noah Syndergaard doing very well in High A. I think you could see Montero get a couple of starts for the Mets come September if he does well in AAA. Syndergaard I can see getting promoted to AA soon but I would think all goes well for him the earliest we would see him pitching at Citi Field is this time next year. Both Montero & Syndergaard the Mets believe can at least be middle of the rotation starters.

The top position prospects in the Mets organization are still at least 2 years away if not more with their 1st round picks the last 3 years in Brandon Nimmo (OF - 2011), Gavin Cecchini (SS - 2012), Dominic Smith (1B - 2013). All 3 players when taken were high school kids. Nimmo is in A ball, Cecchini is about to start his season in low A for the Brooklyn Cyclones & Smith is close to being signed but I believe he has not even celebrated his 18th birthday yet. The Mets have no other position prospects prior to the 2013 draft that can be counted on to be everyday players going forward.

Some good news is the Mets have a lot of money coming off the books with the contracts ending for Johan Santana, Jason Bay, John Buck & Frank Francisco at the end of this year. The Mets have estimated committments to next season of 55 Million Dollars in Payroll. It is expected for the Mets to have a payroll between 90 and 100 Million dollars for next season.

This is not a good free agent market coming up. The Mets obviously need outfielders and the two top free agent outfielders are Jacob Ellsbury & Shin Soo Choo. Both by the way represented by super agent Scott Boras. GM Sandy Alderson believes in using the present day free agent market by signing a number of good players at good contracts instead of investing in the mega contract. That could be a problem with that philosophy and signing guys like Ellsbury & Choo this off-season. There will be other options such as Michael Morse, Curtis Granderson, Nelson Cruz, Corey Hart & Hunter Pence.

The Mets could do a mixture of using the free agent market as well as the trade market. However while the Mets have some top prospects their system is not very deep and it's very hard to make trades for quality estblished players under 30 when you don't have a deep system. I have heard the Mets would love to get Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins but even if the Marlins were willing to trade within the division the Marlins would conduct a trade market search in the off-season for Stanton and you can bet at least half the teams in MLB would be lining up to get a deal done for Stanton. A Met deal would have to start with Wheeler and it would still cost a lot more than that.

Met fans there are some positives coming but there also a lot of issues to deal with as well. I firmly believe what the Mets do between now and next Spring Training will decide how competitive the Mets will be for the next few years.

Follow me on Twitter @ TheNLKing

NL King - C.Lizza

Friday, June 14, 2013

NL King - Tulo & Rutledge

Well bad news yesterday for the Rockies. The screams you heard yesterday all over your towns were from Troy Tulowitzki owners. Tulo was having a great season (16HR, 51RBI, 41R, 0SB, .347 Avg) in 61 games. Now with a broken rib Tulo will be out 4-6 weeks which will mean he will miss roughly a little over 30 games.

Unfortunately this is nothing new for Tulo. Granted over the news Tulo has got a lot of bad luck freak injuries but the bottom line is Tulo misses games. Going into this season Tulo had 6 seasons where he entered the year as the starting shortstop for the Rockies on opening day. In those 6 years Tulo has played at least 150 games twice & 140+ games three times. Three years Tulo has been under 125 with the worst being last year with just 47 games played. This injury will probably mean Tulo won't hit 130 games this season.

Bad news for one set of owners is good news for another set of owners as Josh Rutledge is on his way back to the majors to play every day due to this injury. Rutledge was sent down a 3 weeks ago or so and while his batting average wasn't good his other numbers were not bad especially when you consider the average (43G, 5HR, 13RBI, 26R, 5SB, .242 Avg). Rutledge is going to get to play everyday and get a chance to show the Rockies that what he did last year in the 2nd half is what the Rockies can expect going forward. It will be an interesting time for both Rutledge & LeMahieu (23G, 0HR, 4RBI, 8R, 7SB) to show the Rockies what each one is about before Tulo comes back and the Rocks made a decision going forward. If Rutledge is somehow on your waiver wire in your leagues pick him up.

To all my readers and followers who are Dad's happy Fathers Day on Sunday.

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NL King - C.Lizza

Thursday, June 13, 2013

NL King - Quick Hits

Okay we are going to do a bunch of quick hits this morning in no particular order.

- Eric Young Jr was designated for assignment by the Rockies. The Rockies finally realized that Tyler Colvin is a much more valuable player. Colvin owners can relax now as he is here to stay the rest of the season and if Colvin is on your waiver wire I recommend picking him up. Young Jr is just hitting .242 with OBP .290. I expect some team would be interested to improve their bench.

- Tony Cingrani seems to be heading back to AAA with Johnny Cueto slated to start Sunday. Cingrani is ready for prime time as in 7 starts with the Reds he is 3-0 with 3.15 ERA & 0.98 Ratio. However everyone is pitching well in the Reds rotation so Cingrani will have to bide his time. Keep in mind Bronson Arroyo is a free agent after the season so Cingrani will be part of the Reds rotation come opening day next year.

- With the Giants without Scutaro for a while with that nasty finger injury & Panda on the DL with another injury look for the Giants to see if they can pick up some infield help. For a week you can live with Abreu & Arias but how much more than that?

- Danny Espinosa is on the comeback trail but Nats might use this time to work on his swing so may not see Espinosa until end of June - July 1st. Rendon doing well at the plate but has made 5 errors in 14 games and that's a problem.

- Tigers closer Jose Valverde painful blown save yesterday versus Royals should be an indication the Tigers who many believe have a World Series team, will go out and get a closer before the July 31st deadline. Houston Street of the Padres would seem like a good fit.

- With the huge success of Jean Segura who the Brewers received in the Zach Greinke trade makes you think Brewers GM Doug Melvin might be wise to trade Hart before the July 31st deadline (assuming he is healthy) for prospects. Brewers have plenty of bats need depth in pitching both in the rotation and the bullpen. The Pirates would be a great fit.

- I heard Peter Gammons talking that Phils might put Cliff Lee out there in the trade market come July and that Texas would be the front runner. NL only Cliff Lee owners would not like that.

- When Ike Davis was sent down was it curious to anyone that Daniel Murphy who has worked so hard to become a decent 2B was moved to 1B & Valdespin was put at 2B? I know the Mets want to see what they have with Valdespin during this time everyday and 2B is his natural position but what happens if Valdespin is doing well when Ike gets recalled? The Mets who have quality young assets but not a lot of depth in their organization could be looking to move Murphy whose value won't be any higher than it is now. Mets have young pitching that are close but no position players other than D'Arnaud. Mets need outfielders & probably a Shortstop.

- Have to figure Dodgers would love to move Ethier with the emergence of Puig but Ethier picked a bad time to have a bad 1st half (5HR, 17RBI, 16R, 0SB, .235 Avg) and is making 13.5 Million this year and is owed $71.5 Million from 2014 - 2017 at ages 32-35. Dodgers going to have eat a decent portion of that contract to move him.

- Be interesting to see who the odd man out is in the Braves rotation when Beachy is ready to join the team. So who goes to the bullpen? Is it Beachy, Medlen or Teheran?

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NL King - C.Lizza

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NL King - Cole, Puig & Colvin

Todays article is taking a quick look at 3 players in the NL and what's going on with them.

Gerrit Cole:
The prized prospect and former #1 overall draft pick made his MLB debut last night and it was a big success. Cole in his first start ever picked up a win by going 6 1/3 IP giving up just 2 runs (Earned), 7 Hits, just 2K's but no walks which was extremely impressive. Cole pitches again on Sunday at home against the Dodgers. As long as Cole pitches effectively he is here to stay for the Buc'os. Only slight negative from Cole's start is he just had 2K's last night and in the minors this year Cole had 47K's in 68IP. Last year in the minors Cole averaged a K per inning but keep in mind it seems Cole is getting more effective and getting guys out on fewer pitches. It means less K's for fantasy owners but maybe a better pitcher.

Yasiel Puig:
Puig went 0 for 2 last night with a run scored and saw his average drop to .471. What no multi hit game for Puig?. Puig so far in his first 9 games and 34 AB's to go along with that .471 average has 4HR, 10RBI, 5R & 0SB. Puig mania is sweeping Hollywood but while Puig is a huge talent let's keep in mind this is a small sample. Be interesting to see what happens if Puig is playing well and Kemp & Crawford come back off the DL to go with Ethier how the Dodgers will play all these guys.

Tyler Colvin:
In Monday's article regarding Colvin I quoted the REM song "Living Well is the Best Revenge" well Tyler Colvin is doing that and making the Rockies look foolish in the process. In his first start of the season Colvin blasted 2 HR's along with collecting 4 RBI's in a Colorado 8-3 win. Colvin in 8AB's has 2HR, 6RBI, 3R. Like I said after what happened to Colvin this year I felt he was going to be a man possessed when it comes to his games. So far he is making me look like well, The NL King.

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The NL King - C.Lizza

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

NL King - Ike Davis & The Mets

Well over the weekend the Mets sent down Ike Davis to AAA Vegas. Ike could never get it going (5HR, 16RBI, 16R, 0SB, .161 Avg in 186 AB's). The Mets gave Ike as long as he did because last season Ike got off to awful start and then got it all together and finished with a stat line of 32HR, 90RBI, 66R, 0SB, .227 Avg. Yes the average was bad but that was a reflection on how bad Ike hit at the beginning of the season (Ike hit .255 in the 2nd half & .201 in the 1st half).

The Mets game plan is for Ike to work on his swing, stop having a ton of people telling him what to do and get his confidence back in Vegas AAA for 3 weeks to a month and then come back to Citi Field for the 2nd half of the season being a good power hitting 1B.

Quite frankly the Mets have so many holes to fill going forward they need Ike to be a good player. Even with the franchise David Wright at 3B, Daniel Murphy providing production at 2B, D'Arnaud behind the plate (provided he can stay healthy), Harvey, Wheeler & Niese in the front of the rotation & Parnell closing the Mets have a lot of holes to fill and that's with Ike being a solid option at 1B. The Mets need a whole outfield, a Shortstop, depth at the back of the rotation and in the bullpen. The Mets while they do have some top prospects after their top 5 kids the Mets system falls into the abyss. The Mets will have close to 60 million coming off the books after this season between Johan Santana, Jason Bay & Frank Francisco so one would think they will get some players via free agency. Alderson believes in the theory of buying a bunch of good players such as Victorino or Swisher instead of the huge name on the market such as Josh Hamilton.

So why do I bring all this up regarding the Mets for fantasy baseball purposes? The Mets need Ike to work out for the 2nd half be it if he will be part of their core of their team going forward or to trade him in the winter and get good value. The Mets are hoping 3-4 weeks in Vegas Ike will clear his head and get his confidence and his swing going and have a big 2nd half. Ike's father Ron Davis is a former major leaguer and lives in Arizona so maybe Pops can go over to Vegas for a bit and help his son both with his swing & confidence? So Ike owners stash him on your reserve lists and don't give up on him quite yet. Ike was a huge power source in the 2nd half of last season (20HR's final 66 games he played in).

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NL King - C.Lizza

Monday, June 10, 2013

NL King - Logo, Colvin & D.Hudson

Today's article will break down some thoughts on news over the weekend that involves this trio. As an owner of Morrison & Colvin I am glad to see them back on a MLB roster.

Logan Morrison:
Got activated from the 60 day DL yesterday and went 2 for 4 with a run scored. As we entered Spring Training Morrison was coming back from September knee surgery and the word was by the 3rd week of April Morrison would be with the Marlins. I myself thought that was a bit aggressive and thought early May but when Morrison got put on the 60 day DL in April that meant early June. Morrison is 25 and has very good amount of potential to be a really good player, not a star but a solid cog in the wheel. However Morrison is hitting in a pitchers park, not exactly playing with a cast that would be confused with the 27 Yankees and is coming off a knee surgery. So I would expect for the month of June for Morrison to get into the swing of things and if he is going to have a very good season expect that to happen from July 1st or post all star break on. Morrison did have a strong 2011 (23HR's & 25 doubles) but needs to work on his average (lifetime .251 hitter) and needs to be more focused on and off the field and not get into anymore squabbles with team coaches & management. As long as that knee is feeling good Morrison should hit behind Stanton and can be a nice contributor with potential to be more than that.

Tyler Colvin:
What happened to Tyler Colvin is very confusing to say the least. When you consider what Colvin did for the Rocks last year (18HR, 72RBI, 62R, 7SB, .290 Avg in 420AB's) and that he can play all 3 outfield positions as well as first base, so when the Rockies sent Colvin down on the last day of team cuts is more than perplexing. The Rockies said that Colvin didn't get enough AB's in the spring even though this spring training was extended due to the world baseball classic and Colvin was not injured. On top of that Colvin was buried in AAA until this past Saturday June 8th when the Rockies called him up. Furthermore to figure out what the Rockies were doing was how much playing time Eric Young Jr was getting despite his poor performance this year (.238 Avg, .286 OBP in 179 AB's & 56 games). So I have no idea what Colvin did to get banished to the minors for a little over 2 months. I can tell you just locally here in New York if Tyler Colvin was in the NY Mets organization he not only would be playing everyday he would be the cleanup hitter. Many teams would fall under this category for Colvin in terms of at least a good amount of playing time. Colvin should play like his hair is on fire now that he is back with the Rockies (played in 2 games over the weekend and had 2RBI & 1R). Colvin should take the attitude like the REM song"Living Well is the Best Revenge". Colvin should go out there and play well and show the Rockies how foolish they were how they handled him. Between Young Jr performance, Pacheco (no power with .278 Avg), Cuddyer staying healthy and Helton on his last year of his year deal probably last year of his career, Colvin will get AB's if he plays like he did last season. Remember Colvin hit 20HR's for the Cubs in less than 400AB's in 2010 so last year was not the first good year for Colvin. I believe Colvin has a good chance to be a nice player the rest of the season and with his ability to play all those positions in the outfield and at 1B should allow Colvin to get a good amount of AB's from here on out.

Daniel Hudson:
It seemed like Daniel Hudson was on his way to back to the D-Backs around the all-star break but unfortunately Daniel Hudson retorn the ligament in his right elbow and will need another Tommy John surgery which means we won't see D.Hudson until at least July 2014. Terrible news for the kid but he is just 26 years old so hopefully he can get past these horrible injuries and get back to the pitcher he was for the Diamondbacks. One thing we all have to remember about pitchers is how easy it is for these guys to get major injuries. Beginning of the year we saw it with Jason Motte and like most fantasy owners with any of our pitchers on our team we just hold our breath during the season that no one gets a major injury. Good luck to Daniel Hudson on getting back.

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NL King - C.Lizza

Friday, June 07, 2013

NL King - Cole & Wheeler Next Week

Word is coming down now that the Super 2 deadline has passed that both Gerrit Cole of the Pirates & Zack Wheeler of the Mets are expected to make their MLB debuts next week. Cole is scheduled this coming Tuesday the 11th and Wheeler next Friday the 14th to make their MLB debuts. Lets take a look at them both.

Gerrit Cole (Age 22):
The number 1 overall pick of the 2011 draft is ready for the show. Was rated as the 7th best prospect by Baseball America on their 2013 Top 100 rankings. Here are Cole's stats this year so far in AAA.

2013 Stats:
5-3, 2.91 ERA, 1.06 Ratio, 47K in 68 IP

Was part of my top prospects spring training article that could make a fantasy impact this year. As I wrote then has drawn comparisons to Justin Verlander and the Pirates are hopefully Cole will be a front of the rotation starter if not an ace for years to come. Cole has not lit up the K's this year but did average a K per inning last year in the minors in 132 IP. One thing to keep in mind is Cole is entering a pennant race on a good team so how does he handle that pressure? Having said that everyone in MLB loves this kid's ability.

Zack Wheeler (Age 23):
Wheeler came over to the Mets in the Carlos Beltran trade back in the summer of 2011. Can be argued GM Sandy Alderson best move since become the Met GM. Wheeler was the 6th player taken overall in the 2009 draft. Was rated as the 11th best prospect by Baseball America on their 2013 Top 100 Rankings. Here are Wheeler's stats this year so far in AAA.

2013 Stats:
4-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.30 Ratio, 59K in 58 1/3 IP

Again part of my top prospects article during spring training and I said is being projected as front of the rotation starter. Keep in mind Wheeler has pitched for the Mets farm team in AAA which is Vegas which is a tough league for a pitcher. I have a couple of concerns for Wheeler in terms of what he will do this year in 2013. First off there have been so many expectations placed on Wheeler since the Mets acquired him 2 summers ago that he will be expected to show up at Citi Field and be an ace on day 1. Also due to Matt Harvey ridiculous success Wheeler might feel this is the level he needs to be at on day 1 and put undue pressure on himself. In terms of big picture everyone in MLB feels Wheeler will be a front of the rotation starter.

Analysis:
These two talented youngsters can help your teams for the rest of the season but remember they are youngsters. So if you acquire them via your leagues waiver wire or free agency do not expect them to be a saviors to your team. They are capable of having a big summer because they have a lot of talent but they are rookies so if they can be good players for you the rest of this season be very happy with that. In the case of Wheeler he is going to pitch for not a good team and honestly we don't know what the Pirates are just yet. But having said all that I recommend landing these players just keep enthusiasm under control.

Everyone have a great weekend.

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NL King - C.Lizza


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

NL King - Bosch Investigation & Fantasy Baseball

As everyone has heard by now it seems over the next 2 weeks MLB is going to come down with suspensions due to this Tony Bosch clinic investigation. Bosch has struck a deal with MLB and is going to testify and provide documentation on some 20 players or so he reportedly treated. There are a number of points to discuss

- In terms of the NL players the investigation includes Ryan Braun as well as Gio Gonzalez & Yasmani Grandal. On the AL side there is Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera & Nelson Cruz. Those are some of the big names.

- Obviously Bosch will name names and make statements these players took illegal performance enhancing substances but what does that mean coming from Tony Bosch?

- Bosch will also provide documentation. Will these be blood samples, papers what are we dealing with here? Is there any actual videos of the players at Bosch's clinic?

- This investigation should be finished over the next couple of weeks and MLB will hand down suspensions and in some cases want 100 game suspensions not 50 games. MLB wants to suspend A-Rod & Braun for 100 games.

- The players will definitely appeal this investigation and this will go to arbitration bank on it.

- Per the agreement between the players union and owners no one is suppose to know what players is under proposed suspension if they appeal, until that appeal process is over and only if such player(s) lose that appeal. However leaks happen look at the last time Braun quote unquote failed his last test. Bank on it these names will be released, someone from the media will have a source.

Based on what I am reading I am not sure of the time line how this will be decided. In Ryan Braun case it was done in the off-season but the players have to be given a reasonable amount of time to present their case and they can still play while they appeal. Anything can happen but I believe that if this gets finalized during the season and ultimately suspensions are handed down it would be towards the latter part of the season and not over the next month or so. However we have to get all the facts straight before we can figure all of this out. We should know more over the next couple of weeks. Also keep in mind the term "chain of evidence" regarding suspensions. Remember in Braun's case he was ruled in his favor because the courier in that case did not follow the letter of the law in terms of processing Braun's samples. Because of that fact the arbitrator ruled for Braun. How does MLB win their cases against these players with the chain of evidence factor? This is a story we all must watch and I am not saying that if you own these players you have nothing to worry about in terms of losing them at a certain point and time this year to a suspension. But MLB has a high threshold to pass to win their cases. Stay Tuned !!!!

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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

NL King - The Brown Effect & Inj Closers

Today I am going to talk about Domonic Brown. A lot of people are talking about how surprised they are with the year that Domonic Brown is having. Let's look at his stats going into Monday's action:

2013 Stats:
202 AB's, 16HR, 40RBI, 27R, 4SB, .282 Avg, .321 OBP, 25 Extra base hits.

Should we be surprised with Brown first 2 months? Yes and no, boy do I sound like a politician. Brown going into Spring training of 2011 was ranked as the 4th best prospect in all of MLB by Baseball America. To get that kind of ranking you have to be considered a blue chip prospect and one very capuable of being an all-star player. But yet Brown who played in 56 games both in 2011 & 2012 with the Phils showed very little, nothing extraodrinary. In fact during this Spring the Phillies who signed Delmon Young in the off-season who seemed more like a DH said that Brown will be sent to AAA to start the year. This was not a ringing endorsement by the Phillies, in fact this was a very bad sign for Brown and what his organization thought of him. Brown who is now 25 is at an age where he needs to show if he will be a player or not. However the injury late in the Spring to Delmon Young could be the best thing that ever happened to Brown & the Phillies as Brown made the roster had a very good April and an excellent May and now has a good chance to make the all-star game next month. How did all of this happen? Remember my article last week on Ike Davis talking about Ike's performance and Pete Sampras and confidence? In my opinion that has a lot to do with it. Brown always had 5 tool talent but he finally relaxed, had more confidence and belief and probably stopped letting the pressure of being a huge prospect get to him. Teams also have to remember in regards to their prospects even the blue chip prospects that asking young kids to emerge on the scene and be big time players right away is not fair. It takes time sometimes for young players to develop and teams need to show patience which many of them do not. I cannot gurantee Brown's performance will continue on this pace but he sure does look like a fixture in the Phils outfield and lineup for years to come.

Injured Closers Notes:
Both Houston Street & Rafael Betancourt just landed on the DL last couple of days giving Luke Gregerson of the Padres and probably Rex Brothers of the Rockies a chance to show their organizations if they are capable of being closers. Both have excellent stuff and are having excellent years the question is do they have the mental makeup to be a closer?

Stats:
L.Gregerson - SD - 26G, 25 2/3 IP, 3W, 1SV, 1.05 ERA, 0.66 Ratio, 19K
R.Brothers - Col - 27G, 24 2/3 IP, 1W, 1SV, 0.36 ERA, 1.22 Ratio, 25K

Betancourt will most certainly be a free agent after the season (4.25 Mutual Option for the 37 year old) & Street has 1 more year to go on his contract (7 Mil guranteed for 2014 with team option for 7 Mil in 2015). The Pads will most certainly not be in even a wild card race so if a team like the Cards come calling looking for a proven closer and willing to give up a prospect or two that can make a lot of sense. In terms of the Rockies as long as they are in at least a wild card race (30-27 going into Monday's action) I believe they will hold on to Betancourt for the rest of the year and have him be the closer provided that he is healthy. However if they fall out of the race he will be moved Brothers will get to show the chance he can close from that point on through the end of the season.

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NL King - C.Lizza

Monday, June 03, 2013

NL King - Puig & Wacha

Today I am breaking down two of the top prospects in the NL in Yasiel Puig & Michael Wacha. Going into Spring Training Puig was ranked the 47th overall prospect in MLB by Baseball America, while Wacha was ranked 76th. 

Yasiel Puig:
Dodgers gave Puig a huge contract last summer as an international free agent (Cuba) with a 7 year deal for 42 million dollars. So the Dodgers have very high hopes that Puig will be an impact player with that kind of signing. It was at the time considered a risky signing because while Puig is a physical specimen and has immense raw power & explosive bat speed, Puig had not played in a live game in a nearly a year at the time of the signing. While Puig has a lot of tools and physical attributes he was considered raw and needed to work on his selection at the plate. However so far this year in AA Puig has been tearing it up.

AA Stats:
8HR, 37RBI, 26R, 13SB, .313 Avg, .383 OBP, 23 Extra Base Hits in 40 games & 147 AB's.

Dodgers are getting killed with injuries with Matt Kemp on the DL and Carl Crawford nursing a hamstring issue. Puig will get to play everyday in the month of June to show if he is ready. If Puig can be selective at the plate he can be a force for the Dodgers & Roto owners fo the rest of this year.

Michael Wacha:
Wacha going into Spring training was considered another touted young pitcher the Cardinals have in their system. Wacha was projected to be a middle of the rotation starter but perhaps front of the rotation if his breaking pitches could come along to go with his 93mph sinking fastball.

AAA Stats:
9 Starts, 4-0, 2.05, 0.95 Ratio, 34K in 52 2/3 IP

Wacha in his first start last week against the Royals got a no decision but went 7 innings giving up 1 run on just 2 base hits with ho walks, while striking out 6. While it's just one start Wacha does the ability to be a very good contributor for the Cards this year. If Wacha can show that now and with Garcia out for the year there is an opportunity for Wacha to stay in the rotation (not to mention Westbrook is also working his way back from injury). Always hard to predict young pitchers but I always would bet on the Cardinals and how they produce players.

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NL King - C.Lizza