Jurickson Profar and Jake Odorizzi have been called up, and the wave of minor leaguers heading to The Show has begun. Obviously the stampede to the waiver-wire will be fierce for these players services, but ask yourself this very valid, yet often overlooked question – is it worth blowing your free agent budget on players that may not even have a defined role in a couple of weeks? We’ll investigate.
JURICKSON PROFAR DEBUTS
Let the craziness ensue.
Jurickson Profar has been promoted to the big leagues as Ian Kinsler was placed on the DL, and with that hordes of people were selling their souls to the devil in order to add Profar. My question is – why? Profar is an elite talent, but is he going to be an elite fantasy star from day one? I don’t think so. Profar was hitting only .278 at Triple-A. He did have a strong 0.88 BB/K mark continuing the strong plate discipline he has long showed, but that doesn’t mean a .300 average is a coming. Here’s the facts. (1) He’s not a .300 hitter right now. (2) He’s not a 20 homer hitter right now. (3) He may be a 20 steal talent right now, but even that isn’t certain. (4) And this is the biggest issue – where will Profar play when Kinsler returns from the DL (it seems likely that Kinsler could very easily be ready to go the first day his 15 day DL stint is up)? Kinsler has a tag for being injury prone, but over the past two seasons he has missed only 12 games. Kinsler was also hitting .302 with a 25 homer, 90 runs, 80 RBI pace. He’s going right back into the lineup when he’s healthy. Elvis Andrus is hitting .325 in May with seven steals putting him on pace for his first 40 steal season. He’s going to continue to play every day. I ask again, so where does Profar play? Oh let’s put Profar at second and Kinsler at first. Um, Mitch Moreland is batting .328 with seven homers, 14 RBIS an a 1.118 OPS in May. He’s doing pretty well at first base.
Here’s the bottom line. Unless Profar hits .350 the next two weeks and forces the Rangers to keep him in the starting lineup, he’s likely headed back to the minor leagues. Keep that in mind as you blow your free agent budget to add a guy who might be back at Triple-A in two weeks.
For more of my thoughts on Profar listen to this audio clip.
JAKE ODORIZZI DEBUTS
Jake Odorizzi was called up to take the rotation spot of David Price for a couple of weeks with the Rays. An elite talent, Odorizzi made two starts last season with the Royals lasting only 7.1 innings. However, those poor outings don’t dim the fact that Jake O. is an elite talent with a bright future. Part of the Wil Myers/James Shields deal, more on Myers in a moment, Odorizzi dominated last year at Triple-A going 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA, though he walked a few too many leading to a 1.35 WHIP. He also lost the huge K-totals that had been part of his repertoire the previous couple of seasons as he punched out only 88 batters in 107.1 innings (7.38 per nine). Alas, the K ball returned this season as he punched out 47 batters over 44.2 innings as he racked up a 4-0 record with 1.10 WHIP at Triple-A this season. His first outing with the Rays this season was rough, he allowed two runs in the first inning, but he did settle in nicely thereafter allowing him to last five innings during which time he permitted three runs while walking just one and striking out six. Odorizzi is worth an add in just about every league out there at the moment, but remember, it’s possible he will be sent back to Triple-A in a few weeks when Price is healthy (expectations are that Price’s arm should be fine, there is nothing structurally wrong, and that he might be back in two weeks). Don’t break the bank on Odorizzi just yet.
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS WIL MYERS?
Wil Myers was the Minor League Player of the Year according to many a publication last year as he killed it to the tun of 37 homers, 109 RBIs, 99 runs scored an a .313 batting average over 134 games played at Double and Triple-A. Myers is an elite power hitting prospect, one of the best overall prospects in baseball without question, but there are a couple of factors to keep in mind with Myers.
(1) The Rays are a small market club, and they watch their budget very carefully (that’s why they are so successful). Given how money is tight, the Rays are very likely to leave Myers, as they ALWAYS have been, in the minor leagues until at least the second week of June. Why? By doing that the Rays will enable the arbitration clock of Myers to be delayed a year. That could save them millions of dollars cause once players hit their arbitration years their cost skyrockets.
(2) Has anyone bothered to look at how Myers is doing right now? The answer is not very well. I listed his impressive numbers from last season, so ask yourself how the following totals compare: Myers has hit four homers with 24 RBIs an a .250 batting average over 40 games? Yikes is right. His power is down. His run production is down. His batting average is way down, not to mention that his OPS is down .200 points from .932 to .732. A .732 OPS at Triple-A equates to a 5th outfield type in the big league folks. It should also be pointed out that Myers has 51 Ks in 40 games leading to a terribly high 29.3 percent K-rate. If he comes to the majors swinging the bat like this he will be back at Triple-A quickly cause big league pitchers will dominate him.
Myers will be up at some point this season, and he may very well be a nice power bat when he does come, but you’re fooling yourself if you think the Rays should call him up right now. Myers’ just isn’t in a groove right now, and until he gets there the Rays would be best served to leave him down in the minors where he can find his stroke away from all the hoopla that will surround him when he’s called up.
WHEN WILL WE SEE BILLY HAMILTON?
Billy Hamilton is likely the fastest man in baseball, and he stole an all-time record 155 bases last year in just 132 games. A former shortstop, Hamilton was moved to the outfield this season. That transition and the fact that he obviously has a lot to learn in the outfield, well, that takes time. Beyond that, much like the case with Myers, we’re looking at a guy who is struggling at the plate. Hamilton has appeared in 39 games at the Triple-A level this season and is hitting .228 with a .286 OBP further cementing the position that he’s simply not a very good hitter at this point of his development. If he was called up he would steal bases when he reached base, but the question is, would he reach base? Have you seen Dee Gordon play? Hamilton looks like very much the same player, and now that he’s likely to be eligible only as an outfielder and not at shortstop in the fantasy game, you have to be realistic about your expectations for Hamilton for the 2013 fantasy baseball season.
DID YOU KNOW….
In 1921 Babe Ruth might have had the greatest season ever. Ruth hit .378 with 59 homers, 171 RBIs, 177 runs scored and he stole 17 bases. He also had a .512 OBP and .846 SLG leading to a 1.359 OPS. One word describes all that – stupendous.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Friday at 5 PM EDT. For more of Ray’s analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account where he tirelessly answer everyone’s questions.