Category Archives: Keep An Eye On

No, no #4.

Somewhere in New Port Richey, Florida, Patrick Schuster is getting laid.

The high school lefty just pitched his 4th consecutive no-hitter (yes, you read that right), a Florida state record. According to reports there were more than a dozen scouts in attendance, including Florida Gator’s head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. Before the game was started, it was already dubbed “Patrick Schuster Day.” Talk about pressure.

Schuster struck out 17 in the performance, walking two.

Unbelievable.

According to my 2008 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, Schuster is ranked #42 of the top 100 high school prospects. After this development, I’d certainly look for him to make quite a jump. If he pitches #5 in a week, we might be talking about a phenomenon here.

Still, according to scouts, Schuster is a middle-ground pitcher who should go somewhere if the fourth round if he joins the major league draft. For that reason, I’d expect Schuster to join the University of Florida and let his stock rise. Before we know it, he’ll be a Scott Boras client. Here’s his scouting report for shits and giggles:

Fastball: Touches 90, grades as average.

Curveball: 74-77, also average right now.

Changeup: 78-80 mph.

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Keep An Eye On: Jordan Zimmerman(n), RHP, Washington

He’s on his way, baby!

The Man(n) gets his first MLB start on Wednesday or Thursday so we’ll finally see what the 22-year-old righty can do against a big league ball club. His start will be against the World Champion Phillies, no less.

Zimmermann didn’t fare too well in his first AAA start with the Syracuse Chiefs, tossing 5.1 innings while giving up three earned runs on four hits. He did, however, strike out four and only walk one. In the start, the long ball killed him, as the Twin’s AAA affiliate Rochester Red Wings stroked two four-baggers.

He’s the latest of the prominent pitching prospects to get the call this year, behind Cahill, Anderson, and Porcello, but perhaps displays the most promise. Despite his young age, scouts rave about Zimmermann’s polish and makeup, saying he could be a front of the rotation type pitcher. His repertoire includes a nasty sinking fastball, a sharp slider (that the Nat’s have asked him to diminish), a workable curve, and a developing change up.

Look at that inverted W!

Look at that inverted W!

He’ll probably get shelled in his first start but he’s worth having on your radar as he makes his way first trip through the NL East.

Ace in the hole?

We'll take a look at Lurch's first start of 2009.

We'll take a look at Lurch's first start of 2009.

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Give Craig Monroe a friggin’ chance already.

Craig Monroe’s career has been puzzling. As part of a leftfield platoon for the Tigers, he exploded onto the scene in 2003 by mashing 23 homeruns as a 26 year old. He patrolled all of Detroit’s outfield spots over the next three years, batting in the back half of their order as an all-power, no-average slugger. After his excellent postseason performance in 2006, he appeared to be a part of the Tiger’s future plans. However, after a slow start in 2007, the Tigers cut ties and Monroe was traded to the Cubs, the start of a string of trades that have characterized his dwindling career since then.

Now a member of the Pissburgh Pirates, Monroe has absolutely murdered Grapefruit League pitchers this Spring Training. Yesterday, the journeyman outfielder crushed his eighth dinger, tying a Pirate’s spring record.

Monroe is no spring chicken at 32 years old and he hasn’t had a full-time job since 2006. Still, the 30-homer upside is there and with a horrible club like the Pirates, he could have a chance to play. If rookie newcomer Brandon Moss falters as the team’s Opening Day right fielder or last season’s injury flares up, Monroe could share time there with the resurgent Erik Hinske. The Pirate’s left field situation is no less certain as Nyjer Morgan has never played in more than 60 games and lacks seasoning. At some point, he could be worth a pickup if you’re desperate in the power department.

A question for the reader: do you start Craig Monroe everyday in the hopes that he brings your team 20-30 homeruns, 90 RBI, and a .240 average? Or do you keep platooning and pinch-hitting him?

Keep An Eye On: Rick Porcello, RHP, Detroit

Yesterday, I wrote a post containing five prospects who I thought would make a noteworthy impact on fantasy teams this year. One guy who didn’t make the cut was the Detroit Tigers RHP Rick Porcello. Truthfully, I didn’t think he’d break camp with the team, but according to the Tiger’s GM, he’s done just that.

Porcello is only 20 years old and has just one year of professional experience under his belt. This spring, Porcello posted a 2.63 ERA in a little more than 12 innings using a nasty two-seam fastball that bores in on the hands of righties, a high 90’s straight fastball, a solid change, and a good 12-6 curve that he is still learning to control. At Lakeland last year, he gave up just 7 homeruns through 125 innings pitched (IP) and compiled a 2.66 ERA. He is most often compared to Red Sox ace Josh Beckett.

Rick Porcello
Rick Porcello

The Tiger’s rotation has been a major weakness in recent years and this year seems to be no different. Dontrelle Willis can’t figure it out. Jeremy Bonderman hasn’t lived up to his potential and his velocity is fading. Nate Robertson is a sixth starter at best. Porcello’s performance simply forced the Tigers’ hand.

Porcello could have an immediate impact on fantasy leagues and is definitely worth a pickup. I would consider him a better prospect than the Nationals’ Zimmermann, but probably behind both Oakland’s Anderson and Cahill purely because of the experience factor. It’s important to note that Porcello is still green and there will be growing pains in his development.