Scouting Book: Tools and info to help your fantasy baseball team.
Scouting Book is updated daily and always expanding with new info and insights on rookies, breakouts, prospects and pros. Now featuring 'The Book' on more than 500 prospects, the new at-a-glance Closer Watch grid, and the sortable, multi-ranked Prospect Matrix.
NL Rookies Poised to Make an Impact Right Away
On the weekend, we took a look at those lucky rookies who broke Spring Training already a part of their AL club's Opening Day roster. Today we look at the NL's early bloomers, some of whom are already contributing in a big way.
In the National League this April, most of the rookie action is in the Central Division, where the rosters are bursting with more Opening Day rookies than those in any other bracket.
The Cubs, who have quickly built up the best farm system in the game* are positively overflowing with premium young talent. That means some of them simply must graduate to the big leagues this season, whether the club is ready to compete or not. Slugger Mike Olt is first out of the gate, with pitcher Brian Schlitter also schneaking onto the Opening Day roster, but all eyes are on two Cubbie phenoms: infielder Javier Baez and outfielder Albert Almoro. They'll be ready this year, but with the Cubs still a couple of years (and at least three arms) short of contention, we probably won't see them until it's fiscally sane.
The Cardinal roster, too, is stacked in prospects, as the defending NL champs continue to show no fear in trusting their future to youngsters. While infielder Kolton Wong will try to play up to some pretty high expectations, it's the pitching side in St. Louis that's more interesting overall. Pitchers Kevin Siegist, Keith Butler and Carlos Martinez all broke camp with the big boys this April, with the flame-throwing Martinez the most likely to take on starting duty soon. Martinez will join what has to be the best young rotation in baseball.
In Cincinnati, meanwhile, all eyes will be on fleet outfielder Billy Hamilton, who will be the most prolific base-stealer since Ricky, just as soon as he can get on first often enough to make the attempts.
Milwaukee, in one of the spring's more eye-raising moves, has handed an MLB spot to young lefty Wei-Chung Wang, a Rule 5 acquisition from the Pirates. While Wang hasn't pitched at any level above rookie ball, he looked overpowering enough in the spring to be worth the gamble, which makes him one of the young season's most interesting dark horse stories.
In Pittsburgh, the bulk of the Pirate farm is still a short trip away from the Bigs, but Dominican righthander Stolmy Pimentel should get a chance to shine a little sooner than the rest: he certainly looked capable in short use last season. Pimentel is likely to see early use in the Pirate bullpen, but he could be called upon to start at any time.
While the NL Central is stacked in prospects, there are some fast-risers on other rosters around the league, as well. In Colorado, for example, righthander Chad Bettis should remain in the bullpen early on, but his reputation as a minor league starter portends a greater role in the future. (That is, if he isn't bumped right off the roster by Jonathan Gray, the fast-rising 2013 draftee who most expect to toe the rubber in Denver this season.)
Elsewhere in the NL West, the Dodgers' Chris Withrow should beguile his share of hitters, as will the Padres' Donn Roach, a strong rotation candidate. Giants' infielder Ehire Adrianza, on the other hand, is being given every opportunity to win San Francisco's second base job right out of the gate this month, and Diamondback shortstop Chris Owings looks to have locked down his starting gig already.
Out East, the Mets expect rookie catcher Travis d'Arnaud to suck up most of the tabloid headlines, pitcher Jeurys Familia should also be a factor right away. The righthander has been hovering near MLB for two seasons now, but with a depleted Mets roster providing only a paper-thin obstacle, it's time for him to break through.
In Atlanta, meanwhile, many fans are wondering how the team will even hold itself together. Since losing both of their 1-2 starters to TJ surgery this spring, all eyes have been on the team to scrape together any sort of 2014 rotation at all. The signing of veteran Erwin Santana certainly helped, but it'll be the performances of rookies like David Hale and sophomore Alex Wood that will determine the fate of the defending pennant-winner.
For AL rookies already on MLB rosters, see our earlier story. Or for a complete and up-to-date list of every rookie currently on any MLB team's 40 or 25-man roster, see our sister sites 40manrosters.com or 25manrosters.com, respectively.
Hey Kid, You're Up!
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The Coin Tosses Continue
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Another Sampling of This Year's New Talent Pool
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A Sampling of Next Week's Talent Pool
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Closer Watch 2.0 is Now Live
No matter whether you're a fantasy player or just a hardcore baseball fan, relief pitching is probably one of your biggest frustrations. Relievers are notoriously flaky, and their grip on the job is usually a weak one: some teams will replace their setup men and closers not just once, but many times per season. Meanwhile, fans and fantasy players lose hair over each blown save or meltdown, and hope that some new pitcher in the minor leagues will be their team's late-inning salvation... someday. Complete Article