Matt Cain out with Arm Inflammation

Matt Cain hasn’t been “Matt Cain” for the last two seasons but the recent DL stint may or may not have answers for it. Matt Cain was placed on the DL on July 14, 2014 with right elbow inflammation retroactive to 3 days before the All Star break. The team will start Yusmeiro Petit on Tuesday in place of Matt Cain. The bigger concern seems to be the underlining fear that this injury might lead to Tommy John. While at the moment it’s just a guess many feel that his recent struggles seem to match many of the pitchers who have recently been diagnosed with Tommy John.

Matt Cain has always been a statistical anomaly to start with having a FB% averaging about 43% over his career but limiting his HR/FB to only 7.4%. The last two seasons has seen both these stats start to average out averaging a HR/FB of 12%. Contrary to popular belief Cain isn’t exactly the strike out pitcher that he’s reputation has given him. Having a career K/9 of 7.48 which is below league average but not giving up that many BB’s means he keeps runners off the bases. Cain likes to work up in the zone, a tactic that he was able to get away with up until recently but why exactly he’s not fooling hitters may have something to do with this recent bout of inflammation.

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BAA WHIP BABIP ERA ERA- FIP FIP- WAR
2014 6.97 3.19 1.30 .238 1.25 .265 4.18 122 4.59 133 -0.3
2013 7.71 2.69 1.12 .226 1.16 .260 4.00 115 3.93 113 1.2
Career 7.48 3.04 0.82 .223 1.18 .264 3.39 86 3.72 94 28.3

Top MLB farm systems

5Pittsburgh Pirates

It has been a mixed year for the Pirates farm system, with Jameson Taillon missing the whole season with Tommy John surgery, first-rounder Reese McGuire struggling at the plate, and first-rounder Austin Meadows missing three months with a hamstring injury.

With all that being said, there is still a lot to love all across the farm system, including Meadows, Taillon, right-hander Tyler Glasnow, outfielder Harold Ramirez, and starter Nick Kingham. The Pirates may lose this ranking if they call just one of the names listed above to Pittsburgh.

 

 

4. Houston Astros

It’s been a terrible summer for the Astros. Among not being able to sign Brady Aiken, Carlos Correa, their highly touted top prospect, broke his fibula a couple of months ago. Their top pitching prospect, Mark Appel, has a terrible 10.80 ERA in High-Class A. Delino DeShields Jr. took a ball to the face and has had a disappointing year since then.

 

The reason the Astros are not higher in my rankings is because they’ve promoted two of their top prospects, George Springer and Jon Singleton. It is still a very deep system in my opinion and if Appel and DeShields would be playing to their expectations, Houston would probably be number one.

 

 

3. New York Mets

This may come as a surprise to you all, but to me, this is expected. The Mets have promoted Travis d’Arnaud, their number two prospect heading  into the season and Jacob deGrom, their number 13 ranked prospect. Nearly all the guys in the system have taken a step forward in the right direction. Noah Syndergaard (No. 1 ranked prospect in system) has had an excellent year in Triple-A Las Vegas (also known as “Pitchers’ Hell.) Brandon Nimmo (No. 5) is hitting for power as of late. Catcher Kevin Plawecki (No. 6) continues to hit well, he is now pushed himself up to Triple-A  for his second full season.

 

Shortstop Amed Rosario, who is just 18 years old, has the instincts and reactions to play shortstop if he can just find some calmness and consistency. The Mets have a ton of arms but are heavier on the bats.

 

 

2. Minnesota Twins 

Byron Buxton, my number one prospect currently, is finally starting to be himself at Class A Fort Myers after missing almost four months with various wrist injuries. Kohl Stewart, their first round pick last year, is having an outstanding debut so far. He has began throwing strikes and racking up strikeouts in low Class A. Keep in mind that Stewart is only 19 years old. One scout told me he is concerned about is lack of polish and needs to begin cleaning up his delivery.

This year, the Twins landed the draft’s top ranked position-player in shortstop Nick Gordon. After that, they went and picked up a pair of college righties who both can hit 100 mph easily in Nick Burdi and Michael Cederoth. I personally would have liked to see them go after a starter mix in there somewhere. With all this considered, the Twins have the second-best farm system.

 

The number one farm system currently is………

(To Be Continued)

 

Follow OPSN National Baseball Reporter Wade Chapman on Twitter @Wade_OPSN

Morneau and Tulowitzki hit the DL

Rockies have suffered a major blow today losing Troy Tulowitzki is heading to the DL for a strained hip flexor and yesterday Justin Morneau was placed on the DL with a neck strain. This couldn’t come at a worse time for the Rockies who have cooled off quite a bit since they’re amazingly hot start at the beginning of the season. In the last 30 days the Rockies are in the bottom 10 of offensive WAR having a 1.8, R’s scored with only 92, BB% at 5.9% and in the top 10 in K% at 21%.

As for Tulo and Morneau themselves are both having really strong seasons and that makes it all the worse for the team. Tulowitzki is having such a strong season he could be in the MVP talks at the end of the season. Tulo is having a career year in almost offensive categories while not actually hurting himself by striking out. Tulo’s ISO is a staggering 50 points higher than his career average and higher walk totals mean his OBP is coming from walks just as much as his AVG.

BB% K% AVG OBP SLG OPS BABIP ISO wOBA wRC+
2014 13.3% 15.2% .340 .432 .603 1.035 .355 .263 .443 172
2013 11.1% 16.6% .312 .391 .540 .931 .334 .229 .400 142
Career 10.1% 15.8% .299 .373 .517 .891 .320 .219 .383 126

 

As for Morneau, he’s having a strong season showing more power than he did back in Minnesota, which makes sense given where he’s playing now. Besides the power increase he’s having a normal season by his standards. The most improved area of his game has come in the decrease in strikeouts having and like previously stated the increased power.

BB% K% AVG OBP SLG OPS BABIP ISO wOBA wRC+
2014 4.5% 10.6% .312 .345 .502 .846 .317 .189 .366 119
2013 7.9% 17.3% .259 .323 .411 .734 .290 .152 .321 102
Career 9.1% 15.3% .280 .347 .483 .830 .294 .204 .354 117

Fantasy Baseball: Three Unheralded Hitting Prospects To Stash In Keeper Leagues

Buxton.

Lindor.

Gallo.

Baez.

Bryant.

Chances are, you’ve heard these names before, and chances are, if you play in any kind of competitive fantasy baseball keeper or dynasty league, these guys are already long gone.

But what about the guys you’re fellow league members may not know about? Dynamic prospects that have bright futures not only on their respective teams, but on fantasy rosters as well.

These relatively unknown commodities will have your opponents wishing they did their homework.

Christian Walker, 1B, Baltimore Orioles

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If you follow college baseball, then you’ve most likely heard this name before. One of the star players on South Carolina’s dynasty from 2009-2012, Walker underwhelmed over the course of his first two professional seasons after being selected in the 4th round of the 2012 draft, showing minimal power (13 HR in 125 games, .436 slugging percentage) and just above average plate discipline (44 BB/81K) after being considered one of the draft classes’ most disciplined hitters.

But in 2014, Walker has put it all together, showing a bigger power stroke than even the Orioles ever imagined with 20 home runs and 80 RBI in 100 games and an impressive .302/.375/.514 slash line. Not overly large for a 1st baseman, Walker stands just 6′ tall, but has a sweet swing not completely unlike Chris Davis, but from the right side.

Recently promoted to AAA, Walker has a decent shot at a September call-up, and has the chance to provide 25-30 HR upside and push Chris Davis to full-time DH duties in 2015, making him an intriguing option for mixed league owners for the near future.

D.J. Peterson, 1B/3B/OF Seattle Mariners

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An extra-base hitting machine with a Kyle Seager-like flair, Peterson has dominated minor league pitching in every level he’s encountered and 2014 has been a coming out party for the 22-year-old.

Hitting .320 on the season with an eye popping .588 slugging percentage between High-A and AA, Peterson hasn’t stopped hitting since his promotion last month to AA Jackson and he now has 22 home runs and 28 doubles in only 359 at bats this season.

Although Seager is an obvious roadblock to Peterson’s shot with the big club, his athleticism could allow him to move to the outfield if need be, and despite his smaller frame (6’1”, 190), he’s even flashed a little leather at 1st base in his minor league career in an effort to develop some versatility.

Expect the former University of New Mexico product to make his MLB debut in the summer of 2015, and when he does, his ability to hit for a high average and provide middle of the order pop should make him a lot of fun to own on any fantasy squad.

Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Houston Astros

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Quick trivia question for everyone:

Who’s been the most exciting player in the Astros’ deep farm system in 2014?

A. Carlos Correa

B. Domingo Santana

C. Mark Appel

D. Teoscar Hernandez

That’s right. Not the #1 overall picks, or the coveted power hitting OF.

In a system rich with top notch prospects, Hernandez has quietly become one of the most exciting five tool players in baseball in 2014.

Blessed with a rocket for an arm, a powerful swing, and quick feet, Hernandez has the looks of a young Carlos Gomez (and we all know how valuable a fantasy player he’s become), smacking 17 HR, knocking in 73, and stealing 28 bases for High-A Lancaster this season.

Still just 20 years old, Hernandez–like Gomez–has a lot of swing and miss to his game (his 101 strikeouts in 345 at bats this season is a solid indicator of that), but he’s shown he’s mature beyond his years playing in a league where he’s two years younger than the average player and posting a .378 OBP.

If Hernandez can fix the minor holes in his swing, he can easily be patrolling the Astros outfield with George Springer at the start of 2016, his five category upside makes him an intriguing stash in keeper leagues.

Follow OPSN Fantasy Baseball Analyst Shawn Ferris on Twitter @RealShawnFerris for more MLB news, updates, and analysis. 

Tigers Agree to Long-Term Lease to Continue Playing in Lakeland

The Lakeland Ledger reported that the Tigers and the city of Lakeland have agreed to a 20-year lease to continue playing Spring Training games and Single-A High Flying Tigers games at Joker Marchant Stadium.

The new deal includes $37 million in new improvements to Tiger Town, new vending areas, an extended press box, new practice areas and an extended grand stand in left field.

During the renovations to Joker Marchant Stadium, the High Flying Tigers will play at nearby Henley Field. OPSN will also be reporting live from Joker Marchant Stadium Friday July 25th when the High Flying Tigers battle the Bradenton Marauders.

You can follow Shane Miller on Twitter @ShaneMiller27

Kurt Suzuki and Twins far apart on extension

There is mutual interest between catcher Kurt Suzuki and the Minnesota Twins on a contract extension, although the two parties are not seeing eye to eye at the negotiation table.

This news is huge considering the Twins are willing to use the first time all-star as a trade chip if they can not reach a contract agreement. Suzuki has slashed .311/.368/.398 and driven in 40 RBI in 2014. Check back to see if the Twins can lock down a long term agreement with the catcher.

You can follow Shane Miller on Twitter @ShaneMiller27  

Troy Tulowitzki Lands On The DL….Again

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies

Some things just never change.

Taxes will always go up.

Bruce Jenner will always get plastic surgery.

And Troy Tulowitzki, ultimately, will end up on the disabled list.

Today was that day.

The Rockies placed their MVP-caliber shortstop on the disabled list with a left hip flexor strain, retroactive to July 20th. The 2014 all-star is leading the National League in a variety of categories, including runs scored (71), batting average (.340), on-base percentage (.432), slugging percentage (.632), and OPS (1.035).

The injury, which was originally labeled a cramp, certainly puts a damper on the slugger’s MVP hopes, and forces the 29-year-old to the DL for the 6th time in the last seven seasons. From 2011-2014, Tulowitzki has played just 70% of the Rockies’ games in that time-span.

Okay, so nobody is mistaking him for Cal Ripken anytime soon.

Tulowitzki will be eligible to return from the disabled list on August 4th, but with the Rockies 14 games out of playoff contention, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s out until at least mid-August with the team not in any position to rush their brittle franchise cornerstone.

Josh Rutledge will take over at shortstop for the time being in Colorado.

Follow OPSN Lead Writer Shawn Ferris on Twitter @RealShawnFerris for more MLB news, updates, and analysis. 

Darwin Barney designated for assignment

Tuesday afternoon, the Chicago Cubs designated second baseman Darwin Barney for assignment. Barney had been the team’s second baseman since 2011, and this move is likely to clear a roster space for Emilio Bonifacio coming off the disabled list.

Barney has been regarded as one of the better defensive second basemen in the majors, but his offensive production has been anemic at best in 2014. He has slashed .230/.265/.328 in 2014.

It was reported that top prospect Javier Baez has moved to second base at Triple-A Iowa, this could mean that they are preparing to hand over the reigns to Baez come September call-ups.

You can follow Shane Miller on Twitter @ShaneMiller27

Why the New York Yankees Acquiring Chase Headley is a Win-Win Situation

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About a week ago, I wrote an article discussing the two big pressing issues the Yankees must address in the second half of the season in order to make a push for the postseason. One issue was the offense and the lack thereof.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Yankees addressed that issue in a big way.

The Yankees have acquired San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley in a trade that will send infielder Yangervis Solarte and pitcher Rafael De Paula to the Padres. This is the kind of deal that the Yankees needed to make to help bolster this lineup. This is a big win-win situation for the Yankees.

Think about it.

What did the Yankees really give up in order to acquire Headley? Solarte has had a solid first season for the Yankees hitting .254 with six home runs and 31 RBIs. Solarte was never a big power hitting infield prospect that the Yankees held high on the prospect must watch list. Neither was De Paula, who was pitching in the minor leagues in the Yankees organization with the Tampa Yankees.

The Yankees gave up next to nothing to gain a big middle of the lineup hitter that Headley is and can be. The problem for Headley is that he has not been able to duplicate his 2012 success.

Headley is a hitter that we all know had a career year in 2012 hitting 31 home runs and 115 RBIs while playing in a pitcher-friendly Petco Park. However, in his last 282 games since the end of the 2012, he has had only 82 RBIs and his lack of production can be pointed at lack of consistency and injuries. Headley playing his home games at Yankee Stadium will certainly help him rediscover his power stroke especially with the short porch in right field.

The acquisition of Chase Headley will be a big plus for the Yankees. Only time will tell if it a move that helps the Yankees get back to the postseason.

Follow OPSN MLB Writer Shukri Wrights @shukri96yankees for more updates

Report: Yankees acquire Chase Headley

The New York Yankees have indeed made a big move prior to the deadline as they have acquired third baseman Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network.

This is big news for the Yankees, who sit in second place four games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. The Yankees are also in need of offensive help as they rank 13th in the American League with 391 runs scored. Only the Royals and Astros are worse.

It’s been a rough season for Headley, who is hitting just .229 with seven homers this season. He’s never quite lived up to the hype since blasting a career-high 31 home runs and 115 RBI in 2012. Petco Park has been notoriously tough for hitters, so a change of scenery, especially to the new Yankee Stadium could do Headley a lot of good.

The Yankees will be sending pitcher Rafael De Paula and third baseman Yangervis Solarte the other way to San Diego, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Solarte, 27, produced six home runs, 31 RBI with a .254/.337/.381 line for the Yankees in 75 games this season.

De Paula has spent the entire 2014 campaign with Advanced-A Tampa and has a 6-5 record with a 4.15 ERA in 17 starts.

Follow OPSN’s Andrew Vigliotti on twitter for more MLB updates @Andrew_Vig

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