Clayton Kershaw is pretty good.
Like how I "Gilligan's Island"-ed that headline? I have got to think of more clever ways to get all the information I want into the headline without making it longer than the article.
On Monday I started my updates around baseball with the AL West which you can read here. Despite the fact that, as you can see, these are slightly outdated within a day or two! But like I said before, it's hard to keep track of every team and player during the season. There are a lot of them and if you root for the AL or the NL, you may not pay much attention (if at all) to the other league. I see it all the time! Hell, if I'm being honest, I still don't "understand" the NL completely, but that's only because I am an AL guy and I would expect much of the same in return from brethren in the country of "National."
Speaking of which, we switch over to the same geography but the other league to keep things spicy and update the NL West today. Starting with worst instead of first, the fantasy dynasty land of baseball! The...
San Diego Padres (19-37)
You could make votes for Anthony Bass or Dale Thayer (?) but that wouldn't be fair because if you break out, shouldn't I have at least heard of you? The scary thing is that the Padres aren't that young either. I look around at other bad teams and see youth and inexperience and some talent but with the Padres I see that even their top rookie, Yonder Alonso, is 25.
I guess the good news is that the Padres were considered pre-season to have one of the deepest farm systems in recent years, but we will get to that later.
Chase Headley is walking at a career-high 15.2% clip and has a career-high .175 ISO but I'm not ready to call it a "breakout" and certainly not one that is super worthy of fantasy consideration. Bass has 8.03 K/9 and a 3.53 FIP in 68.1 innings but only 2 wins to show for it. We should know by now that wins are a stupid stat and certainly not all his fault, but this is fantasy here we are talking about.
(I don't know where to throw in this fun fact, so I'll just do it now: Did you know that in only six games, Carlos Quentin has 1.2 fWAR? That easily makes him the 2nd most valuable hitter on the team in only a weeks worth of games.)
Disappointment: Cameron Maybin
10th pick in the draft, top prospect in Detroit, traded for Miguel Cabrera, flamed out with the Marlins, acquired by the Padres for a couple of relief pitchers, finally puts it together in 2011. Maybin has had quite the wild ride in baseball from his ups to his downs back to ups and now back to downs.
Much more after the jump...
Last season at age 24, Maybin hit .263/.323/.393 with 41 extra base hits, 40 stolen bases, and 82 runs in 137 games. He seemed set to be a guy that could turn in 50 stolen bases and 100 runs easily over a full season but he's not close to that pace this year. In 50 games, Maybin is hitting .223/.309/.318 with 14 stolen bases and 27 runs with 11 extra base hits.
He might get 50 stolen bases but he has to raise the rest of those numbers. His walk rate is encouraging and a .281 BABIP is far too low for a player with his speed. There are reasons to like what Maybin is doing this year but from a fantasy perspective, it's been a bust. Maybe a good time to buy.
It's not bad when you can turn a setup pitcher into two starting pitching prospects, and that's what the Padres did last year with Mike Adams getting moved for Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland. The latter made five starts for San Diego earlier in the year and though his major league debut (@LAD) went badly, he posted a 3.18 ERA in the next four starts with 23 K in 22.2 innings.
Then he hit the DL.
Wieland has resumed throwing and should be a good add in fantasy for whenever he returns from the DL and makes starts in Petco.
Alonso is hitting .268/.347/.366 in 54 games with 1 HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, 16 2B, and 39K/23BB. Good plate discipline and very little power, which is sort of what I expected but not that bad with the HR numbers. However, whenever I think of Brian Giles I remember how bad it is to be a hitter in San Diego. Few have ever conquered it.
I like to think that Ernesto Frieri looks like Guy Fieri, but that's not possible right? Frieri was "off the hook" for the Padres so they traded him for what they actually needed: a hitter. Alexi Amarista was one of the Angels top 10 or 15 prospects going into the year and is hitting .159/.178/.250 in 45 PAs for San Diego.
I think that Anthony Bass is still technically a rookie after pitching 48.1 innings last season.
It doesn't get much more important for a team like the Padres than watching what's happening in the minors...
Yasmani Grandal, one of the top catching prospects in baseball, is hitting .320/.418/.523 with 21BB/28 K in 36 AAA games in the PCL. He had a one at-bat trial with San Diego(!) and should be up again when they want to be a better baseball team.
3B Jedd Gyorko, the #98 prospect per BA, hit .262/.356/.431 for AA San Antonio and .364/.406/.636 in 20 games in the PCL (go figure) with 6 HR and 21 RBI. The team has two hitters on right on the cusp of helping out the major league team.
1B/OF Cody Decker is hitting .283/.378/.626 in 56 games across AA and AAA.
SP Casey Kelly had 14 K/0 BB in 12 innings over two starts and got hurt again. He has resumed throwing.
RP Brad Boxberger is a strikeout machine: 125 of them over his last 84 innings since last season. But he's walking 6.1 per nine.
The earlier-mentioned Erlin has 45 K/10 BB in 33.2 innings for AA San Antonio with a 2.67 ERA in seven starts. At age 21, he could probably use the rest of the season in the minors and compete for a rotation out of spring in 2013.
OF Raymond Fuentes is hitting .254/.329/.341 with 1 HR, 9 SB in 55 games.
Jaff Decker is hitting .184/.365/.293 in 47 games, really hitting rock bottom after hitting .236 last season. Decker is a former top 100 prospect.
Keyvius Sampson has made 11 starts for San Antonio and has a 6.22 ERA with 50 K/31 BB in 50.2 innings and 47 hits allowed. He was one of the Padres top 10 going into the year, but he's only 21 and he just needs to get that command/control improved.
OF Rymer Liriano, maybe the #2 prospect in the system, is hitting .293/.356/.418 with 19 stolen bases in 56 games for high-A Lake Elsinore. The 20-year-old is about two years away from making the bigs.
Cory Spangenberg, the #10 pick last season, is hitting .303/.345/.403 with 0 HR, 20 SB in 57 games for Lake Elsinore. He had showed much better plate discipline last season when he hit .316/.419/.418.
C Austin Hedges is hitting .266/.336/.461 with 5 HR and 5 SB in 36 games for single-A Fort Wayne.
Jace Peterson is hitting .304/.399/.462 with 18 SB in 41 games. He was the 58th overall pick last season.
RP Johnny Barbato is hitting his spots for single-A: 25.1 innings, 32 K/8 BB.
2011 25th overall pick Joseph Ross has a 6.26 ERA for Fort Wayne with 27 K/11 BB in 27.1 innings.
Holy crap I am done writing about the Padres! LIGHTNING ROUNDS FROM NOW ON!
Colorado Rockies (24-31)
Christian Friedrich... finally. The lefty has thrown 36 innings to start his major league career and has 36 K/10 BB and a 4.50 ERA/2.59 FIP/3.17 xFIP and is the Rockies leading pitcher in fWAR. The former #33 overall prospect posted ERAs over 5.00 the last two years but has regained his confidence and might be a breakout pitcher for the Rockies that they've been looking for.
Interesting to also note that Colorado quietly built up quite the young pitching staff this year. 25-and-under club: Juan Nicasio, Friedrich, Alex White, Jhoulys Chacin, and Drew Pomeranz. All have made starts with Colorado this year. Surprising that they also had one of the oldest pitchers in major league history until recently.
Rosario is hitting .248/.282/.569 with 9 HR, 24 RBI. You take that from a rookie catcher all day.
Also, Dexter Fowler has a .961 OPS?
Disappointment: Jamie Moyer
Only because I reallllly love Jamie. Sad that he got cut :(
Those pitchers, not just Friedrich....
Pomeranz has made 5 starts, 4.70 ERA, 23 innings, 20 K/15 BB. He has made 5 starts in AAA since and has a 2.22 ERA in 24.1 innings with 27 K/7 BB.
White is not technically a rookie anymore. Against Seattle he had 7 K/0 BB in 7 innings but otherwise hasn't been very good. He walked 5 and struck out 2 in his last start against the Dodgers and has a 5.60 ERA in 35.1 innings with 20 K/12 BB.
OF Tim Wheeler is hitting .244/.358/.311 in 13 games so far with AAA Colorado Springs. He was a 1st rounder in 2009 and hit 33 HR with 21 SB last season.
Top hitting prospect Nolan Arenado is hitting .287/.341/.416, 4 HR, 15BB/27K in 232 PAs for AA Tulsa. He is only 21 and shouldn't see the majors this season.
OF Kyle Parker is hitting .244/.327/.378 with 2 HR in 24 games for high-A Modesto. The 26th overall pick in 2010, Parker hit 21 HR last season.
Former top pick and top prospect Tyler Matzek, still just 21, has pitched 62 innings for Modesto and has 68 K but still doesn't know where to throw it: 48 walks. He has a 3.05 ERA.
SS Trevor Story is hitting .300/.391/.589 in 50 games for single-A Asheville with 10 HR, 34 RBI, 25 BB/42 K in 220 plate appearances. Story was the 45th overall pick last season and wasn't in the top 100, but from my experiences of watching minor leaguers, with his age, he's moving quickly up boards and was considered a very good prospect going into the draft.
C Will Swanner is hitting .341/.410/.667 for Asheville.
P Chad Bettis, the #86 prospect going into the season, has spent the entire year on the DL.
Arizona Diamondbacks (26-30)
Breakout: Paul Goldschmidt?
The D'backs used up all of their "breakouts" last season on Miguel Montero, Ian Kennedy, and Daniel Hudson. Goldschmidt played in 48 games last season and hit .250/.333/.474 with 8 HR. This season he has played in 47 games and is hitting .277/.348/.478 with 6 HR. He's walking a bit less, striking out a bit less, hitting for a bit less power, and has a higher BABIP.
It's not a breakout.... it's just going to be a full season of the same thing you got last year, which is a first baseman with moderate power so far.
Disappointment: Justin Upton
The "Next Griffey" is currently 7th in fWAR for position players on the Diamondbacks. He's hitting .243/.340/.365 with 5 HR, 20 RBI, 8 SB and a .122 ISO. Last year he hit 31 HR, 105 R, 88 RBI, 21 SB. So yeah, I'd say this is a disappointment.
Upton has short bursts of greatness but he has 4 hits in his last 28 at-bats and 1 walk with 8 strikeouts. The crazy thing is that he's still only 24.
Miguel Montero is only slugging .363 with 3 HR.
Dan Hudson has 20 K/10 BB in 31 innings, only 5 starts, and a 4.65 ERA.
Honestly, this is the NL West. Nobody ever does what you expect them to do. You might as well never predict anything in the NL West. Even right now the only team I'd count "out" is the Padres and even then... who knows. It's a weird division.
Patrick Corbin has a 5.27 ERA in five un-noteworthy starts.
Wade Miley, the #9 prospect in the system per BA, has pitched 59.2 innings between the rotation and the bullpen and has a 2.72 ERA with 36 K/16 BB.
Trevor Bauer has made four starts in AAA now and has a 2.52 ERA with 31 K/12 BB in 25 innings. In total this year he has a 1.96 ERA in 12 starts with 91 K in 73.1 innings. He's not disappointing, that's for sure.
2009 1st round pick A.J. Pollock is hitting .349/.390/.435 with 0 HR, 8 SB in 26 games for AAA Reno.
Fringe top 100 prospect Matt Davidson is hitting .270/.374/.517 with 12 HR in 58 games for AA Mobile with 55 K/32 BB.
#13 overall prospect Tyler Skaggs has made 10 starts for Mobile and has a 2.65 ERA, 56 K/15 BB in 54.1 innings. He is only 20, so he's a bit behind the timeline of Bauer, but could see the bigs in 2013.
SS Chris Owings, a top 10 prospect in the Arizona system, is hitting .327/.366/.555 with 11 HR in 54 games, though he has struck out 59 times. He will be moving up prospect boards.
Bobby Borchering, the 16th pick in 2009, is hitting .265/.317/.475 for high-A Visalia in the Cal League.
SP Anthony Meo has a 3.57 ERA in 53 innings with Visalia and 62 K/28 BB.
SP David Holmberg has a 2.99 ERA in 78.1 innings with Visalia and 86 K/14 BB. Holmberg, 20 years of age, should shoot up the boards. People will take notice of Meo, the 2nd round pick last season.
The dual top seven picks of Bauer and Archie Bradley could go down as one of the best draft gets of all time. Bradley has 12 starts for single-A South Bend and has a 3.92 ERA and 56 K/35 BB in 59.2 innings but only 32 hits allowed. Sure, Bradley isn't Dylan Bundy right now, but he looks pretty good.
San Francisco Giants (31-25)
Breakout: Melky Cabrera?!?!?!
Trades rarely get more whelming than ones involving Melky Cabrera, but right now the decision to move Jonathan Sanchez for Cabrera looks genius. Sanchez has been bad. Cabrera has been good. So good that he leads ALL Giants in fWAR.
Cabrera is hitting .365/.406/.535 with 4 HR, 27 RBI, 41 R. Thing is... .406 BABIP.
Last year he hit .305/.339/.470 on a .332 BABIP but he still scored 102 R and had 20 SB. That's reasonable production from him and probably what you should expect over the next 100 games for him to pace out around.
Not bad at all but he's not going to win the batting title. Right?
Disappointment: Brandon Belt
Tim Lincecum Tim Smincecum. At least TIMMY still has a 3.66 FIP, 3.78 xFIP and all those strikeouts.
Giants fans haven't shut up about Brandon Belt for the past two seasons and now he's playing again. And still not good. He's hitting .229/.349/.333 in 44 games. Last year, he hit .225 but at least had 9 HR. He has 0 HR and 15 RBI this season. I don't give up on hitters that easily, but people were expecting him to do better than Aubrey Huff and he just isn't doing that.
Charlie Culberson: .136/.136/.136 in 22 at bats.
25-year-old Roger Kieschnick is crushing it at AAA: .319/.390/.623 with 14 HR in 51 games.
OF Francisco Peguero is hitting .227/.260/.635 with 4 HR and 7 triples.
RP Heath Hembree has a 5.31 ERA in 20.1 innings with 17 K/10 BB.
The org's top prospect Gary Brown is hitting .239/.320/.311 in 258 plate appearances for AA Richmond with 2 HR, 15 stolen bases, 9 caught stealing, 17 BB/39 K. Last year he hit .336/.407/.419 with 14 HR and 53 stolen bases which bumped him to #38 overall but he's struggling out of the Cal League.
Another top 5 prospect in the system is C/1B Tommy Joseph and he's hitting .268/.311/.392 for Richmond with 3 HR.
You have to give credit to Bruce Bochy's son Brett. He has struck out 29 in 26.1 relief innings with a 1.71 ERA. In his career now, he has 82 K/15 BB in 65.1 innings with a 1.52 ERA. How cool would it be to see a dad call for his son from the bullpen in the majors? And how cool would it be to see his son lose the "big game" and then everyone call Bruce out for making a decision with his heart and not his head? Pretty cool!
Down in high-A San Jose, Joe Panik is hitting .249/.337/.348 in 55 games with 29 BB/21 K.
C Andrew Susac is hitting .246/.376/.362 with 3 HR.
Down in single-A Augusta (the "Greenjackets") Kyle Crick has a 4.05 ERA in nine starts with 51 K/26 BB in 40 innings.
Eric Surkamp, striker outer of 170 in 148.1 innings last year, has not yet pitched this season because of an elbow injury.
Los Angeles Dodgers (35-21)
Breakout: A.J. Ellis?!?!
Another weird one here. Ellis is a 31-year-old catcher who now has a career-high 178 plate appearances and is hitting .308/.426/.493 with 6 HR, 25 RBI, 37 K/28 BB with seven doubles. At a time when Matt Kemp has gone down with injury, Ellis, a career minor leaguer that has backed up just about every Dodger catcher imaginable at every level, has stepped up.
A pretty cool story that I had NOT been paying attention to until right now!
Kenley Jensen isn't a "breakout" since he was pretty awesome last season but we pay more attention (a little bit) now that he's getting the saves.
Disappointment: Dee Gordon
You don't expect MUCH from a shortstop really. Some speed, some runs, hopefully some average. Gordon had 233 plate appearances last season and hit .304/.325/.362 with 24 stolen bases 27 K/7 BB. That's good. He has 211 plate appearances this season and is hitting .230/.271/.286 with 14 stolen bases 42 K/11 BB. That's not good.
You can't make a whole lot out of UZR after 51 games but his -5.5 combined with a .251 wOBA has equaled out to -0.7 fWAR on the season, worst on the team. Even his baserunning score of -0.6 isn't good. And on a not-terribly-low .284 BABIP.
On the bright side, he's hitting .314/.352/.373 in his last 14 games but still has struck out 12 times and walked twice. He needs to rack up those SBs to have any fantasy value, otherwise he's a hole in any lineup.
Clayton Kershaw has dropped his strikeout rate, which isn't fun, but he's still damn good.
Nathan Eovaldi has pitched 12.2 innings in 2 starts with a 2.84 ERA and 8 K/5 BB. Eovaldi was ranked as the #3 prospect in the org per BA. He had 30 K/13 BB in 35 innings for AA Chattanooga.
Ivan DeJesus is hitting .304/.346/.435 in 12 games.
Josh Lindblom has 27.2 relief innings with 25 K and 9 BB with a 2.60 ERA.
Alex Castellanos was just being dumb in AAA: .379/.476/.759 in 22 games. He went 2-for-3 in his first major league start with a triple and 0-for-4 yesterday. He hit .320/.386/.573 in AA last season for the Cards and Dodgers and was traded for Rafael Furcal.
Scott Van Slyke is hitting .336/.411/.623 in 32 games with 8 HR in AAA. He hit .194/.219/.355 in 33 PAs with LA.
1B/OF Jerry Sands hit .247/.335/.449 with 7 HR in 42 AAA games and .200/.238/.300 in 8 games for LA.
C Tim Federowicz is hitting .268/.323/.453 in 50 AAA games with 5 HR and 27 RBI.
Shawn Tolleson has struck out 34 batters and walked only 5 in 22.1 relief innings across AA and AAA.
Chris Withrow has a 5.71 ERA in 41 AA innings with 45 K and 24 BB.
Ethan Martin has a 2.92 ERA in 64.2 AA innings with 61 K and 32 BB.
Allen Webster is also in AA and has a 5.68 ERA in 50.2 innings, 45 K/21 BB.
Aaron Miller has a 4.96 ERA in 52.2 innings at AA with 8.54 K/9 but 5.13 BB/9.
Chris Reed, the 16th overall pick last season, had a 3.09 ERA in high-A in 35 innings with 38 K and 14 BB. He just debuted in AA with 3 innings, 2 K/2 BB and 0 H or R.
Basically, the bulk of the Dodgers prospects are pitchers. The bulk are in AA. Withrow, Martin, Webster, and Reed, you are pretty lucky if you get half of your starter prospects to become major league regulars so the Dodgers are set well there and the team is already getting really good production out of their rotation this season, albeit an older rotation. It will be interesting to see how they decide to play out the rest of this season at the trade deadline.
Of course the top pitcher in the system, the top prospect in the system, is Zach Lee at high-A Rancho Cucamonga. He has a 4.78 ERA in nine starts and 45 K/8 BB in 43.1 innings. That kind of command at age 20 is very impressive. That's 9.3 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 with a 5.63 K/BB ratio. Maintaining that control will make Lee a top starter prospect headed into next season.
Their top hitting prospect is also at Rancho. Joc Pederson is hitting .286/.373/.376 in 35 games with 1 HR, 5 2B and a triple with 15 BB/26 K. Pederson hit .323/.407/.503 last season and 11 HR, 26 SB in only 84 games.
Garrett Gould has a 5.19 ERA in 52 innings with 54 K/17 BB at Rancho.
Leon Landry is hitting .302/.340/.596 with 11 SB in 33 games for Rancho.
Finally we get to single-A Great Lakes. At single-A I'm looking for teenagers. (Why don't you have a seat over there?) But seriously, age-to-league is important and the Dodgers don't have any teenagers at even single-A.
Close is James Baldwin, age 20. He is hitting .195/.273/.233 with 23 stolen bases in 42 games.
THAT'S IT. WE'RE DONE! YEESH!!!!!