Thursday, April 9, 2009

On the Farm: Minor Leaguer Who Could Make a Major Splash

If you're a talented fantasy player you are monitoring the minor leagues for the next Ryan Braun or Evan Longoria who pop up in May or June and become studs, then first round picks next season.

Well here are some guys who are in the minors who I believe can have a chance to become that guy.


Jon Niese, Buffalo Bisons (NYM)

Niese has four minor league seasons under his belt, in which he has put together a 34-26 record, 3.72 ERA in 459.2 innings. He has given up 458 hits, 231 runs, and 190 earned runs. The best parts about Niese is his 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings over those four years, along with only 3.3 walks per game.

He also has only given up only 26 home runs over his four minor league years, the highest was at Triple-A, last season. In his only major league experiment, Niese compiled a 1-1 record, 7.07 ERA in 14 innings last season which is why he's starting this season in the minors.

David Price, Durham Bulls (TB)

We all know about Price and we know what he can do but let's take a look at the statistical side of the string armed lefty. In his only minor league season he had a 12-1 record, 2.31 ERA in 109.2 innings.

Price had only 92 hits against him, 30 runs, 28 of which were earned. Seven home runs finish off a talented minor league year. Now for his major league stats, and to put it mildly, it went better than it went for Niese.

He a 0-0 record, a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings. Only nine hits, four runs, three earned came from Price during his single stint with the Rays. Not only was he a staple for the Rays' postseason run but he can be the staple for your postseason run.

Phil Hughes, Scranton W/B (NYY)

Hughes who we all remember from his astounding rookie season in 2007, is in the minors once again. However in his five minor league seasons he has compiled a 28-8 record, 2.35 ERA in 310.2 innings pitched. He has also racked up, 348 strikeouts and 77 walks.

During his two major league stints, he has a 5-7 record, 5.15 ERA, 81 strikeouts and 44 walks in his 106.2 innings. Now he has some injury history, but I think that he's going to get over it.


Matt Wieters, Norfolk Tides (Bal)

Wieters has already been compared to fantasy stud Geovany Soto. Just like Price he only has one year of minor league stats under his belt. During the 130 games he played, he hit .355, had 155 hits, 27 home runs and 91 RBIs.

Oh and to top it off he had two stolen bases, which ties him for eighth in most steals from catchers, if he played in the majors last season. Wieters also had 76 strikeouts and 82 walks in his 437 at bats. Only negative is that he hasn't played above Double-A, which is probably why the Orioles opted to send him down.

Austin Jackson, Scranton W/B (NYY)

Jackson just like Jon Niese, has four years of minor league service. During those four years he has hit .284, had 481 hits, 26 home runs, 189 RBIs, and 98 stolen bases in 432 games and 1,696 at bats.

During his minor league career, Jackson has 398 strikeouts and 180 walks. He is currently ranked as the Yankees top prospect in a slowly rebuilding farm system, but the Yankees' have an extremely crowded outfield which might keep him in the minors.

Jose Tabata, Indianapolis (Pit)

Tabata who is a former Yankee farm hand was traded to the Pirates in the Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady trade. In four years in the minors he has hit .296, had 379 hits, 21 home runs, and 186 RBIs, with 70 steals. He also has only 217 strikeouts and had 114 walks in his 1,280 at bats.

Tabata who is only 20 looks to storm through to the Pirates since they have virtually no one else. His only minor league competition is fellow top prospect Andrew McCutchen but unlike McCutchen, Tabata is on the 40-man roster.

Stats are courtesy of the fine people at

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