Your Daily Fantasy Rx
by Tim Polko
Jorge de la Rosa, 23, LH Starter
Perhaps rating him this high is a bad idea after his five unimpressive starts for the Brewers, however he possesses considerable upside and obviously can dominate hitters. Only control problems appear likely to keep de la Rosa from enjoying a successful season in 2005. While I can't recommend him right now to owners in standard leagues, he merits a late-round flyer in deep leagues assuming he wins a rotation job as expected and could contribute fairly quickly if Milwaukee fields a decent defense.
A separated shoulder cost Hardy nearly the entire season, although his April performance convinced the Brewers to give him an excellent chance to win the starting job next spring with a strong camp. If his plate discipline rebounds following his long layoff, I see no reason Hardy won't contribute immediately, but also remember that he owns relatively little power and speed. Any lofty roto value will derive primarily from a high average, so bidding into double digits on the youngsters looks like a mistake.
While Hart might wind up on the Brewers' bench if they sign a free agent right fielder, he currently appears likely to compete with Brady Clark for an everyday job. Of course, nothing in Hart's statistical history suggests a particularly impressive offensive future, and his ability to play all four corners might give him more value as a backup. Feel free to bid several bucks on him if he wins a starting job, however he otherwise looks like more than a Dollar Days' gamble as a reserve.
Hendrickson earned International League Pitcher of the Year honors by dominating during his four months with the Indians. Unfortunately, opening his big league career with six straight losses suggests somewhat unexpected downside. A 1.69 WHIP definitely concerns me, especially considering he rarely demonstrated great control prior to this season. At least Hendrickson posted an excellent ground-fly rate, yet while he could emerge as a solid #3 starter in 2005, I suspect periodic struggles will leave him with little overall fantasy value.
Although Krynzel appears set to compete for a starting job in spring training, nothing in his minor league numbers suggested he can hold an acceptable OBP. His stolen bases declined precipitously, and with Brady Clark and Corey Hart both available to cover the open outfield slot, Krynzel merits little consideration from the Brewers. Of course, he could push $20 in a full-time role, but any BA problems could result in an uncomfortable mid-season demotion for the aspiring leadoff man.
With Tommy John surgery now out of the way, Diggins should enter 2005 in perfect health, likely opening the year no higher than AA before challenging for a big league rotation spot by the fall. If he ever solves his previous control inconsistency, the 17th overall pick of the 2000 draft should emerge as a quality starter for the Brewers, although you should wait until he begins posting decent numbers either at AAA or Milwaukee before considering Diggins anywhere.
Skipping high-A didn't set Fielder back noticeably. Yes, he suffered drops in most of his skills, but he still posted strong numbers at a very high level for someone who entered the season as a teenager. I fully expect him to earn a September cup-of-coffee or even join the Brewers at the trade deadline if Milwaukee deals Lyle Overbay. Fielder merits a top pick in any league given his strong skill set and significant long-term upside.
Combined with an equally troubling .167/.225/.181 performance in 72 AFL at-bats, Gwynn's poor season at Huntsville suggests he needed at least a year of A-ball. Of course, he demonstrated decent speed skills and maintained a .10 walk rate, so he doesn't look that much worse than Dave Krynzel right now. Gwynn still easily could develop into a top leadoff man, however I don't expect him to contribute in the majors much before the middle of 2006.
Yet another smart waiver grab by Doug Melvin, Narron owns good control and respectable history of effectiveness with the Rangers. His continued success at Oklahoma despite an atrocious strikeout rate and weak hit and homer rates suggest he should develop into a viable big league starter in the Kirk Rueter mold. While I don't view him as a likely fantasy contributor, Narron may not hurt you as short-term roster filler.
Only Nelson's youth keeps me interested given his poor contact rate and speed skills. While he owns significant power potential, returning to Huntsville for a third year looks like a good idea, especially since I see few open lineup slots once Corey Hart emerges to cover one of the corner positions. Drafting Nelson now looks like a definite mistake.
While Weeks unexpectedly remained in the minors all year, he posted fairly respectable marks in his first full season as a professional. Yes, perhaps the second overall pick in last year's draft should dominate every level, and his 17 errors in 131 games also concern me. However, Weeks demonstrated patience and power potential, positioning himself to challenge for a starting job in Milwaukee as soon as next summer. His five-category upside and strong likelihood of enjoying at least a decade of consistently solid work in the majors makes him an excellent pick in any fantasy league.
Compiling dramatically improved skills in Adams' third AA season should lead to an eventual big league call-up. Unfortunately, a generally weak WHIP looks likely to keep Adams from developing into a viable roto option.
While Childers finally stayed above AA for an entire year, he should depart the Brewers this winter, especially after Milwaukee foolishly dealt his older brother Jason for Pete Bergeron. Matt still should emerge as a decent middle reliever, although you definitely need to wait until he compiles several strong big league outings before rostering Childers.
The veteran journeyman likely will spend next year with yet another different AAA club despite a career .295 BA and marginal patience. Of course, while Coste might help a big league team in a limited role, he appears unlikely to contribute positively to any fantasy team.
Milwaukee selected Costello in the minor league phase of last year's Rule 5 draft and then converted him into starter with impressive results. He posted fairly strong across-the-board skills and now appears ready to succeed at AAA. Costello likely needs at least a couple more years of seasoning, but he soon should emerge as an interesting fantasy option if provided with the necessary opportunity.
The minor league free agent finally reached the majors after four solid AAA campaigns. He possesses minimal power and unimpressive speed skills, but strong plate discipline and a career minor league average over .300 give him a good chance to emerge as a big league backup sometime soon. Of course, you still should wait until Erickson begins holding a decent BA in the majors before rostering him anywhere.
While the veteran journeyman infielder at least maintained decent plate discipline, his slipping secondary skills make him an obvious risk. I don't expect to see Figueroa return to the majors any time soon
An outstanding performance this season suddenly leaves the minor league free agent positioned to break camp in the majors if he echoes these marks during the spring. Signing with Kansas City gives him that opportunity, and although Giron's history of inconsistent control makes him too risky to draft, he may merit a mid-season pick-up if he continues this impressive success.
An extremely unheralded 33rd round pick in 2002, Housman easily posted the best marks of his career at Huntsville. His dominance of the Southern League led to struggles following his promotion to Indianapolis, however I see no reason he won't rebound over a full AAA season. While you need to wait until he echoes these marks at the highest level of the minors before rostering Housman, I expect him to emerge as a viable fantasy option no later than 2006.
Lost on waivers earlier today to Philadelphia, Lirano lost his 40-man spot with the Brewers after backsliding following a promotion from AA Huntsville. While I still expect him to develop into a useful option, he almost certainly will remain in the bullpen, so wait until he begins producing after securing a regular role in the majors before adding him anywhere.
A surprisingly dominant performance from Novinsky pushes him to the edge of the majors. He even could open the year in Milwaukee with a strong spring given the Brewers' uncertain bullpen. While I expect Novinsky soon to emerge as an intriguing late-inning option, don't roster him until he registers several strong outings.
An apparent case of Steve Blass sent Pratt spiraling down the minor league ladder following his acquisition from Atlanta at the end of spring training with Richard Lewis for Juan Cruz. Chicago then moved Pratt to Milwaukee for Ben Grieve, although following this explosion of his existing control problems, Pratt shouldn't return to the majors any time soon. Avoid him until he proves he can hold an acceptable WHIP as an established member of a big league bullpen.
Saenz should miss the 2005 season after recently undergoing Tommy John surgery. While I can't recommend drafting him in the spring, don't be surprised if he returns before the end of next season, placing himself in competition for a rotation spot the following spring.
I don't know why Sarfate skipped high-A after only managing a 140:66 K:BB in 140 IP last year, but his control problems expanded as expected. Thankfully his other skills remained strong, so while I expect his command soon will force him into the bullpen, Sarfate at least should develop into a quality middle reliever.
Scarborough finally managed a decent OBP, however his negligible power and speed skills give him little value to roto teams. He won't even merit consideration as roster filler until he demonstrates some ability to hold a passable BA in the majors.
Following a very impressive 2002 at Huntsville, Stewart remained decent effective at Pawtucket last year. Falling back to AA while shifting to the bullpen may expedite Stewart's path to the majors, but his solid command should've resulted in a longer look in a AAA rotation. If minor league free agency doesn't offer that opportunity, wait for Stewart, like almost all minor league relievers, to begin succeeding as part of a big league bullpen before rostering him.
With weak dominance and unimpressive overall skills, Weibl appears unlikely to emerge as more than occasional injury filler. Despite some effectiveness over several AAA seasons, Weibl will not be a viable fantasy option unless a full-time shift to the bullpen leads to a superior strikeout rate.
Selecting primarily college players with high draft picks leave Milwaukee with little lower level depth; 2004 #1 pick Mark Rogers accumulated less than 30 innings in the Arizona Rookie League. However, the combination of a weak big league roster and several quality upper-level prospects create intriguing options here. At least the top half-dozen prospects here should earn starting jobs within the next two years, and Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks could develop into very special players. Feel free to select any of these players in most reasonably deep leagues, however make sure you don't expect immediate success since only Fielder looks likely to begin exceeding double-digit value immediately upon winning an everyday job with the Brewers.
Current ranking of potentially helpful fantasy depth for teams discussed thus far in 2004, based on both the quality and quantity of players ready to contribute in the majors, as well as consideration of the trade value of minor league draft picks from the lower levels of each system:
1. Colorado Rockies(Atkins, Closser, Barmes, Hawpe, I.Stewart)
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