There’s a thin line between big league talent and minor league lifer talent.
Just ask Crash Davis, owner of the career minor league home run record.
Actually, don’t try to ask Crash. He doesn’t exist. If you didn’t know that, put down the paper and watch “Bull Durham.” I’ll wait.
Now that we’re all here, and we’ve all watched the best baseball movie of all time, let’s talk about the flurry of high-profile prospects who have recently enjoyed their first cup of coffee, and whether they’ll get to drink a whole pot before all’s said and done.
Jurickson Profar, Rangers 2B: The good news for Profar? The Rangers seem committed to keeping the No. 1 prospect according to the Baseball Prospectus in the bigs, despite Ian Kinsler’s return.
The bad news for Profar owners? Kinsler doesn’t seem interested in changing positions. Thus, Profar likely won’t play much more than every other game.
If you’ve got the roster flexibility, stash him. But if you need the player in his spot to contribute every day, it’s time to re-rack.
Wil Myers, Rays OF: What this guy lacks in consonants and vowels, he makes up for in raw power.
He’s off to a clunky start (3-for-17 as I “pen” this column) and his contact rate in the minors was down to 71.8 percent from 73 last year, but the Rays’ clunkier offense is going to allow him to find his groove.
Similarly to the Profar situation, stash Myers if you can. The difference here is that Myers will likely break into the lineup at least five games a week. Expect about a dozen homers the rest of the way, but he’ll likely cost you some average. After all, that was the outlook on Paul Goldschmidt at this point a year ago. Wait a minute...
Michael Wacha, Cardinals SP: Until this season, Wacha wasn’t exactly high-profile. At least not like his rotation-mate, Shelby Miller. But incinerating batters on a daily basis in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League will send anyone’s stock through the roof.
While two out of three sparkling starts ain’t bad, Wacha’s other start was particularly ugly. He gave up six earned runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings June 4 in St. Louis against the Diamondbacks. And it’s hard to put too much stock into him holding the hapless Mets and – there’s gotta be a stronger word than hapless – Royals to three total runs in 13 innings.
He was optioned back to Memphis on Sunday to make room for Jake Westbrook in the rotation. I wasn’t terribly surprised they kept left-handed prospect Tyler Lyons up instead of Wacha. But keep your ear to the railroad tracks. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing from Mr. Wacha again pretty soon.
Gerrit Cole, Pirates SP: I don’t like Cole. There, I said it. At least not yet. He’s gotta show me something more than the ability to hit triple digits on the radar gun.
He’s not missing any bats. And he seems to refuse to throw anything other than fastballs. The result is three whole strikeouts against 50 – FIFTY! – batters thus far.
He’s more in the mold of Justin Verlander than Kyle Lohse, obviously. But his measurables look an awful lot more like the latter right now. But Verlander only punched out 124 in 186 innings as a rookie. Cole will follow suit. The question is, how soon?
Zach Wheeler, Mets SP: You might be wondering, “Hey guy! What gives? What am I supposed to do with Cole?!” Well, if you have the chance to choose between him and Wheeler, I’m going with the Metropolitan.
He struck out seven in six innings and was dominant against the Braves on Tuesday, no small feat, just hours after Matt Harvey no-hit the Bravos for six innings. Tough act to follow.
With the Mets hobbling along in the East, I see them giving the former No. 6 overall pick Wheeler every opportunity to stick around. Forget that they demoted him after that start. As the 26th man on the roster for that doubleheader, he’ll be back up for his next. His stuff is as good as any up-and-comer. Get him if you can.
Kevin Gausman, Orioles SP: Aside from deep AL-only formats, the former No. 4 overall pick should be cast back into the free agent pool.
After three awful outings, 5 1/3 strong innings against the Red Sox last Thursday wasn’t enough to keep him around. He throws hard. In fact, the only guys who average more than his 95.4 mph on their fastball are Stephen Strasburg and Harvey.
But his dominant numbers in the minors didn’t translate into the bigs. Not yet. Much like with Wacha, keep tabs on Gausman, but don’t waste a roster spot on him right now.
The Hot Corner
Let’s Get Some Chatter Goin’
This week’s banter
Which MLB record do you think will never be broken, and why?
Pitch the Commish
In the spirit of the Cardinals shuffling their rotaiton, the commish selects Jake Westberook. Pick from one of the other four St. Louis starters and, if he rates higher, you’re in the SVM league next season:
• Tyler Lyons (2-3, 4.65 ERA, 20 SO in 31 IP)
• Adam Wainwright (10-4, 2.37, 100 SO in 110 IP)
• Shelby Miller (8-4, 2.08, 96 SO in 86.1 IP)
• Lance Lynn (10-1, 3.42, 94 SO in 92 IP)
Send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to him (@CHeimerman_SVM). Also, look for questions on Facebook (Sauk Valley Sports).
Buy low: Mike Napoli, Red Sox C: He’s in quite a funk, but few catchers will post better power numbers over the rest of the regular season.
Sell high: J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays C: Yeah, he mashes when he actually makes contact. But that .220 average for the season is legit. He’s a category-loser.