|Getting Close Now|
|Written by Rob Leibowitz|
|Wednesday, 20 June 2012 00:00|
It is no great secret that Wil Myers has been on fire. The Royals’ outfielder may soon force the MLB club’s hand. The 21-year-old started the season in Double-A, hitting .351 while masing 13 homers in just 152 plate appearaces. I was somewhat skeptical given a rather dauntingly high, though out of career context, strikeout rate and .425 batting average on balls in play. Well, the Royals could not keep him in Double-A and he has rewarded them with a return to norm in the contact department at a sub 20% strikeout rate, but has also maintained good plate discipline and power, where in just another 132 plate appearances, he crushed 11 more homers for 24 overall. Myers may never be noted for his defensive attributes, but the righty looks like a legit masher and potential .300 30+ HR threat at the MLB level. Jeff Francouer owners need to be on notice as he is a rather high probability target to be dealt around the trade deadline to make way for Myers.
In Toronto, Travis D’Arnaud got off to a slow, but solid start, but it was rather unimpressive considering he was playing in the hitter’s haven of Las Vegas. In recent weeks, he has been nothing but hot, adjusting to the Triple-A game and now up to a .335 overall batting average. He's well on pace to set a single-season personal high in homers with 15 in just 275 plate appearances after posting 21 in 466 last year. D’Arnaud has shown he can be a fairly solid contact hitter at multiple levels of play, but unlike Myers, he is a more aggressive hitter and being a catcher, I remain skeptical of his ability to be a .300 hitter in the big leagues, regardless of what he has done the last two years in the minors. The righty is going to have to prove that the contact he makes is consistently hard contact to hit for average because a catcher’s legs are not going to give him many infield hits to boost it. That said, these are still at least a .270s hitter's skills, if not better, and J.P. Arencibia continues to show power, but is on pace to repeat a consecutive sub .220 batting average and well sub .300 OBP. This is not sustainable for a major league starter, so a second half call-up of D’Arnaud looks quite likely.
Over in Toledo, Jacob Turner owners may be thinking their man may be getting close to the show with his 3.43 ERA, especially given the recent, albeit short-term, injury to Drew Smyly. In fact, Turner will be making a spot start later this week in Smyly’s place. Well, I would urge caution here. Though he showed some signs of life in his most recent start with six strikeouts in six innings with only two walks, Turner has had a very up and down season to the point that his K/9 is below 6.0 and his normally characteristic above average command and control have not been there for him. Instead, he has walked batters at a rate of over 4.0 per nine innings. The issues, especially earlier this season, can be linked to shoulder problems (“dead arm”) and only in recent weeks has he been showing signs of regaining his full velocity. So Turner has some red flags here with respect to his health. It is also tough to recommend him as a spot starter for now as we are indeed discussing a 21-year-old with just 10 total starts above the Double-A level.
Over in the National League, Anthony Rizzo is doing in the Minors what caused the Padres to promote him early last year. Of course, he fizzled upon his promotion, but it is hard to ignore someone who has hit 23 homers and has a .364/.426/.745 line (yes, .745!). Yes, he is playing above his head, but his trial with the Padres now looks fluky in the context of his professional career (30% strikeout rate) compared to a low-twenties or high-teens rate that he normally produces. Bryan LaHair, of course, has established himself as a legitimate slugger, so the Cubs will have an interesting conundrum to unravel in the next few weeks considering neither player really should step anywhere near the outfield or any other defensive position for that matter.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 08:31|