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June 17, 2014

Deep Impact

Week 11

by Ben Carsley

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Who can say where the day flows? Why I write intros? Only time.

Andrew Heaney, SP, MIA
Randy Wolf, we hardly knew ye. After four starts and 25 2/3 innings of uninspiring ball, the Marlins have elected to opt for a youngster with just a touch more upside in Heaney, who’s shot through their MiLB system since being drafted ninth overall in 2012. After dominating in Double-A for 53 2/3 innings earlier this season, Heaney posted a 2.74 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 23 innings at Triple-A. Maybe you prefer your prospects to log more innings in the upper minors, but Heaney has passed every test he’s faced with flying colors thus far.

The Marlins haven’t been shy about promoting prospects in recent years, so it’s not altogether shocking that Heaney is making his debut nearly one year after being drafted. He’s long gone in dynasty leagues, of course, but if you’re in a deep league where you can’t acquire players until they’re in the majors, Heaney is worth a substantial investment. If you’ve been conservative with FAAB to this point, Heaney is the type of pitcher you can splurge on, as he’s really just one tier below the Noah Syndergaard/Archie Bradley group and he’ll enjoy a favorable home ballpark. As long as Heaney doesn’t bomb his first few starts, I’d expect him to throw close to 100 innings for the Marlins, and he could contribute meaningfully in ERA, WHIP, K, and W during that span. Go all in here.

Jesus Montero, UT, SEA
Jesus Montero is only 24 years old. It’s not my job to be a peddler of false dreams, but despite my desire to snarkily write off the former uber-prospect here, there are some reasons for optimism. Montero hit .270/.345/.455 in 255 Triple-A PA this year, driving out eight homers and 15 doubles. He cut his strikeout rate to just 20 percent and walked at a respectable 10.2 percent clip. His BABIP sat at a reasonable .310. No matter how hard you look, there’s really no reason to discredit his performance in Tacoma this year.

This isn’t to say that Montero has completely cured what ails him. I’m still skeptical as to his ability to recognize off-speed pitches, and as a full-time DH, Montero is going to have to really, really hit to keep a spot on the MLB roster. But Montero has at least bought himself a brief respite from “RIP this prospect” status, and given Seattle’s health and offensive woes there’s no reason to think he can’t stick with the club if he’s good. Don’t touch him unless you’re in really, really deep leagues, but consider him if you’re truly desperate. Hopefully Bret Sayre will stop aiming his gun at my head now.

Kyle Parker, 1B/OF, COL
Michael Cuddyer, Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez are on the DL. The Rockies have evidently decided they need some more pop in their lineup, and so Parker, their first-round pick from 2010, is getting the call. Once viewed as an exceptionally raw prospect, Parker has made slow but steady progress through the minors, using his plus-plus power and decent hit tool to ascend to Triple-A. He hit .292/.347/.478 in Colorado Springs this year, and while he doesn’t project to hit for that type of an average at the next level, there’s reason for optimism when it comes to his bat.

It doesn’t sound like Parker is due for a ton of playing time up front, and that’s especially true with Corey Dickerson off to a hot start in the majors. However, if the Rockies want another tough right-handed bat to throw against southpaws, Parker could replace Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon or Justin Morneau on occasion, and he has more upside than fellow righty Brandon Barnes as well. Odds are Parker doesn’t see more than 150 PA this season, so don’t go nuts on him when it comes to FAAB. But if you’re looking for a bench bat in deeper or NL-only leagues, Parker’s capable of contributing some immediate power.

Deep League Streamer of the Week: Jeff Locke, Pirates
I keyed in on Locke (nailed it) in Deep Impact last week, citing him as a pitcher it made sense to use in favorable starts in leagues with 18-plus teams. Low and behold, Locke gets the Reds at home this Thursday, and while it’s not a match made in heaven Locke is a better bet against the team with the second-fewest runs scored in the majors. The Reds are healthier now than they’ve been for most of the year, and with Joey Votto and Jay Bruce back, their offensive is infinitely more dangerous. Still, Locke is left-handed and Cincinnati is last in the league with a .274 OBP against southpaws. Don’t expect a shutout, but it’s reasonable to think Locke could be in line for a win, even with Homer Bailey taking the mound against him.

Twitter Question of the Week:

Any time Darin Ruf and Jordan Lyles are involved, you know you’re talking deep leagues! I can see why Chris would be tempted by this trade, as Lyles is having a sneaky-good year, Cingrani has shown the ability to be an effective no. 3 MLB starter and Ruf has power. Add in Bailey’s uninspiring start to the 2014 season, and in super deep leagues, the Cingrani/Lyles/Ruf trio starts to look somewhat appealing.

But at the end of the day, this is quantity over quality. Cingrani should return to the rotation for someone someday, but right now, he’s just another middle reliever. Even if we take Lyles’ improvement at face value, he’s a no. 3/4 starter pitching in Coors Field. And Ruf doesn’t profile as an everyday player, even on a second-division team. You’re better off holding on to Bailey right now, since he’s not at peak value, but if you must trade him, aim for one or two better players rather than this hodgepodge of mediocrity.

Player Namedrop of the Week: Alay Soler
Random RP Who Will Earn a Win: Neal Cotts
Random Backup Who Will Homer: Ryan Raburn, OF, CLE
Xander Bogaerts Adjective: Scuffling

Ben Carsley is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

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