Late last week was the deadline for teams to add guys to their 40-man rosters, which is pretty much the only time anyone cares who is added to or taken off of a 40-man roster, which is why me bringing you fantasy takes on several of those players is perfect. No one cares what I have to say anyway. This is a look at guys that could matter in 2015, which means some of the more intriguing names that are still far away (Mauricio Cabrera, Brandon Drury etc) are being left off. Let’s get to the limited-upside prospects!
Jose Peraza – 2B – Atlanta
Not only did Tommy La Stella get shipped out of town, but Peraza got put on the 40-man, which means a relatively minor obstacle (but still an obstacle) is now out of his way. He’s performed well in a limited look at the upper levels, and has a good chance of contributing some time in the second half. He could make a case for reaching the major leagues earlier based on his defense (he’s a natural shortstop), but allowing his bat to mature isn’t the worst idea (or bad for fantasy owners) either. Even if he doesn’t hit, he’s a threat to contribute on the bases, so he’ll probably be worth adding no matter when he gets the call. His power comes from adding the extra base thanks to his speed, as he tends to just spin in place when he swings, without generating power by transferring his weight.
Eduardo Rodriguez – SP – Boston
A hot name for a few different reasons, Rodriguez’s strong finish at Double-A Portland following the Red Sox’s acquisition of him boosted his stock significantly. Outside of Henry Owens, Rodriguez has the highest ceiling of Boston’s cadre of arms, and he could be ready to contribute if he can start off strong in Pawtucket. It’s worth noting Rodriguez’s increased velocity and sharper stuff towards the end of the season (following a stint on the DL), but it’s even more worth noting that our own Tucker Blair has seen that increase in velocity happen several times towards the end of a season. This means it might be more of a stronger-as-the-season-goes-on thing, than a new-and-improved thing. If Rodriguez starts the year out like he finished it, buy in. Otherwise, don’t change your evaluation from what he was before.
Nick Kingham – SP – Pirates
Radhames Liz is getting all the attention (I thought I had a stroke just typing that), but Kingham has a good shot to secure the fifth spot in the Pirates rotation by season’s end over Liz or Brandon Cumpton. In fact, his biggest addition may be fellow 40-man addition Jameson Taillon, who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s not flashy, but has a three-pitch mix that should enable him to acclimate rather quickly. He’s only worth an add in deeper leagues (16-plus teams), and even then is more of a depth move than anything.
Taking care of Taillon in the same blurb: he underwent surgery in April of last year, so can’t be reasonably expected to contribute meaningful innings until June at the earliest. Add in that command was already an issue pre-injury and is often the last thing to return to a pitcher post-surgery, and it’s likely that Taillon’s quality innings in the major leagues don’t happen until 2016.
Zach Lee – SP – Dodgers
Not dissimilar from Kingham, Lee is a back-end type who profiles as a depth option if/when he contributes. He doesn’t have the bat-missing pitch that Kingham does unless his slider is particularly on, but he has an extra pitch to sequence with effectively. If both Kingham and Lee get called up on the same day, you’re better off going with Kingham, unless you’re desperately in need of wins, something LA’s offense can likely provide even with a slightly worse pitcher. The Dodgers are likely to add pitching depth (they added capable starter Juan Nicasio on Monday), pushing Lee further down the depth charts, but they’ve started the last two seasons with Too Many Starters, and have had to acquire Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia, and Roberto Hernandez in those seasons.
Alex Meyer – SP – Twins
The Twins haven’t promoted Meyer yet because it’s important to the organization to be able to rent a car before you can start a game for them. You know that extremely funny and highly quotable phrase from Dodgeball; “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball?” Well, it was adapted from the Twins mantra “if you can rent a car, you can start a game.” True story.
Meyer should be promoted sometime this season and immediately becomes the most dangerous Twins pitcher not named Phil Hughes (seriously, what is going on in baseball). There’s a solid chance Meyer ends up in the bullpen eventually but he’s going to be given multiple chances to start before getting there, and the strikeout upside is worth taking a chance on. Worth adding in 12-team leagues and deeper once he’s in the majors, though beware that he could wreak havoc on your WHIP in the process.
Taylor Lindsey – 2B – Padres
Let’s make this one short and sweet because two-first name guys are whatever, and androgynous two-first name guys, even more so: He can hit, but not for power and isn’t going to run enough to make it really matter, plus he’s in PETCO and a Padre (it wears on you mentally), so unless you’re in an 18-team league or deeper it’s probably best to avoid him.
Luke Jackson – SP – Rangers
There’s a really good chance that Jackson ends up in the bullpen because his third pitch isn’t quite average, and he’s displayed control and command issues. The biggest reason he might not? He can hold mid-to-upper 90s velocity deep into ballgames and, dammit, that counts for something. He was incredibly good the first half of the season in Double-A, trimming his walk rate to 2.6 per nine innings. Things took a turn in Triple-A though, as that rate almost tripled to 6.7 per nine innings, and his home run rate quadrupled up to 2.0 per nine innings. He still averaged a strikeout per inning, but that hardly matters when the bats that do make contact do so much damage. Just 22, there is plenty of time for Jackson to refine his control, command, and third offering but he could be needed in Texas sooner than later. I’d recommend letting him sit on waivers if you’re in contention or adding and benching if you have room, when he gets the call.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now