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Well, since Buster Posey was promoted on Saturday, multiple people have tweeted me with the same question: "Is Posey worth starting in mixed leagues?"
Are these "tweeps" kidding me? We're talking about a position where Miguel Olivo, John Buck and Chris Snyder are currently Top 12 performers. Take a look at Posey's statistics at Triple-A this year: .349 batting average, six home runs, .442 on-base percentage, and .552 slugging percentage. You don't see many backstops putting up these type of numbers in the minors. This kid is the real freakin' deal.
That said, you Posey owners need to simmer your expectations on the power front. Posey's frame (6-1, 205-pounds), compact swing, and home park limit his power potential. A .300-plus batting average and a sweet amount of runs scored are almost a lock because of his all-fields hitting style and ability to get on base via the walk (13-percent walk rate at Triple-A). Just don't expect 15-plus bombs the rest of the way.
Here's a quick tip before we get to the rest of the "New Kids." Posey is now owned in 40 percent of leagues post-promotion. However, there's a better fantasy catching prospect simmering in the minors who is only owned in eight percent of leagues. His name is Carlos Santana and his ownership percentage is only headed in one direction. Go get him.
Neil Walker (3B, PIT)
Poor Walker. He's one of those forgotten prospects and he likes to talk about it. Walker had a nice line at Triple-A: .321 BA, six HRs, .561 SLG, and 10 stolen bases. The good news with Walker is he's going to stay in the lineup in Pittsburgh if he's semi-productive because the Pirates' lineup is pathetic, and Walker can play all over the field. The bad news is I'm not a believer. Walker's Triple-A success in 2010 can be attributed to the fact he's had 1,000-plus plate appearances at that level. Further, his impatient approach will end up sinking him in the bigs. Take a sniff in NL-only leagues if you need infield help, but ignore Walker in mixed formats.
Chris Tillman (SP, BAL)
Speaking of forgotten prospects, remember this "can't-miss" gun. Tillman made his major league debut last year and was hammered to the tune of a 5.40 earned run average and 1.554 walks plus hits per innings pitched. The 6-5, 200-pound righty was recalled last week when David Hernandez was moved to the bullpen. There's still rocking upside associated with Tillman because of his nastilicious stuff and strikeout potential (9.5 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors). Nevertheless, as displayed by his 2.08 HR/9 last year and two taters allowed in his first start last week, Tillman needs to start keeping the ball down in the zone if he's going to realize that potential. Tillman is the ideal spot starter in AL-only leagues and should be tracked in our weekly rankings in mixed leagues. In keeper formats, jump all over his ceiling after one or two rocky starts.
Adam Ottavino (SP, STL)
Ottavino got a start last week because Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse are on the disabled list. He was putting up some decent numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League (Triple-A) before his promotion (4.17 ERA, 8.17 K/9, .239 batting average against). Trust me, however, you want to stay away from this dude. He has less control than Heidi Montag at a plastic surgeon's office. I know you need numerical support for such a bold statement. No problem. Ottavino had six walks in his first start last week (5.2 innings pitched) and 4.2 BB/9 in his minor league career. Stay away in all leagues even if he keeps a rotation spot until Penny returns.
Mike Stanton (OF, FLA)
True story. I was at a middle school baseball game last week to watch my youngest cousin strut his stuff. In the fourth inning, the cleanup hitter on his squad lashed a ground ball "bomb" down the left-field line. Yeah, the kid could run, and the outfield grass resembled a putting surface at Augusta National. Anyway, he returns to the dugout and says: "That was Mike Stanton power, baby." Admittedly, a sly grin came across my face because the young lad knew his minor leaguers. But, really? This was a Pennsylvania kid comparing his power to a Florida prospect who has never seen a major league batter's box. Yep, this is how much hype Stanton is receiving. In these situations, I look the ridiculous minor league numbers in the face (169 ABs, .308 BA, 18 HRs, .439 OBP, and .704 SLG at Triple-A) and sell-high upon the promotion. Stanton is only 20, may skip Triple-A and doesn't suit up at a position of scarcity. I also have a funny feeling those high strikeout rates in previous seasons will rear their ugly head when he's promoted. Sell if someone is willing to pay an outrageous price for young love.
Jesse Litsch (SP, TOR)
Litsch is just about ready to return from Tommy John surgery. In three major league seasons, the 25-year old has averaged a 3.83 ERA, 1.297 WHIP, and 2.30 BB/9. The problems with Litsch are he barely misses any bats (4.80 career K/9) and has a tendency to give up light-tower shots because of his sub-par stuff. He's worth an AL-only league stash because of his consistency. However, because of the lack of Ks, don't go near him in mixed leagues unless you play in a format such as Scoresheet Baseball, which places premium value on ERA and WHIP.
Mark Trumbo (1B, LAA)
C'mon, we all saw that Kendry Morales injury coming. Those walk-off celebrations where 250-pound sluggers perform a long-jump into home plate -- and subsequently trigger a high-hopping rugby scrum -- have always been a broken leg waiting to happen. Keep an eye on Trumbo for later in the season. The 24-year old is hitting .273 with 11 HRs and a .513 SLG at Triple-A. Trumbo has done most of his damage in the minors at hitter-friendly parks and he's had some pitch recognition problems down below. Nonetheless, based on his pure power alone and the Angels' hole at first base, he's radar-worthy.
Dan Hudson (SP, CWS)
After a horrific April (9.37 ERA/.352 BAA), Hudson rapidly tumbled down the prospect charts. Hudson is coming off a year where he posted a 2.32 ERA, 166 strikeouts, 34 walks, and a .200 BAA in 147.1 IP across four minor league levels. Yet, people wrote him off for 2010 after one bad month. Ridiculous. D-Huddy was back in business in May, however, with four wins in six starts (37 IP), a 2.43 ERA, 44 Ks, eight BBs, and a .200 BAA. C'mon, how long will Freddy Garcia (5.26 ERA) really be able to keep his job and/or stay healthy. Hudson will be in the White Sox rotation by July 15.
All statistics as of May 30, 2010.
Hit Bill Root with a tweet @Bill_Root or an e-mail at email@example.com if you have a burning fantasy prospect question. Make sure to check out our Xclusive Edge Rankings for help with your tough lineup decisions.