Since last week's edition of NKOTD we saw the reappearance of phenom Jeremy Hellickson in Tampa Bay due to shoulder injuries to starters Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann. It's crazy that it took not one, but two injuries to get Hellickson back up and in the rotation. How did he respond? He turned in your average 2-0 week with a 0.69 ERA, a 0.54 WHIP and 12 Ks. If that doesn't say keep him up, I don't know what does. Who knows where the Rays would be in the standings if they would've had him up since April? That could be a question they'll be asking themselves if they're sitting at home in October. As for this week's addition check out a few mixed-league worthy youngsters and some names to remember in September when rosters get expanded.
Jon Jay (OF, STL)
When the Cardinals called up Jay on July 2 it was out of necessity due to a calf injury to starting right fielder Ryan Ludwick. The plan was for him to platoon with a right-handed batter until Ludwick was healthy enough to return. Jay had other plans. He started to hit and kept hitting for the entire month of July. In 72 July at-bats he racked up 31 hits, which included nine doubles and two home runs. He was so hot the Cardinals basically gave him the full-time right field job and shipped Ludwick to San Diego. Now that the pressure is really on and Jay has responded by going 13-for-41 in August. He's not going to hit a ton of home runs but the average should be there and he'll score a lot of runs hitting in front of Albert Pujols. Combine these attributes and I think he's done more than enough to get some looks in mixed leagues.
Dan Hudson (SP, ARZ)
A few weeks ago at the trade deadline a deal went down between the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks that sent Arizona starter Edwin Jackson to Chicago for starter Dan Hudson. Most of the news surrounding that deal was whether Chicago was going to flip Jackson to another team, but the real story was what Arizona got in return. Hudson has been nothing short of dominant in his first three turns through the senior circuit. In 22.1 innings pitched he's struck out 17, has a 1.59 ERA, a 0.75 WHIP and a batting average against of .165. Needless to say he's adapting well to the National League and should be on the minds of NL-only and mixed league owners.
Derek Holland (SP, TEX)
When we last left Holland on May 30 his fastball was in the low 80s and he couldn't feel his fingers in a Sunday night start against Minnesota. Since then he's battled back from a few setbacks and will finally be back on the mound for the Rangers on Aug. 18 in Tampa Bay. In 10 starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City he went 6-2 with a 1.62 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and 47 Ks in 56.2 innings pitched. It appears he's back near 100 percent and that should translate into high strikeout totals and low ratios over the last six weeks of the season. You know he'll get the run support with the Rangers lineup; it'll just come down to him trusting his talent and I think he's finally ready to do that.
Michael Pineda (SP, SEA)
The Seattle Mariners had high hopes in spring trainingm, but whenever you tie your hopes to Erik Bedard's paper mache shoulder bad things tend to happen. Fear not, though, Mariners fans, a potential savior awaits at Triple-A Tacoma in the form of starter Pineda. All he's done this season is rack up 137 strikeouts in 126 innings with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP while splitting time at Double-A and Triple-A. It would be a big surprise to not see Seattle give him a few starts in September considering what they're working with currently. You could make the case that he's their best starter right now outside of Felix Hernandez. AL-only league owners should give him a look if he gets the call.
Mark Trumbo (1B, LAA)
The Los Angeles Angels' first baseman prospect has simply been crushing the ball this season at Triple-A Salt Lake City. In 443 at-bats he's totaled 27 home runs, 93 RBIs, 245 total bases and a .913 OPS. It's pretty amazing that he wasn't called up by the big club back in May whenever first baseman Kendry Morales was swallowed up by home plate in a post walk-off home run celebration. Instead the Angels decided to stay in-house and slide catcher Mike Napoli over to first base. Fast-forward to late August and the Angels are all but out of playoff contention and still have a hole at first base. Who knows where they would be now if they had called up Trumbo back then.
Jordan Zimmermann (SP, WAS)
Lost amid the Stephen Strasburg hysteria could be the return of the former "future-ace" of the Nationals, Jordan Zimmermann. The 2007 second round pick is only 12 months out from Tommy John surgery but could be back with Washington before season's end. During his rehab in the minor leagues he's been surprisingly effective. In 34.2 innings he's tallied 26 strikeouts, a 1.82 ERA and a .208 BAA. It's unclear how much the Nationals will push Zimmermann in September but he's likely to get a few starts in D.C. and is definitely a name to keep an eye on heading into the 2011 season.
All stats thru August 15
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