In this week's edition of The Farm Report we take a look at major league talent, that for one reason or another, is getting some time in the minor leagues. All twelve players on our list have spent time at the major league level this season, and all will return at some point. Our list consists of five starting pitchers, two relievers, three first baseman and two outfielders. Our list even features a pitcher whom we are not sure is on the Cubs.... or Atlanta and he probably won't be the only member of our Dirty Dozen who may be trading places.
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Jake Arrieta P Baltimore- As the Yankees pull away in the AL East, the Orioles need to get improved pitching to compete for one of the wild card spots. Arrieta was shelled in two starts around the Fourth of July, which landed him in Norfolk. Jake is 2-0 in a pair of International League starts and will be needed soon, especially with the loss of ace Jason Hammel. Arrieta has the stuff aces are made of, you just need to ride his best starts and hope to avoid the occasional blow ups.
Randall Delgado P Chicago Cubs? or Atlanta?- Delgado is currently sitting in the Atlanta suburbs of Triple-A Gwinnett, awaiting word of a rumored trade sending him to the Windy City for Ryan Dempster. Delgado has outstanding stuff, but has struggled as most 22 year olds do. The Cubs are 17 games under .500 and 17 games behind Cincinnati in the NL Central, much better suited to grow along with Delgado in their rotation. Dempster, a pending free agent, would become a two month rental for the Braves.
Stephen Pryor RP Seattle- The future closer of the Mariners has been activated from the DL and optioned down the street to Triple-A Tacoma. Pryor, part of the unusual no hitter involving six Seattle pitchers earlier this season, logged only six innings of work before getting shut down with a groin injury Pryor actually began his rehab at Class A High Desert two weeks ago, so Tacoma is a final tune up on the way back. Before getting called up, Pryor made 14 appearances in Tacoma, allowing only nine hits and was not scored upon. Pryor needs to improve control, issuing ten walks in 18 innings of work at AAA.
Matt Adams 1B St.Louis- When Allen Craig and eventually Lance Berkman returned to the St.Louis lineup, Adams was optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Adams has been recovering from an elbow injury, but clearly minor league pitchers are no match for him. In less than 200 at bats at Memphis, Adams has 16 home runs, 44 RBI and a blistering .359 batting average. Adams best bet on getting a call back up to the show rests with the injury prone Berkman and Carlos Beltran.
Jose Tabata OF Pittsburgh- The Pirates continue to battle Cincinnati in a dead heat atop the National League's Central Division, amazing when you consider they have had very little if any production from outfielder Jose Tabata. Tabata was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis during July 4th weekend after only three home runs and 11 RBI in 252 at bats with the Pirates. Tabata struggled with a .230 average and was caught stealing (9 times) more than he was successful (8 times) on the base paths. In 71 at bats in Triple-A, Tabata is hitting .282, but it is alarming that he has yet to hit the long ball.
Gaby Sanchez 1B Miami- Sanchez has really struggled this season, surprisingly after two very solid campaigns to begin his major league career in Miami. Sanchez was banished to Triple-A New Orleans when the Marlins acquired Carlos Lee from Houston just before the Fourth of July. Sanchez was called up on June 10th, so his latest stint with the Marlins lasted less than four weeks. While struggling at the major league level (.202), Sanchez has predictably ripped minor league pitching with 18 RBI and nearing .300 in just 100 at bats.
David Cooper 1B Toronto- Who will eventually emerge as Toronto's regular first baseman? Will it be Adam Lind, currently holding the job? Or will it be his predecessor, David Cooper? Cooper was called up just before Memorial Day and started strong, before fading and getting sent back down a month later. Cooper has been solid at Triple-A Las Vegas with nine home runs, 50 RBI and a .305 average in 246 at bats. When will Cooper be called back up? Watching Lind will tell the tale. Lind has eight home runs, 27 RBI and a .237 average in 190 at bats.
Chris Archer P Tampa Bay- Jeff Niemann is nearing a return from injury and Alex Cobb (knee) doesn't expect to miss a start, so is the life of Chris Archer. Archer had decent numbers in his two starts with the Rays, a 14/2 strikeout to walk ratio in 11 innings of work. Archer allowed eight hits and five earned runs over the two starts, both losses. Sent to Triple-A Durham about a month ago, Archer has had control problems. Archer with a 99/50 strikeout to walk ratio in 85 innings of work.
Brian Matusz P Baltimore- (See Jake Arrieta) If you are like me, you have a hard time keeping track of which of the Orioles pitchers are doing well, and which are in the minors. Like Arrieta, Matusz is at Norfolk and looking to bump Chris Tillman and Zach Britton (the young pitchers currently at the Major League level). Matusz served notice that he wants to return soon, with a shutout in his first Triple-A start, ten days ago. With veteran Tommy Hunter now also on the mix, Matusz will need more strong outings at Norfolk to make O's manager Buck Showalter forget his 5-10 mark over 16 starts for the Orioles.
Eric Thames OF Toronto- The Blue Jays OF has far more potential options than spots available. We know Colby Rasmus has shown enough to hold down center field. Jose Bautista is recovering from a wrist injury and will return as the Jays right fielder immediately when healthy. Rajai Davis has been among the league leaders in SB's, but now rookie Anthony Gose is in the mix andTravis Snider has been called up. Edward Encarnacion and his 26 home runs is entrenched at DH. All of this probably spells a long visit in Las Vegas for Thames.
Trevor Bauer P Arizona- The player everyone was waiting on, no not Matt Harvey- he's the current saviour everyone is on standby for. The Diamondbacks gambled on the 21-year-old Bauer, but their roll of the dice resulted in a trip back to Reno. Trevor hurled a masterpiece against the Dodgers on July 8th in Phoenix, but his other three starts were... lets say rocky at best. Bauer, 11-1 combined at Double and Triple-A stops has a combined ERA in the 2.2 range with 120 strikeouts in 98 innings. He'll be baaack.
Daniel Bard P Boston- Maybe Bard wasn't stretched outenough before moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation. Bard was a solid setup man for Jonathan Papelbon each of the past two seasons, combining for 66 holds while striking out 150 in 148 innings. His combined ERA of 2.63 and a sub 1.0 WHIP was perfect for the role. Someone decided to make him a starter, even though Papelbon departed in free agency for Philadelphia. The Andrew Bailey experiment hasn't fared well, perhaps Bard would have made a nice closer?
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Have a great fantasy week! When we return, a look at players that should be on your radar with Waiver Flavor.
Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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