August Scouting Notes
I haven't done one of these in a while so I'm due. Just wanted to
jot some notes on players who have been called up recently who could
have an impact on real and fantasy baseball races.
I still shake my head when I think that the Mets thought they'd be
better off long-term with Victor Zambrano than they would with
Kazmir. There are probably half a dozen lefties in the majors
that can throw 95+ and the Mets traded one away for a guy with elbow
troubles and control problems. Anyway, after watching his start
against Seattle, I still like his long term prospects, but I'm not
convinced that kazmir will be an ace right away. In fact, I see
him as a 5-inning pitcher for the immediate future. Sure, he'll
get his share of strikeouts, but he throws lots of pitches because he
doesn't locate particularly well yet and he doesn't have the kind of
frame that would allow him to handle pitch counts too far above
100. Another obstacle for this season is his schedule. His
remaining starts are tentatively against Detroit (twice), Oakland, New
York, Boston, the suddenly resurgent Blue Jays and Kansas City.
Other than the latter, that won't be easy. If I had him in a
keeper league, I'd trade on his hyped
value now for what I needed and then try to re-acquire him sometime
next year or in 2006.
Pickering never got an decent chance to prove himself in Baltimore, and
then had a struggle with injuries and perception the last two years to
get back to where he was. This year, he posted a monster season
in AAA Omaha - .314 with 35 homers - and was given another shot at the
bigs when Ken Harvey went down. I'm a big believer in guys who've
been around a while
who finally show dramatic improvements in their AAA numbers (a la Gary
Matthews Jr.) so the Pickering we're seeing now could be the real
deal. I don't know how eager the Royals will be to sit Harvey or
Mike Sweeney once Harvey returns, but if Pickering keeps hitting the
way he is now, they'll have to consider it.
It's just the slight facial resemblance, but Church reminds me of Will
Clark. His swing isn't as smooth as Clark's, but it appears he
generates more bat speed. Both guys had a good eye for balls and
strikes and neither guy was a threat to steal. My guess is that
Church sticks with the Expos and becomes a solid .300 hitting
outfielder with 15-20 home run power. The Expos
should give him a chance to show what he can do for four plate
appearances a game from here on out.
Known for his phenomenal speed, Guzman is also a very good
outfielder. That defense should keep him in the line-up down the
stretch even if he struggles at the plate, because frankly, he can't
struggle any worse than Jay Payton has. Still, Guzman showed a
good eye for balls and strikes and hit for decent average at two levels
this season. And yes, he stole 65 bases this year so far after
stealing 90 last year.