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“Alluhring Strategy” MiLB Watch – Pitchers: Double A Eastern League Report

In this week’s MiLB Pitcher’s Watch, we start looking at guys that are a bit closer to the Majors and could possibly contribute this season. Before we jump into the Double A Eastern League Report, I need to give a shout out to a pitcher in Class A Southern Atlantic League that had a memorable week…

Domenic Mazza earned his first win of the season by pitching a nine inning PERFECT GAME this past Tuesday (4/25/17) marking the first in the history of the Sally League. Mazza is a San Francisco Giants’ farmhand that had been nothing more than organizational pitching depth and this is his first season in full season pro ball. Regardless if this marks the beginning of rising prospect or if this ends up being the highlight of his career (as opposed to giving up Tim Tebow’s 1st career pro HR) , he deserves recognition for this feet as a Perfect Game is extremely difficult at any level. His stat line was impressive…9 INN, 0 Hits, 0 Runs, 0 BB, 9 K’s, 85 pitches, 60 strikes…which is about as efficient as you could be. I’ll be keeping an eye on him over the next few weeks to see if he is for real.

Now let’s take a look at the hot start from several of the Eastern League pitchers.

 

Chance Adams (RHP) & Justus Sheffield (LHP), Trenton Thunder (NYY)

I wrote about both of these guys during my pre-season pitching prospect rankings in which I felt both would be contributors for the Yankees either this season or next. Adams had an outside shot of grabbing the 5th Starter out of camp. Sheffield has become one of the top 10 LHP prospects in baseball. Both guys have had an excellent start for the Thunder.

 

Chance Adams

DATE OPP W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR HB BB SO NP-S AVG WHIP
APR 08 @ERI 1 0 0.00 1 5.2 0 0 0 0 0 4 5 85-48 .000 0.71
APR 13 POR 1 0 0.79 1 5.2 4 3 1 0 1 2 8 94-57 .103 0.88
APR 19 NH 0 0 1.10 1 5.0 6 1 1 1 0 1 5 95-61 .169 1.04
APR 24 @NH 1 0 0.82 1 5.2 3 0 0 0 0 3 4 95-53 .165 1.05

 

Adams has been dominate in his first four starts, leading the Eastern League in Wins (3) and ERA (0.82). He has only surrendered two earned runs and thirteen hits over his first 22 innings. The only knock so far has been a lack of command issuing 10 walks and 1 HBP during the same span. Fantasy owners take notice…I am not suggesting his will be a top of the rotation, Ace-type pitcher. What I can say is that he is proving that he can handle the upper levels of the minor leagues and could be an effective contributor for the Yankees as soon as this season. Deep fantasy leagues should have him on their radar. Back in February, I wrote…

“I leave you this week with my sleeper pick of the year. It is no secret that the Yankees rotation is full of question marks this year. I’m not sure they know who will be their 4th and 5th starters to start the season let alone during the dog days of summer. We will likely see a combination of guys like Severino, Green, Mitchell, Warren, Cessa, Niese and Enns. Although currently not on the 40 man roster, I predict that Chance Adams will impress the Yankee brass by dominating Trenton and Scranton-Wilkes Barre in route to a ‘chance’ to stop the bleeding in the Bronx. He has four pitches including a plus fastball and slider as well as a developing curve-ball and change. As long as he continues to show command of his arsenal, there is no reason not to give him a ‘chance’ and I think he will be a revelation and earn a spot in the rotation for the last few months of the season. I recommend stashing him if you can.”

 

Justus Sheffield

DATE OPP W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR HB BB SO NP-S AVG WHIP
APR 12 @AKR 1 0 0.00 1 5.2 2 1 0 0 1 2 6 86-58 .100 0.71
APR 18 NH 0 0 0.77 1 6.0 3 1 1 0 0 5 5 97-57 .125 1.03
APR 23 @POR 0 0 1.56 1 5.2 6 2 2 2 0 3 5 101-67 .177 1.21

Sheffield has also had a nice start to the 2017 campaign whose 1.56 ERA is good for 4th in the Eastern League. He has averaged nearly a strikeout per inning, but Justus, like Chance, has struggled with command. He has walked 10 and hit 1 batter in his first 17.1 innings. In addition, I have some concern that he has given up two long balls (out of 3 ERs). That being said, I like his upside as a middle of the rotation guy with #2 ceiling that could join the Yankees rotation as early as next Spring. There will likely be some bumps along the way this season in his first year in the upper minors. As he settles in, he should regain at least MLB average command with two potential plus pitches (fastball, slider). Yankee fans should feel good that there is pitching on the way and there is no need to trade away their future stars to get someone like a Jose Quintana.

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Jaron Long (RHP) and Erick Fedde (RHP), Harrisburg Senators (WAS)

The Nationals have a couple pitchers off to a hot start this season. One is a household name in dynasty circles and the other not so much. What can we expect from these guys going forward?

 

Jaron Long

DATE OPP W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR HB BB SO NP-S AVG WHIP
APR 07 ALT 0 1 1.80 1 5.0 7 4 1 0 1 1 7 89-55 .350 1.60
APR 12 HFD 1 0 0.82 1 6.0 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 72-49 .268 1.18
APR 18 @HFD 1 0 1.00 1 7.0 5 1 1 0 0 1 5 87-58 .242 1.06
APR 24 REA 0 1 1.57 1 5.0 6 2 2 1 0 1 8 91-54 .253 1.13

This former Yankees’ prospect has spent four seasons in pro ball including over 130 innings in AAA International League before this season. His career ERA of 3.15, 0.5 HR/9 and 1.7 BB/9 shows that he can be a valuable pitcher. Hitters do historically put the ball in play against him, but he has 20 Ks in 23 innings to start the year. Long wasn’t even listed in MLB.com’s Top 30 prospects in the Nationals organization this offseason and I don’t expect him to become a top prospect at 25-years-old. Keep in mind that the Nationals’ pitching system is barren after the trades over the past year and Long could prove to be just as valuable as Austin Voth or AJ Cole and could get a call to the big club this Summer if the injury bug hits the rotation. Temper expectations, but could be worthy of a waiver add or spot start if he does get the call. His 1.57 ERA and 5.0 K:BB ratio to start the season should cause dynasty owners to at least take a look.

 

Erick Fedde

DATE OPP W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR HB BB SO NP-S AVG WHIP
APR 08 ALT 1 0 0.00 1 5.0 4 1 0 0 0 2 5 85-54 .211 1.20
APR 13 @BOW 0 0 0.00 1 6.0 3 0 0 0 1 1 4 95-60 .171 0.91
APR 20 @HFD 0 1 0.50 1 7.0 5 1 1 0 0 3 8 103-61 .185 1.00
APR 26 REA 0 1 1.80 1 7.0 4 4 4 2 0 2 5 93-59 .178 0.96

The former 2014, 1st round pick is finally starting to show what he can do. The #2 prospect in the Nats system (top pitching) had an exceptional first three starts before giving up four earned runs in his 4th start in today’s game (Wed 4/26/17). He had an 0.50 ERA entering the game, but still finishes the night with a 1.80 ERA over four starts spanning 25 innings. His WHIP is still under 1 (0.96) for the year to date. He has overcome his 2014 Tommy John surgery with flying colors and boasts a plus fastball and slider as well as a MLB average changeup. He projects to have above average command at the Major League level and has a ceiling of #2 starter. Due to his injury, he has just pitched two seasons of pro ball, but he could make the jump if the Nats wanted a high-end arm to join the rotation. Otherwise, guys like Jacob Turner, Long, Voth or Cole make more sense for short call ups. Fedde should be all most dynasty rosters and should be on the radar for a quick waiver grab if he gets the call later this season.

 

Yency Almonte (RHP), Hartford Yard Goats

Taken by the Angels in the 17th round of the 2012 draft, the 22-year-old Almonte, already has five plus seasons of pro ball under his belt. The Colorado Rockies are already the third organization he has been a part of, but he has really progressed since coming over to the Rockies last season. The career numbers aren’t pretty (4.13 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) but he may have put it all together after a fantastic start to the 2017 season.

 

Yency Almonte

DATE OPP W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR HB BB SO NP-S AVG WHIP
APR 08 @RIC 0 0 1.59 1 5.2 3 2 1 0 0 3 3 91-56 .158 1.06
APR 13 NH 0 0 2.53 1 5.0 3 2 2 0 0 3 8 86-57 .171 1.13
APR 20 HBG 1 0 1.53 1 7.0 4 0 0 0 0 0 10 100-72 .172 0.91

He has improved his velocity since he added weight over the past season and his plus fastball is complimented by a potential plus slider. He also throws a changeup but that is projected below-average for MLB. His last outing was outstanding as he allowed 4 hits and 0 runs over 7 innings while walking none and fanning 10. At the time of this article, the Rockies are rolling out three rookies (Marquez, Freeland, Senzatela) in their rotation due to injury to Jon Gray and cancer treatment for Chad Bettis. In addition, Jeff Hoffman is waiting in the wings in AAA. I’m not sure there will be a need for Almonte for the rotation this season. It would be good for him to get some time in AAA this year. However, if pitchers keep going down, he could be an option and if needed, he could be dominate out the bullpen especially due to his control and two potential plus pitchers. I’m not suggesting his season’s 1.53 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 3.50 K:BB ratio holds up all year, but he is worth keeping an eye on as the Rockies continue to try to build their pitching through minor leagues.

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Five guys in different places in their development. All could make an impact by the end of the season so keep an eye on them, you never know when your fantasy team needs a replacement pitcher. Guys are going on the 10 Day DL like it was “take two of these and call me in the morning.” You can never have too much pitching.

 


Bryan Luhrs

Major League Fantasy Sports
Writer & Contributor
Real Deal Dynasty Sports
Owner, League Developer & Executive Commissioner

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