Perry Fleming - Cobb Times Herald
Every year teams look to young talent to replace the veterans that get to old to play. Some can cut it, others fail in the face of the pressure. Here is a look at a few of the players that teams are looking at to produce in a big way this season.
Santos Diaz - Chicago Sabercats
Last Season: 10-13, 200 IP, 4.82 ERA
Analysis: Diaz is the ace of the future for the Sabercats, a team that is desperate for a #1 starter to step up in their rotation. Diaz has the potential to be that #1, and a 15 win season with a sub 4.00 ERA isn't out of the question for this talented pitcher. For the Sabercats to contend, the future needs to be now for Diaz.
Patrick Lamb - Helena Hellraisers
Last Season: .329 BA, 45 HR's, 128 RBI's in AA
Analysis: Lamb has what it takes to break out in a big way this season, his rookie year in the bigs. Lamb will be batting 5th behind Olivo, and in front of Hee Martin and Freddie Feller, so there is no excuse for not having a protected spot in the lineup, and the opportunity to produce will be there. Should be able to hit 40+ HRs in about 400 ABs. Will DH and backup C and 1B.
Lew Mullin - New York Pick Pockets
Last Season: .303 BA, Gold Glove CF in AA
Analysis: Rule 5 pickup Mullin has won the starting 2B job in New York, and if he can keep his average up he should be a candidate for a gold glove in his first full season in the majors. He is gifted defensively, but his batting eye and contact skills at the plate aren't the best. If he can overcome those deficiencies, he should break out this season.
Matty Prieto - San Diego Small Ballers
Last Season: 4-1, 2.10 ERA in 25.2 IP
Analysis: Prieto is looking to break out from the talent logjam in Anaheim by seizing the closers role in San Diego. 25-30 saves aren't out of the question, and the Small Ballers will be relying on this veterans new found freedom to anchor their bullpen.
Victor Johnson - Scranton Dragons
Last Season: .329 BA, 74 RBI's in 301 AB's
Analysis: Acquired in the Dean Hernandez megadeal last season, Johnson is expected to produce in a big way for Scranton this season. If last years numbers are any indication, 30+ Hr's, 100+ RBI's, and an OPS above 1.000 aren't out of the question. Anything less would be considered a disappointment for this talented international.
Gregory Hanson - Nashville Rebel Riders
Last Season: 4-12, 8.40 ERA
Analysis: No one knows what the heck happened to Hanson last season, when he endured a brutal campaign. Still, Hanson is young and developing, and there is no reason to think that with his control and pitch selection he shouldn't be able to turn his record around. Going into arbitration next season should provide him with the impetus to sharpen his game and produce a winning record and respectable ERA.
Yamid Mairena - Sioux Falls Corn Cleats
Last Season: .310 BA, 24 HR's, 115 RBI's in AAA
Analysis: Called up from AAA to replace departed MVP candidate Hades Booker, Mairena has big shoes to fill. The Cleats are expecting him to hold down the 5th or 6th spot in the batting order, and with his hitting skills 30+ HR's, 100+ RBI's, and a .300+ BA aren't out of the question. But with his batting eye, 100+ strikeouts are a possibility as well. Sioux Falls is hoping for the former.