John Sickels' Column: Top 100 Mailbag

John Sickels' Column: Top 100 Mailbag

This article is part of our John Sickels' Column series.

As always, there are lots of questions and comments regarding the most recent Top 100 Rotowire Prospects update. Let's answer some.

Uclabennet asks: Seems like there's a big enough question mark hanging over Aroldis Chapman regarding his ability to find the plate consistently as a starting pitcher that would warrant him at least a few slots lower, perhaps behind Bryce Harper and Jeremy Hellickson?

John replies: I went back and forth between Chapman, Harper, and Hellickson when writing the list. Ultimately, I put Chapman ahead because his ceiling is slightly higher than Hellickson's due to his superior velocity, and because Harper won't be ready for the majors in 2011 while Chapman likely will be, thus giving Chapman more fantasy value. If this was a pure baseball list, and not a hybrid between general baseball and fantasy, I would have gone Harper 1, Chapman 2, Hellickson 3.

These lists are always a work in progress, and the next version which will appear in the Rotowire magazine for spring, may have a different order depending on my thinking at the time.

Squidzilla asks: What about Christian Friedrich?

John replies: The Rockies lefty did not have a very good 2010 season: 5.05 ERA with a 78:35 K:BB in 87 innings for Double-A Tulsa, 100 hits, 10 homers given up, and missing considerable time with a sore elbow. Scouting reports were somewhat negative from the Texas League, and I'm very concerned about his health. I liked him a lot preseason, and he's

As always, there are lots of questions and comments regarding the most recent Top 100 Rotowire Prospects update. Let's answer some.

Uclabennet asks: Seems like there's a big enough question mark hanging over Aroldis Chapman regarding his ability to find the plate consistently as a starting pitcher that would warrant him at least a few slots lower, perhaps behind Bryce Harper and Jeremy Hellickson?

John replies: I went back and forth between Chapman, Harper, and Hellickson when writing the list. Ultimately, I put Chapman ahead because his ceiling is slightly higher than Hellickson's due to his superior velocity, and because Harper won't be ready for the majors in 2011 while Chapman likely will be, thus giving Chapman more fantasy value. If this was a pure baseball list, and not a hybrid between general baseball and fantasy, I would have gone Harper 1, Chapman 2, Hellickson 3.

These lists are always a work in progress, and the next version which will appear in the Rotowire magazine for spring, may have a different order depending on my thinking at the time.

Squidzilla asks: What about Christian Friedrich?

John replies: The Rockies lefty did not have a very good 2010 season: 5.05 ERA with a 78:35 K:BB in 87 innings for Double-A Tulsa, 100 hits, 10 homers given up, and missing considerable time with a sore elbow. Scouting reports were somewhat negative from the Texas League, and I'm very concerned about his health. I liked him a lot preseason, and he's a decent bet for a rebound next year if his arm is OK. But that's a big if, and enough to keep him off the list for me right now.

Rah0785 asks: What about Dan Duffy of Kansas City?

John replies: Now, Duffy is someone I should have put on the list. He had the weird thing when he quit the game this past spring, but he came back and posted a 2.74 ERA with a 69:17 K:BB in 62 innings at four levels, and was very effective in seven Double-A starts. Scouting reports are very positive, with his velocity picking up this year to go with his already strong command. I would put him in the 30-35 range right now; I really do like him and it was an oversight not to include him.

Airjan23 asks: Any view on Jordan Walden or Bobby Borchering?

John replies: Angels prospect Walden is another guy I should have included. His minor league numbers this year were decent (3.44 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A, 42:24 K:BB in 50 innings, 52 hits)…pretty solid but with some command issues. In the majors, he posted a 2.35 ERA with a 23:7 K:BB in 15 innings. . .excellent K/9IP ratio, and impressed everyone who saw him with the quality of his stuff. He took well to the relief role this year after having problems staying healthy as a starter. I don't want to overreact to a small major league sample size, and his control still needs work, but Walden could definitely be slotted on the list as a relief option, in the 65-70 range I'd say.

Diamondbacks prospect Borchering was supposed to be one of the best hitters in the '09 draft, but he was just okay this year in the Midwest League, hitting .270/.341/.423. His performance wasn't bad considering league/park factors, but he wasn't dominant, and scouts now have a lot of questions about his defense and even how his hitting will work at higher levels. I don't see him as a Top 100 guy currently, though he is young enough to get back on the list.

Playsccr: Why so low on Danny Espinosa? Seems like he will be in the Opening Day lineup and contribute.

John replies: You must have very high standards; I have Espinosa at 53, and that seems a pretty good rating to me, it makes him the 27th best hitting prospect. I think he'll be a solid regular player, but I don't see him as a star type at this point. He has power and speed, but I'm not sure his batting average and OBP will be assets, at least in the short run.

Several people commented about Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia, pointing out that he exceeded the service time limit for rookie eligibility.

John replies: That's technically true, and Mejia can't be Rookie of the Year in 2011. However, for my purposes, I look at playing time or pitching time (130 at-bats, 50 innings) when determining eligibility for my lists, not service time. I've been doing it that way for a long time and see no reason to change, especially for a guy like Mejia who is still very young and has not established his expected performance level as yet.

Big Red Machine asks: What about Jarrod Parker? He was throwing 95+ mph in rehab and could begin the year in Triple-A or the majors.

John replies: I tend to be conservative about guys coming back from injuries. The rehab reports on Parker's velocity are excellent, but I want to see how his command works under live game conditions, and right now he's just in instructional league. On pure talent, he would be somewhere in the 20s, and depending on further reports he can get back on the list by magazine time.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Sickels
John Sickels writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire
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