Following up on some solid discussion in the comment section of last week's piece, let's take a look at some of the prospects readers mentioned as candidates for a promotion by the end of 2012.
Tyler Skaggs, SP, Arizona: Improvement in the quality of his stuff now makes him a guy worthy of top-of-the-rotation discussion. The lefty is touching 95 MPH with his fastball, and showing solid improvement with his secondary offerings. He still lags behind Jarrod Parker in terms of upside, but the gap is closing thanks to a strong showing while Parker struggles.
Brad Peacock, SP, Washington: Everyone is taking notice of how Peacock is dominating Double-A hitters, posting an impressive 12.10 K/9 and miniscule 1.90 BB/9. There has been a noted increase in his fastball velocity, as he sits at 92-95 now. A deceptive delivery has also aided his success, making him a candidate for a promotion to Triple-A shortly.
Mat Gamel(notes), 1B, Milwaukee: He's still slugging down on the farm, and has moved across the diamond to first base, a position that suits his skills better. Gamel is raking to the tune of .315/15/50, keeping him fresh in the minds of fantasy players. He could see time during interleague play, but is going to need a Prince Fielder(notes) trade, or get traded himself, to see regular major league at-bats.
Matt Harvey, SP, NY Mets: Recently promoted to Double-A Binghamton, Harvey excelled at Class-A St. Lucie, posting a 2.37 ERA and 92/24 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 76 innings. His performance in the upper minors will dictate whether he is fast-tracked to New York in 2012. If his stuff continues to improve, you're looking at a guy who will thrive at the top of the Mets rotation for years to come.
Stetson Allie, SP, Pittsburgh: This Pirates top pitching prospect finally made his minor league debut, and it was a rough one (2.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO). Don't judge based on one start though, Allie has huge upside, and should begin to put it together shortly. His upper 90s fastball and knockout upper 80s slider both profile as plus offerings, but he'll need to develop a change to become elite. Keep an eye on this young fireballer.
Josh Sale, OF, Tampa Bay: Another debut from the 2010 draft class, and Sale didn't disappoint, slugging a home run in his first game. He was widely considered the best prep hitting prospect in the draft last season, so the talent is there for immediate success. If you're looking for a sleeper power prospect, this is your guy.
Lonnie Chisenhall(notes), 3B, Cleveland: He recently returned from the disabled list with a bang, going 4-for-6 with a home run and six runs batted in. Now with his head clear following a minor concussion, Chisenhall can focus once again on reaching the majors and helping the Indians in their playoff push.
Jason Kipnis(notes), 2B, Cleveland: While Cord Phelps(notes) was promoted first, it is Kipnis who the Indians are grooming to be the long-term solution at second base. The club wants Kipnis to have a path to clear playing time once he's up, which is why he continues to wait for his call on the farm. His current line of .291/8/42 should have fantasy owners excited for his eventual arrival.
Jesus Montero(notes), C, NY Yankees: Is he bored? Or just overhyped? A .291 average and five home runs is not what you'd expect from a top five prospect who is known for his power. Still only 21, he has maturing to do (both physically and mentally), but these results leave many scratching their heads. I believe he'll be fine, although – like most observers – I doubt he sticks behind the plate.
Dellin Betances, SP, NY Yankees: I've covered him extensively on SNYWhyGuys.com. He reminds me a lot of Mariners pitcher Michael Pineda(notes) in terms of build and fastball quality. While Pineda throws a hard slider, Betances throws a curveball which has plus potential, giving him a deadly strikeout combination. Betances lacks elite command of his pitches though, an area he must address if he is to succeed at the top of the Yankees rotation in the future. There has been talk of him in a bullpen role later this season in the Bronx, so stay tuned for that.
Travis d'Arnaud, C, Toronto: This stick has come to life after a few years of sub-par results, as d'Arnaud is batting .296 with six homers on the year. His calling card is his defense though, an attribute that will carry him to the majors and allow him to stick behind the dish. His skills could translate to a solid average and 15-20 homers in the majors in his prime.
Wilin Rosario(notes), C, Colorado: A great bat, strong arm, and solid defensive skills is a summary of the scouting report on Rosario. While his .263 average has been lackluster, you have to love the 11 home runs he's produced. Imagine his life ahead when he reaches Coors Field. He could be a major prospect to watch during June promotion season in 2012.
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Rob Steingall is a nationally syndicated fantasy analyst whose work has appeared in newspapers including The Providence Journal.