FanPost

Lost former pitching prospect smackdown

Every year, certain young pitchers fall from grace in a dramatic fashion. Also, some rise from the ashes and redeem some of their former glory. This year, two of the brightest potential pitching stars in the AL completely fell apart at the major league level, so it's worth looking to see if there's a potential for a rebound. In keeper fantasy leagues, it could be a medium-risk, high reward play... the risk coming from them getting a chance again before they're ready, but they could always figure things out in the minors and be great down the line.

Kyle Drabek - Just last year, we was rated as a potential ace by all major sources, with plus-plus stuff and good enough command to make a fantasy impact. Then his control bottomed out, walking 55 in 78 2/3 innings, with only 51 strikeouts, and getting clobbered to the tune of a 6.06 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. I've always been a little sour on him as a prospect due to his control, and always reminded me too much of Andrew Miller, another big power curve guy who just could never harness his control enough to succeed.

But he still shows flashes of greatness, and his K rate isn't too bad if he could get his stuff under control. But the Jays still have a slew of prospects that probably have a leg up on him until he impresses. Still, I think when he's ready, he'll be given the chance, if not by the Jays, by another team.

Brian Matusz - Okay so he's not really a "prospect" like Drabek in that he had already begun to establish himself in the majors. But I think it's an interesting face-off, since he proved to be legit in 2010, and then had a total collapse in 2011, with a historically bad 10.69 ERA and 2.11 WHIP. You can attribute it to his fastball velocity, but it was clear something else was going on as well for such a drastic change to occur. He never did figure it out, but was thrown out there anyway because they're the O's.

Reasons for optimism, is that his K/BB wasn't all that terrible at 38/24 in 49 2/3 innings, and that he had previously succeeded in the majors, looking on track to at least be a good #2, and is still only 24. The lack of depth in the O's rotation means he's more likely to be given a chance soon, but potentially before he's ready.

Carlos Carrasco - A beast of a different nature, Carlos actually was pretty good in 2011. He ended with an 85/40 K/BB and 4.62 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 124 2/3 innings, and some of those numbers went down because he was likely pitching hurt. But he had some maturity issues, and while serving a suspension was knocked out for the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John. He'll have to take time to recover and is a risk since it's unclear if he will have his stuff that he showed this year.

However, he plays in the far more forgiving AL central and could still be ready to contribute to a major league team before Drabek or Matusz if he doesn't miss a beat. If he's physically ready, he should get the chance, as the Indians are hurting for back-of-rotation help and don't have good farm candidates. He could still be rushed back if he recovers well and the Tribe is in contention, but that could be a bad thing.

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