The Freshmen Stock Watch: Peterson, Tomas, Herrera

We’re not even a month into the latest and greatest Major League Baseball season but it’s never too early to start focusing on the Rookie of the Year race and, more generally speaking, the freshmen class of 2015.

Jace Peterson, Braves: Peterson, acquired from San Diego during the off-season, won the Braves’ starting second base gig with a strong spring but he’s struggled early in the regular season. The fleet-of-foot infielder has struck out almost 30% of the time — an alarming number for anyone but especially for someone whose focus is putting the ball in play to utilize his speed. He’s been on base so inconsistently that he’s only been able to attempt two steals (with a 50% success rate). Peterson has a short window to establish himself as a big league starter with the Braves’ top hitting prospect, Jose Peraza, currently honing his craft in Triple-A (and he has also been struggling with the bat). [Value Down]

Odubel Herrera, Phillies: I wrote about Herrera three times between November 2012 and September 2013 while he was a member of the Texas Rangers and a middle infielder. He was lost in a sea of infield prospects with bigger names but his ability to hit caught my eye (his defence at second base, not so much). At the time, I said: “Herrera… doesn’t have a huge build but I was impressed with the raw pop that he generated thanks to a quick bat, strong wrists and good hip rotation… I did notice during his at-bats that he took a good number of pitches and worked himself into favorable hitter’s counts.” Much of this still holds true. Seven of his 13 hits have gone for extra bases (.209 ISO rate) and he’s even shown some base running acumen with three steals in as many tries. The move to the outfield has greatly improved his defensive value, although he still has work to do. [value Up]

Yasmany Tomas, Diamondbacks: A mere two days ago, Jake Lamb’s value was up and Tomas’ value was down. The former was on fire while playing almost every day, while the latter was relegated first to the minors and more recently to a big league bench role. Then a funny thing happened (OK, not so much funny… more unfortunate). Lamb suffered a stress fracture in his foot and could be out for a month or more. Tomas, an off-season, big-dollar Cuban signee, will get a chance to showcase his bat. He didn’t have a great spring and was also off to a slow start in Triple-A with the bat and he doesn’t carry much defensive value so don’t expect huge things right away. For Arizona’s sake, here’s hoping Lamb is a quick healer. [Value Static]

Chris Heston, Giants: I probably last wrote about Heston in 2012 when I identified him as someone teams should target as a cheap throw-in to a deal with the Giants. He was coming off of a strong Double-A season and didn’t have a clear path to the Majors in San Francisco. Luckily for him, after staying put, the road to The Show became a lot less cluttered and he received an opportunity to showcase his potential as an innings-eater that succeeds by throwing strikes and mixing in four pitches. He’s shown the rare ability to command all four early in 2015 and he’s also done an outstanding job of inducing ground-ball outs. If he can keep that up he could definitely be one of the better back-end starters in the National League. [Value Up]

Cody Martin, Braves: Imagine going from unprotected — and unselected — in the Rule 5 draft to the top performer of a big league bullpen in under six months. That’s exactly what Martin has done after a respectable full season at Triple-A in 2014. I alluded to the right-hander’s potential in a late 2013 piece when I said: “His four-pitch repertoire could eventually help him settle in the No. 4 slot in the Braves rotation, although he also had some success as a reliever in college.” He’s found success in the ‘pen by simplifying things and focuses mainly on his high-80s heater (72% of the time) backed up by his strikeout slider and change-of-pace curveball. [Value Up]





Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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buctober 2015
Guest
buctober 2015

Im a huge Lamb fan but with his injury, is he droppable in a pretty standard leage? with melancons struggles i could use a relief pitcher and Koji, Miller, Grilli and Familia are some notable closers still out there.

Hendu for Kutch
Guest
Hendu for Kutch

This might sound flippant, but please don’t take it that way. I’m just not sure how to better phrase this.

If the league is, as you say, pretty standard and Koji and Miller are available then your league is either extremely shallow or full of inattentive owners. In either scenario, Lamb should be the type you can scoop back up or easily replace later if you need to.

Buctober 2015
Guest
Buctober 2015

Haha it’s all good. It’s 12 teams (admittedly some more attentive than others) with a somewhat shallow bench with only 2 rp spots which are mostly filled with sp/rp eligible pitchers. But thank you for the advice now to figure out what rp to add

grassyjones
Guest
grassyjones

Miller? like Andrew Miller?
You should be dropping Melancon outright for Miller right now,

Lamb is also extremely droppable in a 12 team league imo,
if your league counts saves, any of the guys you mentionws are worth an Add

cs3
Member
Member
cs3

Miller should be owned in a 1 team league. How in the world is he on the wire anywhere?