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Promotion Watch: Scheppers & Arrieta

Posted By Mike Axisa On May 4, 2010 @ 9:50 am In Prospects | 3 Comments

Here’s two young righties that could be coming to a bullpen near you…

Tanner Scheppers | Rangers

A former second and supplemental first round pick, Texas hasn’t been shy about aggressively promoting the hard-throwing Scheppers since he signed for $1.25M. Baseball America describes him as having “an electric fastball that ranges from 93-99″ and a “plus 82-84 mph curveball that could become plus-plus as he refines his command.” The kid clearly has the goods, but after dealing with a stress fracture and what was described as “significant wear and tear” in his throwing shoulder two years ago, it’s possible the team is looking to extract as much value from Scheppers as possible before he breaks down again.

Working strictly in relief, the 23-year-old righty made a strong pro debut in the Arizona Fall League last year, but has just gone off on Double-A hitters this year. In 11 innings he allowed just three hits (one of which was a solo homer) and struck out 19. He’s walked zero, putting his FIP in the sub-1.00 range. The Rangers bumped Scheppers up to Triple-A over the weekend, and a big league relief job is clearly within reach with Texas on top of a winnable division. He might not steal any saves from Neftali Feliz and/or Frank Francisco, at least not at first, but the strikeout and ERA potential should make him worth a spot even in a standard 5×5 league. Once Scheppers reaches the show, he’s a must-get if your league counts holds.

Jake Arrieta | Orioles

The Orioles’ bullpen is in a perpetual state of disarray this days, and there has been some talk of bringing up the 24-year-old Arrieta to help shore things up. While he doesn’t have the same blow-you-away stuff as Scheppers (92-94 mph fastball, slider, change, occasional curve according to Baseball America), Marc projected him as a number three starter down the road. Any move to the bullpen would surely be temporary.

Arrieta has held batters to a .171 batting average in Triple-A, with a 1.93 K/BB and a 2.05 GB/FB in 31 innings this year, good for a FIP just south of 2.00. Because he’s expected to join Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman in their rotation for years to come, there’s no guarantee that Baltimore will promote Arrieta to work in relief, especially when they’re going nowhere fast. If they do though, keep an on him because save opportunities could come his way rather quickly.

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