George Kottaras, Brewers (Owned in 1% of Yahoo Leagues)
The former Padres and Red Sox prospect owns a career .269/.367/.444 line in the minor leagues, including a .239/.331/.424 showing in Triple-A. Kottaras, 27, displayed good patience (13.3 BB%) and pop (.175 ISO) on the farm as a backstop, but he was often panned for his lack of defensive prowess — Sean Smith‘s Total Zone system rates Kottaras as 18 runs below average during his minor league tenure.
Milwaukee is apparently willing to stomach Kottaras’ adventurous D in exchange for his bat, and with a strong showing in 2010, the lefty batter now has a .230/.353/.443 line and a .350 wOBA in 215 career major league plate appearances. Kottaras has rarely gotten himself out, swinging at just 15.6% of pitches thrown outside of the strike zone (25-27% MLB average recently).
Kottaras will have to contend with prospect Jonathan Lucroy for playing time, but he’s worth a roster spot if he continues to get penciled into the lineup. ZiPS projects a .237/.341/.412 triple-slash for the rest of the year, with a .338 wOBA.
Kris Medlen, Braves (10%)
Eno Sarris mentioned the 24-year-old as a potential steal last month, and since then, Medlen has continued to deal.
A 10th-round pick out of Santa Ana Junior College in the 2006 draft, Medlen murderized minor league batters, first as a reliever and then out of the starting rotation. In 227 total innings (79 ‘pen appearances, 23 starts), the 5-10, 190 pound righty punched out 10.4 batters per nine innings, issuing just 2 BB/9.
In the majors, Medlen has 8.38 K/9, 3.03 BB/9 and a 3.69 xFIP in 116 innings (46 relief stints, nine starts). In its 2009 Prospect Handbook, Baseball America said that the converted shortstop featured a 92-94 MPH fastball and a plus curveball that reached the high-80’s, as well as a solid slider and changeup. His repertoire in the big leagues has looked decidedly different: Medlen’s sitting about 90 MPH with his heater, relying heavily upon an 81 MPH changeup while adding in some high-70’s curves.
That might not scream “power pitcher,” and Medlen has predictably whiffed fewer batters as a starter. But, according to Trip Somers’ texasleaguers site, Medlen hasn’t lost zip on his fastball while facing lineups multiple times, and he’s doing an outstanding job of locating the fastball, change and curve for strikes.
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