Mailbag: Pitching Prospects, Ackley

As keeper league decision deadlines approach and owners begin to search for the next crop of keepers, we go digging into the mailbag and answer a questions about some young arms and a certain top prospect who hopes to make a splash in Seattle sooner than later.

Daniel M. writes…

Can you tell me about these guys

Christian Friedrich Rox
Timothy Alderson Pirates
Pedro Figueroa A’s
Christopher Withrow Dodgers

Also – could you see Dustin Ackley coming up to play 2B for the Mariners this year?

Armed with one of the best curveballs in the minors, Friedrich has put up top-notch strikeout numbers at the lower minor league levels.  He is a polished college arm with a considerably high ceiling.  If he could develop his changeup further, he could be an ace.  Some scouts have gone as far as to compare him to a young Barry Zito (pre-ridiculous contract days).  He’ll likely start 2010 at double-A, but could be a valuable arm for the Rockies and fantasy owners in a late season pennant race. Excerpt taken from the FB365 2010 Draft Guide (to be released this week!)
Alderson was seen as a high ceiling guy at one time.  However, his velocity has dropped considerably since joining the professional ranks.  At least his command is about as good as it gets for a young prospect.  That should be his calling card to the big leagues, but also be what ultimately limits him to a solid number three.  Excerpt taken from the FB365 2010 Draft Guide (to be released this week!)
Figueroa is a slender lefty with good velocity 90-93 mpg on average.  He also uses an above average slider as a strikeout pitch.  He advanced to high-A last season, but at age 23, he was a bit old for the level.  The reasons for his slow progress have to do with inconsistent control and stamina and well as the lack of a true go-to third pitch (though he is working on a changeup).  Due to these issues he doesn’t have a high ceiling, but lefties who throw in the low 90′s aren’t easy to come by.
A first round pick by the Dodgers in 2007, Chris Withrow has a big time power arm and can consistently hit the mid-90′s with his fastball.  His curve is also a power pitch.  His command has been a big inconsistent (4.96 BB/9 at high-A last season), but his strikeout potential is top-notch (10.95 K/9 and high-A last season).  Other than the need to be more consistent with his command, the development of a changeup would do wonders to his ultimate ceiling.  Should everything come together, he could be an ace.  If not, he still has the ability to be a solid two or very good three.
Reports have Ackley playing everywhere from second to first to the outfield.  His value would be much better as a second baseman as his offensive game is AVG/OBP oriented with the chance for around 20 home runs per season.  His bat is so advanced that he may not need much time in the minors.  Depending on Seattle’s circumstance, he could be in line for an extended September look. Excerpt taken from the FB365 2010 Draft Guide (to be released this week!)
Specifically, with regards to Ackley, I am talking about the injury risk associated with Milton Bradley and Eric Byrnes.  If those two can’t stay on the field and the M’s are fighting for first place down the stretch, Ackley would be the type of advanced bat that they could plug in to left field without hesitation.  Other than that circumstance (or perhaps a Jose Lopez injury, which is less likely) Ackley will see a full year in the minors with a shot at making the 2011 club.
Have fantasy baseball questions? Email with the title “Mailbag”.  All questions WILL be answered, some may be used for mailbag articles to appear on FB365.