April 6, 2017 – Under the Radar Pitcher Performances (Opening Day)

And away we go…….those old enough to remember, that was the title to the Jackie Gleason Show and one of his famous phrases. We lost one our last comedic ties to the “good ole days” in Don Rickles yesterday. He was one of my favorites and I cherished the moments when my Dad would allow me to stay-up on a school night, to catch “Mr. Warmth” on the Johnny Carson Show. He was the King of Ball Busting….and thats the one thing that I love to do….and learned to laugh about myself and when amongst a group of friends, keep things loose and fun.
 
OK…speaking of busting balls…away we go into the 2017 minor league season. The hitters in LoA were hot right out gate yesterday, as five of the eight completed games bared double-digit hit totals for a team or both. So LoA pitchers gracing the list of top performers will be short. We will continue the same format as last season and hopefully I will mix in some new twists or info as the season progresses. Contact Marc or myself via Twitter if you have anything you would like to see or info/advice on how to improve your fantasy minor league taxi team.

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I must inform our readers that we might be chartering into some open waters in regards to minor league prospects. This dawned upon me while I was constructing my minor league prospect list heading into our PFL Keeper League draft last weekend. What a long list I had…and you know what?…if I missed out on a kid, there were a ton of #2 and #3 tiered kids that I was comfortable enough to stash. Usually, amongst our savvy group of owners, the end-game becomes a flurry of expletives over a bidding war on a prospect. As my moment of clarity suggested when I put my list together…and later certified at the draft, that scenerio didn’t materialize. Each owner just went OK….who’s next on my list. What does this mean? On a UTR perspective, it could just be that our work is reaching out and better informing owners. I don’t know how many times, a kids name came off the board, that Marc and I would look at each other and…mouth the letters… UTR! It also means that the talent level in the minors could be on the cusp of becoming more even keeled. This makes what we produce on this site that more important, keeping our readers more informed on kids climbing out the low minors. We know that fantasy keeper/dynasty owners are usually in several leagues and keeping abreast, not only the movements at the MLB level, but performances and promotions on the minor league level can be tough. Thats why we are here…so let begin the 2017 schedule which marks our 4th season of tracking the prospects here at UTRMinors.com
 
 
TOP NL UTR PITCHING PERFORMANCE
 
 RHP Jesse Scholtens (LoA Fort Wayne – San Diego) 23 year old
5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K, Win 1-0
  •  This is what you get when you procrastinate creating your 2017 “One to Watch” list and waiting to post after the start of the season. Jesse Scholtens goes out (on his Birthday no less) and pitches an absolute gem on opening day. Of his 17 outs, 11 came by strikeout, which of course sets a career high for the 23-year old. In fact, across the 4 full season levels, the Padres pitchers had a successful day. 2016 UTR-OAS Andrew “Walker” Lockett gave up one earned run over six innings and racked up 8 K’s with no walks at Triple-A El Paso. Another UTR-OAS from 2015, Kyle Lloyd spun a one-hitter over 5.2 innings against Double-A Northwest Arkansas. While at HiA Lake Elsinore, #24 ranked prospect Joey Lucchesi wished he had two pitches back, both going for solo home runs, in going 4 innings, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Back to Scholtens who is on the short list of Padres farm arms trying to be named as my “One to Watch” for this season. Yesterday definitely helps his cause, but it was his radar blip from 2016 that got him to this stage. The 6’4″ 230 lb right-hander made 17 appearances with short-season Tri-City, posting a 6.00 K/BB ratio over 27.1 innings. He made a spot relief appearance with Fort Wayne in late July, before what could have been an audition start at HiA Lake Elsinore on August 5th. Scholtens is a 9th round pick (2016) of Wright State University, where during his Senior year he went 10-1 with 2.95 ERA over 109.2 innings (95 K / 19 BB). The big righty’s radar signal has come in loud and clear on the first day.
 
National League – Starters
 
LHP Luiz Gohara (HiA Florida – Atlanta) 20 years old
5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K 
  • In my opening piece I described how the end-game at our draft can unfold with regard to prospects hitting the board. Gohara was the only “must-have” prospect on my list. This because of the well-documented American League defection of Jose De Leon and Reynaldo Lopez from my NL-only roster. I usually have a war-chest of extra money stashed to out-bid and scoop-up prospects, and I was prepared for a bidding war for Gohara. It never came and I was able to roster Gohara easily and who I believe will be the Braves Ace of the future. Over the last 4 seasons, Gohara was a Top 15 prospect with the Seattle Mariners before coming to the Braves in the Mallex Smith transaction. MLBPipeline slid the 6’3″ 210 lb lefty into the #10 spot with the Braves and he should become one of the top 10 left-handers once Josh Hader, Amir Garrett, Stephen Gonsalves lose their prospect status this season. Ben Badler from Baseball America was in attendance to watch Gohara and his story can be found here. It was the first game for the new Atlanta affiliate Florida Fire Frogs.
RHP Cody Poteet (HiA Jupiter – Miami) 22 years old
5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, Win 1-0 
  • The Marlins #14 ranked prospect and my 2016 UTR-OAS got the Hammerheads off to great start.
 
National League – Relief
 
LHP Ben Sheckler (LoA Fort Wayne – San Diego) 21 years old
2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, Hold
  • 8th round pick in 2016 comes in to relieve Jesse Scholtens and set-up Bowling Green so Mark Zimmerman can lock-down the save.
 
TOP AL UTR PITCHING PERFORMANCE 
 
RHP Travis Lakins (HiA Salem) 23 years old
5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
  • Lakins was drafted by Boston during the 6th round in 2015 out of the Ohio State University. He repeats at HiA Salem after struggling last season, posting 5.93 ERA and 1.615 WHIP over 19 appearances (18 starts) in 91 innings of work.
 

American League – Starters
 
LHP Jordan Montgomery (HiA Tampa – New York Yankees) 24 years old
5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
  • Ranked #13 by Baseball America
RHP Lucas Humpal  (LoA Delmarva – Baltimore) 23 years old
6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
  • Ninth rounder from 2016 that pitched well at short-season Aberdeen making 11 appearances (10 starts)
RHP J.D. Busfield (LoA Bowling Green – Tampa Bay) 21 years old
5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1.80 ERA
  • Busfield got into an early pitchers duel with our Top Performer of the Day Jesse Scholtens. The 7th round pick (2016) gave up a run in the opening stanza and then retired 13 of next 14 batters faced.
 
American League – Relief
 
LHP Dalton Moats (LoA Bowling Green – Tampa Bay) 21 years old
2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K 
 
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