Bastardo or Mazzaro; I like the Tiger

With all the new pitching prospects coming to the majors, your fantasy team might be in need of a facelift.  Here are two pitchers that might give your teams a shot in the arm.  (Wow, with PED use being watched more closely and accusations flying left and right, I shouldn’t use that term, huh?)

Antonio Bastardo arrived in Detroit after a quick run through the Tigers farm system.  Signed out of the Dominican Republic at 21, Bastardo smoked batters for Lakeland (A) and Clearwater (A+) in 2007, and shortly into 2008 was already getting a shot at AA.  He throws strikes, but has occasional fits of wildness.  The OVERALL record is pretty good, but 42 walks in 91.2 innings at Lakeland (2007) and 37 walks in 67 innings at Reading (2008) give you pause.  Bastardo blew through AA and AAA rather quickly in 2009, though – each time he stays a little longer at a level he’s improved, so I like this 24-year-old’s chances to win 10 games or more with Detroit.  Going 17 – 7 with a 2.42 ERA in 242 innings, with 270 strikeouts are the types of numbers you want to see en route the big leagues.  (Rumors that Bastardo is related to former Tiger prospect Yormin Bazardo are untrue.)

Vincent Mazzaro is a 3rd round pick out of Rutherford High School (NJ) in 2005, and the Oakland A’s are pretty high on him.  However, he hasn’t been the dominant pitcher in the minors that Bastardo was.  While Baseball America shows him as a top ten prospect, Mazzaro was posting ERAs over 5 for Kane County (2005) and Stockton (2006) while still in A ball.  In 2007, Mazzaro had his first taste of prospect success, going 12 – 3 with a 1.90 ERA in Midland (AA).  His strikeout rate improved, and more importantly his control was solid.  Instead of walking 71 in 153.2 innings, he only walked 36 in 137.1 innings.  Mazzaro was a little overmatched in AAA at first blush in 2008, but he opened with several strong outings at Sacramento in 2009, earning his call up.  The control remains strong, but I worry about his ability to strike out a lot of guys.  He’s got a slight advantage in that he’s pitching in Oakland which will keep his ERA in check, but don’t look for a lot of checks in the wins column.  At least not until he turns what appears to be improving command into a set of solid out pitches.

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