Yes, we are already a good two weeks into the season but its not too late to highlight the rookies that could have an impact in 2012. Today I continue my series of posts as I look at Rookies who could have an impact in 2012 in the AL Central. I previously took a look at the NL West, NL Central, NL East, and the AL West. Enjoy the second to last installment in the series.
The Indians roster has some question marks surrounding it regarding Ubaldo Jimenez and if Grady Sizemore can perform once he is healthy but I don’t see the Indians being able to compete with the Tigers in the AL Central. There are some rookies though that could make an impact at the big league level and my pick for who will have the biggest impact is LHP Nick Hagadone. The 5th starter in the rotation right now is Jeanmar Gomez. If things don’t go well for him, I could see Hagadone getting the call pretty early. Hagadone would also add a left handed arm to a rotation that does not have a single one. Watch for RHP Zach McAllister, LHP Scott Barnes, RHP Zach Putnam and infielder Cord Phelps as well.
The 2011 Royals team had a handful of rookies all starting and there is more talent on the way in 2012. The guy who I think will have the biggest impact is the young flamethrower, Kelvin Herrera. He made the bullpen out of spring training and he could be the setup man at some point this year. His fastball can hit triple digits and he has solid secondary stuff. He has a 4.05 ERA on the year thus far in 6.2 IP with 6 strikeouts. LHP Mike Montgomery could also be in the rotation at some point this year. Watch for Jeremy Jeffress out of the bullpen as well who was just recently called up.
Detroit has one of the best offenses in all of baseball and I don’t think too many rookies will find a spot to make huge contributions there but the rotation is a different story. My pick for who I think has the biggest impact is LHP Drew Smyly. Smyly is already in the rotation and in two starts he has a 0.90 ERA. Jacob Turner has a much higher ceiling than Smyly but I see Smyly having a bigger impact in 2012. Turner should find a spot in the rotation at some point this year though. LHP Adam Wilk is another name to watch for and he is currently the fifth starter in the rotation and could be bumped to a long relief role at some point this year. Watch for LHP Duane Below, LHP Matt Hoffman, and LHP Andy Oliver.
Most of the Twins top prospects in the organization are all years away from the bigs but there are still some guys that will have an impact in 2012. My pick for who has the biggest impact is Liam Hendriks. The RHP is already in the Twins rotation and is already off to a nice start this year. He has a 3.86 ERA in two starts thus far. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling but I see him being a solid contributor at the back of the rotation this year and in the future. Joe Benson is another name to watch for. He needs some time at AAA but he could be playing in the Twins outfield sooner rather than later. Watch for first baseman Chris Parmelee who is already on the big league roster as well.
The White Sox have one of the worst systems in all of baseball but that does not mean there are not guys who could make an impact in 2012. The guy who I think has the biggest impact in 2012 for the White Sox is an easy pick for me and I’m going with Addison Reed. He had a chance to win the closer job out of spring training and at the moment he is pitching out of the pen as a setup man. He could have the closer role at some point this year. Hector Santiago is another name to watch for and he is the current closer but I think Reed takes over the closer job eventually. Nathan Jones, Nestor Molina, and Eduardo Escobar are names to watch as well.