Major League Baseball teams are wasting no time post-holidays to get back to work signing free agents to fill in their rosters, and creating a ripple effect on the fantasy value of many players. While we continue our internal research on the impact of those signings, let’s continue our own fantasy Hot Stove series discussing prospects who have the potential to turn a late-round flier draft pick into fantasy gold.
The next prospect in the series is more of a long-long shot than a sleeper, but similar to Marc Rzepczynski, Josh Collmenter dominated the Arizona Fall League. OK, maybe he didn’t dominate, but he was arguably the best pitcher in the 2010 AFL. The Arizona Diamondback prospect was 4-0 in seven starts with 3.04 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 26.2 innings pitched with a 30/7 strikeout to walk ratio.
Collmenter was a 15th round draft pick out of Central Michigan University in 2007. The righty will be 25 years old in the spring and has very good control. He changes speeds well and has a deceptive delivery that many would describe as unorthodox.
The biggest knock on Collmenter is his fastball. The heater tops out in the low 90s and usually sits in the high 80s. For those of you scoring at home, that’s called big league batting practice. But Collmenter finds a way to get guys out.
The unorthodox delivery mixed with a great changeup allows Collmenter to be a legitimate prospect. The ball appears to come from behind his head, making it difficult for hitters to pick up the ball.
Arguably Collmenter’s greatest attribute is his mustache. His notable facial hair earned him “Josh Collmenter Mustache Awareness Night” in July 2008 while pitching for the South Bend Silver Hawks and a personalized video from the American Mustache Institute. The advent of his mustache was an attempt to turn his team’s fortunes around from losing to winning and he kept it when the fans took a liking to the upper lip hair.
Collmenter has had an uphill climb most of his baseball life. Coming out of a small high school in Michigan, most major colleges didn’t want to take a chance on a kid who didn’t face tough competition. When CMU gave him a chance, he took it and ran. Even though he was quite successful in college and a season in the Cape Cod League, many major league teams didn’t think Collmenter was up to the task of professional ball because he didn’t face tough college competition on a regular basis. Once again, he is showing what he is made of.
Collmenter has been named to the all-star team of his league the last two seasons and has achieved league player of the week honors four times over those same two seasons. He has climbed his way to triple-A and onto the Arizona Diamondbacks 40-man roster.
I’m not about to say this guy is the next coming of Greg Maddux, but just like Mad Dog, Collmenter gets guys out with control, a change of speeds, and what looks like a guy who is very out of his league. Unlike Maddux, Collmenter will likely settle into the back end of a rotation and should do just fine eating up innings and picking up wins and strikeouts, while not hurting your ratios.