Fantasy Notes: Sockin’ Saccomanno
By the way, it was remiss of me not to mention that yesterday’s final post was the 600th entry in the site’s history. We remain two weeks and change from our first birthday for those of you wondering. Alright, now that those housekeeping details are out of the way, let’s get down to business. With the Astros continuing to flounder (now tied for fourth place in the NL Central), it’s time to take a quick peek at some players on their Triple-A squad who may be in line for a look at some point this season.
- Mark Saccomanno hasn’t done much in his career to gain notoriety (and no, having the same last name as Kramer’s buddy Bob doesn’t qualify), but is enjoying a breakout year in his first season at Triple-A. As a 27-year-old corner infielder originally taken in the 23rd round in 2003, Saccomanno hardly qualifies as a prospect, but with the ‘Stros ranking in the bottom half of the NL in homers and near the bottom in BA, surely someone on the parent organization is taking note of his line (56 games, 190 at-bats, .300 BA, 14 doubles, 11 homers, 39 RBI). If you think Houston is having an emergency with its waning offense, Saccomanno’s OPS (911) seems rather appropriate. After Saccomanno became just the second Round Rock player to slug two homers in a game on Monday, Houston may soon be paying a bit more attention. A recent 14-game hitting streak doesn’t hurt, either. Saccomanno repeated Double-A last year, and, while he managed to hit just .245, he slammed 20 homers and 63 RBI despite missing two months with an injury. Well, he’s already more than halfway to matching those totals already and we still have plenty of ball to play. Saccomanno says his success this year is the result of laying off bad pitches. A Houston native, Saccomanno proved he can perform against the best in the world when he stroked two doubles and a homer in three games as a member of the Italian entry at the 2006 WBC. While he’s done the majority of his damage at home (.361 BA with seven of his 11 dingers), Round Rock is not a hitter-friendly park, so that bodes well for his ability to go yard in major league stadiums.
- Infielder Danny Klassen is the only other Express player to hit multiple dingers in a game this season. The 31-year-old Canadian is a true Quad-A player, having amassed 1,154 minor league games in his career with only 85 big league appearances and none at all since 2003. Originally a second rounder of the Brewers way back in 1993, Klassen’s been in the Houston system since 2005, but was out of baseball last year. In 2005, he enjoyed probably his finest Triple-A season ever with a 910 OPS, yet he didn’t get a sniff of the majors. A true shortstop who can also play second and third, Klassen is hitting well again this year with a .310 mark through 44 games, but he’s been out of the lineup since late-May. In 85 career big-league games, he’s put up a .226/.289/.341 line with six dingers. A recent surge by Houston shortstop Adam Everett has jacked his BA up to .230, but his overall offensive game has been in decline for three years now, and he was never really that good at his peak. Obviously, Everett’s defensive prowess is valuable to Houston, but surely Klassen could record a 600 OPS, a mark Everett currently remains shy of.
- One struggling Astro the team already divested itself of, Jason Lane, isn’t exactly playing like he’s desperate to get back to the Show. Since his demotion to Triple-A a week and a half ago, Lane is batting just .250 through five games, but he does have seven runs, a homer, four RBI and six walks against just one strikeout. He doubled and scored Monday in his first game at home since Houston farmed him out to make room for Chris Burke. During his time with the big club, Lane had the dubious distinction of being perhaps the least productive outfielder in the major leagues. In 36 games and 79 at-bats, he scored just five runs, which is even worse considering he had four homers. Lane drove in 10 runs and hit .165/.175/.354. He’s batting cleanup for Round Rock, so perhaps the 30-year-old — a sixth round pick in 1999 — will put up impressive enough numbers to get another look. Recall that Lane is capable of getting hot and producing, batting .305 with an 890 OPS in the second half in 2005. If he has another big half in him, the struggling Astros’ attack could sure use it now.