At the beginning of this season, the Tampa Bay Rays made the decision to to have Wade Davis start in the Majors and have Jeremy Helllickson become more polished in Triple-A. The move was understandable at the time because Wade Davis is older and more experienced. Now, Davis is struggling mightily with a 5.03 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. The 6’1″ 185-pound Hellickson, however, has proven he is ready for the big show. His numbers in Triple-A are astounding. He is 8-2 with a 2.28 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. In 71 IP, he has a 71:17 K to B ratio. That is a good sign in terms of his development and readiness for the Rays. For the 2010 season, many baseball pundits anointed Hellickson as one of the best pitching prospects. His numbers are certainly appropriate for that label.
Hellickson or “Hellboy” as his teammates call him has three above-average if not plus pitches. They include a fastball which can reach 94 miles per hour and has good sink, a fading changeup that is a plus pitch, and a very good curveball that he throws for strikes and gets hitters to chase. Hellickson has great command on all of his pitches, especially his fastball. He uses this to get ahead of the count and to throw strikes. When the righty finally makes it into the Rays rotation, he will likely be their number five starter, but may have the opportunity to become the number four starter if he pans out. Unless fantasy owners are in a very deep league or a dynasty league, Hellickson should not be added to your fantasy rosters just yet.
Rays personnel have made no comment on Wade Davis or Jeremy Hellickson. It would not surprise me for the Rays to wait until September to promote Hellickson. They may want him to get a little more experience in the Minors first as to not rush or hinder his potential. The Rays also may want to see if Wade Davis can work through these few bad outings and get back on track. So unless Davis melts down like Phil Mickelson at Winged Foot, I would not expect Hellickson to be promoted right away. If Tampa experiences a plethora of injuries, Hellickson may also get the call. However, when you do see Jeremy Hellickson in a Rays uniform, be sure to add him to your roster because he will be a very solid player.
I am not sure if he will be a perennial all-star, but I believe he will have a very good career. He is sure to rack up many wins with the Rays offense behind him. For the time being, most fantasy owners should just have them on their watch list and nothing else. Pay attention to the injury reports and Wade Davis’ play for clues as to when Hellickson will get the call. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.