2011 Fantasy Baseball Hot Prospects: Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

Jeff MansContributor IIIMarch 20, 2011

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 5: Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws in relief against the New York Yankees March 5, 2010 at the George M. Steinbrenner  Field in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

He's being drafted ahead of established starters such as Gavin Floyd, Ricky Romero and Gio Gonzalez, yet he has only started four major league games. 

Jeremy Hellickson's nickname is "Hellboy" and he just might be that for fantasy owners this year if he cannot live up to the tremendous expectations that accompany his arrival to the big leagues.

Can this fourth round draft pick out of Des Moines, Iowa, live up to the hype or is he just another player who can dominate the minor leagues but can't figure out how to take the next step? 

Let's break it down on another edition of 2011 Fantasy Baseball Hot Prospects:

Jeremy Hellickson -- RHP -- Tampa Bay Rays

Height: 6'1" Weight: 185 lbs. -- Hits: Right Throws: Right

2010 Stats -- 4-0, 3.47 ERA, 36 Innings, 33 K's, 1.10 WHIP

(AAA) -- 12-3, 2.45 ERA, 118 Innings, 123 K's, 1.17 WHIP

Scouting Report

Hellickson has dominated the minor leagues since fine tuning a couple of his pitches and learning how to fool the timing of left handed hitters. 

Hellickson uses three variations of his fastball including a very good four seamer that has great downward bite.  He has developed an average cut fastball as well which helps against lefties and rarely finds the sweet spot of the bat. 

Most scouts agree that his straight changeup is his best pitch, as he is able to throw it with the same motion of his fastball and which has late fade and sink. 

Though his fastball regularly tops out at around 92 MPH, his change can vary between 79-84 and really keeps hitters off the quick stuff. 

Hellickson also has a tight spinning curveball, which he keeps down in the zone but also uses as a swing and miss offering when he needs a punchout.  He has great command of his entire repertoire, especially for a young pitcher who wasn't a top draft pick. 

He pitches down in the zone, which will help him in smaller ballparks and against right handed power hitters.  His two-seam fastball is rather straight, although coaches would rather him not throw it, as much it is a bit of a comfort pitch for him when others aren't feeling right. 

Hellickson needs to work on keeping left handed hitters off balance and not trying to get too cute with them. 

Lefties are notorious low ball hitters and thus can feast on Hellboy's stuff if they can time him out.  Hellickson is almost assured of winning a rotation spot with the Rays this spring and grades out much higher as a starter than as a reliever. 

2011 Analysis

While the rest of the fantasy baseball world is clamoring for Jeremy Hellickson, I suggest taking a more cautious approach and not over-draft him, as has been the case far too often this Spring. 

Hellickson has the looks of being a real good front line starting pitcher for the Rays, but his best numbers will not come in 2011. 

He does not have the pure stuff of a Mat Latos or even a Tommy Hanson and thus will not dominate right from the start. 

But what Hellickson does have that the others don't is a deep stable of quality pitches that he will have to tinker with and adjust continuously until he figures out what works and what doesn't. 

He relies heavily on pitch location and changing speeds, thus has a much better chance at becoming the next Greg Maddux than Tim Lincecum. 

Hellickson is still a worthy fantasy pitcher this season, but should serve as a decent number three starter or good number four instead of being the first or second one you take. 

The strikeouts won't necessarily carry over, but he will be good at getting groundball double plays and thus pitching out of jams. 

Compare To: Clay Buchholz, Brett Myers, Dan Haren

Jeff Mans is a contributor to Bleacher Report and the Senior Writer for Fantasy Alarm.