This is our weekly look at the free agents in each league. We have two goals for this article:
- Identify likely free agents and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
- Try to estimate how much of your free agent budget you should bid on them.
One size doesn't fit all, and we could never hope to encompass all league structures, so we have to have a set of base assumptions. Those assumptions are:
- League size of 12 players (either AL or Mixed, we'll specify)
- 5x5 categories
- Each team has a $100 FAAB budget
Jeanmar Gomez, Indians – This week Gomez pitched seven innings with one unearned run against the Twins and followed it up with six scoreless innings against the Marlins. He struck out six batters and walked five over those two starts, which should leave an uneasy feeling for his owners or those thinking about investing. Still, he has a 3.19 ERA with 23 strikeouts and 13 walks over 42.1 innings to his name. So while he might not miss many bats, he at least has shown decent enough control to stay away from serious damage. His 51.9% ground ball rate will help him and that .237 BABIP he's running doesn't hurt either. At the White Sox this week, why not keep on running him out there? Mixed: $4; AL: Owned.
Derek Lowe, Indians – To those starting to take Lowe seriously with his 2.05 ERA and 6-1 record, slow your roll. He has 17 walks and 13 strikeouts over his 52.2 innings this season. Think about that for a minute. I'm not saying he can't be effective, but just realize what it is you're getting when you go to add him to your team - a ground ball heavy (65.4%) pitcher, who throws a sinker much of the time, and has a strand rate that is very high (84.9% - 7th highest among all starters). Mixed: $6; AL: Owned.
Kevin Millwood, Mariners – Millwood pitched a two hit shutout against the Rockies in Coors on Friday night with seven strikeouts and just one walk. Maybe just as impressive he held the Yankees to just one run over seven innings last Sunday on just three hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Millwood now has a 4.17 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 20 walks over 49.2 innings. These are pretty decent numbers for the 37-year-old righty. At minimum he needs to be monitored in all AL only leagues unit this magic pixie dust wears off or he pitches like he did in his two previous starts, when he got shelled by the Tigers and Rays. Against Texas this week, no thank you. Mixed: $3; AL: Owned.
Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles – I'm not sure why it's taken this long for mixed leaguers to finally start to take Chen seriously, but it's about time. Over his last three starts he has faced the Red Sox, Rangers, and Yankees and allowed six earned runs over those 19.2 innings with 13 strikeouts and six walks. If that doesn't get you interested, I don't know what will. His 2.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP likely won't last forever (see a .265 BABIP), but facing the Royals this week, he needs to be owned in more leagues. Mixed: $12; AL: Owned.
Alex Cobb, Rays – Cobb was called up this week to take the place of Jeff Niemann, who hit the DL with a fractured fibula that should keep him out for quite a while. He pitched seven innings of two run ball on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts for a win against the Braves on Saturday in his debut. At Triple-A Durham this season he had a 4.14 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 18 walks over 41.1 innings. Last season as a starter for the Rays he had a 3.42 ERA with 37 strikeouts and 21 walks over 52.2 innings. This outing against the Braves should buy him more time in the rotation, but this week against the Red Sox in Boston, I'd be leery to use him. Still, he should be owned in all AL only leagues and monitored in mixed leagues. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.
Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners – Brandon League blew his third save of the season this week as he walked three of the six batters he faced. This gives him 10 walks on the season in just 17.1 innings -- as many as he has last season in 61.1 innings of work. While this has been going on Wilhelmsen has posted a 3.92 ERA with 25 strikeouts and eight walks over 20.2 innings. He is certainly not the only option to replace League down the line, but he certainly has the ability to miss bats, which is something League does not have. Keep a close eye on this situation because if League's control is gone and he continues to walk as many batters as he strikes out, it's a matter of when, not if he loses the closer's job. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.
Joaquin Benoit, Tigers – Benoit has stepped in as the Tigers closer for the moment as Jose Valverde deals with a lower back strain. It's unknown at this point if Papa Grande will need a stint on the DL, but Benoit is worth grabbing in all leagues either way. For the season Benoit has a 2.70 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 11 walks over 16.2 innings. These are much better numbers than Valverde has as he has walked nearly as many batters (12) as he has struck out (14). Mixed: $7; AL: $15.
Rafael Soriano, Yankees – With David Robertson landing on the DL this week with a left oblique strain, Soriano is now the Yankees closer. He currently has a 2.57 ERA with 13 strikeouts and eight walks over 14 innings. Maybe more importantly, he converted his second save attempt of the season this week with a clean outing against the Orioles. Oblique injuries can be tricky as to how long they take to heal, so Soriano could take this audition and run with it for quite a while. Last season Soriano had a 4.12 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 18 walks over 39.1 innings - not exactly lights out numbers. Mixed: $15; AL: $30.
J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays – Arencibia has been red hot this week with four homers and a double. He hit just .188/.232/.281 with one homer and three doubles in April, which likely had him exiled to the waiver wire in many a mixed league. This month though, he's hitting .354/.380.792 with six homers and three doubles. The window to buy low in mixed leagues or find him available as a free agent is about to slam shut. Last season the 26-year old catcher hit .219/.282/.438 with 23 homers. Mixed: $15; AL: Owned.
Yan Gomes, Blue Jays – The 24 year old Gomes, the first Brazilian-born player in MLB history, was called-up this week to take the roster spot of the slumping Adam Lind. Gomes tore up the hitter friendly Triple-A Vegas with a .359/.391/.565 batting line with five homers and a stolen base over 138 plate appearances this season. So far he has played three games at third, but he should have catcher eligibility in most leagues and could even see time at first. He went 3-for-10 this week with one homer and has enough power that he's worth adding in all AL only leagues as long as he's up, which could be a short time as Brett Lawrie will be back from his suspension soon. Last season at Double-A New Hampshire he hit .250/.317/.464 with 13 homers over 309 plate appearances. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Miguel Olivo, Mariners – Olivo (groin) will likely come off the DL this week, so he's worth mentioning here. John Jaso and Miguel Montero have been filling in while he's been on the mend. For the season Olivo is hitting .210/.229/.346 with three homers and one stolen base over 84 plate appearances. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.
Josh Donaldson, A's – Donaldson was recalled this week, after Brandon Inge (groin) hit the DL, and has started every game at third base for the A's. While at Triple-A Sacramento he hit a scorching .447/.509/.830 with five homers, a double, and a triple. This is a far cry from the .095/.095/.095 (this not a misprint) he hit in April. This week he was back to his old ways as he started out 1-for-17, but that was before he went 3-for-4 on Friday with a homer and two doubles. Caveat emptor my friends. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Adam Rosales, A's – Rosales was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento this week to help fill-in as a utility infielder. In the minors he hit .277/.314/.438 with two homers, 13 doubles, and two stolen bases. He has started only one game so far and that was at first base, but he could slide over to third if Josh Donaldson keeps on batting like Josh Donaldson. There isn't much upside here as Rosales doesn't possess much power or speed. He did however take three walks in his debut game, so perhaps he won't be that much of a drain in leagues that use OBP instead of AVG (not likely). Mixed: No; AL: $3.
Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians – Chisenhall (calf) was activated from the DL this week in Triple-A Columbus. He comes back to a .326/.351/.562 batting line with four homers. Right now third base for the Indians is being manned by Jose Lopez, who we'll get to next, and Jack Hannahan. Hannahan is currently dealing with a back injury, but it doesn't appear to be serious. Moreover, he's off to a pretty decent start with a .287/.365/.436 batting line, so Chisenhall's time return to the bigs may take a while. Last season he hit .255/.284/.415 with seven homers and a stolen base over 223 plate appearances. Prospective Bid - Mixed: $3; AL: $10.
Jose Lopez, Indians – Lopez was recalled this week from Triple-A Columbus and has started every game at third base this week for the Tribe as Jack Hannahan deals with a back injury. He has gotten a hit in each of those games, raising his batting line from .182/.182/.364 to .225/.279/.425. Hannahan's back woes don't appear to be serious, so Lopez's time at the hot corner (and maybe even the majors) may be short. Mixed: No; AL: $3.
Mitch Moreland, Rangers – Moreland hit two homers on Thursday off Brandon McCarthy, prompting mixed leaguers to check his status in their various leagues. Moreland got off to a slow start batting .231/.310/.442 in April, but he's hit .341/.378/.610 this month. Interleague play has shifted him to the bench this weekend as the team is in Houston, but he should go right back to starting at first on Monday. His power has picked up this season as he already has six homers over 103 plate appearance; in 2010 he had nine homers over just 173 plate appearances. Mix in the offensive friendly home park and his fellow lineup mates and there's no reason he shouldn't be owned in more mixed leagues right now. Mixed: $20; AL: Owned.
Mauro Gomez, Red Sox – Gomez was called-up this week to make his MLB debut and provide the Red Sox with some infield depth. At Triple-A Pawtucket he hit .294/.336/.610 with 10 homers over 146 plate appearances, so he has some pop. Last season at Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves system, he hit .304/.355/.521 with 24 homers and six stolen bases. So far he's only had two pinch-hit appearances as that is likely to be his role on the team. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Miguel Tejada, Orioles – Tejada reported to Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday as he begins something of a comeback this season. The last time we saw him, he was hitting .239/.270/.326 with four homers and four stolen bases for the Giants in just 91 games. Now 38 years old, he'll likely try to help the team as a utility infielder. It's doubtful he has much left in the tank as his power is mostly gone, but weirder things have happened. Prospective Bid - Mixed: $1; AL: $5.
Elliott Johnson, Rays – I discussed Johnson in this spot two week ago when Evan Longoria (hamstring) went to the DL and since then he has ripped off an eight game hitting streak to help push his batting line to .292/.378/.403. Maybe most important to owners is that he has seven stolen bases on the season. This shouldn't come as a huge surprise considering he stole 30 bases at Triple-A Durham in 2010. Defensively, Johnson has been playing shortstop on a fairly consistent basis, while Sean Rodriguez has moved over to third. Until further notice, Johnson needs to be owned in all AL only leagues, if he already isn't. Mixed: $5; AL: $15.
Brian Dozier, Twins – Like Johnson, the Bull Dozier was discussed two weeks ago here and since then he has hit .286/.300/.446 with two homers and three doubles. He has hit mostly second in the Twins batting order, but on Saturday he hit fifth as the team brought back Ben Revere. Defensively he's the team's everyday starting shortstop, pushing Jamey Carroll to second and third base. One concern is that he only has two walks in his first 60 plate appearances, which if this continues, his numbers will really suffer. Considering he was in High-A Fort Myers in the Florida State League this time a year ago, I'm not overtly optimistic he keeps this up. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.
Coco Crisp, A's – Just a head's up that Crisp (inner ear infection) is set to come off the DL early this coming week. When we last saw him in action, he was batting .194/.260/.209 with four stolen bases over just 73 plate appearances. Last season he hit .264/.314/.379 with eight homers and 49 stolen bases over 531 plate appearances. For those of you trying to keep up with the domino effect this will have on the A's lineup, I imagine that Jonny Gomes will go back to splitting DH duties with Seth Smith and Kila Ka'aihue goes back to a bench/first base role. Mixed: $15; AL: Owned.
Ryan Langerhans, Angels – Langerhans was called up this week to fill the roster spot left by Torii Hunter's absence from the team this past week. So far he has appeared in one game as a pinch hitter. Don't expect Langerhans role to expand as Hunter's absence has really just allowed for Mark Trumbo to find an everyday role in right field (Hunter's position). At Triple-A Salt Lake Langerhans was hitting .274/.430/.462 with five homers and four stolen bases over 151 plate appearances. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Rich Thompson, Rays – Thompson was traded from the Phillies Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley to the Rays this week, where he was called up to take the roster spot of the injured Brandon Guyer (shoulder). At Triple-A he hit .307/.390/.398 with seven stolen bases. His speed is his best tool as he stole 48 bases last season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. So far he's seen two starts in left field and gone 1-for-7 with two stolen bases. It's unlikely he sees much playing time unless another injury strikes the Rays. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Wil Myers, Royals – At just 21 years old, Myers got promoted to Triple-A Omaha this week, so a promotion to the majors may not be that far off. At Double-A Northwest Arkansas he hit .351/.421/.739 with 13 homers and four stolen bases. In just two games at Triple-A this week he already 5-for-9 with a double and triple. Yeah, he's good. Prospective Bid - Mixed: $3; AL: $10.
Don Kelly, Tigers – Kelly has been filling in for Austin Jackson this week in centerfield, while he deals with an abdominal issue. The results have been less than impressive for Kelly this season as he has hit .196/.293/.196 with one stolen base. Should Jackson be forced to the DL, Kelly would likely continue to start for the Tigers. It's a bit disconcerting that Kelly does not yet have an extra base hit at this point in the season. Last season he hit .245/.291/.381 with seven homers and two stolen bases over 281 plate appearances. Mixed: No; AL: $4.
Ben Revere, Twins – Revere was recalled this week to help fill in for the ailing Denard Span (groin). At Triple-A Rochester he hit .330/.360/.340 this season with six stolen bases. This week he has gone 4-for-10 with two double, a triple, and two stolen bases, showing the speed the he is known for. Considering the Twins have had seven different players log time in right field for them, it wouldn't be all that surprising to see Revere shift to that position once Span is fine. Revere stole 34 bases last season for the Twins with a .267/.310/.309 batting line over 481 plate appearances, so those in need of speed should look his way. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.
Dayan Viciedo, White Sox – Viciedo went off this week going 11-for-23 with four homers and 10 RBI. He is now hitting .248/.271/.432, which is a nice jump up from the .196/.226/.304 he was at last Sunday. He has only taken three walks this season, which leaves me concerned, but at only 23 years old, he's got time to figure things out. If you're in need of power in a mixed league and he's available on your waiver wire, I'd check him out. He likely won't help your batting average, but that's not what you added him for. Mixed: $12; AL: Owned.
Note: If you have anyone else you'd like me to discuss, just drop them in the comments section.
You can follow me on Twitter @andtinez.