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
Graham Godfrey, A's - With Brandon McCarthy now on the DL with shoulder pain, Godfrey made a start in his place this week and the results weren't very good. He threw three innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits and three walks. Finger pain could be to blame and Godfrey complained about a jammed thumb after the game. He made a two-inning relief appearance on Saturday (it didn't go well either), thus pushing his next possible start date back. Godfrey should be avoided until further notice. Mixed: No; AL: $3.
Nathan Adcock, Royals - Adcock made his first start of the season with the Royals last Sunday by pitching five innings of one-run ball with three strikeouts and just one walk. He took the loss, but pitched well in his debut. Earlier this season at Triple-A Omaha he had a 1.37 ERA with 14 strikeouts and eight walks over 26.1 innings. He had his next turn in the rotation skipped and will now pitch on Monday in Cleveland. Last season Adcock had a 4.62 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 26 walks over 60.1 innings with the Royals. With poor control, don't expect him to be long for the rotation. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Will Smith, Royals - The Yankees pounded Smith in his debut for the Royals this week to the tune of five earned runs over 3.1 innings. He was called up from Triple-A Omaha, where he had a 4.01 ERA with 37 strikeouts and 13 walks over 51.2 innings. Last season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas he had a 3.85 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 45 walks over 161.1 innings. In his next start in Cleveland on Tuesday, you'll want to avoid him in all formats. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Cole De Vries, Twins - De Vries made his MLB debut this week against the White Sox and was knocked around a bit as he gave up six runs (three earned) over five innings with four strikeouts and one walk. In Triple-A Rochester he had a 4.24 ERA with 37 strikeouts and seven walks over 46.2 innings. At 27 years old, he's not a prospect and shouldn't be on many fantasy radars. His next start will come at home against the A's. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Jose Quintana, White Sox - With John Danks on the DL (shoulder), Quintana made his first ever MLB start and it went pretty well as he pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs. He ended up striking out four batters and walking three with four hits allowed, in the win. At Double-A Birmingham this season he had a 2.77 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 14 walks over 48.2 innings. Danks should be back fairly soon, so don't expect Quintana's time in the White Sox rotation to last many more starts. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Tom Wilhelmsen & Steve Delabar, Mariners - Brandon League blew another save this week and was finally removed from the closer role. The idea is for him to pitch in lower leverage situations to help build up his confidence, before reinserting him in the closer role. Whether that happens or not depends as much on League as it does those who replace him in the interim. Tom Wilhelmsen has a 4.44 ERA with 30 strikeouts and nine walks over 24.1 innings this season and is likely the first man up for the job. He only has one save ever to his name and that's including his time in the minors, so he's not exactly been groomed for this role. Moreover, he had a string of four straight outings where gave up a run recently, so he might not be long for the job. Still, he can miss bats with a mid-90s fastball and he doesn't issue walks like League did. Steve Delabar has been death to lefties this season (3-for-36), but righties are hitting .250/.333/.627 off of him with six homers, so he is likely not the ideal candidate to replace League. Wilhelmsen Mixed: $7; AL: $20. Delabar Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Ernesto Frieri, Angels - Frieri has been on fire this season for the Angels as he has faced 37 batters this season for the club and not one has gotten a hit off of him. On Saturday he picked up his second save of the season for the Halos leading many to believe he may be the team's closer moving forward. There is still uncertainty as Scott Downs nailed down the team's previous save opportunity on Friday and manager Mike Scioscia has yet to name someone formally. Frieri's seven walks over his 10 innings with the team is concerning as his 0.00 ERA in the AL will not holdup with that sort of walk rate. Still, when you're hot, you're hot and Frieri is just that, so if you're speculating for saves in a mixed league, take a look. Mixed: $10; AL: $25.
Lou Marson & Luke Carlin, Indians - With Carlos Santana going on the 7-day concussion DL, Marson should have some short-term value in all AL only leagues. For his career, Marson is a .212/.292/.299 hitter with five homers and 14 stolen bases, so don't expect much. Carlin was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to be the back-up catcher and will likely have little to no value. It's unknown at this time if Santana will be ready to go after his week off or require more time, so owners should keep a close an on this situation. Marson Mixed: $1; AL: $4. Carlin Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Miguel Olivo, Mariners - Olivo (groin) came off the DL this week and went back to sharing catcher duties with the defensively inept Jesus Montero. For the season Olivo is batting .193/.211/.318 with three homers and one stolen base. His power is down from seasons past, which could be due to his groin injury or simply his age as he's now 33 years old. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Ronny Paulino, Orioles - Paulino was recalled this week from Triple-A Norfolk to take Luis Exposito's role of back-up to Matt Wieters. He leaves the minors with a .283/.313/.391 batting line that should not inspire much confidence. Unless Wieters gets hurt, there's not much fantasy value here. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Brandon Inge, A's - Inge is set to come off the DL on Monday, after dealing with a groin injury. Prior to getting hurt, he was hitting .188/.243/.469 with five homers - four of which came in a five game span. He was swinging for the fences before his injury and if he continues to do so the results will be dire to most fantasy owners. Unless you are seriously starved for power, I'd look elsewhere. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
David Cooper, Blue Jays - Cooper was recalled this week from Triple-A Las Vegas, after Ben Francisco landed on the DL. While there he was hitting .298/.378/.497 with six homers, but those numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt as Vegas is quite the hitter's haven. He'll likely be the team's starting first baseman with Yan Gomes now back in the minors. Mixed: $2; AL: $9.
Jack Hannahan, Indians - While never officially placed on the DL, Hannahan did miss 13 days of action with a back injury. He rejoined the team on the field on Saturday and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. On the season he's batting .276/.353/.419 with three homers and was doing quite alright, up until his back flared up. The team doesn't want Hannahan to play back-to-back games right away, so expect Jose Lopez to keep his job for just a bit longer. Mixed: $7; AL: Owned.
Drew Sutton, Rays - Sutton has started the last three games at third base for the Rays this week, since being traded from the Pirates on Monday. Prior to the trade, he had actually been in the Braves system as he was traded to the Pirates the day before. At Triple-A Gwinnett, Sutton hit .270/.374/.372 with one stolen base. So far he's 6-for-15 with two doubles with the Rays. With Jeff Keppinger out for an extended period of time (toe), Sutton could continue to see at-bats at third with Sean Rodriguez moving to second and Will Rhymes moving more to a utility role. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.
Orlando Hudson, White Sox - The O-Dog officially joined the White Sox this week and started four games at third base for them. A Brent Morel back injury opened the door for him to join the team, after he was designated for assignment by the Padres - where he hit just .211/.260/.317 for them. Last season he hit .246/.329/.352 with seven homers and 19 stolen bases. At 34 years old, owners shouldn't expect much as his time will likely dwindle once Morel is back in the mix. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Andrew Romine, Angels - Romine was recalled this week from Triple-A Salt Lake, where he was hitting .312/.365/.382 with two homers and 14 stolen bases. Last season he stole 23 bases at Salt Lake and in 2008 he stole 62 bases at Low-A Cedar Rapids, so he definitely has some speed to burn. He'll most likely give infield depth to the Halos, so don't look for him to have much fantasy value, unless an injury occurs. Mixed: No; AL: $3.
Juan Diaz, Indians - Diaz was recalled this week from Double-A Akron to help give the Tribe some infield depth. While he was there he hit .232/.280/.348 with three homers and a stolen base. Diaz figures to have minimal fantasy value as long as Asdrubal Cabrera is healthy. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Yuniesky Betancourt, Royals - Betancourt should rejoin the Royals sometime this week, after going on the DL with an ankle injury. Before leaving, he was batting .280/.333/.420 with a homer. Last season he belted 13 out, so those in need of pop in their middle infield spot should see if he could help their team. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Irving Falu & Johnny Giavotella, Royals - Chris Getz hit the DL this week with a ribs injury, thus opening up more playing time to Falu & Giavotella who were all three sharing second base, while Yuniesky Betancourt has been gone. With Betancourt expected back within a week, Falu & Giavotella’s fantasy value doesn't rise much, if at all. On the season Falu is batting .359/.359/.487 over 41 plate appearances and Giavotella is batting .219/.286/.281 over 35 plate appearances. Falu Mixed: No; AL: $2. Giavotella Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Kole Calhoun, Angels - With the rash of issues in the Angel's outfield, Calhoun was called up this week from Triple-A Salt Lake and has started the team's last two games in left field. At Salt Lake he hit .296/.365/.491 with five homer and six steals over 189 plate appearances. Torii Hunter should be back within a few days and when that happens, Mark Trumbo could be shifted to left, thus pushing Calhoun to the bench. Until then Calhoun will have minimal value outside of the deepest AL only leagues. It's worth noting that he stole 20 bases last season at High-A Inland Empire. Mixed: No; AL: $3.
Darnell McDonald, Ryan Sweeney, & Scott Podsednik, Red Sox - Let's start with McDonald, who could be activated on Tuesday this coming week. He's been dealing with an oblique injury that has kept him on the DL for the last two weeks. Before leaving he was hitting .179/.277/.357 with two homers and a stolen base. Right now Daniel Nava is playing left-field for the Red Sox and hitting a fine .311/.476/.533. Nava really should be the team's leadoff hitter, but that's an argument for another space. Next is Ryan Sweeney, who should be back early this coming week after dealing with a concussion. He was hitting .311/.341/.443 and playing mostly right and center field before he had to step away. He'll be fighting for playing time with newly acquired Scott Podsednik, who was officially add to the Red Sox roster this week. So far Pods is 3-for-8 with a homer and stolen base and has started two games at center field. The 36 year old has some speed as he stole 35 bases just two seasons ago. How all of this will shake out is uncertain, especially with Adrian Gonzalez seeing time in right field as Bobby Valentine tries to keep Will Middlebrooks bat in the lineup. Oh yeah, and there's still Marlon Byrd to deal with. McDonald Mixed: No; AL: $2. Sweeney Mixed: $1; AL: $4. Podsednk Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Quintin Berry, Tigers - With Austin Jackson (abdomen) finally hitting the DL, Don Kelly initially saw five straight starts in center field, but that was before Quintin Berry came along. Berry has seen the last four starts in center and done fine going 5-for-17 with two doubles and a stolen base. At Triple-A Toledo he hit .270/.368/.321 with 19 stolen bases. Last season in the Reds minor league system he stole 42 bases, so those in need of speed should look his way. Jackson should be back near the end of the week, so don't plan on Berry hanging around too much longer. Mixed: No; AL: $3.
Note: If you have anyone else you'd like me to discuss, just drop them in the comments section.
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