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
A.J. Griffin, A's - Griffin made two starts this week and did pretty well as he pitched 12 innings and allowed only two earned runs with three walks and eight strikeouts. The first start game came again the Giants at home, but the second one was against the Rangers on the road, so this is more than just two cupcake starts. Earlier this season in Triple-A Sacramento Griffin had a 2.81 ERA with 40 strikeouts and seven walks over 51.1 innings. He should get one more start this week against the Red Sox at home, before the break, when Brandon McCarthy or Bartolo Colon could be back. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
Zach McAllister, Indians - McAllister was recalled this week from Triple-A Columbus to make his fifth start of the season for the Tribe and he didn't disappoint as he pitched 5.2 innings and allowed two earned runs with one walk and six strikeouts. He now has a 3.82 ERA with 28 strikeouts and seven walks over 30.2 innings. This week he should get two starts - one against the Angels and the other against the Rays, both at home, so he'll be an interesting pickup for those looking for two start starters. At Triple-A this season he had a 2.98 ERA with 52 strikeouts and 19 walks over 63.1 innings. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Martin Perez, Rangers - With the Rangers continuing to lose starting pitchers, Perez was called-up this week from Triple-A Round Rock to help make a start for them against the A's and he did alright pitching 5.1 innings with two earned runs allowed, one walk, and five strikeouts. His control in the minors has erratic to say the least as he has keep from walking batters since rising above high-A ball. One would expect these struggles to continue at least for the short-term as major league hitters are more patient than those in the minors. In 84.1 innings this season at Round Rock he had a 4.59 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 38 walks. Most likely he'll make one more start and then head to the bullpen or back to the minors after the break. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
Aaron Cook, Red Sox - Cook made his return to the Red Sox this week as he started two games and combined to pitch 14 innings with only two earned runs, no walks, and two strikeouts. The second start was a two-hit shutout of the Mariners in Safeco. Those who know about Cook know he's all about throwing his sinker, getting ground balls, and not walking batters. If you can deal with that and the total lack of strikeouts that will come, then he's your man. The move away from Coors, where he pitched for his entire career before this season, will likely do him plenty of good and one would expect his number to get somewhat better because of it. Last season with the Rockies he had a 6.03 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 37 walks over 97.0 innings. This week against the Yankees, I'd hesitate to use him as the upside is heavily outweighed by the downside of what they could do to him. After the All-Star break, he could be moved to the bullpen once Clay Buchholz is ready to return. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Everett Teaford, Royals - Teaford was recalled from Triple-A Omaha this week and pitched five innings with two earned runs, three walks, and five strikeouts against the Rays at home. It was his second start of the season and his ERA is now 5.06 with nine strikeouts and 10 walks over 16.0 innings. The control has never been a problem for him in the past in the minors, so it's somewhat surprising to see him walk so many batters. He won't miss many bats, so those picking him up should be looking to him only to eat innings and possibly help with their ERA and win total. This week he gets two starts, both on the road - one at Toronto and the other at Detroit, so I'd hesitate to use him right away. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
David Phelps, Yankees - Phelps was recalled on Friday from the minors and he made a relief appearance where he pitched 3.1 innings and allowed two earned runs with one walk and five strikeouts. The thinking is that he will get a chance to start for the team on Wednesday as the Yankees try to piece together their rotation with Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia out. On the season he has a 3.16 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 14 walks over 37.0 innings in 14 appearances, only two of which were starts. If he performs well enough in this audition on Wednesday he could stay in Pettitte's rotation spot till he returns. Last season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Phelps had a 3.19 ERA with 90 strikeouts and 26 walks over 107.1 innings. This week at Tampa Bay, I would roll the dice as he could be someone to stash going into the second half of the season. Mixed: $4; AL: $16.
Glen Perkins & Jared Burton, Twins - Matt Capps was officially placed on the DL this week with right shoulder inflammation, thus opening the door for Perkins and Burton to share closing duties while he is away. Burton has gotten the last two save opportunities and I would tend to lean towards picking him up over Perkins for the sole reason that Perkins is a lefty and could be used earlier to face tough lefties in the 8th inning or early 9th - a situation that played out in the last Twins save chance. Numbers wise, they're both fine options as Perkins has a 2.76 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 13 walks over 32.2 innings and Burton has a 2.81 ERA with 29 strikeouts and six walks over 32.0 innings. As for Capps, a MRI showed that he has no structural damage in his shoulder, yet the Twins have yet to release a timetable for his return. Perkins Mixed: $3; AL: $12. Burton Mixed: $5; AL: $20.
Kyle Farnsworth, Rays - Farnsworth was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with a strained right elbow. In his debut he gave up a hit, walked a batter, and struck out two in one inning of relief. He'll likely slot into the setup role for Fernando Rodney, who has been lights out this season (1.04 ERA & 22 saves), once he gets a few more games under his belt. Last season Farnsworth had a 2.18 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 12 walks over 57.2 innings. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
John Hester, Angels - Hester hit two homers in his two starts this week as he continues to backup Bobby Wilson. Wilson and Hester are filling in for Chris Iannetta, who is still out with a wrist injury that will likely sideline him through the All-Star break. For the season, Hester is batting .288/.364/.458 with three home runs in 68 plate appearances, which is about the best one could hope for from a backup catcher. If Hester were to see more playing time his inability to make contact would be exposed. Then again Wilson isn't doing much with his at-bats. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Chris Carter, A's - Carter was recalled this week to help fill the void the A's have at first base. In his two starts, he's gone 3-for-8 with two homers and a double. Carter has shown power in the past as he hit 31 homers with a .258/.365/.529 batting line at Triple-A Sacramento back in 2010. This season he hit .279/.367/.482 with 12 homers there. Considering the slump Brandon Moss is in (2-for-23) and the lack of competition, Carter should be in line for more playing time in the immediate future. Mixed: $4; AL: $16.
Adam Lind, Blue Jays - Lind hit two home runs with four RBI after being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas earlier this week. Earlier this season he got off to a terrible start hitting .186/.273/.314 with three homers. Some of that may be attributed to a .209 BABIP, but he no doubt struggled mightily. This time around he figures to get a crack at playing first base quite often after seeing what David Cooper and Yan Gomes can do. Last season Lind hit .251/.295/.439 with 26 homers over 542 plate appearances. He needs to be owned in all AL-only leagues and most mixed leagues. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.
Jose Lopez, Indians - With Lonnie Chisenhall on the shelf for what could be the rest of the season with a broken bone in his right forearm, Lopez has been given a chance to split time at third base with Jack Hannahan. So far Lopez has not disappointed as he went 8-for-14 with a double, homer, and 6 RBI this week. A career .262/.293/.398 hitter, Lopez is not a great hitter, but he could provide some decent pop. In 2009 he hit 25 homers while playing every day for the Mariners. Those worried about Hannahan shouldn't be for now as he is in a 4-for-41 slump. Mixed: $2; AL: $9.
Wilson Betemit, Orioles - Betemit had a hot June as he hit .382/.427/.588 with three homers. This has pushed his season line to .275/.339/.464 with 10 homers. He has added position flexibility as he has played 1B, 3B, OF, and DH this season to help him get 236 plate appearances. Those in mixed leagues should take a look his way as the 30 year old could hit another 10 homers in the second half of the season. In an ideal world owners should sit him again lefties, whom he has a .237/.294/.368 batting line against. Mixed: $3; AL: Owned.
Jason Donald, Indians - Donald was recalled this week to take the roster spot of the injured Lonnie Chisenhall. At Triple-A Columbus he hit .252/.354/.377 with two homers and three steals over 177 plate appearances. Donald doesn't figure to get much playing time behind Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera and be ignored in almost all leagues. Last season he hit .318/.364/.402 with a .423 BABIP over 143 plate appearances for the Tribe. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Ben Francisco, Blue Jays - Francisco was activated from the DL this week, after being out with a hamstring injury. He'll likely go back to serving as a backup outfielder that sees the occasional start against lefties. For the season he's hitting .238/.289/.333 over only 45 plate appearances. Last season he hit .244/.340/.364 with six homers and four stolen bases over 293 plate appearances. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Luke Scott, Rays - Scott came off the DL this week, after dealing with a back injury. So far he's gone 0-for-11 and his batting line has dropped to .207/.269/.399 with nine homers on the season. Some of this can be attributed to a .214 BABIP, which is very low in comparison to his career mark of .289. I would expect Scott to sit against most lefties as he has a career line of .229/.306/.446 against them. That said, if he's available in a deeper mixed league, I'd take a chance on him as he can still hit for power. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.
Jason Bourgeois, Royals - Bourgeois was recalled this week from Triple-A Omaha to help give the Royals outfield depth, until Lorenzo Cain (hip) is back. Bourgeois has started three games in center and will likely continue to eat into Jarrod Dyson's playing time moving forward. Like Dyson, he offers plenty of speed as he stole 31 bases last season for the Astros in only 252 plate appearances, while hitting .294/.323/.357. I do find it rather odd that Bourgeois did not show much of this speed this season in the minors, as he stole only five bases in his 168 plate appearances, although it's hard to steal bases when you're getting on base at a .262 clip. Still, those in need of speed should look his way in the short term and hope that he (and not Dyson) is left on the roster after Cain comes back, which should be shortly after the All-Star break. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
Quintin Berry, Tigers - If Berry is still available in your mixed league, it might be time to add him to your roster. This week he went 8-for-26 with a triple, homer, five RBI, two stolen bases, and five walks. I mention the walks because Berry is now sporting an OBP of .391, granted it is being helped by his .424 BABIP, which surely won't last forever. Still, he has 12 stolen bases on the season and Jim Leyland has said that he will not lose playing time once Andy Dirks returns to the lineup. His speed isn't a fluke either as he stole 40 bases last season at Double-A Pensacola in the Reds system. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.
Note: If you have anyone else you'd like me to discuss, just drop them in the comments section.
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