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
Carlos Villanueva, Blue Jays – Villanueva shut out the Indians over six innings a week ago and then held the Red Sox to three runs over 6.1 innings on Saturday for his fifth win of the season. As a starter he now has a 2.31 ERA with 26 strikeouts and eight walks over 23.1 innings pitched. He has a 90 mph fastball with slider, change-up, and curveball. Expect him to come back down to earth and pitch more like his 4.14 career ERA, but until then ride him in AL-only leagues for sure. This week he faces the Tigers at home. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Zach Britton, Orioles – Britton came back this week from the DL, after dealing with a shoulder impingement that kept him out for the entire first half of the season. He did not look good in his debut, as he allowed four earned runs over four innings with six walks and only one strikeout. His velocity has not changed from last season and he has not added any new pitches; so don’t be looking for any miracles right now. Until he knocks the rust off or shows some major improvement, he’s better left on the waiver wire. Last season he had a 4.61 ERA with 97 strikeouts and 62 walks over 154.1 innings. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Jeremy Guthrie, Royals– Guthrie was traded this week to the Royals, where he’ll look for better results than he found in Colorado. With the Rockies, he had a 6.35 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 31 walks over 90.2 innings. Until his command improves, no one should be rostering him. I’d like to think that Coors was the real culprit here and Guthrie isn’t that bad, as he has a 4.37 career ERA, but he needs to miss more bats or walk fewer batters if he is to be successful. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
J.A. Happ, Blue Jays – Hap was traded to the Blue Jays this week to help their bullpen and likely their starting rotation down the line. As a starter, he has marginal stuff, recording a 4.80 ERA this season with 98 strikeouts and 39 walks over 105.0 innings. If he is used in the bullpen (he got a hold on Saturday), what little fantasy value he does have disappears. If he starts, it’s highly doubtful that his transition to the AL East will be a smooth one, as he has a 4.15 career ERA. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Brett Myers, White Sox – Myers was traded to the White Sox on Saturday to help solidify their bullpen. He will not be taking closer Addison Reed’s job, as some have speculated, however. Myers has a 3.52 ERA on the season with 20 strikeouts and six walks in 30.2 innings pitched. His velocity is in the low 90s and he’s better at commanding the strike zone than missing bats, which, while effective, is not what you would ideally want from your closer. That said, Reed has blown two of his last four save opportunities, so keep an eye on Myers, as his experience will likely result in a move up the pecking order in the White Sox pen. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Sean Doolittle, A’s – Doolittle has been lights out this season as he has a 1.86 ERA with 29 strikeouts and four walks over 19.1 innings. He got his first save of the season on Saturday, as Ryan Cook was getting a day off and is likely the best bet to get any save chances in the future that Cook may squander or leave open when he’s getting the day off. Doolittle has a 94 mph fastball and does not walk batters at nearly the rate Cook does, so keep him in mind if Cook starts to falter as the season goes on. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Jared Burton & Glen Perkins, Twins – With Matt Capps out with rotator cuff irritation, Burton & Perkins are in the mix for saves once again in Minnesota. Of the two, I like Burton’s chances to keep the job more because Perkins is a lefty who could be best used to get a tough left handed batter out in the eighth inning and pulled to allow Burton to finish the game. Stat-wise, they’re both doing well, as Burton has a 2.35 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, while Perkins has a 2.81 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP. Neither throws incredibly hard, although Perkins has missed more bats this season. Roster both if you can, until one blows up or manager Ron Gardenhire announces one or the other as his closer. Burton Mixed: $4; AL: $12. Perkins Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
Chris Parmelee, Twins – Parmelee was recalled this week, while Justin Morneau is away from the team for the birth of his child. This means that Parmelee will likely be sent right back down in a few days, but while he’s up, he’s likely to start, as he did on Saturday. In that game he went 2-for-4 with a run and RBI. This year at Triple-A Rochester, he hit .302/.446/.510 with four homers over 121 plate appearances. In the majors, he has hit .206/.286/.327 with two homers. As you can tell from these numbers he does not have very much power for a first baseman. Don’t expect much from him while he is up. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Yan Gomes, Blue Jays – Gomes was recalled this week to help out at third base as Brett Lawrie deals with a calf injury. Lawrie’s injury isn’t serious enough that he’ll need to on the DL and he only missed one game, so it’s doubtful that Gomes gets much playing time in the near future. Most likely he’ll be sent back down once Jose Bautista comes off the DL next week. At Triple-A Las Vegas this season, Gomes hit .340/.392/.584 with 11 homers over 273 plate appearances. In 48 plate appearances in the majors, he has hit .214/.271/.476 with three homers. He has talent, but there’s just no real opportunity for him right now. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Jeff Keppinger, Rays – Keppinger has been a hit machine for the Rays this season and is now batting 325/.394/.438 with three homers. The three homers are no fluke, as Keppinger does not have much power or speed for that matter, but he can hit. If you’re in a deeper league and looking for someone to replace Jose Bautista or another corner player, Keppinger is not a bad fill in. He’s been hitting fifth lately, so perhaps more RBI opportunities will come his way. Mixed: $3; AL: Owned.
Eric Sogard, A’s – With Cliff Pennington hitting the DL due to elbow tendinitis, Sogard was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento this week. Sogard is starting everyday at shortstop for the A’s and is a decent play for those in deeper leagues looking for speed. He does however have a .183/.233/.301 career batting line over 164 plate appearances in the majors, so beware that your batting average could take a hit. At Sacramento this season, he hit .323/.410/.477 with five homers and 11 stolen bases over 178 plate appearances. Still, he’s getting playing time, so he’s worth a look. Mixed: $2; AL: $7.
Ryan Flaherty, Orioles – Flaherty is playing every day now for the Orioles at second base as Robert Andino is out for 3-4 weeks with a sprained left shoulder. On the season, Flaherty has hit a measly .200/.226/.309 with four homers and one steal. Those who do roster him won’t be getting much in return, as he doesn’t make much contact (74.1% on the season) or possess any speed to speak of. Seek better options before rostering Flaherty. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Matt Joyce, Rays – Joyce was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with an oblique injury that kept him out almost a month. Prior to his injury, Joyce was playing pretty well and helping owners with a .279/.387/.512 batting line and 11 homers. He stole two bases in his second game back, so his wheels are fine. Get him active in AL only leagues and scoop him up if he was dropped in shallower mixed leagues. Mixed: $8; AL: Owned.
Travis Snider, Blue Jays – Snider was recalled this week after Jose Bautista hit the DL. The team plans on playing him in left field regularly, so owners shouldn’t be too worried about playing time. He tore up Triple-A Las Vegas again this season, with a .335/.423/.598 batting line and 13 homers. That was his fourth stint there and it’s the PCL, so this is exactly what Snider should have done. He did start taking more walks, which is a step in the right direction, considering his plate discipline has never been great. His batting average is likely to be down, as he’s a career 74.0% contact hitter and has hit .248 over 806 career plate appearances, but he’s only 24, and he has some power, so there’s still time for him to improve. Mixed: $4; AL: $16.
Anthony Gose, Blue Jays – Gose was called up this week from Triple-A Las Vegas and brings plenty of speed to the table. Last season at Double-A New Hampshire, he stole 69 bases and this season in Vegas, he stole 29 bases. The only problem I see with adding Gose is his ability to hit at the MLB level. Right now he has one hit in 11 at-bats. That could be rookie jitters or it could be that he’s having a tough time adjusting to MLB pitchers. I’m inclined to think the latter. Moreover, I would not be surprised to see him sent down once Jose Bautista is back from the DL, so his value may be limited. Still, he has speed for days and needs to be owned in all leagues. Mixed: $3; AL: $10. – Much more if in a keeper league.
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.