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 was activated from the DL on Saturday, after dealing with a shoulder injury that kept him out for nearly a month. He did great in his start against the Red Sox, pitching seven innings and allowing one earned run with five strikeouts, no walks, and only three hits allowed. On the season he now has a 2.26 ERA (3.90 xFIP) with 40 strikeouts and 10 walks over 51.2 innings pitched. If he's still available in your mixed league, grab him as he'll be taking Bartolo Colon's rotation spot for the remainder of the season. This week at Seattle, he makes for a great spot-starter. Mixed: $6; AL: Owned.
Joe Saunders, Orioles - Saunders was brought over from the Diamondbacks last Sunday to help the O's rotation. That obviously did not go to plan as he was torched for seven runs (six earned) over 5.1 innings on Wednesday against the White Sox. This should not come as much of a surprise as Saunders does not have a great ability to miss bats (6.18 K/9 strikeout rate). On the season he now has a 4.46 ERA (4.18 xFIP) with 93 strikeouts and 33 walks over 135.1 innings pitched. I know he has pitched in the AL before, but that doesn't make the transition from the NL to the AL any easier for a pitcher of his caliber. Stay away, unless you're desperate for a starter to eat inning for you roster. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Jeff Niemann, Rays - Niemann made his return to the Rays starting rotation on Saturday, when he took on the Blue Jays on the road. The results were less than stellar as he only pitched 3.1 innings, before leaving with tightness in his shoulder. On the bright side, he did only allow one hit with four strikeouts and no walks. Still, it's never good to hear a pitcher leave a game with any sort of shoulder ailment. On the season he now has a 3.08 ERA (3.65 xFIP) with 34 strikeouts and 12 walks over 38.0 innings. Keep an eye on his medical updates, before investing. If you're in an AL only league, hold onto him as he makes a few more starts before the season ends. Mixed: $3; AL: Owned.
Samuel Deduno, Twins - Deduno had the start of his lifetime this week as he pitched seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts and two hits allowed against the Mariners. These results need to be taken with a grain of salt given the opponent and that in his previous start Deduno gave up seven earned runs in just five innings of work to the Rangers. On the season he now has a 3.72 ERA (4.69 xFIP) with 39 strikeouts and 37 walks over 58 innings of work. This week at the White Sox, he should only be started in leagues where owners have stomachs of steel. Mixed: No; AL: $4.
P.J. Walters, Twins - Walters is set to come off the DL this week, after dealing with a shoulder injury. He rejoins the roster with a 5.40 ERA (4.48 xFIP) with 23 strikeouts and 14 walks over 36.2 innings. At Triple-A Rochester this season he had a 4.01 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 15 walks over 58.1 innings. It's conceivable that the Twins go with a seven man rotation, thus limiting any value Walters may have. Walters is set to face the White Sox this week and is not a recommended play. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Kelvin Herrera, Royals - Herrera is the one reliever that consistently throws harder than Aroldis Chapman as his fastball averages 98.6 MPH. This sort of velocity is elite, but not the reason he's being mentioned here. The reason we're bringing up Herrera is because he got his first save of the season this week. He's unlikely to take the role from Greg Holland at this point in the season, but Herrera is someone to think about going into the offseason for those in keeper leagues. So far this season he has a 2.42 ERA (2.91 xFIP) with 66 strikeouts and 15 walks over 70.2 innings pitched. As good as his fastball is, his change-up might be even better because it's thrown in such sharp contrast (87.1 MPH) to the fastball. Also working in Herrera's favor is a 56.4 percent ground ball rate that helps him keep balls in the yard. All of this combined, you can see why I was campaigning for him and not Holland to get the job earlier this season. It wouldn't surprise me to see Herrera the eventual close of this team next season, if/when Joakim Soria is moved. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
John Hester, Angels - A September call-up, Hester was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Salt Lake to serve as depth for the Halos. He was up earlier this season and hit .212/.287/.329 with three homers over 95 plate appearances. At Salt Lake he hit .217/.282/.402 this season with three homers over 205 plate appearances. Even if he were to see extended playing time, Hester offers minimal power and will drain your batting average. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Luis Exposito, Orioles - A September call-up, Exposito was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Norfolk to serve as depth for the O's. He started the season with the Red Sox organization, before being waived and claimed by the Orioles and spending most of the season in their minor leagues. At Norfolk this season he hit .268/.326/.420 with six homers over 224 plate appearances. He's only 25 years old and can hit for some power, but likely won't get enough playing time to show it. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Chris Gimenez, Rays - A September call-up, Gimenez was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Durham to serve as depth for the Rays. He was up earlier this season and hit .191/.236/.206 over 73 plate appearances. At Durham he hit .310/.389/.483 with 10 homers over 301 plate appearances. At 29 years old, he has power and is coming off a great minor league season, but likely won't get enough playing time to be worth rostering. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Manuel Pina, Royals - A September call-up, Pina was brought up on Saturday from Double-A Northwest Arkansas to serve as depth for the Royals. At Arkansas he hit .260/.389/.397 with five homers over 162 plate appearances. Last season he made it all the way up to Triple-A Omaha, where he hit .238/.364/.371 with five homers over 259 plate appearances. Pina won't get enough playing time to relevant in fantasy leagues. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Bryan Holaday, Tigers - Yet another September call-up, Holaday was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Toledo to serve as depth for the Tigers. At Toledo he hit .240/.312/.320 with two homers and two steals over 282 plate appearances. He's only 24 years old and has some speed in those young legs, but he's only up to play as the team's third catcher and doesn't have any fantasy value. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Hector Gimenez, White Sox - Gimenez was called-up this week from Triple-A Charlotte, when Tyler Flowers was forced to leave the team for the birth of his child. Now that Flowers is back, Gimenez will stick around as rosters have opened up. At Charlotte he hit .259/.324/.440 with 14 homers and two stolen bases over 418 plate appearances. This power is no fluke as he hit 16 homers at the Double-A level in 2010 with the Pirates organization. Still, don't expect him to see any playing time behind Flowers or A.J. Pierzynksi, who is having a great offensive season. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Francisco Cervelli, Yankees - A September call-up, Cervelli was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Scranton to serve as depth for the Yankees. At Scranton he hit .246/.341/.316 with two homers and six stolen bases over 417 plate appearances. Cervelli has certainly been up before as he has hit .272/.338/.354 with five homers and five stolen bases over 560 plate appearances. He has no fantasy value behind Russell Martin and Chris Stewart. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Brandon Inge, A's - Inge was activated from the DL on Saturday, after spending time dealing with a shoulder injury. He's batting .216/.274/.379 this season with 12 homers over 329 plate appearances as he has swung for the fences and connected in bunches. He's an obvious drain on your batting average, as he's a career .234 hitter and there's no telling if his shoulder injury will drain his future power. Take the risk if you're in need of power; just know there is limited upside here. Mixed: $5; AL: $15.
Brandon Moss, A's - Over the last two weeks Moss has gotten hot hitting .409/.435/.909 with three homers. Defensively he has bounced between 1B and OF, with no real home because Chris Carter has been getting regular playing time at 1B as he continues to smolder and hit for power. Moss, if he continues to hit like this, will obviously force the issue and earn himself more playing time. On the season he's hitting .254/.322/.552 with 15 homers over 199 plate appearances. He's shown this kind of power before and really only needs more playing time for it to continue to shine through. He needs to be owned in all AL only leagues deeper mixed leagues, preferably daily ones where you can better time his starts. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians - Chisenhall will start a rehab assignment on Sunday and could rejoin the Tribe by the end of this week. When we last saw him in the majors, Chisenhall was hitting .278/.297/.458 with three homers and two stolen bases over 74 plate appearances. At Triple-A Columbus this season he has hit .324/.353/.541 with four homers over 119 plate appearances. If he is promoted, he'll likely play behind Jack Hannahan and Jason Donald, so his value to fantasy owners will be mild at best. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Wilson Betemit, Orioles - A September call-up, Betemit was brought up on Saturday from Double-A Bowie, where he was on a rehab assignment as he recovers from a wrist injury. He'll serve as depth behind Manny Machado at 3B and is unlikely to see much playing time, unless he struggles. Earlier this season we saw Betemit hit .264/.326/.427 with 12 homers over 365 plate appearances. He was doing fine for the team, until his injury, which in part prompted the promotion of Machado. At 30 years old, he's not as old as you might think. He can still hit for power, but as previously mentioned, will mostly be used off the bench, thus limiting his fantasy value. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Chris Parmelee, Twins - Parmelee was recalled this week from Triple-A Rochester to give the team 1B/OF depth with Denard Span still on the mend. At Rochester he was doing quite well, hitting .338/.457/.645 with 17 homers and one stolen base over 282 plate appearances. This success has carried over somewhat as he has gone 5-of-16 with a double and homer in his four games up. He should continue to get playing time as long as he hits, which might not be for long as he hit .204/.283/.324 earlier this season over 120 plate appearances. He's worth more than the bid you'd place on a September call-up based on his playing time alone. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Jose Lopez, White Sox - Lopez was brought up from Triple-A Charlotte this week to serve as infield depth. He has so far played in one game at 3B and went 2-of-4 with a double and two strikeouts. Earlier this season he was with the Indians organization. On the season Lopez has hit .253/.276/.373 with four homers over 228 plate appearances as his power has slipped from where it was when he was younger. Don't expect him to contribute much over the last month of the season. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees - A-Rod is close to rejoining the Yankees this week, after missing almost six weeks due to a broken bone in his left hand. Before the injury he was hitting .276/.358/.449 with 15 homers and 11 stolen bases over 400 plate appearances. At 36 years old, he's been a player on the decline for some time now, but he can still hit and that's what should matter to fantasy owners. I doubt he's available in any AL only leagues, but he should be available in some mixed leagues as he was almost universally dropped when word came out that he could miss the rest of the season, when he originally broke his hand. Mixed: $12; AL: $30.
Brandon Hicks, A's - A September call-up, Hicks was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Sacramento to serve as infield depth for the A's. At Sacramento Hicks hit .224/.350/.506 with 18 homers and five stolen bases over 383 plate appearances. He has some decent pop as you can tell, but he strikeouts way too much (over 30 percent at Triple-A). Hicks was up earlier this season for almost a month and hit .183/.246/.417 with three homers and one stolen base over 65 plate appearances. Don't expect him to him to have any fantasy value this month. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Andrew Romine, Angels - A September call-up, Romine was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Salt Lake to serve as infield depth for the Halos. At Salt Lake he hit .285/.336/.390 with four homers and 23 stolen bases. He has good speed as he also stole 23 bases last season at Salt Lake. If anything, expect him to appear as a pinch runner this month and to help give the regulars in the middle infield some rest here and there. Longterm his path to playing time is somewhat clearer now that Jean Segura is out of the system. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Steve Tolleson, Orioles - A September call-up, Tolleson was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Norfolk to serve as infield depth for the O's. At Norfolk, he hit .278/.358/.346 with one homer and three stolen bases over 193 plate appearances. He was up earlier this season with the team and hit .185/.232/.323 with two homers and one stolen base over 70 plate appearances. Skill wise, he really has none offensively as he doesn't hit for average or power and his speed is limited. He did steal 24 bases last season at Triple-A between the Padres and A's systems, so there's that. Don't expect him to have any value this month. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Jurickson Profar, Rangers - The crown jewel of AL September call-ups, Profar was brought up on Saturday from Double-A Frisco to serve as infield depth as the Rangers make a push for the playoffs. He's considered one of the top prospects in the game right now, so grab him immediately if you're in a keeper league. If you're not, you can likely leave Profar on your waiver wire as he's unlikely to get much playing time, heck Michael Young just got a start Saturday at SS for the team. Skills wise, Profar can do it all - he can hit for power and average and he has good speed. At Frisco he hit .281/.368/.452 with 14 homers and 16 stolen bases this season over 562 plate appearances. He'll be an exciting prospect to track next season in AL only leagues. Mixed: $1; AL: $4. - Much higher in a keeper league.
Reid Brignac, Rays - Another September call-up, Brignac was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Durham to give the Rays some infield depth. At Durham he hit an unspectacular .228/.321/.347 with eight homers and three stolen bases over 400 plate appearances as he appears to have regressed at the plate. Brignac has certainly been up before and holds a career .228/.270/.318 bating line with 10 homers and eight stolen bases over 712 plate appearances. He doesn't offer enough power or speed to be worth adding in leagues, even if he were to see steady playing time, which he likely won't.
Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Jose Iglesias, Red Sox - Iglesias was brought up after the massive Red Sox-Dodgers trade to help fill the role that Nick Punto played on the roster. Defensively Iglesias is a star and it's likely that team tries to get him playing time regularly at SS to see what he can do at the MLB level, rather than just use him as a reserve. At Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was before, he hit .266/.318/.306 with one homer and 12 stolen bases over 396 plate appearances. So far he has yet to get a hit in his 13 plate appearances this week, so be patient if you do decide to add him. Realistically he has more real baseball value with his glove than he does with his bat to help fantasy owners, which will be true for most of his MLB career. At only 22 years old, he's best left on most waiver wires as he learns to hit at the MLB level. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.
Danny Worth, Tigers - A September call-up, Worth was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Toledo to give the Tigers infield depth. At Toledo he hit .264/.364/.421 with five homers and 10 stolen bases over 255 plate appearances. We've seen Worth before at the MLB level and he has a career .242/.306/.318 batting line with two homers and one stolen base over 237 plate appearances. As you can tell from that line, he doesn't hit for much power and he has only limited speed. Don't expect him to have any fantasy value this month. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Orlando Hudson, White Sox - O-Dog was activated from the DL on Saturday, when rosters expanded, after dealing with a contusion on his left foot. He rejoins the team with a .197/.252/.296 batting line with two homers and four stolen bases over 253 plate appearances. The 34 year old veteran will go back to serving as infield depth and is unlikely to have any fantasy value this month. If anything he'll steal a bag or two, now that his foot is healthy. It's doubtful the O-Dog is what your fantasy team has been missing. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Eduardo Nunez, Yankees - Another September call-up, Nunez was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Scranton to give the Yankees infield depth. At Scranton he hit .227/.256/.288 with two homers and 16 stolen bases over 73 plate appearances. We've seen Nunez before, as last season he played extensively in place of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, when the two were out with injury. During that time span (338 plate appearances) he hit .265/.313/.385 with five homers and 22 stolen bases. Nunez's speed is legit and can help fantasy owners if he were to see real playing time, which will likely not be the case this time around. Many wanted him to come up when A-Rod was hurt earlier this season, but the team kept him in the minors to focus on his defense as SS as he likely the heir-apparent to the position if or when the Captain moves elsewhere. It's doubtful Nunez has any fantasy value this month. Mixed: $1; AL: $2.
Collin Cowgill, A's - A September call-up, Cowgill was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Sacramento to give the A's OF depth. At Sacramento he had a .254/.312/.373 batting line with four homers and eight stolen bases over 285 plate appearances. He's been up before with a .271/.343/.313 batting line, one homer, and three stolen bases over 108 plate appearances. He has good speed as evidence by his 30 stolen bases at Triple-A last season in the Diamondbacks organization. He's unlikely to have much value this month. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Carlos Peguero, Mariners - A September call-up, Peguero was brought up on Saturday from Triple-A Tacoma to give the M's OF depth. At Tacoma he had a .285/.366/.562 ERA with 21 homers and two stolen bases over 322 plate appearances. Peguero has always had good power, but strikeouts out way too much (103 K over 322 plate appearances). There's little room for him in the M's OF right now, so he's doubtful to see much playing time. In keeper leagues, he has marginal value. Mixed: $0; AL: $2.
Leonys Martin & Brandon Snyder, Rangers - Martin and Synder are September call-ups from Triple-A Round Rock. Both will serve as OF depth for the Rangers as the team attempts to make a push for the playoffs. Martin was hitting .359/.422/.610 with 12 homers and 10 stolen bases over 260 plate appearances, while Snyder was hitting .253/.286/.402 with two homers over 92 plate appearances. Of the two, Martin offers more upside and should be at least considered by those in AL only keeper leagues. Neither is likely to have much value this month. Martin - Mixed: $0; AL: $1. Snyder - Mixed: No; AL $0.
Ben Francisco & Rich Thompson, Rays - Francisco was traded from the Astros this week to give the Rays extra OF depth. On the season he now has a .243/.290/.368 batting line with two homers over 145 plate appearances for the Blue Jays, Astros, and now the Rays. At 30 years old, he has marginal power, but hasn't shown it since 2009, when he was this the Indians and Phillies. Thompson was a September call-up from Triple-A Durham, brought up to give the Rays OF depth. At Durham he hit .311/.369/.426 with two homers and 22 stolen bases over 282 plate appearances. Of the two, Thompson is the much better player to own, if only for his speed potential. Realistically, neither has much value to owners as neither will see the field much this month. Francisco & Thopmson - Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Avisail Garcia, Don Kelly & Ryan Raburn, Tigers - Garcia was called-up on Friday from Double-A Erie to give the Tigers OF depth defensively. At Erie he hit .312/.345/.465 with six homers and nine stolen bases over 226 plate appearances. Garcia has good speed and is considered something of a prospect, at only 21 years old. Kelly is a September call-up from Triple-A Toledo, brought up to give the Tigers OF depth. At Toledo he hit .233/.341/.301 with one homer and four stolen bases over 85 plate appearances. He really offers little to fantasy owners and should not play all that much this month. Raburn was activated from the DL on Saturday, after dealing with a thumb injury for the past month. This season he's batting .172/.225/.258 with one homer and one stolen base over 214 plate appearances. Last season he hit 14 homers, but has severely disappointed in 2012 with his lack of power. None of the three will get much playing time this month. Garcia, Kelly, & Raburn - Mixed: No; AL: $0.
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.