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
Dan Straily, A's - Straily was recalled this week week from Triple-A Sacramento and will likely make a start for the A's on Tuesday, in place of the injured Brandon McCarthy. Earlier this season in three starts Straily pitched 17 innings with a 3.18 ERA, 12 strikeouts, and four walks. For those that missed the hype when he first came up, Straily dominated the minors this season, striking out nearly every batter in sight. If you're in a keeper league, you'll want to bid more. There's a decent chance Straily stays in the A's rotation for the remainder of the season. Mixed: $6; AL: $20.
Zach Britton, Orioles - Britton was recalled this week from Triple-A Norfolk to make a start at Toronto. He performed better than expected with eight strikeouts and just two walks over seven innings of shutout ball with four hits allowed. Britton has now allowed just three earned runs over his last four starts (28.2 innings) with 29 strikeouts and seven walks. Owners in mixed leagues should continue to ride this hot streak for the remainder of the season as Britton will likely stay in the O's rotation down the stretch. Mixed: $4; AL: $14.
Jason Hammel, Orioles - Hammel was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with a knee injury for the last two months. In his start against the Yankees on Thursday he pitched five innings and allowed one earned run with six strikeouts and just two walks. Prior to this, he had a 3.54 ERA over 109.1 innings and was in the midst of a breakout season for the O's. If he's still available in your mixed league, get him on your staff for the stretch run. Mixed: $6; AL: $18.
Chris Archer, Rays - Archer was recalled from Triple-A Durham on Friday to make a start against the Rangers on Saturday. In his start he was electric, striking out 11 batters with two walks over seven innings with two earned runs. At Durham this season he posted a 3.66 ERA with 139 strikeouts and 62 walks over 128 innings. He has a good fastball and great slider that allows him to miss bats. Once he refines his craft he'll be something special, but until then he's someone worth taking a chance on for the stretch run. Mixed: $5; AL: $16.
Ivan Nova, Yankees - Nova (shoulder) was activated from the DL this weekend and will likely return to the Yankees rotation sometime this coming week. He returns to a 4.92 ERA with 139 strikeouts and 50 walks over 157.1 innings. As you can tell from those numbers he was not exactly helping fantasy owners, unless you account for the 11 wins he produced. This coming week he'll likely get the Red Sox, whose offense has been severely depleted over the last few weeks. If you're in an AL only league, you'll want to get him active right away. Those in mixed leagues can likely wait to see how Nova does, before making a decision on him. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
Wade Davis, Rays - Since the All-Star break, Davis has pitched 20.2 innings and allowed one earned run with 29 strikeouts and seven walks. He hasn't seen any save opportunities, but he has vultured two wins and helped the Rays bullpen tremendously. If you're looking for someone to help you down the stretch, you could do much worse than Davis. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.
George Kottaras, A's - Over his last four games Kottaras has been red hot with four homers and 10 RBI. This offensive binge has highlighted the argument that offensively he should likely be playing more than starter Derek Norris, who is batting .201/.287/.340 with five homers over 178 plate appearances. Kottaras is batting a more powerful .214/.376/.435 with eight homers over 166 plate appearances. Their roles are unlikely to change over the last few weeks, thus limiting Kottaras potential value. Still, give him a look in deeper leagues where you're looking for power. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Hank Conger, Angels - Conger was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday as a September call-up to help give the Halos depth at backstop. At Salt Lake he hit .295/.347/.473 with 10 homers and two stolen bases over 28 plate appearances. Conger has yet to appear in a game since being called up and will likely continue to struggle to find playing time in these final weeks as the Angels make a final push for the playoffs. Bid on Conger if you're in a keeper league and can get him at a steep discount. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays - Arencibia was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with a broken hand for almost six weeks. Prior to his injury he was batting .242/.279/.466 with 16 homers over 300 plate appearances. In his two games back he's 1-for-7 with two runs. Don't be surprised if his power is slow to come back in these final weeks as hand/wrist injuries can sap a player's power in the months after return. Mixed: $7; AL: Owned.
Yan Gomes, Blue Jays - Gomes was recalled on Friday from Triple-A Las Vegas as a September call-up to help give the Blue Jays some infield depth. At Vegas he hit .328/.380/.557 with 13 homers and four stolen bases over 334 plate appearances. We saw Gomes earlier this season and he hit a pedestrian .165/.225/.316 with three homers over 90 plate appearances. It's unlikely he gets much if any playing time down the stretch, but if he does it could be at catcher, first base, third base, or outfield - all of which are positions he has played at this season for the Blue Jays. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays - Lawrie was activated from the DL on Friday, after dealing with a strained oblique for nearly a month. He comes back to a .282/.326/.416 batting line with nine homers and 13 steals over 427 plate appearances. He should get regular playing time down the stretch and should be added in any league where he was dropped. Mixed & AL: Owned
Alex Liddi, Mariners - Liddi was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday as a September call-up to help give the Mariners some added corner infield depth. At Tacoma he hit .270/.325/.456 with 11 homers and nine steals over 323 plate appearances. We saw Liddi earlier this season and he hit .231/.289/.365 with three homers and one stolen base over 114 plate appearances. It's unlikely that Liddi gets much playing time down the stretch, so only roster him in AL keeper leagues where you can get him at a significant discount. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Mark Reynolds, Orioles - Arguably the hottest baseball player in the game right now, Reynolds nine homers over his last nine games and in the process raise his batting line from .221/.343/.397 to .234/.352/.467. This sort of power streak shouldn't come as much of a surprise as Reynolds is one of the more streaky hitters in baseball. If he's still available in your mixed league, grab him immediately as there still might be a few homers left in that red hot bat of his. Mixed: $12; AL: Owned.
Dan Johnson, White Sox - Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte as a September call-up to give the White Sox some depth at 1B/DH down the stretch. At Charlotte he hit .267/.388/.494 with 28 homers over 587 appearances. For those of you that may have forgotten, Johnson was magical for the Rays last season as he helped propel them into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season with a pinch-hit homer. It's doubtful that he does that again this season, but that hit last season just goes to highlight Johnson's best asset, his power. Likely only to be used in pinch-hit duty or as a DH on occasion, give Johnson a look in AL only leagues where you have an extra roster spot to spare with a need for power. Mixed: 0; AL: $2.
Casey McGehee, Yankees - The Yankees recalled McGehee this week to serve as corner infield depth as the team makes a final push for the divisional title. He was previously at Low-A Charleston for seven games, just biding his time until rosters expanded. On the season he has hit .223/.287.386 with nine homers over 342 plate appearances. With A-Rod back, don't expect McGehee to see much playing time down the stretch. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Cord Phelps, Indians - Phelps was recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Columbus to give the Indians some depth at 2B over the final few weeks. At Columbus he hit .276/.368/.451 with 16 homers and nine stolen bases over 582 plate appearances. He's only 25 years old, but isn't considered a prospect and owners in AL only leagues shouldn't shell out extra in thoughts of keeping him into next season. He got six plate appearances this week, but is unlikely to get more than the occasional start down the stretch. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Carlos Triunfel, Mariners - Triunfel was called up on Tuesday this week to give the Mariners some extra middle infield depth over the final weeks of the season. He was previously at Triple-A Tacoma, where he hit .260/.308/.391 with 10 homers and three stolen bases over 543 plate appearances. At 22 years old, he was previously a prospect that was thought to one day be the future SS of the organization, but that was before he broke his leg in 2009. Since then his speed has faded and so too has his plate discipline. Don't expect him to have much value down the stretch. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Ivan DeJesus Jr., Red Sox - DeJesus was called up last Sunday as a September call-up to help chip in at SS and 3B for the Red Sox. Previously he was at Triple-A between the Dodgers and Red Sox affiliates, where he hit .304/.343/.416 with three homers and two stolen bases over 250 at-bats. With Jose Iglesias already up and Pedro Ciriaco hitting well, there's little room for DeJesus to find any playing time this month. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Eduardo Escobar, Twins - Escobar was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Monday to potentially serve as the Twins starting 2B for the remainder of the month. At Rochester he hit .217/.259/.304 with one homer and three stolen bases over 151 plate appearances. This week he started at SS once and 2B twice, so there's a chance that he actually can help fantasy owners in AL only formats down the stretch. Unfortunately, Escobar has no real skills to offer as he has hit .216/.287/.278 this season with only two stolen bases over 110 plate appearances in the majors. Give him a look if you're desperate for some to fill a hole in your middle field spot. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Peter Bourjos, Angels - Bourjos was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with a sore right wrist. He rejoins the team with a .227/.287/.325 batting line with three homers and two stolen bases over 186 plate appearances. Bourjos has great speed, but it's unlikely he'll see enough playing time down the stretch to showcase it or help fantasy owners, especially with Vernon Wells now getting playing time. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Anthony Gose, Blue Jays - Gose was recalled this week to help the Blue Jays see what they have with the prospect down the stretch. So far he's come back up and gone 4-of-8 with a triple, homer, and three steals. The steals are the key, as this is where most of his fantasy value is likely to come from once he's up full time. At Triple-A Las Vegas this season he hit .286/.366/.419 with five homers and 34 stolen bases over 479 plate appearances. If you're in a keeper league, you'll want to give Gose a look as he has a good chance of breaking camp with the team next season as one of their everyday outfielders. Mixed: $5; AL: $16.
Vinny Rottino, Indians - Rottino was recalled on Tuesday to give the Indians some added depth in their OF. He was at Triple-A Columbus previous and Triple-A Buffalo, in the Mets organization before that. On the season in the minors he hit .297/.355/.455 with nine homers and 14 stolen bases over 374 at-bats. At 32 years old he is not a prospect, so don't go out of your way to acquire him. If anything, Rottino will see the occasional plate appearances to give a regular a day off. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Mike Carp, Mariners - Carp was activated from the DL on Tuesday, after dealing with a groin injury for almost two weeks. He rejoins the team with a .206/.311/.355 batting line with five homers and one stolen base over 164 plate appearances. It's possible he sees time and takes over Justin Smoak's job, but given how far along the team has gone with him as their regular starter, it's doubtful they turn their back on him now. Expect Carp to get little to no playing time down the stretch. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Casper Wells, Mariners - Wells was recalled on Tuesday to give the M's some OF depth in the final weeks of the season. On the season he's batting .225/.291/.386 with eight homers and three stolen bases over 259 plate appearances on the season. He's gotten two starts since coming back up, but with Carlos Peguero already up, there's likely little playing time left for Wells. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Alejandro De Aza, White Sox - De Aza was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with a rib injury that kept him out for almost two weeks. He has rejoined the team and reclaimed his starting CF job from DeWayne Wise. He's hitting .281/.347/.405 on the season with seven homers and 23 stolen bases over 513 plate appearances. If he's still available in your mixed league, pick him up immediately and get him in your active lineup. His speed alone will help owners down the stretch. Mixed & AL: Owned.
Delmon Young, Tigers - Over the last two weeks Young has hit .359/.390/.795 with three doubles, one triple (yes, a triple), and four homers. For the season Young is now hitting .277/.308/.437 with 17 homers over 510 plate appearances. If Young is still available in your mixed league, give him a look for the stretch run, while he remains hot. Stranger things have happened and at least Young hits in a lineup where he'll get a fair amount of RBI opportunities. Mixed: $7; 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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