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
Randy Wolf, Orioles - Wolf will start this Sunday for the first time with the Orioles. Previously he had made three appearances from the bullpen with four earned runs allowed over 6.1 innings. Previously he was with the Brewers, where he posted a 5.69 ERA (4.47 xFIP) with 96 strikeouts and 45 walks over 142.1 innings pitched. Baring an amazing performance at Oakland, Wolf is not a recommended play as he has a career 4.20 ERA and that was almost exclusively against NL foes. His next scheduled start should come at Boston, so take that into consideration, before bidding. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Martin Perez, Rangers - With Scott Felman getting torched lately and Roy Oswalt a mess, the Rangers might have Perez step into their rotation for the final couple weeks. Since coming back up this month, Perez has a 1.93 ERA with eight strikeouts and three walks over 9.1 innings pitched - all in relief. In his three starts with the Ranges this season he posted a 2.60 ERA with nine strikeouts and six walks over 17.1 innings. As you can tell from those numbers, Perez still needs work to refine his command. If he does make the rotation, check his opponent before starting him or streaming him in mixed leagues. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.
Jake Odorizzi, Royals - Odorizzi was called up on Sunday and will likely make one or two starts in the final weeks of the season for the Royals. Between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, he posted a 3.03 ERA with 135 strikeouts and 50 walks over 145.1 innings pitched. We've yet to hear when he will make his first start or against whom, so until then he need to be benched, but he's worth adding if you're in a keeper league as he is among the best pitching prospects still in the minors (September call-ups not withstanding). Mixed: $1; AL: $3. - Much more in a keeper league.
Gavin Floyd, White Sox - Floyd was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with a muscle strain in his elbow. He pitched 4.2 innings against the Tigers and gave up three earned runs with seven strikeouts and one walk. His next scheduled start will come Tuesday against the Royals and then hopefully at LA against the Angels on Sunday. For the season Floyd has a 4.59 ERA (4.38 xFIP) with 121 strikeouts and 54 walks over 143 innings pitched. Give him a look if you're still searching for pitching help, as he'll get those two starts this coming week. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
Andy Pettitte, Yankees - Pettitte is set to return to the Yankees rotation on Tuesday against the Blue Jays. In that start he'll be allowed to throw just 70 pitches, which limits his value. He is of course coming back from a fracture in his lower leg, which has kept him out since late June. Considering his pitch limit, Pettitte has limited upside, but he will face the A's next Sunday, so his two starts make him someone to consider in all leagues. On the season he has a 3.22 ERA (2.96 xFIP) with 59 strikeouts and 15 walks over 58.2 innings pitched. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
Ryan Cook, A's - Over the last month Cook has been lights out for the A's as he has posted a 1.46 ERA (1.91 xFIP) with 17 strikeouts and four walks over 12.1 innings. He has also picked up one walk and two saves over this period. Grant Balfour is unlikely to lose his job anytime soon, but that doesn't mean Cook doesn't have value as a middle reliever that can vulture the occasional win or save. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.
Alexi Ogando, Rangers - Joe Nathan has been dealing with a dead arm this weekend, after blowing a save opportunity on Thursday. To make matters worse for the Rangers bullpen Mike Adams has been dealing with a back issue that will keep him out until at least Tuesday. That leaves Ogando as the team's most trusted reliever still available. Over the last month Ogando has posted a 3.48 ERA (3.69 xFIP) with 11 strikeouts and three walks over 10.1 innings. If he's still available in your league, he's worth for those still speculating for saves. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
Josh Donaldson, A's - Donaldson has been the A's everyday third baseman for a little over a month now and he has really started to produce offensively. Over the last 28 days he has hit .291/.371/.558 with five homers and two stolen bases. He is mentioned here among the backstops because he has catcher eligibility in most leagues. He was up earlier this season twice, but fell flat on his face each time. This time around though, things seem to be clicking for the 26 year old. If you're in a deeper mixed league, give him a look as your second catcher or corner infielder. Mixed: $3; AL: $8.
Chris Herrmann, Twins - Herrmann was called up this week to give the Twins some depth at catcher as they deal with injuries to Joe Mauer (back) and Ryan Doumit (ribs). Prior to this he was at Double-A New Britain, where he hit .278/.351/.394 with 10 homers and two stolen bases over 556 plate appearances. At 24 years old, Herrmann is not considered a prospect, so those in keeper leagues shouldn't worry about bidding on him. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Mike Napoli, Rangers - Napoli was activated from the DL on Saturday, after missing more than a month with a quad injury. He rejoins the team with a .223/.343/.429 batting line and 17 homers over 359 plate appearances. In his absence Geovany Soto has performed about as expected with a .209/.276/.339 batting line and three homers over 129 plate appearances. Expect Napoli to reclaim his starting spot and move Soto into a backup role. Odds are Napoli is owned in your mixed league, but if not, add him immediately. If you have him on your DL, get him active this week. Mixed & AL: Owned.
Daric Barton, A's - Barton was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento this week to give the A's depth at 1B. At Sacramento he hit a meager .255/.411/.425 with eight homers and seven stolen bases over 336 plate appearances. At this point Barton has to be considered a disappointment as he has hit .249/.360/.371 at the MLB level over almost 1,900 plate appearances. It's safe to say he is a non-factor for the A's organization and nearly all fantasy leagues. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Brandon Moss, A's - As the lefty in the platoon at 1B for the A's, Moss has seen the majority of starts over the last two weeks. He has capitalized on this opportunity hitting .286/.333/.607 with three homers over the last two weeks. In contrast, Chris Carter, the righty in this platoon, has hit just .136/.240/.513 over the last two weeks with one homer. It looks like Moss will continue to see the at-bats against RHP and he could start to eat into Carter's at-bats as well, if his struggles continue. Either way, Moss should be picked up in deeper leagues. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.
Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians - Chisenhall was activated from the DL this week, after missing over two months with an arm injury. He has started at 3B every other day since Monday for the Tribe as he works his way back to a full-time job. So far the results have been promising, as he has gone 4-of-11 with a double, homer, and three walks. In the two games he did not start, he appeared as a pinch-hitter, so it's clear the team is trying to get him work. On the season Chisenhall is now batting .289/.330/.494 with four homers and two stolen bases over 88 plate appearances. At 23 years old, he's still considered something of a prospect; although he is no longer in the minors, so think about adding him, if you're in a keeper league. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Steve Pearce, Yankees - With the news that Mark Teixeira will likely be out for possibly the next two weeks with a calf injury, the Yankees have turned to Pearce to help fill in at 1B. He has started six of the last nine games for the Bronx Bombers at 1B, but unfortunately just has not hit well enough to seriously help fantasy owners. On the season he's batting .244/.330/.385 with four homers over 184 plate appearances and that's as a member of the Orioles, Astros, and now the Yankees. Roster him in AL only leagues for the playing time he'll, but don't expect much from the career .235/.309/.370 hitter. Mixed: $2; AL: $7.
Jemile Weeks, A's - Weeks was recalled this week to give the A's some depth at 2B. Prior to this he was at Triple-A Sacramento for a short stint and he hit .333/.412/.422 with no homers and one stolen base over 51 plate appearances. We saw Weeks struggle mightily earlier this season as he hit just .220/.305/.302 with two homers and 16 stolen bases over 504 plate appearances. He's just 25 years old, but one has to wonder just how far his stock has dropped within the organization after his disappointing sophomore season. Give him a look in AL only keeper leagues, if you think a rebound season is on the way in 2013. Mixed: $0; AL: $2.
Brent Lillibridge, Indians - While Asdrubal Cabrera has been dealing with a wrist issue lately; Lillibridge has started for him at SS for the Tribe. Cabrera was able to return to the lineup on Saturday, but if he is forced to miss more time, Lillibridge looks to be the next man up. On the season he has hit .187/.229/.277 with three homers and 11 stolen bases over 180 plate appearances for the White Sox, Red Sox, and now the Indians. Roster Lillibridge in AL only leagues where you're short on middle infield depth. Mixed: No; AL: $3.
L.J. Hoes, Orioles - Hoes was called up from Triple-A Norfolk this week to give the O's some extra depth at 2B. In the minors this season, he hit .287/.372/.388 with five homers and 20 stolen bases over 513 at-bats between Double-A Bowie and Norfolk. At 22 years old Hoes is not a great prospect, but he is someone worth tracking in AL keeper leagues, especially considering that going into this offseason the Orioles have Brian Roberts who cannot stay healthy and Robert Andino, who is nothing special. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Sean Rodriguez, Rays - Rodriguez was activated from the DL on Saturday, after dealing with a broken right hand that he fractured when he punched a locker. He is expected to be used as a pinch-runner and defensive substitute initially, so his fantasy value will be minimal. In another week he could be hitting again and find his way into the Rays lineup, so rostering him as one of your bench spots in an AL only league might not be the worst gamble. On the season he's hitting .215/.278/.330 with six homers and five stolen bases over 335 plate appearances. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Ezequiel Carrera, Indians - Carrera has started the last four games for the Tribe as they deal with Michael Brantley's chest injury. Over the last week Carrera has hit .235/.235/.412 with one homer and one stolen base. It's likely that Brantley won't be back until Sunday at the earliest and even then he might not start every day. On the season Carrera is hitting .255/.292/.406 with two homers and six stolen bases over 114 plate appearances. He does have speed as he stole 26 bases at Triple-A Columbus earlier this season, but he'll need to continue to see steady playing time for those skills to shine through and help owners. Pick up Carrera in AL only leagues if you need OF depth right now. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Endy Chavez, Orioles - Chavez was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk this week to give the O's some OF depth as they deal with the injury to Nick Markakis (thumb). He has only appeared as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement so far and that likely will not change, unless the Orioles have another injury to their OF. On the season the 34 year old Chavez is batting .202/.238/.290 with two homers and three stolen bases over 133 plate appearances. Don't expect him to have much value in the finals weeks of the season. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Nate McLouth, Orioles - McLouth has hit leadoff in each of the Orioles last five games, thus propping up his value a bit as he's seen more run scoring and stolen base opportunities. On the season he's batting .265/.338/.402 with two homers and eight stolen bases over 149 plate appearances for the O's. Considering all the injuries the team has had to deal with, McLouth's spot in the lineup and now batting leadoff seems safe. This is quite the turnaround from the player we saw hit .140/.210/.175 with no homers or stolen bases with the Pirates earlier this season. If he's still available in your mixed league, give McLouth a look. Mixed: $6; AL: Owned.
Daniel Nava, Red Sox - Nava was activated from the DL last Sunday, after he dealt with a sprained wrist. He initialed appeared as a pinch hitter, but has since started three straight games for the Red Sox. On the season he's batting .251/.364/.388 with four homers and three stolen bases over 262 plate appearances. If he continues to see playing time, he'll have some value in AL only leagues, but not much. Nava simply doesn't get on base enough or have power or speed to be a difference maker. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Jason Bourgeois & David Lough, Royals - With the news that Lorenzo Cain will be out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury, the Royals have turned to Bourgeois and Lough to help fill-in. Bourgeois has spent most of his season at Triple-A Omaha, where he hit .243/.314/.324 with three homers and seven stolen bases. He has stolen only five bases in the majors this season, which comes as a surprise considering he stole 31 bags with the Astros in 2011. If he gets everyday playing time, Bourgeois could flash that speed once again and be useful in all leagues. As for Lough, he too spent much of his season at Omaha, where he hit .275/.317/.420 with 10 homers and 26 stolen bases over 544 plate appearances. Like Bourgeois, Lough also has speed, but has much less experience at the major league level. Of the two, Bourgeois is the player to own. In his first game starting on Friday he went 2-of-3 with a run, RBI, walk, and two stolen bases. Bourgeois Mixed: $3; AL: $9. Lough Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Denard Span, Twins - Span was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with a shoulder injury. So far he has played in three straight games and gone 5-of-14 with a double and triple. Given these performances and his track history, he should have no trouble keeping his gig the rest of the season. On the season he's now batting .289/.349/.399 with three homers and 14 stolen bases over 502 plate appearances. Get him active in your AL only leagues and pick him up as needed for his speed and batting average in mixed leagues. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.
DeWayne Wise, White Sox - Since coming over to the White Sox almost a month ago, Wise has played well hitting .283/.322/.469 with five homers and 10 stolen bases over 121 plate appearances. In six of his last seven games he has somewhat surprisingly hit third in the lineup, thus giving his fantasy value a bit of a boost, as he'll be in a better position to drive in runs. If he's still available in your mixed league, you should snap him up and hope his new spot in the batting order carries through the end of the season. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.
Brett Gardner, Yankees - Saturday we learned that the Yankees might activate Gardner (elbow), before the end of the season. This is somewhat surprising considering that most thought he would be out for the remainder of the regular season due to his injury. If he is indeed activated, Gardner will only be used as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner, so his fantasy value would be minimal. Still, this is a positive sign for Gardner's overall health and value heading into next season. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Melky Mesa, Yankees - Mesa was called up from Triple-A Scranton this week to help give the Yankees some OF depth. This season between Double-A Trenton and Scranton he hit .264/.325/.480 with 23 homers and 22 stolen bases over 458 at-bats. At 25 years old he's not really considered much of a prospect, but he does have tools. Still, it'll be tough for him to get enough playing time to be an asset to owners of the last couple weeks. His best bet is coming in as a defensive substitute and pinch running in a few games. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Note: If you have anyone else you'd like me to discuss, just drop them in the comments section.
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