The big day is here. Mr. Quadruple-A himself, Jack Cust, is in Oakland and should receive regular playing time at DH over the next several weeks. What should you expect?
While Cust has never done much in the majors before, he brings an intriguing skill set into the big leagues. First of all, he has plenty of power. He smacked 30 home runs at Triple-A last year, and this season heís already smashed eight dingers in only 78 at-bats. Cust also knows how to take a walk: He drew an incredible 143 bases on balls last year. Expect a decent OBP from Cust, which could mean a lot of runs scored.
The environment in Oakland should suit him fine, too. Cust is going to receive ample playing time, and heís finally with an organization that understands and appreciates his skills and will give him a chance to succeed. If he starts 0-for-10, the Aís will keep trotting him out there because they understand what he (might) bring to the table. Cust hasnít really had that before.
Another good thing: Cust is 28. These next few seasons will be his peak ones, so if heís ever going to make a big-league impact, nowís the time.
All is not rosy here, however. The biggest problem with Cust is his propensity for strikeouts. He always whiffs 100-plus times, and this year heís already racked up an alarming 28 Kís. Certainly this is a concern. A high K total could mean slumps. It also could mean a low batting average. Custís walks should keep his OBP in decent shape, but the average is a totally different beast.
I think Cust has the potential for a few Rob Deer-like seasons: Plenty of power, strong OBP, but a batting average that makes you wince. I would pick him up and use him in any leagues that count OBP. If youíre in a more traditional league that uses batting average, Iíd use him only if you need a power boost and can withstand the hit to your average.
Keep an eye on Hansack, whom Boston called up to replace the injured Mike Timlin. Hansackís 3.77 ERA at Triple-A wonít knock your socks off, but his 34/6 K/BB (in 28 2/3 innings) should. Definitely grab him in a keeper league if you can. As for those of you in seasonal leagues, probably no need to jump on Hansack now, but watch him closely to see if he begins pitching in more high-profile situations.
Seems like weíve been analyzing a lot of Yankees starters this year, huh? Oh well. Now that the Yanks have fired their strength and conditioning coach, no one will get hurt any more.
Any New York starter is intriguing because of the Yanksí offense, but Iíd stay away from DeSalvo. He had just a 23/13 K/BB down on the farm, and thatís actually good for him. Last year, he had an 83/93 K/BB between Double-A and Triple-A, and no, I didnít reverse those numbers (not that it would make his ratio much better if I did). Not very good skills here, and itís worth mentioning that DeSalvo is 26, too. That isnít old, but heís hardly some hot-shot, blue-chip prospect.