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May 3, 2011

Fantasy Beat

Tout Wars FAAB Update, 5/2

by Jason Collette

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Domonic Brown is back, and then is immediately sent to Triple-A. Pablo Sandoval incurs the same injury Brown had, and now we finally know what is wrong with Ryan Zimmerman. Ben Zobrist does in one day what Hanley Ramirez has barely done all season and Dustin Moseley’s deal with the devil continues (although apparently he forgot to include run support in those negotiations). In all, it was just another crazy week in the Tout Wars leagues.

The NL league is already off to a tight start as three teams are within two points of first place, while 2009 champ David Gonos has sprinted out to an early lead in the mixed league. Schechter owns a slim lead over defending champion Jason Grey in the AL league, but five other teams are only ten points off their pace (including myself) thanks to the monster week from the Zorilla. Meanwhile, the FAAB action was once again rather busy.

Mixed-League

Andy Behrens purchased Tyson Ross ($2) and Tom Gorzelanny ($0): I like Ross’s long-term potential but the early returns have not been promising. He has a 2.76 ERA, but his walk and strikeout total are equal right now, and that has been what has held him back. Ross has a bright future in Oakland, but I am not so sure it is right now. Gorzelanny is a tough add because he is getting strikeouts, but his peripherals point to bad times ahead and replacement level pitchers like him are tough roster additions in mixed leagues. That said, it is a two-start week, and he kicked things off by shutting down the Giants over eight innings last night.

David Feldman purchased Darwin Barney ($5), Ryan Roberts ($10), Jason Hammel ($10), J.R. Towles ($0), Allen Craig ($0), Mark Melancon ($0), Jason Bourgeois ($1): Barney’s early returns match his Triple-A numbers very well, but that means he still has a complete lack of power. He is still rather productive early, but that .361 BABIP is going to be tough to hold up. Roberts had a very good April with six home runs, 16 runs driven in, 13 runs scored, and three steals in 79 plate appearances, so it is rather surprising he was acquired this cheaply. I am also a big fan of the Hammel acquisition, as I touted him for a breakout season in one of my first articles here at Baseball Prospectus—he is off to a serviceable start. Conversely, J.R. Towles remains on my DTM (dead to me) list for how he tanked my 2007 debut in Tout Wars, and the 29 percent line drive rate and the 25 percent HR/FB rate are going to decline soon. If you have him and can move him, sell. Melancon might pick up some saves if Brandon Lyon continues to blow what save opportunities are handed him, and Bourgeois is on pace to surpass his stolen base total of last year in roughly one-third of the time.

Paul Petera purchased John McDonald ($3): The Minister of Defence is doing next to nothing offensively. I do not have access to the player pool, so I am not aware of what was left to roster at this position, but McDonald is a tough guy to carry on a mixed league roster.

Derek Carty purchased Juan Rivera ($10), Jose Lopez ($0), and Jeff Francis ($0): The good news is Juan Rivera cannot get much worse than his 4-40 start to the season. The stolen base on Sunday was as surprising as his caught stealing in the same inning, as he is not fleet of foot. Rivera is walking at the same rate he is striking out at, which is better than his career habits, but he has just three extra base hits in 90 plate appearances—that is where he has killed those who rostered him on draft day. Jose Lopez has stunk everywhere, but so has Will Rhymes, and Carty pulled the plug on Rhymes as the Tigers are likely to do the same. Francis is not walking anyone, but he is hardly striking out anyone as well, and the lack of wins and strikeouts really make him nothing more than reserve material.

Nando DiFino purchased Aaron Rowand ($1): Rowand is doing nothing different than he has in recent seasons, but Nando needed to replace Willie Bloomquist, and he was without outfield help on his bench as Josh Hamilton is still out.

Nick Minnix purchased Vicente Padilla ($6): Nick jumped in on what might have been a new piece of the off and on closer situation in Los Angeles, but relievers that walk more batters than they strike out tend not to close too many games and that is what Padilla is doing in his admittedly very limited 2011.

Fred Zinkie purchased Dustin Moseley ($3), Vance Worley ($0), Jonathan Herrera ($3), Brett Lawrie ($1): Moseley’s deal with the devil was referenced earlier. He’s only 1-3 on the season, but he has a 1.63 ERA despite a terrible 3.7 strikeout rate. Pitching in Petco helps, but a .236 BABIP and 83 percent LOB rate is going to regress, despite that 57 percent groundball rate he has this season. Worley had a nice debut for the Phillies while replacing the injured Joe Blanton. He has strikeout potential that he flashed in the minor leagues. Herrera has been an early season surprise, as he is walking more often than he is striking out, and is getting on base 43 percent of the time while hitting .300 to go along with four steals. He had a nine game hitting streak earlier, but is just 6 for his last 31 with one extra base hit. Lawrie is a speculation for later this season as he is raking n Triple-A Las Vegas, but his defense has been rather poor thanks to a combination of throwing errors and fielding gaffes.

Tim Heaney purchased Joel Pineiro ($4) and Conor Jackson ($6): Pineiro looked fantastic in his debut this past weekend against the Rays, as he kept the ball down all game long (save the one pitch he elevated that Matt Joyce hit out of the park). Jackson is hitting for average and getting on base, and he has driven in ten runs mostly on the strength of doubles, as he has just one home run in 64 plate appearances.

David Gonos purchased Emilio Bonifacio ($0): Gonos has a bona fide problem at third base with Zimmerman out, so he is trying his luck with Bonifacio and hoping he can get some cheap steals. Thus far, Bonifacio is getting on base, but he has attempted just three stolen bases despite being on first base 22 times already this season.

NL-only

Scott Wilderman purchased Emmanuel Burriss ($7) and Mark Hamilton ($0): Hamilton was recalled when David Freese had his hand broken. He had 12 walks compared to just seven strikeouts in 49 Triple-A plate appearances. Compare that to the 35 walks and 70 strikeouts he had last season at the same level, or the 13 walks and 34 strikeouts the season before at Triple-A, and we get a better picture of what he really is. Burris was recalled when Sandoval’s hand was broken. Burriss was having a strong season for the Giants in Triple-A as he had 15 runs, 15 stolen bases, and was getting on base 42 percent of the time. Burriss has 504 major league plate appearances in his career, and yet has just 24 stolen bases despite all of that speed because he gets on base just 33 percent of the time.

Rob Leibowitz purchased Chris Valaika ($0) and Ryan Vogelsong ($10): Vogelsong in the interesting one here in a year where teams are going back to 2004 cheat sheets looking for talent. Last we saw Vogelsong healthy, it was in 2006 wearing a Pirates uniform when he posted a 6.39 ERA. Fast-forward to 2011, where he struck out 17 batters while walking five in just over 11 Triple-A innings. In three games with the Giants, has struck out 11 batters in just over ten innings. This season continues to amaze me, as reclamation projects keep working out.

Scott Pianowski purchased Daniel Descalso ($10): Scott is one point off the lead right now, but he lost Mark DeRosa and needed a replacement for him since Bloomquist is also out injured.

Tristan Cockcroft purchased Wes Helms ($0): Tristan lost Matt Young’s services and found something on the waiver wire that had a few at bats. Helms has three extra base hits in 28 plate appearances against seven strikeouts.

Chris Liss purchased Vance Worley ($10) and Steven Pearce ($4): Worley was covered earlier; he is a safer play in NL leagues and Liss’s team needs strikeouts, as he is tied for fifth worst in that category .

Nate Ravitz purchased Armando Galarraga ($0), Marco Estrada ($0), Mike Dunn ($0), Brian Sanches ($2), Dioner Navarro ($0): Estrada has but 52 innings of work in the majors but has 50 strikeouts and only 21 walks. The problem for him has been the long ball, as he has given 11 of them already in his career (including three this season in 21 innings of work). I am fond of the Dunn acquisition as I like him for saves potential if he ever cuts down on his walks. His walk rate is once again sky high this season, but he also has 41 strikeouts in his last 29 innings of work.

Phil Hertz purchased Alfredo Amezaga ($1): Phil continues to search for a viable replacement for Logan Morrison while he is out with an injury. The search will go on.

Cory Schwartz purchased Ernesto Frieri ($0): Frieri would be a bigger deal on another team but he is buried behind the three amigos at the back end of the Padres pen. Frieri is a flyball machine that fits nicely in Petco, and, when he is not giving up fly balls, he is striking out batters while being very stingy with the walks.

AL-only

Ron Shandler purchased Rich Thompson ($0): The strikeouts have always been there for Thompson, who features a nasty curve, but when he hangs the bender he pays for it, as he has given up 14 home runs in just 62 innings pitched. He has 17 strikeouts in just over 14 innings of work, and could end up in a setup role if Fernando Rodney continues with his struggles.

Jeff Erickson purchased David Cooper ($12): Jeff was replacing Jason Repko and took a stab at Cooper. Cooper was crushing the ball in Las Vegas with a .395/.438/.617 line in 89 plate appearances, Vegas is quite the hitting environment. In a more neutral Double-A environment, he hit .257/.327/.442 with strong walk and strikeout rates.

Lawr Michaels purchased Rene Tosconi ($9) and Alexi Amarista ($10): The Angels seem to have middle infielders like Amarista all over their organization, and they rewarded his hot start in Triple-A with a promotion. He looked rather over-matched this weekend against David Price and James Shields, particularly against their off-speed stuff. It will be interesting to watch him against lesser pitchers. Tosconi has a job with Delmon Young out, but the more playing time he gets, the worse it will be for you right now.

Jason Grey purchased Danny Duffy ($4): Last week, we saw Ron Shandler make this kind of future play and scout/prospect guru Grey goes out and gets one of the next young arms coming up for the Royals. Duffy has made four starts in Omaha and has allowed just 14 hits while walking four batters and striking out 24 in 20 innings pitched. Stud.

Dean Peterson purchased Matt Tolbert ($0): Dean grew tired of Cesar Izturis, and is giving Tolbert a shot to do something for him. I see this as rearranging the chairs on the Titanic: the best thing I can say about both is that they get some playing time.

For the latest standings in Tout Wars as well as other writing by the experts, please visit ToutWars.com.

Jason Collette is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

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