The non-waiver trade deadline is almost upon us, and the most predicted corner infield swap doesn’t look like it will come to pass, but there’s been plenty of other action on my Value Picks beat, even if it has erased more VPs than it created. Take last week’s significant hot corner injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Pablo Sandoval, for example. Kung Fu Panda’s replacement will be Marco Scutaro, who’s more valuable as a fantasy middle infielder and who moves to a park that will hurt his production, and VP Eric Chavez actually graduates from the list due to A-Rod’s broken wrist. The trades of Chris Johnson and Ryan Roberts aren’t all that significant either; neither player is a good VP, for reasons you can read about in Playing Pepper. Fear not, however, since the list had a fine week, and there are still other options to help your fantasy team as the final two months of the season begin.
Departures Ryan Wheeler(Yahoo! 0%, ESPN 0%, CBS 7%) didn’t last long in Arizona’s latest attempt to heat up their hot corner. After just four starts, Wheeler found himself riding the pine again after Arizona acquired Chris Johnson. Wheeler could be in the VP picture down the road, but he’s lost his shot at fantasy relevance for now.
A-Rod’s injury made Eric Chavez(Yahoo! 3%, ESPN 1%, CBS 8%) into a VP tweener—too well-known and widely owned for single-league value but not productive enough to bring value in all but the deepest of mixed leagues. Chavez’s overperformance—mentioned last week—began to correct itself this week too, as he went hitless in 15 plate appearances. AL-only owners can be happy with him, but everyone else can find third base value elsewhere.
Most savvy fantasy owners know the name of Chris Carter(Yahoo! 3%, ESPN 2%, CBS 22%), whose power potential made him a hot enough commodity to be part of trades for Dan Haren and Carlos Quentin, all in an 11-day stretch in 2007. Past issues of Baseball Prospectus have called him “the best power hitter in [Oakland’s] system,” “their best offensive prospect,” and possessing “all the characteristics of a prototypical cleanup hitter.” In his four Top Prospects columns since Carter arrived in Oakland, BP prospect guru Kevin Goldstein has ranked him fourth, first, and first before dropping him to eighth before this season.
That precipitous fall from grace came due to his inability to translate his minor-league success to the majors, much of it due to his plate approach:
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