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August 17, 2012

Value Picks

Outfielders for 8/17/12

by Paul Singman

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Departures
Mike Carp (Yahoo! 6%, ESPN 9%, CBS 8%) lasted all of 17 games in between DL stints, this time succumbing to a groin strain. The 26-year-old first baseman wasn’t hitting much anyway, so it’s time to move on.

Another injury loss, Nate Schierholtz’s (Yahoo! 1%, ESPN 1%, CBS 4%) season could be done after suffering a fractured toe. It’s a tough break (honestly, no pun intended) for the recently-traded Phillie, who was in line for everyday playing time before the injury.

Hanging Around
Andy Dirks(Yahoo! 8%, ESPN 9%, CBS 25%) ownership rates barely budged despite his fantastic week in which he swatted four extra-base hits. Dirks started every game in left field—successfully eliminating Quintin Berry from the picture—and batted second every time a righty was on the mound. As his .337/.394/.526 slash line demonstrates, the guy can hit baseballs and should be owned in way more leagues.

Eric Young Jr. (Yahoo! 16%, ESPN 5%, CBS 11%) was one of the hottest hitters in baseball this past week and earned himself regular playing time, even with the return of Michael Cuddyer yesterday. When I say earned, I mean it: Young has multiple hits in eight of his last nine games. Unfortunately, I don’t work for the Elias Sports Bureau so I can’t tell you the last time a player accomplished that feat. What I can say, though, is even if Young cools down a bit from crushing pitches like this one, he still has solid contact skills and elite basestealing ability to fall back on. Those ownership rates have plenty of climbing to do before they properly reflect Young’s roto value.

David Murphy (Yahoo! 11%, ESPN 12%, CBS 38%) had a decent week, collecting a few hits and his first homer since the All-Star Break. The lefty was in the lineup every day, as promised, and should continue to be a solid fourth or fifth outfield option. Another solid week and he should graduate from the VP ranks.

Ezequiel Carrera (Yahoo! 1%, ESPN 0%, CBS 6%) managed to make his way into the lineup more often than not this past week and has collected a hit in his past five games. Last week was the tough one with three lefties on the bill, and he still managed pretty well. This week it’s five righties in the next six, so I give the green light for anyone looking for some cheap steals in Carrera.

The Arrival
There was a time earlier in the season when Gregor Blanco (Yahoo! 3%, ESPN 2%, CBS 10%) was leading off, playing every day, and collecting hits and steals like it was nothing. Nowadays, his .236 average and scattered playing time is a sad tribute to those better days. With the Melky Cabrera suspension, however, comes an opportunity—one that could make Blanco mixed-league relevant again. Blanco knows he has big shoes to fill and can be a solid fifth outfielder down the stretch.

NL-only VP
Judging solely from last names, you wouldn’t know that Fernando Martinez (Yahoo! 0%, ESPN 0%, CBS 2%) has replaced J.D. Martinez in left field for the Astros. You wouldn’t be able to tell that from Fernando’s production either, which, aside from a three-run homer Tuesday, has been dismal.

After six injury-plagued seasons with the Mets, Martinez cleared waivers and was released. Still a young 23 year old with promise, Martinez latched on with the Astros, a club willing to accept and refurbish other teams’ broken toys. Martinez was productive and generally healthy this year in Triple-A, batting .314 with 13 home runs in 90 games. Whether the former top prospect can translate that to the majors is uncertain. What’s certain, though, is that Martinez is healthy and should receive the chance to show he’s not done playing this game just yet.

AL-only VP
Playing time is the biggest obstacle for Moises Sierra (Yahoo! 3%, ESPN 0%, CBS 1%), who at the moment appears to be in a platoon with Anthony Gose in right field while Jose Bautista’s wrist heals. Gose isn’t quite holding up his end of this bargain, still striking out at a near-40 percent clip. Sierra, on the other hand, is batting .361 with a homer and steal and striking out at a much more palatable 14 percent. Expect the PT scale to tip more in Sierra’s favor in the near future, making him roster-worthy in AL-only leagues and potentially even deeper mixed leagues. Sierra was never a flashy prospect but has played decently throughout his minor league career with a mix of pop and speed. If you’ve recently suffered an outfield injury, he can be a short-term replacement.

Related Content:  Fernando Martinez,  Espn

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