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September 5, 2013

Free Agent Watch

Week 23

by Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre


Welcome to a special September call-up edition of the Free Agent Watch. Rather than focus on players for specific formats, this week Bret and I thought we would take a look at eight recent call-ups who might or might not help your fantasy squads down the stretch… or possibly next year.

Jemile Weeks, 2B/SS/OF, Oakland Athletics
In 2011, Weeks was a fantasy force, particularly in deep leagues. He stole 22 bases and hit .303 in a mere 97 games. While Weeks’ game was one-dimensional, that dimension (stolen bases) made him fantasy viable. The cracks showed in 2012. Weeks’ batting average dropped to .221, and while his walk rate improved considerably, a .305 on-base percentage doesn’t cut it for a speedster, even if that speedster plays second base. The A’s decided to send Weeks back to Triple-A this year and turn him into a utility player. The good news was that Weeks got on base at an even more prodigious rate; the bad news is that what little power he had disappeared, and he didn’t run as much as he did in 2011. Weeks is a stretch of a pick-up in start-over leagues. He could be one of those players who steal a bunch of bases in September, but with the Athletics in the heat of a pennant race, he might simply get buried. Weeks could be a useful SB asset in deeper mixed leagues if he got an opportunity, but at the moment it looks like he needs a trade. —Mike Gianella

Comparable Player: Jose Altuve

Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Seattle Mariners
Is Franklin Gutierrez worth adding, even in AL-only? In non-carryover leagues, this isn’t even a question; guys like Guti are an upgrade over someone for some team, even if they’re merely part of a platoon. In keeper leagues, though, contenders often upgrade their rosters through dump deals and a hitter on the “wrong” side of a platoon might not be worth it. Everything good about Gutierrez’s 2013 comes with significant small sample size caveats. His SLG percentage is terrific, but less than 100 plate appearances tell us nothing. The speed hasn’t been there since 2011, and the batting average/on base percentage isn’t good. For keeper owners, it’s more than possible that the Mariners don’t exercise their $7.5 million option on Guti. Despite all of the historical positives, in the here and now, Guti’s upside is quite limited. —Mike Gianella

Comparable Player: Ryan Doumit

Josmil Pinto, C, Minnesota Twins
Just because small samples can be hilariously misleading doesn’t mean they can’t also be fun. Right now, the Twins’ catcher has an .875 BABIP in 11 at-bats in his major-league career—and while that clearly won’t even come close to continuing, there is some real value here. Pinto began to show signs of offensive improvement last season, but it wasn’t until this year at Double-A that he really showed a big step forward. In 107 games there, he hit .308/.411/.482 with 14 homers and 68 RBI. With Joe Mauer still on the shelf (and likely to see sporadic playing time behind the plate once he returns), Pinto should get a few handfuls of at-bats down the stretch. And while those few handfuls aren’t enough to get him much attention in mixed leagues, AL-only leaguers and deep dynasty leaguers should be ready to pounce. —Bret Sayre

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Bullpen Report: Examin... (09/05)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (08/29)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (09/12)
Next Article >>
Baseball Prospectus Ne... (09/05)

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