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May 15, 2014

Free Agent Watch

Week Seven

by Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

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Welcome back to our weekly walk through some of the players who may want to keep an extra eye on in your leagues. Mike and I will be tackling this topic on Thursdays again and focusing on a singular hitter and pitcher in four of the more popular formats: shallow mixed, deep mixed, NL-only and AL-only. These are certainly not the only players who are worth pickups, but it gives us a nice opportunity to write about players we have close tabs on in our leagues.

12-TEAM MIXED

David DeJesus, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
This is not exactly a name you think of when you’re striving for fantasy greatness, but DeJesus has quietly had a very good season and is settling is as a top-of-the-order presence against right-handed pitching. Because of the platoon he’s in, he both will likely only see about 450 plate appearances this season and keep his rate stats in check because of it. Heading into Wednesday’s action, DeJesus had more extra-base hits (13) than strikeouts (12) and carried a slash line of .280/.363/.500. While he won’t be good for more than about 12-15 homers over the course of the season, he could jump right into an 80-85 run pace with his on-base ability and lineup placement. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Matt Carpenter with 80 percent of the playing time

Brandon McCarthy, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Even after his masterful performance against the Nationals on Wednesday, McCarthy has exactly one win and his ERA still sits at 5.01—not exactly something that’s going to get him swallowed up by a ton of owners. However, here are some other numbers for you. McCarthy has 52 strikeouts and 10 walks in just 55 2/3 innings. He also has a 54.1 percent ground ball rate—by far, the highest of his career. His sinker is clocking in at 94.4 MPH, a full 2.5 MPH jump from last season. These are all fantastic things, and his 59.6 percent strand rate and 21.4 percent HR:FB rate (both career worsts) are covering over all his progress. Anyway, that’s enough numbers. Just pick him up already. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: A poor man’s Adam Wainwright

DEEP MIXED

Drew Stubbs, OF, Colorado Rockies
I’m not advocating Stubbs as an everyday player in 16-team mixed. No, his value comes as a platoon guy in this format. The ideal week for Stubbs would feature him at home with the Rockies facing a significant number of southpaws, but Stubbs has been playing enough against RHP that you could probably play him at home and hope for 10-12 strong at bats over a weaker every day option. The outfield is still crowded, but Stubbs seems to be getting at bats and will benefit from Coors as long as he is on the roster.

Something additional to consider is that Stubbs has not run much to date. A lot of Stubbs’ value is tied into his HR/SB combination. If this trend continues, he isn’t worth playing, not even as a platoon guy. —Mike Gianella

Comparable Player: Michael Saunders

John Danks, LHP, Chicago White Sox
In deeper mixed leagues, these are the kind of starting pitchers who are usually available. Danks hasn’t been particularly impressive this year. The strikeout rate is up a little, but the walk rate has spiked. He has a decent start against the Astros coming up, but his projected schedule after that (NYY, CLE, @LAD, DET, KC) doesn’t look great. You can stream him against a lefty-heavy lineup, but unless your reserve list is deep, I’d leave Danks out on the wire. —Mike Gianella

Comparable Player: Joe Blanton before the wheels came off

AL ONLY

Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Cleveland Indians
Every week or so I get a question about Aguilar, wondering why the Indians don’t promote him to the majors and let him hit 40 home runs and be the superstar he is capable of being. At first blush, Aguilar’s big time power at Triple-A certainly makes him look like a candidate for a quick promotion. However, there isn’t an obvious candidate to move to the bench or get demoted. Lonnie Chisenhall would be the guy the Indians might move, but despite a lack of power, Chisenhall is hitting for average and contributing positively with the stick. If you can stash Aguilar, it is OK to do so, but don’t expect any kind of immediate impact; think July or later if you’re thinking Aguilar. I feel those looking for an immediate boost by picking up Aguilar will be disappointed even if he does make it. He is a streaky hitter and could very well struggle in his first taste of the majors. —Mike Gianella

Comparable Player: Andrew Lambo

Alexi Ogando, RHP, Texas Rangers
As much as I’d love to recommend Zach Britton again in this space, that’s probably overkill (but pick him up yes), I instead turn my attention to the attrition in Texas. With two of my personal favorite pitchers likely facing the end of their seasons—Martin Perez and Matt Harrison—someone is going to have to fill the void in the Rangers’ rotation. And why not someone who’s done it before? Ogando is no guarantee to get a chance in the rotation, nor stay even reasonably healthy if he gets there, but he has more upside than any of the likely internal options they have. And that’s despite his terrible performance so far this season (7.64 ERA, 1.93 WHIP). With the Rangers in desperation mode, especially until Derek Holland can come back, it’s worth a stash for a few weeks to see if they move in this direction. –Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: 2013 Alexi Ogando

NL ONLY

Tyler Pastornicky, 2B, Atlanta Braves
With Dan Uggla in the doghouse—and possibly on his way out of town—Pastornicky will get the majority of starts at second base for the Braves. Pastornicky is a low impact player who won’t provide much but probably won’t kill your batting average while giving you the odd home run and stolen base. Starters are starters in mono formats, but even so Pastornicky is nothing more than a weak third middle-infield placeholder until you upgrade the position in a dump deal next month. —Mike Gianella

Comparable Player: Steve Lombardozzi

Randy Wolf, LHP, Miami Marlins
Your initial instinct is not wrong, but we are talking about NL-only here. Yes, this is the same Randy Wolf who has a 1.71 WHIP in 34 Triple-A innings this year—and that’s not a mistake that I said WHIP, not ERA. However, projecting stats for his trip to the NL East based on what has transpired in the Pacific Coast League is not particularly helpful. Then again, rostering Randy Wolf is probably not particularly helpful. That said, with a cool million coming to him from the league’s stingiest organization, he’s likely there to soak up innings for a while. In fact, don’t be surprised if he ends up sticking even when Andrew Heaney is deemed ready by management. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Tom Koehler without the good fortune

Mike Gianella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here
Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

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