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May 22, 2014

Free Agent Watch

Week Eight

by Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre


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

Lorenzo Cain, OF, Kansas City Royals
While he’s never been a huge name in fantasy circles, Cain has always had more potential than he’s shown thus far in his career. And at 28 years old, he’s running out of time to show that he can make good on some of that promise. This year has been a nice first step in that direction. In 95 plate appearances, Cain is hitting .314 with a homer and five steals—and while that won’t shoot you up the leaderboards on its own, it’s quite the help from a player who was certainly not drafted in shallower mixed leagues. The biggest thing for Cain so far this year has been an increase in contact. Over his major league career, he has a strikeout rate north of 20 percent, but that sits at 16.8 percent thus far in 2014. It’s still too soon to tell whether it’s just noise or if there’s some signal in there, but either way, it’s a good start. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Austin Jackson

Dellin Betances, RHP, New York Yankees
The numbers are just mind-boggling right now. Through 26 innings this season, Betances has 45 strikeouts versus just nine walks with a 1.73 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Yes, he’s likely not going to get saves this season, but it doesn’t matter at all. Betances is on pace for a whopping 162 strikeouts this season, which would put him tied for third all time among reliever seasons. It puts him ahead of the most impressive short burst reliever season we’ve seen in the fantasy age, which was Brad Lidge’s 2004 when he struck out 157 batters in 94 2/3 innings with a 1.90 ERA. Those strikeouts can’t be overstated—he has more than Jordan Zimmermann, Scott Kazmir, Chris Archer, and Shelby Miller. Betances is a must-own in all leagues that have any sort of start or innings limit, and a worthy add in any other format. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: 2004 Brad Lidge

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Rep... (05/22)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (05/15)
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Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (05/30)
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