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June 19, 2014

Free Agent Watch

Week 12

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

Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers
Things haven’t been all wine and roses for the rookie third baseman, but Castellanos is making a push towards becoming a must-own player in June. For the month so far, he is hitting .377 with a homer, a steal, and five RBI. It’s not exactly Lonnie Chisenhall numbers, but it’ll do. What gets me excited about Castellanos’ long-term prospects isn’t his plate discipline (which will always be a little lacking—making him a lesser option in points leagues), but his ability to square up major league pitching. Right now, he has the second-highest line drive rate in baseball, next to Freddie Freeman, at 29.8 percent—and this not only portends future batting average success, but future RBI accumulation as well. Castellanos has done a good job of lowering his strikeout rates after adjusting to each level of the minors, and if he can continue that trend in Detroit, he could be someone who hits at a .290 clip or so going forward. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Nolan Arenado, but healthy

Jake Arrieta, SP, Chicago Cubs
It’s time. As much as I’d like to have another place to talk about how you should pick up Andrew Heaney, let’s focus on someone who hasn’t been written up 20 times at this site in the last week. Arrieta put an exclamation point on his successful season thus far in 2014 by striking out 11 Marlins and allowing just a Giancarlo Stanton homer in seven innings. This puts his ERA at a tidy 1.98 and his WHIP at 1.20 with 55 strikeouts in just 50 innings. So how is this guy owned in less than 30 percent of leagues? Maybe it’s the fact that he’s languishing on the north side of Chicago or that he’s a failed prospect in his second organization. Then again, he is only 28 years old. Arrieta is missing bats at the level he was supposed to years ago, walking batters at a career low rate, getting ground balls at a career high rate and has only allowed two homers this season. The party won’t continue like this forever, but then again if it did, the neighbors would certainly call the cops. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Jeff Samardzija

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Kee... (06/19)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (06/12)
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Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (06/26)
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