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July 3, 2014

Free Agent Watch

Week 14

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

James Jones, OF, Seattle Mariners
If you want dingers and runs batted in, just skip to the next player now. But if you need an infusion of speed (and very little else), Jones makes for a great near-term pickup. The Brooklyn native has stolen 17 bases in 18 attempts so far this season, and has only played in 56 games (starting just 48 of those). The real question here is why is he owned in fewer than 15 percent of Yahoo mixed leagues? He's coming off a June that saw him hit .292, steal 12 bases and score 14 runs; by comparison Dee Gordon hit .303 with six steals and 15 runs scored. Yes, this may just end up being a short-term fluke, but he's done it long enough that you should be along for the ride. Two additional fun stats about Jones: 1) He is left-handed, but not only is he performing better at the plate against lefties (each of his three slash figures are higher versus southpaws), but he's stealing more bases per plate appearance against them. 2) Jones has 10 extra-base hits on the season: six doubles and four triples. All six doubles have come at home, and all four triples have come on the road. —Bret Sayre

Comparable player: Dee Gordon without the MI eligibility

Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
I swear I'm not writing up all players from New York this week, it's merely coincidental at this point. It's not like there's anything wrong with the numbers that the Long Islander is putting up so far with Toronto: a 4.01 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 7.6 K/9 are all very good for a rookie. However, when you strip out the failed bullpen experiment in May (yes, the one that Stroman may or may not have actually been told about ahead of time), his numbers get much flashier. In six starts, he has a 2.48 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 32 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings. Those are elite numbers for any pitcher, let alone someone who's only made six starts in his major league career. And as you'd expect, the stuff is more than legit. Stroman is averaging just shy of 95 MPH on his fastball and is augmenting it with two breakers, a change and a cutter. There will be bumps in the road (cliché alert), but he needs to be owned in all leagues right now. —Bret Sayre

Comparable player: Sonny Gray

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Ric... (07/03)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (06/26)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (07/10)
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Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/03)

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