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July 15, 2014

Deep Impact

Week 15

by Ben Carsley

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I would be the Yoenis Cespedes of the Lazy Intro Derby.

Trevor Cahill, SP, ARI
Remember when Trevor Cahill was good? It wasn’t so long ago as it may feel, as the sinker-baller served as a capable mid-rotation starter as recently as 2012 and was passable in the rotation last year. He’s never really been a terrific fantasy asset because of the limited strikeouts he induces, but it’s hard to imagine just how far he’s fallen over the past season. Cahill looked like one of the more promising young starters in the game post-2012. This year, he lost starts to Mike Bolsinger.

Thankfully, Cahill appears to have figured something out in the minor leagues. After struggling to the tune of a 5.66 ERA and being demoted to the bullpen earlier this year, Cahill notched a 3.49 ERA in 28 1/3 Triple-A innings. We can’t ignore the fact that his command didn’t really improve in the minors, but he was at least good enough to warrant another shot in Arizona. I’m not super optimistic, but I’m hopeful that Cahill can at least throw up something close to a 4.00 ERA with a tolerable WHIP, which would make him of some interest in deeper leagues. Don’t spend a lot for him, but feel free to take a flier on the 26-year-old if you can get him cheap.

Dan Johnson, 1B, TOR
I’m fairly sure Dan Johnson has been bouncing between Triple-A and the MLB since 1994. Somehow, he’s back on a roster once again in real life in 2014, as the Blue Jays have gone through first basemen this year like the Blue Jays went through UCLs last year. With both Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind sidelined for the foreseeable future, there’s an opportunity for Dan Johnson to do what Dan Johnson does -- hit the occasional homer, do nothing else and find a way to infuriate Red Sox fans.

Johnson was hitting .248/.402/.471 in 403 Triple-A appearances this year, so while it’s unreasonable to expect him to hit for any sort of a decent average in the majors, he still has a little pop left. He probably won’t start every day, as the Jays have let Jose Bautista play some first base, but Johnson could be useful in 20-team mixed leagues or AL-only leagues in the coming weeks as his teammates recover. If you’re desperate for cheap power and can set your lineups daily, go for it—it’s not like he’ll cost you anything to acquire.

Ken Giles, RP, PHI
If you take your #closerwatch-ing duties seriously, you likely already know who Giles is. The flame-throwing relief prospect for the Phillies has recently made his MLB debut, and he’s blown away the opposition so far. In 14 innings, Giles has 18 strikeouts, three walks, and just one earned run on his line. This comes on the heels of dominating performances in Double-A and Triple-A to start the year.

Giles’ overall professional track record isn’t terribly inspiring, but relievers don’t need hundreds of innings of dominance before we can believe they’ve made a change for the better. Scouts like what they see from Giles and the numbers agree, and with Jonathan Papelbon frequently linked to as a trade candidate in the coming days, Giles could find himself closing for the Phillies before the year is over. He’s a nice add in all 18-plus-team leagues right now, as he’ll help you out in strikeouts and ERA even if he doesn’t net you saves.

Deep League Streamer of the Week: David Phelps, Yankees
Let’s keep this simple: My choices this week are greatly limited due to the All-Star break, but Phelps is slated to pitch against the Reds on Friday. The Reds, you may recall, are currently without Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, and they rank just 19th in the majors in runs as a team. Starting any average-ish pitcher in Yankees Stadium is indeed a gamble, but Phelps has pitched ok this year, keeping his ERA below 4.00 and striking out about one-fifth of the batters he faces. There’s a good chance to pick up a cheap win here, though don’t bank on Phelps giving your ERA or WHIP a big boost.

Twitter Question of the Week:

Personal note: I hate AL-/NL-only leagues and generally stay away from questions that pertain to them, because I don’t really get the appeal. That being said, this query really caught my attention. As I began to type “no, that’s not enough” into the Twitter.com, I started thinking and, well, yes, I think Meyer is enough, but it’s really, really close. I brought the question to the rest of the TINO boys, and the consensus was similarly split.

The most well-received suggestion (from Craig Goldstein, I am loathe to admit) would see Jared trade Pujols for a Meyer-level prospect, but one who’s a hitter. If that can’t be achieved, I think I’d still pull the trigger here, thanks to Meyer’s unique combination of upside, high floor as a closer, and proximity to the majors. Pujols is probably going to be a worthy starter in a 10-team AL-only league for another two-or-so seasons, but if you’re not planning on competing this or next year, getting a top-20 prospect like Meyer for him is acceptable.

Player Namedrop of the Week: Aaron Small
Random RP Who Will Earn a Win: Craig Stammen, RP, WAS
Random Backup Who Will Homer: Neftali Soto, 1B, CIN
Xander Bogaerts Adjective: Unyielding

Ben Carsley is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

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