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August 28, 2014

Free Agent Watch

Week 21

by Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre


12-TEAM MIXED

Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals
The statistics haven’t quite backed up the pedigree thus far in St Louis, but Taveras has been quietly improving ever since he was plugged into the lineup nearly every day following Allen Craig’s exportation to the Red Sox at the deadline. In those 24 games, the 22-year-old outfielder is hitting .262/.311/.345 with a homer and nine RBI. So why exactly is he showing up here? Because I’ll always take a chance on a high-end prospect with a strong contact rate upon hitting the major leagues if I need a shot of upside in September. The power certainly hasn’t shown up yet, and he’s showing his mettle as a free swinger, but Taveras has been making some tweaks to his swing, including shortening it up, and the results appear positive thus far. This recommendation isn’t for the owner who needs a reliable source of fantasy production at the back of the outfield, but if you’re trying to make up some ground, Taveras could be just the sparkplug you need. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Matt Holliday

Vance Worley, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Admittedly, this is more about what Worley will be facing over the last four-plus weeks of the season, and not what he’s capable of on the mound—although he has been more impressive than anticipated. After all, Worley’s 3.14 ERA is almost as surprising as his 3.63 FIP. But the kicker here is that his projected schedule includes the Reds, Cubs, Phillies, Red Sox, Brewers and Reds. That’s one first place team, and then four of the worst recent offenses in baseball. What Worley has brought to the table this year is a career high ground-ball rate (48.1 percent) and a career low walk rate (4.2 percent), so the gains he’s made, despite not missing more bats, are real and repeatable. And while that doesn’t mean that he’ll continue his low-3.00s ERA, it does mean that Worley has a good chance of continuing his run as an above-average pitcher down the stretch. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Tim Hudson

DEEP MIXED

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<< Previous Article
The Lineup Card: Seven... (08/27)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (08/14)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (09/04)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Ana... (08/28)

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