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September 4, 2014

Free Agent Watch

Week 23

by Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre


12-TEAM MIXED

Mookie Betts, OF/SS/2B, Boston Red Sox
It’s been a roller-coaster season for the diminutive Red Sox rookie, as Betts tore through the upper minors during the first half of the year, and then was briefly shunned after struggling out of the gate at the major league level. The shock of a top prospect not being super awesome right away must have just paralyzed the organization and fan base. Lo and behold, after some experience and soul searching, Betts is doing pretty much was Betts was expected to do by those with unrealistic expectations. After being recalled on August 1st, Betts is just hitting .311/.400/.525 with three homers and three steals in 61 at-bats. In fact, he’s been hitting so well that his 132 OPS+ ranks second on the team, among players with 50 plate appearances or more. With the shallowness of middle infield (and the fact that he carries outfield eligibility to boot), there’s no reason he should be owned in only 26 percent of Yahoo leagues and 18 percent of ESPN leagues. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Jason Kipnis

Kelvin Herrera, RP, Kansas City Royals
It should not be a surprise that the closer we get to the end of the season, the more of these shallow mixed recommendations are relief pitchers. We know why it makes a ton of sense for players in leagues with inning/start caps, but even those without them are best advised to start circling in an extra reliever or two in September, unless you’re in a very tight race in wins or strikeouts. Herrera, unlike the big names who are likely already owned, has continued to fly under the radar despite having a fantastic season—maybe it’s because it’s being overshadowed by the amazing seasons that the two relievers ahead of him in the pecking order (Greg Holland and Wade Davis) are having. However, Herrera’s recent numbers stack up against most anyone else. In fact, Herrera has not given up an earned run since June 24. In the 25 appearances he’s made since that last earned run, he has a 0.87 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings. In fact, even without any saves, Herrera has been a top-20 relief pitcher over the last month. —Bret Sayre

DEEP MIXED

Michael McKenry, Colorado Rockies
Due to a minor Wilin Rosario wrist injury, McKenry has received the bulk of the playing time behind the plate for Colorado in the last week and change. It is possible that Rosario returns early next week, but with the Rockies at the bottom of the NL West standings, there is not any incentive to rush Rosario back into action or use him for the majority of the starts. McKenry is more of a solid backup than a second division starter just waiting for a chance in Colorado, but boy can he hit home runs. In his career, McKenry has 22 home runs in 755 plate appearances, and most of that came earlier in his career in pitcher-friendly Pittsburgh. Even if McKenry only starts three days a week the rest of the season, he is an interesting flier in two catcher deep mixed leagues if you need to gamble on a power bat. —Mike Gianella

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (09/04)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (08/28)
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Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (09/11)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (09/04)

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