August 7, 2015
Free Agent Watch
The former first-round pick by the Rays back in the 2012 MLB Draft out of Clemson was beginning to look like a bust to some, after posting mediocre stat lines between A- and Double-A ball over his first three seasons in the pros. However, Shaffer began 2015 by posting an .832 OPS with seven home runs over his first 39 games and was promoted to Triple-A, where he continued his power stroke, slugging .595 at Durham and leading the International League with 16 home runs in only 55 games when he was called up to the majors Monday. He launched his first big-league HR on Tuesday against Daniel Webb, and the Rays could give him an extended look at 1B/DH to see if this former top pick could be part of their plans in 2016. He now has 24 home runs over three levels this season in only 96 games, so deep AL-only owners should consider Shaffer as a solid option if you need to make a power play and your league’s trading deadline has passed. He’s also not bad stash as a spec play in keeper leagues.
One of the trio of talented lefties the Tigers acquired from the Blue Jays for David Price at the trade deadline last week, Boyd was called up from Triple-A on Wednesday to make his Tigers debut, getting the start against the Royals. The 24-year-old southpaw out of Oregon State University was impressive, showing strong command of his pitches and limiting the Royals to just one run and seven hits (five singles) and no walks over seven innings to earn the win. He is not a flame thrower, but he did a great job locating his pitches and induced eight swinging strikes in the game. Boyd posted a 1.65 ERA, 0.855 WHIP, 4.0 K:BB ratio over 114 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A before his call-up, so he is a pitcher who needs to be on AL-only radars. He is scheduled to face the Royals again in his next start in Kansas City, and he was roughed up in his previous two starts this season with the Blue Jays, so just keep that in mind when adjusting your FAAB bids. That said, he is worthy of a FAAB look in deep AL-only leagues based on his last start and minor-league numbers.
Other AL-Only FAAB options: Jose Ramirez, 2B/SS, Cleveland Indians; Tyler Collins, OF, Detroit Tigers; Sam Fuld, OF, Oakland A’s; J.R. Murphy, C, New York Yankees; Chris Gimenez, C, Texas Rangers; Cheslor Cuthbert, IF, Kansas City Royals; Mikie Mahtook, OF, Tampa Bay Rays; Mark Lowe, RP, Toronto Blue Jays; Chasen Shreve, RP, New York Yankees; Zach Putnam, RP, Chicago White Sox; Josh Fields, RP, Houston Astros; LaTroy Hawkins, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
I profiled Tomlinson in Wednesday’s Deep League Report after he was called up from Triple-A on Monday to replace the injured Joe Panik. Tomlinson’s fantasy appeal is his speed, as the infielder recorded 49 steals at Double-A last season and 21 more steals in 97 games between Double-A and Triple-A this season. The lanky middle infielder has produced thus far for the Giants, singling and scoring in the 12th inning in his only AB against the Braves on Monday night, and recording two hits and three ribbies against Atlanta on Wednesday. Tomlinson was posting strong contact rates and OBP to go along with a .321 AVG at the time of his call-up, so if he can find his way into the lineup on a regular basis while Panik is on the shelf, he will be a serviceable NL-only option to fill a dead spot in your middle infield.
Writing about Holmberg in this weekly article and offering him up as a viable pitching option in NL-only leagues does make me a little uneasy, but despite the high-80s fastball, high walk rates, poor K rates, and high HR rates, I am going down this road. Holmberg has not realized the potential of being a second-round pick back in the 2009 MLB Draft, but he’s coming off back-to-back solid outings against the Pirates and Cardinals and gets the Padres in Petco Park in his next start. In the short term, the 24-year-old righty hurler could be a decent streaming option… but understand, the leash needs to be short. However, please note that Holmberg proved to be waiver-wire gold last September, picking up a couple of wins while sporting a nifty 1.82 ERA and 0.973 WHIP over 24 2/3 innings. He’s a roll of the dice, but he might be worth a cheap FAAB play for one week to see if he can continue his success in San Diego against the Padres.
J.J. Jansons is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Follow @jansons_jj