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July 9, 2012

Value Picks

Second, Short, and Catcher for 7/9/12

by Josh Shepardson

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Departures
Rockies backstop Wilin Rosario (Yahoo! 29%, ESPN 21%, CBS 60%) has been tremendous, and his strong play has finally lifted his ownership to a level that warrants a feature in the departures section. He continues to hit for power, smacking another home run in the last week. Ramon Hernandez began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 4, and he should return shortly after the All-Star break. He'll likely cut into Rosario's time more than Wil Nieves did, but the Rockies are terrible, and Rosario is the future at the position. There is also the possibility that Hernandez is traded. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that the Mets have interest in acquiring the veteran catcher. Such a deal would be great news for Rosario owners.

It's hard to imagine a player performing better after activation from the disabled list than Royals catcher Salvador Perez (Yahoo! 29%, ESPN 36%, CBS 52%). Perez has played in 13 games since returning, and he has recorded a hit in 12 of those games; his slash is a sizzling .383/.383/.702. He hit his fourth home run in the Royals final game before the All-Star break, and it's a shame for Perez that the break falls in the middle of his torrid stretch at the dish.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the “Departures” section this week is here for a positive reason. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (Yahoo! 8%, ESPN 18%, CBS 33%) has a fractured fifth metacarpal, pinkie finger and will be forced to miss time. He'll see a hand specialist Monday and could potentially miss up to six weeks, maybe longer if surgery is required, according to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Unless you’re in a league that has a lot of DL spots, it is safe to cut Simmons.

Last Call
His ownership crept up a bit this week, but Erick Aybar (Yahoo! 37%, ESPN 40%, CBS 49%) remains available in enough leagues to stick around here one more week. Since the calendar flipped to July, Aybar has tallied at least one hit in six-of-eight games with multiple hits in four of them. He's making a ton of contact, and while Sunday's home run was his first since June 13 and only his second of the season, he has scalded four doubles this month. He hasn't stolen a base in over a month, but don't be fooled; Aybar has the type of speed to swipe his share if given the green light.

Sticking Around
A bit of rust was to be expected for Stephen Drew (Yahoo! 22%, ESPN 17%, CBS 40%) to need to shake off. The important thing is that Drew has been healthy enough to start in eight of 12 games since rejoining the Diamondbacks, and he has appeared as a pinch hitter in two other games. His line isn't pretty, but his plate discipline rates and batted ball data are roughly in line with his previous norms. Drew has enough raw talent to invest in and hope for the best.

Like the weather throughout much of the United States, Ryan Doumit (Yahoo! 29%, ESPN 8%, CBS 59%) remains hot. Being able to serve as the Twins’ primary designated hitter has helped Doumit stay healthy, and a healthy Doumit is a productive catching option. In the last 30 days, Doumit is riding an unsustainable .439 BABIP to a .342 average. He is locked in, though, and using the latest cool tool developed by Dan Brooks and Harry Pavlidis, you can see he's swinging often in June and July to take advantage of his hot streak. Eventually this approach will catch up to him, but as it does, he'll likely revert back to his standard approach, which has helped him to a career line of .273/.335/.444. If he stays healthy, Doumit should reach the teens in home runs for the first time since 2010 and for just the third time in his career.

The Oakland A's seem to have turned the reigns over to rookie catcher Derek Norris (Yahoo! 2%, ESPN 1%, CBS 14%), who has started 11-of-17 games since being called up from Triple-A Sacramento. He has kept his strikeout rate at an acceptable level (27 percent), and while the power hasn't completely shown up (.146 ISO), he has ripped two home runs in 45 plate appearances and added two stolen bases for good measure. He's on the outside looking in as a catching option in single-catcher mixed leagues, but he's a viable option in AL-only formats and mixed leagues starting two catchers.

Arrivals
The Future's Game provided the motivation for this week's arrivals. Wil Myers (Yahoo! 4%, ESPN 0%, CBS 30%) is an outfielder these days, but Yahoo! didn't get the memo, as he's catcher eligible in those leagues. Myers has followed up a statistically disappointing 2011 season with a jaw dropping 2012. He has drilled 27 home runs between Double- and Triple-A while hitting a combined .327/.403/.676. It's unclear when the Royals will promote Myers to the majors, but it's a good bet that he'll be up this summer. He's a young player that may take some lumps, like many prospects before him, but he's the type of impact blue chip prospect worth stashing, especially in two-catcher Yahoo! leagues.

Speaking of the Future's Game, the 2011 MVP of the game, Grant Green (Yahoo! 0%, ESPN 0%, CBS 3%), is seeing time all over the diamond at Triple-A Sacramento. After last year's Future's Game, the team moved him to center field. They have since moved him back to the infield, having him play some third base, second base, and shortstop. Baseball-Reference has him listed as playing 37 games in left field, 30 games in center field, one game at second base, six games at third base, and seven games at shortstop. That type of versatility could aid him in getting a promotion to the majors and a chance to take his hacks against big league pitching. The A's haven't had a problem with dipping into the minors this year, and Green could conceivably be the next guy to get this opportunity. His bat isn't special from a fantasy perspective, but it profiles well as a middle infielder in large mixed and AL-only leagues. He's not stash-worthy in most formats, but owners struggling to get production up the middle should keep tabs on Green.

AL-only VP
He wasn't a flashy prospect, but Brian Dozier (Yahoo! 1%, ESPN 1%, CBS 6%) had a solid season with the bat in 2011 and ranked ninth among Kevin Goldstein's Top 11 Twins Prospects. Goldstein mentioned Dozier’s approach and ability to hit as plusses and graded him as an average runner with good instincts and enough pop to hit 10 or so home runs annually. He struggled out of the gate, but his power and speed are playing as Goldstein suggested they would. He has also seen his average jump of late, posting a .293/.341/.415 slash in the last 14 days. If he's settling in, he's a fringe middle infield option in large mixed leagues and plenty usable in AL-only leagues.

NL-only VP
Featured as the NL-only VP last week, Yasmani Grandal (Yahoo! 15%, ESPN 9%, CBS 41%) returns again, though his ownership level in CBS leagues nearly swayed me to remove him. Still, he's hitting too well to be owned in as few Yahoo! and ESPN leagues as he is and probably as few CBS leagues as he's owned in as well. Grandal has been unchallenged for playing time, starting in eight-of-nine games since his second promotion. He's hitting for power at a higher rate than he can reasonably be expected to maintain, but he's an above-average hitting catcher. He's a very good second catcher option in mixed leagues and should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

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