May 14, 2013
Free Agent Watch
American League, Week Seven
Although he’s still not an everyday player, Rosales is finding his way into the lineup and producing enough to warrant consideration at middle-infield spots in mixed leagues. In 50 at-bats, he’s slashing an impressive .313/.400/.458 with a home run. And, as you may know, his homer total should really be two, given he was the batter victimized by the Angel Hernandez blown video-review call. It’s worth noting that the glass-boned Jed Lowrie and the ineffective Eric Sogard are currently limiting his playing time, meaning Rosales’ role could easily be expanded in the future. Rosales is currently filling the MI slot on my Tout Wars squad, a 15-team mixer, and could be a decent option for yours as well.
Number 17 on the Stash List just got closer to his eventual call-up, with Wei-Yin Chen hitting the disabled list with an oblique strain. Chen’s injury isn’t going to result in an immediate promotion, but it does potentially speed up his clock as the Orioles rotate through a couple of mediocre fifth-starter options. Gausman is currently dominating Double-A batters with a 39:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40 innings. With Tony Cingrani and Jose Fernandez already in the majors, 2013 has been a good year for rookie pitchers, and Gausman is a good bet to have similar success. In 14-team mixers and deeper formats, I would try to stash him with the expectation of seeing him in early June.
I covered Dyson a few weeks ago in this column, noting that Jeff Francoeur’s struggles would eventually pave the way for increased playing time. Well, that time is getting closer, as Francoeur and his 588 OPS have given way to Dyson in three of the past five games. Dyson still is not a full-time player, but given his elite speed numbers, I’d roster him in 14-team mixed league and deeper formats.
Aviles is going to see his at-bats increase going forward with the demotion of fellow Indians infielder Lonnie Chisenhall. Last season, Aviles got off to a hot start as the Red Sox’ shortstop, finishing April with a .290 average, five homers, and three steals. Unfortunately that one-month spurt contained the bulk of his production for the year, as he faded hard in the second half. Now with the Indians, Aviles is an intriguing option for deeper mixed leagues given his positional flexibility and mild power-speed combo. If you’re thin in the middle infield, I’d give Aviles a long look.
With Austin Jackson landing on the DL yesterday, Garcia will get a two-week audition to prove his worth at the major-league level. After curiously starting the year in High-A ball, he moved up to Triple-A, where he’s been collecting hits in bunches. Garcia typically posts high BABIPs and average strikeout rates, allowing him to post averages in the .300s. He also has decent home-run power and steals a few bases. If he produces, Garcia could carve out a part-time role in the Detroit outfield, making him potentially worth adding in 15-plus-team mixed and AL-only leagues.
Scott Kazmir, SP, Cleveland Indians
After getting knocked around in his first start, Kazmir rebounded and allowed no more than two runs in each of his next three turns on the mound. Impressively, in his most recent start, Kazmir went six innings vs. the A’s and allowed just five hits, one run, no walks, and struck out 10 batters. He also displayed improved velocity, hitting 96 mph on his fastballs late in the game. Kazmir has done a good job striking batters out, with 25 in his 20 innings this year, but my concern is he will remain too homer-prone to post an ERA under 4.00. He has already allowed five long balls in 2013, with at least one in every start. Some owners dropped a significant portion of the FAAB budget on him this weekend; I wouldn’t have gone above $5 in standard mixed leagues.
Acquired from the Rockies in response to injuries, Nelson has been starting at third for the Yanks over the past week. Although he’s yet to hit a home run, Nelson is capable of reaching the high single-digits in homers while posting a solid .270s average, as he did last year for the Rockies in 377 at-bats. In AL-only leagues, I’m sure Nelson got scooped up upon news of the trade, but even 14-team mixed leaguers should take a look at him.
Bold Prediction of the Week: Elliot Johnson’s home run-plus-steal total is greater than three this week. Johnson has started at second in five of the past six contests for the Royals, in place of the struggling Chris Getz. Last season with the Rays, in 300 at-bats, Johnson connected for six homers and also swiped 18 bags. In just 40 at-bats this year, he already has a homer and three steals. Even though he’s been off mixed-league radars in 2013, after a productive week, he will be another solid option up the middle in deep mixers.