Happy Labor Day! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume on Tuesday, September 2.
June 6, 2013
Free Agent Watch
American League, Week 10
With two hits in four at-bats, Doug Fister has the highest wOBA on the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera checks in second at a cool .466 mark. Third place on the list is occupied not by Prince Fielder, but rather by Tuaisosopo at .435 (Fielder has a .390 wOBA and ranks fourth). Sure, Tuiasososopo has done it in just 75 plate appearances but with production like that, one has to wonder if he will start to eat into Andy Dirks’ playing time in left. Dirks edges Tuiasosopo in defense, but the Tigers aren’t known as a team that will keep a producing bat off the field for the sake of defense. Tuiasosopo doesn’t have an impressive minor-league résumé, with an average under .250 the past two seasons in Triple-A. But he has shown decent power, reaching 14 and 12 homers in those two years. His playing time is still too limited for mixed leagues, but I’d kick the tires on Tuiasosopo in AL-only leagues hoping the ride continues.
After a slow start to his concussion-delayed season, Drew has channeled his inner 2008 self and cranked his production up to 11. With two homers in three June games, his average is up .230—hey, it’s progress—and his run and RBI totals are a healthy 21 and 24, respectively. Drew hasn’t done much of anything for fantasy teams since 2010, but you likely won’t fine a hot (at least for the moment) shortstop with consistent playing time and such a low ownership level.
The last time Santiago cracked the White Sox rotation, it prompted a write-up from me, where I recommended scooping up the left-hander. In that five-game stretch of startsmanship, Santiago pitched like a typical pitcher of the day with a couple of bad starts and a couple of gems, and through it all, he racked up a strikeout per inning. With Jake Peavy headed to the DL with a rib fracture, Santiago will replace him in the rotation for at least a month and a half. Looking at the schedule, Santiago’s first start isn’t a great matchup against the A’s. But the next week, he draws the Astros and Royals, so you’ll want to own him in all leagues for those starts. Check to see if he was dropped in your league.
In fantasy circles, Parmelee is probably most famous for being projected by, I believe, the projection system Steamer to be around the 10th-best hitter in the league a couple of years ago. Besides its inherent interestingness, that fact also highlights how little Parmelee has done production-wise the past two seasons. Regardless, Parmelee still has been finding his way into the Twins lineup with regularity and also hitting fairly well. In 173 plate appearances, he’s got five homers on the season. Given ample playing time, he could bat .260 with another 10 homers over the rest of the year. In 14-team mixed leagues and deeper formats, I’m sure there are plenty of teams with a rostered player who is worse than that.
In the preseason, the man they call Eraser turned his weapon upon himself and was erased from the first six weeks of the year with a mysterious arm injury. Now, the 23-year-old righty is back in the minors, building up arm strength and regaining command. So far the results haven’t been quite there yet, but after a couple more starts, I’d guess Ramirez will be ready to return to the majors. In 60 innings last year, he spun a 3.36 ERA with a solid 20 percent strikeout rate and an immaculate five percent walk rate. If you are bummed about not stashing Zach Wheeler in time, I’d say Ramirez is the next guy in line I’d want to put on my bench. In AL-only leagues, he should already be long gone.
Bold Prediction of the Week: Hiroyuki Nakajima is starting for the at second and short 4-5 times a week in the majors next week. Currently, the A’s two middle infield positions are manned by three players: Jed Lowrie, Adam Rosales, and Eric Sogard. Lowrie is amazingly still healthy and producing beyond all expectations. He needs just 45 more games to reach the vaunted 100-game plateau. Sogard and Rosales, on the other hand, aren’t particularly good players and are really showing it as of late. Both are playing right around replacement level, which isn’t gonna cut it much longer.
Just at the right time, Nakajima has started to hit well in Triple-A, raising his slash line to .319/.363/.451 with two homers and no steals. Methinks the A’s will give Nakajima the chance to take over Sogard’s role at second in the near future. I’m sure there are some AL-only leagues where Nakajima is stashed already, but if he’s not owned in yours, I’d recommend a preemptive move here.