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August 15, 2013

Free Agent Watch

Week 20

by Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

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12-Team Mixed

Jedd Gyorko, 2B, San Diego Padres
A June groin injury followed by an awful July caused a number of standard mixed-league owners to run for the exits, as Gyorko is only owned in about 29% of ESPN leagues. If he’s available in your mixer, snatch him up. Even without taking the injuries into account, since May, Gyorko has been an offensive force. His ISO in May, June, and August has been no lower than .242. In other words, Gyorko is a legit source of power at a middle infield position. Unless you’re in a points league that penalizes severely for hitter strikeouts, there’s no way Gyorko should be a free agent. —Mike Gianella

Comparable Player: Brandon Phillips

Trevor Cahill, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Cahill is scheduled to return to the Diamondbacks rotation this weekend, according to Snakes manager Kirk Gibson. He’s had a down year, though it’s hard to tell how much of Cahill’s disappointing numbers are due to being banged up and how much is simply due to poor performance. The arguments about 2010 being a fluke not supported by the overall numbers seem to have held. Cahill is perhaps a little better than his high ERA, but not by much. He’s okay as a matchup in mixed, but his righty/lefty, home/road splits don’t speak to dominance in any particular area. —Mike Gianella

Comparable Player: Carlos Villanueva

Deep Mixed

Derek Norris, C, Oakland Athletics
Catcher has been a pretty deep position for fantasy this year, but lately they’ve been dropping like flies in deeper leagues. One of those dropping is John Jaso, who has continued to miss time due to concussion symptoms—and Norris has been the beneficiary of that playing time when he can stay healthy himself. After missing a couple of games with a back injury, Norris is expected to be back in the lineup on Thursday, which is great as he’s been secretly on fire over the last six weeks. It has remained a bit of a secret because he’s only accumulated 51 plate appearances during that time, but he is hitting .364/.451/.727 with five homers in that span. If he can mix the performance with the playing time, he could be a great addition down the stretch. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Michael Cuddyer

Jake Arrieta, SP, Chicago Cubs
The Cubs have been test-driving Arrieta in Triple-A since they acquired him from the Orioles in July, and it appears they’re finally ready to let him loose on the highway. Yes, Arrieta has a career 5.39 ERA, but that came in the big bad AL East. Since the trade, he has a 3.56 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings at Triple-A, along with a six-inning, one-run performance against the Brewers. With Carlos Villanueva being sent back to the bullpen, Arrieta is going to get about eight starts (starting Friday against the Cardinals) to prove that he deserves a shot in the 2014 rotation. And as long as you don’t need wins desperately, he makes for a nice flier—just be prepared to cut bait relatively quickly if things start to go south. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Scott Kazmir

AL ONLY

Anthony Gose, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
As much as I’d love to use this space to talk about Kevin Pillar again, I am assuming we have a strict one-player-per-year rule in this space (unless they advance to a higher level). But the player I’ll write about instead could be his teammate rather soon. With Colby Rasmus hitting the disabled list and Emilio Bonifacio on his way to Kansas City, the Blue Jays are left to play Rajai Davis in center field—which is not something he’s particularly well equipped to do. Enter Anthony Gose, who has been a disappointment this year, but playing better as of late in Triple-A. In August, Gose is hitting .286 with six extra-base hits and nine steals in just 56 at-bats. You could get a jump on your league mates by picking him up now, in anticipation of the move. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: Rajai Davis

Garrett Richards, SP, Los Angeles Angels
In the rotation for most of the regular season, Richards appears to be in the mix to stay with the recent demotion of Tommy Hanson. The knock on Richards last year was the lack of a plus secondary pitch, which allowed hitters to sit on the fastball. In his last four starts, Richards has relied less on the fastball and started to show additional confidence in his slider and has even mixed a few curves in for good measure. The good times aren’t likely to last with such an ordinary K%, but if Richards can maintain command of the breaking stuff, he’s less of a fringe guy and more of a viable option going forward. —Mike Gianella

Comparable Player: Edwin Jackson

NL ONLY

Tony Campana, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
I really don’t care what his stat line looks like in the minor leagues or in a ridiculously small major-league sample; Campana is not a good hitter. Fortunately for those of you in NL-only leagues, you already know this and you don’t care. The reason he shows up here is for one thing and one thing only: speed. With Cody Ross hitting the disabled list, Campana gets the call back up to Arizona to serve as the Diamondbacks’ fifth outfielder. And to remind you of what he can do with little to no playing time, Campana is a career 56-for-62 on the base paths despite only having 327 career at-bats. For those in need of speed, there are few better options out there, despite the utter lack of value he can offer anywhere else. —Bret Sayre

Comparable Player: There’s only one Tony Campana

Ethan Martin, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
In three major-league starts so far, Martin has shown the flashes of brilliance that make some believe he has a no. 2 starter ceiling but also the inconsistency that makes some think his future lies in the bullpen. I wouldn’t touch Martin in a non-keeper format this year. His walk rate is way too high, and while the fastball is legit, everything else looks rough around the edges. Martin is most intriguing as a long-term play and in dynasty leagues with deep reserve lists. Twenty-four is not old for a pitching prospect trying to put things together. Martin is probably going to be shut down or removed from the rotation once Roy Halladay is ready, but keep an eye on him in keeper formats. —Mike Gianella

Comparable Player: Ask again later; too many possible outcomes

Mike Gianella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here
Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

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Fantasy Article Bullpen Report: Mo Mov... (08/15)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (08/08)
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