With Aroldis Chapman struggling and facing a potentially decreased workload, Dan looks at the Reds' late-inning situation in this week's VP.
A couple weeks back, I touted versatile Reds lefty Sean Marshall(Yahoo! 30%, ESPN 20%, CBS 21%) as a sharp stash, hedging against the possibility of ace closer Aroldis Chapman being shut down. I was premature then, but it appears likely now that Chapman will see some rest over the season’s final three weeks. He’s pitched poorly—and with diminished velocity—in his past two outings, apparently due to a fatiguedshoulder. The Reds, understandably, seem quite concerned.
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Lacking significant September corner infield call-ups, Michael still fields a strong Value Picks lineup, joined by Josh Donaldson and Matt Dominguez this week.
The Value Picks crew had a fine week, hitting five homers, scoring 10 runs, and driving in 15 more. That’s a good thing, since the latest round of call-ups only brought one corner infielder likely to deliver fantasy value. That, however, doesn’t mean there’s nobody to be found on your waiver wire: almost all of my VPs are available in 80 percent of fantasy leagues.
Kurt Suzuki and Manny Machado join the VP crew for the stretch run in this week's edition.
Since the last Second, Short, and Catcher Value Picks article (on break last week for Labor Day), Zack Cozart(Yahoo! 23%, ESPN 22%, CBS 59%) has slumped, and more importantly, he has been bit by the injury bug. A strained oblique has Cozart riding the pine, and it's unclear when he'll return. A player can't accumulate stats if he isn’t on the diamond, so cut bait with Cozart.
One of the biggest September prospect call-ups, Adam Eaton, leads off this week's VP.
This week’s call-up of note is Adam Eaton (Yahoo! 0%, ESPN 0%, CBS 7%), a young Arizona farmhand tearing up Triple-A. In a noted hitter’s haven in Reno, Eaton batted an impressive .381/.456/.539 with seven home runs and 38 steals over 120 games. John Sickels has an informative write-up of Eaton over at Minor League Ball for those interested in details. The short version is that Eaton has been productive throughout the minors—particularly in batting average and stolen bases—but is undersized at 5-foot-8, leading some to doubt whether he can translate those numbers to the majors. So far, nothing has been lost in the translation, with two two-hit games to start off his major league career.
Paul looks at Andrew Werner and A.J. Griffin as potential difference-makers in fantasy leagues down the homestretch.
Can you believe we officially have less than a month of the regular season left? That depresses me. I like football just fin; I just love baseball two billion times more. Okay, chin up, no need for tears. We’ve still got a month plus the playoffs, which are shaping up to be fantastic. More importantly, you have got your fantasy playoffs (or at least a stretch run for you roto folks) to worry about right now. The September roster expansion deepens the pool of potential Value Picks, but pitchers running up against inning limits, wearing down, or outright being shutdown cuts into that depth a bit.
Dan examines the Brandon League/Ronald Belisario platoon in LA in this week's VP.
It seemed pretty improbable only a couple months ago that someone other than Kenley Jansen or Javy Guerra would be closing for the Dodgers at this juncture, but here we are: Guerra all but forgotten after spending a chunk of his season in the minors and Jansen out for the third time in the past year due to an irregular heartbeat. In their places are Brandon League, whom the Dodgers acquired from the Mariners in a deadline deal, and a resurrected Ronald Belisario(Yahoo! 16%, ESPN 15%, CBS 10%), whose career was on the ropes after missing all of 2011 due to visa issues and sitting out 25 games this season for a drug suspension.
Michael welcomes a new AL-only VP to the list, but his regular VPs continue to bring great value to your fantasy roster.
Either I’m getting better at this, or fantasy owners are getting lazier. For the first time this season, all of my main VPs are sticking around, many of whom have been on the list for a month or more, despite strong performance. As fantasy trade deadlines approach, now is the time to make a move for one of these undervalued assets.
Parmelee, Mayberry, McLouth, and Ruf join VP this week.
Arrivals Chris Parmelee(Yahoo! 0%, ESPN 0%, CBS 3%) is rising from Triple-A for the fourth time this season and hoping he can finally stick in the Twins’ lineup. With Denard Span hitting the 15-day DL yesterday, Parmelee has a small window to produce and prove himself for next season. The 24-year-old Parmelee destroyed Triple-A this year to the tune of .338/.457/.645 but has been tamed so far in the majors, batting just .207/.281/.319 in 128 trips to the plate. As a non-contending team, the Twins would be wise to play Parmelee every day and get a good look at him for next year. He should have that chance as long as Span is out, making him a nice two-week rental in deeper mixed and AL-only leagues.
We are now on the cusp of the roster expansion, which should bring a flood of potential arms to try out as we approach the homestretch of another wonderful season. Until then, we still have plenty of arms who are readily available for late-season roster fortification.
Dan welcomes relievers from the murky San Diego and San Francisco ninth-inning situations to VP this week.
If there’s a pattern to the Padres’ closer situation, I can’t discern it. Bud Black’s Dale Thayer fetish seems to have subsided, and the Tom Layne era lasted all of one successfully converted save chance. Most recently, the Friars have (finally) circled back to ace setup man Luke Gregerson(Yahoo! 12%, ESPN 5%, CBS 10%), who was handed two save opps over the weekend and nailed down both. I don’t know why Gregerson is suddenly a viable closing candidate—nor why he was deemed something other than that in the first place. I also don’t know if Black will settle on Gregerson, but the right-hander’s high upside makes him a good short-term target for saves speculators. Huston Street could be back from his DL stint within a week or so, but I’d like to see it before I walk away from the closer of the moment in San Diego, because Gregerson is good.
The Value Picks list continues to hit well, but Michael finds room for a newly healthy Luke Scott as well as a host of marginal talent in Playing Pepper.
A thin bench led Toronto to put David Cooper(Yahoo! 1%, ESPN 0%, CBS 3%) on the disabled list instead of waiting for his back problems to clear up. Depending on how Adam Lind plays (and feels), Cooper could return to the Jays when he’s eligible, but he’s still just an AL-only player if he does.
This week's VP welcomes both power and speed helpers in Ryan Lavarnway and Everth Cabrera to the mix.
A trade from the Diamondbacks to the A's pushes Stephen Drew(Yahoo! 18%, ESPN 14%, CBS 31%) to the “Departures” section. The trade means that Drew will be moving from a home ballpark that plays slightly in the favor of left-handed hitters to one of the worst in baseball for them. He also moves from an offense that is 11th in runs scored in Major League Baseball to the team ranked 25th. He is still an option as a middle infielder in large mixed leagues, but he shouldn't be starting at shortstop in anything other than AL-only leagues.