A look at four hitters and four pitchers who could be available to bolster your fantasy team, depending on the format in which you play.
Jon Jay, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
In -only leagues, you have to take whatever measly at-bats you can get. If playing time opens up and you have a dead spot, it is a knee-jerk response to grab a player and worry about performance later. Mixed leagues offer more choices, and owners have the luxury of zeroing in on certain categories at the end of the season. A case in point is Jon Jay. Jay’s .272 batting average is barely worth considering, but over the last 15 days he has been putting up crooked numbers in runs and stolen bases for a recently red-hot Cardinals offense (admittedly, Coors has helped somewhat). If you need power, leave Jay in the free agent pool. On the other hand, if you are set in home runs and RBI but need a boost in runs or stolen bases, Jay might be your guy. Elliot Johnson has stolen five bases in the last 15 days, but the Cardinals are jockeying for playoff position while the Cardinals are not. Jay is likely to play regularly over the last 11 days of the regular season or until the Cards clinch a division title/avoid that dreaded wild card play-in game. —Mike Gianella
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Scouts' takes on Andrew Cashner, Freddie Freeman, Burch Smith, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
The Padres call up the Texas League's most dominant starter.
The Situation: With Clayton Richard becoming the latest Padres starter to land on the DL, the club is calling up Smith from Double-A San Antonio. He’ll join the rotation and make his big-league debut against Tampa Bay on Saturday.
Background: San Diego’s 14th-round pick in the 2011 draft, Smith was selected out of the University of Oklahoma after beginning his collegiate career at Texas JUCO power Howard College. The right-hander’s velocity has jumped a tick since his college days, and his command continues to improve. Following a solid full-season debut at High-A Lake Elsinore last season, Smith has been the Texas League’s most dominant starter in the early going this year. Through six starts, he has yielded just four earned runs on 17 hits in 31.1 innings, walking six and striking out 37. The Texan did not rank in Baseball Prospectus’ top 10 Padres prospects over the offseason, though he certainly would if they were re-ranked today.
Burch Smith, RHP, Padres (Double-A San Antonio)
Smith has been perhaps the most impressive pitcher in the Texas League this month, posting a 1.38 ERA with 31 strikeouts and just four walks over 26 innings. The 23-year-old has flashed plus command of a dominant fastball that sits between 93-96 mph and reaches up to 98. Although Smith doesn’t create much downhill plane and doesn’t have a ton of fastball life, he has a highly deceptive delivery and hides the ball extremely well. The deception enables his big velocity to play up a tick and induce a number of late swings.
When I saw Smith in action early last week, he also showed a potential average changeup and fringy curveball. The Texan may profile as a late-inning reliever due to the dominant fastball and lack of a plus secondary pitch. But some scouts believe he can stick in a starting role, and his ability to hold plus velocity and command his arsenal with deception could give him a chance. —Jason Cole