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.
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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.
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.
Injuries clear playing time (and VP spots) for Wise, Blackmon, and Podsednik.
The White Sox have lost Alejandro De Aza to injury and are turning to recent acquisition DeWayne Wise(Yahoo! 3%, ESPN 4%, CBS 3%) to fill the void in center. Between the Yankees and White Sox, Wise has had a surprisingly productive year, batting .300 with six home runs and nine steals in just 100 at-bats. No one expects him to maintain that pace, but he can contribute a little bit everywhere, making him a player to consider adding in all leagues.
Michael graduates one Value Pick and welcomes another one back, while the rest of his list keeps delivering value to fantasy owners looking for corner infield help.
Ownership rates for Todd Frazier(Yahoo! 40%, ESPN 62%, CBS 60%) are finally starting to match his 2012 production. He entered last week hitting .280/.339/.528 with 14 home runs and 28 RBI in 310 plate appearances. He burnished those credentials with 10 hits last week, including three home runs, and six RBI, for a .370/.379/.741 line that finally caught the eye of other fantasy owners—probably because of Wednesday’s monster blast to deep center field. Value Picks readers have been hearing about Frazier since May 15, so there’s no excuse for having missed out on this Rookie of the Year candidate.
Catchers dominate the Arrivals section of this week's VP with Rosario, Grandal, and Jaso joining the group.
It should come as no surprise that as a much-ballyhooed prospect that got off to a hot start, Manny Machado(Yahoo! 50%, ESPN 84%, CBS 79%) saw his ownership level rise to a level that disqualifies him for continued inclusion in Value Picks. Even with a couple of 0-fers over the weekend, Machado has made about as seamless a transition as the Orioles could have hoped for from a guy jumping from Double-A to the majors. His strikeout rate is right in line with his minor league levels, but his walk rate is way down. Don't let the walk rate fool you, though; his chase rate headed into Sunday was at 33.3 percent, just a bit above the league average of 30.5 percent. We aren't talking about a total hacker here. He's still really green, and he's hitting in the bottom third of the Orioles lineup, so if someone wants to overpay in a redraft league, let them. Otherwise, ride out his hot streak and hope Machado is able to take advantage of expanded rosters and perhaps some weaker pitching opposition in September.
Injuries to Carp and Schierholtz uncrowd the VP room and make way for Gregor Blanco.
Departures Mike Carp(Yahoo! 6%, ESPN 9%, CBS 8%) lasted all of 17 games in between DL stints, this time succumbing to a groin strain. The 26-year-old first baseman wasn’t hitting much anyway, so it’s time to move on.