Simply put, Tyler Flowers isn’t doing a good job of filling the void left by A.J. Piersynzki’s departure from Chicago. In his first full season, the 27-year-old Flowers is triple-slashing a disappointing .198/.271/.339 at the plate. Sometimes a catcher can justify his playing time with stellar defensive play, but Flowers hasn’t been up to par behind the plate either.
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.
Morrison played in his first minor-league rehab game this season with High-A Jupiter on May 20. He has played in six games for Jupiter, and he served as a designated hitter in three of those games and played first base in the other three. He took the next step in his rehab assignment by moving up to Double-A Jacksonville on Tuesday. Morrison is recovering from surgery on the patellar tendon in his right knee, the second time he has undergone that type of procedure on it. In the spring, I wrote about him being worthy of a disabled-list spot. At the time, I was optimistic he'd be playing for the Marlins at this point, but alas, he is not. Morrison doesn't have an exact target date for his return, but Joe Frisaro reports that it could be around June 10.
Valencia has only been a productive major leaguer for half-a-season (in 2010), is now 28 years old, and doesn’t have a clear path to playing time. Sometimes, though, you just gotta take the chance on the guy who slugged his way to 11 home runs and 35 RBI in Triple-A regardless of age and situation. Right now Valencia, looks like he’s starting solely against lefties, limiting him to AL-only leagues. Perhaps he can convert his minor-league power into a few bombs in the big leagues and prove his AL-only worthiness.
Carlos Ruiz was placed on the disabled list on Monday with a Grade 2 hamstring strain, and he's expected to be out three to four weeks. While he is on the DL, Kratz will handle the starting catcher duties with Humberto Quintero serving as his backup. The 33-year-old backstop didn't do much with Ruiz serving a 25-game suspension to open the season, but he did hit three homers in just 92 plate appearances. He hits the ball in the air regularly (34.8 percent outfield fly-ball rate), and that will help his home-run power play up. He's not a catcher that should be rostered in most mixed leagues, even those in which teams start two catchers, but his steady playing time for the next month or so coupled with enough power to reach the seats a few times is reason enough to own him in larger NL-only formats.
Although he’s still not an everyday player, Rosales is finding his way into the lineup and producing enough to warrant consideration at middle-infield spots in mixed leagues. In 50 at-bats, he’s slashing an impressive .313/.400/.458 with a home run. And, as you may know, his homer total should really be two, given he was the batter victimized by the Angel Hernandez blown video-review call. It’s worth noting that the glass-boned Jed Lowrie and the ineffective Eric Sogard are currently limiting his playing time, meaning Rosales’ role could easily be expanded in the future. Rosales is currently filling the MI slot on my Tout Wars squad, a 15-team mixer, and could be a decent option for yours as well.
The thickly bearded, rocket-armed Josh Reddick has hit the disabled list with a wrist injury, prompting the veteran Barton to be recalled to Oakland. Barton’s past experiences in the majors aren’t pleasant ones, with replacement-level play forcing his demotion in the first half of both 2011 and 2012. Thus far in 2013, he has been playing well at Triple-A, batting .287 with three homers, 21 RBI, and a typical 19 percent walk rate. Barton figures to see playing time at first base when the A’s are facing a righty, but only for the couple of weeks Coco Crisp and Reddick are out. If you are in an AL-only league that uses OBP, he can be mildly exciting. Otherwise, there’s nothing to see here.
The Dodgers, and their fan base, are likely crying uncle at this point. They are hurting. Less than one week after being activated from the disabled list, Hanley Ramirez suffered another injury that required a return to the DL. His injury prompted the team to promote Gordon from Triple-A, where he hit .314 with 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts through 25 games.
Sanchez might not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking about lefty-mashers, but he has hit southpaws quite well in his career. He has 465 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, and in them, he has a triple -slash line of .295/.388/.505. His ability to hit lefties fits well on the Pirates roster, as manager Clint Hurdle routinely wisely sits Garrett Jones against left-handed pitching. Sanchez is making the most of his playing time against southpaws this year, and has already smacked two doubles and three homers in 25 plate appearances against them.
With Ivan Nova landing on the disabled list, Phelps gets his opportunity to prove his stuff can work from the rotation, too. So far, he’s been working out of the bullpen as a long reliever and done a good job of missing bats with 22 strikeouts in 17 innings. However, he’s also been quite hittable and fairly wild, allowing 17 hits and eight walks, which has led to an ERA above 5.00. Still, some of that can be attributed to poor luck, and historically he’s shown great control in the minors, so Phelps has the potential to be solid fourth starter. In AL-only and 14-plus-team mixed leagues, he’s certainly worth owning. In shallower formats, I’d at least start him for his first attempt against the Astros tomorrow and go from there.
Often in the fickle world of fantasy baseball, yesterday's highly touted prospect is tossed aside for the newest shiny toy. In the case of Mesoraco, it is more understandable than in the case of many others. Mesoraco struggled last year, hitting just .212/.288/.352. Meanwhile, incumbent starter Ryan Hanigan was coming off a solid season where he held his own at the plate, largely due to his .365 OBP, but he was even more valuable to the Reds because he cut down 48 percent of attempting base stealers. Hanigan was placed on the disabled list on April 21, and according to Drew Silva of NBC Sports, he could miss about three weeks.
The Rays lineup is chaotic right now, with few players holding steady, everyday roles. However, one thing that was steady in the recent, three-game sweep of the A’s was Roberts manning second base. The tatted fan-favorite played his role in the sweep, collecting four hits and driving in a couple of runs while batting second. And, as I’m writing this, he just hit his second home run off of CC Sabathia. Roberts is known for bursts of offensive production, and this week, with the Rays playing a full slate of games, he is a good bet to deliver solid stats. His playing time won’t be helped by the return of Luke Scott in a week or a possible call-up of Brandon Guyer or Wil Myers, so Roberts is just a one-week plug-and-play for anyone in need of a MI bat.