Tell me why, ain’t nothin but an intro.
But for real, we’re going to do things a bit differently this week. With September call-ups in full effect and positional battles sprouting up left and right, I can probably help deep leaguers more by writing less about a greater number of players, rather than taking deep dives into three or four names.
My apologies if this sweeping change in format throws you off your routine. If it has, please relax and eat a sandwich.
Matt Barnes, P, Red Sox
Once part of the vaunted “Killer Bs” collection of prospects that promised to make Boston a perennial contender, Barnes looked like a strong candidate for a move to the bullpen about halfway through the season. He made an adjustment sometime in mid-July, though, and pitched to a 2.38 ERA with solid strikeout and walk rates over his last eight starts. Barnes has now been summoned to Boston, but he’ll pitch in a multi-inning relief role rather than wrestle starts away from the likes of Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman, or Allen Webster. Barnes has name value, to be sure, but leave him untouched in redraft leagues.
C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels
Cron is back with the Angels thanks to September call-ups, and while he’s not slated to play for the Halos every day, he could be a worthwhile addition to your deep league roster nonetheless. Cron has hit .276/.306/.481 in 219 PA taking his first crack at MLB pitching this season, along with hitting .316/.385/.511 in Triple-A. His prospect value has long been decried for his lack of defensive prowess and his less-than-stellar OBP skills, but the stats suggest that Cron can hit and hit for power, even if he can’t do a ton else. I’d look for him to start three or four days a week from here on out and to mash a few more homers with respectable R and RBI totals the rest of the way.
Rafael Montero, RP, Mets
Montero got the start against the Rockies last night and pitched quite well, throwing 5 1/3 shutout innings and striking out seven while walking four. Unfortunately, that’s likely to be Montero’s last start of the season, as Terry Collins has already come out and said that he’d like to see how Montero fares in the bullpen for the rest of 2014. It’s too bad, because Montero would’ve otherwise made a great September addition to deep-league teams, but he’s not likely to be worth a whole lot from now until season’s end.
Edward Mujica, RP, Red Sox
With Koji Uehara struggling mightily over his last few appearances, the Sox have decided to left Mujica close out games for a few weeks as Uehara tries to right the ship. Mujica’s season statistics are quite ugly, and he inspires no great confidence in his ability to do this job well. But he’s actually been pretty ok since an awful month of April, and he’s been downright respectable in August and September to this point. Obviously there’s no long-term security here, and Mujica won’t rack up the strikeouts. But if you’re desperate for saves, Mujica could add two or three before the year is over without totally wrecking your ERA or WHIP.
Michael Saunders, OF, Mariners
Saunders was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday night and inserted right into the starting lineup. Granted that’s partially because Dustin Ackley is dealing with an injury, but I still expect Saunders to see semi-regular playing time down the stretch. Saunders has long been a source of power and speed, but his averages have largely prohibited him from becoming an attractive fantasy option. That being said, if you’re desperate for counting stats and have an OF or UT spot open, Saunders is a fine gamble.
Zeke Spruill, P, Diamondbacks
One of the players who went from the Braves to the Diamondbacks in the Justin Upton deal that’s gone super well for Arizona, Spruill was called up to the majors on Tuesday. He figures to be used as a spot starter and reliever for the D’backs for the rest of the year, and while he’s far from an inspiring option, I’d probably rather start him than Vidal Nuno at this point, despite Spruill’s ugly Triple-A ERA. Only use him in favorable matchups and only pay attention to him if he’s going to start, but Spruill is worth at least adding to your watch list in 20-team leagues.
Deep League Streamer of the Week: Cory Rasmus, Angels
Look, I’m picking someone other than a Padres opponent! This week, I say you roll the dice with the best C. Rasmus in baseball, who’s pitching against the sentient remains of the Texas Rangers on Thursday. Yes, Rasmus must pitch in the hitter-friendly confines of the Rangers’ home stadium, but he’s also facing a lineup without much pop. Rasmus has posted a 2.81 ERA in 24 relief appearances and two starts this season, and while you’d expect his ERA to rise the longer he starts, he’s still skilled enough to dispose of the Rangers, as they are currently constructed. All Rasmus has to do is survive five innings and let his offense bludgeon poor Nick Martinez, and an easy “W” should be his. Odds are, Rasmus is available and won’t cost much to pick up.
Twitter Question of the Week:
— Jon Pyle (@jonraypyle) September 10, 2014
This is an interesting question from Jon, and at first I was tempted to say, “it depends on your window of competition.” But the more I think about it, I’m not really sure that’s the case. I’m going to have Anderson and Alfaro ranked well ahead of Finnegan and Gonzalez when I make my list this offseason, and there’s not much that could convince me to take one of the pitchers over either of these two potential studs
I suppose if you had a minor-league system loaded with offensive talent and were bereft of pitching for 2015 and beyond, you could opt to take Gonzalez and Finnegan. But ultimately, each pitcher is likely to make more of an impact in 2016 than in 2015, and I think Alfaro and Anderson carry more value as prospects in their own right. In short, even if you think Finnegan or Gonzalez will have more value than Anderson or Alfaro next year, you can probably use one of the latter two prospects to land a talented pitcher anyway.
So really, this comes down to Gonzalez and Finnegan, and I’ll probably end up ranking them within 10-15 spots of each other. Give me Finnegan, because I’m a sucker for lefties and because Gonzalez should end up in the inferior home park.