It’s the fourth week of the baseball season, which is right about time to start to cut bait on draft-day ideas that went awry. If you’re one of those out there who’s hurting, these three should help you in AL-Only leagues.
There isn’t a position on the diamond that Paredes can handle or at least the Orioles—even with injuries in their middle infield—don’t believe there is (or maybe they don’t know what they believe). He’s played just nine innings in the field this year, and one of those came at the end of the 18-7 victory over Boston Sunday. Thank you, fantasy-based God, for the DH, which has allowed Paredes to quietly occupy the no. 2 spot in the Baltimore order against right-handed pitching while hitting .429 entering play Monday. Paredes needs to be added in AL-Only leagues while he’s hot like this, because when he’s going well he can provide power and speed. He already has three home runs and a steal in just eight games, and has a reputation as a power and speed threat in the minors (he hit eight home runs and stole 21 bases in 420 plate appearances in Triple-A last year). While Paredes has never amassed even 200 plate appearances in a single major-league season, he’s just 26 years old and the Orioles are prepared to continue to give him opportunities, as he’s seemingly grabbed the DH job from Steve Pearce.
Chavez might not be top of mind when you think of the 2014 A’s rotation, which included Jon Lester, Jeff Samardjiza, Scott Kazmir, and Sonny Gray, but the 21 starts he made for Oakland last year were crucial with Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin on the shelf, especially early in the season. Chavez threw 146 innings for the A’s last year, the most in any season of his professional career, while striking out 136 batters and posting a 3.45 ERA. He hit the innings wall toward the end and had a 5.51 ERA in his last six starts, pushing his ERA up. Chavez is a legitimate starter, though, and he showed that again last Thursday against the Angels. On short notice, Chavez went six innings while allowing only one earned run on one hit and three walks while striking out four. With the Kendall Graveman experiment over for now, as he was optioned to the minors, Chavez will assume his role in the rotation. Given his four-pitch mix, strikeout potential, and the fact that he’ll pitch half of his games at the O.co Coliseum, Chavez is not only worth picking up in AL-Only leagues, but also deeper mixed formats.
Lobstein isn’t special, but he should be added in all AL-Only leagues at this point. The big lefty made his debut with the Tigers down the stretch last year and filled in nicely as the fifth starter. This year he’s filling in for the injured Justin Verlander, who hasn’t picked up a ball in almost two weeks and continues to deal with a strained triceps muscle. It’s been over a month since Verlander left a spring training start with the triceps strain and there remains no timetable for his return, though Brad Ausmus noted that he is traveling with the team in case he can throw in the next 10 days. For Lobstein, this all points to at least another month in the rotation and that assumes everything is copacetic with Verlander’s recovery from here on out. While Lobstein doesn’t have much in the way of fastball velocity and won’t be a good source of strikeouts, he keeps the ball down and induces groundballs. If Roenis Elias is also available in your league, he’d be my first choice for the strikeouts, but Lobstein still has good qualities. He gets outs early in counts and can work deep into games, which is a good way to win games. He won his second of three starts Sunday against the Indians going seven innings while allowing three runs on six hits and two walks and striking out four.