Since coming off the disabled list earlier this month, Moreland is hitting .304/.339/.589 with four home runs, seven runs, and nine RBI in 59 plate appearances (entering Thursday night). He’s had trouble staying on the field in the past as he’s eclipsed 400 plate appearances in a season just once since 2011. However, it was Kyle Blanks’ injury that has Moreland entrenched as an everyday player seeing time at both first base and designated hitter opposite Prince Fielder. He’s been batting sixth behind Josh Hamilton ever since Hamilton’s return. Even though Hamilton hasn’t gotten off to a great start, Moreland is in a good lineup overall as the Rangers enter Thursday tied for fourth in the American League in runs scored. The most encouraging sign for Moreland so far is his sixteen percent strikeout percentage, which would be a career high by a fair margin if he’s able to maintain that pace. Moreland hit 23 home runs in 2013, but his AVG suffered and he only drove in 60 runs. He’s an intriguing pickup with the newfound contact giving him the potential to turn his hot start into much more.
Chavez only has one win on the season despite both pitching well and going deep into games because that’s just how things are going with the A’s this year. He’s pitched at least six innings in six of his seven starts this year and has allowed more than three earned runs just twice. Chavez’ hot start has been fueled in part by his low 0.35 HR/9, but he makes half of his starts in a pitcher-friendly ballpark and went on a similar run last year allowing 0.74 HR/9 in his first 18 starts before allowing four home runs in his last three starts. Chavez’ 2.44 ERA isn’t a total fluke as his 3.33 DRA ranks 14th among pitchers (min. 30 innings).
Duffy’s hot month was enough to earn him the everyday third-base job as the Giants designated Casey McGehee for assignment. Since May 5th, Duffy has really heated up at the plate, as he’s 23-for-63 (.365) with two home runs and 15 RBI in 17 games. His BABIP is .457 during this stretch and he’s obviously playing over his head, but the Giants offense has completely turned it around this month and Duffy’s a regular. It’s time to ride the hot hand.
The Yankees have a decision to make when Masahiro Tanaka returns to the rotation, but it would be surprising if Warren finds himself as the odd man out. He’s not a big strikeout pitcher, but his ERA in the month of May is 3.60. Looking at the new prospectus stat DRA, Warren rates better than you might expect with a 3.65 mark on the season, which is 49th among all pitchers (min. 30 innings). He’s coming off his best start of the season beating Kansas City while looking dominant as he allowed just two hits in six and 1/3 innings while striking out five. —Nick Shlain
Collins was called up from Triple-A Toledo last week when Victor Martinez was placed on the DL and immediately saw action, getting three starts in five days. Collins possesses some pop (39 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A the past two seasons) and a little speed, with 55 SB in 71 attempts over parts of five minor-league seasons. The Tigers have been using a rotation of sorts between J.D. Martinez and Rajai Davis to split time between right field and the DH spot, so you should monitor Collins’ playing time this week. He picked up two hits against Jesse Hahn on Monday, and Collins will have value in deep AL-only leagues if he can continue to see 12-18 ABs a week.
Well, I wanted to add my spin and be the first to wax poetic about Rodriguez from a future fantasy perspective, but after reading Ben Carsley’s analysis from The Call-Up analysis in yesterday’s piece, it’s tough to top that. Regardless of last night’s performances from Rodriguez against the Rangers, a 2.98 ERA and 44-to-7 K:BB ratio over his first 48 1/3 innings this season in Triple-A combined with the volatility of the back end of Red Sox rotation makes Rodriguez a pitcher to target in deep AL-only leagues. He needs to be on our radars.
Other AL-Only FAAB hitting options: Tim Beckham, IF, Tampa Bay Rays; Jake Smolinski, OF, Texas Rangers; Shane Robinson, OF, Minnesota Twins; J.B. Shuck, OF, Chicago White Sox; Oliver Drake, RP, Baltimore Orioles; Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Seattle Mariners; Chasen Shreve, RP, New York Yankees; Zach Putnam, RP, Chicago White Sox
With Yasmani Grandal on the DL as he recovers from a concussion, Barnes was called up from Triple-A this weekend and is expected to split time with A.J. Ellis behind the dish for the Dodgers. Barnes was acquired this past offseason from the Marlins in the deal that sent Dee Gordon to South Florida. Barnes has a pretty solid minor-league resume, including a .297/.390/.431 line and impressive 226-to-231 K:BB ratio over parts of five minor-league seasons. You can never predict the future impact of the concussion to Grandal, and Ellis has not looked like the same player offensively since his 2012 breakout. If Barnes can impress in Grandal’s absence, he has a chance to replace Ellis as the Dodgers’ backup backstop.
Hunter Strickland, RP, San Francisco
Admittedly, it’s a thin NL-only free agent pool early this week, so why not continue to call out relief pitchers I wrote about during the NL relief pitcher The Only Landscape series?
“Hunter Strickland’s postseason performance last year was a cautionary tale for young fireballers that big league hitters can turn on a high-90s fastball when there is no movement on it. That said, Strickland has the potential to be a force in the back end of the Giants bullpen if he can work on that fastball. His value will be low, so he is a nice reserve pick to stash away for later in the season.”
Strickland was called up by the Giants this weekend and came into Saturday’s game against the Rockies and struck out three of the six batters he faced over two scoreless innings. When Casey McGehee was DFA’d on Sunday, Strickland remained on the Giants active roster and on Monday struck out three of the seven batters he faced over 2 1/3 clean innings. When you hit triple digits on the radar gun, you have value in deep NL-Only 5×5 formats even if you are not closing. Like Capps and Knebel, Strickland makes for another nice spec play in NL-only keeper league formats.
Other NL-Only FAAB options: Carter Capps, RP, Miami Marlins; Corey Knebel, RP, Milwaukee Brewers; Chad Bettis, SP, Colorado Rockies; Dale Thayer, RP, San Diego Padres; Luis Avilan, RP, Atlanta Braves; Taylor Jordan, RP, Washington Nationals —Keith Cromer
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