With the move to Wednesdays, admittedly the Deep League Report article may be a little thin some weeks, and this might be the weakest free agent pool to date this season. There will be no mention of Joey Gallo in this article, as the top Rangers’ prospect was already owned in the vast majority of deep AL-only leagues prior to the announcement of the slugger’s call-up on Monday. Besides, BP staff writers Kate Morrison and Bret Sayre did a thorough job in providing their respective analyses of Gallo’s outlook in The Call-Up piece from Tuesday.
As a friendly reminder, the Free Agent Watch article will cover any midweek transactions that might impact your interest in available players in only leagues. With all that said, here’s what we have to pique our collective interests from a free agent perspective in week nine.
Green’s versatility across the diamond could be the key to his potential fantasy value in the short term. Green is now seeing time at 1B, allowing Albert Pujols to get an occasional breather and remain in the lineup as the Angels DH. If Green can continue to handle the first-base duties when called upon, expect Pujols to see more time at the DH spot as the season progresses. Green’s minor-league production has yet to translate to the majors, but the former top prospect should be able to accumulate productive at-bats if you have a dead spot to fill.
Lough made an appearance in Week 2 of this article, but the potential playing time never materialized. However, Lough has been seeing regular at-bats of late, and heading into last night’s game, he had started five consecutive contests in the Orioles outfield. Lough is not a sexy fantasy play, but he did earn $10 in 2013 and $7 last year in standard AL-only 5×5 formats in limited time. Lough has sneaky speed, so if the current playing time continues he could net you some steals.
Not much excitement early in the week in the AL free agent pitching pool, so I am going back to Wilhelmsen, who I profiled last week. Since being activated from the 15-day disabled list back on May 8th, Wilhelmsen has posted five scoreless outings and an 11-to-2 K:BB ratio over 9 1/3 innings. As I mentioned previously, with Fernando Rodney’s struggles this season, a reliever who had 53 saves as the Mariners closer in 2012 and 2013 is always wise to keep tabs on. I still like Carson Smith to be next in line, but never underestimate the “proven closer” tag.
Lake makes another cameo this week, back after a five-week hiatus, mostly because the free agent hitting options in the NL are weak. Lake is just 25 years old and he can hit as well as play all over the diamond, so the Cubs could be trying to showcase the young outfielder. The Cubs have a couple of games in Detroit next week and he could get starts in both those games with the DH in play. The long-term hope for fantasy owners is that he gets dealt to a team where he can play every day; it’s probably just not going to happen with the Cubs.
Brad Hand, SP, Miami Marlins
If you need a short-term SP streaming option, Hand is a gamble but could be serviceable option if he performs this week. Again, it’s early but this should be monitored based on the current state of the Marlins rotation.