It’s another thin free agent pool early this week, and much like last week with the Joey Gallo call-up, there will be no mention of Carlos Correa in this article, since he was already owned in the vast majority of deep AL-onlies. If you would like more insight about the impact the first-overall selection of the 2012 MLB Draft will have this season, check out The Call-Up piece from Monday by Christopher Crawford and Wilson Karaman. The article provides excellent insight on Correa’s outlook for the remainder of this year, as well as the top prospect’s potential impact down the road.
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 during week 10.
There are really no position players worth profiling at this point besides Urshela. The Indians recalled Urshela from Triple-A Columbus on Monday following the demotion of the struggling Lonnie Chisenhall. The 23-year-old had put up rather pedestrian numbers in his minor league career but broke out last year, putting up a .280/.334/.491 line with 18 HR and 84 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A. Once known as a “glove-first” corner infielder, Urshela has made some strides offensively the past couple of seasons and has shown some pop. He’s probably only a deep AL-only league play at this point but is certainly worth a pickup, as he is expected to see the bulk of playing time at 3B in Cleveland for the time being.
Below are four additional hitters who merit consideration if you are desperate to plug a hole. For the most part, it’s always better in 5×5 to have a player than a dead spot for the counting stats, but their impact will be minimal from a fantasy perspective.
Craig Goldstein and Mike Gianella did an excellent job (as always) in their analyses of Velasquez in Tuesday’s The Call-Up article. I share Mike’s opinion that even though Velasquez’s resume is limited, jumping to the majors from Double-A (and only five starts there), his raw stuff could make him a serviceable SP in the short term before the league has a chance to adjust. The former second-round pick in 2010 throws hard and follows fellow highly touted Astros arms Lance McCullers and Michael Feliz to the majors this year. He’ll make his major-league debut Wednesday against the White Sox in Chicago, so his performance against the Pale Hose will obviously greatly impact his FAAB bids this week. With Scott Feldman still on the shelf and Roberto Hernandez moved to the bullpen, the Astros could give the young righty an extended look in the rotation. In the CBS AL-Only Expert League, where we have daily moves and a $100 budget, I FAAB’ed Velasquez for $5 in anticipation of an impressive performance in his debut.
Fernando Rodney has been removed from the closer’s role in Seattle, and at the time of this article, Lloyd McClendon has not announced a replacement, which leads to speculation he could go with a committee approach in 9th inning save situations. Carson Smith received the first save chance after Rodney’s demotion and he converted, making the 6’ 6’’ righty the favorite to eventually replace Rodney. However, if McClendon leans towards a situational approach in the 9th inning, Furbush could grab a save opportunity here or there. The southpaw has posted double digit K/9 rates in each of the past three seasons with solid WHIP totals, so at worst he’ll rack up a few strikeouts while helping out your rations. I profiled Tom Wilhelmsen here last week, and he also remains in the saves mix due to his “proven closer” tag. I still love Carson, as you know, but Furbush is certainly worth monitoring.
Other AL-Only FAAB pitching options; Chasen Shreve, RP, New York Yankees; Steve Geltz, RP, Tampa Bay Rays; Alex Wilson, RP, Detroit Tigers; Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Seattle Mariners; Kyle Ryan, SP, Detroit Tigers
Much like in the AL, there is not much to get excited about in the free agent NL hitting pool, hence DeJesus’ mention. While I took little notice when the journeyman infielder was called up by the Reds last week, I did take notice when he got the start in left field for the Reds on Monday night—and not because he went 2-for-4 with a double and home run. Not only was that DeJesus’ first big-league start in the OF, it was also just the fourth time in his professional career, one that spans over 1,000 games, in which he trotted to the outfield with his glove instead of staying on the dirt. DeJesus is what he is, but considering the other options the Reds have tried to plug in since the Marlon Byrd injury, he could be a fill-in flier option to help with counting stats.
I am pulling Barrett back into the mix because I believe his value this season in NL-only leagues is flying under the radar based on his ERA and Drew Storen’s dominance closing games thus far. Barrett was on many sleeper lists prior to the season for potential saves in 2015, and I was one of the reliever’s biggest supporters, waxing poetic about him in The -Only League Landscape series back in March. However, I am finding Barrett available across multiple expert leagues, so I am recommending taking another chance on Barrett if you have an open spot on your staff. If you look at the numbers, Barrett is actually pitching much better than he was a season ago. That 4.68 ERA is very misleading, as his 1.99 FIP is more indicative of his performance. Barrett’s 12.0 K/9 and 5.40 K:BB ratio are much better than his production from last year, as is his 1.08 WHIP. He’s also improved upon his strand rate, allowing only three of his 13 inherited runners to score, compared to a 33 percent clip a season ago. He’s also matched his holds total (8) from a season ago in just half of the innings pitched. Barrett may not be in line for saves any time soon, but he will continue to have value going forward in NL-only leagues.
I wrote about Knebel in week eight, and I see he is still floating around in some expert leagues. After a rough outing against the Diamondbacks on May 29th, he has bounced back with four scoreless outings. I still believe in Knebel long term, and even if he does not get many save opportunities this year, the young right-hander he will have value because of his K/9 rates. If the Brewers struggles continue, Knebel should be given the opportunity to show what he can do as a late-inning option.
Other NL-Only FAAB pitching options: David Hale, SP, Colorado Rockies; Dale Thayer, RP, San Diego Padres; Luis Avilan, RP, Atlanta Braves; Sam Dyson, RP, Miami Marlins; Taylor Jungmann, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
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