For the third consecutive week, a top-10 MLB prospect was called up to the majors to begin the fantasy scoring period, as the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber followed Rangers slugger Joey Gallo and Astros stud shortstop Carlos Correa to the Show. As you know, this article is not geared toward high-profile prospects of this ilk, as they are already the fantasy property of savvy deep -only league players like us. That said, if you would like more insight to the impact the fourth-overall selection of the 2014 MLB Draft will have this season, check out The Call-Up piece from Tuesday by BP staff writers Christopher Crawford and George Bissell. As always, it has great insight from both Christopher and George regarding what Schwarber’s impact will be in the short term as well as going forward.
As a friendly reminder, the Free Agent Watch article, which appears every Friday, 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 thus far in week 11.
In a less-publicized offseason acquisition by Jerry Dipoto and the Angels, Los Angeles got Kubitza and pitcher Nate Hyatt from the Braves in exchange for lefty pitching prospect Ricardo Sanchez back in January. With David Freese’s impending free agency and injury history, the former third-round pick by the Braves back in 2011 was snatched up by the Angels as a potential replacement at the hot corner. Kubitza slashed .295/.405/.470 with 21 steals in Double-A last year and was slashing .287/.362/.452 in 57 games at Triple-A this season at the time of his call-up. With Freese nursing a hamstring injury, Kubitza has started at 3B his first five big-league games and could see more playing time if Freese lands on the DL.
It appears the toolsy outfielder is only going to be up with Houston for a short period of time, called up to replace Colby Rasmus on the Astros roster after Rasmus was placed on the bereavement list on Monday. The reason I am including Santana in the week’s report is to make sure he is on your FAAB radars for future reference. Santana was the PTBNL in the Hunter Pence trade back in 2011, which turned out to be a clerical error on the Phillies part and may prove to be a windfall for the Astros. Santana has showed impressive power at all levels of the minors, and he had two (brief and unsuccessful) stints in the bigs last year. The 22-year-old has continued to impress at Triple-A this season, slashing .320/.444/.584 with 11 home runs in 56 games. He got the start in LF yesterday for the Astros and went 1-for-3 with an RBI and SB against the Rockies. While his time with the big club this week may be short lived, file Santana’s name away for when he gets his chance again later this season.
With Shane Greene being demoted to Triple-A last Friday, the 23-year-old Ryan will take Greene’s spot in the rotation for the time being. The 6-foot-5 southpaw does not have electric stuff—his average fastball velocity is south of 90 mph—but despite the low strikeout totals, the contact-oriented hurler has put up solid ratios over his professional career. Ryan allowed just two runs on three hits over seven innings in a no-decision against the White Sox back on June 5th, and has a 2.31 ERA and 1.157 WHIP over his 23 1/3 innings with the Tigers. He got the start on Tuesday against the Reds and is scheduled to start this weekend against the Yankees. Ryan has more value in standard 4×4 formats, but if he can stick in the Tigers rotation, he would make for a nice streaming option in any format.
I have written about Shreve in the past in this space, but the Yankees reliever deserves another mention with Andrew Miller now on the DL. Shreve came out of nowhere in 2014 and posted a 102-to-15 K:BB ratio in 76 innings over three levels, including 15 punchouts with the Braves over 12 1/3 IP. He was dealt to the Yankees over the winter in the David Carpenter deal and has provided Joe Girardi with productive innings out of the ‘pen to date. Shreve has posted eight consecutive scoreless appearances and should see time in late-inning, high leverage situations with Miller out. He has only allowed two of 20 inherited runners to score in his 36 career big-league games, with strong K rates and ratios to support that performance. He should be owned in deep AL-only formats.
Alex Wilson, RP, Detroit Tigers
When a reliever has a 1.74 ERA and 0.742 WHIP and 4.0 K:BB ratio over 31 innings, he deserves a mention. The former 2009 second-round pick earned $4 in standard AL-only formats in just 28 1/3 innings last year with Red Sox by posting sparking ratios (1.91 ERA and 0.882 WHIP), and he has already netted $5 in earnings this season. Wilson is worth a look if you have a pitching slot to fill due to an injury.
Matt den Dekker, OF, Washington Nationals
There’s not much to get excited about early this week in the NL hitting free agent pool, so the 27-year-old reserve outfielder will get top billing—which speaks volumes about just how thin the waiver wire looks. den Dekker has not even mustered one AB since his call up from Triple-A last week, but the Nationals outfield has not been able to avoid the injury bug all season, so this is a spec play. den Dekker provides some fantasy upside if he plays because of his speed, having turned in two 20-steal seasons in the minors and swiped 11 bags in 80 games with the Mets over parts of two seasons. The reality is, den Dekker is a one-week dead spot fill-in if you have no other options and are just hoping for a token steal.
It’s a thin free agent NL pool in general this week, so even though I wrote about Knebel in week eight and again last week, I am bringing him back for yet another encore since expert leaguers are ignoring his potential value. I still believe in Knebel long term, and I like the reliever much better in keeper leagues as the potential future closer for the Brewers. Given the Brewers struggles, Knebel should be given the opportunity to show what he can do as a late-inning option at some point in 2015, so stashing him could pay dividends fairly soon. The young right-hander has 15 strikeouts in his 12 2/3 innings, so he will have value even if he doesn’t earn saves.
John Axford has been excellent since assuming the closer role for Colorado, so Hawkins has little chance of reclaiming ninth-inning duties barring an injury. However, let’s not forget the 42-year-old hurler was the best reliever in the Rockies ‘pen the previous two seasons. He’s appeared in three games since coming off the disabled list last week, making me think Hawkins could be a decent flier as a potential closer-in-waiting if anything happens to Axford.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now