He’s back, healthy for now, batting first or second in the order against righties, and is catcher-eligible despite not playing catcher. It has only been 62 plate appearances for the injury plagued former catcher, but Jaso is back to doing his thing—walking a bunch, while triple-slashing .296/.371/.444. It is easy to get complacent with the catcher spot in shallower mixed leagues, but for some teams, the catcher-eligible Jaso is going to be an upgrade.
In five starts since being recalled (there were probably two token Orioles-send-down-Gausman-and-call-him-back-up-later-in-the-week-moves in there, but who is counting), Gausman has 21 strikeouts to only seven walks. His ERA is still pumped up from a 3 2/3-inning, seven-run effort against the Twins on July 7th. According to Brooks Baseball, he has slowly swapped his slider for a curveball, which may be a factor in Gausman having his best season against righties. The velocity, fastball, and splitter are all still plus, and Gausman might finally be falling into the range of outcomes we had anticipated for him.
Like Jaso, he is back. After pitching well in his rehab assignment, Peralta did well in his return, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out three against the San Francisco Giants, albeit in the pitcher-friendly confines of AT&T Park. Like with Gausman, the velocity and stuff has never been a question, but being able to limit walks and amass the strikeouts that his stuff warrants has been a challenge. Additionally and for whatever reason, Peralta has pitched better in the second half every season of his career. Still only 26, Peralta has the potential to improve and the stuff to bet on should he improve. Consequently, if you have an extra bench spot for him in the second half, he could be worth the pickup.
We should probably ask, “Is Jeff catering to the readers too much with all of these catcher recommendations?” Good question.
Either way, Castillo has seemingly taken to playing for the Diamondbacks and playing every day. In 128 plate appearances, Castillo has hit eight home runs and triple-slashed .279/.375/.559. He is still striking out a bunch and is still probably the same player he always has been, but we probably also underrated the production Castillo can provide when playing everyday. His recent play is certainly going to make some rush to pick him up, but if he is still overlooked in your deeper leagues, Castillo and his flaws are worthy of your consideration if you have a lower-tier or poorly performing player in your catcher slot. —Jeff Quinton
The speedy outfielder was called up from Triple-A on Wednesday following the David Murphy trade, and now Holt could be in for more playing time after the Tribe shipped Brandon Moss to the Cardinals on Thursday for LHP Rob Kaminsky. The 26-year-old Holt will certainly not fill a power need in your fantasy lineup, as he only has six home runs in over 2,500 career PA in the minors, but he swiped 20 bags this season at Triple-A before his call-up and stole 28 or more bases in each of his previous four minor-league seasons. He has shown solid contact rates and OBP numbers at each level of the minors, making him a sneaky speed play in deep AL-Only leagues.
Yes, Cole Hamels has jumped leagues this week and is heading to the junior circuit, making this the first time AL-only league owners will be able to bid on the southpaw. However, as with Tulo, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Gomez, we typically do not cover players of Hamels’ ilk in the mono-league profiles, since these players are obvious must-adds in any format. We target players like Tyler Holt and Buck Farmer to write about, to hopefully give you a little competitive advantage in your respective home leagues.
The AL-only waiver-wire pitching pool has been very thin the past few weeks, leaving me to profile relievers with great ratios and with potential for vulture wins. I thought I would break the string and throw Farmer’s name in this week’s Free Agent Watch, as he has replaced Shane Greene in the Tigers rotation. The former fifth-round pick out of Georgia Tech in the 2013 MLB Draft rose up quickly through the Tigers farm system and made a couple of starts late last season for Detroit when their rotation was dealing with injuries. While Farmer has not enjoyed much success in his limited time in the majors, he does possess a big-league fastball and solid breaking pitches, and projects to be a mid-rotation or back-end starter in the big leagues. He has put up solid ratios in the minors with an 8.9 K/9 rate and should be given an extended look in the Tigers rotation the rest of the season. He gets a start on Friday night against the Orioles in Camden Yards, so use that performance as your gauge for your Sunday night FAAB bids.
Other AL-Only FAAB options: Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Toronto Blue Jays; Carlos Gomez, OF, Houston Astros; Curt Casali, C, Tampa Bay Rays; Josh Rutledge, IF, Boston Red Sox; Cheslor Cuthbert, IF, Kansas City Royals; Cole Hamels, SP, Texas Rangers; Mike Fiers, SP, Houston Astros; Chasen Shreve, RP, New York Yankees; Mark Lowe, RP, Seattle Mariners; Ryan Madson, RP, Kansas City; Zach Putnam, RP, Chicago White Sox; Steve Geltz, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals paid a hefty price to land Moss, trading away top pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky to the Indians to add the veteran corner outfielder/first baseman. The Cardinals have struggled with production at 1B while Matt Adams has been on the DL, and with Matt Holiday likely headed back to the DL with a quadriceps injury, Moss should see plenty of at-bats for St. Louis at first base and in the outfield. Yes, Moss has been an AVG drain the past couple of seasons, and we have seen a steady decline in his OBP and SLG numbers since his breakout season with the A’s back in 2012, but he is still on pace for his fourth consecutive 20-homer campaign, and his power should play well in his new surroundings. Moss makes for a solid FAAB option in deep NL-only leagues this week, and he’s not a terrible consolation prize if you miss out on the Jose Reyes sweepstakes.
I wrote about Clippard in this week’s Deep League Report, but with Jeurys Familia’s recent struggles—the reliever blew his third consecutive save on Thursday against the Padres—I have brought the bespectacled reliever back for an encore. Clippard has always been a favorite of mine, based on his strong K/9 (10.0) and H/9 (6.1) over his career, but I’ll admit he has not been as productive this season, despite his 17 saves and overall solid ratios. However, even though his ground-ball rate has sunk to a career low and his BB/9 rate is his worst in seven seasons, Clippard has still been a productive reliever on the field, and in our world as well, with $8 in fantasy earnings in standard AL-only 5×5 formats in his 38 2/3 innings. Obviously, Clippard’s fantasy value will be tied directly to his save opportunities, and with Familia’s implosions of late, Clippard is a great gamble for potential saves down the stretch based on his proven track record. Even if he sees limited save chances with the Mets, at worst he will get the ball in late-inning, high-leverage situations, potentially leading to a few vulture wins to go with solid ratios.
Other NL-Only FAAB options: Jose Reyes, SS, Colorado Rockies; Daniel Castro, IF, Atlanta Braves; Austin Barnes, C, Los Angeles Dodgers; Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Arizona Diamondbacks; Matt Harrison, SP, Philadelphia Phillies; Javier Lopez, RP, San Francisco Giants; Corey Knebel, RP, Milwaukee Brewers; Jose “Jumbo” Diaz, RP, Cincinnati Reds; Kevin Quackenbush, RP, San Diego Padres; J.P. Howell, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers —Keith Cromer