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 18.
Jose Ramirez, 2B/SS, Cleveland Indians
The Indians Opening Day starter at shortstop was unable to find his stroke early in the season, and after still hitting an abysmal .180 in early June, he lost the job to rookie Francisco Lindor and was sent down to Triple-A. Ramirez responded to the demotion and put up solid numbers during his time in the minors this season, slashing .293/.354/.408 with 15 steals in 44 games, and is now back with the big club following Jason Kipnis’ DL placement. Ramirez struggled at the plate with the Indians this season, but did put up modest numbers in his rookie year a season ago, and has hit at every level of the minors with a career .304 AVG over parts of five minor-league seasons. Ramirez’s fantasy value is tied directly to his speed, and the 22-year-old infielder has authored solid SB totals over his professional career, including 90 steals the past two-plus seasons. The speed element, combined with the prospect of playing time, makes Ramirez an intriguing option in deep AL-only leagues this week.
Tyler Collins, OF, Detroit Tigers
Collins was called up from Triple-A Toledo last week when the Tigers shipped Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets at the trade deadline. Collins possesses some pop (39 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A the previous two seasons) and a little speed, stealing 56 bases in 73 attempts over parts of five minor-league seasons. During his first stint with the Tigers earlier this year, Collins held his own, posting a 275/.315/.490 line with a couple of home runs and a stolen base in 54 PA. With the Tigers now looking toward next year, there is a chance Collins could get an extended look the rest of the way in their outfield, giving him value in deep AL-only leagues.
Other AL-Only FAAB hitting options: Sam Fuld, OF, Oakland A’s; J.R. Murphy, C, New York Yankees; Cheslor Cuthbert, IF, Kansas City Royals; Mikie Mahtook, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Tyler Duffey, SP, Minnesota Twins
The former fifth-round pick by the Twins in the 2012 MLB Draft out of Rice University was called up on Sunday and will make his major-league debut Wednesday against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Duffey will take the rotation spot of the disabled Tommy Milone, and at this time it is uncertain how long the right-hander will stick with the Twins. Duffey does not have swing-and-miss stuff, but has displayed great control (1.8 BB/9 and 4.09 K:BB over 421 1/3 IP career minor-league innings), and has even seen a spike in his strikeout rate this season, up to an 8.0 K/9. Duffey has a tidy 2.66 ERA and 1.121 WHIP this season over 132 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, and has kept the ball in the park, allowing just one home run. Depending on how Duffey performs in his start Wednesday, he could be a potential streaming option next week.
Other AL-Only FAAB pitching options: Mark Lowe, RP, Seattle Mariners; Chasen Shreve, RP, New York Yankees; Zach Putnam, RP, Chicago White Sox; Josh Fields, RP, Houston Astros
Kelby Tomlinson, IF, San Francisco Giants
Similar to Jose Ramirez, Tomlinson was called up from Triple-A on Monday to take the roster spot vacated by Giants starting second baseman Joe Panik, who landed on the 15-day DL. Also like Ramirez, Tomlinson’s fantasy appeal is his speed, as the infielder recorded 49 SB at Double-A last season and 21 more steals in 97 games between Richmond and Sacremento this season. The lanky Tomlinson posted a strong contact rate and OBP to go along with his .321 AVG before his call-up, so if he can find his way into the lineup on a regular basis while Panik is on the shelf, he will be a serviceable NL-only option to fill a dead spot in your middle infield.
Other NL-Only FAAB hitting options: Logan Schafer, OF, Milwaukee Brewers; Elian Herrera, IF/OF, Milwaukee Brewers
David Buchanan, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Buchanan was called up by the Phillies last Friday and responded with his second consecutive quality start this month, giving up three runs over 7 1/3 innings against the Braves to pick up the win. With Cole Hamels now in Texas, Buchanan has the chance to stick in the Phillies rotation if he can continue to provide quality innings at the back end. Buchanan gets his next turn on Thursday against the Dodgers, which will be no easy task. He does not excite anyone in 5×5 leagues due to his mediocre K rates, but let’s not forget the 26-year-old righty did earn $4 in standard NL-only 5×5 scoring formats in 20 starts a season ago based on his ratios. Don’t be scared away by that season ERA—he has not pitched nearly as badly as the numbers would indicate and his BABIP is significantly higher than in his previous years, both with the Phillies and in the minor leagues. Buchanan could be a sneaky-good addition if you are in the market for a SP in deep NL-only leagues.
Other NL-Only FAAB pitching options: Javier Lopez, RP, San Francisco Giants; Corey Knebel, RP, Milwaukee Brewers; Rafael Betancourt, RP, Colorado Rockies
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My bad...thanks for catching!
I forgot to update Lowe's new team after he was dealt by the Mariners.
Thanks for checking out the article again this week.
I like Collins more than Reimold, simply based on potential playing time the rest of the season. I like both Shaffer and Montero in AL_only leagues the rest of the season. I did not write about either because both were snatched up in many leagues previously.