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 19.
With Cleveland completely revamping their outfield, trading away Michael Bourn, Brandon Moss, David Murphy, and even Nick Swisher over the past two weeks, Sands now becomes relevant in deep AL-only leagues. Sands has been seeing regular playing time this past week for the Tribe, and he’s consistently put up impressive power numbers in the minors, posting a career .523 SLG over parts of eight minor-league seasons. His success in the high minors has yet to translate to the majors, but the power potential combined with the increase in playing time makes Sands a decent FAAB play this week.
Nava was claimed off waivers by the Rays from the Red Sox last week, and he should see playing time in the short term in the Rays outfield with the injury to Steven Souza. The switch-hitting outfielder, who considered abandoning hitting from the right side this spring, struggled through a thumb injury early on in the season and was never able to get on track offensively. Nava has been a productive fantasy performer the past two seasons in AL-only leagues ($19 earned in AL-only 5×5 standard formats in 2013 and $9 a season ago) and will probably be used exclusively against right-handed pitchers; he owns a career .285/.377/.414 slash line in over 1,100 PAs hitting from the left side. Nava is not a bad gamble as a FAAB flier to fill a dead spot in your outfield.
Other AL-Only FAAB hitting options: Cliff Pennington, IF, Toronto Blue Jays; Sam Fuld, OF, Oakland A’s; J.R. Murphy, C, New York Yankees; Paulo Orlando, OF, Kansas City Royals; Junior Lake, OF, Baltimore Orioles; Chris Gimenez, C, Texas Rangers
The former 15-game winner with the Braves back in 2013 was activated by the Royals back on July 20th to pitch out of the bullpen. Medlen made his first bi- league appearance following his second Tommy John surgery that night against Pirates and struggled, allowing four ER over 3 1/3 innings. Since then, the right-handed hurler has recorded four straight scoreless appearances, including 3 2/3 hitless innings on Sunday in relief of an ineffective Danny Duffy. With Jeremy Guthrie’s season-long struggles, and the inconsistency of both Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura, Ned Yost could look to the proven veteran Medlen as a rotation option down the stretch in Kansas City.
Similar to Medlen, Jones was also activated from the 60-day disabled list following his Tommy John surgery last July. Prior to the injury, Jones was a force out of the back end of the White Sox bullpen with a fastball in the high 90s and strong K rates. Since his return to the White Sox, the velocity appears back and he has looked strong in his small sample size. Jones’ strikeout rates in combination with his moving back to a late-inning setup role with Chicago gives him value in deep AL-only leagues.
Acquired by the Angels along with Huston Street from the Padres last July, the University of Kentucky product has recorded 10 consecutive scoreless appearances for Los Angeles, and has three holds along with a win during this current stretch of appearing in higher-leverage situations. A sixth-round pick in 2013 by San Diego, Gott rose quickly through the minors, posting solid ratios, a 9.5 K/9, and 30 saves while allowing just four home runs in his 124 career minor-league innings. Gott currently sports a 1.85 ERA and 1.068 WHIP and has not allowed an inherited runner to score yet for the Angels, so he is worth monitoring. The reliever has more value in keeper leagues, and makes for a decent grab-and-stash play in those formats.
It’s a very thin week on the waiver wire for NL hitting options, so Rogers will get top billing in this spot. Rogers was called up by the Brewers last week to be a bat off the bench to face left-handed pitching. Rogers has put up impressive numbers in the minors: He was the Brewers Minor League Player of the Year in 2013, and was slashing .344/.449/.607 with eight home runs in 33 games at Triple-A at the time of his call-up. Realistically, Rogers is a liability defensively so regular playing time is probably not in his future, but he has some pop and might be good for a HR or two if he can scratch out 8-10 at-bats per week.
The former college closer was converted into a starter by the Marlins and was called up last week from Triple-A. He is scheduled to get the start on Wednesday in Milwaukee against the Brewers. With Jose Fernandez heading to the DL, this former second-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft has a chance to stick in the rotation and be a potential streaming option in deep NL-only formats. Conley was putting up solid ratios in Triple-A this season over 18 starts, so if the lanky southpaw can put up a positive line against the Brewers on Wednesday, he should be on your radars as a potential FAAB play on Sunday night.
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