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 free-agent interests thus far in week 24.
Since being recalled from Triple-A on September 5th, Reimold has been a mainstay in the Orioles lineup, drawing a start from Buck Showalter in nearly every game. For those who have owned Reimold over the years like I have, we all know the 31-year-old outfielder is a streaky hitter—and right now, Reimold is on the sort of surge that fantasy contenders desperately crave. Since his call-up, the veteran has posted a .345/.472/.665 slash line with three home runs, eight runs scored, and seven RBI. To be sure, buyers should be wary of Reimold, but if you need to make up ground in four of the five offensive categories in standard 5×5 formats in the last two weeks of the season, he just might be a difference-maker for you.
Craig Gentry, OF, Oakland A’s
This is purely a spec play for teams that can gain valuable points in the stolen-base category for a championship run. Gentry was recalled from Triple-A last week by the A’s, and realistically, he is a fourth outfielder who works his way into games with his speed and plus defense. The veteran outfielder has a career 87 percent stolen-base-success rate over 89 career attempts, which surely attracts the interest of any grizzled fantasy owner in need of a speed play. Even in limited time, Gentry has cracked the 20-swip threshold in each of the past two seasons and swiped 25 bags in Triple-A before his promotion this year. While at-bats may be hard to come by, he still could steal a few bags the rest of the way in pinch-running situations. And that could be the difference between a Yoo-Hoo shower and runner-up finish.
Other AL-Only FAAB hitting options: Paulo Orlando, OF, Kansas City Royals; Jonny Gomes, OF, Kansas City Royals; Shawn O'Malley, OF, Seattle Mariners; Jerry Sands, OF, Cleveland Indians; Terrance Gore, OF, Kansas City Royals; J.R. Murphy, C, New York Yankees; Grady Sizemore, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Mike Wright, SP, Baltimore Orioles
The 6-foot-6 hurler burst onto the scene in May after registering back-to-back scoreless starts following his promotion from Triple-A. Many fantasy owners broke the FAAB bank on the 25-year-old right-hander after he tossed 14 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just 10 baserunners and logging a 10-to-3 K:BB ratio (two of those free passes were intentional). However, the dividends never materialized, as Wright struggled over his next few starts and was shipped back to Norfolk, and then ended up on the DL with a calf strain. The East Carolina product was activated from the DL two weeks ago and has made two shaky starts against the Blue Jays and Royals since returning to the Orioles rotation, getting victimized by the long ball. However, Wright has shown some promise, and he put up solid numbers in Triple-A this year (9-1, 2.22 ERA, and 1.037 WHIP over 14 starts). Wright will go on Wednesday against the Red Sox, so use that as a gauge for your Sunday night FAAB bids. If Wright can turn in a good showing, he is scheduled for a two-start week next week against the Nationals and Blue Jays. That still seems daunting, but if your ratios are fine and you need wins, it’s worth a gamble.
This former top-100 prospect in 2013 and 2014 was recalled by the Brewers last week after the roster expansion to provide some middle-infield depth as the season winds down. Milwaukee acquired Sardinas from the Rangers in the Yovani Gallardo deal this offseason and potentially could make him a regular in the middle infield for the foreseeable future. From a fantasy perspective, as with Gentry, Sardinas’ value is tied to speed, so FAAB plays on the young middle infielder are only for those seeking steals over the last two weeks. At 22 years old, Sardinas is very young but he played well in his 43 games with the Rangers last season. His 100 career stolen bases in the minor leagues (including 16 this season in Triple-A), paired with a .288 AVG over parts of six seasons, make him a decent grab-and-stash play in keeper leagues.
I wrote about Adames last week, but the September call-up is still floating around in several expert leagues, so he needs another mention. Since that article, the 24-year-old infielder has gotten three starts and has delivered hits in each of those starts. Adames had struggled offensively in his first few years in professional baseball, but took a step forward in 2015 (albeit in the PCL) and slashed .311/.362/.438, slugging 11 home runs and stealing 11 bases. Adames is known more for his defensive prowess than his hitting skills, but Coors Field can certainly help any hitter’s production. There is some fantasy upside here even if Adames only sees 10-12 at-bats a week as we close out the regular season. For those in NL-only keeper formats, Adames looks like he has additional value as a future play for 2016.
This former first-round pick by the Royals who came over in the Johnny Cueto trade in July makes for a sneaky ratio and strikeout play as we end the fantasy season. Long term, Finnegan projects as a starter for the Reds and makes for a strong keeper play in those formats, but he can provide fantasy value in 2015, too. He has struck out four of the nine batters he has faced with the Reds since his call-up, and he could snatch a vulture win or two in his September audition to go with strong K rates and ratios.
George Kontos, RP, San Francisco Giants
When you toss up a 1.83 ERA and 0.874 WHIP over 68 2/3 innings and have been unowned in most leagues all season, you need a little love, and I’m giving it to Kontos here. Despite not pitching in the highest-leverage situations, he has still earned a tidy $10 to date in standard NL-only 5×5 formats. Kontos is what he is, but if you are looking for a safe play to replace a ratio-killer on your staff, he makes for a decent FAAB option to secure your ERA and WHIP numbers. His middle-inning role and ability to work multiple frames makes him a candidate to pick up a vulture win or two, as well.
Other NL-Only FAAB pitching options: Javier Lopez, RP, San Francisco Giants; Matt Stites, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks; Jairo Diaz, RP, Colorado Rockies; Zach Davies, SP, Milwaukee Brewers; Corey Knebel, RP, Milwaukee Brewers
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