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Welcome to Week 26 of The Free Agent Watch, Baseball Prospectus’ weekly free agent answer to Dear Abby. This column is designed to offer a brief glimpse into the top free agents in 12-team mixed, 15-team mixed, and AL- and NL-only formats, with the idea being that while we can’t address every unique free agent situation in your league, we can guide you through the waters and help with the broader strokes of the decision making process.

I (George) will be tackling all the mixed-league formats, while Keith will be handling the only-league duties.

Table 1: 12-Team Mixed Hitter

(All statistics referenced are for last 14 days)

Player

PA

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

%OWN

Corey Seager, LAD SS

57

7

3

9

1

.340

55%

Josh Harrison, PIT 2B/3B/OF

48

9

0

3

0

.409

52%

Rougned Odor, TEX 2B

57

7

3

10

0

.235

44%

Mitch Moreland, TEX 1B

51

7

4

13

0

.261

38%

Mark Canha, OAK 1B/OF

59

7

1

6

1

.226

32%

Marcus Semien, OAK 2B/SS/3B

50

8

2

5

0

.279

28%

Tommy Pham, STL OF

39

9

4

12

1

.389

27%

Danny Valencia, TOR OF

48

8

3

8

0

.286

20%

J.T. Realmuto, MIA C

40

2

1

4

1

.316

14%

John Jaso, TB C

33

5

2

5

0

.321

5%

Source: Yahoo! Stats through Wednesday, September 23
Repeater from Week 25: Realmuto

Even with Jimmy Rollins back, it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers putting Corey Seager on the bench. He’s simply too good. I’m still amazed at how low Mitch Moreland’s ownership percentage is compared to what he has done this season. Josh Harrison is doing the BABIP thing again (.514 to be exact), which has led to a .409/.458/.500 line over the last two weeks. He’s out there in more leagues than you think and he’s red-hot at the dish right now.

If you’re looking for a sneaky play down the stretch and have the ability to make daily lineup changes, lefty-masher Danny Valencia becomes an intriguing option. In 688 career plate appearances against southpaws, he’s hitting .322/.369/.492. If you can pick and choose your spots, he becomes an extremely valuable fantasy asset.

George Recommends: Tommy Pham

Pham has burst onto the fantasy scene, even in shallow leagues, over the last few weeks, which is bound to happen when you rack up nine extra-base hits (including four home runs) over a two-week stretch. During that timeframe he’s slashed .389/.410/.944 over 39 plate appearances and appears to have earned himself additional playing time in St. Louis over the remainder of the regular season. Invest.

Table 2: 12-Team Mixed Pitcher

(All statistics referenced are for last 14 days)

Player

GS

IP

K

W

ERA

%OWN

Next GS

Josh Tomlin, CLE

3

20.1

20

2

2.21

54%

at KC

R.A. Dickey, TOR

2

13.2

5

0

4.61

51%

vs. TB

Lance McCullers, HOU

2

13.0

14

0

4.15

44%

at SEA

J.A. Happ, PIT

3

17.0

26

2

3.71

48%

vs. STL

Patrick Corbin, ARI

2

13.0

9

1

1.38

44%

vs. COL

Rick Porcello, BOS

3

20.0

20

1

4.50

37%

at NYY

Marcus Stroman, TOR

3

19.0

10

3

1.89

34%

at BAL

Brett Cecil, TOR

0

5.2

13

0

0.00

25%

N/A

Kyle Hendricks, CHC

3

15.2

18

1

5.74

20%

vs. KC

Kevin Gausman, BAL

2

12.0

13

1

3.00

17%

vs. BOS

Source: Yahoo! Stats through Wednesday, September 23
Repeaters from Week 25: Happ, Porcello and Stroman

If you are a regular listener of the Flags Fly Forever podcast here at Baseball Prospectus, my strange affinity for Josh Tomlin has been well documented already. R.A. Dickey has regressed a little over the past two weeks, but the knuckleball velocity is still up and he has owned Tampa Bay in the past. I would trust him, especially at home against a weak Rays lineup today. Lance McCullers has struck out eight batters or more in three of his last six starts and I see no reason to shy away from him against the Mariners.

Thankfully Patrick Corbin gets the Rockies at home instead of at the launching pad for his next turn. It’s hard not to be impressed with what Marcus Stroman has done since his return from a torn ACL and he should be owned in every competitive league going forward. In seven shutout appearances over the last two weeks, Brett Cecil allowed just four base runners while striking out 13 in 5 2/3 innings of work.

George’s Recommendation: J.A. Happ

Note to MLB starting pitchers: Good things happen when you work with Ray Searage and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not only has Happ posted eight consecutive quality starts (dating back to the start of August) but he’s struck out at least eight batters in three straight starts as well. He survived a potential disaster outing on the road in Coors Field last week and gets my vote of confidence for the remainder of the season. He’s available in 52% of Yahoo leagues at the moment. Make sure your league isn’t one of them. —George Bissell

AL-ONLY

Position Players

Jake Smolinski , OF, Oakland A’s

After eight years in the minors, the second-round pick of the Nationals back in 2007 finally made it to the big leagues in 2014 and appeared in 24 games with the Rangers. He made the Opening Day roster for Texas, but after putting up a dreadful slash line in April and May (.140/.290/.220 over 62 PA), Smolinksi was sent to the minors and eventually DFA’d in June. The outfielder was claimed by the A’s a few days later, and since the calendar flipped to September, Smolinski has been a regular in Bob Melvin’s lineup, starting 15 of the last 20 games. While the AVG is troublesome, he has smacked three home runs this month, and with the consistent playing time, he should do enough in the counting stats to provide value in AL-only leagues the rest of the way.

Tyler Wilson, SP, Baltimore Orioles

The lanky right-hander has been shuttled back and forth between Triple-A Norfolk and Baltimore for most of the season, but is back with the big club from the remainder of the year. Wilson has started four games for the Orioles and has pitched well (except for last week’s start against the Rays), including going six strong innings against the Nationals on Thursday, allowing two runs and striking out four in a no-decision. There are not a lot of streaming options on the waiver wire in AL-Only formats right now, so the rookie hurler could be an option if you want to roll the dice on a wins play. Just keep in mind that Wilson is not assured of another start, and that if he does get one, it could come against the Blue Jays or Yankees.

Other AL-Only FAAB options: Mikie Mahtook, OF, Tampa Bay Rays; Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins; Paulo Orlando, OF, Kansas City Royals; Shawn O'Malley, OF, Seattle Mariners; J.R. Murphy, C, New York Yankees; Grady Sizemore, OF, Tampa Bay Rays; Taylor Featherston, IF, Los Angeles Angels; Brett Cecil, RP, Toronto Blue Jays; Heath Hembree, RP, Boston Red Sox; Josh Fields, RP, Houston Astros; Chris Bassitt, SP, Oakland A’s; Kyle Ryan, SP/RP, Detroit Tigers

NL-ONLY

Position Players

Tyler Moore, 1B/OF, Washington Nationals

The 28-year-old first baseman has been working his way into the Nationals lineup this month and still possesses some pop, as he launched home runs against the Marlins on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a very thin waiver-wire pool right now in deep NL-only formats, so Moore appears to be the most intriguing option this week. The slugging corner outfielder/first baseman’s playing time this week has been limited, but he still could be a sneaky power play for teams needing a boost in the HR category.

Zach Davies, SP, Milwaukee Brewers

I wrote about Davies in the Free Agent Watch piece a couple of weeks back, and his name is floating around on waivers wires across multiple expert leagues this week. The 22-year old right hander has struggled with his command in his first five big-league starts, which has been a little surprising based on the solid BB/9 rates he posted in the minors. The diminutive hurler is coming off two quality starts against the Reds and Cubs, and he went six scoreless on Wednesday against the Cubs to notch his second big-league win. Davies is scheduled to start against the Padres in San Diego next week, making him an intriguing streaming option in NL-only formats.

Other NL-Only FAAB options: Luis Sardinas, IF, Milwaukee Brewers; Jason Rogers, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers; Scott Schebler, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers; Javier Lopez, RP, San Francisco Giants; George Kontos, RP, San Francisco Giants; Jairo Diaz, RP, Colorado Rockies; Corey Knebel, RP, Milwaukee Brewers; Sam Tuivailala, RP, St. Louis Cardinals; Travis Wood, RP/SP, Chicago Cubs Keith Cromer

Thank you for reading

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chapmantime
9/26
No Rich Hill? And yes, I was asking this question yesterday before his latest WTF gem.