Three of the players listed below were the subjects of BP’s The Call-Up series over the last few days and two more made their major league debuts this week. Lots of fresh blood, lots of opportunities to fill in the holes that have cropped up on your team. If you’ve been saving your FAAB dollars so far this year, this would be a good week to start spending it. You don’t see this many potential starters called up at the same time this often outside of September, and May call-ups help roto teams a lot more than September ones do.
AL-ONLY POSITION PLAYERS
He’s little and he’s fast. He’s also in line for some extra playing time as long as Carlos Gomez stays on the DL. Tony Kemp will serve as the lefty-hitting side of a platoon in center opposite Jake Marisnick while Gomez heals. Marisnick might get a few extra starts against righties, though, so don’t be surprised if Kemp gets fewer plate appearances than you’d expect from a strict platoon situation. Kemp has very little home run potential, but he should steal some bases. He’ll have to increase his success rate in that department soon, though, as he currently has more CS than SB.
There isn’t much upside with Colin Moran, but he should be able to secure regular playing time in Houston as long as he keeps doing what got him to the majors, which is put the bat on the ball. He doesn’t have much power or speed, but he has posted good batting averages throughout his minor league career. Check out the Colin Moran edition of The Call-Up for an in-depth look at the Astros new third baseman.
It wasn’t that long ago that Jurickson Profar was the top prospect in baseball. That was before he missed the entire 2014 season and played only a dozen games, all in the minors, during the 2015 season. He hasn’t shown much rust at Triple-A so far this year, hitting .271/.348/.417 with five HR and four SB while playing most of his games at shortstop and biding his time for an opening at one of the middle-infield positions in Texas.
Last week’s brawl between the Rangers and Blue Jays has provided that window. Rougned Odor received an eight-game suspension but is still playing until his appeal is heard. Profar has been moved to second base at Round Rock to get him ready to fill in for Odor. It’ll be a short stint, but Profar is definitely worth a pickup given his offensive potential. Once Odor returns from his suspension, Profar will return to Triple-A, but he’s worth stashing on your reserve list in case the Rangers deal him to a team with a spot for him at the major league level.
I quite literally wrote about Clevinger yesterday for BP. Rather than copy-and-paste that here, I’ll point you toward that article. (TL;DR: He might be pretty good. Pick him up.)
Jhoulys Chacin was imported into the American League by the Angels from the woeful Braves. He’s no great shakes, but he’s been decent away from Coors Field throughout his career and the move to pitcher-friendly Anaheim should help his raw numbers. He should be able to provide average-ish innings and a few wins, two resources in short supply in the free agent pool in deep leagues, especially AL-only ones.
He’s old and he doesn’t throw hard and he throws from a weird angle. He also has a 2.84 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP while striking out nearly a batter per inning. Quality innings from middle relievers are often better plays than the types of starting pitchers who are available in the free agent pool in deep leagues. Pat Neshek is one of the boring middle relievers who can help your rate stats and vulture a win or two for you while presenting a significantly lower risk of implosion than a bottom-tier starter.
NL-ONLY POSITION PLAYERS
In the long term, Alen Hanson profiles as a middle-infield option who can hit for average and steal bases. In the short term, the Pirates don’t have a spot for him to play every day on their major league roster, and he’ll probably be back in Triple-A by the end of the month at the latest. Keeper league owners should be more interested than redraft league owners since Hanson is unlikely to play much in Pittsburgh this year barring an injury or two. Check out his edition of The Call-Up from earlier this week for an in-depth look at what to expect from Hanson now and in the future.
He missed a few weeks earlier this season a hamstring injury. Fortunately for Gordon Beckham, none of the players given a shot to take his spot hit well enough to take his job while he recovered. His bat has been surprisingly productive this year: .327 AVG, .411 OBP, .429 SLG. He hasn’t contributed much in the way of counting stats, though, with no HR, no SB, six R and sven RBI in 49 AB. His career stats suggest that the rate stats are a mirage, Even if each of his rate stats take a tumble, though, he’s still a better option than the parade of has-beens and never-will-bes competing with him for playing time. He won’t hit many home runs or steal many bases, but the consistent playing time should help him move the chains in runs and RBI.
The thought of catcher eligibility is a thing of the past for Tommy Joseph in roto, but there’s still a lot to like here. He has power, although his plate discipline could keep him from reaching his power ceiling. For now, he’s the right-handed side of a platoon with Ryan Howard at first base for the Phillies. If Howard’s season-long struggles at the plate continue, Joseph could get a few more starts than a player in a strict platoon. The Phillies will probably play Howard against most righties with an eye towards either unloading some of his contract to another team or acquiring something of value for him. If the Phillies do manage to find a taker for Howard, or if they lose hope of doing anything positive with him or his contract, Joseph could claim the starting job at first base outright.
The Reds bullpen has been horrendous all year and shows no sign of relenting. Jumbo Diaz was a big part of the problem in April, pitching himself out of a major-league job and back to Triple-A. He turned things around in Louisville, though, saving four games with 15 strikeouts in 10 innings while allowing eight hits, two walks, and no earned runs. Given the volatility in Cincinnati’s bullpen this year, Diaz could end up in the closer role sooner rather than later.
It looks like this year will finally be the year that Louis Coleman gets off the minor league shuttle and stays in the majors all year. The Royals didn’t have much use for him last year in their historically great bullpen despite the fact that Coleman mowed down batters all year in Triple-A. The Dodgers snapped him up after the Royals designated him for assignment in February, and that low-risk move has paid off handsomely for Los Angeles. Coleman has posted a 2.35 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP with 15 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings and his peripheral stats suggest that these numbers are probably sustainable. He won’t inherit the closer’s gig unless something happens to Kenley Jansen, but he’s a good bet to provide value in rate stats and strikeouts for the rest of the season, especially in NL-only leagues.
He hasn’t allowed a run all year. Shawn Kelley has backed up that sterling 0.00 ERA with a 0.90 WHIP and 19 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. He was excellent last year in San Diego, has been dominant so far this year in Washington, and is a great non-closing relief option in any league.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now