Dan Johnson $18. Other bids: $5, $1.
Johnson has absolutely destroyed AAA pitching this year, leading to some to wonder why he hadn't gotten the call from the Rays to fill some kind of role - any kind of role - on their big club. Despite the gaudy numbers, I'm more than a little skeptical. Johnson turns 31 tomorrow, and had more than a few chances with the A's between 2005-2007. Maybe 31 is Johnson's magic age and he's suddenly found some kind of magic, but I doubt it. He's worth a short-term pick-up while Carlos Pena recovers from his foot injury, but don't be surprised if Johnson doesn't do much and is optioned again once Pena returns.
J.P. Arencibia $15. Other bids: $14, $12, $10, $10, $9, $9, $9, $4, $4, $1.
Eleven out of 12 teams bid on Arencibia - and I can certainly see why. After a poor year at AAA Las Vegas in 2009, Arencibia broke out in 2010, posting a 999 OPS and swatting 31 HR and 64 XBH in 379 AB...impressive numbers even in a hitter friendly environment. Alas, context is the rub here. Arencibia's MLE of those numbers works out to a 763 OPS: solid but by no means indicative of a future star. Of course, Arencibia went out and smacked two HR in his MLB debut; he could work his way into more playing time down the stretch and outdo his projection. He has a narrow window to impress this year while John Buck is on the DL; my thinking is that Arencibia's value will come in 2011 and beyond. His ceiling is great, but I suspect that he might wind up resembling the man he'll replace in Toronto: a low average catcher with some power but nothing spectacular when all is said and done.
Gregor Blanco $8. Other bids: $3, $2.
Blanco's one of those players I don't think much of in terms of real baseball but who could be of some value in Roto, particularly depending upon his role. The Royals are probably going to give Blanco a fair number of AB in the last two months, and Blanco has the speed to steal 10-15 bases if everything breaks right for him. The problem is that's about all he can do. He had a career 733 minor league OPS entering this season and at the age of 26 isn't likely to suddenly get better. That being said, he's on the Royals, so don't be surprised if he replaces Willie Bloomquist on the roster next year as the team's designated speed guy off of the bench.
Jordan Brown $2.
Travis Hafner's injury opens up some time for the Indians to look at Brown and decide if he's part of the organization's future. I think the answer is "probably not." Brown barely hit for any power this year at AAA. This would be fine if Brown was a 22 or 23-year-old, but at 26 that gets you labeled a non-prospect in a hurry. Brown's best future hope is probably as a 4th OF type. For Roto purposes, it doesn't look like he has enough speed or power to make much of an impact.
Chris Sale $2. Other bid $1.
Don't worry if you flipped through your prospect books and missed Sale. The White Sox took him with the 13th overall pick in this year's amateur player draft. Sale was moved to the bullpen by the Sox, but was a starter in college at Florida Gulf Coast University and will probably start long term. He zoomed through the minors, and is polished enough to help the Sox now in the pen. The only knock I can find on him is an unconventional delivery, but John Sickels doesn't seem to think that will be a problem and also thinks that at #13 the Sox got a steal here. He might not help you very much this year, but Sale is at the very least a name to tuck away for future reference, even in shallower leagues.
Felix Doubront $1.
Doubront is a smallish lefty who started in the minors but will pitch out of the pen for the Red Sox down the stretch. He was sitting at 87-91 MPH on his fastball in the minors, but seems to be averaging on the high end of that number now in the bigs. He's not a LOOGY, as Doubront has typically fared better against righties than lefties. His Roto value is marginal, though he's the kind of pitcher who could stick and bounce from Roto rosters to free agent pools for years to come.
Landon Powell $1.
Powell has a little pop and can catch, but is nearly worthless as long as Kurt Suzuki is healthy (check) and playing (check).
Andy Sonnanstine $1.
Injuries to Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann have moved Sonnanstine back from a long relief role into the rotation. He pitched well against the Blue Jays this past weekend and is slated to face the Orioles this week. Sonnanstine is a puffball pitcher who survives when he keeps hitters off balance and doesn't leave too many pitches in the zone. He's done well this year, but I wouldn't trust him as anything more than a match-up play unless you're really, really desperate for a starter and/or innings.
Bill Hall. Claimed by 12th, 8th, 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 1st place teams.
If you can stomach the poor batting average, Hall's actually been quite a find in A.L.-only leagues this year. His 12 HR tie him for 3rd in the Junior Circuit at the position, behind only Robinson Cano and Aaron Hill. Hall's time as a regular is drawing to a close, though, as Dustin Pedroia might be ready to return next week. Hall still has value, but be aware of this change if you're counting on 20-25 AB a week from him.
Koji Uehara. Claimed by 10th place team.
Uehara continues to dominate Post All-Star, and with Alfredo Simon continuing to explode, he could see some save chances. Despite Mike Gonzalez's big contract, Buck Showalter hasn't ruled any one out for saves. Uehara has been sensational against right-handed batters and poor against lefties, so if you're playing match-ups look for right-handed heavy line-ups from week to week.
Casey Janssen. Claimed by 8th place team.
It seems like I'm writing about Janssen every other week. He's the same pitcher he is every time I write about him: a solid middle reliever who might vulture a win here and there but is not going to close, particularly since Toronto didn't move any of their relievers at the deadline as anticipated.