Busy week this week for A.L.-only leagues that don't allow minor leaguers to be put on a farm team or reserve list....let's get right to it.
Bowden was a much hotter prospect two years ago for the Red Sox. Now - at the age of 24 - he looks more like a middle relief type. That makes him more valuable in real life than it does in our game, but there are some things to like here. The move to the pen bolstered his K/IP rate, he didn't allow a HR, and his G/F rate was much more favorable. Very small sample size caveats obviously apply, but Bowden looks like he can be a solid middle reliever for the Red Sox in the short-term. I'd only bid a very tepid $2 here, because Roto middle relievers are a dime-a-dozen, but in terms of Major League potential, I think Bowden could have a long career in this role.
Carter's 2010 has taken more twists and turns than an M.C. Escher. One of the top hitting prospects in baseball entering '10, Carter got off to a solid but relatively unspectacular start, considering the favorable hitting context at AAA Sacramento. Then in July, Carter started tearing into minor league pitching, posting a 1075 OPS. He followed this with a 1111 OPS to start August before the A's finally decided to give him the call. To say his Major League debut has been a flop would be an understatement. Carter is 0-for-16 thus far with seven strikeouts and one measly walk. If you're not contending, you probably have to bid $15 or so to get him, but if you're contending this is a tougher call. I like Carter so I'd probably bid $20 if I had a black hole in my line-up, but if I didn't I'd probably bid $5 and just let him go. Carter has a lot of long-term potential, but if you're playing for this year you probably can't take the risk right now.
I thought about waiting until after today's start to write Hellickson up, but rather than offer myself a potential fig leaf I thought I'd be bold. Hellickson has looked great so far this year. His minor league numbers were excellent and he's more than held his own in his first two Major League starts. Hellickson looks like a potential ace-in-the-making, with his floor as a #2 starter or possibly a strong #3. His fastball is good, but his ability to locate it makes it great. His change/curve are also plus pitches and Hellickson is one of those pitchers who makes the most out of what is already very good stuff. Fangraphs says that Hellickson is a match-up play right now. I disagree vehemently and say that Hellickson should be starting right now in all formats except for shallow mixed leagues. I'd bid $50 - or whatever FAAB you have left - if you need a starting pitcher, and a conservative $35 even if you don't. Hellickson is the real deal, and it's doubtful a better player is going to come along at this late stage anyway.