Monday, April 11, 2011

A.L. FAAB Log: April 11, 2011

Sam Fuld $18. Other bids: $10, $8, $8, $6, $6, $3, $3.
For early April, this bid qualifies as major action for an A.L.-only league. Curiously, the team that bought him has plenty of speed already locked up in Carl Crawford and Alex Rios, and probably bought Fuld to trade him. Short-term, Fuld is a great pick-up, particularly if the Rays are going to keep letting him run wild, but keep his limitations in mind. He doesn't offer much in the way of power and while Fuld's capable of playing center field, he's not going to push B.J. Upton to one of the corner outfield spots. Ride the steals, but be aware that Fuld might be back on the bench in May once Evan Longoria comes back, Sean Rodriguez shifts to second base, and Ben Zobrist moves to the outfield.

Harrison has always shown flashes of potential but injuries and the lack of a defined role have always tarnished his luster. There are reasons to roll the dice on Harrison, though. Mike Podhorzer at Fangraphs notices that Harrison's velocity was up last year and remains up this year. This is consistent with updates I saw on Twitter, noting that Harrison was hitting 95-96 MPH on the gun and it wasn't just a rare occurrence. Harrison's a risk this week against the Yankees, but if you can add him and stash him he might be a worthy gamble. Harrison was part of the Rangers swag for Mark Teixeira way back when so it's not like a strong season would be entirely out of nowhere.

Luke Hughes $8. Other bid $4.
With Tsuyoshi Nishioka sidelined for the next six weeks, Hughes looks to be the short-term beneficiary for the Twins. He's not much of a prospect, but then neither was Danny Valencia when the Twins called Valencia up last year. Hughes ceiling is probably Valencia with a poorer batting average. He's one of those players who are fine as a short-term replacement but whom you hope doesn't grace your roster all season long.

Casey Kotchman $6. Other bid $2.
Manny Ramirez's abrupt retirement forced the Rays hand and led them to calling up this guy. To be as fair as I can be, Kotchman did have a nice spring and was a prospect a long, long time ago. That being said, Kotchman's biggest benefit to your team is that he's probably going to get a good chunk of playing time. He's also removed from the awful Safeco hitting environment and his numbers are due a bump in Tampa. All those nice things being said, you're probably still looking at a .260 batting average with 8-12 home runs if Kotchman does manage to start all year. Like Hughes, Kotchman is acceptable as an injury replacement but if you're contending this year you had better do better than this in the long-term.

Octavio Dotel $4. Other bids $2, $1.
At one point this winter, it looked like Dotel might be the closer for the Blue Jays. Then they signed Frank Francisco, and then Dotel got hurt, and then Jon Rauch was named the Opening Day closer. Dotel's back, but he probably won't close and Francisco's close to being ready. Dotel's probably a decent hedge to own, but don't expect more than a couple of saves here.

Ross burst onto the scene last spring for the A's, winning the 5th starter's job out of camp. From there, everything went downhill and Ross flamed out. Now he's back as a reliever, which is probably what his role will be in the future. Long term, Ross has "closer stuff", but in the short-term he's young and a work-in-progress. The A's are an organization more likely to give relievers who aren't covered in that magical closer pixie dust a shot to close, but even so I still don't see Ross getting a shot at the job this year barring multiple injuries.

Last year at this time, Gonzalez was the closer for the Orioles. This year, he's already behind Kevin Gregg and Koji Uehara in the pecking order. He's looked bad thus far, but miniscule sample size warnings are on this particular label. I don't see Gonzalez in line for saves any time soon, so I'd stay away for now even in A.L.-only leagues.

Tyler Chatwood $2. Other bid $1.
Scott Kazmir's woes and Joel Pineiro's injury led to Chatwood's abrupt - and some say premature - call-up. He's only 21-years old, and threw all of 68 1/3 innings above A ball last year. The word polished gets bandied about a lot when discussing Chatwood, but his age and his minor league K/IP ratio make me nervous in the short-term. Chatwood gets the Indians on Tuesday, which might not be an easy match-up given their hot bats. Chatwood might only be up for the one start. Dan Haren had to pitch in relief over the weekend and was pushed back a day as a result.

Hats off to Vizquel for a wonderful career and for making it this long (he'll be 44 later this month). He shouldn't be on your Roto roster, though.

Tomlin's a savvy, back-end of the rotation pitcher who gets by more on guile than on pure stuff. He's minimized his cutter this year in favor of his slider, but even with that adjustment his game is still keeping hitters fooled and not blowing them away. A .139 BABIP isn't going to maintain. Tomlin's likely to put up a 4.30 - 4.50 ERA with a 1.25 - 1.30 WHIP. He's OK at the back end of your team's rotation, but don't depend on Tomlin too much.

If there's a silver lining to all of the mediocre outfielders the Royals brought into town this winter, it's that Maier can go back do being a fourth outfielder and no longer will be stretched as a starter. This makes him nearly worthless to you, though, since Maier doesn't even offer enough speed off of the bench to make him worthy of being the 5th outfielder in your A.L.-only.

Cruz barely pitched for the Royals last year before an injury knocked him out for the year. He's slightly more interesting than your run-of-the-mill middle reliever because the Rays bullpen is unsettled, but a poor start won't put him in line for any early save chances, and Cruz's ability to blow the ball by hitters is more than negated by his terrible control. He's a passable middle relief option, and slightly more passable in 5x5 because of the whiffs.

The days of hoping Lillibridge might turn into a useful Major League middle infielder are long gone at Age 27. He is a sneaky source of A.L.-only speed, and thus far Ozzie Guillen has been spotting Lillibridge correctly. He's a very poor man's Sam Fuld, but you can probably squeeze Lillibridge onto your team much more cheaply and he's also MI eligible.

Tolbert is the Twins back-up plan in case Hughes can't cut it, though maybe Trevor Plouffe is their back-up plan. Tolbert should see a few more at bats with Nishioka out, but he's definitely stretched as a regular. Think Nick Punto with not quite as much speed and that's Tolbert. He's OK in A.L.-only but be mindful of the potentially sub-par batting average.

Jose Molina $1. Other bid $1.
Molina has a little A.L.-only value because he's currently catching 40% of the Jays games, but with J.P. Arencibia off to such a fast start, that could change fast. You'll get a little pop here (with the emphasis on little) and bad batting average. Molina's not the worst A.L.-only 2nd catcher, but he's not that far from the bottom of this sad little barrel.

Wheeler's off to a poor start, but he's a solid middle relief option in general. His lone weakness is the propensity for the long ball. He doesn't walk a lot of hitters, making him WHIP friendly, and he's on a team that should get its share of vulture wins. This is about as far from a saves play as you can make, though, with Jon Papelbon, Daniel Bard, and Bobby Jenks all ahead of Wheeler.

I'm pretty sure I write the same thing about Wilson every year after someone picks up him. He's a great story (48th round draft pick) who will probably bounce around between AAA and back-up catcher for the rest of his professional life. He's currently the third catcher in Los Angeles behind Jeff Mathis and Hank Conger and isn't worth owning unless your Rotisserie League has a clubhouse.


Jintman said...

Are these the bids from Tout?

Mike Gianella said...

No. These are from my A.L. home league. I use this because it gives a better idea of FAAB bidding strategies in keeper leagues, as opposed to Tout, which does not permit freezes.

Jason Collette analyzed all of the Tout Wars FAAB pick-ups (A.L., N.L., and mixed) here