Friday, April 29, 2011

Gearing Up: A.L. Week 5: May 2-8, 2011

Rising Up
Alex White (4% owned last week, 13% this week)
In non-carryover leagues, White might not be owned. But even in keeper leagues with shallower farm systems, White might still be out there. Entering the season, he was a good or very good prospect but not an elite one like Matt Moore, Mike Montgomery or Jacob Turner. White is one of those polished college pitchers who projects to have a solid career but who many think doesn't have much more upside than as a mid-tier rotation option in the Majors. His strikeouts dropped precipitously after a mid-season promotion to AA last year, but in five AAA starts this year his K/IP has once again climbed. I don't know if White made an adjustment or is this is just the small sample size fairy, but White is definitely worth a pick-up in A.L.-only. His first start comes tomorrow versus the Tigers.

Philip Humber (3% owned last week, 10% this week)
Humber is a back end of the rotation starter who is going to start getting picked up because he flirted with a no-no against the mighty Yankees. South Side Sox had a solid analysis of that start. Humber's fastball is a ho-hum pitch, and he'll need to keep pounding the zone on strike one and mixing in more off-speed offerings then he did pre-2010 to continue to stick in the Majors. Don't expect more than a 4th or 5th starter here, but Humber could be league average or slightly below going forward.

Alexi Amarista (1% owned last week, 3% this week)
Amarista will surely get picked up in many A.L.-only leagues this week. However, while he's a decent prospect his minor league numbers combined with his youth convince me he's not ready yet. There's a little speed here, but I'd pass unless I had a black hole at middle infield.

Back from the Minors/DL
Scott Downs (virus). Downs got some play in both the CBS and LABR expert auctions as a possible replacement for Fernando Rodney, but multiple injuries cost him the shot he may or may not have had coming to him. His value right now rests as a solid middle reliever.

Joel Piniero (shoulder). Piniero threw one rehab start for the Angels and that was good enough for them. He'll make his debut this weekend against the Rays. He's lined up to pitch at Boston next week, but in A.L.-only I'd activate Piniero immediately anyway. Tyler Chatwood looks like the odd man out in the Halos rotation for now.
UPDATE: It looks like Chatwood stays for now, with Matt Palmer getting optioned out to AAA.

Michael Wuertz (hamstring). Wuertz got tagged on his rehab assignment so you might want to hold off on activating him this week or cut him altogether if you can't keep him on reserve.

Possible Waiver Claims
I'm the guy who cut Bedard and after watching his last outing, it's possible I made a huge mistake. The velocity on his fastball jumped from 88-89 to 91-93, his curve looked sharper, and he looked much more like the ace he was pre-injuries than the tentative pitcher he had been through his first four starts. You want to keep perspective here. It was only one start and Bedard was pitching on extra rest. But if I had a middle-of-the-road or worse staff, I'd take the gamble here.

Maier has had one start this entire season. Not even in A.L.-only is he worth a claim.

At one point this winter, Takahashi looked like the Angels closer in waiting. Now he just looks like another middle reliever in a crowded bullpen. There's nothing wrong with adding him - I stuck him on my reserve in the CBS expert league - but don't expect anything in the way of saves at the moment.

In the last two weeks, Wilson has gone from being a non-entity in Roto to a waste of space on the Angels roster. A third catcher is a luxury that most Major League teams should probably do without.

In the Minors
Hosmer's off to a fast start with this year at AAA and there's speculation that he could be up soon to replace the struggling Kila Ka'aihue at first for the Royals. Alex Gordon has already been playing at first for the Royals, make some believe that the Royals have already soured on Ka'aihue. Hosmer's certainly worth a claim if you can stash him and he's available. However, the PCL hitting context has been absurd this year and Hosmer's impressive numbers have to be taken in context; he's 18th overall in OPS among qualifiers thus far. His power also hasn't been there yet, so it's possible he could go the Billy Butler route and provide mostly BA to start. I'm nitpicking, though. Hosmer is a terrific prospect.

Peguero was up briefly for the Mariners and got a few looks in the outfield before getting sent down again. He has shown prodigious power his last two years in the minors but has also been striking out way too much to be considered a viable prospect. Thus far at AAA the whiffs are down but then so is the power. Given that Michael Saunders and Ryan Langerhans are "blocking" Peguero in the Majors, he could very well get another shot at some point this year. If you can take the BA hit, he's an OK power gamble when he does make it back.

Alex Torres
Sean Rodriguez for Scott Kazmir straight up would look like a heist for Tampa, but they also got this guy from the Angels as part of the package for Kazmir. Torres' high K/IP made me stand up and take notice. He throws a heavy fastball in the low 90s and has a solid change to go with it. The problem for Torres is the walks. He has lapses with his control to put it mildly, and is crazy wild at times to put it less mildly. Torres is worth monitoring in A.L.-only leagues, but there isn't room for him at the inn right now barring an injury.

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