Friday, May 06, 2011

Gearing Up: A.L. Week 6, May 9-15

I wrote about Eric Hosmer late last night.

Steve Gardner of Sports Weekly thinks that in LABR Hosmer will go for more than the $63 Jerry Sands went for in LABR N.L. My recommended bids are what I think you should bid for a player, not necessarily what the player will cost. Sands thus far has highlighted the risk of plunking down a big chunk of change on a rookie. His 0/7/2/5/.188 line in 55 plate appearances puts him at risk for getting sent back down to AAA. It is way too early to write Sands off, but those terrible numbers he's put up thus far do count for your team. Hosmer's a better prospect than Sands, but every minor leaguer carries the risk of higher uncertainty than an established Major Leaguer. Gardner's tweet is illuminating, though; it tells me that if you really want Hosmer this week, you'd better bid at least $70-75.

Rising Up
Ben Revere (4% last week, 6% this week)
Revere's game is speed, speed and did I mention speed? His problem is that while he's a great contact hitter he doesn't walk much and has virtually no power to speak of, so he'll need to hit at least .280-.290 to be even marginally valuable as a starting center fielder. The Twins' hand was forced by multiple injuries in their outfield, but it's not clear how much Revere will play. If you're desperate for steals, he's worth a shot.

Back from the Minors/DL
Evan Longoria (oblique)
Longoria's a no-brainer play so I'll use this space to discuss some other Rays instead. Sam Fuld is still playing everyday but is 4-for-his-last-44 with two doubles and only one steal. Sean Rodriguez isn't hitting either, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him slot in more in left field if Fuld continues not to hit. Matt Joyce is smoking hot and could/should also steal some playing time from Fuld.

Scott Sizemore (minors)
Sizemore was profiled in this column two weeks ago. The Tigers finally swapped out the underperforming Will Rhymes for Sizemore. He's playing every day and a must-own in A.L.-only leagues.

Possible Waiver Claims
Drew Butera
Butera's been more of a batting average drag than I could have possibly imagined. Avoid.

Tyler Chatwood
I was nervous about Chatwood in early April and he hasn't done anything to soothe my jangled nerves. He has a K/BB under one and that K/9 is under five. He's survived but I think he's lucky that he hasn't had one of those three inning, 8-9 run clunkers yet. If you want to play match-ups here, that's your prerogative, but I'm staying away here.

Dan Johnson
I was a little sorry I didn't buy Johnson at my auction, but Johnson hasn't even been drawing the walks this year that would make the sorry batting average acceptable. Casey Kotchman is performing, and the Rays are making the right decision here in the short term. Maybe Johnson will bounce back, but don't waste an active roster spot waiting for those particular stars to align.

Jim Johnson
Johnson's an object lesson in why middle relievers will drive you crazy in Roto. In his past four outings, Johnson's put up 4 1/3 IP and allowed five earned runs and eight base runners. This is the kind of stuff that you'll look back on in October when you're trying to figure out the difference between first and second place and pull your hair out over.

Andruw Jones
I thought Jones might play more for the Yankees than he has thus far, but he's been relegated mostly to a quasi-platoon role for the Yanks. Brett Gardner was the guy Jones was supplanting, but with Gardner heating up (10-for-21 with 10 walks in his last 10 games), Jones isn't going to play much barring an injury. He's got enough pop to pick up in A.L.-only, but if he's only playing 1-2 times a week don't expect much.

Matt Tolbert
Tolbert and Alexi Casilla have swapped positions as of late, with Casilla playing 2B and Tolbert moving to SS. Rotoworld suggested that Revere might keep Michael Cuddyer at 2B. But Ron Gardenhire seems to have noticed that Cuddyer's defense is unacceptable at the keystone, as Cuddyer has played there only once in his last seven games. Trevor Plouffe is probably going to get an honest shot at short, with Casilla, Tolbert and Luke Hughes splitting up second base somehow. This is all interesting if you're a Twins fan, but Tolbert has been incredibly unproductive and probably isn't worth your time. The tarnished silver lining here is that if Tolbert is a part-timer, carrying him for his SB potential won't be as much of a liability to your batting average.

Jason Vargas
Vargas is the kind of pitcher in a deep league that is probably worth owning but still might wind up on waivers a few times over the course of a season. His Ks are underwhelming, he's pretty hittable, and his stuff is passable at best. He's a favorable match-up play at home and versus LHB, but this year he's bucked those trends and has been better on the road and vs. RHB. He's in Baltimore this week; I'd avoid the fly ball pitcher in the big HR park.

In the Minors
Danny Duffy
If your league lets you scour the minors for potential replacements, it's not a bad idea to take pitchers on a team whose Major League rotation features Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies, Jeff Francis, and Sean O'Sullivan. Duffy isn't as highly regarded as fellow Royals prospects Mike Montomgery or John Lamb, but is closer to the Majors than Lamb and is out-pitching Montgomery at AAA. With Vin Mazzaro struggling, Duffy looks like the first guy who will get the call if there is an injury of if the Royals finally tire of Davies. Duffy's strengths are his clean mechanics and a plus, plus fastball. Kevin Goldstein says Duffy's other pitches are average but respectable and that his ceiling is as a mid-rotation Major League starter. It's worth noting that John Sickels has Duffy rated higher than Montgomery or Lamb. In any event, Duffy's numbers in AAA are impossible to ignore and he should be monitored in all formats at a minimum.

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