Friday, May 13, 2011

Gearing Up A.L. Week 7: May 16-22

Rising Up
Jesse Litsch (6% owned last week; 12% this week)
Jesse Litsch has always intrigued me. He throws a bunch of pitches. None of them is great enough to be a true out pitch, but he can throw all four of them for strikes and at his best does a nice job keeping hitters off balance. From a numbers standpoint, the jump in Litsch's K/9 is sexy, and while his numbers look pretty pedestrian, Litsch is keeping himself and the Jays in every game he's pitching. He's got a two-start week lined up at Detroit and then against the Astros and is well worth streaming this week. In A.L.-only, there's honestly no reason he shouldn't be owned.

Desmond Jennings (34% owned last week; 36% this week).
The knock on Jennings last year was that what little power he had evaporated. This trend seemed to be continuing in April, but Jennings has been hot in May, with an ISO of 278 and a SLG of 667. We're obviously talking about a small sample size, but given Jennings' pedigree, it's worth noting. I suspect the Rays are still going to be patient with Jennings, but I wouldn't be shocked to see him in a Rays uni at some point this summer.

Back from the Minors/DL
Carlos Carrasco
Carrasco's first start off of the DL against the Rays was adequate. He generated a lot of ground balls, which is good I guess. I really want Carrasco to succeed, but he's starting to look more like a #4-5 than a potential #2. His fastball just doesn't have enough juice in it and his change is the closest thing Carrasco has to an out pitch. He should be owned in A.L.-only, but I hope you weren't counting on more than a #4 starter and I definitely hope you weren't thinking Carrasco was going to be a dump chip.

Jake Peavy
Peavy's back off of the DL and gave up four runs in six innings against the Angels on Wednesday. It's going to be hard to know what to expect out of Peavy until we see him over the course of a few starts. I'm assuming that he's on reserve or active in almost every A.L.-only league, so it's likely a moot point.

Delmon Young
Rene Tosoni, not Ben Revere, was sent down to make room for Young. Revere is out of the line-up tonight, though, so I'm not sure what kind of regular PT he'll be able to get in Minnesota. I suspect that when Jim Thome is ready to come back that Revere is the guy who gets sent down.

Possible Waiver Claims
Tim Collins
Collins is mowing them down like he did in the minors, but his walk rate his spiked precipitously. If Joakim Soria struggled enough where he lost the job or were traded, Collins and Aaron Crow are probably the guys the Royals would give a look in the 9th. The walks don't help Collins' cause, but long term Collins has future closer written all over him. Stash if you're already playing for 2012.

Juan Cruz
Last post: April 11.
Since then: Cruz has been a solid but unspectacular reliever for the Rays. His walk rate is way too high, particularly given that Cruz isn't a big-time punch out pitcher. He's buried in middle relief.

Adam Everett
Last post: May 2
Since then: The Indians are all healthy now, so what little time Everett was picking up has evaporated.

Luke Hughes
Last post: April 11
Since then: Hughes has failed to capitalize on either the Twins rash of injuries or the general suckitude of the Twins middle infielders. His playing time has diminished somewhat as a result, though it seems that Ron Gardenhire is giving Hughes another shot in the short-term.

John McDonald
Last post: April 25
Since then: McDonald had a nice game against John Lackey, but with Aaron Hill back McDonald goes back to defensive replacement who will get the rare start once or twice a week.

Felix Pie
Pie's owner cut him lose one day before the Orioles announced that Luke Scott is playing with a partially torn labrum. The O's insist that Scott will play through the injury, but Pie did get back-to-back starts this week after the announcement. Pie is 26 and reaching the age where time is running out for him to show why he belongs in the bigs. He never has shown enough power or speed on offense to justify more than a 5th OF/bench spot, even in A.L.-Roto.

Jack Wilson
Last post: April 18
Since then: On April 12, Wilson had four steals through his first eight games with the Mariners. He has not stolen a base since. Wilson has been an empty uniform for his Roto teams and even in A.L.-only is barely worth owning if he doesn't run.

In the Minors
Charlie Furbush
Ah, Fangraphs. While their write-up of Furbush on April 29 was perfectly fine, to write 374 words without once mentioning Furbush's crazy delivery is like writing about Vincent Van Gogh without mentioning that he cut off his ear. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus describes Furbagh's delivery as a "bizarre whippy arm action that ends with a violent fall to his right side." Deception - not velocity - is Furbush's game, and while he's unorthodox, you can't argue with the results. Keep an eye on Furbush. I agree with Fangraphs' ETA for Furbush; a mid-summer call-up is certainly possible.

Michael McKenry
McKenry wouldn't even be mentioned here if it weren’t for the ineptitude of the catchers in front of him in the bigs. Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have both been awful this season, so it's entirely possible that the Red Sox McKenry gets a look at some point this summer. The Rockies gave up on McKenry this spring after a poor AAA Colorado Springs campaign, but the rest of McKenry's minor league numbers are solid even if they're not impressive. He deserves a shot somewhere as a back up even if at Age 26 his prospect sheen has tarnished.

Dayan Viciedo 
Like Jennings, Viciedo is tearing it up in May (435/490/696) after a so-so April. Viciedo's overall numbers make him look like the same hitter he has always been: solid power, slight contact problems, hates to walk. Viciedo's walk numbers are up a little this year but still speak to a significant drop in batting average if he makes the team. He's been moved to the outfield this year at AAA, and I've heard rumblings that Viciedo could replace Juan Pierre if Pierre continues to stink.

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