Friday, June 10, 2011

Gearing Up A.L. Week 11: June 13-19

Rising Up
Mike Moustakas (41% owned last week; 58% this week)
Moustakas' call-up is much like hearing that second shoe finally drop (the first shoe dropped in early May). John Sickels did a comprehensive write-up of Moustakas this morning. I agree with nearly all of Sickels' points, so I won't regurgitate his work here. Moustakas has incredible power potential, but with the exception of 2010 he hasn't put up lights out numbers in the minors. He also tends to get off to slow starts (as Sickels points out), so I agree that Moustakas could struggle early on. All that being said, this is a big time power prospect whose upside is the American League version of Mike Stanton. If you don't have reserve lists or farm systems in your leagues, you must break the bank here.

Jemile Weeks (2%/13%)
Where Moustakas is probably worth owning in deeper mixed leagues, Weeks is a pure A.L.-only play. He's one of those players who look like he could become a solid Major Leaguer if everything breaks right, but who doesn't profile as a superstar. His minor league numbers have never looked all that good, but some say that this is because Weeks is brittle. This is a warning sign as much as it is an excuse, though, so don't buy into a lot of Weeks hype if he has a great weekend. He's worth a moderate bid in A.L., but don't go too far into double-digits even if you have a black hole.

Mike Carp (1%/4%)
It's going to be an exciting week for A.L.-only FAAB and owners who need to fill holes before the significant dumping push begins in earnest. Carp isn't viewed all that positively by the prospect gurus, but he's only 24 and PCL or no, his 341/402/636 slash line is difficult to completely ignore. He also has an opportunity; it appears that the Mariners are going to give Carp full-time at-bats. So far, those AB have come at Jack Cust's expense, though Carp could also figure into the Carlos Peguero/Greg Halman left field rotation. Carp could fail miserably or he could turn into one of those sneaky, low average 15-25 home run guys who stick around in the Majors for years. I'd invest moderately if I really needed the power; the competition in front of him in Seattle is underwhelming.

Al Alburquerque (1%/3%)
Alburquerque's a deep league only guy, but that ridiculous K/IP rate makes him an absolute must own in 5x5, even with the poor walk rate. Alburquerque only has two pitches, which means he's made for middle relief, but his sinking fastball has been a plus pitch and his slider has been devastating. Hitters will probably adjust and Al won't strike out 16 batters per nine forever, but you've got to ride the hot hand.

Back from the Minors/DL
Phil Coke (ankle)
Coke got beat around by the Rangers on his return from the DL. I doubt it has anything to do with the injury. It probably has more to do with his low K/IP, making him a little more susceptible to the law of averages than a higher strikeout pitcher. This is a case where I'd pay very close attention to the xFIP. Coke has allowed only two home runs all year, but there's nothing in his statistical profile that indicates this is sustainable. I wouldn't even blink at a second half ERA around five. Don't buy. If you're considering dumping, do not take Coke back as a '12 chip.

Chris Davis (minors)
Davis appears to be a temporary fill-in for Ian Kinsler while Kinsler is on paternity leave. Davis has actually been pretty productive in his brief Major League stints but the Rangers are stocked and Davis probably needs a trade at this point to make a Roto impact.

Francisco Liriano (shoulder)
Liriano has been up and down since his no-hitter on May 3, and while I think there's room for improvement, you simply have to take the ace tag off of him if you haven't done so already. The 5.87 walks per nine are enough for me to just stay away, particularly since he's not striking out the park right now.

Scott Sizemore (minors)
The A’s called up Sizemore on Monday but Weeks and Adam Rosales seem to be getting more at bats than Sizemore at the moment. Granted, Rosales homered in his 2011 Major League debut and the A's are justifiably playing the hot hand, but that still doesn't make me want to rush out and grab Sizemore. His window to carve out a career as a big league regular is beginning to get narrow.

Rene Tosoni (minors)
A concussion for Denard Span opens the door for Tosoni, but Jason Kubel should be back late next week so this might be a very short-term opportunity. Tosoni is marginal even in A.L.-only.

Possible Waiver Claims
Ryan Adams
Adams started on May 28 and has started once since. He belongs in AAA. This is terrible roster management by the Orioles.

Jesse Crain
A couple of bad outings pushed Crain's ERA up from 0.77 on May 26 to 2.03 on June 8. Such is the life of a middle reliever. Sergio Santos looks like an absolute lock now. In shallower A.L.-only leagues, you can probably cut bait.

J.P. Howell
Speaking of cutting bait, I'd say forget about Howell for now too. Kyle Farnsworth has a death grip on the ninth inning and Howell looks like he should still be out on a rehab assignment.

Hideki Matsui
Matsui's available in an A.L.-only league? Yes. He was waived in my home league, and I have him on reserve in the CBS expert A.L.-only. His OPS by month: 677, 540, 474. He's been BABIP unfortunate, but the isolated power is still unacceptable for a DH. It's not just playing in Oakland either; Matsui has barely been better on the road. I don't blame you if you hold on until the bitter end, but I also don't blame you if you need some positional flexibility and don't want to carry a DH-only who hasn't produced for two and a half months.
In the Minors
Zach McAllister
If McAllister winds up pitching for the Indians this year, I wonder if the Yankees are going to be sorry they flipped him as the PTBNL for Austin Kearns. McAllister was a top prospect for the Yanks who got pummeled last year. He seems to have found his mojo this year for the Indians in AAA, and he could wind up replacing Mitch Talbot in the rotation at some point. I'm not completely sold on McAllister. He's a finesse pitcher, so he needs everything going right for him to succeed. His 6.9 K/9 could dip to below 5.0 K/9 in the bigs, which sometimes spells trouble. He's worth a flyer if he makes it, but he could be risky.... like many minor league pitchers without the pedigree.

Kyle Weiland
Weiland has worked his way up the ladder for Boston without being particularly impressive or special. However, he's probably the most likely candidate to get called up for Boston if they decide that Tim Wakefield isn't getting the job done. Weiland was a two-pitch pitcher entering this year. His fastball is Major League caliber but his curve was erratic and his other secondary pitches were nothing to speak of. Reports are that his secondary stuff looks better. Weiland still strikes me as a back-of-the-rotation #4-5, but with Boston he could be a good wins play. His long-term future may rest in the bullpen.


Eugene Freedman said...

I know you put Cord Phelps in there last week, but he was still in the minors at the time. In most leagues he wasn't available, unless he was already a reserve round pick. This is the week that most leagues will be bidding on him.

Mike Gianella said...

Correct. I wanted to avoid writing about Phelps two weeks in a row.