Friday, July 01, 2011

Gearing Up A.L. Week 14: July 4-10

Rising Up
Rich Harden (8% last week; 21% this week)
I wrote Harden up last week; this is just an FYI that he's slated to make his 2011 Major League debut tonight versus the Diamondbacks.

Up from the Minors/DL
Brett Cecil (minors)
Everywhere I looked, the narrative about Cecil's start last night was so similar it almost sounded like it was written by the same person and picked up by everyone in the blogosphere. What I heard was this: the results weren't there, but Cecil's stuff looked good. I find myself of two minds with Cecil. He does have good stuff; however, I don't understand why he doesn't do better given the arsenal he has. The home runs are high, and while xFIP says that he's due for a course correction, he gives up an awful lot of fly balls and the LD% is high as well. My instincts tell me that Cecil is going to be erratic all season long and is a match-up play. I'd start him against weaker offenses and avoid pitching him against the beasts of the east at all costs.

Right after I wrote about Chis he went on a mini-tear in the minors and found himself in Cleveland days later. He's had two strong games for the Indians and should get the bulk of the playing time at third base going forward. If you're in a league where you don't have a farm system, you're going to have to bid $40-50 to get him. I'm not a fan in the short term, but if you need the help now, bid. Brett Lawrie's a superior Roto proposition, but who knows when he'll be healthy?

My initial write-up on De Los Santos was on May 23. He returns to the A's in a middle relief role. The potential high strikeout rate and favorable home park give him a little value in A.L.-only formats.

Tommy Hunter (groin)
Since Hunter has spent all of 2011 on the DL, it's easy to forget that he was the poster boy for the "FIP is greater than ERA" crowd in 2010. Indeed, only Clay Buchholz had a higher ERA/FIP differential for pitchers with 120 more innings in 2010. Hunter's stuff isn't overpowering, and the low strikeout rates and the hitters' paradise he pitches in should probably have led to worse results than he got in '10. He's going to shift to the bullpen, so this debate can be tabled in Roto. I wouldn't pick Hunter up unless you can stash him on your reserve list.

Jenks went from reliable set-up man to someone who simply can't be trusted. His control is a significant issue, and while Jenks has been having terrible BABIP luck he still should be avoided. Keep on him reserve for as long as you can.

Possible Waiver Claims
After Julio Borbon was optioned to Triple-A, conventional wisdom had Endy Chavez getting most of the at-bats in center field with Gentry playing against the tough lefties. But a funny thing happened on the way. Gentry actually started performing against righties and stealing every base in sight. He's actually been abysmal against lefties, but as long as Gentry is running (he's 9-for-9 in steal attempts in a mere 78 plate appearances), he's got solid A.L. Roto value. P.S.: don't let this week's low at bat total fool you. The Rangers were at Houston this week and without a DH. Gentry should get more regular time starting tonight.

With Chisenhall's promotion, the writing is on the wall for Hannahan. He had some A.L.-only value as a light corner infield power source but that's going to go away. Feel free to leave him on waivers.

Marson's buried behind Carlos Santana, so it's hard to get a read on how good he could be if he got a crack at regular playing time. The offensive numbers look bad, but to be fair it's particularly hard for young players to get used to sitting on the bench. Marson's defense has been stellar this year, so he might get a chance at some point in his career to start somewhere. For now, though, he's purely A.L.-only fodder in two catcher leagues.

I've written about all three of these guys this year. Holland continues to throw filth up there at opposing batters and should be owned in A.L.-only. The Twins have moved Swarzak to the pen, where he'll function in a low leverage middle relief role. The extremely low K/IP tells me you should pass. Wakefield remains in the rotation while Clay Buchholz is on the shelf and gets the Blue Jays at home. Not a great match-up there.

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