Friday, May 04, 2012

A.L. Gearing Up: May 7-14

Rising Up
Ryan Cook. (1% owned in CBS leagues last week, 5% owned this week)
With Grant Balfour off to a pedestrian start, there are some looking at Cook's 0.00 ERA thinking he might close for Oakland. It's unlikely. Cook is a decent middle reliever but is still a one-pitch pitcher (though his slider has shown signs of improvement) who struggles with his command. Ride the hot streak and feel free to speculate on the saves for a low FAAB bid, but it's unlikely there will be any saves to chase here.

Ernesto Frieri (1% last week, 4% this week)
Frieri was picked up this week by the Angels in a small deal for Alexi Amarista and Donn Roach. He's an interesting, long shot speculative play for saves. Scott Downs is closing, Jordan Walden looks like a mess, and there isn't a clear CIW behind those two. Frieri's worth a modest bid as long as you keep your expectations low. The real reason you should own him is for his killer strikeout rate; thanks to all those Ks, he's a better play than your pedestrian starter whiffing five per nine. If the saves come great, but if they don't, Frieri should still earn $8-12.

Activated/Up from the Minors
Mike Trout
Trout was probably activated by most of his owners last weekend; he's only included here because the Angels called him up after my piece went out last week. Trout's a no-brainer for a roster spot even in mixed. What I'm not sure about is how long it will take for him to blossom. He now has a 660 OPS in 155 Major League plate appearances. Yup, Trout's an elite prospect and, yup, the sample size is puny. But the real question is how long will it take for Trout to play to his elite level? It could happen this year, but he could be one of those guys who don’t really get into gear until he's 23 or 24. Trout's a fun player to own for the potential, but don't try riding him to a title. It probably won't work...this year.

Mike Carp
The Mariners are easing Carp back into the line-up upon his return from the DL. In mixed leagues you might have this luxury, but in A.L.-only he has to get back in there now. With Chone Figgins headed to the bench, Carp should have a clear path to playing time assuming full health. A 20 HR pace the rest of the way isn't out of the question if, again, the health is there.

Will Middlebrooks
I profiled Middlebrooks here. I figured the Red Sox would call him up eventually, I just didn't think I'd see him this soon. I still believe that even after Kevin Youkilis is healthy that the Sox might find a way to play Middlebrooks even if it means moving someone to the outfield.

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