Saturday, May 26, 2012

N.L. Gearing Up: May 29-June 3

Josh Bell (1% owned last week, 7% owned this week)
I wrote about Bell 11 days ago so there's no need to rehash that in this space. Bell will be starting at 3B in the short term for the Diamondbacks and should be owned in all N.L. leagues. He could crash and burn but he also could put together a hot streak and provide a nice, short-term source of power for the D'backs and his fantasy squads.

Kyle Kendrick (2%/7%) MIA
Kendrick is far more valuable to the Phillies than he is to fantasy owners. In real baseball, it's great to have a fungible pitcher just waiting in the bullpen who can come in and mop up, be the middle man, or sit there eating sunflower seeds all game waiting for the rare, magical moment when you need 4-5 innings starting in the bottom of the 13th, all while seldom showing any signs of rust. We don't really need or want relievers like this on our squad though. Kendrick might be doing the Phillies a solid by giving up five runs in five innings in a 7-2 blowout, but that doesn't do us any favors. He's also not the most desirable starting pitcher when he is starting. Vance Worley's mysterious injury has put Kendrick in the rotation indefinitely but - despite two decent outings - Kendrick's low whiff rate doesn't inspire confidence. Kendrick's xFIP by year since 2007: 4.57, 5.02, 4.04, 4.62, 4.42, 4.65. He's extremely dependent on his defense and on getting lucky with batted balls in play, and this isn't an inspiring combination for Roto. Feel free to start him against the Marlins next week, but even in N.L.-only I have a hard time recommending him.

Jose Arredondo (1%/5%)
For about five minutes there, it seemed like Arredondo might close. For now, Aroldis Chapman is the favorite for the job, though Dusty Baker has shown that he's not afraid to mix and match in the 9th. Logan Ondrusek has picked up a couple of saves as well and if Sean Marshall rights the ship he's probably a decent ninth inning candidate as well. Arredondo should be viewed as a valuable set-up man with strong ERA/WHIP who should be owned in N.L.-only.

Travis Wood (2%/5%) SD, @SF
Wood is probably being grabbed because of what looks like a pretty tasty two-start week in terms of quality of opponent. The last two years Wood has been a Quad-A starter (strong in the minors/marginal in the Majors) but his success in 2010 coupled with his relatively young age (25 isn't old for a pitching prospect) make me think that he could still turn it around and amount to something, particularly for a Cubs team with an eye on the future. Wood's stuff isn't great but when he's on he throws strikes, changes speeds, and lives off of a solid change-up that just freezes hitters. Wood's a better option if you can stash him. He's not someone I'd leave active week in and week out until he shows over the course of a few starts that he's for real.

In the Minors
Fernando Martinez
The interest in Martinez has less to do with him and more to do with the fact that Brian Bogusevic and J.D. Martinez are both sucking wind. Martinez has been solid in the minors...though I suspect that his 872 OPS at AAA would morph into a low 700s OPS in the Majors and he wouldn't be much better than the guy he would replace. If Martinez does make it, he offers a modest power/speed combo and should be grabbed immediately in N.L.-only. As far as a stash, though, I'd only do it in leagues with deeper reserve lists. Martinez isn't lighting up the world and isn't a prospect like Anthony Rizzo, so there isn't any kind of imperative to call him up. He could go absolutely nuts and still spend the entire year in the minors.

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