Friday, June 29, 2012

A.L. Gearing Up: July 2-8

Rising Up
Franklin Morales (5% owned last week; 25% this week)
I wrote about Morales last week, but with the Clay Buchholz injury piled on top of the Josh Beckett injury, Morales figures to slot into the Red Sox rotation a little bit longer. I love Morales' Fourth of July match-up in Oakland as a streaming play.

Travis Blackley (2%/9%)
If Blackley's name rings a bell, you've either been playing this game for a while or have a great memory. A top prospect for the Mariners in 2004, Blackley missed all of 2005 with a torn labrum. He clawed his way back to prospect relevance in 2008 - this time with the Phillies - but didn't pan out. He spent all of 2011 in Korea and it looked like Blackley's career was over. Flash forward to this season. The A's picked him up off of waivers in May, installed him into the rotation as a fill-in, and the results have been solid. He's a finesse guy, but has survived by keeping the ball on the ground and with the addition of a slider to his repertoire. Pitching in Oakland and the match-ups have helped, too. Blackley's last three opponents have been the Padres, Dodgers, and Mariners. He gets the Rangers in Arlington on Sunday, but in weekly leagues is a worthy A.L.-only add next week for another start in Oakland against the M's. If you need to gamble, Blackley's a good guy to gamble on as a streamer.

Zach McAllister (1%/5%)
I liked McAllister as a "savvy, under the radar" FAAB play back in May and now that he's replacing Jeanmar Gomez in the rotation I like him even more. He doesn't walk people, profiles as a ground ball pitcher (despite this year's SSS results) and is on a team where he could rack up the wins. I'm reminded of Ivan Nova last year: a pitcher that doesn't project as a dominant guy but who could win a bunch of games if everything broke right. I'd bid in A.L.-only if I needed the arm.

Adam Warren (0%/3%)
Warren has been a serviceable minor league pitcher, but multiple injuries have pushed him into the Major League rotation. He'll probably get a handful of starts for the Yankees, making him an immediate wins play, but Warren's a risky pick-up if your ERA/WHIP matter to you at all. He's still a work in progress, and some think his two-pitch arsenal might make him better suited for bullpen duty long-term. 

(I started writing this before tonight's start, fwiw)

Aaron Laffey (0%/2%)
Laffey should be a familiar name to most of us. The former Indian with the soft, soft stuff was finally cut by the Tribe back in 2011, had a few short stints with some other MLB clubs, and is now with the Blue Jays. He might stick because of the Jays rash of injuries but that doesn't mean that you should play him under any circumstances. The K/9 make him unworthy in 5x5, even if he manages to beat the odds and put up a big ERA/WHIP outing.

Got the Call
Perez is an impossible player to analyze. The numbers tell us that he's been a disappointment, while the scouts still like him and his age (21) makes his mediocre performances in the minors difficult to judge too harshly. Perez is scheduled to start tomorrow night. It might just be a spot start, but he could stick in the rotation for a few turns if he does well. Perez is probably best left for teams playing for 2013 and beyond. He might be great out of the chute, but pitchers with poor minor league track records typically don't show up in the Majors and dominate on Day One.

Chris Carter is Exhibit A as to why Fangraphs is extremely useful. Rather than beat you over the head trying to explain why PCL stats are inflated, I can simply point to Carter's RC+ of 121 at AAA this year and tell you that while his minor league numbers are solid, they're not indicative of a player who is going to have great Major League success. Worse yet, Carter is probably up to bat against lefties in a quasi-platoon with Brandon Moss. In mixed leagues, this scenario screams stay away. In A.L.-only, Carter is probably worth a shot...but not more than a $10-15 FAAB bid. But even that seems high to me. Unless you really need to gamble on power, I'd be a timid little mouse here.

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