If you've ever wondered the last few years what Jim Thome might do as a full-time player, you might get your chance now. Traded from the Phillies to the Orioles, Thome could very well start at DH 5-6 days a week. The 41-year-old might get exposed somewhat if he does play full-time, but you have to bid aggressively if you have a dead slot in A.L.-only. Deeper mixed league owners might even want to gamble here. Thome could hit a bunch of home runs down the stretch.
Franklin Morales $11. Other bids: $7, $7, $4, $3, $1.
Sometimes it takes a pitching prospect a little time to put it all together. Sometimes it takes a pitching prospect a lot of time to put it together. This may be what we're seeing with Morales. The "failed" prospect is only 26 years old; this is young in terms of pitching development. He seems to have found success through better pitch selection and is getting hitters to swing more at bad pitches and miss more in general. I don't know if this will continue, but we've reached the point where it's impossible to dismiss what Morales has done so far as a fluke. He gets the A's in Oakland this week and is a must start in A.L.-only and even worthy of pitch-or-ditch consideration in 12-team mixers.
Zach McAllister $8. Other bids $2, $2, $1.
I wrote about McAllister on Friday. I like him. What more do you need to know? He's a possible two-start pitcher this week at home against the Angels and Rays. He's not a sure thing, but if you're shooting for wins, there are worse two-start pitchers out there this week.
Travis Blackley $8. Other bids $4, $3, $3, $2.
I wrote about Blackley on Friday as well. You guys do read my Gearing Up column, don't you? Blackley did very well tonight against the Rangers. He might be a flash in the pan, but then again we all thought that about Ryan Vogelsong last year and a year later he's still going strong. It's time to ride this train and see how far it can take you.
Dylan Axelrod $8
For years, Axelrod seemed like a middle-of-the-road middle reliever until the White Sox converted him to the rotation in mid-2010. The results so far have been solid, and some think Axelrod could be a back-of-the-rotation mainstay if everything breaks right. Axelrod has a four-pitch arsenal, with his slider being the best pitch of the bunch. He has a tough match-up this week against the Rangers and even though it's not in Arlington I'd steer clear.
Aaron Cook $3. Other bids: $1, $1.
Cook had a stellar performance against the Mariners on Friday, but even so he can't be recommended going forward given his prior history. He's a risky pick regardless of the venue, and can't even be counted on for enough strikeouts to make him worth the trouble. He gets the Yankees at Fenway next week, making him even less worthy of the trouble.
Luis Mendoza $3
Mendoza has put up some decent starts, but like Cook his low strikeout rate isn't going to lead to sustained success going forward. Mendoza gets the Blue Jays in Toronto this week: a gamble I don't like given Mendoza's low whiff profile. This has drubbing written all over it.
Freddy Garcia $3
Garcia is at the twilight of his career, but with injuries to Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia, Garcia will be thrust into a few spot starts at a minimum. He has been capable out of the pen, but I can't recommend him as a starter given his statistical profile. His two projected starts this week (at Tampa and Boston) also don't help.
John Hester $2
Bobby Wilson has been getting most of the playing time behind the dish for the Angles, but Hester has outperformed Wilson with the bat by a country mile. I doubt Hester is going to snag any additional PT, but he has been terrific and is worth owning in a two-catcher A.L.-only format.
David Phelps $2
Phelps might have a future in another organization, but as a Yankee it's difficult to see him developing into a guy who sticks in the rotation every fifth day. Phelps has been pressed back into starting duty due to the Yankees injury bug biting most of the staff (see Garcia, above).
Jose Lopez $2. Other bids: $1, $1.
This could be a pretty slick pick-up. With Lonnie Chisenhall going down, Lopez could wind up playing every day for the Tribe. He has had prodigious bursts of power in the past, and such a hot streak right now wouldn't surprise me at all. Don't go into double-digits for Lopez, but he's worth a gamble at $4-6.
Lou Marson $1.
Marson has had a solid week filling in for the mildly injured Carlos Santana but he should be heading back to the bench now. He has been providing sneaky speed for a second A.L.-only catcher and should continue to steal the odd base. He won't take Santana's job, so don't waste your time fantasizing about that if you happen to own Marson or want to pick him up.
Jordan Danks $1. Other bid $1.
Danks could be a serviceable corner outfielder for a second-division team down the line, but right now is buried on the White Sox bench. I'd avoid, particularly in a non-keeper format.
Don Kelly $1
Look away, mixed leaguers. Look away. There's nothing to see here.
Brooks Conrad $1
Conrad has picked up a fair amount of playing time for the Rays since they snagged him off of the waiver wire. He's not a world-beater, but if he gets the playing time he could be a sneaky source of power, and the multipositional eligibility makes Conrad even more intriguing. This is a solid play at $1.
Gerald Laird. Claimed by 12th place team.
Laird is Alex Avila's caddy and holds nearly no fantasy value at this stage of his career.
Brian Fuentes. Claimed by 8th place team.
Fuentes probably won't do anything in the saves department, but this is still a decent claim. What does the team claiming him have to lose except a roster spot?