Friday, July 13, 2012

Gearing Up: July 16-22

Rising Up
Pedro Ciriaco (0% owned last week; 6% this week)
In Rotisserie Baseball, opportunity often trumps ability, particularly in the short term. Ciriaco was always viewed as fringy even when he was younger, appearing on the periphery of prospect lists. He was a utility type in the best of best-case scenarios, the hope being that he could play a little second, a little short, and steal 10-15 bases off the bench in the process. Poor hitting and poor defense quashed even these modest hopes, with a 670 in 2010 in the PCL looking like the final nail in the coffin. But with Dustin Pedroia on the shelf and Nick Punto sucking wind in his inimitable Nick Punto way, the door is open for Ciriaco at second base for Boston. He might hurt your average, but Ciriaco could score a bunch of runs and steal a bunch of bases for the Red Sox as long as he plays. You don't want to go crazy here, but a modest FAAB bid is perfectly acceptable if you need the steals.

Cole DeVries (1% last week; 5% this week)
DeVries has a pretty ERA/WHIP, but he's someone I'd avoid entirely, even in the deep waters of A.L.-only. He has zero prospect allure, no minor league track record of success, and an FIP/xFIP that spell big trouble. Top that off with an artificially low BABIP and DeVries is an accident waiting to happen. I'm not even going to go look up the match-up for next week. No. No. No!!!

In the Minors
Conventional wisdom last winter was that Pineiro surely would have landed a one-year, incentive-laden deal somewhere in the Majors, but he was forced to settle for a minor league deal with the Phillies. The Phils cut him, he wound up with the Orioles, and then he got hurt (sore shoulder). Healthy now, Pineiro has put up three starts in the minors. He barely strikes anyone out and would pitch in the A.L. East if he got the call: a bad combination for a Roto starter. Jason Hammel's injury tonight is going to add to the mild speculation that Pineiro could be up sooner rather than later. Even in A.L.-only, here's hoping you can do better.

Prior signed with the Red Sox earlier this year and was assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket. He's trying to come back as a reliever. He's still throwing gas; in 9 1/3 innings he has a Balki Bartokomous don't-be-ridiculous 20+ strikeouts per nine innings. The problem is that he also has over a walk an inning; it seems to me that Prior is still working out his control issues. Add to that an oblique injury that currently has Prior on the shelf and he looks like a questionable add at the moment. If you're in a league with tons of reserve spots, have some fun and take a low FAAB bid on Prior. If not, save your imaginary cash.

In the Minors
Juan Carlos Oviedo
Oviedo is currently in the minors on a "rehab assignment" but the reality is that he's there while he awaits his suspension to end on July 23. Given Heath Bell's struggles, Oviedo could feasibly be closing as soon as he returns. He's worth a speculative add in all deep formats and even in standard mixed leagues with moderate reserve lists. Oviedo could be the Marlins closer the rest of the way if things shake out right.

Vitters' prospect sheen has dulled, but with Luis Valbuena starting at third base for the Cubbies, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to picture the Cubs going with Vitters at 3B at some point. The power is up for Vitters at AAA, and while the PCL is a hitters' venue, Vitters could still be a productive 10-15 HR option at 3B for the Cubs. That's not great, but as free agent pick-ups go mid-season, that isn't bad. Monitor.

I wrote about Sheets in last week's Gearing Up. He's going to start Sunday against the Mets and is an instant N.L.-only add. He's only worth watching in mixed leagues.

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