Friday, August 24, 2012

Gearing Up: August 27-September 2

Assuming the Red Sox/Dodgers blockbuster trade goes through, I'll have a write-up tomorrow. Given how the far less complicated Ryan Dempster to Atlanta trade fell through, I think it's a little premature to be putting together a write-up tonight.

Rising Up
Tyler Skaggs (20% owned last week; 26% owned this week)
Skaggs was called up for a spot start earlier this week and performed capably in his Major League debut, albeit with a lot of walks. With his low 90s fastball, filthy curve, and decent change, Skaggs could probably slot in as a mid-tier MLB starter right now. Earlier today, Kirk Gibson announced the Diamondbacks are moving to a six man rotation for now, giving Skaggs a real shot to stick the rest of the way. I do worry a little bit about Skaggs' declining K/9 ratios this year in the minors and think he could use at least another half season in AAA in 2013. If you're in a keeper you've got to stash Skaggs.

Kyle Kendrick (6%/14%) vs NYM
Kendrick gets attention every time he goes on a little mini-roll such as the one he's on over his last three starts. A closer look reveals that Kendrick is a match-up play only (despite tonight's results). He has been far better on the road than at home this year, though the whiff rate is actually better at home. With Joe Blanton out of the picture, Kendrick's rotation spot should be relatively safe unless the Phillies decide they want a look at Tyler Cloyd next month. Even though the Mets have been an easy match-up of late, I'd be wary to use Kendrick in CBP unless I was really desperate for strikeouts and/or wins.

Off the DL
Ian Desmond
I'm not sure why you'd still have Desmond on reserve, but someone in my N.L.-only home league does. After an 0-for-11 stretch right off of the DL, Desmond has a couple of home runs and is 5-for-12 in his last three games. He might not run that much over the last month, but even in standard mixed leagues you've got to find a way to get this guy into your line-up ASAP no matter how stacked your team is. He sat out tonight, but it appears that this is only a minor setback, not a major issue.

Got the Call
Francisco Peguero
Coming into 2012, the jury was out on whether Peguero could make it in the Majors as a starting outfielder or if his future was as a fourth outfielder/utility type. Now I'm not even sure if he'll ever be more than organizational depth that rotates in when there is an injury. Plate discipline had always been a problem for Peguero, but it cratered this year, resulting in a sub-300 OBP and an OPS that for the PCL was embarrassingly bad. The speed that Peguero showed two years ago in High-A ball (he stole 40 bases) looks like it's gone almost entirely, as Peguero stole one base at AAA this year. If you can rotate minor leaguers on and off of your team at will Peguero should no longer be on your squad, even in a keeper.

In the Minors
Billy Hamilton
If you don't know who Billy Hamilton is, you're at the wrong blog and I'm sorry that you've read this far down the page. The Reds haven't ruled out calling Hamilton up for the stretch drive to serve as a designated pinch runner. I'm not sure what Hamilton's future looks like (i.e.: will he hit enough to be more than a Vince Coleman type), but if you need steals and have a deep reserve list, Hamilton is worth a stab. I have no idea if the Reds will do more than just bring him up to mostly watch them play, but if you're in a tight steals race Hamilton is a worthy risk.

Jenrry Mejia
Earlier this week, there were rumors that Mejia might take Johan Santana's rotation spot yesterday against the Rockies. Turns out that this assignment went to Collin McHugh, who threw an absolute gem. Mejia could still get a cup of coffee, but since it's unclear what his role will be, he's less interesting to contending teams at the moment. Mejia is still recovering from TJ surgery and his whiff rate at AAA was extremely low this year. I might hold off on adding Mejia for now, as I think there's a good chance he struggles in the Majors if/when he does get the call.


Rising Up
Josh Donaldson (1% owned last week; 4% owned this week)
Remember Josh Donaldson? Back in March, he was the subject of many a hopeful article with titles like "Josh Donaldson: Worthwhile Sleeper?" primarily because of his Roto catcher eligibility and his real life status as starting third baseman for the Oakland Athletics. Unfortunately for his owners, Donaldson did what a lot of guys who hit .300 in the PCL do: he stunk up the joint in the Majors and quickly punched himself a ticket back to Bushleagueville. Donaldson quietly has been mashing PCL pitching the last couple of months, and a Brandon Inge injury gave him a second chance much like the one Charles "Chazz" Russell received in the short-lived 80s sitcom of the same name. Anyhoo, Donaldson could lose playing time to Brandon Inge down the stretch when Inge returns from injury next week. Donaldson's worth starting at catcher as long as he's playing, but he's only worth a minimal FAAB investment even if he is available.

In the Minors
Christian Colon
It appeared that Colon might be on track for a September cup of coffee, but now it appears that he will miss the rest of 2012 after getting hit in the face with a baseball. Even before the injury, Colon was a poor stash candidate. Some fantasy/prospect watchers think that there still might be a breakout lurking here because of the low whiff rate that goes with good contact, but Colon also doesn't walk a lot and his power/speed numbers aren't all that impressive. His defense at short has regressed, but with Alcides Escobar breaking out this year, second base is probably where Colon was going to land anyway. I'd save my FAAB for now, and I wouldn't spend a pick in a two round farm draft on Colon in 2013 either.

Aaron Hicks
A pedestrian season at High A Fort Myers knocked Hicks off of the top prospect lists this past offseason and altered expectations from "future star" to "steady everyday player." Despite the poor year, Hicks was still moved to AA, and lo and behold he's had a bounce back year to some degree. On the surface the numbers don't look impressive, but Hicks' OPS is 10th best in the Eastern League (400 or more plate appearances). While I agree with the consensus that Hicks may not be a future star, the 29 stolen bases excite me and make me believe that Hicks could be a 15-20 HR, 25-30 SB type a few years down the road if everything breaks right. If someone dropped him in your keeper league, he is most definitely worth stashing in the hopes of a mid-2013 call-up.

Chris Archer
No, I'm not including him here so I can make a gratuitous Archer reference (though I do love that show). I just wanted to call to everyone's attention to the fact that since Archer's return to the minors, his control/command has been much improved, with his walk rate dropping to a manageable 2.84 BB/9 over his last nine starts. Archer doesn't profile as a future ace, but I could see him as a strong #2 or #3 and agree with John Sickels that he was underrated coming into 2012. Stash Archer if you can; I suspect he's going to be an important part of the Rays rotation at some point during 2013.

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