Friday, August 03, 2012

Gearing Up: August 6-12

Rising Up
Daniel Straily (19% owned last week; 42% owned this week) vs LAA
I wrote about Straily fairly recently, but I'd be remiss if I didn't write him up again now that he got the call and is being inserted into the A's rotation. Straily wasn't considered a top prospect entering 2012 (though John Sickels did identify him as a sleeper), but his numbers between Double-A and Triple-A this year are just plain all caps silly. Straily was a decent prospect to begin with, but marked improvements in his secondary pitches (particularly his change and slider) have made him into an arm to watch. Forget the pre-season rankings, Straily now has to be viewed as having the ceiling of a #2, though since his stuff isn't completely dominant, like most pitchers he could struggle at the outset. All of this aside, I think that if you need a starting pitcher down the stretch Straily deserves an aggressive FAAB bid. Given the venue, he could outperform A.L.-import Ryan Dempster the rest of the way. He's borderline standard mixed worthy right off the bat (though I'd stash him for at least one start if possible).

Hisashi Iwakuma (3%/19%) @LAA
Iwakuma's rising up the charts because of the absolute gem he tossed against the Blue Jays on Monday.  He's also on a pretty decent roll, allowing three or fewer runs in four of his five starts. However, I'm somewhat skeptical of Iwakuma keeping it up. His high walk and HR rates make me wary, and his home/road splits make me inclined to sit him away from Safeco until he shows me something on the road. He gets the Yankees and Angels on the road in his next two starts, so that will be as good a test as any to see how good Iwakuma truly is.

Scott Feldman (2%/15%) vs DET
If you had told me two weeks ago that Scott Feldman would be in the rotation on August 3 and Roy Oswalt wouldn't, I would have asked you in what reality exactly are you living. But Feldman has pitched capably over the last month or so. His xFIP and his history tell us that this certainly isn't sustainable, but if at the very least the WHIP should be OK if he continues to walk virtually no one. I still can't recommend Feldman based on his history, but I don't blame you for spot starting him if you're shooting for wins and can take risks with your rate stats.

Samuel Deduno (1%/4%) @CLE
Deduno fell off of the prospect radar due to his relatively advanced age, but some noted that he could be a sleeper for 2012 due to overall good stuff. While the ERA has been solid, the peripherals stink, and I can't give a buy recommendation to a pitcher with Deduno's awful walk rates. Some might pick him up and hope he keeps prolonging the magic, but I'd stay far, far away.

Corey Kluber (0%/2%) vs MIN, vs BOS
Kluber has always been considered a borderline prospect, and some believe that his future is in middle relief. But he's up with the Indians and should get at least a couple of starts in the big league rotation to show what he can do. Kluber's first outing looks like a nightmare, but all of that was due to a bad first inning. His peripherals at AAA were solid, and taking the hitters' park where he pitched in context his minor league numbers are even better than they look. I still think Kluber's a risky play even in A.L.-only, but he should at the very least be monitored in that format.

Got the Call
Mike Olt
Olt is a premier power prospect whose overall ranking coming into 2012 was somewhat tamped down due to concerns about his plate discipline. The concerns about his plate discipline are still there, but all the guy has done as a professional is mash, and now he's proven it in the high minors. Ron Washington says that Olt will initially just play against lefties, but I suspect the brass didn't call him up to be in a quasi-platoon. Olt should get a good number of AB and I think will be plenty valuable in A.L.-only down the stretch. He's a better fit in OBP leagues due to decent plate discipline and the BA risk here, but I think he's a solid add in A.L.-only. Obviously, if you're in a keeper league you have to bid the going keeper rate on Olt.

Ryan Lavarnway
Lavarnway is still highly regarded by many prospect watchers. For Roto, though, it's hard to see how he's worth it right now. He's blocked at catcher, first base, and DH and isn't a spring chicken at Age 25. Oh, and his power has dipped big time at AAA in 2012 after a strong showing in 2011. Lavarnway might wind up being a tweener from the standpoint that his defense probably won't play behind the dish but his bat probably isn't quite strong enough to necessarily make some team hand him a 1B/DH job. He needs a trade to have any Roto value.

Rising Up
Travis Snider (19%/22%)
I wrote about Snider earlier this week. It's obviously impossible to make a judgment off of two games, but it appears he will play at the expense of Alex Presley and therefore is a must add in deeper leagues.

Carlos Corporan (0%/2%)
Corporan is what he is - a journeyman catcher that is organizational filler - but a hot start for the Astros has resulted in a pretty decent amount of playing time behind the dish. He's clubbed a couple of home runs since his recall. Since a catcher with a pulse is better than a dead spot in most two catcher, N.L.-only formats, feel free to gamble if you've got a dead spot.

Mark Rogers (1%/3%) @HOU
Rogers slotted into the Brewers' rotation for Zack Greinke after the latter's trade to Los Angeles. Rogers had a strikeout-heavy outing in his 2012 debut, but his K/IP and BB/IP in the minors this year don't speak to future success. Rogers gets the Astros this week, and any pitcher against the depleted Astros line-up is worthy of consideration, but Rogers strikes me as questionable at the moment even in N.L.-only.

Got the Call
Dom Brown
Brown's star has definitely fallen the last year or two, but he's a must add in N.L.-only due to playing time and is worth monitoring in mixed due to the power/speed combo. It's going to take awhile for Brown to come anywhere close to the once lofty expectations many had for him, but keep in mind that he's 24 years old and plays in a nice hitting environment. The Phillies are going to give him every opportunity these last two months to see if he's part of their future plans.

In the Minors
Jean Segura
I wrote Segura up as part of the Greinke trade. He's a fine future pick-up if your league permits you to pick up minor leaguers but not someone I'd pick up hoping he's going to play this year.

Jacob Turner
Turner got written up in the Omar Infante/Anibal Sanchez trade summary, and this is the third time I've touched upon him in a two-week span. He continues to put up poor whiff and poor walk rates for the Marlins in the minors. I have no information that supports this, but I'm starting to wonder if there isn't some kind of injury we're not aware of here. Whether Turner's injured or not, the rate stats make him someone I'd just avoid in 2012.

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