Tuesday, I touched upon a great many National League players who were called up from the minors or are returning off of the DL this month. Today, I'll look at the American League.
Once again, this is an article focusing on deep leagues.
All the fuss about Bard this spring turned out to be much ado about nothing. Bard is back now, but he is not to be touched if you're playing for this year. As a $10 player in 2013, he's iffy as well. Leave him on the wire and try to get him cheaper at next year's auction.
It has been a lost season for Bourjos. I'm not sure if it's because of the hip injury he tried to play through, but Bourjos hasn't done well when he has been on the field and wound up getting crowded out once Mike Trout was promoted from the minors and started doing his best demigod impression. I was a huge Bourjos fan heading into the season, so I'd like to see if the surgery he's planning on having makes an impact next year. Bourjos is a very interesting gamble in 2013 if he's 100%, even in mixed leagues.
Once upon a time, an owner in my home league traded a $1 Reid Brignac for a $21 Adrian Beltre and was chastised by the league for doing so. "Brignac isn't great but he should earn $13-15 EASILY as a starter." "Even if he ONLY steals 15 bases he's a STEAL at $1." "Reid Brignac is so GOOD that I can't stop USING in CAPS even though I KNOW it's OBNOXIOUS!!!" At this point, Brignac looks like future organizational depth at best. Maybe he'll get a chance somewhere at some point, but it is unlikely that this shot ever comes in Tampa Bay.
Will Mike Carp play this month? That's the big question. Eric Thames is listed ahead of him on some depth charts, but Thames isn't the kind of player that will necessarily preclude Carp from getting some playing time the rest of the way. It has been a lost season for Carp, but he is the kind of hitter who could provide sneaky power against weaker September pitching if he is playing. Carp is a good guy to monitor and try to grab if he shows any signs of a hot streak.
Cecil was up earlier this year as a starting pitcher, but will close 2012 in middle relief. He is Rotisserie waiver wire material even when he is in the rotation and is not worthy of an add even as a 2013 spec play.
Conger's future value depends on what the Angels decide to do with Chris Iannetta's $5M club option for 2013. If the Angels pick it up, I think Conger needs a trade. I don't know how much truth there is to the reports that Mike Scioscia has issues with Conger's defense, but Conger deserves a legitimate shot across 300-400 AB to see if he's big league material or not. He has 15-20 potential HR in his bat if he does stick, and is an intriguing option even in mixed formats next year if he's starting.
A lot of deep league players were excited about the prospect of Cowgill possibly getting regular at bats for the A's and were thinking 10 HR and 30 SB. It didn't work out that way. Josh Reddick took off in a big way, and Cowgill was relegated to bench duty and then sent to the minors. His AAA numbers in Arizona's system were never realistic benchmarks anyway, but Cowgill could possibly be a 5/20 guy and a second division starter under the right circumstances.
Alejandro de Aza
de Aza is a no-brainer activation. I mention him here because he is sat yesterday in favor of Dewayne Wise and might sit now and again in day games after night games down the stretch. The usual post-injury/stolen base risk caveats apply.
Doubront has had some pretty bad xFIP luck and that should normalize, but you can't look past the fact that he has simply been terrible of late. With over a strikeout an inning, Doubront is a strong whiffs play but otherwise I don't like his projected schedule down the stretch:
TOR, NYY, @TB, BAL, @BAL
The Toronto match-up could be OK, but I don't like the four consecutive match-ups against teams fighting for their play-off lives. In A.L.-only, you have to grab Doubront if he's available (assuming you use strikeouts) but in mixed you might just want to hold off.
Escobar was part of the package the White Sox sent to Minnesota for Francisco Liriano. Escobar is a light hitting middle infielder who shouldn't be anywhere near your fantasy roster.
Moises Sierra is currently starting in the outfield for the Blue Jays, but with Sierra's poor performance of late Gose could sneak back into some regular at bats as the season winds down. Gose's last Major League run didn't bode well for his big league future, but Gose is super fast and if he is playing has the potential to steal a ton of bases.
Inge hasn't had surgery yet, but is done for the year. He'll be back next year if someone will have him.
Once upon a time, Liddi was an intriguing sleeper because only Kyle Seager and Chone Figgins were in front of him on the Major League depth chart. Times change. Seager has established himself as a solid regular and there is no room at the inn for Liddi. Unless the Mariners revamp their roster this winter, Liddi will continue to be AAA and/or bench material.
With Josh Hamilton likely to command a $100M payday this winter, it is possible that the Rangers will turn in house to Martin as a replacement. Martin doesn't strike me as a superstar, but he does enough of everything across the board that a $20 season if he gets 600 plate appearances wouldn't surprise me. Martin is an obvious spec play for 2013. For owners playing for this year, he's not going to be worth much unless/until the Rangers clinch and start resting their regulars.
Things shake out a little differently for Dice-K than they do for Doubront, but it's still not going to be fun to be a Red Sox pitcher in September/early October.
TOR, @TOR, @TB, TB, @NYY
I'm even more down on Dice-K than I am on Morales, and wouldn't stream Matsuzaka unless I were incredibly desperate. Dice-K is a Hail Mary play the last week of the season, not something I'd risk right now.
For a while there in May, it looked like Matusz had turned the corner and was going to be a viable Major League starting pitcher for the Orioles. Not blow-the-doors-off great but...viable. Then the wheels came off in June and by the All-Star Break Matusz was back in the minors. He's still relatively young at 25, but in fantasy leagues we're results oriented and it doesn't do us any good if Matusz is going to come into his own three years from now. The Orioles have him in the pen for September, and (like others) I do wonder if that's where his future lies.
McGehee seemed like an interesting piece when the Yankees picked him up, but even when Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira were both (briefly) out, McGehee didn't play much. He's got some HR power, but he has to be on the field. Jayson Nix has been terrific of late and deserves to play as long as he's on fire.
Morrow is a must own in all formats and shouldn't be in a free agent pool anywhere. His lower whiff rate this year doesn't thrill me, but it has led to greater efficiency, which includes fewer walks and better results on the whole. Morrow should be fine down the stretch for the Blue Jays, and has possibly turned a corner. If he's healthy, 2013 might be his long awaited breakout, but then again this level of performance might be "all" we get from Morrow.
Niemann was supposed to join the Rays rotation this month, but a rotator cuff strain makes him questionable to come back in 2012. If you've been hanging on, it's OK to drop him if you have roster constraints.
Noesi was the "other" player that the Mariners got from the Yankees in the Jesus Montero/Michael Pineda deal, so he has a little more name recognition than most fringe players. Some like Noesi and see him as a potential #4, but I look at the numbers and feel underwhelmed. Noesi won't start this month so he's probably not worth owning.
There was a great ruckus when the Yankees hit recently acquired Pearce in the cleanup spot, but just like with McGehee the experiment was short lived and - Teixeira or no Teixeira - Pearce is more of a bench/PH option than anything else. Pass.
Peguero's power is enticing, but he strikes out way too much to give his Major League team the kind of confidence necessary to give him a real opportunity. I don't have a lot of faith in Peguero making it in the long term.
I've written about Perez multiple times this year and not much has changed in my assessment. He looks overmatched to me, but he's also a 21-year-old who has moved really fast through the minor leagues. I'm not sure if the Rangers' long-term plan with Perez is putting him in the bullpen next year like they did with Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando or if he'll go back to AAA and get more innings under his belt as a starter. As a $10 keeper play for next year, he's not looking good if he starts the season in the Majors.
Profar is the gold standard here: the guy you want to grab if you're playing for 2013 and beyond. I'm not certain where he fits on the 2013 Rangers, but I'd take a shot and hope that things resolve themselves later. It's possible that Profar spends most of 2013 at AAA, but these are the kind of gambles you have to take to win in keeper leagues.
What happened to the power? Raburn started out the season in the Tigers line-up but had a woeful campaign. The power that made him interesting to us Roto guys completely disappeared and the average was dreadful. Raburn is probably going to provide depth only. He did manage to find his power stroke in the small sample size of at bats he had at Triple-A, but you're better off waiting and seeing on Raburn. If you want him next year at your auction, he'll go cheap.
Ross is back as an extra bullpen arm for the A's. He might see a spot start at some point, so pay attention in leagues with daily moves. If you need a streamer, Ross could be an option in a home start.
Bench option for the Orioles and not a prospect. No.
Triunfel is an example of why sometimes being young for your level and athletic isn't necessarily enough. He fell off the prospect lists this winter and a 260/308/391 slash line at Tacoma just isn't good - even if you're only 22 years old. Triunfel slots in as a utility infielder at this point. If you've been holding on to him in your A.L.-only farm system, you may drop him now.
I wrote Walters up in late May and his overall outlook remains the same. It appears that the Twins are going with a six-man rotation with Walters as one of the six. The very tentative projected schedule for Walters:
KC, @CLE, NYY, @TOR
The Kansas City home start is the only one where I might gave Walters a whirl. But I probably wouldn't.
Boy the Mariners called up a lot of folks. Wells might have a better chance than most of the names above of producing short-term, rest-of-the-season value...though he probably won't.
Utility infielder for the Tigers. Up for depth during the stretch run. A name you don't need to know.