Trevor Bauer is pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks Thursday! Anthony Rizzo is probably coming up for the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday! It is prospects galore for the upcoming week. Could Dylan Bundy and Jurickson Profar be far behind? Yes, in fact they are far behind so let’s enjoy what we have on the waiver wire this week.
American League Waiver Wire
Derek Norris was recalled by the Oakland Athletics on Thursday and immediately inserted into the starting lineup. Manager Bob Melvin stated that Norris would share time with incumbent Kurt Suzuki. Generally, a catcher’s hitting prowess develops later than most other field players. Norris’ calling card in the minor leagues has been a high OBP. I do not expect a great deal from Norris this year, but keeper/dynasty league players should nab him now as I do not see Suzuki reclaiming his starting position next year and he won’t be on the A’s past 2013.
Salvador Perez broke the catcher’s development mold last year with the Kansas City Royals when he hit .331/.361/.473. He’s back and homered in his first game. He will be broken in slowly, but he should be on rosters in most leagues as he has great upside. However, I’d expect a more modest .275/.320/.375 line from Perez this year.
Kevin Youkilis was dealt on Sunday by the Boston Red Sox to the Chicago White Sox. Youkilis will immediately move into the starting lineup for the White Sox and move Orlando Hudson to a utility role (especially with Brent Lillibridge part of the deal as reported). Fenway Park was the most friendly park in all of baseball to right handed hitters, but Youkilis’ new home isn’t too shabby either. He isn’t what he used to be (and who among us is?), but with regular playing (a free from a toxic relationship with his manager) he is a must own in all league formats except the shallowest of mixed leagues. He has to stay clear of the injury bug which has haunted him the last couple of seasons.
The byproduct of this trade is that Will Middlebrooks moves into the starting lineup on a full time basis and Adrian Gonzalez will likely not get any more starts in the outfield. It will be interesting to see if this trade is addition by subtraction for the Red Sox. I’m a bit dubious of this trade leading to a pickup in play as the Red Sox have been decimated by injuries this year.
Adam Lind was recalled after the Toronto Blue Jays game on Sunday. Lind was mauling AAA with a 1.120 OPS. I would not get too excited about Lind. He’s a powerful hitter who will destroy your batting average. His 2009 season certainly seems like an outlier in his profile and I do not see him reaching those heights again. He’s a must add for AL-only, but I’d monitor in mixed leagues.
Could Erick Aybar finally be breaking out of his year-long slump? Over the last 14 days, he is hitting .441. His value was assumed to be in stolen bases with his career high 30 from last year. However, he has just five on the season and we are nearly half way through the season. I believe we are seeing Aybar improve, but I think last year’s numbers are out of reach. Expect ten more SBs for the rest of the season and a .270 average. As long as he hits near the bottom of the lineup, his counting numbers will be hurt.
Colby Rasmus may have arrived as a star for the Toronto Blue Jays. It seems like he’s been around forever, but he’s still just 25 years old. He trails only Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Carlos Gonzalez in outfielders’ value in standard 5×5 leagues over the last month (and is fifth overall in value in all hitters during that time).
Rasmus always had the tools to be a star, but didn’t seem to have the mental acuity. There were a lot of distractions and dissension during his time in St. Louis, but it seems that Toronto has offered a more comfortable situation. I would treat him as a top five outfielder in mixed leagues and target him in trades for those looking to sell high.
Alex Rios has also been quite solid over the last two weeks as well. Rios is always an up and down player, but with the trade for Youkilis we could see an even deeper lineup for the Chicago White Sox which can only help Rios.
There were some rumblings this week in the Boston Red Sox outfield with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford ramped up some additional baseball activities. It still looks like both will be until around mid-July, but the progress is encouraging.
Clay Buchholz was placed on the DL on Sunday with intestinal bleeding. Reports say that he will need 10-14 days to recover and I assume he’ll need some time to rebuild his strength. Aaron Cook came off the DL for the Boston Red Sox to take Buchholz’s place in the rotation. Cook is a ground ball machine, but does not have the repertoire to compete in the AL East. I would pass in all leagues.
Chris Archer was recalled by the Tamp Bay Rays this week and he looked solid in his first major league start. Archer came over to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal with the Chicago Cubs. Archer will likely not be up much longer as Jeremy Hellickson should be back within a week. Archer was rated as the #89 overall prospect by Baseball America prior to this season (a precipitous drop from #27 a year ago). Archer has always struggled with his control (career 5.2 BB/9 over seven seasons in the minors) and I do not see him being a viable long term option. I would dangle him as trade bait in a keeper/dynasty league to see what he might bring in a trade.
Drew Smyly returns from the DL for the Detroit Tigers and will start Tuesday. Jacob Turner heads back to AAA for more seasoning. Smyly was a pleasant surprise early in the season and should slot back in as a league average starter and worth rostering in deeper leagues.
A.J. Griffin made his major league debut for the Oakland Athletics and handled himself well. Griffin is a control artist and as a result was not high on many prospect lists (though Griffin was listed as Kevin Goldstein’s sleep on his A’s prospect list). He may not be up long if Brandon McCarthy’s injury is a short term one, but he’s worth a pickup in dynasty/keeper leagues. I’m not sure he can keep his pinpoint control going in the majors, but he’s a good risk with a spacious home ballpark.
Jose Quintana’s spot in the rotation for the Chicago White Sox was solidified with Phillip Humber’s trek to the DL. I do not believe he’s quite as good as he’s shown, but he’s definitely a worthwhile addition in AL-only leagues.
Danny Hultzen was promoted to AAA by the Seattle Mariners. Could we see him after the All-Star break? I don’t think it will be that soon, but we will likely see him in the majors in by August 1.
Jared Burton picked up the save on Sunday for the Minnesota Twins and it looks like manager Ron Gardenhire is sticking to his plan to play the matchups as there were two right handers due up in the ninth inning. That said I still think Glen Perkins is the stronger play of the two and would bid higher on him. Matt Capps’ shoulder has regressed and it looks like a stint on the DL is a possibility. Shoulder injuries usually require longer recovery times so we could see Perkins and Burton share the duties for longer duration that a 15 day stint on the DL.
Andrew Bailey suffered a setback in his rehab this week thus solidifying Alfredo Aceves spot as closer for just a bit longer for the Boston Red Sox. In other Boston bullpen news, it was confirmed this week that Daniel Bard will return to the major league club as a reliever. The failed experiment will likely not be repeated by the Red Sox any time soon. Expect Bard to be back up in the next couple of weeks as long as he progresses. He will likely take his familiar spot at the back end of the bullpen as the right handed setup man and be a valuable addition in holds leagues.
Joaquin Benoit filled the closer role for the Detroit Tigers while Jose Valverde nursed a minor wrist ailment. Valverde has been far from the perfect reliever he was last year, so it is clear that Benoit is the handcuff for Valverde and a viable addition this week for those players trolling for saves.
National League Waiver Wire
As George Constanza might say, “I’ve got nothing to say” about NL catchers this week that I haven’t said in prior weeks.
Anthony Rizzo is potentially going to be recalled by the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday of this week. The Cubs prepared for the move this week by putting Bryan LaHair in right field. The Cubs outfield defense will suffer as a result, but we aren’t too worried about that in the fantasy world. Rizzo struggled in 2011 to a .523 OPS in 153 PAs after mashing at AAA with an OPS over 1.000. Cue 2012 and the same story in AAA for Rizzo with an OPS of 1.120 in 278 PAs.
So, what has changed for Rizzo? Will he succeed this year where he failed last year? At least one person believes so and that person is Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus. On the ESPN Fantasy podcast this week, Goldstein mentioned that Rizzo’s numbers are similar this year to last year; his approach is far different according to scouts to whom he spoke. Once Rizzo is up, I believe he’s up for good. The Cubs are inching towards selling off some useful pieces to help the rebuilding process. Rizzo should be in the top half of all corner men in the NL for the remainder of the season.
Ryan Zimmerman is seen as a warrior (at least in baseball parlance) because he plays through injuries. Some might see that as selfish as he continues to run himself out there when he is clearly not 100%. And manager Davey Johnson continues to bat him third in the lineup even though he hasn’t shown the skills of a number three hitter for the last two seasons. His shoulder injury from earlier in the season has not healed and he was administered a cortisone shot Sunday to hopefully help with the issue. Zimmerman is 27 years old and if I were an owner I wouldn’t want to have him signed to a long term contract which I couldn’t get out from underneath. For this season, I do not believe he will be fully healthy without a stint on the DL (which he has refused to do) or surgery to repair the issue. He may be fully healthy by next year, but for how long is a legitimate question now.
Brandon Belt is good when giving regular playing time. I can only hope Bruce Bochy remembers this when Belt invariably goes 0 for four in one game and wants to yank him from the lineup. We’ve seen this year (perhaps more than any) that the simple infusion of youth into a team (Bryce Harper and Mike Trout as examples) can “lift all boats.” Belt should be owned in all leagues as he should receive regular playing time and has the skills to be a 20 homerun hitter with a .280 average and may throw in a few steals.
Ryan Howard looks to start his rehab assignment for the Philadelphia Phiillies next week. We should see him back in the lineup just after the All-Star break.
Chase Utley could return on Wednesday for the Philadelphia Phillies. I do not trust he will be the old Utley, but you could do worse for middle infield help. Just know that he has a degenerative condition in his knees which will only get worse. He’ll miss more games than usual and his days of 30 HRs and double digit steals are long in the rear view mirror.
Chris Nelson has looked good over the last couple of weeks for the Colorado Rockies. With Troy Tulowitzki’s injury keeping him out another six weeks or more, this former first round pick has perhaps his last chance to prove he is worthy of being a regular major leaguer. Nelson is hitting .318 over his last 14 days with three home runs and ten RBIs and eight runs scored. He’s a good addition for NL-only and deeper mixed leagues.
Ruben Tejada returned from the DL on Sunday for the New York Mets. Get this high OBP middle infielder into your lineup for next week. He was immediately put back into the top of the lineup in the two-hole so he’ll be a good source of runs for your team for the rest of the season.
Jon Jay returned from the DL this week for the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ve always liked Jay as he can contribute in nearly every category, but certainly won’t be a star in any one category. I liken him to the San Diego Padres Chase Headley in that way. Jay is hitting near the top of the lineup so his high batting average should keep the runs flowing.
Dexter Fowler weekly update alert! Looks like he’s starting to heat up and lo and behold he has seven games at home for the Colorado Rockies this week. In daily and weekly leagues, get him in your lineup and reap the rewards.
Drew Stubbs should be back for the Cincinnati Reds on Monday so get him in your lineup this week. He still won’t help your batting average, but is a great mix of power and speed.
Trevor Bauer will make his debut Thursday for the Arizona Diamondbacks according to Fox Sports. Bauer is a superior prospect – the third overall pick in the 2011 draft. Bauer has put up gaudy numbers in the minors including an 11.9 K/9 rate and a 3.03 ERA over parts of two seasons at three different levels. He is an immediate add in all leagues with one caveat – his WHIP. Bauer has not been “pitch efficient” in the minors. He has started 22 games, but thrown only 116 innings leading to an average of just over five innings per start. He will likely harm your WHIP (he has 1.429 WHIP at AAA this year) and may not be able to get as many quality starts (if that is a category for you) as you might like. That said his strikeouts are too tantalizing to pass up. Just add him with the knowledge that he will likely struggle at times and his outings will be short.
Michael Fiers had another impressive outing for the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday. The Brewers put Shaun Marcum on the DL this weekend so Fiers will likely get a reprieve and stay in the rotation upon Marco Estrada’s return on Tuesday. Taking a deeper look at Fiers’ numbers at Fangraphs his surface numbers are backed by secondary statistics. He has been a pleasant surprise and I would target him for the short term in most leagues. Marcum’s injury is said to be minor and he will be back in the minimum time. But, Marcum has had elbow issues in the past so Fiers is a viable risk to take.
Bobby Parnell is a year late (for me), but he is now the closer with Frank Francisco heading to the DL with an oblique strain. Oblique strains are notoriously slow healing injuries and I can see Francisco out for four to six weeks. Parnell has the chance to take over as closer for the rest of the season if he succeeds in his trial. Parnell struggled at the major league level with control, but looks to have improved that this year with a BB/9 down to 2.4. He’s got the stuff to succeed and I’d bid as if he is the closer for the rest of the season.
David Hernandez signed a two year extension with the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend. It certainly looks like he will be the closer when J.J. Putz exits at the end of this season. Hernandez is a great target in keeper leagues as he should be closing for the Diamondbacks for the next two years.
Thanks for your time this week and drop me a comment with any questions you might have especially if you are evaluating trades at this time of year. All of my previous columns can be found at here.
Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.