Fantasy Notes: Marte Keeps Waiting for Liftoff
Things have been hopping mad lately with the RotoWidow and I moving next week, so bear with me for a little while as I deal with the madness and try to clear my plate and offer up more frequent posts. In the meantime, let’s take a look at a few players making transaction wire news recently.
- Andy Marte was recalled from his Triple-A rehab, but he won’t be getting the third base job back. The Tribe keeps saying he’s their third baseman of the future, but he will play primarily against lefties, and that can’t be good for his development. Of course, a .161 BA against righties will tend to do that to you. This dude ranked No. 22 on our top 25 prospects just a year ago, but now he’s stalling worse than my old ‘72 Pinto. It’s great news for Casey Blake owners, however.
- To make room for Marte, Franklin Gutierrez was sent back to Triple-A Buffalo. He appeared in just four games, going all of 1-for-5 for the Indians. Is this guy going to get a real chance at some point? Still just 24, he looked pretty good in 136 at-bats for Cleveland last year, although his minor league power didn’t make the trip. Back in Buffalo, he just keeps hitting, having a 19-game hitting streak snapped Tuesday. He’s really breaking out in Triple-A this season, batting .340 with 21 runs and five steals in 23 games, getting on base at an excellent clip (.385) and showing improved power (.495 slugging). If (when?) Trot Nixon lands on the DL, look for Gutierrez to get his chance.
- Jim Thome is off the DL and did some serious mashing Tuesday night before cooling Wednesday. Those of you in OBP leagues must be loving the 29 walks in 23 games. His on-base percentage? Oh, it’s .544. Yes, I believe this will do. Although they were shut out last night, watch for the Sox offense to kick it into high gear now that Thome is back.
- Ryan Sweeney got farmed out when Thome was activated. Centrefielder of the future for the White Sox? The man who was supposed to compete with Brian Anderson for the gig? Well, they are both playing in Triple-A, having ceded the position to injury-prone Darin Erstad, who appeared to be toast after last season. Anderson is hitting decently, but certainly nowhere near well enough to force his way back to Chi-town. Sweeney is regressing massively. He’s batting just .239 and has struck out 25 times in 23 games while stealing just one base. A .680 OPS? He’s going to find himself in Birmingham if he doesn’t smarten up soon. He’s 21 and has time to figure things out, but this is a kid who hit .296 and enjoyed a .350 OBP in Triple-A last year at age 20.
- As I predicted a couple of weeks ago, Mike Bacsik got the call to the Nats on the weekend. His first start (six shutout innings, five hits, one walk, one strikeout) went far better than I expected, and it’s earned him at least one more go round in the stuck-together-with-snot-and-tape Nationals’ rotation. Bacsik gets the Reds tonight in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark, so I wouldn’t recommend him, but if he survives this start without too much damage, he’s going to be worth considering.
- Jon Switzer, who’s been out with a left shoulder problem, has begun a rehab assignment at Triple-A. The Rays reliever, part of last year’s great class of rookie arms, was superb in Triple-A and not too shabby with the Rays in 2006. Tampa Bay currently has no lefties in the pen, so Switzer will definitely be brought back when he’s ready, and while he’s unlikely to factor into the closing situation, he could help in holds. See how things pan out when he returns to the majors.
- Last summer, we checked in on Chris Truby, and discovered that the one-time Astro prospect appeared to be grinding to a halt. Well, he’s still kicking, but barely. Truby had to begin this season at Double-A — the first time he’d been that low on the totem pole since 1999. As if that wasn’t bad enough for a 33-year-old veteran of four major league seasons, things got worse. He hit well at Double-A (.333, albeit with no pop) and got called back to Triple-A, only to get hurt two games in. Someone is trying to tell you something. Dude, you need to retire already.