The Wire Troll: Jack’s Back
Jack Wilson, Pittsburgh, SS: With the relative shortage of middle infielders currently available, the return of Wilson, out since the first week of the season with a strained calf, could provide some marginal relief. The potential for a solid batting average and moderate power would make Wilson a decent option in both deep formats and definitely NL-only leagues at this time.
Chris Perez, St. Louis, RP: The injury to Jason Isringhausen opened the door for a May 16 call up for Perez. The 22-year-old righty, compiled a 2.04 ERA to go along with 22 strikeouts for the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Last year, between Double-A and Triple-A, Perez converted an astounding 31 consecutive saves. Control problems have been a concern with Perez, but so far he has only allowed one free pass since his promotion. In five appearances for St. Louis he has allowed only one hit and struck out the side Saturday against the Dodgers. Should Ryan Franklin struggle, it looks like Perez could be next in line for save opportunities in St. Louis, making him a very solid acquisition in both NL-only and deep keeper formats at this time.
Wandy Rodriguez, Houston, SP: Last year was a breakout year of sorts for the 29-year-old southpaw. He put up some of the wildest home/road splits in the past several years, but those 158 strikeouts were still very impressive. Rodriguez was touted by many to be a candidate for an even bigger breakout in 2008, however, a strained groin in mid-April sent him to the DL. After a solid rehab start this past week, it looks like if Rodriguez is ready to rejoin the Houston rotation, possibly as early as this week. In his four starts prior to the injury, Rodriguez posted a very sold 2.31 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, and had allowed only five walks. Currently owned by only 23 per cent of all teams in CBS leagues, he should be a solid buy in all formats.
Salomon Torres, Milwaukee, RP: Okay, to recap: Milwaukee grew tired of Eric Gagne’s struggles so he was removed from the closer’s role; 24 hours later he was back in there, and then landed on the DL him shortly thereafter with rotator cuff tendinitis. Phew. What a mess. It seems that Milwaukee is looking at using everyone fantasy owner’s favourite strategy — the closer-by-committee format, and Torres is the current favourite to garner saves until at least early June. Torres is a solid addition in all formats for those looking at saves, at least until the Gagne injury sorts itself out.
Jose Guillen, Kansas City, OF: After a miserable start to 2008, Guillen is finally starting to earn some of that $36 million that the Royals invested in him. Since May 7, he is 25-for-57, with three HR and 20 RBI. In 2007, Guillen managed to hit 23 homers to go along with 99 RBI in a good pitcher’s park in Seattle, so there is nothing to indicate that this resurgence can’t be sustainable. Guillen is currently available in nearly half of all CBS leagues and is a solid pick-up in all formats.
Eric Chavez, Oakland, 3B: Let’s give his medical file a quick review, if that is even remotely possible. Since September of last year, he’s undergone surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and repair damage to the biceps tendon, microdiscectomy surgery to repair a bulging disc, surgery to repair damaged tissue in his left shoulder and as recently as February 29, Chavez underwent an epidural for stiffness in his surgically repaired back. Currently on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacremento, he is playing the field on a regular basis, is batting 8-for-19 and showing some power. At the age of 30, Chavez would have to be considered a miracle of modern medicine. Will he return as scheduled and actually be a contributer? With his history, those glory days of being a stud third baseman are probably way behind him, but the potential to be an asset in AL-only leagues makes Chavez a high-risk, high-reward pick in that format.
Ben Francisco, Cleveland, OF: The struggling Indian offense needed a spark and called up Francisco on May 6. He currently sports a .365 BA to go along with two homers and 11 RBI. So far, Francisco is getting the job done, but he struggled at Triple-A Buffalo so it’s easy to wonder if these results are sustainable. They probably aren’t, but in the interim he is currently the hot hand and worthy of a pick-up in both deep and AL-only formats.
Lyle Overbay, Toronto, 1B: Overbay finally seems to be picking up the pace, coming off the broken hand suffered at the beginning of June last year. This type of injury takes there plenty of time to heal (trust me on that one!) and it looks like Overbay is finally starting to get some of that gap power back. In the past week, he is batting .400 with two homers and five RBI. For deep mixed formats, Overbay looks to have turned the corner and should be an asset at the corner infield slot.
Brian Burres, Baltimore, SP: Burres just flat out is getting little to no respect in fantasy leagues at this time. The 27-year-old southpaw is currently owned by a scant 15 per cent of owners in CBS leagues. Other than the April 13 implosion against the Rays, he has been remarkably steady. Burres is currently sporting a 3.16 ERA and 1.26 WHIP and would be a solid option in all 4×4 standard formats, deeper leagues and a definitely strong pickup in AL-only leagues.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers, SP: Those fantasy players that play in leagues that use a waiver priority system will be wanting to use that first pick this week to snatch up Kershaw. This past Saturday, the Dodgers purchased the contract of the 20-year-old from Double-A Jacksonville. The 2006 first round pick has been limiting opponents to a meagre .205 BA. Add in those 47 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings pitched, and I’d say all the hype is certainly justified. Yes, he’s worth the investment, but do take into consideration that the Dodgers are going to be very cautious when it comes to limiting his innings pitched this year, as they should be. That being said, go get him. This potential “ace” is a must buy in all formats at this time.
Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox, 2B: Juan Uribe and his .198 BA hit the DL this past week with a strained hamstring and Ramirez looks to be the beneciary of increased playing time in his absence. The former slugger from the Cuban national team has been used very sparingly to date, and this could be the opportunity that either leaves him as a regular or demoted to Triple-A. Getting those six at bats per week has done absolutely nothing in allowing the White Sox to evaluate his potential. With Danny Richar currently on a rehab assignment, the window of opportunity is likely going to be fairly short, but at this time Ramirez is a decent option in AL-only leagues.
Ian Stewart, Colorado, 3B: With the onslaught of injuries to the Rockies, they called up top prospect Stewart from the Colorado Springs Sky Sox this past week. Stewart, with 12 dingers, 43 RBI and a 988 OPS, it appears he has all the tools to be a solid offensive force. Unfortunately finding a place to play would be the bigger concern here. He is blocked at third base by Garrett Atkins and the Spring Training attempt at a conversion to second base was far from being successful. It is very hard to believe that Stewart is still only 23, given that we’ve been hearing about him for years. With Atkins arbitration eligible next year and currently unsigned, either he or Stewart could very easily be trade material over the next couple of months. Stewart is a solid option in NL-only leagues and a decent stash in deep dynasty formats at this time.
Ryan Spilborghs, Colorado, OF: This past week, the struggling Rockies lost Brad Hawpe to a strained right hamstring and now Matt Holliday appears to be dealing with the same issue. With these injuries come opportunity and Spilborghs should be guaranteed steady playing time until the return of Hawpe, making him a definite asset at this time in NL-only formats.
Nick Evans, New York Mets, OF: The Mets went from having solid depth in their outfield to being decimated in the span of about three days this past week. Moises Alou (no big surprise there), Angel Pagan, and Marlon Anderson all ended up on the DL and Ryan Church is still getting the cobwebs out of his head after trying to break up a double play with his forehead. Enter into the picture Evans from the Double-A Binghamton Mets. In his first game for the Mets, the 22-year-old smacked three doubles in four trips to the plate and contributed two RBI. Evans’ ability to play both corner infield positions and the outfield should provide NL-only leagues an additional option heading into Week Nine.