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The Wire Troll: The Arrival of Taijuan Walker

September 1, 2013 | by Tim McLeod | Comments (0)
Taijuan Walker has been recalled by the Seattle Mariners.
Taijuan Walker looked very sharp in his big league debut.

With September upon us, the annual rite known as roster expansion has arrived. This week, we’ll identify some of the candidates that we know will be looking at callups and then have our season finale of the Wire Troll next week, with the campaign waning.

For September callups, playing time always has to be a concern but some of these kids aren’t simply getting the call as a reward for a great season down on the farm. Teams that are out of the playoff hunt will be using September as an opportunity to get a jump on 2014 and the contenders will be looking to rest some of their regulars heading into the playoffs. Picking and choosing which of these prospects can return value is always a bit of a challenge, but rest assured, some of these September callups will be valued contributors to our game.

Without further ado let’s get to this week’s Troll.

Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners (CBS: 46 per cent owned, ESPN: 16 per cent): There was some doubt as to whether or not we’d get the opportunity to see our fourth-ranked prospect this season in Seattle. Walker was flat out dominant at Double-A but endured some struggles with his promotion to Triple-A at the end of May. In his MLB debut last week against the Astros, he looked great (who doesn’t against Houston? Hell, I think I fired two shutout innings of relief against the ‘Stros) and has the Royals next on the schedule. Walker should be owned and active in all formats, but with 146 1/3 IP already in the books this year, you can rest assured that he won’t be overworked down the stretch. Keep that in mind when you’re digging into the FAAB cash this weekend. Not convinced of Walker’s talent? Take a look at his stuff in the video below and pay attention to the radar readings on the sign above the umpire’s head — especially on the final pitch of the sequence.

Dustin Ackley, 2B/OF, Seattle Mariners (CBS: 30 per cent owned, ESPN: 16 per cent): Ackley was a huge disappointment to his owners early on this year, but seems to have found a renewed lease on life since a stint at Triple-A Tacoma and a move to the outfield. Last week, he was on an absolute tear with two homers, eight RBI, and an off-the-charts .462 BA. Ackley should get regular at-bats down the stretch and be a solid addition to your Fantasy middle-infield.

Angel Pagan, OF, San Francisco Giants (CBS: 34 per cent owned, ESPN: We’ve finally had a Pagan sighting in the City by the Bay. Out since the end of May (hamstring surgery), he was activated Friday, immediately inserted into the top of the lineup, and stole a base in his second game Saturday. Pagan’s principle value will be in runs and stolen bases, and based on the early returns he should be a good source of both in September.

Danny Duffy, SP, Kansas City Royals (CBS: 30 per cent owned, ESPN: 7 per cent): The Wade Davis as a starter experiment has officially drawn to a conclusion with Duffy sliding into his rotation slot. After struggling in his first start, Duffy has pitched two absolute gems, tossing six innings of one-hit ball against the Tigers followed by 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Twins. He’s heading into a two-start week facing Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander, but don’t let that sway your decision to have him active this week as both of those studs have struggled recently. Duffy should be a strong asset down the stretch and you can bet he’ll be a popular sleeper next year.

Other Options

Ryan Goins, SS/2B, Toronto Blue Jays (CBS: 1 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): When the Goins good, you gotta get Goins. [Editorial note: as cringe worthy as that sentence was, we're leaving it in there so people can see what we must endure.]

Matt den Dekker, OF, New York Mets (CBS/ESPN: unowned): den Dekker has a little speed, a little power, and a little playing time. That’s worth a little look.

Tanner Roark, RP, Washington Nationals (CBS: 4 per cent owned, ESPN: 4 per cent): Roark could have value in deeper leagues as a starter. Will he get that opportunity?

Yoervis Medina, RP, Seattle Mariners (CBS: 3 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): Very quietly, Medina has put up some great numbers in the Seattle bullpen. He’s now up to 16 holds and 63 punchouts in 58 2/3 IP and should be owned and rostered in a lot more than a meagre three per cent of CBS leagues.

Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers (CBS: 21 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): The top prospect has been confirmed by the Tigers brain trust as being ready for the Show for some time now, but the question as to whether we’d see him this fall has finally been answered. Castellanos is arriving in Detroit Sunday and with the Tigers currently enjoying an 8.5-game lead atop the AL Central, he should get plenty of at-bats when the Tigers rest the veterans over the final two weeks of the season, but his PT will probably be sparse until then. Castellanos is also listed at third base at both CBS and ESPN which is a nice bonus.

Robbie Erlin, SP, San Diego Padres (CBS: 4 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Erlin looked solid last week against Arizona and this week faces the rather weak-hitting Giants. He’s worth a look if you’re trying to gain points by streaming pitching.

Josmil Pinto, C, Minnesota Twins (CBS/ESPN: unowned): Pinto mashed 15 long balls between two minor league levels this year and current starter Joe Mauer isn’t going to catch forever. In fact, Mauer might not catch at all down the stretch, leaving the work to Pinto.

Alberto Callaspo, 2B/3B, Oakland Athletics (CBS: 15 per cent owned, ESPN: 2 per cent): Callaspo is hitting for average and has recently achieved second base eligibility, making him a viable option in deeper formats.

Who’s your best bet as a waiver wire pick this week? Let us know in the comments below.

RotoRob’s Fantasy Baseball Weekly Podcast

Crave more in-depth Fantasy analysis? Then join us every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST for RotoRob’s Fantasy Baseball Weekly Podcast on Blogtalkradio. Tim McLeod and RotoRob will entertain and edify you for a half hour or more each week. Tune in here.

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The Wire Troll: Brian Roberts Finally Healthy

August 25, 2013 | by Tim McLeod | Comments (0)
It seems we can finally use the words “healthy” and “Brian Roberts” in the same sentence. It has been a long time coming. In his past seven starts, Roberts has driven in eight runs, capped off by a grand slam Friday against the A’s. Finding help in those counting categories out of the middle-infield is never an easy task and Roberts should provide just that heading into September.
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The Wire Troll: Lo and Behold, a Closer is Born in Houston

August 18, 2013 | by Tim McLeod | Comments Comments Off
Since coming back from a two-month DL stint, Estrada has looked super sharp (two starts, 11 IP, five hits, no walks, and only one earned run). Is it possible he’s going to duplicate his 2012 stretch run (3.12 in August and 2.63 in September last year)?
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The Wire Troll: Kole Calhoun Raking for Halos

August 4, 2013 | by Tim McLeod | Comments (1)
Calhoun has been absolutely feasting on the Jays’ pitching this weekend, going 7-for-15 with two homers, three RBI and one theft. He was enjoying an impressive year at Triple-A Salt Lake (with a flair for the dramatic, as you can see in the video below) and should generate some serious FAAB spending this weekend.
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The Wire Troll: The Return of Juan Nicasio

July 28, 2013 | by Tim McLeod | Comments (4)
This week is the MLB non-waiver trading deadline, so pay close attention to rumours and deals as they can have a huge impact on Fantasy value, especially when your closer suddenly gets moved somewhere and becomes a set-up man. D’oh! Who will be the buyers and sellers and what opportunities will be created out of the chaos? Monitor all the moves this week as there is certain to be opportunities that will provide your Fantasy squads a boost.
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