The Wire Troll: The Call-up Edition
The September call-ups are all either here or on their way and, as always, this rather large influx of talent is definitely worthy of a look-see. The potential for some last minute hidden gems is always there, as well as some possible previews of what we have to look forward to heading into the 2009 season. For those of us playing in keeper formats, the end to one season is merely the starting point of another.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of this weeks potential pickups.
Adam Jones, Baltimore, OF: Jones returned from the DL September 1 in rather fine style, hitting a homer in his first game back. Since then he has gone 0-for-13, and has struggled. He was heating up rather nicely until being sidelined by that fractured left foot at the beginning of August and is one of my “sleeper” picks to click heading into the 2009 season. Jones should be rostered in all AL-only formats and deep keeper leagues.
Mat Gamel, Milwaukee, 3B: The 23-year-old had a great year at Double-A Huntsville this year, batting .329 BA with 19 homers and 96 RBI. There is no doubt that he can be an offensive contributor for the Brew Crew, but with Milwaukee being in the heat of a pennant chase, Gamel is probably going to see limited at bats down the stretch. He’s a definite solid choice in all keeper formats and someone that should be on the radar for an increase in opportunities should the Brewers look to be resting regulars in those last few games of the season.
Matt Antonelli, San Diego, 2B: The release of Tad Iguchi this past week is giving Padre fans the opportunity to see the future at second base. Antonelli has had a very disappointing 2008, with a .215 BA, seven homers, 39 RBI, and only six thefts for the Triple-A Portland Beavers. Compare that his stellar 2007 campaign at Double-A, especially those 28 stolen bases, and there is certainly reason for concern. Since the call-up he does seem overmatched, with only one hit to date, but he is going to play, so for those playing in NL-only leagues and deep keeper formats, he is worth a gamble. Second base is not going to be a position with a surplus of talent heading into 2009.
Travis Snider, Toronto, OF: The 20-year-old Snider split his season between three levels in the minors this year. The combined .275 BA, 23 homers and 91 RBI are certainly very impressive credentials for a player just barely out of his teens. But that’s just it — he’s very young, and with a 2.5 K-to-BB ratio, he is definitely going to need some work on his strike zone judgment. Snider has the potential to be a regular fixture in the Jay outfield as early as next spring, but in all probability he is looking at some further time in the minors to start the 2009 campaign. He is going to see significant playing time down the stretch, making him a solid acquisition in all formats.
Brandon Morrow, Seattle, SP/RP: It would seem that the recent call-up of Morrow has not gone unnoticed and rightfully so. His ownership in CBS leagues has jumped 18 percentage points over the past two weeks, and with the stellar return to the rotation against the Yankees Friday, it certainly seems warranted. Morrow has allowed only 19 hits in 44 1/3 IP this year and seems to be giving Mariner fans a reason for some optimism heading into 2009. He’s a solid acquisition in all formats at this time.
Nate Schierholtz, San Francisco, OF: Schierholtz’s fine season for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies warranted a call-up. After smacking 18 HR with 73 RBI and a .320 BA at Triple-A, he should be guaranteed some playing time down the stretch for the Giants, making him a solid acquisition in NL-only formats.
Brett Anderson, Oakland, SP: This one is for all of you guys playing in deeper dynasty formats. Anderson, part of the loot acquired in the Dan Haren deal with the Diamondbacks, is coming off a very solid year. The 20-year-old southpaw has struck out 118 in 105 IP with only 27 walks. A potential “ace,” Anderson could be a part of the A’s rotation as early as next spring.
Josh Anderson, Atlanta, OF: Anderson is another of those players that brings serious speed to the table. He managed 42 steals and a very solid .314 BA, playing for the Triple-A Richmond Braves this ayear. Since being recalled August 27, Anderson is hitting to the tune of a .297 BA, with seven runs scored and three stolen bases. Most importantly, he’s playing full-time and hitting in the lead-off slot. The Braves, in the midst of a rare off-season, look to be giving Anderson a serious preview for next spring. For those with the need for speed, Anderson is a solid acquisition.
Dallas McPherson, Florida, 3B: McPherson was recalled September 2 from Triple-A Albuquerque where he enjoyed a stellar season, batting .275 with 42 homers, 98 RBI and 14 stolen bases. It seems as if the chronic back problems that have sidelined his career are now behind him, and the Marlins should be giving the 28-year-old a good preview for the 2009 season, making him a solid grab in AL-only leagues.
Rajai Davis, San Francisco, OF: The name of the game for Davis is speed and Saturday he managed his fourth stolen base in five games. He is also in the midst of a nice little hitting streak, with a .333 BA over the past ten games and even managed to sneak in a pinch-hit grand slam against the O’s Friday. If your fantasy squad needs some last-minute stolen bases, Davis would be a great addition.
Takashi Saito, Los Angeles, RP: I must confess this one totally shocked me. Wandering through the list of closers currently on the DL in search of some last minute saves, I happened upon Saito and found that he is currently owned in only 22 per cent of all leagues playing over at CBS. He is eligible to come off the DL September 12, and although 2008 has not been a stellar campaign, he is still sitting with a 2.18 ERA, 17 saves, and 53 K in 41 1/3 IP. The Dodgers are currently in the heat of a pennant race and could certainly use this addition to their bullpen for the stretch run.
Steven Shell, Washington, RP: Shell picked up his second save Saturday when Joel Hanrahan struggled to get the job done against the Braves. The former Angel is currently sporting a 2.01 ERA in 40 1/3 IP, and has very quietly been getting the job done for the Nats. He would have to be considered the set-up man in Washington and the first in line for saves should Hanrahan falter down the stretch. He’s a solid grab in all leagues using holds and should be on the radar for that save potential.
Dennis Sarfate, Baltimore, SP/RP: This one is a bit of a reach, but with Jimmy Johnson sitting out the balance of the year, someone has to be pitching at the end of games for Baltimore. Sarfate walks too many, and his experience as a starter was horrible. But, again, who is going to be the set-up guy down the stretch, assuming that George Sherrill resumes closing as scheduled next week? Sarfate’s ERA was seriously inflated as a result of four starts at the beginning of August, but now that he’s back in the pen, he has been effective, with 83 K in 77 1/3 IP. If you are in a league that uses holds, and wish to gamble on the potential save opportunities, he is a decent option.
George Sherrill, Baltimore, RP: Sherrill is currently rostered in only 45 per cent of all leagues over at CBS. That would mean that almost half of all leagues are going to be missing out once he returns from that left shoulder inflammation, which is tentatively slated for next week. In the event that Baltimore can actually string together some wins, Sherrill is probably worth the investment if you require saves down the stretch.
Coco Crisp, Boston, OF: The forgotten man in the Boston outfield, Crisp has very quiety been hitting to the tune of .472 with one homer, ten runs scored, nine RBI and four stolen bases over the past ten games. As long as he’s hot, he’s going to be getting the at bats, giving J.D. Drew ample time to give that herniated disc a rest. Crisp makes for a solid option in all formats at this time.
Alfredo Aceves, New York Yankees, RP: The Yankees, tiring of Darrell Rasner, have decided to give Aceves a start this coming Tuesday. The 25-year-old right-hander was signed out of Mexico this past winter and went 8-6 with a 2.62 ERA over three levels in the minors in 23 starts this season. Since being promoted August 28 from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he has allowed only one earned run in seven IP, to go along with a strikeout per inning. In 140 2/3 IP he allowed only a scant 27 free passes this year, a very impressive stat. He’s a solid acquisition in AL-only leagues and should be on the radar in all formats.