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AL OF Stock Watch

A thousand pardons for this being late, I know you all planned your Monday’s around this.

Bullish:
Ryan Kalish – With recent sidelining of Ryan Sweeney to the 15-day disabled list with a stress fracture in his toe, the Boston Red Sox have called up Kalish to take his spot. Pre-2010, Kalish was a good prospect, even ranking in Baseball America’s top 100 in 2008. He hit well at every level and was promoted to the big leagues in late July of 2010 at the age 22. Unfortunately, injuries in 2011 to his neck and shoulder threw off his trajection of staying in the big leagues. He is now healthy and back in the majors. As for his fantasy relevance, he is currently OF eligible, but he may soon be CF eligible as well. He was never much of a power threat in the minors, but he offers some walks with gap power. He runs a little bit too, and in his 179 plate appearance performance in 2010 he managed to nab 10 stolen bases and was caught just once. Keep an eye on his strikeouts though, as his Triple-A strikeout rate has never been below 20%. If you need outfield help, or are just replacing Sweeney, Kalish could be a decent bet. I have a team that has been ravaged by injuries, so I’m taking a flier on him. He is owned in 1% of both Yahoo! and ESPN leagues.

Brandon Moss – Yesterday’s Roto Riteup contained a very good section on Moss, so I’ll try not to rehash the same thing here. Moss’ Triple-A home/road splits are interesting to me. Sacramento, despite being in the PCL isn’t exactly your typical PCL park. According to StatCorner.com, it depresses wOBA 12 points for left-handed batters and eight points for right-handed batters. The interesting thing is that the park factors for home runs is especially depressed, down at 73 and 71 for left and right-handed batters respectively. BaseballThinkFactory also corroborates the idea that Sacramento suppresses home runs, at least in part. For 2011, BBTF has Sacramento at a home run multiplier of 0.87, again, considerably depressed compared to the league norm. MinorLeagueCentral has Moss hitting 15 home runs before being called up this year with a split of four at home and 11 on the road. Given that Moss powered 23 dingers last year and has shown above average power this year, it wouldn’t hurt to pick him up. Everyone knows that the Coliseum isn’t an ideal park for any hitter, but Moss has shown that he can power home runs out of the most unfriendliest of places. His Yahoo! ownership is 19% and ESPN rate is up to 29% already. I’d pick him up now.

Yan Gomes – Okay, so he isn’t outfield eligible just yet, (he is at 8 appearances) but he should be shortly. It is a real possibility that you haven’t even heard of Gomes, as I am I ashamed to admit that I hadn’t until about a week ago. Then he clubbed three home runs in 44 plate appearances and a lot o people took notice. I don’t know how real his power is, but as a right-handed batter who hits at the Rogers Centre, he may be worth investing in. His previous home run high came last year, hitting 14 total, one in Rookie ball and the other 13 in Double-A. He knocked seven this year in Triple-A, but Las Vegas is a right-handed hitter’s heaven. I would expect some of his minor league power to translate into more doubles than homers at the major league level, but Gomes could be full of surprises. He has less than 50 PA’s at the MLB level so it is hard to judge what he can or will do, but I predict a 27% strikeout rate and a ton of doubles. He is first base and third base eligible right now, so if you need help in the corners, he could be your guy. I’d place him on my watch list. He’s still pretty far under the radar. I might give him another week or so before picking him up, but do keep an eye on him. He shouldn’t be a huge prize to own right now, as his ESPN ownership rate is exactly 0.00% and his Yahoo! rate is also 0%.

Bearish:
Nelson Cruz – Similar to his April, Cruz is currently having a miserable June. At this point in June, his triple slash is .196/.68/.373. I caught a ton of flack for rating Cruz so low in the May tiered update rankings, then he had a huge May and I looked silly. Now that I promoted Cruz a couple weeks ago, he has once again nosedived. I think he’s doing this on purpose to me. How dare he! Cruz has just five RBI’s this month. He is striking out over 30% of time too. Of course months and days tend to be nothing more than arbitrary starting and ending points, but it seems as though Cruz is just a very very streaky player. Perhaps someone smarter than I on the main site can do further research into him and his streaks. For now, be happy that you owned him in May and now be miserable that you didn’t sell high on him. But fear not! I’m sure in two weeks time this paragraph will look silly after Cruz crushes nine home runs in a five day span.

Ichiro Suzuki – I don’t mean to pile on to Ichiro, I really don’t, but his April average was .294. His average in May dropped to .250. Now over halfway through June, his monthly average is .206. I don’t catch many Mariners games so I couldn’t tell you what is wrong exactly, but clearly something is off. I’ve done this before with Ichiro, but it is a strong enough point that I feel that I should reiterate it: Over his past 1,012 plate appearances, Ichiro’s batting average is .267. He still offers speed with nine stolen bases against zero caught stealing, but we are a third of the way through the season. Just last year he nabbed 13 bags in April and May alone. There are signs all across the board that he is or already has slowed down. The best I can look forward to now is his Hall of Fame induction speech.