As we march toward the final month of the season, it’s time to dive back into the free agent pool and make transactions strictly based on categorical needs. So if you’re in need of power or a pitcher, read on.
David Cooper | TOR 1B | CBS 3% Owned
The latest injury to Adam Lind opens up first base for the 25-year old Cooper. He has made excellent contact at Triple-A over the last two years, especially for someone who possesses above average power. Speaking of power, he experienced a mini breakout in that department this year at Triple-A, as his ISO jumped above .200 for the first time. Granted, it was his second tour of duty at the level, but he showed a very strong set of skills. He has shown good plate patience, posting walk rates above 12% and hasn’t needed a huge BABIP to hit above .300.
It’s still a relatively small sample, but so far his batted ball distribution is a dream for fantasy owners. He has been hitting line drives like crazy and hitting fly balls over 40% of the time. The line drives will boost his BABIP, while the fly ball rate will help him maintain his power gains. Last year, Blue Jays left-handed hitters enjoyed a home run park factor of 105, and the park played well for both doubles and triples also. He’s not going to contribute anything in steals as he has stolen just one base during his entire professional career. However, he can contribute in batting average and provide above replacement level power.
Mark Rogers | MIL SP | 7% Owned
The fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft, Rogers was once a top prospect, even making our top 10 list back in December of 2010. As happens a lot with young pitchers, Rogers has dealt with his share of injuries, with shoulder surgery causing him to miss all of the 2007 and 2008 seasons. That usually hampers a pitcher’s velocity, but Rogers has averaged 94.5 miles per hour with his fastball so far. Though his Triple-A strikeout rates were uninspiring, he has punched out over 10 batters per 9 in a limited sample, and that is supported by an excellent 11.8% SwStk%. For a guy who throws in the mid-90s, I’m not exactly sure why his strikeout rate was so mediocre during his time at Triple-A this season.
So his stuff sounds good, but control has been a major problem throughout his career. So far so good on that front though, as his F-Strike% is well above average. Now the question is whether he can continue to throw first strikes. Unless the light bulb suddenly went on, it would be prudent to expect his control to regress and him to struggle at times. But, as we have found, control improvement is easiest to come by for a young pitcher, so there is hope. Rogers is somewhat of a crapshoot given his injury history and inconsistent and sometimes underwhelming minor league career. However, he does appear to have the stuff to give him the upside needed to give him a whirl in deep leagues.