About a quarter of the regular season remains, so fantasy baseball players can’t expect much of an influx of talent in their leagues’ free-agent pools. What talent does hit the wire is running out of time to have a say in the standings, too.
The players I wanted to audition for a second entry in my WW this week have been profiled in the last few days. I hoped to find an American League player, one who had just come into some playing time or has an attractive schedule upcoming.
I should have known better than to think that anyone would beat Mike Podhorzer to a write-up on Carlos Carrasco. I like the Cleveland Indians’ latest starter more than Eno Sarris seems to like him – not so much because I think there’s a change, and more so because the news gives me a little hope that he’ll buck the confidence issue which has plagued him. Now that Cleveland has pretty much given up, there won’t be much pressure on him, relatively speaking. I like J.A. Happ for the reasons Brett Talley cites, especially the LHP’s upcoming schedule – in spite of last night’s hiccup at the Seattle Mariners. And Podhorzer jumped on Jake Marisnick about a week and a half ago. The Houston Astros’ deadline acquisition figures to play regularly, at least for the next couple of weeks thanks to a George Springer (strained quadriceps) setback.
And so, for the second entry, I give you a warm body – but at least it’s one who has a little power and speed.
OF Rymer Liriano, San Diego Padres
Ownership: CBS 18% | Yahoo! 8% | ESPN 2.5%
This 23-year-old is the first graduate of the Friars’ Dominican baseball academy to hit The Show with the parent club. He’d have been up sooner had he not needed ligament reconstruction in his right elbow, a procedure that cost him the entire 2013 season. Liriano, 23, was the organization’s top prospect and a top-100 MLB prospect at the conclusion of the 2012 campaign, before he went under the knife.
On the one hand, it appears that Liriano has recovered quite nicely, having hit .291/.362/.473 with 14 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 486 plate appearances across two levels this year. On the other, his rates received a significant boost from the numbers he put up in the 71 PAs he spent with Triple-A El Paso of the Pacific Coast League before his promotion. In essentially a full season (621 PAs) at Double-A San Antonio, where he faced his toughest farm test, he hit .260/.335/.421, with 17 round-trippers, 27 stolen bases and a 24.5% strikeout rate. On the third hand, those marks came in parts of two seasons, with a year of no competitive baseball that interrupted them.
I think that 2014 ZiPS (.212/.277/.313, with one dinger and four thefts, in 88 PAs) is a bit harsh on Liriano. Steamer (.230/.297/.341, with one bomb and a couple of steals, in 72 PAs) isn’t any kinder. His rates are definitely at risk to be that poor, however, given the holes in his approach. But the Pads have 44 games left, so he could as much as double the playing time projection.
I like the player more in the long term than in redrafters. Having said that, Liriano has major league talent. It’s a bit of a surprise that SD called him up, but they did. There aren’t going to be too many more potential difference-makers on offense who hit the player pool before this season ends.
I’m one of two players to have bid on Liriano in my Mixed Tout Wars Draft league, a 15-team setup, this past Sunday night. News that he was expected to be called up broke only several hours before our FAAB deadline, so that was likely a factor, however. I tossed $6 at him, and I’d had only $14 remaining. I missed him by a buck. He could turn out to be what you might call a waste of fake money, but it’s never a waste of fake money to take a chance at this point in the season.
Upcoming schedule: COL (1), @STL (4), @LA (3), @ARI (3), MIL (3), LAD (3)
OF Jordan Danks, Chicago White Sox
Ownership: CBS 0% | Yahoo! 0% | ESPN 0.0%
Pretty much, no one wants this guy, at least in the fantasy game. Fair enough. Danks, 28, is at best a Quad-A player at this stage of his career.
Now that Adam Eaton (strained oblique) is on the disabled list, the ChiSox have a hole in center field, though, and Danks is about the only player in the organization who can fill it comfortably. (It looks as if the previous regime was pretty far off the mark with Jared Mitchell.) Even if/when Avisail Garcia (surgery to repair torn labrum in shoulder) returns to action, if he beats Eaton, which seems like a good possibility, the outfielder once thought to be out for the season won’t be a good option in center. He wasn’t before he went under the knife to fix his non-throwing shoulder. Alejandro De Aza could push Danks to the bench by that time, but the Sox could be splitting hairs by then.
Danks has received only 311 major league plate appearances in his career. Not to say that he’s a hidden gem who’s never really had an opportunity, although the latter part is sort of true. He has seven home runs and 13 stolen bases (in 17 attempts) in the bigs. We could double those marks and call them a full season, and they wouldn’t be bad for the fantasy gamer. Is his lifetime .210/.293/.319 line much different from what De Aza has done this season? Not really.
For those desperate for a warm body in AL-only leagues, Danks may fit the bill. It’s pretty unlikely that he’ll shock the world, but he could pop one or two out at the Cell (or Yankee Stadium) and swipe a base or three before he cedes PT to someone who more resembles a regular on the South Side.
Upcoming schedule: @SF (1), TOR (3), BAL (3), @NYY (3), CLE (3), DET (4)
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