Today we take another stroll into the dangerous and deep waters of the free agent pool of mystery. During our treasure search, we find a pitcher with a new name and pitch mix and an outfielder that was just called up.
Roberto Hernandez | TAM SP | 8% Owned
The artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona is back with a new name and pitch mix. On the main FanGraphs blog, we have already discussed Hernandez twice. Never a strikeout pitcher in the past — his career high K/9 is just 5.7 — he is suddenly punching batters out at an 8.8 rate. His SwStk% is also at a career best at 9.2%, after not exceeding 7.9% since 2007. The majority of the credit should go to his change-up, which has generated a SwStk% of 17.5% and has been thrown much more frequently than in the past.
He remains a strong ground ball pitcher and has continued to show pretty good control over the past several seasons. What does that mean? We have the skills trifecta hiding beneath a 5.28 ERA! A ridiculous 24% HR/FB ratio which has killed his ability to strand runners is to blame for the inflated ERA. But his SIERA is just 3.41 and his skill improvement is easily explainable. With a surprising ownership of just 8% in CBS leagues, he should be available for either free or peanuts in AL-Only and deep mixed leagues. Make the move now!
Marcell Ozuna | MIA OF | 4% Owned
Ozuna was called up yesterday to make his Major League debut for the fish to replace the injured Giancarlo Stanton. Once again, the team isn’t being shy about promoting prospects who don’t seem to actually be ready for the big show. So here are the negatives: he has no Triple-A experience and just 47 plate appearances at Double-A, plays for a horrific offense and calls a pitcher’s park home. That is enough for me to not get too excited about his short-term prospects and keep this recommendation to NL-Only leagues.
So now let’s talk about the positives. He does have power, posting .200+ ISO marks at both Single-A and High-A in 2011 and 2012. During his short stint at Double-A this season, his power surged higher, as he hit five long balls, three doubles and a triple, good for a .476 ISO. He also has some speed and may be able to steal 10 bases or so in a full season of at-bats. His contact rate has been acceptable, though his plate patience could use a bit of work. The biggest opportunity here is that he’s going to play. The team didn’t call him up to bench him every couple of games and it’s not like they have any good alternatives. With literally no power outside of Justin Ruggiano (it boggles my mind that he continues to hit fifth when he’s the team’s only power threat and probably best offensive force with Stanton injured), they need to give Ozuna a chance to contribute some run production to their meager offense.