Hopefully you were able to pick up Adam LaRoche and trade Derek Lowe last week. But even if you stood pat there are still plenty of acquisition targets and trade bait guys out there for you. So, here are five guys to pick up and five guys to move.
Andre Ethier – With Manny Ramirez in the lineup, Ethier had a .317/.438/.558 line. Once Ramirez was suspended, Ethier’s numbers fell to .222/.293/.438. But as you may have heard, Manny is back now and hopefully Ethier’s production picks up, too. Ethier is also being slowed by a .264 BABIP. His lifetime mark in the category is .323 and he had a .336 mark last season.
Charlie Morton – He has been very productive in Triple-A the past two seasons but struggled last year during his MLB debut. He fell behind Tommy Hanson and others in the Braves pecking order but now has a new lease on life in Pittsburgh. Morton averages 91.6 with his fastball and he complements that with both a slider and a changeup. He throws ground balls, keeps the ball in the park and gets a few more strikeouts than you might expect. Morton has a 5.82 K/9, which while lower than his minor league numbers, is consistent with the 5.79 K/9 he put up in 16 games with Atlanta last season.
Martin Prado – Atlanta’s super sub has not fallen off since taking over the full-time second base job. In his last 10 starts, Prado has a .405/.457/.667 line. He has third base eligibility from last year and depending on your league settings, he might qualify at 1B (19) and 2B (14), too. Prado’s BABIP seems high at .329 but he has a lifetime .340 mark in the category.
Ryan Sadowski – The first thing that jumps out at you with the Giants rookie is the 4.17 GB/FB ratio in his first two major league starts. In Triple-A this year he had a 47.6 percent ground ball ratio compared to 29.8 percent fly balls. The Giants rank fifth in the NL in DER with a .703 mark and sixth overall in UZR with a 22.9 rating. And with Juan Uribe taking over at 2B, the Giants have a stronger infield defense than earlier in the season. Sadowski does not have star potential but he could be a nice option to fill out the back of your pitching staff. Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle had a nice story recently on Sadowski and his path to the majors.
Gordon Beckham – The eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft, Beckham hit 28 homers in 275 at-bats in his junior season at Georgia. After a slow start in the majors, Beckham is batting .405-2-8 in his last 10 games. The big question coming out of college was if Beckham could play SS in the majors. Right now he is settling in as the starting 3B for the White Sox. His power will be nothing special for a 3B but he hit .322 in parts of two seasons in the upper minors and he could be a four-category contributor, with only a limited value in SB.
Aaron Rowand – He had a career year in 2007 thanks to a personal-best .348 BABIP. This year he checks in with a .368 mark in the category. In addition to hitting .309, 2007 was such a good year because he hit 27 HR. Rowand should easily top last year’s mark of 13, but updated ZiPS forecasts him to finish with 16. He is not a force in any of the other categories, so trade him while his AVG is flirting with .300
Nick Blackburn – It is tough to succeed consistently while striking out fewer than four batters per game and that is the tightrope that Blackburn walks. Currently, his ERA sits at 2.94 thanks to a 76.3 percent strand rate and a HR/FB mark of 6.5 percent. Right now Blackburn is a plus pitcher in three categories and now is the time to trade him while his value is highest.
Hideki Matsui – After being forced to the bench for eight straight Interleague games, Matsui has been on a mini hot streak, batting .500-3-10 in his last six games. But Matsui’s value is being propped up by a career-best 16.9 percent HR/FB ratio. His .253 ISO is also a career-high and only the third time in his seven-year career he has been over .200 in the category. Matsui has room for improvement in his AVG but is likely to drop off in HR while his R/RBI numbers are nothing special. And since he is limited to DH duty, Matsui faces limits on his playing time, especially if Jorge Posada’s thumb needs extra time off from behind the plate.
Jair Jurrjens – He has lost five of his last six decisions yet Jurrjens has seen his ERA go up only 0.37 runs in that span. But Jurrjens has been a little lucky, too. After allowing a FB% of 26.5 percent last year, in 2009 that number is 40.5 percent. But his HR/FB is 5.4 percent, the eighth-lowest mark in the majors. In addition to the good fortune with homers, Jurrjens has a 75.9 percent strand rate and a .279 BABIP. So, while everyone else focuses on his run support (two runs or fewer in nine of 18 games), be aware that his ERA and WHIP are likely to rise in the coming months.
Michael Cuddyer – ESPN shows Cuddyer on track to hit 27 HR, which would be a career-high for him. He is hitting slightly fewer fly balls than he did last year but the homers are coming thanks to a 17.6 percent HR/FB ratio, which would be (you guessed it) a personal-best.
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