Hopefully you were able to pick up Miguel Montero and trade Todd Helton 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.
Ben Francisco – Since the end of June, Francisco has been playing virtually every day, most often in left field and with occasional starts in center. In his last 25 games he has a .289/.421/.539 line. He has some room for growth in his HR output and could exceed RoS ZiPS forecast of five dingers. Francisco is owned in only 13 percent of CBS Sports leagues and has the ability to contribute in all five categories, although he is not likely to offer very much in AVG.
Jonathon Niese – The overall Triple-A numbers do not overwhelm you but he won his last five decisions for Buffalo. In his last eight starts in the International League, Niese went 5-1 with a 0.96 ERA, with 13 BBs and 46 Ks in 56.1 innings. In his first start since being promoted, Niese limited the Astros to one run in seven innings in a start at the Juice Box, and retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced.
Ryan Garko – With the trade to the Giants, Garko should receive regular playing time as the team’s new first baseman. He mashes LHP (.960 OPS this year) and holds his own versus RHP (.772 OPS). That is not great production for a first baseman but with the Giants in need of an upgrade for Travis Ishikawa, it should be enough to keep him in the lineup, something he struggled with in Cleveland. RoS ZiPS sees him with six HRs, a total I would bump up with the playing time boost.
John Lannan – In his last 10 starts, Lannan is 5-2 with a 2.44 ERA but with only 21 Ks in 73.2 innings. I seriously question whether any pitcher can succeed long term with a strikeout rate this low but I believe he can do it for the remainder of the season. From a fantasy perspective it is difficult to advocate a pitcher who has virtually no chance to help in strikeouts but for some odd reason the guys near the top of the leaderboards in Ks are rarely available in trades or on the waiver wire. Lannan is a player who should not cost much who has the potential to help in ERA, WHIP and W.
C.J. Wilson – Usually I avoid mentioning relievers because this is one area where most people are watching the waiver wire like hawks. Yet Wilson has the closer’s role in Texas while Frank Francisco is on the DL and is owned in only 35 percent of CBS Sports leagues. Now Francisco is not expected out for long because of his bout with pneumonia but he has also had problems with tendinitis, so you never know. Wilson should be an immediate add if you set a daily lineup.
Garrett Jones – You would have to be living under a rock to miss the slugging exploits of Jones, who has 10 HR in 88 ABs for the Pirates. That has led to some far out numbers, like a .761 SLG, a .432 ISO and a 1.140 OPS. But he also has a 34.5 percent HR/FB rate which will be a tad difficult to maintain going forward. Last year Jones looked like he was going to settle in for a long career as a AAAA slugger. No one doubts that he has power and can be a useful MLB player. But he has little chance of being a star and owners should see if he has any trade value in their league.
Johan Santana – When owners drafted Santana, they were expecting him to be one of the top starters in the game. He was great in April but has struggled to keep that pace since then. Santana has been very good but the production has not matched either the draft slot or the name value. He is 3-4 in his last seven games and has given up 15 runs despite two scoreless appearances. Santana closed 2008 with a great run and he has the ability to do that again. But owners owe it to themselves to explore his trade value and if he can return third-round level value, well that exceeds what Santana has produced so far in 2009.
Erick Aybar – In his last 17 games, Aybar is batting .471 with 16 RBIs, 13 R, and 3 SB. His trade value may never be higher. His BABIP checks in at .347, 30 points above his lifetime mark in the category. Aybar stole 32 bases in Triple-A in 2006 but has just 26 combined thefts between the majors and minors since then in two and a half seasons. And his lifetime .095 ISO tells you he is not likely to contribute any HR, either.
Randy Wells – It has been an impressive year so far for Wells, with 10 Quality Starts in 14 games. But I am concerned about him being able to maintain his current walk rate, which is under two per game. Also, in two full seasons at Triple-A, Wells’ strand rate was under 70 percent both times but so far this year it checks in at 78.9 percent. Add in a BABIP and a HR/FB rate both slightly below average and it adds up to a pitcher who could fall off some down the stretch.
Shane Victorino – He is unlikely to match last year’s totals in either HR or SB. Yet Victorino has been just as valuable a fantasy player because he is on pace to set career-highs in AVG, R and RBIs. Victorino’s BABIP of .342 is 24 points above his previous career best mark in the category. Also, he is walking more than he has previously in his career. Regression in BABIP would hurt him across the board.