September is almost upon us, which is when my job gets infinitely easier. Luckily, a trade and poor performance from an incumbent has given these interesting lads an opportunity. Hopefully the opportunity is used to perform well and earn some Only league value.
Danny Duffy | KC SP | CBS 8% Owned
With Wade Davis finally banished back to the bullpen, the Royals have nabbed Danny Duffy as his replacement. He’ll make the start later today in Minnesota. After an exciting spring performance back in 2012, followed by lots of strikeouts and lots of walks over his first six starts of the regular season, Duffy suffered a tear in his UCL which led to Tommy John surgery in June. He finally returned to the mound for Kansas City earlier this month and has made another 14 starts in the minors. Normally, I would not recommend a pitcher immediately upon his return from TJ surgery. See:
Mark my words: Brandon Beachy will be worthless in fantasy leagues this year. 13% BB% in AAA after returning from TJ surgery. Stay away.
— Mike Podhorzer (@MikePodhorzer) July 25, 2013
Adding to this head-scratcher of a recommendation, Brandon Beachy possessed good control pre-surgery, Duffy did not. However, Duffy’s strikeout potential is hard to ignore. He whiffed 28 batters in just 16 innings at Double-A and another 59 in 53 innings at Triple-A. The fastball velocity is down from last year, but it’s not totally fair to make the comparison since he enjoyed a two mph spike in 2012. His velocity is right in line with where he sat in 2011, so it’s nothing to worry about. I wouldn’t expect a pretty WHIP, but given his strikeouts and upside to post an ERA around 4.00 or just above, that would give him some positive value in an AL-Only league where the pickings are slim.
Matt den Dekker | NYM OF | CBS 0% Owned
A 0% owned player! Understand how cool it would be if you were the first fantasy owner in all the world to pick up Matt den Dekker. The feeling would be unparalleled. With Marlon Byrd being shipped off to the Pirates, den Dekker has been recalled and figures to get some decent playing time. As a left-handed hitter, my thought is that he’ll fall into the good side of a platoon with right-hander Andrew Brown. The 26-year-old isn’t a prospect and in fact, this is the first article he has even been mentioned in on FanGraphs (congratulations Matt!). Den Dekker has been limited to just 264 plate appearances this season due to a fractured wrist he sustained during spring straining.
Though he has received little fanfare, he does possess an interesting combination of power and speed. Unfortunately, he strikes out a bit too much to be a real force as a home run hitter given his middling power, but in an Only league, he does have the ability to contribute positive value in the category. He also brings speed to the table, which is something you could probably bank on more confidently than his power. His BABIP marks have bounced around, so it’s hard to gauge if he’ll be neutral in batting average or hurt you given the potential for a high strikeout rate. If he gets the at-bats versus right-handers though, he should contribute a bit all around.