Craig Stammen (SP – Nationals)
Despite early indications to the contrary, Craig Stammen will remain in the rotation upon the return of Scott Olsen, while Shairon Martis is sent down to Triple-A. I am a bit more bullish on Stammen than most others, but I still do believe that he is not much more than a desperate option for an NL-only team. Stammen’s 3.2 K/9 in Triple-A this season is startlingly offensive, but it is counter-balanced by a 1.8 BB/9 and a 2.03 ground out to air out ratio. The combination of these skills had resulted in a 1.80 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP in Triple-A this season. In his 7 major league starts he has upped the K/9 to 4.58; the BB/9 has risen to 2.29; and, the GO/AO ratio has fallen to 1.53. While in the majors, he has been victimized by a 57% strand rate, which leaves his FIP (4.26) considerably lower than his ERA (5.49). He isn’t going to be missing many bats in the majors (87.5% contact rate), but I still do see some potential value at the back of an NL-only rotation due to his mix of throwing strikes and inducing ground balls.
Fernando Nieve (SP – Mets)
After being roughed up on Monday, Jerry Manuel confirmed that Fernando Nieve will remain in the rotation for his next start. Nieve is somewhat of an intriguing arm, as is shown by his 8.9 K/9 in the minors this season, but the bottom line remains that he has been massively lucky since joining the rotation. Even after the terrible outing on Monday, Nieve’s FIP (4.34) remains more than two full points higher than his ERA (2.25). This discrepancy is due to an 89.4% strand rate, a .271 BABIP, and a 6.1% HR/FB rate. Nieve is definitely worth owning in NL-only leagues, but I would be trying to move him very quickly right now based on his 5.25 K/9 and 3.75 BB/9 in the majors this year.
Garrett Jones (OF/1B – Pirates)
After trading Eric Hinske to the Yankees, Garrett Jones was called up by the Pirates to take his place on the roster. Jones is 28 years old and has just 77 major league at bats to his name. He is a power bat that has never been able to break through to the majors due to his below-average contact skills (.258 career minor league BA); although, he has shown signs of improvement in this area (BA of .280 / .279 / .307 in his last 3 seasons). He is having one of his best seasons at Triple-A this year with a .307 / .348 / .502 line, while also adding 12 HR and 14 SB. Jones doesn’t project as much long-term, and will be among many players competing for at bats in the outfield and at 1st base in Pittsburgh. I anticipate that Adam LaRoche will be the next Pirate shipped out of town, and at that point, Jones could emerge with some value in NL-only leagues.
Sean Burnett (RP – Nationals)
While it is always difficult as a fan to see your team trade away a former 1st round pick, I would argue that the Pirates actually sold high on Sean Burnett. After many injuries, Burnett’s future in this league is as a reliever, and probably as a very mediocre one. Despite some very ugly peripherals (6.40 K/9, 4.18 BB/9), he has managed to post a 3.06 ERA and 1.14 WHIP this season. The illusion of success has been created by a 78.2% strand rate and a ridiculous .218 BABIP. Burnett’s perceived value is clearly greater than his actual value due to his former prospect status and lucky season thus far in ’09. That being said, Burnett has landed in the exact right place for a mediocre middle reliever, since the Nationals entire bullpen is comprised of this type of arm. NL-only leaguers should be aware of Burnett, as he is just as likely as any other Nationals pitcher to start picking up some saves.
Delwyn Young (OF – Pirates)
All of the activity in the Pirates’ front office has opened up more playing time for Delwyn Young. Delwyn has a .330 / .405 / .427 line in the majors this season, but it has been greatly aided by luck (.432 BABIP). He was a consistent producer in the minors (.876 career OPS), who was labeled as a future 4th outfielder mostly due to being in the same system as Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. I still believe that Young has the skills to be a regular in this league, and at age 27, this could be his last legitimate shot. Young looks like a great pick-up in NL-only leagues if still available, as his competition for at bats is not very stiff at this point in time.
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