Andrew Bailey (RP – Athletics)
Andrew Bailey re-aggravated a knee injury in Thursday night’s game. Bailey made very little out of the injury, as he has been dealing with it all season long. However, we are approaching the point in the season when talented youngsters who are battling recurring knee injuries and are out of the playoff race begin to receive some time off, if not all time off. Bailey has been a revelation in the closer’s spot for the A’s this season with a 9.64 K/9 and a 2.83 BB/9. If the A’s were to shut him down this season, they actually would have two perfectly capable arms in waiting. The first is Mike Wuertz, who actually has peripherals that outshine Bailey’s with a 11.70 K/9 and 2.74 BB/9. The second is the former flavor of the month Brad Ziegler. While he doesn’t have the dominating peripherals (6.23 K/9, 3.20 BB/9) of Bailey and Wuertz, he does have an overpowering penchant for ground balls (62%) and keeping the ball in the park (4.2 HF/FB rate in majors). Although Bailey was dismissive of the injury, I doubt that the A’s front office feels the same way. It is difficult to predict a favorite to pick up the slack between Wuertz and Ziegler, but either would do a fine job in the role.
Brandon McCarthy (SP – Rangers)
Brandon McCarthy made his 5th, and what was most likely his final rehab start on Thursday. McCarthy was quite impressive in the outing by striking out 7, walking 3, and tossing just 74 pitches through the 6 innings. McCarthy has yet to make good on the immense talent that he displayed in the minors. McCarthy flew through the White Sox system by posting stellar numbers throughout, which included a 21 year old season at Triple-A with a 9.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. McCarthy had been better in ’09 than in years past with the Rangers, but his 6.19 K/9 and 3.66 BB/9 still leave a good bit to be desired, and hardly even resemble the domination that he displayed in the minors. He just turned 26, so he still has time to emerge as the pitcher we thought he could be, but he now has parts of 5 seasons in the majors with these type of middling peripherals. Look for McCarthy to make his major league return in one of the games against Toronto on Tuesday. It has the makings of being a very rude return – I would avoid McCarthy, and would especially avoid this first start.
Marlon Byrd (OF – Rangers)
On Friday, Marlon Byrd was able to pass the kidney stone that had kept him out of the lineup for the past couple games. After going through what was the most painful ordeal of his life, Byrd was again out of the lineup last night, but he should be good to go today. After years of never living up to hype created by being a dominant young player in the minors, Byrd now appears to have finally settled-in as a serviceable regular by posting an OPS over .800 in each of the last 3 seasons. However, it seems to me as though Byrd has simply cashed in by playing his home games in a favorable environment. In these 3 years in Texas, his road OPS has been .715, 773, and .693; while, at home has posted OPS of .916, .911, and .913. Byrd should continue to post fantasy-worthy numbers for as long as he is starting in Texas, but if he lands somewhere less favorable in the coming years, I would stay away.
Joba Chamberlain (SP – Yankees)
After swirling speculation all season long, the Yankees have announced that Joba will continue to start every 5 days for the remainder of the season. Joba has been a resounding disappointment this season as his K rate has dipped (7.85 K/9), his BB rate has risen (4.48 BB/9), and his GB rate has declined (44.4%). On top of these very concerning peripherals, Joba the starter is throwing a fastball this season that averages just 92.5 MPH. Formerly, I was amused with all the hub-bub surrounding the move to the rotation for Joba, since he did post a 13.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 as a starter in his lone minor league season. I was optimistic that his peripherals from the bullpen wouldn’t take much of a hit when transitioning to the rotation, but it is now becoming difficult to stand-by that viewpoint. Overall, it has not been a pleasant year to be a Joba owner, but hopefully those owners who held out hope will be rewarded in this final month.
Eric Patterson (OF/2B – Athletics)
The A’s once again recalled Eric Patterson from the minors. Patterson has earned a legitimate look at the major league level by posting a .307 / .376 / .494 line with 12 HR, 43 SB, and a .64 EYE this year in Triple-A. In fact, he has posted a .309 / .369 / .487 line in his Triple-A career, which consists of 572 games played. Despite this consistent success at the highest minor league level, the A’s handed him all of 30 AB when he was on the big league roster earlier in the year. The bottom line is that Patterson has solid contact skills, intriguing power potential, huge amounts of speed, and can play all 3 OF spots, 3B, and 2B. With the lineup that the A’s are currently trotting out each night, I see no reason why Patterson can’t find consistent playing time in the final month of the season. Even if he doesn’t receive the AB he deserves, he is still a solid option for AL-only leaguers in need of a late-season speed boost.
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