Friday evening's news that Houston was calling up A.J. Reed was met with cheers and jeers. And, it all might depend on how many roster spots each team in your league has.
Reed has been on the prospect radar for just under a year now and coming into draft season he was seen as a good draft-and-stash option. The Astros went with Tyler White and that decision stuck for just over a month before it was evident that White wasn't quite ready. Since then, the team has gone back and forth with players like Marwin Gonzalez and Luis Valbuena. They had performing well enough to make it seem that Reed would continue to smooth out his rough edges in the minors. Suddenly, that all changed.
So, why the cheers? Well, he's a high-end prospect (see the write-up below) and if you were in a league with at least 25 roster spots, decent health, and six-to-seven bench slots, you were likely still holding onto Reed. Things are different elsewhere. Injuries struck, ineffectiveness arrived, or impatience arose ... whatever the reason, some might have had to release Reed at some point in the previous two months. And, of course, that's where the jeers come.
If you have such power in your league, push hard for extended rosters. Overall, I feel the player pool should go between 300-350 deep. That way you can draft-and-stash and you're also rewarded for good drafting. Everyone wants to have the prospect on draft day instead of having to fight for the prospect in the middle of the season. You have such a luxury in a league that makes sure the top 300 or more are always owned.
(Note: To make the list, I'll apply a loose definition that says a player is likely be unowned in a vast majority of 12-team mixed leagues. At the end of each player note, I'll also provide a suggested bid for those that use FAAB (Free Agent Acquisition Budget) for their waiver process (based on a $100 budget). Understand that this is only a suggestion ... if you've just lost your starting outfielder to injury and you have an immediate need or gaping hole in your lineup, you will find it necessary to bid more in order to get that week's top available outfielder.)
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/OF, Oakland
So many prospects, so few roster spots. That's a problem that the Cubs ran into. They also had immediate needs in the outfield and made a move two weeks ago to add vet, Chris Coghlan, at the cost of Alcantara. The 24-year old has been bouncing around with Chicago for a few years now, but failed to ever truly break through. He also is not near the elite talent that so many other of the Cubbie youngsters are. Since arriving in Oakland, Alcantara has only appeared in a pair of games. He has the ability to jump from the infield to the outfield and that is something that Oakland has always embraced. A look at the roster shows no immediate chance of playing time and that makes him more of a watch-and-see, instead of a quick add. He has decent power, whiffs a ton, and has the ability to rack up steals ... if he can get on base. If he could even hit .240, you would probably see double-digit thefts. Alcantara is a perfect 26-for-26 in steal attempts at AAA this year.
Suggested FAAB bid - $1
Pedro Alvarez, 1B/3B, Baltimore
Did your league give up on Alvarez?? He stumbled into the month of June with an average suffering under the Mendoza Line and just three home runs over the course of more than 100 at-bats. But, the Orioles stayed with him and continued to give him chances (even if we, the fantasy community, did not) and he's finally starting to come through. Entering Friday's action, Alvarez has cranked his average up by 40 points and six of his 16 hits have gone over the wall. He's still going down on strikes at a prodigious pace (18 in his 51 ABs), but that has always been a participatory part of his game ... and, he still has three different seasons with at least 25 ding dongs. For whatever reason, managers continue to roll Alvarez into their starting nine and that will continue in Baltimore, too. As the summer heats up, Camden Yards will play smaller and there's a good chance that we get to the end of the year and Alvarez is sitting with another 25+ home run season. Just don't expect much beyond those strolls.
Suggested FAAB bid - $7
Justin Bour, 1B, Miami
(One power write-up deserves another ...)
Did your league give up on Bour?? He entered this month of June hitting under-.250 and he was whiffing in more than a third of his at-bats. This month has seen him push his average back up near-.270 and he's done that while still showcasing his power production (four HRs and 14 RBIs in just over 50 ABs). Last night's grand slam versus the Cubs perked up a lot of attention and now you're forced to probably make a higher bid than you would expect just 24 hours ago (the good news might be that he's lost in the midst of all the Reed hoopla, though). He will always run hot and cold, but he is perfect for anyone who needs an uptick in round-trippers. He is likely to still end up with an average around .250, but 25 homers should follow, as well. He has exactly 35 homers in his previous 600 at-bats ... the power is legit and the Marlins are set to ride him out.
Suggested FAAB bid - $10
Chris Coghlan, 2B/OF, Chicago Cubs
Coghlan has gone from useful piece on the North Side, to useless and worthless piece in the Bay Area, and now back to useful piece on the North Side ... all in the span of three months. With injuries piling up for the runaway Cubs, the club went back to the well and traded for Coghlan. He was critical to their success last year with 16 home runs, 64 runs, and 11 steals. But, his time with the Athletics was brutal. The vet was one of the worst hitters in baseball with 28 hits in 179 at-bats! Still, Chicago was buying and now Coghlan is playing. He's appeared in a dozen games and he has started seven of those. He's mostly been handling left-field and has even seen some opportunities as the lead-off man. The batting position is the deal-breaker. If he can find his way into the lineup three out of every five games and he's hitting lead-off, you'll get a short-term lift until Dexter Fowler returns. It's a three-week play.
Suggested FAAB bid - $3
Yulieski Gurriel, 3B, n/a
Gurriel is another Cuban league (and Japan league) import who is currently on the open market and available to any team that wants to take a plunge on an unknown. This 'unknown' is also fairly old with a birth certificate that says he's 32. So, this is not Yasiel Puig or Jose Abreu coming over. This is an accomplished professional hitter who is a massive wild card. I only think he should be of interest to those in league-specific set-up's and it should only come with a low-ball bid. Once he finds a team, NL- and AL-only leagues will get fired up. Now, you could secure him for a much lower price tag. Mixed leaguers shouldn't have much consider here.
Suggested FAAB bid - $2
A.J. Reed, 1B, Houston
Friday night saw reports emerge saying Houston was ready to call up Reed just a few days after saying he still had a lot of ground to cover. Well, whatever. Just another lying MLB team. As is, Reed should be the regular first baseman for the 'Stros and he definitely has strong power potential. There might not be another rookie call-up this year who sports more raw potential when it comes to long balls. He'll likely sit versus lefties and will have his fair share of strikeouts with a so-so batting average. Yet there's no doubt he has the potential to be a productive middle-of-the-order, base-clearer for Houston and fantasy players. Go after the RBI and homer ability.
Suggested FAAB bid - $18
Jose Reyes, SS, n/a
By the time Sunday night rolls around, Reyes may have found a home. After being placed on waivers and going unclaimed, Reyes is free to find a new home for the remainder of his career. Many reports are connecting him to the place he started - the Mets. That makes sense, especially if Reyes is willing to move to 3B and learn the position for a few weeks at AAA. At this point he really doesn't have much choice. Even without a team by the time of bidding, he's worth a shot. I'm not keen on the idea that his talent makes him a near-star anymore (check my preseason article where I dealt with his statistical slide, point-by-point), but he could easily slide into a major league lineup and post serviceable marks alongside dual-positional eligibility. Average and steals could float and depending on his batting spot, you could net some runs scored, too. If Reyes does find a new home before bidding you can bet the below number will have to triple.
Suggested FAAB bid - $6
Ryan Schimpf, 2B/3B, San Diego
If you only took a gaze at Schimpf's minor league numbers, you would think that he's the next Adam Duvall. Then again, who thought Duvall would be this kind of Duvall?! Schimpf owned the PCL this season by crushing his way to a 1.160 OPS (!) in 51 games. That stat line included a .355 average, 15 homers, 16 doubles, and 48 RBIs. So, what's not to like? OK, well, he's 28 and is just now making his major league debut. He's always showcased serious power, but has never hit to this level on the average front. His first nine games with the Friars have shown no carry-over as he has managed only three hits in 22 ABs. But, he has snagged five walks in that time and should get some leash to show what he has. San Diego is in full tryout-mode so that indicates a huge opportunity for Schimpf to see some time.
Suggested FAAB bid - $1
Raisel Iglesias, SP/RP, Cincinnati
It might be difficult to recall, but Iglesias had some heat beyond him in the preseason. He finished his first MLB campaign on an upswing by totaling 62 punchouts in under 55 innings over the final two months of his rookie run. But, then again, all of those were as a starter. He was still penciled into that role entering this season, but the storyline has not matched up with the results. Iglesias made five solid, but unspectacular starts in April before falling onto the disabled list with shoulder woes. He's sat down for two months and now once he's ready the Reds have welcomed him back to ... the bullpen. It's fairly surprising. The right-hander's numbers as a starter this season are as good as anything in the current Cincy rotation. Still, the team has decided that Iglesias will have to wait his turn for another shot in the five-man. For now, he's a reliever. There's definitely the upside of a return to the rotation (he's still a big enough arm to have more than a K/inning in his first 125 frames of MLB work), but there's also some saves' stash-ability here, too. Currently, Tony Cingrani, is the man in the role, but he hasn't done anything to lock down the spot. Iglesias could definitely profile as such a man and is still is the owner of one of the top ceilings in the entire Cincinnati pitching staff. If you can afford to wait and see how things play out, he's an excellent buy-and-hold.
Suggested FAAB bid - $5
Daniel Mengden, SP, Oakland
Is it just me or do the A's seemingly bring up a new arm every two weeks? And, haven't they been up to this for the past few seasons. I've totally lost track of all of the names. Off the top of my head - Sean Manaea, Eric Surkamp, Jesse Hahn, Chris Bassitt, Sean Nolin, Aaron Brooks, Dan Straily, Tommy Milone, and so many others that I'm forgetting right now. Mengden is much like those other guys. Nothing jumps off the page when you consider him among prospects, but he somehow has found his ways into a major league rotation. His first three turns have all ended in losses so there is literally no interest in him, right now. Which means it's the perfect time to strike! In those three losses he has topped five innings, allowed a total of six earned runs, and has more K's than innings worked. This is all good. And, you want more good? He has a two-start week with a start at San Francisco and then a home tilt against Pittsburgh. That's not a 'plus' run, but I'm tempted to go after it anyway. I'd make a low bid (again, an 0-3 record turns off so many) and roll the dice for a week with the youngster.
Suggested FAAB bid - $3
Daniel Norris, SP, Detroit
Many of us have been down this road before with Norris. A little over a season ago, he emerged from spring camp with an incredible storyline (dude once lived in a van!) and some good marks with Toronto. It never really connected with the Jays, though, and Norris was in the minors by May and then shipped off to Detroit in the David Price deal by July. Since coming to the Motor City Cats he's battled some nagging injuries, but has now returned to the bigs following the ugly Matt Boyd experience. His first rotation turn was ordinary with a good start for three innings that then dovetailed to three homers allowed in his final couple of innings versus Seattle. Detroit will probably make some kind of move to bolster the rotation in the next month or so, but for now, Norris will get some chances. His arm should be good for 8 K/9 in the long run, but he has given up a load of hits in his short time facing the big boys. We saw Michael Fulmer shock most of us. I wouldn't expect another shock, but Norris can be a viable streamer for the next month.
Suggested FAAB bid - $3
You can hear Kyle each weeknight on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive' from 7-10 ET, Sirius 210, XM 87.
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