The theme today is players that are overlooked yet are producing at quite the rate of late. Plus I'll touch on three rookies that were called up in the AL, three guys that just might have mixed league value in the second half.
has been having a special season for the Rockies, but judging from some of the questions I receive he might still be on waivers in some leagues. He shouldn't be. Through 45 outings this season covering 41.2 innings the lefty from the Rockies has a 1.30 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. If that was all there was you should be interested. When we add in a 9.29 K/9 mark, you should be even more intrigued. When you also note that he keeps the ball on the ground, his ground ball rate is 48 percent, you should even have little worry about him pitching half his games in Colorado. When you note that Rafael Betancourt
is on the DL with appendicitis, then you should be pretty pumped up since Brothers will be tasked with handling the 9th inning, something he has done very well this season with five saves in six chances. Given that the Rockies are also potentially going to move Bentancourt at some point on the trade market, it would seem that Brothers could get an extended run as the 9th inning guy at some point. Yeah, you should add Brothers if he's on the waiver-wire right now.
is a great story. He's nowhere near the level of prospect that Byron Buxton
and Miguel Sano
are with the Twins, not even close, but that's what happens when you're 29 years old and have a total of 24 big league at-bats. So why the interest in an aged afterthought? Have you taken a gander at his work this year at Triple-A? Prepare to be floored if you haven't: .354-24-76 with a 1.084 OPS in 85 games. Yeah, hello Miguel Cabrera
right? The Twins are likely to give him a long look, the future of Justin Morneau
with the club is totally up in the air, so Colabello is not a bad option at all to add off the waiver-wire if you're looking for some second half pop. Sometimes it all comes together for a magical season. Maybe this is that year for Chris.
played 136 games at second base last season, so he has that going for him. He's appeared in 41 games in the outfield this season, so he has that going for him. In some leagues he even qualifies at third base cause he's appeared in 11 games at third base this season. A guy who you can move from second, to third, to the outfield, to middle infield to corner infield in fantasy baseball, if that guy can hit at all, he's a big time weapon not just in a league specific setup by in mixed leagues as well. Yes, Johnson can hit. Well, let me rephrase that. He may not be a great hitter, but he's a strong fantasy force, especially when he plays second base on a fantasy squad. Over his last eight games Johnson has gone deep four times, driven in seven runs and scored seven times. With that blow up effort he's raised his batting average to .256. He's a career .255 hitter so that seems about right (he's had three season over .275 and three seasons in the .220's the past six years. Yeah, it makes no sense.). As I hinted at with the power surge, Johnson has been bringing it with 15 homers. This is the fourth straight year he has done deep 15 times. He's also stolen seven bags (he's swiped at least 13 each of the past three years). Do you know how many second sackers have 15 homers and seven steals? The answer is two, Johnson and Jason Kipnis (15 homers, 21 steals).
Told you he was someone you should take seriously.
was called up by the Orioles, and he figures to see the majority of work at DH for the club since he's left-handed and will be slated to face righties (Danny Valencia
is the righty portion of the DH mix, but the guy is just not hitting at all right now with no hits in 20 at-bats. If he doesn't get going, and soon, the Orioles might just let Urrutia play every day). So who is Urrutia? He's a 6'3”, 190 lbs Cuban defector that is 26 years old. He's not a power hitter, scouts will tell you that and his record this season confirms it (seven homers in 260 at-bats), but the guy can hit. After batting .365 in 52 games at Double-A, Urrutia was promoted to Triple-A where he similarly killed it for 15 games hitting .367. That's a .366 average in 67 games folks. Given how excited people get when fellas get called up I would think there would have been more hoopla over adding him (I added him this week in Tout Wars
to fill my 5th outfield spot in the 15 team mixed league). I also like the fact that, unlike many Cuban born players, that Henry isn't afraid to take a walk (he's got 42 strikeouts and 28 walks leading to a 0.67 BB/K mark in the minors). He's not much of a base stealing threat with only two steal attempts on the year, but the Orioles have a strong hitting lineup, Camden Yards is a good place to hit, an as I noted Urrutia seems to be in line for a bunch of work out of the DH spot with the Orioles.
was called up to the Astros, and with Ronny Ceden
o designated for assignment, and Marwin Gonzalez
at Triple-A (he's been there for a month), it looks like Villar will get a real shot to run with the starting shortstop job with the Astros. Villar is a slashing hitter who is more likely to rap out a double in the gap then to drive a ball into the seats (Villar hit 14 homers at High-A and Double-A in 2011 and he followed that up with 11 big flies in 86 games at Double-A last year. This season he's gone deep eight time in 90 games at Triple-A). He profiles, power-wise, like a Howie Kendrick type. He strikeouts out a lot, he has 279 punchouts in his last 259 minor league games, way too high a number for a guy with a moderate power stroke. All the punchouts have contributed to the following batting averages at his last five minor league stops .225, .259, .231, .261 and .278. He's not going to help you much there, but many shortstops don't. So why the interest in Villar? His speed. The guy can steal a base, and then some. Here are his stolen base marks, along with games played, as a professional.
2009: 17 steals in 42 games
2010: 45 steals in 132 games
2011: 34 steals in 130 games
2012: 39 steals in 86 games
2013: 31 steals in 90 games
He's well worth an add if you need some help in the steals department if guys like Dee Gordon
didn't come through for you.
Jayson Werth has a great beard
, it's not Brian Wilson
like but he wouldn't look out of place if he was on a wilderness show on the Discovery Channel
, but last season he failed to produce much power while missing time with injury (five homers in 81 games). Combine that down effort last year with a slow start this season (he had a .722 OPS in April and then played only one game in May cause of injury) and many started to think he was all about the beard and nothing else. He's way more than that. Over his last 17 games Werth is hitting .373 with a 1.061 OPS, and dating back 40 games he's gone deep eight times, had 25 RBIs, 23 runs scored and hit .322. The only thing he isn't doing is stealing bases, he has only three on the year, but with the way he's been wielding the stick we can overlook his lack of base stealing prowess, can't we?
FINALLY --- for those of you who are also football fans, if you're looking to dominate the competition in 2013 then check out the 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Guide that is nearly 200 pages long.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Friday at 7 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answer everyone's questions.