There was a little bit of player movement over the weekend that, while not of the same magnitude as the non-waiver trade deadline, still had some significance in the fantasy baseball world. As the teams that are out of playoff contention fall further and further out of the race, they begin to audition some of their more highly touted prospects to see just how they rate at the major league level. Some of them, you’ve heard of and some, maybe not so much. But if you take the time to scout a few of them, not only could you find yourself a nice two-month boost for this year, but you could also be getting a leg up on your competition for next season. Keeper league owners likely have a good number of these guys on their radar already, but they tend to be afterthoughts in re-draft leagues, and that might be where you can get a leg up, whether it’s using the players now or scouting them for your draft next year.
The move that grabs the most attention is found in Chicago where the Cubs traded infielder Jeff Baker to the Detroit Tigers for two players to be named. While Baker’s value in Detroit is, more or less, the same as it was in Chicago, the real fantasy impact comes in the form of two Cubs prospects being given a chance – outfielder Brett Jackson and third baseman Josh Vitters. Both should get a significant amount of playing time over the next two months and both are worth monitoring.
Jackson is probably worth watching a little closer as he was the number three prospect in the Cubs system coming into the year. He was supposed to have 20-20 potential and with the Cubbies lacking a big-time center fielder, the path for Jackson seemed wide open. However, while batting an atrocious .256 at Triple-A Iowa with a strikeout rate just over 32-percent, Jackson has not been what both the Cubs and fantasy owners had hoped he would be this season. But the kid can play a mean center field and for that, he’s getting the shot now. We just need to see what kind of growth we can expect from him while he faces major league pitching for the first time.
On a quick side note, the Cubs sent Tony Campana back to Triple-A which means that Jackson will be free and clear of competition att he position. Unless, of course, you consider Joe Mather competition. Probably not though.
Vitters will likely see time in a platoon right now with Luis Valbuena. Unfortunately, he’ll probably only see left-handers for the time being which means less playing time, but if the Cubs are really looking at him (although they still have Ian Stewart) then they’re going to have to give him the opportunity against right-handers as well. At what point the team ultimately decides to do so is still in question. But Vitters, in spite of dropping down the prospect list over the past year and a half, hit .304/.356/.513 at Iowa and could be worth watching against big league pitchers.
Neither guy is going to wow you to the point where you’re thinking you got the next Mike Trout, but if each guy can garner regular playing time, they just might be worth a look.
Other moves made that might help/hurt include:
The Royals DFA’d Yuniesky Betancourt and called up Tony Abreu who will assume Betancourt’s role as a platooning second baseman and spot starter in the infield. He could see a little time at third right now if Mike Moustakas’ knee is still bothering him, so he’ll have about the same value as Betancourt did.
The Red Sox traded OF Jeremias Pineda to Minnesota for 3B Danny Valencia, so if you were thinking that Valencia might get some playing time down the stretch for the Twinkies, think again. He’s back down in Triple-A, this time in Pawtucket, and we won’t see him again until September at which time he will serve as a back-up third baseman.
The Rockies threw Jonathan Sanchez onto the DL and recalled Tyler Chatwood, however, while Chatwood is likely an upgrade to Sanchez, with the Rockies pitch count deal, he won’t have much in the way of value this season.
The Indians brought up lefty Chris Seddon, but after watching his start the other night, you might just want to leave him be. No one needs a pitcher with an 8.00-plus ERA.
Nate McLouth up with Baltimore right now? I’m not holding my breath, but it’s a name worth keeping on your radar, especially in AL-only play….if he sees some decent playing time that is.
There were a few more super minor tweaks here and there, but nothing worth getting your fantasy juices flowing. Let’s just hit the highlights from Sunday…
First off, no Fantasy Beast of the Day. I scoured through the boxes cores looking for someone who clearly stood head and shoulders above the rest, but cam up empty. There were some good days at the plate and a few solid pitching performances, but nothing that made you stop and think, “man, I really wish I had that guy on my team.” Still though, there were some good moments…
|Omar Infante, 2B DET||4-6, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI|
|Ezequiel Cabrera, OF CLE||3-5, R, HR, RBI, SB|
|Neil Walker, 2B PIT||3-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI|
|Travis Hafner, DH CLE||3-5, R, HR, 3 RBI|
|A.J. Burnett, SP PIT||W, 2.08 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 7 K|
It looks like Omar Infante is settling in nicely in Detroit again. The club just brought up Danny Worth to take the roster spot of Ryan Raburn (DL stint), but Infante is still getting all the playing time.
Ezequiel Carrera is off to a nice start since being called up to replace the DFA’s Johnny Damon on Friday. Unfortunately though, by the time you pick him up and get him into your active lineup, the moment will have passed.
Travis Hafner still gets the job done every now and again, but will likely tear a quad or a hamstring or something in his lady garden and land back on the shelf soon enough as well.
Neil Walker and A.J. Burnett though…? Both of them I like, yet both of them are more than likely on someone else’s roster.
|John Buck, C MIA||0-3, 3 K|
|Brent Lillibridge, OF CLE||0-3, 3 K|
|Yan Gomes, C TOR||0-4, 2 K|
|David Wright, 3B NYM||0-4, 2 K|
|Chris Perez, RP CLE||L, BS, 67.50 ERA, 7.50 WHIP|
The only thing I have to say about this group is “Oh man!! Did you see how ugly that Chris Perez outing was? Gross!”
Season-ending hip surgery for Todd Helton should open the door for a late-season Tyler Colvin run.
Matt Garza is finally headed to the disabled list with this triceps issue.
Francisco Liriano left Sunday’s start in the sixth inning with a quad issue.
Bummer that A.J. Griffin hit the DL with a shoulder issue. He had a nice run of quality starts there.
And as mentioned before, Jonathan Sanchez hit the DL as well, but who uses that guy anyway...?
For everything else, just check out yesterday’s list as not much has changed.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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