The Wire Troll: A Summer Carroll
With Tim McLeod off doing some male bonding (no, that doesn’t involve face paint and animal chants – at least, I hope not), the task of compiling this week’s Wire Troll falls to your faithful editor. Not to worry, though – the ever-diligent Tim sent me some suggestions for the week to help put this puppy together.
Jamey Carroll, Cleveland, 2B: It’s a revolving door at the keystone corner in Cleveland these days. Asdrubal Cabrera’s struggles finally got him farmed out, opening the door for Josh Barfield to try to resurrect his career. That lasted all of two days before Barfield wound up on the DL. Now, it’s Carroll’s turn and, so far, he’s been raking, going 11-for-14 over a four-game stretch before taking an 0-fer Saturday. Recall that two years ago, given a steady gig, Carroll was moderately useful. Expect the same and target him in AL-only leagues if you need middle infield help. You should note that in some leagues, he may also qualify at third base or even in the outfield, versatility that should come in handy.
Craig Counsell, IF, MIL: With Rickie Weeks landing on the DL and J.J. Hardy also hurting, Counsell has been playing every game recently. Because of his speed, Counsell is always intriguing, but the fact that he stroked four hits – two of them for extra bases – and scored four runs over a three-game stretch (and then had an RBI single Saturday) suggests that he’ll be a good short-term option for NL-only leagues for the next little while. Counsell has been spending some time in the two-hole this week, and that’s going to translate into more runs.
Mike Aviles, Kansas City, SS: With Tony Pena Jr. unable to hit his way out of a wet paper bag, and Esteban German not much better, the Royals shortstop gig has fallen to Aviles, and so far he’s delivered in a big way with the stick. Saturday, Aviles capped a sweet week with four hits – including two doubles and a dinger – and four runs, to help lead an offensive explosion for the Royals, the likes of which have been a long time in the coming. What’s this? A spark for the moribund KC attack? Think he’s not going to have a chance to run with the job for some time as a result? Grab Aviles right away in AL-only leagues, and consider him in a deeper mixed league.
Charlie Morton, Atlanta, SP: With the Braves’ rotation in tatters, Morton was summoned to make his major league debut Saturday. He responded with a strong six-inning effort to bag the W, so chances are he’ll stick around. In an NL-only league, I’d suggest taking a peek at Morton if you need pitching help. His Triple-A numbers were solid, so it’s likely his fine first start was no fluke.
Brandon Morrow, Seattle, RP: Long-thought to be a closer of the future, Morrow gets his chance now with J.J. Putz suffering another injury. On Wednesday, Morrow tossed a perfect inning with two Ks for the save. The save was definitely new – it was the first of his career. But the goose egg inning is becoming quite commonplace for him. In fact, it’s been over a month since Morrow was touched up for an earned run. With 25 Ks in 18 IP, you know he has the kind of dominating stuff that top-drawer closers generally need. Regardless of your format, Morrow needs to be picked up, if he’s still available.
Chris Duncan, St. Louis, 1B: With Albert Pujols landing on the DL, Duncan has been summoned from Triple-A and is playing every day. Since bursting onto the scene in 2006, Duncan hasn’t been the same player, so I have my doubts about this one. But given a steady job, he’s at least worth watching.
Edgar Gonzalez, San Diego, 2B: With Tad Iguchi landing on the DL last weekend, Gonzalez has had a chance to play every day, and the early returns are inspiring. How about five straight multi-hit games, with five runs, three doubles and a homer in the mix? Jump on Gonzalez in NL-only leagues, as he’s likely to get at least three more weeks worth of starts before Iguchi’s separated shoulder heals.
Brandon Jones, Atlanta, OF: Matt Diaz’s injury has opened the door for the recently promoted Jones, one of the Braves’ top prospects. He enjoyed a big weekend, going 5-for-8, with four runs, two RBI, a double, a home run and a walk. Obviously, I’m not expecting him to sustain anything near that level of production, but he’s a decent gamble in an NL-only league for the time being.