The Wire Troll: Ricky Don’t Lose Those Numbers
Well I survived my travels south this past week and it’s now time to get back into the swing of things. Thanks to RotoRob for picking up the slack last week while I was enjoying some quality time with my auction league mates. We had tickets for a game last Saturday in Springfield, MO., home of the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate, and we lucked into a double-header that had both Mark Mulder and Matt Clement starting. Mulder actually looked fairly decent, managing to get his fastball into the low 90s with decent control. Clement, on the other hand, is still a long way from those glory days with the Cubbies. Maxing out at 86 mph, and consistently pitching in the low 80s just isn’t going to get the job done. Anyhow, enough of my adventures in the south, let’s move forward and take a look at some potential wire pickups for this week.
Mike Gonzalez, Atlanta, RP: Now here’s one that totally has me stumped. Currently, Gonzalez is owned in only 36 per cent of all CBS leagues. I realize the Braves’ bullpen has been a mess, but he did come off the DL this past week and straight into the closer’s role didn’t he? Gonzalez picked up his first save this past week and is a must own in all formats.
Ricky Nolasco, Florida, SP: After a rather rough start to the season, with 11 earned runs in his first two starts, Nolasco has managed to reel off a string of ten quality starts in 12 opportunities. Against the hot Tampa Rays, he actually managed 12 punchouts. Currently sporting a rather strong seven wins and a 4.31 ERA, Nolasco is a solid choice in NL-only and deeper mixed formats.
Jason Kubel, Minnesota, OF: Kubel is another player that has seen his stock rising lately. In his past ten games, he’s sporting a .368 BA with four HR and nine RBI. We’ve certainly seen those immense talents in short bursts from him before, so there’s definitely reason to be cautious. Hopefully this is the beginning of a more consistent Jason Kubel. He’s a must own in AL-only leagues and in deeper mixed formats where you have the available bench space.
Elijah Dukes, Washington, OF: Okay folks, this one is just way too easy a target, so I’m going to try to demonstrate some tact. The injury to Austin “(lack of) Powers” Kearns opened the window of opportunity and lately the 23-year-old Dukes is demonstrating the skills that have had scouts drooling for years. He’s managed to get the batting average up into the .270 range with Saturday’s 5-for-6 performance. He still has some work to do on the “other” side of his game, but take advantage of his current streak and get him on your roster in NL-only formats.
Aubrey Huff, Baltimore, 1B/3B: Huff is beginning to bring back memories of the player we all salivated over when he a member of the D-Rays. He’s been tearing the cover off the ball recently, batting .390 with five home runs in his past ten games. Thanks to the sudden burst from his recent hot streak, Huff is currently on pace for a 30-homer, 100-RBI year. If you happen to be playing in a league where he is still available, add him to your roster quick before he is gone.
Jeff Baker, Colorado, 1B/2B/OF: Talk about being on fire, take a look at Baker over the past week. With homers in four of his past five games, it just doesn’t get much better. The 27-year-old has always had the power potential, but this might be a case of too little, too late, with Clint Barmes scheduled to be come off the DL this coming week. The ability to qualify at multiple positions and the current hot streak certainly makes Baker a solid gamble in NL-only leagues.
Daryl Thompson, Cincinnati, SP: This former Expo eighth round pick in 2003 has had a rather rapid ascent to the bigs. Originally a part of the Felipe Lopez/Kearns deal in 2006, at this time last year, Thompson was pitching in the Florida State League. He was called up to replace the ineffective Homer Bailey, and in his debut against the Yankees certainly held his own, allowing four hits and four walks in five scoreless innings. He’s young and with only 14 starts above Single-A, is going to be prone to those growing pains associated with all young pitchers. Thompson is a solid add in NL-only formats at this time.
Kelly Shoppach, Cleveland, C: Shoppach has the gig for at least the next couple of months with the injury to Victor Martinez. Since being inserted into the lineup, Shoppach has managed three homers, but is still struggling with his strike zone judgment, striking out far to often. He should provide a decent source of power, but just be wary that until he finds a way to cut down on the strikeouts he will be a liability in the batting average category. Shoppach is a decent add at this time in AL-only leagues and all deeper formats requiring two catchers.
Hank Blalock, Texas, 3B: Despite the constant injury woes, this is one potential pickup that I really like. Blalock is expected to come off the DL this coming Tuesday and slide into the first base role for the Rangers. The year before the hamstring and carpal tunnel woes, he managed to show that he still has power potential. In the high-powered Texas offense, Blalock should be in line for some very good RBI opportunities, making him a must-own in AL-only formats and someone who should be on the radar in all mixed formats.