The Wire Troll: Straight A’s
Trevor Cahill struggled in his first outing, but he was a double-digit winner as a rook last year.
With Tim McLeod off at a Gummy Bear convention (or something like that) this week, we turn the Wire Troll controls over to yours truly. Not to worry, though…ever-vigilant Tim sent me some thoughts on whom to include to make sure I didn’t screw things up too badly. Let’s get to it.
Trevor Cahill/Vin Mazzaro, SP, Oakland Athletics: Brett Anderson is already out at least a month, and it sure as hell looks as though oft-injured Justin Duchscherer is about to join him on the DL. Crappy news for the A’s, who are off to a good start, but great news for both Cahill and Mazzaro, who will get to join the A’s rotation for the foreseeable future. Cahill sure didn’t look good in his first start Friday, but he won 10 games as a rookie with the A’s last season and in his two starts at Triple-A before his recall, he sparkled. While Duchscherer hasn’t officially been put on the DL, considering his history with hip injuries, it’s most likely a matter of when not if. And when that happens, Mazzaro is the most likely candidate to take his starts. Mazzaro was hit hard in the bigs last year, but he’s been a superb Triple-A pitcher the past couple of seasons, and is averaging better than a K per inning with a 2.59 ERA through four starts and one relief appearance at Sacramento. Both Cahill and Mazzaro are worth gambling on in AL-only leagues, but you’re probably best off cherry picking when to start them until they get into a rhythm.
Evan Meek, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates: With closer Octavio Dotel having pitched twice in three days, including a two-inning stint on Wednesday, the Pirates summoned Meek to earn the save Thursday, and he did so flawlessly. As spotty as Dotel has been so far (10.61 ERA, two blown saves in five tries), could the Meek inherent the saves in Steel City? Meek has dominated so far this year, and he’s clearly the best option the Pirates have in the bullpen. Given Dotel’s shaky history as a closer, this is a change we expect sooner rather than later, so now’s the time to grab Meek before his value goes through the roof.
Cliff Pennington, SS, Oakland Athletics: Pennington has replaced the slumping Rajai Davis as the lead-off hitter in Oakland and has been getting the job done with a 926 OPS, one homer, one steal and four runs in the last six games. Shortstop is a Fantasy wasteland right now and Pennington should get a nice boost in runs atop the A’s lineup, despite the fact that it is still a middling offence at best, so go ahead and add him in AL-only leagues.
Take Your Best Guess, RP, Milwaukee Brewers: It has become obvious that Trevor Hoffman is in trouble in the early going. His changeup – one of the greatest weapons in the history of the game – ain’t fooling anybody anymore. So who gets the first crack when Hoffman is finally relieved of his duties in Beer City? Manager Ken Macha says LaTroy Hawkins would be the first possible replacement, but as everyone knows, Hawkins has struggled to close games in the past. Todd Coffey is another possibility (he has done a bit of closing in the past for the Reds), and he’s certainly pitched better than either Hoffman or Hawkins this season. But the hottest reliever in Milwaukee, and our choice to emerge with the job, is Carlos Villaneuva, who has yielded just five hits and no runs with 17 strikeouts in 13 IP. If you think Hoffman is toast, taking a shot on Villanueva could be a very wise move.
David Freese, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals: The rook’s on a rampage, and it goes well beyond his six-RBI barrage Thursday. Freese has hit in five straight games, including three multi-hit efforts, with a pair of doubles, two dingers and 10 RBI. All told, he’s up to 15 RBI in 21 games at a fairly weak position. Go ahead and scoop up the kid in NL-only leagues.
Others to Consider
- Tyler Colvin is stealing enough PT in the Cub outfield and performing well enough (965 OPS) that he needs to be picked up in NL-only leagues.
- The 0-3 record is why he’s getting no love, but take a look at Tom Gorzelanny’s peripherals and tell me he couldn’t help your team.
- Although his last start wasn’t sterling, Ian Kennedy did earn his first win, and prior to that, he’s looked very effective recently.
- Holy flashback, Batman! Austin Kearns is good again. Pick him up before he remembers it’s not 2002 anymore.
- John Maine’s ERA is still weighed down by a couple of ugly starts to begin the season, but he’s looked better in three straight outings, so go ahead and take a shot on him. He has value as a spot starter.
- Perpetually hurt Chris Young (shoulder) is currently rehabbing, so he’ll be back in the Padre rotation very soon. Pick him up now before he lands on the DL again.
- Remember Jermaine Dye? The free agent thinks he’d be a good fit on the White Sox, but Ozzie Guillen disagrees. Still, it’s worth noting that Dye is trolling for work and can be a useful Fantasy player if he finds it. Sharp owners will track this situation.
- With Brad Hawpe out, Eric Young Jr. is back up with the Rockies and – as usual – stealing plenty of bases. He could qualify at both second and outfield in time, and is hitting like he wants to stick around longer than he did last year. And with Clint Barmes hitting below his deer meat weight, Young has a great chance to steal playing time.
- Chris Getz was activated off the DL last week, and he’s slid right back into the second base job in KC, shifting Alberto Callaspo over to third and Alex Gordon to the bench. Getz offers nice speed and he should maintain the job, so go ahead and pick him up in AL-only leagues.
- Alfredo Simon is the closer of the week in Baltimore, especially with Jim Johnson getting farmed out. Pick him up if you need saves, but be ready to cut bait very soon. I’m also keeping my eye on Cla Meredith in this mess.
- Okay, so Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first start since coming off the DL was ugly, but if he’s been dropped in your mixed league, he’s worth stashing to see how this plays out once the rust is off.
- Mike Adams had a rough first couple of weeks, but if you’re in an NL-only league that tracks holds, you want to take a look at him, especially if the Padres start to suck again and Heath Bell’s name starts popping up in trade rumours.