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MLB Today: Hank Conger Trying to Make Headway

May 20, 2011 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Hank Conger is trying to take over as the main catcher for the Los Angeles Angels.
Hank Conger is a great player to stash if you have space.

The Angels’ catching situation has been a bit of a Fantasy wasteland this season. It’s become quite clear a long time ago that Jeff Mathis, while a solid defender behind the plate, will never be able to hit a lick. Bobby Wilson hasn’t been bad offensively in his limited chances this year, but he’s barely getting off the bench and is obviously not a long-term solution.

That leaves Hank Conger, who, while not quite as strong a defender, does bring more offense to the table – something the Angels have desperately needed at times this year.

Just over a month ago, it looked like Conger was starting to pull away from the timeshare and earn the lion’s share of starts, so we recommended him as a waiver wire pickup. And while he’s enjoyed the occasional nice performance, overall Conger’s offense has slipped since then and we’re pretty much back in a value-killing timeshare. Conger has seen action in each of the last three games, but he’s only actually started once over the last five – rendering him pretty much useless in anything but extremely deep AL-only leagues.

In his start Thursday, Conger doubled and walked, but he struck out for the third straight game and whiffs continue to be problematic for the youngster.

Still, with Mathis being among the easiest outs in the majors, most observers believe it’s just a matter of time until the Halos anoint Conger as the full-time catcher, so we still think that prudent owners should grab the rookie as a roster stash at this point. It’s a move that could very well pay off in the second half or sooner.

Quick Hits

  • Rene Rivera went yard for the first time in almost five years giving the Twins their first dinger from a catcher this season. Keep an eye on his PT as he could be a decent short term option in AL-only leagues.
  • The A’s have already lost Dallas Braden and now Tyson Ross will probably miss a start and could wind up on the DL thanks to the oblique strain he suffered after just seven pitches Thursday. Could Josh Outman get his chance now? He’s struggled with his command at Triple-A as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, but we’re very bullish on his long-term prospects.
  • The Pirates snapped a six-game skid by sweeping a mini series over the Reds, their first series sweep in Cincinnati since 2003. James McDonald looked pretty sharp in the win and has now pitched very well in four of his last five starts, so feel free to give him a look in NL-only leagues. Limiting the powerful Reds in their own park is not easy, so there’s some serious upside here.
  • Pittsburgh now has 13 road wins and it’s only late May. Last year they won 17 times away from home – all season. And so the turnaround slowly begins…
  • Reds reliever Nick Masset gave up an unearned run Thursday, and has now gone earned run-free in nine of his last 10 outings, lowering his ERA 2.25 runs in the process. If you need holds or bullpen help in deeper NL-only leagues, give him a look.
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