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Posts tagged ‘New Guys’

Meet the New Guys: Sam Demel, Hong-Chih Kuo

Acquired by the Diamondbacks in the Conor Jackson trade, reliever Sam Demel was picked up as a possible source for saves in the volatile Dbacks bullpen. The 24-year-old reliever has been fantastic this season as a part-time closer at Triple-A Sacramento and will try to bring some semblance of stability to the Diamondbacks’ wretched bullpen. In 22 games this season, Demel has rattled off a 2-0 record, a 1.26 ERA and six saves. (Rotoworld)

Hong-Chih Kuo rejoins the RoadRunners for the first time since 2007, when as a starter he helped the RoadRunners squad to a surprise 2nd Place finish. In 2010, Kuo was originally drafted by Get Off Kong! in the 11th Round of the minor league draft, but was subsequently released on May 4th. Kuo has a 1.11 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings this season. It’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll be healthy when the Dodgers need him down the stretch, but he’s looking like one of baseball’s best relievers at the moment. (Rotoworld)

Meet the New Guys: Danny Espinosa, Jonathan Herrera

Nationals middle infield prospect Danny Espinosa is picked up because A. the minor-league protection deadline is approching, B. I saw him play in the Arizona Fall League, C. his No. 8 jersey was the model for the Atomic RoadRunners No. 8 jersey, and D., he’s raking at AA.

Rockies 2B Jonathan Herrera is added to the roster due to the injury to Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies will move 2B Clint Barmes over to SS, and Herrera will get at-bats. Herrera hit .286 at AAA-Colorado Springs, and hit his first major league homer Sunday against the Giants.

Meet the New Guy: John Axford

Brewers RP John Axford pitched a perfect ninth inning on Saturday night, striking out one and recording his second save of the year in an 8-6 win over the Mets. The right-hander only needed 14 pitches to retire the side and is now 2 for 2 in save chances this year. Axford looks to be the front runner to get the majority of the save opportunities in Milwaukee, with Trevor Hoffman struggling, and has only allowed two runs in eight innings pitched since being called up. “It’s a tough situation to be in,” Axford said. “I don’t hold a flame to Trevor Hoffman. I’m not thinking about that, really. I’m just trying to get my job done.” He has been a career minor-leaguer, but has gotten the job done so far. Fantasy owners in NL-only formats might want to scoop the 27-year-old up just in case he gets double-digit saves. (CBS Sports)

Update: Baseball Prospectus Fantasy Beat just added Axford to their Hot Spot list:

Milwaukee keeps trying to give Trevor Hoffman chances to get his job back, and he keeps making a bad situation even worse when he does things like allow three runs in an inning to the Marlins, costing the Brewers the game. His advanced state of “being toast” brings us to the first teammate swap on the Value Picks board, as we say goodbye to Carlos Villanueva and say hello to John Axford. Villanueva didn’t actually pitch that poorly while he was on the board, picking up a save the day he was added and two holds since while maintaining a high K rate, but Ken Macha clearly prefers to keep him in his set-up role and has started to give the opportunities to Axford. If you haven’t jumped on him yet, now is the time, since he’s picked up three saves and a win in his last four outings and is starting to gain attention in the fantasy world.

Axford’s story is an interesting one, especially considering the pedigree of the man he’s (currently) replacing. The 27-year-old mustachioed Canadian rookie was drafted in the 42nd round by the Reds in 2005, but didn’t sign and played independent ball north of the border. He was then picked up as an amateur free agent by the Yankees for 2007, where he was so impressive that he was… released right after the season. The Brewers picked him up for 2008, and while a 4.55 ERA, 1.674 WHIP, and 6.9 BB/9 (!!) rate in High-A ball that year isn’t much to speak of on its own, it’s even less so when you realize he was 25, quite old for that level. Still, the Brewers must have seen something they liked, because they brought him back for 2009 and something clicked right away. A return engagement in Broward County was complete domination, striking out 14 per 9, and good work at both AA and AAA as the year progressed got him an MLB cup of coffee late in the year, where he captured his first save – a stunning rise considering where he’d been in 2008.

Back in AAA to start this season, Axford struck out nearly 13 per 9 before being recalled in mid-May, working in middle relief until his recent promotion to the closer’s role, where he’s maintained that K rate in the short time he’s been up. Unlike the changeup artistry of Hoffman and Villanueva, Axford deals in pure heat, averaging over 95 MPH on his fastball. That said, the Brewers seem to want Hoffman to work his way back into the role so badly that there’s always the danger the future Hall of Famer could steal some opportunities if he puts some clean outings together, but with the Brewers featuring the second-worst bullpen in baseball, they’d do well to go with the hot hand, and right now that’s John Axford. Whether or not he sticks long-term, he’s almost certainly going to get the save opportunities right now.

Meet the New Guy: Luis Durango

The Padres called up Luis Durango from the minor leagues. He joins the team Tuesday for the start of a series against the Cardinals. The Padres are playing National League opponents this week and were short a position player. Durango is considered one of the fastest players in the Padres organization. He is batting .305 for the Beavers with 17 stolen bases, although he has been caught 10 times. With two outfielders on the DL (Kyle Blanks and Scott Hairston), Durango will provide depth and someone to pinch run. Consider him merely a deeper NL-only Rotisserie flier at this point. Durango’s big season at Paortland has not gone unnoticed. The 24-year old is hitting .305 with 17 stolen bases and adds a different dimension than the guy he’s replaced, Kyle Blanks, who is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Durango provides significant keeper value, but needs to produce to stay up once Blanks returns.

Meet the New Guys: Bernadina, Contreras, Ely

The National’s right field situation has been in shambles since the team released Elijah Dukes in the spring. The Roadrunners have already had two of the fill-ins, first OF Willy Taveras, released by both parties recently, as well as experimentation with SS Cristian Guzman. Roger Bernadina was called up from AAA Syracuse, and has done decently in limited action thus far. Bernadina has started four of the last five games and has seven hits, two homers and five RBI over that period. He has been on fire lately, but will probably return to the bench once he cools off. He is only viable in the deepest of NL-only formats at this point. (CBS Sports)

With two other Phillies relievers on the shelf, both Ryan Madson (broken toe) and Brad Lidge (ineffective, elbow), the simmering Jose Contreras was tabbed to be the standby closer. Perhaps he’s not worth the $42 FAAB bid (the only other bid was for $13), but hey, we have zero saves. Contreras did well in the Rockies’ pen last season, but was put in competition for a starting job in Spring Training and didn’t fare well. Looks like he can extend his career quite a bit if he stays successful in the pen.

Dodgers starter John Ely has been a surprise success this season, getting the call to spell Vicente Padilla from AAA. Dodgers SP John Ely had his most impressive start yet in a victory against the Astros on Monday, allowing two runs on eight hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in seven innings. He threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of his 25 hitters and went to a three-ball count just five times. The rookie right-hander, who turned 24 last Thursday, has faced 84 consecutive batters without allowing a base on balls — the longest current streak in the majors. “I try not to think about that at all. I’m just going out there with the same game plan — trying to throw strikes and keep the ball down,” Ely said. “I’m a competitor and I hate giving in to guys, so I’m going to go at them. If they beat me, that’s fine. But at least I know I went at them with my best stuff. I’m getting a little more confidence each time out and learning how to face different kinds of hitters.” Ely wasn’t known for having exceptional control in the minors, so you have to think he’ll start walking batters eventually. Still, he has been quite a find out of the Dodgers minor-league system and quite an addition of the waiver wire in NL-only leagues. Another start or two like this one, and he’ll deserve a look even in mixed leagues. His next start and second of Fantasy Week 7 (May 17-23) is scheduled for Saturday against the Tigers. (CBS Sports)

Meet the New Guy: Jody Gerut

Jody Gerut was originally selected by Stanimals in the 10th round of the 2010 minor league draft, but was subsequently released on April 13th. Gerut has received attention of late due to the banged-up status of Brewers OF’s Carlos Gomez (now on the 15-Day DL) and Jim Edmonds, especially after powering a game-winning grand slam in a six-RBI effort Saturday night. Gerut re-joins the squad that picked him up as a 2008 FAAB, protected him for 2009, and then released him following his trade from San Diego to Milwaukee, where he was allowed to rot on the bench.

Meet the New Guys: Jason Jaramillo, Jose Tabata

Pirates C Jason Jaramillo was selected to fill the shoes of the recently demoted Chris Iannetta. Jaramillo may have his uses later this season as well, as it is rumored that starter Ryan Doumit may be traded by the deadline, and he also has a penchant for injuries. Jaramillo hit his first homer of the season Saturday, a solo shot in a 5-2 loss to the Astros. Jaramillo has just 14 at-bats this season as he continues to back up Ryan Doumit. He remains barely worth worrying about in the deepest of NL-only formats. (CBS Sports)

Pirates AAA OF Jose Tabata rejoins the Roadrunner squad, after spending a month on the 2009 edition. Tabata had four hits and three steals for Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. Tabata was 11-for-19 stealing bases in 93 games last year, but he’s already 12-for-13 in 22 games this season. He’s also batting .330/.391/.450 in his 100 at-bats. More power would be nice, but he’s still primarily a contact guy, something that will limit his upside in the majors. (Rotoworld)

Meet the New Guys: Wade LeBlanc, Jordan Lyles

One of the losers of the Padres’ 5th-starter battle, LeBlanc did well, but couldn’t supplant Mat Latos for the 5th spot. However, due to an injury to starter Chris Young, LeBlanc was called up from AAA Portland and has pitched well. LeBlanc pitched three-hit ball over six innings in Saturday’s win in Cincinnati. LeBlanc (1-0), making his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Portland on April 18, walked two and struck out three. “He mixed his pitches up,” said Reds 3B Scott Rolen, who went 0 for 3. “That’s what he set out to do and he accomplished it.” LeBlanc has now allowed just one earned run through 11 innings over his first two starts. He didn’t show quite the strikeout potential on Saturday as in his first start when he struck out seven batters, but he’s shown enough potential to be worth a pickup in all NL-only leagues and even in larger mixed formats. His next start is slated for April 29 against Milwaukee. (CBS Sports)

The Astros’ second-round pick from a South Carolina prep school, Jordan Lyles has rocketed up Houston’s meager prospect charts, and is currently doing well at AA-Corpus Christi. Rated by Baseball Prospectus as the Astros’ No. 3 prospect, behind SS Jio Mier and C Jason Castro, Lyles whiffed seven over five innings (four hits, one run) as a 19-year-old; 16/2 K/BB in 15.2 innings. From Baseball Prospectus:

Year in Review: A supplemental first-round pick, Lyles had an eye-popping full-season debut, finishing fourth in the minor leagues with 167 strikeouts, and sixth in strikeouts per nine innings with 10.4.
The Good: Lyles’ fastball has velocity that’s a tick above-average, sitting at 90-92 mph while touching 94, but it plays up significantly due to both the movement of the pitch and his outstanding ability to locate it effectively in all four quadrants of the zone. Lyles’ changeup is at least average now, so it’s advanced for his age, and his frame and mechanics are built to eat up plenty of innings.
The Bad: Decent velocity and outstanding command can lead to incredible results at Low-A, and scouts generally don’t think Lyles is as good as his numbers suggest. His curveball is below average, and it will need to improve for him to succeed at the upper levels.
Ephemera: The 38th overall pick has been especially brutal on pitchers, as no player drafted at that slot has won more than 12 big-league games, although Colby Lewis (1999) gets an opportunity to increase that number this year with the Rangers.
Perfect World Projection: Lyles projects as a solid third starter.
Path to the Big Leagues: After Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez, there are few roadblocks in the Houston rotation.
Timetable: Lyles will move up to Lancaster, not exactly the best place to put up good numbers as a pitcher, in 2010. [Later updated to AA Corpus Christi – still a challenge.]

Meet the New Guys: Burke Badenhop, Sean Marshall

RHP Burke Badenhop was acquired as a hedge against closer Leo Nunez. Badenhop already has one save this season, and may get more if Nunez is tired or becomes ineffective. Badenhop said he was pleasantly surprised manager Fredi Gonzalez kept him in Sunday’s game after he entered in the seventh inning and retired Philadelphia 3B Placido Polanco, a right-handed hitter. Instead of going with LHP Renyel Pinto or LHP Dan L. Meyer — both of whom have struggled this year — Gonzalez stuck with Badenhop, who retired two tough lefty hitters, 2B Chase Utley and 1B Ryan Howard, to end the seventh and open the eighth, respectively. “I thought maybe they’d bring Pinto in,” said Badenhop, who has an 0.91 ERA in nine innings over five appearances. “It was nice of him to leave me in there. I kept the ball down and got some outs.” Badenhop is a viable middle reliever for the deepest of leagues that use true middle men at this point. He isn’t a candidate for saves yet, though. (CBS Sports)

Formerly a starting prospect, Sean Marshall has been getting key late-inning assignments for the Cubs, and may potentially become a candidate for saves if closer Carlos Marmol doesn’t improve his control. Marshall was called upon to get the final out in an ugly seventh inning in a loss to the Mets on Monday. Marshall allowed a hit before getting the out and threw nine pitches. His ERA is 2.16 on the year. Marshall has a blown save and a loss already this season and isn’t likely to join the starting rotation anytime soon. He has the stuff to succeed in such a role, but in his current role, he’s just a low-end NL-only option. (CBS Sports)

Meet the New Guys – 2010 Minor League Edition


Christian Friedrich – Starting Pitcher – Rockies
Selection: 1st Round, 2nd Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $10
Notes: Best available prospect, was high on him coming into the draft. AAA-Colorado Springs. May be up in September 2010.


Chris Volstad – Starting Pitcher – Marlins
Selection: 2nd Round, 10th Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $10
Notes: Best available starter, No. 4 starter for Marlins, should be decent, possibly low strikeouts, bad peripherals.


Takashi Saito – Relief Pitcher – Braves
Selection: 2nd Round, 19th Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $10
Notes: Set-up guy with great numbers, may close if Billy Wagner falters.


Ronny Paulino – Catcher – Marlins
Selection: 4th Round, 28th Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $10
Notes: Platoon catcher with John Baker. Some pop, generally high batting average, moreso than some starters. Will play while Buster Posey is in AAA.


Brian Bruney – Relief Pitcher – Nationals
Selection: 4th Round, 30th Pick overall (acquired from The Pi Train)
Salary (assigned): $10
Notes: Set-up guy with chance to close in unsettled Nationals pen, espcially if Matt Capps goes wild again.


Cristian Guzman – Shortstop – Nationals
Selection: 5th Round, 38th Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $10
Notes: Former starter, expensive enough to get traded or playing time, depending on how Ian Desmond and Adam Kennedy do.


Willy Taveras – Outfielder – Nationals
Selection: 6th Round, 48th Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $10
Notes: Weak-hitting speedster, who may just platoon in right field with Willie Harris. Don’t plan on activating until he secures playing time, or if I’m desperate for steals.


Nick Masset – Relief Pitcher – Reds
Selection: 7th Round, 58th Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $5
Notes: Top Reds set-up pitcher for Francisco Cordero, should have good vulture opportunities with that offense behind him, some save chances.


Mike Jacobs – First Baseman – Mets
Selection: 8th Round, 68th Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $5
Notes: 20-HR power, with nothing else, and bad OBP, but due to injuries, may get the start on Opening Day.


Juan Gutierrez – Relief Pitcher – Diamondbacks
Selection: 9th Round, 78th Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $5
Notes: Top D’Backs set-up man for Chad Qualls, who is still returning from a knee injury. Got 8 saves last September, and Qualls is a free agent next year.


Tyler Clippard – Relief Pitcher – Nationals
Selection: 10th Round, 88th Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $5
Notes: Former Yankees starting prospect, found success in bullpen, with very good strikeout ratios, and a slight chance at saves.


LaTroy Hawkins – Relief Pitcher – Brewers
Selection: 11th Round, 98th Pick overall
Salary (assigned): $5
Notes: Brewers’ set-up pitcher, had 11 saves last year for Astros, and he’s backing up 40-year-old Trevor Hoffman.