Fantasy: Free roster spot? Me neither, but if I did, I’d add these guys …
By Michael Jokinen 4/17/13
(Who is Tony Cingrani? If you don’t already know, it’s probably too late)
This is the best time of year in fantasy to attempt consolidating your low-end talent via trades. The key word there is attempt, as this will take some serious salesmanship to get done – it’ll require convincing a fellow owner to do a 2-for-1 deal, where they turn a dime into two nickels. Most people generally like concentrating their talent, not diluting it further. And with good reason. Roster spots are invaluable: you can pick up the new closer in waiting, or add the newest hot-shot prospect that’s been called up. I like a team that’s a touch top-heavy so I’m more likely to find myself with a free roster spot to make such moves. Here are a couple names I’d snatch up with a free spot right now …
– He has grabbed the mantle as minor league baseball’s hottest pitcher, and his statistical production looks like a video game set on “rookie” mode. After three appearances so far this season, he’s leading the Triple-A International League in strikeouts (26), ERA (0.00) and WHIP (0.35). So who is this young phenom? He is the super-intriguing Tony Cingrani, and this twenty-three year old Reds product is about to explode onto the fantasy scene. Much like the touted Jose Fernandez, make sure you gobble up Cingrani off the waiver wire before, not after, his first start. Otherwise it’ll be too late.
With Johnny Cueto on the DL thanks to a lat strain, Cingrani will slot into his rotation spot for the time being. Scouts, citing inconsistent command, don’t hold him in as high regard as his eye-popping minor league numbers might suggest. But the numbers speak for themselves. Between two levels last year, Cingrani posted these absurd numbers: 146 IP, 1.73 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9. He might not be blowing up any prospect lists, but those numbers will play anywhere. They merit your attention, and he should be highly coveted even in shallow leagues. If that wasn’t all enough, his first two projected starts are against the light-hitting Marlins and Cubs. Act now or lose out.
– Mitchell Boggs has been an unmitigated disaster in St. Louis. Manager Mike Matheny isn’t yet ready to turn to Trevor Rosenthal, who hasn’t been without his own hiccups, in the ninth inning. Jason Motte is still a supreme mystery. That opens the door for Edward Mujica, and Matheny has already indicated he’d ride with Mujica as closer for now. If Mujica pitches well, it might not just be a short-term fix. I have every confidence that he probably will be effective … but then again, most would’ve said the same about Mitchell Boggs. Still, with saves in short supply in most leagues, any speculative closer is a must-add. And Mujica is a very good pitcher. Over the last two seasons, he’s posted a 2.99 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, and he’s at it again this year – pitching to the tune of a 1.80 ERA. He is no strikeout artist, but any quality arm given an opportunity for saves is a good add in my book. Go get him.