Fantasy MLB: Weekly Pickups
By Michael Jokinen 5/9/13
(Will Heath Bell get another crack at the ninth? Me thinks so …)
Let’s cut right to the chase – the closer carousel spins endlessly, so let’s check in on some news-worthy tidbits. J.J. Putz left Tuesday night’s game with “elbow stiffness” after walking the lone batter he faced; Heath Bell cleaned up the mess for Arizona. Like last year, Bell’s ERA sits around 5.00. And like last year, that’s pretty deceptive. His FIP and xFIP are both below 3.00 and he’s striking out 12.83 batters per-nine innings while not walking anybody. He’s just been fairly unlucky with HR/FB and BABIP. I expect Kirk Gibson to play the “experienced vet” card when considering Putz fill-ins, which is why I expect Bell to get the first crack at the ninth, even with other viable in-house options. I think Bell will do just fine, go grab him.
Speaking of other closer fill-ins, Junichi Tazawa has been named interim closer in Boston. With both Hanrahan and Bailey on the DL, Tazawa figures to be lead dog in Boston’s bullpen for at least the next couple weeks. Since the start of last season, Tazawa has impressive numbers: 58.1 IP, 63 K, 8 BB, 1.70 ERA, 0.96 WHIP. Why shouldn’t he succeed?
As if Colorado’s offense isn’t thriving enough, they’ve recently promoted Nolan Arenado to take over at third base. After posting a 1.059 OPS in AAA, the Rockies figured they couldn’t wait any longer on the kid that’s garnered favorable ranks on prospect lists just about everywhere. This is big news not only because he’s a hot-shot prospect, but because he’s expected to play on an everyday basis. One can cry small sample size, but he’s certainly made a good first impression – a .294 AVG and 3 homers through his first 36 plate appearances. Slotted in one of baseball’s best lineups, he certainly merits a close look from fantasy owners everywhere.
Dan Straily is only owned in 11% of Yahoo! leagues, but you need to have him on your squad if you’re looking for a little pitching depth. He got a cup of coffee last year, impressively logging a 3.89 ERA in 39.1 IP. So far in 2013 his surface stats look unimpressive (5.94 ERA), but his 2.77 SIERA suggests he’s actually been pitching pretty well. He’s logged over 500 innings in the minors, and he’s struck out batters to the tune of 9.7 per nine innings. From here on out, I’d expect the unheralded Straily to post an ERA in 4.00 range while striking out about a batter per inning. If you’re in need of strikeouts, I’d go with Straily’s upside.