Back we are, so let's jump right in. Last week I noted that due to the mass of injuries, the Giants promoted shortstop Brandon Crawford to help fill the void. Though he had never played above A-ball, Crawford has handled the move like a pro, delivering terrific defense, and enough offense to justify playing full time.
Sometimes the players we get are serendipities; in fact that is one of the keys to success in the fantasy world: grabbing the undervalued and unappreciated. Well, it looks like Crawford may have earned himself a steady gig for some time to come, and just when the Giants needed it.
So, this week, with uber-prospect Brandon Belt down with a hairline wrist fracture, the Giants advanced another of their store of youngsters with third sacker Conor Gillaspie. San Francisco's No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft, Gillaspie excelled at Wichita State prior to signing, and appearing at the rookie level (.269-015 over 24 games), Gillaspie did a full season at San Jose in 2009, going .286-4-67 with 31 doubles, then did the Eastern League last year to the tune of .287-8-67. At Fresno this year the now 23-year old was hitting .278-3-32, with 15 doubles. Gillaspie has terrific 128:178 strikeout to walk numbers, and could help the Giants push and adjust, as has Crawford. Note that Pablo Sandoval is due back in a week or so, thus Gillaspie's current stay could be short, but he is a good one to stash for the future.
Looking at another NL third sacker, I am a big fan of St. Louis' Matt Carpenter. A 13th round pick of the 2009 draft, Carpenter has shot through the Cards system going .283-2-22 over 70 Class-A games, then spent most of last season at Double-A Springfield where he went .316-12-53, earning the promotion to Triple-A Memphis this year (.283-2-23). Carpenter also has a terrific eye, with 160 walks to 170 strikeouts, and though he does have Daniel Descalso, and eventually David Freese, to work through, Carpenter could spell there during injury, or find himself playing some second.
Since it seems the Royals have some player worthy of note each week, let's look this time at Tim Collins. Collins reminds me of the Diamondbacks Josh Collmenter in that each has an unusual delivery. Each is also effective, as Collins' 3-2, 2.78 numbers. A free agent signing by Toronto in 2007, the lefty is diminutive at 5-foot-7 (the smallest player in the Majors), 170 pounds, but over the past month he is 1-1, 1.32, with an 0.95 ratio over 13.2 innings. In an AL format, that can be a lot of help.
Sticking with the AL, a pitcher to watch is Oakland's Fautino De Los Santos, a 25-year old who started this year at Double-A Midland as the closer, saving three and going 0-0, 2.89, before being moved to Triple-A Sacramento where he went 0-0-, 0.82 over nine games and 11 innings (11 strikeouts, six walks, seven hits). Oakland is good at developing pitchers, and in an AL only De Los Santos is worth a look. He made Jed Lowrie, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez look silly in Boston over the weekend, striking out five batters in 2 1/3 innings.
The Rockies promoted their first round pick of the 2009 draft in southpaw Rex Brothers. Drafted and promoted as a closer, Brothers has 99 minor league appearances in his resume, all in relief, over which he has assembled 7-5, 3.13 totals, with seven saves. Brothers has 143 strikeouts over 109.1 innings, to 60 walks and 79 hits, good for a WHIP of 1.27. Brothers has only allowed five homers over that span, a terrific number, and in an NL format should be considered.
Matt Young is another Braves outfield prospect (last week we covered Jordan Schafer) with .288-20-273 minor league totals. Signed as a free agent in 2004, the 28-year old Young is pretty much the same size as Collins (5-foot-8, 175). Table-setting is Young's game, as the left-handed hitter has 166 steals and an amazing 430 walks to 381 strikeouts, good for a lifetime .389 minor league OBP. Still, it is probably a mistake to place too much faith in Young and his major league abilities, though guys who can get on base are always worth a look.
Finishing with a troika of veteran outfielders, the Cubs brought Tyler Colvin back this week. Colvin had somewhat of a breakout last year, hitting .254-20-56, although with just 30 walks to 100 strikeouts (.316 OBP), Colvin's overall value was borderline. The left-handed power hitter, the Cubbies first round pick in 2006, was overmatched and found himself back at Triple-A this season, where .260-1-8 numbers are really not that much more convincing than his 107 walks to 354 strikeouts, and consistent .319 minor league OBP. Save a deep NL format, Colvin will likely be both a drain, and hard-pressed to hit 20 homers again over a single season.
Colvin's American League counterpart seems to be the Orioles Nolan Reimold, who hit .279-15-45 in 2009 as a rookie, then collapsed last year with .207-4-13 totals over 131 at-bats. That fostered a demotion and Reimold did not even make the opening day roster this year, instead starting at AAA Norfolk. Reimold has not really been convincing there this season with .237-6-22 numbers, but upon being recalled, Reimold reclaimed his left field spot going .333-3-7, and with 65 walks to 109 strikeouts, is a much better gamble than Colvin. Remiold has the wrong side of the left field platoon split with Felix Pie, but he’s out-producing him.
Finally, Texas has had some injury issues in their outfield, but Endy Chavez has come back to give them a nice boost in the outfield with .435-2-6 totals, with three swipes, over 50 at-bats. The problem for Chavez is getting regular plate appearances, as the now 33-year old Chavez surely has speed, and seems in charge of his offensive game. Because of that speed, though, Chavez is a player worth platoon consideration in most formats that value speed. And with Julio Borbon sent to the minors, Chavez could see the bulk of the playing time in center field. At least for now.