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Monday 18th Dec 2017

Earlier in the week, I wrote in my USA Today piece about Giants lefty Eric Surkamp, who was more than dominating at Double-A. At Richmond, Surkamp notched a 10-4, 2.02 ERA with 165 strikeouts over 142 innings. Over his minor league career of 392 innings, Surkamp now has 465 strikeouts which is an impressive sum (345 hits and 110 walks). The 6-foot-4 lefty made his San Francisco debut Saturday against the Astros, going six innings, allowing six hits, three walks, striking out four. That is an auspicious debut and the Giants will exploit the skill set, and so should you.

Seems like I have been waiting forever for the White Sox Dayan Viciedo, whom I own in both Tout Wars and LABR, to be promoted. This is largely due to his .296-20-78 totals over 119 games at Triple-A Charlotte this year, and bearing in mind the .305-5-13 he hit at U.S. Cellular Field last year, the outfielder/corner infielder projects to be a pretty good hitter from here on out.

The Tigers selected Danny Worth in the second round of the 2007 draft, yet despite the high selection Worth projects to be little more than a utility infielder at best. That is largely due to this overall .251-17-136 numbers since then, over 376 games, with an OPS of just .681 (.320 OBP, .361 SLG), hitting is not the strength of this Worth. He does, however play second, third, and short, but since that matters little in straight fantasy ball, well…

I saw the Astros play on Sunday, and they are a new team, and though they did not look dominating, they both won and were interesting. I did see Jordan Schafer play, and Jose Altuve. Well, Houston promoted another of the spoils of the Michael Bourn (Schafer and two other players were swapped by the Braves) in pitcher Juan Abreu, and the 26-year old Dominican has some numbers that look very good. Starting with 405 strikeouts over just 338 innings, with just 294 hits allowed, Abreu is on of those guys who could be dominant. With 41 minor league saves over 170 relief appearances, he has the dominant stuff to be a closer. With 204 walks, it could take a little time, however, for the right-hander to gain both total command, and then a major role on the team, but this is a good place for opportunity to present itself.

While we are in Houston, the team also promoted 24-year old catcher J.B. Shuck, their sixth round selection in the 2008 draft. Shuck does not have power with just seven homers over 1927 minor league totals, but he does have a good .301 average, and better, 215 walks to 190 strikeouts, good for a .384 OBP. Shuck also nabbed 62 steals, plenty of swipes for a catcher. The team does have Jason Castro in the wings, but Shuck should not be ignored simply because there is a bit of a line in front of him. At least not on a team that will give chances to their young players, especially with those on-base totals.

Another backstop promoted this week is the Athletics Anthony Recker, who came up at the expense of Landon Powell. I always thought Powell would fare better than his .176-1-4 totals of this year (.209-10-45 over 345 career at-bats), but down he went and up came Recker. At 27, and picked in the 18th round of the 2005 draft, Recker has pretty good minor league totals with .279-89-353 totals. He has spent the last two seasons at Triple-A Sacramento, hitting .279-38-135 over 257 games, including .287-16-47 numbers for 2011. Problem is Recker's very un-Oakland-like 266 walks to 663, conjunction with the hitters having the advantage in the PCL suggests Recker will not be more successful than Powell.

The Buccos acquired the multi-positional Pedro Ciriaco along with Chris Snyder from the Diamondbacks at the trade deadline, promoting him over the last week to Three Rivers. A fast (155 swipes and 394 runs over 745 minor league games) player with .269-24-293 totals, Ciricaco has played second, third, short, and left field this season at Indianapolis, but his poor on-base numbers (.296, with 109 walks to 506 strikeouts) will likely keep no more than a bench role.

Josh Judy is a pitcher with the Indians, selected late (34th round) of the 2007 draft. Judy's name that harkens back to the 30's and the Negro Leagues, and his stuff might have placed the right hander well in that environ. With 26-8, 2.84 totals, Judy has 303 whiffs over 266.2 innings, and functioning as a closer this year, the righty is 6-2, 3.24 with 22 conversions over 49 games (50 innings) with 58 whiffs. As the Tribe has pretty much slipped from contention., Cleveland might get creative as the season ends, so Judy is worth keeping an eye on, though probably not more at this point.

Finally, looking at a veteran with potentially new hope, for Padre and Athletic Kevin Kouzmanoff has resurfaced at Coors Field, and though I would like to see "Kouz" post some offense, I am not holding my breath (since I have had him the past two years in AL only formats) after the .247-16-71 last year, and .221-4-17 this year before being sent to Sacramento. Kouzmanoff is surely better than Triple-A as his .302-15-38 numbers over 61 Sacramento games this year indicate, but the majors seems to be too much for the third sacker. He is streaky, but like I said, I am not holding my breath.

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