Back into the saddle we go. Actually, I spent the bulk of the break in the Sierra, playing guitar and kayaking with a bunch of friends, woefully/gleefully out of Wi Fi, DSL, and cell phone range.
So, returning Sunday was a lot of fun. Kind of an adventure. And, though this week might be a tad abbreviated, partially due to the short week, and partially due to my being away, let's get started, looking just at a bunch of arms this time through.
So, I cannot say I was surprised that the Braves promoted in my absence Ben Sheets, but I would not say I am enamored of Sheet's possibilities. Full of injuries, Sheets has not tossed 200 innings since 2004, although he did manage 198.1 in 2008. producing a fine 13-9, 3.09 mark. Unfortunately Sheets needed Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2009, signing with Oakland in 2010. I saw a bit of Sheets that year, and he started out well enough, only to finish 4-9, 4.53, over 119.1 frames. And, while it is true the righty did not have a very good team behind him, It also too Sheets till just before he went out for the season, going 1-2, 2.25 over three starts and 20 innings. Of course then Sheets was down for the rest of that year, and all of 2011. It is that time of year when taking a gamble might be what you need. Just don't count upon much. You know?
The Astros are going through as many first bats changes as the Dodgers (or so it seems) and with the departure of Carlos Lee, it looks like Scott Moore is going to get some shots at the spot. A first round pick of the Tigers in 2008, Moore has career totals of .232-10-31 over 244 at-bats. Moore is .274-3-4 this year over 40 at-bats, but I would not hold a lot of hope he can pick up his .274 OBP (13 walks to 63 strikeouts). Even in an NL only format, I would probably pass.
The White Sox brought up Dylan Axelrod to cover a start for Gavin Floyd. A 30th round pick in 2007 by the Padres, Axelrod signed with Chicago as a free agent in 2009. Axelrod had a pretty good 1-0, 2.89 over three starts and 18.2 innings last year at Comiskey, but was less successful in the majors this year, going 1-2, 6.16 over 30.2 innings. With 41 strikeouts over 49.2 major league innings, Axelrod's problem is control. He has 52 hits allowed and 20 walks, good for a 1.46 WHIP. Axelrod does have pretty good minor league numbers with 32-18, 2.85 over 543 innings, including a 1.139 WHIP but I would not be sure about the 26-year old. Only in an American League format is he worthy of any consideration.
But, I do like a gamble on Zach Britton, of the Orioles better. The 24-year old lefty was 11-11, 4.61 over 154.1 innings, succumbing to what started as ineffectiveness, and winding up on the shelf with shoulder issues. That was also after 0-3, 4.32 totals over 16.2 innings. Britton began this year with the same shoulder problems, but after mastering Double-A (1-0, 0.75 at Bowie) and then Triple-A Norfolk (4-1, 4.15 over eight starts) and is poised to join the Baltimore rotation. As long as the lefty can stay healthy, I think he has a good chance to improve upon his overall pretty good totals of last year.
The Cards have been pleased--as so should you should you have him--with the pitching of rookie Joe Kelly, a third-round pick in 2009. After 21-22, 3.89 totals over 338 innings, Kelly has helped out St. Louis with 1-1, 2.70 numbers, although he also has a troublesome WHIP of 1.44. The consideration there, however, the Cardinals are good at supporting pitchers that allow baserunners, as witnessed for example Jaime Garcia (whom Kelly replaced).
Joba Chamberlain alert! The big guy is on a rehab assignment. He has pitched three innings at Rookie ball, and is moving up.