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Sunday 25th Feb 2018

In an interesting week of player movement, the primo promotion has to be the Rockies' new third sacker, Nolan Arenado. Drafted in the second round of the 2009 June fete, Arenado has a minor league line of .299-49-286 over 1675 at-bats. I saw him a couple of times over the spring and he certainly looked more than ready. Arenado put together a .364-3-21 line at Colorado Springs this year to go along with a 1.059 OPS. At 22 years old, the Rockies have handed the keys to the hot corner to Arenado, and he is simply the latest in the line of great young third sackers, like Brett Lawrie and Evan Longoria. If Arenado is available in your league, grab him.

San Francisco was dealing with roster changes, and they promoted their fine outfield prospect Francisco Peguero. Signed as an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic at age 16 in 2005, Peguero has a solid .307-34-327 line over 630 minor league games, along with 108 doubles, 50 triples, and 128 swipes indicating excellent speed. If Peguero has a flaw, it would be the 97 walks to 443 strikeouts, so holding his own against major league pitching will be the challenge. And, Peguero will likely not be a starter just yet, but along with Gary Brown in a couple of years, he will be a mainstay. Chances are he will be better to stash on your reserve list for now, though.

Wilkin Ramirez, another Dominican, was also signed as an amatuer free agent, this time in 2003 by the Tigers, when the outfielder was just 13 years old. That gives the now 23-year-old nine years of professional play under his belt, with .262-130-469 numbers over 3455 minor league at-bats, with 45 triples and 42 stolen bases. With 251 walks to 1027 strikeouts, Ramirez has the same plate discipline issue as Peguero, but as a member of the rebuilding Twins, Ramirez will get a lot more rope, meaning he is probably up for the year. He has .364-0-1 numbers over 11 games at Target this year and is a nice fifth outfielder gamble in an AL-only format.

Remember how awful the Yankees were going to be, and how great the Angels and Blue Jays were expected to be? Well, somehow despite losing the core of their infield, and now their catcher, the Bombers are experiencing a pretty good start. With Chris Stewart as the likely starting catcher for the foreseeable future, he makes a good play in the same AL-only leagues as at-bats are everything. I did see Stewart a bit during his time in San Francisco, and I will admit that Yankee Stadium seems better suited to his stick than did ATT. Stewart is really known for his defense, but his .275-2-4 totals over his first 11 games suggest maybe the stick is coming around some. At-bats are everything, and if you need to fill a catching hole, think about Stewart.

Another Chris--as in Chris Nelson--went from the Rockies (opening up that space for Arenado) to the Yankees this week and he will probably see the bulk of hot corner time until Alex Rodriguez returns (if he returns). Nelson was hitting .242-0-4 over 66 at-bats, but as a major leaguer was .277-13-73 over 213 games and 620 at-bats. A former first round pick by Colorado in 2004, Nelson is likely another decent source of everyday at-bats and in a deep league is more than worthy of consideration.

I saw Dee Gordon's return to the show against the Giants on Saturday night. In fact, I saw Hanley Ramirez pull his left hamstring Friday night in a bad week for hamstrings and legs in the bay area, with Peter Bourjos, Coco Crisp and Chris Young all being placed on the DL along with Ramirez over the past seven days due to injuries incurred in San Francisco or Oakland. The 25-year-old bagged a triple, and more important, a pair of swipes, and the truth is he is just a better offensive weapon than Justin Sellers, and probably points to Hanley moving back to third when he returns. Gordon is a must play in NL-only leagues and really in mixed formats as well simply because of the swipes.

In covering for their injured outfielders, Oakland advanced catcher/first baseman Luke Montz to add some power and flexibility to their roster as they wait for their speedy flychasers to heal. Originally drafted by the Expos in 2003, Montz managed 21 at-bats with Washington in 2008 (.143-1-3) and otherwise toiled in the Minors with .237-144-535 totals over 11 seasons and 3117 at-bats. Last year at New Orleans, Montz hit .232-29-74 over 370 at-bats, and was hitting .283-5-12 at Sacramento this year when called back. Montz did homer Sunday against the Yankees, and does have some pop for sure, but he's probably not worth much consideration at this point being the third catcher and first baseman behind John Jaso, Derek Norris, Nate Freiman and Brandon Moss.

I am not sure about Patrick Corbin, who is 4-0, 1.80 over his six starts and 40 innings. The former second round pick of the Angels in 2009, Corbin was part of the Dan Haren deal of 2010. As a minor leaguer, he did strike out 404 over 430.2 innings, with a 31-16, 3.78 line. At 6-8, 4.54 over 107 innings and 17 starts last year along with 86 whiffs to 117 hits and 25 walks (1.372 WHIP), none of those numbers really spoke to me. However, Corbin, off to that great start, should be playing in all formats at this point and should he be sitting on your reserve list in a shallow league, pick him up.

Finally, 36-year-old Freddy Garcia is back, in fact back in the AL East, with the Orioles. Garcia did go 12-8, 3.62 in 2011 over 146.2 innings, but aside from that has been less than successful in the Majors since pitching with the White Sox, a relationship that ended in 2005. Garcia did get off to a good "start" with three hits and a pair of runs allowed in his Saturday start, but I would steer clear from Garcia. He might have a few good starts, but Garcia has not had a ratio under 1.34 since 2009. That just sounds like trouble.





0 #2 Todd Zola 2013-05-06 17:27
Nelson hit more HR on the road in fewer PA but his BA was higher at home due to fewer K's - in deep leagues AB are currency but it's Youkilis, not ARod that will be returning first. However, Youk can also play some 1B against LHP so Nelson will see some 2B/3B AB and if you play in a 12-team AL only format, you know how sparse infield free agents are at this point of the season.
0 #1 Michael July 2013-05-06 16:44
Lawr, I think Nelson's career numbers are more a product of playing in Colorado and also wonder if he, like many changing leagues, will have an adjustment period. Will certainly keep an eye on him.

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