I start writing down names of players I want to cover each week on Monday. Usually, I assemble a list of about 12-13 players during the week depending upon who has been promoted, demoted, and/or started to shine a little, and then whittle the list down to seven or eight on Sunday afternoon, and then write the profiles, hoping the universe looks more or less the same Monday morning as it did Sunday evening.
I marked down Slade Heathcott, a first-round pick of the Pinstripes, on Monday after the Major League newbie whacked a homer, but he then went and strained his quad. Enter Ramon Flores, a 23-year-old Venezuelan who was hitting .294-4-15 with an excellent 23 walks to 28 strikeouts (.389 OBP). Flores is not really a base stealer of late, though in 2012 he swiped 24 at Tampa.
With Jacoby Ellsbury still down, and the underproducing combination of Carlos Beltran, Garrett Jones and Chris Young, Flores could give your team a boost in an AL-only league, especially if it's an OBP league.
I love the Rule 5 guys, and Miami's Justin Bour might be the guy from that draft to emerge as a star. Bour, drafted by the Cubs in 2009, likely became expendable as a first baseman, but for Miami he is hitting .361-4-9 over 28 games, with five walks to ten whiffs (.409 OBP), and he is playing every day. Act accordingly.
With Maikel Franco holding down third base, the Phils brought back Cody Asche and are giving him a shot at earning the left field slot. With the release of Grady Sizemore, Asche will have every chance to prove his worth, getting at-bats, so again, if you need plate appearances, he is worth a gamble (and also qualifies at the corner and the outfield).
A bunch of young pitchers came to light this cycle, so let's look at some, starting with the Braves' Williams Perez, a 24-year-old signed in 2009. Over three starts (five total games) and 20.3 innings, Perez has 19 strikeouts and a 1-0, 2.66 mark, albeit with a 1.475 WHIP. Perez struck out 413 over 504 minor league innings, and kept the ball in the yard, allowing just 27 homers. Depending upon the depth of your league, he can indeed make a reasonable flier. However, there are other choices today.
Chad Bettis was a second-round pick of the Rockies in 2010 who had some unsuccessful bouts in the Majors, first in 2013 (1-3, 5.64) and then last year (0-2, 9.12). But this year, the 26-year-old might have figured out the next level. Bettis has mastered the Minors with a 26-16, 3.03 record over 389 innings with 389 strikeouts, so ideally the 2-0, 2.96 mark over four big league starts this season (27.3 innings), with 22 strikeouts is a sign of things to come. There is the Coors factor, of course, but Bettis has fared well, especially if your league allows streaming.
The Tigers brought up Buck Farmer to make a start, likely based upon his 5-1, 2.91 record at Toledo over nine starts and 51.3 innings, with 50 punchouts and just one homer allowed. Farmer went through Bettis-like first time wobbles with the Tigers, however, with seven runs allowed over five innings in his first start this year, so I would probably pass on Farmer until he at least passes the Bettis test.
As wonderful a name as is Buck Farmer, Chi Chi Gonzalez (though his real name is Alexander) of the Rangers has an even better moniker. And he's coming off a brilliant start with over five innings of shutout, two-hit ball, although with just a pair of strikeouts, and five walks. The 2013 first-round pick out of Oral Roberts was 3-5, 4.15 this year at Round Rock when called up, and though he did debut brilliantly, I might wait a bit before I trusted any chips on Chi Chi.
I feel pretty much the same about the Fish's Jose Urena, a 23-year-old Dominican who was 4-0, 1.21, also with just one homer allowed over 37.3 innings, with 22 strikeouts, although Urena got pounded in his first Major League start, so again, keep the long-term eye on him (and Gonzalez) but pass for now.
DFS Watch: OK, we are willing to adjust to the fun market of Daily Games, in fact you know we play FantasyScore and participate in the FanDuel Tout Wars contest, so let's add to our daily MastersDaily coverage and simply pick a couple of series/games/starts this week that look good.
Let's start with Clayton Kershaw, going against the Rockies (who have a tough time with lefties, and whiff a lot), albeit in Denver. If Kershaw is the dominant pitcher he was last week against the Braves, however, it probably doesn't matter where the lefty throws.
Come the weekend, the White Sox and Tigers meet, and aside from David Price pitching for Detroit Saturday, and Jeff Samardzija for the Pale Hose Sunday, pitching in general should be iffy, making Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton, Alexei Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez potentially nice plays. Turn into the MastersDaily each day for our day-to-day selections.