I swear, this has indeed been the craziest and busiest summer of my life. Not that I am complaining, but for the most part Diane and I have been on the road attending conferences, or attending some kind of music something-or-other since the middle of June.
And, that makes it hard to travel and stay on top of all my teams, especially in daily formats, and last week we spent at our annual trek to Performing Arts Camp in Cazadero, where cell phones simply don't work.
I do recommend such times of respite during the baseball season (and off) as it does remind that the world will continue to miraculously turn and spin, irrespective of whether I know or not.
Still, there was indeed a cluster of fine young prospects once again brought forth, and one I am interested in is Rangers' catcher Tomas Telis, whom I own the rights to in my Strat-O-Matic league and whom the Rangers swapped to the Marlins this year at the deadline.
A prototype fireplug (5'8", 210 pound) backstop, Telis is just 24 and has a pretty good resume with a .291-36-332 line over eight minor league seasons that includes a .325 OBP (117 walks to 257 whiffs, and he was hitting .291-5-25 at Round Rock before the swap) and solid defense, where 33 of his 52 minor league errors were comitted prior to 2012 (defense matters in Strat). He could be an interesting back-up for now, and perhaps even emerge as a Mike LaValliere type player: not so much good in Roto, but as a DFS platoon, and ideally in Strat-O-Matic, that would be great.
The White Sox advanced their second-round selection in 2009 with the promotion of outfielder Trayce Thompson, a high school selection out of Southern California who has since toiled seven years in the Minors with a .241-101-395 line, albeit with a somewhat paltry .319 OBP (291 walks to 817 strikeouts). Prospects can be shiny, but I would not expect too much out of Thompson.
However, the Indians' Abraham Almonte, called up with only two games at Columbus after being claimed off waivers from the Padres, has come out of the blocks hot, hitting his second homer in a pair of days and going 5-for-9 with a pair of dingers and three RBI this past few days. Since there is no one to really block his playing time, if you need at-bats in an American League only format, he could indeed be a good source of those.
Finishing up with one more hitter, as if the Cubs needed one, the team did bring up Matt Szczur, their fifth-round selection in 2010 who attended Villanova. The Cubs are indeed stacked, but Szczur has a pretty good .281 minor league average, coupled with 139 swipes and could be a good speed source in an NL-only league. At Iowa, just prior to the call-up, the outfielder was hitting .295-7-26 with 19 swipes and a fine .360 OBP.
Seattle advanced 24-year-old hurler Mayckol Guaipe, a 6'4" Venezuelan whom the team signed at age 16 in 2007, and who has functioned as a reliever since 2012. With 334 strikeouts over 436.6 minor league frames, Guaipe is not a potentially dominant pitcher, but he could develop into a Dan Quisenberry ground-ball out reliever on a team that has a sort of up in the air pen. Still, for now, he is the longest of shots.
However, the final troika of newbie hurlers we will review this week are all primo, starting with Jon Gray, the Rockies first rounder in 2013 who is 20-11, 3.82 over 53 starts and 276 minor league innings, with 274 strikeouts and a 1.272 WHIP. Gray is worth a gamble in an NL-only format, and perhaps even if you need to gamble in a mixed set-up as well. For sure, you should stash him in a keeper league as long as you can.
Same with his American League counterpart of the week in Boston's Henry Owens, a 6'6" lefty the team drafted out of high school in the first round in 2011. After 518 innings and 95 starts, the Red Sox finally advanced the 22-year- old, who whiffed 572 batters and posted a 1.195 WHIP with a 43-24, 3.30 mark in the Minors. Again, he is a must own in freeze leagues, and I am activating Owens, or trying to grab him wherever I can.
DFS Watch: OK, Mastersball is dedicated to covering the fun market of Daily Games. In fact, you know we play FantasyScore and participate in the FanDuel Tout Wars contest (you play against all the Touts every Tuesday at the Tout Wars Challenge), so let's add to our daily MastersDaily coverage and simply pick a couple of series/games/starts this week that look good.
Pitchers to Watch: With a short set of Monday games, Chris Sale, Johnny Cueto and Sonny Gray all get a shot at a pair of starts this week, but if you are looking for a tournament match-up, Gerrit Cole/Michael Wacha and Jordan Zimmermann/Clayton Kershaw lead the way.
Hitters to Watch: If I am watching series, I think Oakland/Toronto, who will start Drew Hutchison (10-2, despite a 5.42 ERA and 1.516 WHIP) on Tuesday, and also think the fun Jeremy Hellickson/David Buchanan game on Tuesday could be a hitter's haven.