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Wednesday 29th Mar 2017

While John Travolta did name his son Jett, the person I really associate with that name is James Dean, who played the role of Jett Rink in the film adaptation of Edna Ferber's novel, Giant. Rink is a moody, solitary character as you would imagine with Dean playing the part, and his striking it rich with an oil strike only adds to the irritation the now rich Rink's part adds to the lives of those around him.

Not so for Jett Bandy, the Angels catcher who seems to have at least established himself over the weekend playing the Athletics, hitting some, and throwing out runners as well. Bandy, a Southern California native, was drafted in the 31st round by the Halos in 2011 after spending time at the University of Arizona. Now 26, Bandy posted a .265-42-227 line in the minors and is hitting .300-1-9 with the Angels thus far. Further, over just 13 games there have been 12 steal attempts against the rookie, who has nailed five, good for a fine 42% (his minor league average was 36%) and I have a good feeling about this kid.

While watching the Angels and Athletics duke it out this weekend, I also noticed the team had moved Max Muncy up in the batting order. Granted, the A's have had some rugged injuries which precipitated Muncy's playing time, which has indeed boosted his totals to .257-0-2 with a .366 OBP. Obviously, Muncy is of value only in the deepest of formats, but he has hit .269-0-2 the past two weeks. But, Muncy also has a game in each at first and third, adding a little extra value depending upon league format.

How do the Red Sox manage to keep coming up with these outfielders? As in the newest "these," Bryce Brentz, a former first rounder (2010) who has hit .262-95-373 over 580 games. Brentz hit .264-17-56 over 82 games at Pawtucket in 2013, largely laboring at that level since. Brentz has hit .364-1-1 having blasted his first big league homer on Sunday. He does have some trouble with the zone (196 minor league walks to 603 whiffs) but he seems to have favor over Rusney Castillo and seems to sort of fall in line with Brock Holt and Travis Shaw as this year's out of nowhere BoSox bench guy.

Looking at the NL, Angel Pagan has hit .414-1-9 with a pair of swipes and four runs this past week, and is likely available in your deeper NFBC-type mixed format. But I would also take a look at the Giants' Jarrett Parker, who hit .500-0-1 over ten at-bats this week, raising his totals to .269-3-8 with a solid 10 walks to 23 strikeouts (.380 OBP). Parker had similar numbers last year (.347-6-14 over 49 at-bats with a .407 OBP) and at age 27, he is screaming for someone to play him every day.

Wade LeBlanc, who played for Seibu (2-5, 4.23 over eight starts and 44.6 innings) last year, signed in December with the Jays and went 7-2, 1.71 over 89.6 innings and 14 starts at Buffalo. He was then swapped to the Mariners and shut down the Cardinals in his first start. Still, considering his struggles in Japan and LeBlanc's career mark of 21-33, 4.41 over 452.6 innings with a 1.406 WHIP, make sure the lefty has a few good starts before you even think about rostering him. 

The Buccos advanced outfielder/infielder Adam Frazier, who got a hit in his debut game Friday. Frazier was a sixth-round selection of the Pirates in 2013 out of Mississippi State. The 24-year-old has hit .299-3-121 over 350 minor league games with 189 runs scored, 47 steals (though 38 caught) and a terrific 125 walks to 161 strikeouts, good for a .363 OBP. He surely looks like a guy to grab not just due to his talent, but he is on a team that moves players around (think Josh Harrison and Jung Ho Kang). Frazier played 224 minor league games at short and 94 more in the outfield, adding just that dimension.

The Yankees moved up Mexican import Luis Cessa, a 26-year-old starting pitcher who has posted a 34-31, 3.68 mark with 447 strikeouts over 533.3 innings. The righty--who also played some infield in the minors--had a solid 1.243 WHIP, allowing 562 hits with 126 walks and 36 homers allowed. Meaning Cessa indeed can control the zone in the minors, and as witnessed by his first start (seven innings, two runs, five hits) could be a decent pickup in AL-only formats, for now. He kind of reminds me of Junior Guerra, as a matter of fact, which is not bad as a free agent hurler this year.

Much the same could be said about Chad Kuhl, who made his Major League debut Sunday night, facing Clayton Kershaw. A ninth-round pick in 2013, Kuhl was 33-16, 2.79 over 438 innings, with 293 whiffs. Kuhl, like Cessa, has good control having allowed 105 walks and 28 homers over those innings, and he picked up the win during the ESPN game, twirling five frames and allowing three runs in a matchup against the best pitcher in the solar system. More impressive was the seven-pitch bases loaded first big league at-bat Kuhl logged. The 23-year-old hung tough throughout the plate appearance.

Please feel free to comment and don't forget you can hit me up @lawrmichaels. 

 

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