The week before Memorial Day is always a fun one, and we all speculate summer travels and changes with graduations and weddings; something we are part of with a couple each of trips, graduations, and weddings on the horizon.
It does mean the warm weather is here, something Mother Nature has largely complied aside from dropping indiscriminate dumps of rain hither and yon. For now, there are a bunch of names, some new, some old, and some not worth bothering about for us to ponder. And, if you like what you read here, join my running mate Justin Mason from Friends With Fantasy Benefits and me every Thursday evening from 8-10 PM, ET for the Tout Wars Hour where we talk strategy and a lot of other good stuff with the analysts and writers you follow the most. This week our guests will be MLB.com's Fred Zinkie and BBHQ relief specialist Doug Dennis.
I noted in the Tout Wars FAAB report last week that I liked the acquisiton of Chad Pinder for a couple of bucks by current league leader Clay Link. For, on a team with some interesting players, interesting possibilities, and a GM happy to give a solid kid a shot, Pinder is indeed making himself known, hitting .267-4-9, hitting one of his bombs this weekend over the pavilion in center, a feat duplicated only four times. A former #2 pick (2013), Pinder plays both short and second, and can indeed double in the outfield as well. With the Athletics limping through with Jed Lowrie and Adam Rosales--both of whom I like, neither of whom is a long-term anything--Pinder should get a fair shake of time to show what he can do.
While we are at it, Jose Berrios, following his ridiculous 7.6 inning two-hitter with 11 whiffs, is now totally worth activating in any format. He may struggle, but he is here to stay, so if you drafted or reserved Berrios, or maybe picked him up years ago in your Ultra League, and have been waiting, activate him now. Again, he may struggle, but he will never again qualify as a rookie, so any benefits your league constitution affords go for it. Or, trade him. His value might get higher, but it is pretty high right now. Just don't sit on him.
And, I have to wonder about Cleveland, who advanced Bradley Zimmer over Tyler Naquin (.396-1-5 at Columbus) but that they did, and Zimmer looks like he could be interesting. A first-round pick of the Tribe in 2013, the California native had a nice .270-42-171 line in the Minors over 338 games, with a strong .372 OBP (167 walks to 378 strikeouts), and has begun his big league career well enough with a .267-1-3 with a steal this past week, and is a sure pickup in deep leagues, if still available.
The Angels signed Doug Fister. Nothing against Doug Fister, but this time last year they signed Tim Lincecum. How did that work out? Acquire accordingly.
In the same vein, the Braves signed James Loney, and then swapped for Matt Adams hoping to plug the horrible Freddie Freeman void. It appears Adams will get frst shot at everyday at-bats. If your objective is to try and stop the bleeding the loss of Freeman presents, try to figure out something else. Freeman was the best player on an up-and-coming team: he is the kind of player who simply makes the other players around him better. Neither Adams nor Loney is that guy, as the good pitches the players around Freeman saw will dissipate, and Loney/Adams will have to face the music without any more protection than anyone else on the team.
If you are lamenting the struggles of Julio Urias, think about Jose Berrios. Yeah, Urias adjusted more quickly at first, but now the Dodger hurler is not so much of a secret, and for now the team has a strong rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Brandon McCarthy, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Surely one of those guys will hit the DL, probably before the break, so Urias will be back and he should be pretty good.
I have been biting it up the middle this year it seems, and in shallower leagues Neil Walker is hitting .364-2-12 over the past two weeks, raising his season totals to .255-4-24. Walker is pretty steady, and is a good pickup right now.
If you are in an NL-only format, give Eric Sogard, now of the Brewers, a look. Sogard is back after a year off with a nasty knee injury, and while Jonathan Villar is struggling, Sogard is hitting .476-2-7 his first week. Sogard is now 30, and a total pro, and that means he knows how to do his job. And that could well mean some long-term steady play. All he needs is the chance. Here it is.
Track me down @lawrmichaels.