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Friday 15th Dec 2017

Greetings andfelications of the Independence Day holiday. I hope you are haveing a great weekend full of family, food, and fun.

This is actually the weekend I have been waiting for for a while. With both teams out of town, I am actually getting some good rest. Watching games and moives (flipping in and out of the Star Wars marathon on Spike).

Of course it is always fun to start locally, and Oakland brought back Clayton Mortensen to cover for their damaged arms (in this case Dallas Braden). Acquired as part of the multi-player Matt Holiday swap, and the Cards #1 draft selection in 2007, Mortensen pitched pretty well in his Saturday debut. In a no-decision, he allowed six hits and four runs, but just a walk, and more important, struck out seven. Strikeouts had not been part of his big league game so far, so keep an eye on Mortensen and his control.

Sticking in Oakland, Vin Mazzaro, also part of the relief corps to Oakland's damaged arms, has had two good starts in a row, though one was a loss. In that game, Mazzaro allowed just two runs and six hits plus a walk over seven innings, while over the weekend just three hits to six walks as he got a win. With pretty good minor league credentials (38-30, 3.98) Mazzaro has kept his hits under innings since graduating to AA Midland in 2008. He has 409 whiffs over 538 minor league innings, but again has been closed to a whiff an innning since Midland. On a good defensive team like Oakland, he should fare well.

Speaking of recalled pitchers Mark Rzepcynski was recalled to help the Jays and their arm issues. Rzepcynski had a pretty good resume in 2009 at Toronto (2-4, 3.67) but the pitching deep Jays could spare him. Interstingly, Rzepcynski has had his worst showing during his pro career this season at Las Vegas (4-3, 6.66), but his track record, and team are enough to take a chance in a deeper league.

The Dodgers brought back the yo-yoing Xavier Paul with Manny nursing a dead thumb. The Dodgers are among the best at developing talent, and the flychaser has very good minor league totals (.292-70-377 over 709 games). With a pretty good career OBP of .361, Paul was hitting .348-12-34 with seven swipes in the minors, and is .298-0-5 with the big club over 69 at-bats this year. Again, in a deep league Paul could be a good fifth outfielder.

Hanging with the Dodgers, Travis Schlichting is one of those interesting players who can hit and throw. Drafted originally by the Rays Schlichting was a position player, who played all four infield positions (plus one game behind the dish) through 2007 when he converted to being a pitcher. As a hitter he went .249-8-92 over 399 games, while he is 12-6, 3.82 as a hurler. Pitching pretty much as a reliever, Schliting has good strikeout numbers with 156 over 186 innings, but 75 walks over that span is worrisome, and the 196 hits allowed suggests Schliting throws hard, but straight. So, interesting or not, let him go, at least till Schliting gives a reason to be sought.

It is probably a good thing that Schlichting switched to pitching, for the arms seem to be having a tough time staying healthy all over. Boston, also suffering from damaged wings, advanced Robert Manuel to fill the spot vacated by the hurting Manny Delcameron. This is a one-for-one, as Manuel, 26, has been a middle reliever since he was signed. With a career mark of 28-18, 2.75, including 27 saves over 409 innings. Manuel has 372 whiffs, and has allowed 362 hits, with just 75 walks and a 1.06 WHIP as a minor leaguer. Guys like Manuel tend to fare pretty well, so in a deep league he is a nice play.

Daniel Schlereth, traded with Max Scherzer last fall, was promoted by the Tigers, and he too makes an interesting selection. At 24, Schlereth was a first round pick of the Dbacks in 2008. He has gone 2-2, 1.93 with 105 whiffs over 74.2 innings and just 51 hits allowed. It is the 49 walks that are problematic, so though Schlereth has future closer (he has four minor league saves) written all over him, the potential wildness needs to be monitored prior to making a committment on him. 

Since we are deep into pitchers this week, Colorado's Esmil Rogers is the next new face on the block at Coors. With a Pedro Martinez body (6'", 150 lb.), Rogers has struggled his past two seasons at Class-AA Colorado Springs. Last year Rogers was 3-5, 7.42, and this season 1-3, 7.41. With 398 whiffs over 513.2 innings, Rogers may have a Pedro bod, but he lacks Pedro's velocity and control (552 hits, 177 walks). Pass. 

Barry Enright, a Diamondback arm, has had a nice minor league run since being selected in the second round of the 2007 draft, with totals of 28-16, 3.78 over 429 innings. Not completely overpowering, Enright still has 346 whiffs, and just 92 walks for a 1.25 WHIT. He has allowed 446 hits though, so control is the big thing. Enright did indeed display that control his first start with Arizona, winning his debut after allowing just a run over five innings (four each of hits and walks with five strikeouts). In an NL only format, Enright is worth a gamble; in a mixed league hold for now.

Finally, St. Louis promoted reliever Fernando Salas, a 25-year old Domincan hurler who has a 22-10, 3.58 record with 37 saves over 181 games and 243.2 innings. Salas has 235 whiffs, and has allowed 219 hits to 74 walks for a good 1.16 WHIP. Salas has fared well over his first three major league games, going 7.1 innings, allowing five hits, with four whiffs, a walk, and a run (which was a homer) allowed. Under Dave Duncan Salas should do well, so as a middle reliever on a good team, he makes a safe gamble in an NL only format.


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