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Saturday 16th Dec 2017

Week 20 is here, and this is a good time to not just look at some new faces, and faces with new surroundings, but look at some guys you might want to track or acquire for the coming season.

Starting with Oakland's Chris Carter, who is one of those players who fits all the categories above, as he was promoted this week to the majors, and as you might want to take a look at this power hitter as a future and grab the first sacker for your ultra list. Carter, acquired with among other Brett Anderson and Carlos Gonzalez, for Dan Haren, Carter looks lik the power source the Athletics need to push to the next level. His .285-145-502 totals, with a .381 OBP, Carter was .262-27-89 at Sacramento prior to his call-up, and whether he usurps Daric Barton or claims the DH spot, Carter will get a chance to display the pop that provided .540 SLG average, and .921 OPS.

Houston is wasting no time in pushing towards resurrection, having now advanced hurler Mark Melancon, acquired last week as part of the Lance Berkman deal. Melcanon enjoyed a cup of Bronx coffee last fall, going 0-1, 3.86 over 16 innings. The potential future Houston closer was 19-3, 2.79, with 15 saves over 216.1 innings and 61 game closures. He has 211 whiffs, to 67 walks and 183 hits allowed and is a great risk for saves next year at this point.

Wellington Castillo is a 23-year old backstop in the Cubs system, and while he might not displace Geovany Soto, adding him adds some energy and potential position flexibility to the North Siders. Castillo was .251-13-57 at AAA Iowa this season, and he is a bit of a free swinger (281 whiffs to 77 walks in the minors), so if you grab Castillo, stash him, but don't count on a lot of help from him this season.

The Rockies brought Eric Young back for a third time, and though he has struggled as a major leaguer, Young has 313 swipes as a minor leaguer, with a .291 average and .382 OBP. Young does have a little pop with 27 homers and 229 RBI, but the 487 runs over 605 games, along with the steals, are really the value and potential in Young. He does have talent, and is still a rookie with 103 at-bats (.245-1-4) but that is exactly what he needs to work on to get a full time role. Like Castillo, let Young age on your reserve list for now.

Finishing with a young arm, the Rangers advanced Pedro Strop, and the former Rockie prospect, aged 25 has a nice future as a setup man--and is a long-shot as a closer, though on Texas, with Neftali Feliz, that shot is really long--largely due to his 228 strikeouts over 190.1 innings, with 158 hits allowed to 84 walks. Strop has taken some lumps (0-0, 5.91 ERA) over 10.1 innings as a minor leaguer, so though he has some potential, that too is in the future.

The Giants acquired Jose Guillen over the weekend after Kansas City put the outfielder on waivers, and he could indeed be a major cog in San Francisco making the post season. Guillen is on his tenth team since 1997, that provided .270-211-872 totals over 1609 games. Guillen swings from the heels to be sure (1074 whiffs to 316 walks), but he has not just the pop SF can use, but he is a strong right fielder with a great arm and totally adds to the overall San Francisco depth. He will get a chance to play, but, SF is not a homer haven, so there could be a drop in power.

Finishing with three names to grab this season, ideally on the cheap for next year, starting with the Orioles Jeremy Gutherie, who is 7-11, 3.88 right now. The former Stanford star was 3-10, 4.77 over 111.1 first half innings, but since the break is 4-1, 1.51, with an 0.96 WHIP over 41 innings.

Coming off surgery last year, it has taken Kevin Slowey a while to get back in the groove, but now at 10-5, 4.45, he has been more than deadly at 2-0, 2.63 over 27 innings this last month. Slowey no-hit the Athletics through seven innings Sunday, striking out 23 over 27 innings, allowing just three walks and 18 hits for an .076 WHIP. Wait till next year.

Finally, I have mentioned how hot Gordon Beckham has been already, but it really is important to note that the White Sox infielder is now .251-7-40 over 104 games, which might not seem like much. Well, Beckham is .303-3-13 over the last month, and .360-4-18 over 27 second half games compared to .215-3-22 over 77 first half games. He will only get better, but Beckham will likely never be cheaper.



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