Are you looking for an under-the-radar option for the coming week? Here are who the Rotoprofessor staff recommends you consider:
Willie Bloomquist – Arizona Diamondbacks – Shortstop (Will Overton)
This one is a bit of a stretch pick because it’s hard to know just how much time Willie Bloomquist will see, but the way he’s hitting the D-Backs almost have to play him. Bloomquist started four games this week and was 10 – 19 at the plate with 3 R, 3 RBI and 1 SB. What does play into Bloomquist’s favor is he the team is facing three lefties this week and Bloomquist is hitting .326 against them so far this season. And there’s also still the chance Stephen Drew gets dealt next week. It might be a gamble, but I think this one will pay off.
Ben Francisco – Houston Astros – Outfielder (Will Overton)
So far in the month of July Brian Bogusevic is hitting .195 and Jordan Schafer hitting .205. Ben Francisco was nothing more than a fifth outfielder in Toronto, but in Houston he should see regular playing time considering how bad the other options have been. Francisco is only hitting .236 so far this season, but he hasn’t really had a chance to get anything going. Francisco has proven capable of double-digit HR’s and SB’s in the past so he could be a sneaky source of value off almost all waiver wires right now.
Todd Frazier – Cincinnati Reds – Third Baseman (Ray Kuhn)
Frazier is another player who is benefiting from an injury. With Joey Votto likely sidelined for close to month, Frazier will now see regular at bats and be given the chance to produce. Already this season he has hit 10 HR and has 31 RBI in 198 at bats as a part time player and fill in for Scott Rolen. If he can keep that power pace up, Frazier could either give your team a little boost in the power categories or help deal with the loss of Votto to some degree. With his .278 average do not expect a crazy hot streak as he is 26 years old and has pretty much shown what he can do in the big leagues (which is being a solid contributor). By early this week he should be eligible at 1B but is currently eligible at 3B and OF so there is some level of versatility here as well. At this point in the season you will not find many better power bats on waivers that are getting regular playing time and will not be a drain on your average. Especially with his versatility, Frazier is someone worth keeping an eye on.
Marwin Gonzalez – Houston Astros – Shortstop (Ray Kuhn)
With Jed Lowrie out for at least a month and probably longer Gonzalez will see regular playing for the Astros. He does have decent physical tools and prior to his stint on the DL he hit a respectable .261. During his 13 game Triple-A rehab, Gonzalez had 10 RBI and hit .333. In 5 games back with the Astros he has raised his average to .284. Also helpful for owners in daily leagues is that he is likely eligible at 3B. Gonzalez looks a lot more comfortable and confident as he has continued with the positive momentum he established in Triple-A. I would expect to get a solid average similar to what he is producing now, a few HR and RBI and some runs scored if the Astros keep him at the top of the lineup. Gonzalez also could contribute a few stolen bases. At age 23 he is still developing to some degree and could prove to have value as an injury replacement that will not hurt you and could potentially be a keeper candidate.
Casey McGehee – Pittsburgh Pirates – First/Third Baseman (Eric Stashin)
Remember him? A much forgotten player at this point, McGehee has suddenly found himself getting every day at bats since the All Star Break. He has been delivering as well, hitting .291 with 8 HR and 28 RBI since June 1 (through Thursday). Despite having 90 fewer AB against left-handed pitchers McGehee has managed the same number of HR, with 4 HR in 72 AB. The Pirates have a seven game week, first taking on a Cubs team that could be without Ryan Dempster, then traveling to Houston for four games (who themselves recently traded one of their “better” starting pitchers in J.A. happ). Throw in three lefties on the schedule and there is a lot to like.
Travis Snider – Toronto Blue Jays – Outfielder (Eric Stashin)
For a while it didn’t appear like he would get another chance in the Majors this year, did it? However, the injury to Jose Bautista and the trade of Ben Francisco has finally opened up an opportunity. Yes, it was in the Pacific Coast League, but Snider hit .335 with 13 HR and 56 RBI in 209 AB at the level. Yes, you would like to see fewer strikeouts (42), but he deserved the chance to see what he could do this time around. He is better left for those in the deepest of formats, as playing time could be an issue (you wouldn’t think Anthony Gose is in Toronto to sit), but if you want a high risk, high reward option he is a good option.
Josh Collmenter – Arizona Diamondbacks (Ray Kuhn)
Collmenter had a stretch last season where he was a very useful back end starting pitcher. This season Collmenter has again been a solid spot starter bouncing in and out of the rotation. Now that Trevor Bauer was sent back to the minors, Collmenter will take over his spot in the rotation. With 57 strikeouts in 60 innings he is adding a little more value to go with his 3.90 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. The WHIP is a little cause for concern as it is higher than last year and despite the strikeouts, he is not an overpowering pitcher. But depending on his matchups and your other options, he could prove to be a useful spot starter down the stretch that should keep you in the game and not do too much damage to your ratios.
Mike Minor – Atlanta Braves (Will Overton)
It wasn’t long ago that I and many other baseball followers were wondering when the Braves would be demoting Mike Minor to Triple-A. Now in his last two starts he has allowed only 3 ER in 12.1 IP and has 13 K’s. And with that fantasy players are paying attention again, or they should be. Minor has a two start week against solid teams, the Phillies who are at best a mediocre offense and the Marlins who are one of the worst statistically. I can see Minor have a couple more starts this week like his last two giving owners a big boost.
Randy Wolf – Milwaukee Brewers (Eric Stashin)
Part of me can’t believe I am actually recommending Wolf, considering his “impressive” 5.60 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. However, he is coming off a decent start (2 ER in 6.2 IP), has struck out 6 in four of his past six appearances and has shown good control. In fact, since June1 he has posted a K/9 greater than 7.0 and a BB/9 below 2.30. Yes, opponents have hit him hard this season, and that has been even more evident in July (31.8% line drive rate), but I wouldn’t take that number as believable. For his career he is at 20.9%, yielding a BABIP of .287 (this season he is at .337). The matchups aren’t necessarily easy (@ Phi and vs. Was), but they aren’t terrible either. Just to add a little fuel, last season Wolf posted a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Phillies, including 6.0 shutout innings in Philadelphia. If you are considering someone like this you are already desperate and things appear slanted in his favor.