Are you looking for an under-the-radar option for the coming week? Here are who the Rotoprofessor staff recommends you consider:
Gregor Blanco – San Francisco Giants – Outfielder (Will Overton)
Since Hunter Pence came to town Gregor Blanco has been spending the majority of his time on the bench. With Melky Cabrera’s suspension, though, Blanco should be back to regular playing time. Boasting just a .239 average and minimal power Blanco isn’t a great option, but if you need speed he can give it with 19 SBs in shared playing time so far. This week he gets three lefties in his seven games, which he has been faring better against.
Andy Dirks – Detroit Tigers – Outfielder (Eric Stashin)
The Tigers are looking for help offensively and, since returning from the DL, Dirks has definitely provided a boost. In 48 AB he is hitting .333 with 1 HR, 7 RBI and 9 R. Throw in 5 doubles and it definitely has been a productive 14 games. Primarily hitting second in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder (taking away the spot from Quintin Berry), there are few places that are more enviable. He should provide enough to be a viable option in five-outfielder formats while he is playing every day. Considering the struggles of the rest of the lineup, it doesn’t appear like he is going to be coming out any time soon.
Josh Donaldson – Oakland Athletics – Third Baseman (Ray Kuhn)
Donaldson spent time with the A’s earlier in the season and it did not go well. His average for the season is .196 and that includes a 2 hit and a 4 hit game recently. It seems in this stint Donaldson is more comfortable and you should expect a better performance. He is eligible at 2 key positions, catcher and third base, and does have some power. Donaldson has consistently displayed the latter in the minors, but his average has never been great, so do not expect many more 4 hit games. However, his position eligibility and power are useful.
Daniel Murphy – New York Mets – Second Baseman (Will Overton)
This is a good week to be a New York Met hitter with the Astros and Rockies on tap, and the best pitcher coming against the team is Lucas Harrell. The Mets also play all seven of their games at home this week, where Murphy is hitting .100 points better than on the road with a .343 average. I don’t think Murphy is the kind of guy who has to be played every week, but when the right week lines up he can be a solid contributor even without a lot of power or speed.
Will Myers – Kansas City Royals – Outfielder (Eric Stashin)
The 50 game suspension to Melky Cabrera is going to have some wide ranging effects, one of which could be the Giants opting to go out and acquire another outfielder. Could Jeff Francoeur be headed to San Francisco? The Royals have been looking for a reason to recall Myers, who is arguably the best hitting prospect in the minor leagues. Dumping a struggling Francoeur (.204 in 108 AB since the All-Star Break) would open up that opportunity. Even if a trade doesn’t happen, how much longer can the Royals keep Myers in the minors? On the season (between Double and Triple-A) Myers is hitting .308 with 34 HR, 98 RBI and 90 R. In his past 10 games he’s hitting .341 with 1 HR in 41 AB. His time is coming and now is the time to stash him in all formats before you miss your opportunity (unless you already have).
Ryan Lavarnaway – Boston Red Sox – Catcher (Ray Kuhn)
With the trade of Kelly Shoppach, the Red Sox opened up a roster spot for their catcher of the future. We know he can hit as this year in Triple-A, Lavarnway hit .295 with 8 HR and 43 RBI. He has been getting some starts, and the injury to David Ortiz certainly helps, but the production has not been there. As the Red Sox begin to get further away from the playoffs, the desire to see what Lavarnway is there. If you can afford the bench spot and are looking for a boost at the catcher spot, I would pick him as a hot streak seems inevitable.
Jhoulys Chacin – Colorado Rockies (Eric Stashin)
Generally I do not endorse using a pitcher in his first start off the DL, but when the pitcher is coming into a two-start week that gives me a little bit more of a push to utilize him. When you are taking on two less than stellar offense in the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs, things start to look even better. You can throw out his early season struggles, as they are not indicative of his upside potential. The control could be an issue, but he has the ability to strikeout a batter per inning and showed tremendous groundball ability in 2011 (56.3% groundball rate). With both starts also coming away from Coors Field (3.68 ERA on the road a year ago), he becomes a pitcher well worth gambling on depending on your situation in the standings.
Tim Collins – Kansas City Royals (Ray Kuhn)
Collins may not be a flashy pick as he is a reliever with no apparent chance at saves. But, over his last 3 innings, Collins struck out 8 batters and gave up one base runner. For the season Collins has 80 strikeouts in 59 innings and sports a 2.90 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. If wins are not necessarily a priority for you, Collins can help either improve or stabilize your ratios and still provide some strikeouts. Last week his 8 strikeouts were on equal footing with that of a starting pitcher. If Collins fits what you need in the standings, then this could be a solid if not overlooked pickup instead of rolling the dice with inconsistent starting pitching.
Lucas Harrell – Houston Astros (Will Overton)
Considering how well he’s been pitching, it’s a surprise that Lucas Harrell is not owned in more than 5% of leagues. Harrell has not allowed more than two runs in any of his last seven starts. Harrell’s ERA in those seven starts is 2.06 and he has 38 Ks in his last 43.2 IP. This week he gets two starts, one against a good, but not great Cardinals team and another against a not very good offense in the Mets. Harrell does still pitch for the Astros, so wins are unpredictable at best, but he has pulled out a win in three of his last four starts so don’t assume he can’t get W.