(Ed. note-this is the second column by Joshua Kay–nice job Josh!)
Call-Up Report: September Special Expansion Edition
Surprisingly there weren’t many fantasy relevant call-ups on September 1st, except the biggest one of all.
Texas Rangers call-up 2B- Jurickson Profar from the minors
Everyone takes notice when the consensus top-prospect in the MLB gets called up; but should fantasy owners in re-draft leagues? As someone who was down on the struggling Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Will Middlebrooks, Trevor Bauer and Starling Marte when they were called up, my guess is that the trend will hold when it comes to Profar.
Here are the facts: Profar has been in Double- A Frisco for the entire season, logging 562 AB, with similar numbers to last year in Single- A. Profar was hitting .281/.368/.452 in Double-A with only 14 HR and 16 SB. “Only” is referring to the fact that he wasn’t really tearing up Double-A to the point where we would expect him to translate that straight into the majors. Of course, Profar is off to a good start as he went 2/4 with a HR on Sunday offClevelandrighty Zach McAllister in his first major-league at-bat.
Fantasy Impact: There are two caveats regarding Profar: one, all fantasy owners need is a month of production, and two, Ian Kinsler is dealing with back soreness. If Kinsler’s injury lingers and he is forced to miss additional time, the path to playing time for Profar will be much easier, and in all likelihood will allow him a full month to show what he can do. Except, Profar won’t have enough time (just one month) to let the numbers normalize to what we would expect from a 19-year-old.
Approach Profar with cautious optimism in ten and twelve team re-draft mixed-leagues and go all-in inAL-Only.
New York Yankees activate 3B- Alex Rodriguez from the 15-day Disabled List and call-up 3B/SS Eduardo Nunez:
If you look at surface Fantasy-related statistics, Alex Rodriguez is having a season that looks pretty identical to the season he had last year. With a slash-line of .276/.357/.449, A-Rod has been supplying owners with decent totals, with 15 HR in 95 games and 11 SB. However, he has disappointed in the counting stats of RBI and Runs scored.
The stolen base totals have come out of nowhere though, as he is 11/12 on stolen base attempts which are totals we haven’t seen from him since 2009. That magical knee procedure certainly helped something. With all that being said, A-Rod has been a miserable fielder this season by Baseball Prospectus’s measures as he has rated at -4.9 FRAA (Fielding Runs Above Average), which is not only his worst since 2007, but by a wide-margin as well.
Fantasy Impact: The reason those fielding stats are worth mentioning is that it could lead to some extra playing time for Eduardo Nunez, who isn’t the best fielder either, but could supply a fantasy owner with better one-month SB numbers than A-Rod, as well as a higher batting average (somewhere around .300). Nunez is definitely worth a speculative pick-up. The good news for A-Rod owners though, is that Manager Joe Girardi has proven time and time again that he is perfectly capable of ignoring the right decision (which would be to give A-Rod time off at 3B).
Oakland activates RHP A.J. Griffin from the 15-day Disabled List:
Rookie righty A.J. Griffin has been a pleasant surprise for Fantasy Owners this season in limited work. Through 51 IP he has posted a 2.26 ERA and a very nice 4.0 K/BB ratio. He is coming off the disabled list after a right shoulder strain.
Fantasy Impact: A.J. Griffin is interesting, because he has moderate K/9 numbers (7.0) but an elite BB/9 of 1.7; he sports an ERA and FIP much lower than his xFIP of 3.90 (3.34 FIP). The reasonGriffin is interesting, and not just a prime candidate for regression with his .217 BABIP, is because there is some evidence that pitchers with elite control can outpitch their xFIP.
However, there is a slight problem forGriffinbecause those pitchers tend to have high ground-ball percentages: Johnny Cueto, Matt Harrison, Mark Buehrle and Jordan Zimmerman for example. Griffin’s is only 40%.Yet A.J. pitches in Oakland, so it’s possible that he can continue to get away with outpitching his xFIP. Take a chance onGriffin, but realize that after recovering from a strain of his throwing shoulder, that his effectiveness should take at least a small dip, and if the BABIP regression comes, his owners could be in a lot of trouble.
Other minor call-ups and injuries: (w/Fantasy Impact)
-Tampa Bay Rays activate RHP Jeff Niemann from the 60-day disabled list (fractured fibula) – spot starter for mixed leagues
-Texas Rangers call-up LHP Martin Perez from the minors- AL-Only
-San Diego Padres activate RHP Andrew Cashner from the 15-day disabled list (right shoulder strain)- NL-Only (for now)
-St. LouisCardinals activate 1B/OF Lance Berkman from the 15-day disabled list (right knee inflammation)- tough path for playing time, but worth a flier in most leagues
-WashingtonNationals call-up LHP John Lannan from the minors – pick-up in NL-Only as he will be replacing Strasburg
-Chicago Cubs call-up OF Tony Campana from the minors- NL-Only for steals