AL Waiver Wire:  Week 7

Dallas McPherson | Chicago (American League) | 0 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .250/.250/.250
Oliver ROS: No projection

No, this is not a joke in the literal sense, and yes, Dallas McPherson is seeing regular playing time for a major league squad. At 30 years of age, McPherson looks more like organizational depth for the White Sox than a legitimate option at third, but as long as he’s being trotted out to start at the hot corner he bears mentioning. He has no shortage of power, a trait that will be played up at U.S. Cellular Field when he’s able to make contact. Of course there lies the caveat for the man with just 399 plate appearances in the majors coming into the season: making contact. McPherson’s strikeout rates, even in the minors, are Mark Reynolds-esque.

Brent Morel has struggled mightily with the bat, and has an isolated slugging percentage (ISO) of .083 through 98 plate appearances. Someone may wish to check and make sure he’s actually taking lumber to the plate, and not a whiffle ball bat. Beyond Morel, the Pale Hose may eventually look to Dayan Viciedo to man third, but he’s spent the bulk of his time in the minors playing right field this season, making that less than certain. While none of this means McPherson is guaranteed full time at-bats, it does leave open the possibility he could play himself into a somewhat regular role. Owners in exceptionally deep mixed leagues that use a corner infield position, and those in AL-only formats that need some power, should monitor the situation, but not race to the wire.

Recommendation: Should be monitored in deep mixed leagues and AL-only leagues.

Eric Thames | Toronto | OF | 0 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .333/.500/.333
Oliver ROS: .258/.326/.461

An injury to Adam Lind did not prompt a recall of Travis Snider to the Jays active roster, but instead the promotion of Eric Thames. A left-handed power hitter nabbed in the seventh round of the 2008 draft, Thames made his pro debut in 2009 and has represented himself well in the minors. Like most young power hitters, Thames does strike out a bit, but not at an alarming rate. Breaking down his splits, it’s apparent he is much better at hitting right-handed pitchers than southpaws, not unusual for a left-handed batter. While he hits righties better than lefties, he isn’t entirely lost against them, as he has showcased solid power.

Lind is eligible to return from the disabled list Monday, so it remains to be seen how long Thames will be up. In addition to the return of Lind, Snider could muddy the situation further once the coaching staff deems he has made the necessary corrections to his swing. Regardless, Thames has shown enough in the high minors to get a test drive in some AL-only leagues and deep mixed formats as well.

Recommendation: Should be owned in some deep mixed leagues and some AL-only leagues.

Lonnie Chisenhall | Cleveland | 3B | 1 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .282/.376/.430 (Triple-A)
Oliver ROS: No projection

The clock finally appears to have struck midnight on Jack Hannahan as he’s regaining his pumpkin form right before our eyes. With June 1 right around the corner, the American Central leaders are likely going to be enticed to call upon their top prospect, Chisenhall, for help sometime shortly thereafter. He’s not a finished product: He he struggled last year against lefties, hitting a lot of ground balls, and has carried his struggles over to this season. He’s not entirely overwhelmed and flailing hopelessly against them, as he’s struck out just six times in 46 at-bats this season, lending hope to him making headway. Offsetting the bad, he absolutely crushes righties, and has slashed .323/.420/.490 against them in 96 at-bats this season.

Somewhat surprisingly, Hannahan, who is left-handed like Chisenhall, has a reverse platoon for his career and this season, setting up a potential platoon between the two at third base. As the end of May approaches, the temptation to stash Chisenhall is likely to grow for owners, making now the time to nab him if you’re an owner with bench space and a need at third base or the corner infield position. Chisenhall’s dominance of righties makes him a potential option to use in medium sized mixed leagues, where he can be benched against left-handed starters.

Recommendation: Should be monitored in all but the shallowest of leagues, should be stashed in deep leagues and AL-only leagues by owners with bench flexibility.

Danny Duffy | Kansas City | SP | 0 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 4.50 ERA, 2.50 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, 13.50 BB/9, 50.0 percent GB
Oliver ROS: 4.73 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 7.0 K/9, 3.7 BB/9

While it wasn’t a legendary debut, Danny Duffy did display some positives in a start in which his command failed him and he issued six walks. Duffy is a left-handed starter with good stuff that includes an explosive fastball, all of which supports his strong strikeout rates in the minors. The six walks he issued were surprising when looking at his record of limiting free passes in the minors. Expect to see him settle down going forward. The most interesting part of Duffy’s skill set to monitor this year will be his ability to induce ground balls. His 2010 time spent in Double-A saw him compile more groundball outs than flyball outs, but his 2011 has seen the opposite play out in Triple-A.

Duffy is a talented hurler who is capable of helping owners in leagues of all sizes should he prove himself a quick learner and make the necessary adjustments to major league hitters. Not all rookies are able to make those adjustments in short order, so those in shallow leagues, and even those in medium sized leagues that are redraft formats, should hold off on putting him in your lineup, or adding him at all if you’re in the former.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all but the shallowest of leagues, and monitored in shallow leagues.

Jake Arrieta | Baltimore | SP | 26 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 4.03 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 8.06 K/9, 3.68 BB/9, 42.1 percent GB
Oliver ROS: 4.63 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 4.5 BB/9

Year two in the majors has been a great deal more welcoming to Jake Arrieta than a rookie season that saw him stumble to the finish line posting a 4.66 ERA and walk nearly as many batters as he struck out (48:52). Early returns show a pitcher who has made strides across the board. The most notable changes are his leap in strikeout rate and his drop in walk rate. The improvement in strikeouts can largely be attributed to hitters making less contact against him this year, an increase in his swinging strike rate, and more first pitch strikes. His swinging strike rate still sits below league average, meaning his current strikeout rate is likely to come down some, but being able to throw four quality pitches and get ahead of hitters should keep the bottom from falling out on it entirely.

Pitching in the tough American League East, as well as a hitter-friendly home ballpark, limit Arrieta’s upside this year a bit. Owned in more than a quarter of Yahoo! leagues, it’s likely he’s been gobbled up in deep mixed leagues and AL-only formats. He is now, however, playing his way onto the radar of shallower leagues. Those in medium sized leagues that are able to play the match-up game with their arms should strongly consider rostering Arrieta, as he profiles as a bit better than a pitch-and-ditch type starter.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all deep mixed leagues, some medium sized mixed leagues, and all AL-only leagues.

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  1. Brandon said...

    There are some intriguing players available I’m looking at for depth (to replace Javier Vazquez) in my 14-team, non-keeper, HTH points league.  Any thoughts on the following would be appreciated:
    Chris Narveson
    James McDonald
    Charlie Morton
    Jon Garland

  2. Brandon said...

    The problem with Duffy will be his innings limit.  The team hasn’t said they will shut him down to my knowledge but it’s safe to assume that will happen.  I rarely have interest in young pitchers that don’t appear to be allowed to go the distance.

  3. KayCee said...

    I’d go in that order you’ve got them forgetting about Garland entirely. Narveson, McDonald, Morton. Though I couldn’t argue too much if you flipped McDonald and Morton, Morton’s GB tilt is promising.

  4. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Brandonon

    Narveson is a cut above the rest in my estimation.  I suppose after that I’d rank them Morton, McDonald and Garland.  I wouldn’t be thrilled about owning any of them, but Morton’s insane groundball rate has him a smidge above McDonald.  Morton’s near one-to-one walk to strikeout rate is troubling, but not quite as bad once you get beyond his first two starts of the year.  As far as Danny Duffy goes, I’d agree that he’s almost certainly on an innings limit this season.  That said, I think his potential high strikeout rate and solid ratios make him a worthwhile investment even if he’s shut down early.

  5. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Jeffrey Gross

    Yeah, McPherson really is a dart toss based on his power and the potential for playing time, in all likelihood he’ll whiff too much to be of value.  As far as Chisenhall goes, it may be flawed thinking, but I tend to be more forgiving of MLE’s if a player is an upper echelon prospect with glowing scouting reports.  I feel like those are the type of players that can adjust to the step up in competition, where a lesser prospect is taking advantage of his competition.  Also, I’d be curious to see what Chisenhall’s MLE’s are on his line against right-handers, as his sub .200 average against lefties has to be a massive drag.

  6. Jeffrey Gross said...

    I agree. MLE’s can only take you so far, but I like to use them as some benchmark. Plus, when you get a guy like Santana 2010’s MLE so glowing, its very exciting. Are Chisenhall’s MiLB splits that pronounced?

    Also, for Oliver MLEs (particularly where there is no ROS forecast), just scroll to the bottom of the player page. It has present and past two season MLEs.

  7. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Jeff

    Yeah I was aware of the MLE’s at the bottom of the page, but would be curious to see what his numbers would look like against just right-handers.

  8. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ The Hangover Chris

    I think the, “safe,” play is Tim Stauffer, but remember he’s likely to be on some sort of innings limit himself having thrown just 82.2 inning in the majors and another 17.2 in the minors.  I think Duffy’s upside, even this year, is higher.  Stauffer’s doing everything you like to see from a starter striking out a solid number of hitters, limiting his walks and inducing tons of ground balls (bonus points for pitching in PETCO too).  My problem with Stauffer is that I think his k/9 will drop a bit, as his swinging strike rate and contact made against his pitches are both worse than league average.

    For me, it would come down to tolerance of risk, composition of roster, and current totals if you’re in a roto league.  Feel free to post, or e-mail me with that info and I’d be happy to give a more well thought out response.

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