Christian Friedrich | Rockies | SP | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.3 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.00 ERA / 0.90 WHIP / 8.1 K/9
Oliver Rest of season: No projections.
A sparkling debut from Friedrich has him at the top of my pickup list, a fact hard to believe after back-to-back 5.00+ ERAs in Double-A each of the last two years. Friedrich harnessed his control nicely in his 2012 Triple-A debut, where he posted a 6.75 strikeout to walk ratio. The pinpoint control was on display when he struck out seven and issued only one walk against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday. If he can continue to limit his walks—and that led to newfound success in the minors—he’ll surely find a level of success at the majors.
Recommendation: Worthy of adding in all formats.
Laynce Nix | Phillies | 1B, OF | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.7 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .326 / .392 / .587
Oliver Rest of season projection: .267 / .322 / .475
A little late on the uptake here, but Nix provides ample power and should have a share of at-bats for the next month. Ryan Howard will soon begin his rehab, but will need time to round into game shape, and during his absence, Nix has slashed two homers, totaled 11 RBIs, and hit to the tune of a .326/.392/.587. He’s hit 15 and 16 long balls in the last two years, respectively, and should be good for three homers (assuming Howard doesn’t suffer a setback). Better late than never, and the wire’s awfully thin.
Recommendation: Worthy of adding in all single-format leagues, or on teams that need a quick power fix.
Taylor Green | Brewers | 2B | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.0 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .287 / .363 / .396 (Triple-A)
Oliver ROS: .263 / .326 / .426
Green impressed to the tune of 22 homers and a .336 average in just 121 Triple-A games last season, and though his power has sapped this year, he should hit enough to justify placement at a middle infield spot on some rosters. Alex Gonzalez and Mat Gamel both went down with major injuries, yielding some playing time to the versatile Green. He should qualify at first base soon enough, but carries second base eligibility in most leagues. The position versatility should make him valuable enough to add in single formats.
Recommendation: Worthy of adding in NL-only leagues.
Randall Delgado | Braves | SP | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.5 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 4.54 ERA / 1.40 WHIP / 8.3 K/9
Oliver ROS: 5.59 ERA / 1.57 WHIP / 7.0 K/9
I take back what I said about Delgado—at least for now. Recent trends look better, as he’s walked only three in his last 13+ innings while striking out a fair 10. His peripheral stats point to more positive ERA comedown, and though his high walk rate might lead to WHIP troubles, he’s one of the few feasible starters who may be available on the waiver wire. I’d still prefer Kris Medlen to him, but opportunity is most of the game (or something like that).
Recommendation: Worthy of adding on all teams that need a starter.
Tyler Greene | Cardinals | 2B, SS, OF | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.0 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .226 / .317 / .434
Oliver ROS: .254 / .329 / .398
The multi-eligible, speedy Greene is finally getting some burn in the weak St. Louis infield, and his 6.6 career speed rating could lead to some high steal totals. He had 11 steals in just 121 plate appearances last year, and despite high strikeout totals, can certainly challenge 20 in limited at-bats this year. He certainly isn’t a quality major league asset—his 171 games have shown him to be a below average hitter by approximately 20 percent, and a below average fielder. But speed plays (see Dee Gordon), and speed kills (in a positive way, of course). How many other shortstops are on the wire?
Recommendation: Worthy of adding on all speed-hungry teams.
Speculative saves of the week
James Russell | Cubs | RP | 6 percent Yahoo ownership | 2.3 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 0.80 ERA / 1.33 WHIP / 8.0 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.81 ERA / 1.39 WHIP / 6.2 K/9
One-half of the Marmolian replacement hasn’t gotten a save opportunity yet, but compares favorably to his other half, Rafael Dolis. His strikeout to walk ratio is more than three times higher than Dolis’, and his FIP is well below average at 2.38 (despite his 4.46 xFIP that spells trouble looming).
He’s a soft tosser, but the converted starter should get the first chance when the fireballer slips up. (I say should rather than will because closer situations are incredibly fluid and unpredictable—case in point being the man in the seat getting the first crack at the job. Might Marmol reclaim the job? Perhaps. But he’s found little success in the role over the past year and change…) Dolis’ minor league track record of pitching to contact (to only mild success) should certainly lead to a slip up. Shouldn’t it?
Recommendation: Worthy of adding on all rosters chasing saves.