Clayton Richard | Padres | SP | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.3 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 4.63 ERA / 1.27 WHIP / 5.2 K/9
Oliver rest of season: 3.96 ERA / 1.36 WHIP / 5.9 K/9
Okay. Let’s ignore the ugly ERA. Let’s ignore the historically ugly WHIPs (it’ll get worse for Richard). Recognize that if he’s available on your waiver wire in an NL-only league, he’s likely the best you can do… for this reason: Over his career, he’s put up a 3.23 ERA and 1.21 WHIP at home, where his strikeout to walk ratio goes up over half a mark and his home run rate dips. This year, the difference is even more staggering: His 2.30 ERA at home compares favorably (to say the least) to his 6.68 mark away. His WHIP at home? 0.91. His WHIP away from PETCO? 1.61.
Get him. Start him for his home starts, and therein you have a more-than-valuable starting pitcher.
Recommendation: Worth adding in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats.
Todd Frazier | Reds | 3B | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.4 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .250 / .294 / .547
Oliver ROS: .246 / .305 / .447
Look at the slugging percentage, not the on-base percentage. You aren’t looking Frazier’s way because of his plate discipline—he strikes out five times for every walk he draws. You’re looking for power stats, and you’re looking in the right place. Oliver loves Frazier’s power potential, putting him down for 19 home runs over his next 412 at-bats and 20-21 in the forecasted 2013-2015 seasons. His isolated power of .297 ranks 13th among those with 50 or more plate appearances, behind the likes of Josh Hamilton, Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun and Edwin Encarnacion.
With Scott Rolen beat, battered, and broken—shoulder troubles and poor early season luck have him below the replacement level and on the DL currently (with no timetable)—Frazier is finally getting his time to shine.
Recommendation: Worth adding in all formats.
Matt Adams | Cardinals | 1B, OF | 17 percent Yahoo ownership | 10.3 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .286 / .375 / .357
Oliver ROS: .270 / .311 / .463
Chances are Matt Adams is already snagged in your league, thanks in part, no doubt, to his incredible hitting prowess displayed in the minors. He hasn’t hit below .300, which includes 32 homers in 2011 and a whopping nine in just 37 games this year—just ridiculous power. One can expect a healthy mix of power and average to carry through to the majors, and Lance Berkman’s out for the foreseeable future; something along the lines of six to eight weeks. Matty: it’s your time to shine.
Recommendation: Worth adding in all leagues.
Norichika Aoki | Brewers | OF | 1 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .297 / .373 / .446
Oliver ROS: .298 / .366 / .397
Here are some telling stats: Aoki has won three batting titles in Japan, and he’s started 10 of his 13 major league games in the month of May. Which, in case a breakdown is needed, equals a talented player getting more opportunity. Nyjer Morgan’s been well below the replacement level, the first base hole has meant Corey Hart’s getting occasional burn in the infield, and Aoki’s risen to the occasion with a near .300 batting mark.
He won’t hit for power, and will steal scarcely—think a better Kosuke Fukudome, as our preaseason Oliver player card suggests—but he can be of assistance in the batting average department. That’s worth something, ain’t it?
Recommendation: Worth adding in all NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats.
Jedd Gyorko | Padres | 2B/3B | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.0 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .269 / .352 / .463 (Double-A and Triple-A)
Oliver ROS: No projections.
Gyorko, the short slugger who put up a 31 home run, 114 runs batted in, and a .304 /.358 /.512 major league equivalent last year between High-A and Double-A, finally touched the Triple-A level and is knocking on promotion’s door. Newbie Alexi Amarista and Andy Parrino are splitting time at second base in Friar-town, and though Gyorko’s minor league numbers this year leave a lot to be desired—particularly a higher batting average, which he is more than capable of providing—he’s improving in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League.
He should be up within the next month if he continues his early mashing, which includes two homers and an .933 OPS in his first 30 at-bats.
Recommendation: Worth stashing in most formats.
Chris Heston | Giants | SP | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.0 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 0.61 ERA / 0.82 WHIP / 7.4 K/9 (Double-A)
Oliver ROS: No projections.
With nothing but slim pickings at the major league level, I figured it’d be a proper time to scan Double-A for standout talent to put on my radar. At the top of the list lands Chris Henson, who’s doing everything right in Double-A (with a little bit of help from lady luck)—he has a 4.36 strikeout to walk ratio, a 2.13 FIP, pinpoint control (one wild pitch and no hit by pitches allowed in nearly 59 innings) and a .177 batting average against.
Before you dismiss the stats as a product of weak competition or a low batting average on balls in play, take a look at his major league equivalents from the aforementioned ~59 innings: a 2.18 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. He’ll pitch in the best pitcher’s ballpark in the whole land when he gets his shot, and though you may not see him until September with a powerful Giants rotation, leading them toward what looks to be a tight Wild Card race, you can be sure he’ll be on Brian Sabean’s radar should injury hit or should the team find itself in need of a late summer shakeup.
Recommendation: Worth stashing in the deepest NL-only leagues and keeper leagues, and worth monitoring in the rest.