Daric Barton | Oakland | 1B
True Talent: .250/.347/.395
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, .251 BA, 0.1 SB
Hitting .292/.381/.458 since his return, Barton is playing (almost) every day and showing exactly the sort of hitting skills that were long expected of him. True Talent thinks it’s mostly illusion, but his seasonal BABIP is just .271, and can be expected to show some rise, though he’s slow and hasn’t hit the ball particularly hard. Especially in an OBP league, he could make a nice addition for the last few games.
Kyle Davies | Royals | SP
YTD: 6.3 K/9, 4.8 K/BB, 5.27 ERA
True Talent: 5.9 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 5.18 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.3 W, 3 K, 5.91 ERA
When your YTD ERA is 5.27, and your BABIP is .285, it’s very likely you’re not a good pitcher … and Davies isn’t good. After this weekend, the Royals face Boston, Minnesota (twice), and the Yankees, so anyone not named Greinke is a questionable play to begin with. He’ll be just 26 years old in 2010, and has proven to be very durable, so maybe there’s hope for him in the future, but definitely someone to avoid in 2009.
Mark Ellis | Oakland | 2B
True Talent: .259/.323/.404
Next Week Forecast: 0.7 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, .257 BA, 0.5 SB
For his career, Mark Ellis has hit about .285/.350/.450 combined in August-October, and he was at it again this year until a rough series against Texas. Bad news for him is that the team faces LA, Texas, Seattle, and LA again. Seattle and Texas are both top three in run prevention, while LA is below-average on the season, but has a 4.27 ERA since the break, and a 2.56 ERA in September. The final series of the season may be Triple-A-quality pitching, as the Angels organize their rotation for the playoffs, but all-in-all, we’d avoid Ellis, historical trend notwithstanding.
Freddy Garcia | Chicago | SP
YTD: 6.2 K/9, 2.4 K/BB, 4.41 ERA
True Talent: 6.4 K/9, 2.4 K/BB, 4.57 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 W, 4 K, 4.57 ERA
Not really Freddy Garcia news, but Jake Peavy is starting tomorrow, finally, after recovering from a liner off his elbow in the minors. Garcia gets the Royals, Tigers, and Tigers again, if the rotation stays the same. Detroit has scored 4.61 runs/game this season, compared to a 4.81 league average, and they are marginally worse against RHP (.326 OBP vs .338—AVG and SLG almost identical). Freddy allows his share of fly balls, so the chance is there for an M-Cab-aided disaster, but for an AL-only league, this is a pretty good pitcher to be able to add this late. The Royals start should be good, and his 88 mph tomfoolery might even get him a couple quality starts against Detroit.
Esteban German | Texas | UTIL
True Talent: .270/.347/.374
Next Week Forecast: 0.1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, .271 BA, 0.2 SB
German is a devastating leadoff hitter … in Triple-A. Saving his career by posting a .419 OBP with 35 SB for the RedHawks after a dismal .245/.303/.338 performance in 2008, he’s been useful for the Rangers with Michael Young being injured. Young is going to try to play, but if he’s hurt worse than the team is letting on, look for some exposure for German, who can still steal a base per week given the PA.
Kevin Jepsen | Los Angeles | RP
YTD: 7.6 K/9, 2.7 K/BB, 4.56 ERA
True Talent: 7.1 K/9, 1.5 K/BB, 4.81 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.0 Saves, 5.32 ERA
You don’t hear much about ROOGY’s in bullpen roles, but Jepsen’s split stats would qualify him, as they are the mirror image of typical LOOGY stats (.358/.413/.432 against LHB, .202/.250/.236 vsR). Kevin Jepsen looks like a closer and has the upper-90s velocity typical to that role. With Brian Fuentes having problems with RHB (.372 OBP, .463 SLG), Mike Scioscia has stated that Jepsen will be in line for some situational saves. Also, this is a guy to keep a close eye on for 2010 and beyond—his fastball/cutter combo already makes him playable, and when (if) his rebuilt arm re-learns the control of his nasty curve, he could be truly exceptional.
David Purcey | Toronto | SP
YTD: 8.6 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 6.32 ERA
True Talent: 7.7 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 4.99 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 W, 5 K, 4.34 ERA
Way back in 2001, the M’s offered their 20th-round pick, David Purcey, a huge $1 Million bonus to sign. He turned them down, and stayed healthy enough in college to become the 16th overall pick in 2004. Needless to say, much was expected of this pitching talent, but injuries derailed his train to Toronto. Finally, his 2008 showed just enough promise (8.0 K/9, 4.0 BB/9) that there was some optimism again. As can be seen from the True Talent line, there’s still enough here to not give up hope, though a 47.3% career FB% suggests a pitcher ill-suited for pitching in the AL East.
Ryan Sweeney | Oakland | OF
True Talent: .277/.338/.393
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, .278 BA, 0.4 SB
In their irrelevance, few have noticed that the A’s have been hitting well of late—.294/.364/.461 in September. Right Fielder Ryan Sweeney has been a big part of that, crushing the ball for a .360/.421/.500 September line. There’s a lot of data supporting the modest TT projection, but—like Barton—he was more highly regarded as a prospect than his results have indicated. Also, like Barton, he is soft in the roto categories—homers and SB. But he should be one of the better batting average aids available at this point, if that’s what a team needs.
True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.