Mike Minor | Atlanta | SP |4 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 4.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 5.00 K/BB, 36.8 GB (one start, six innings pitched)
Oliver ROS: 5.88 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 2.00 K/BB
Last year’s seventh overall pick, Mike Minor tore through the minors this season and has reached the majors. Minor’s high minors numbers were fantastic, 120.1 innings pitched, 146 strikeouts, and 46 walks, good for a 3.44 ERA. Baseball America rated Minor as the fourth best prospect in the Braves organization coming into the season. He features a four-pitch mix that includes a fastball, change-up, curveball and slider.
Minor’s greatest asset is his pitching acumen. He possesses an only high-80s heater, but it has good movement, and is helped by the other three pitches he throws. His control is fantastic for a pitcher of his age, and will help him along with his polish. He’ll suffer some bumps in the road, but could prove useful for those in re-draft leagues as well this season, and not just keeper and dynasty leaguers.
Recommendation: Should be owned in some 12-team mixed leagues and most 14-team mixed leagues; should be owned in all NL-only leagues.
Sam Demel | Arizona | RP | 1 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 4.13 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 7.88 K/9, 4.20 K/BB, 47.9 GB
Oliver ROS: 4.47 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 1.78 K/BB
Apparently I am a glutton for punishment: I’m once again going to speculate on the closer carousel in Arizona. Sam Demel, the best pitcher in the Diamondbacks bullpen, picked up his first save of the season this week, and may see opportunities the remainder of the season given Arizona’s place in the standings and Demel being a long term candidate to close.
Demel’s strikeout rate leaves a bit to be desired, but is offset nicely by his stingy walk rate (1.88 BB/9), and worm burning ways. His skill set is reminiscent of a 2008 and 2009 Bobby Jenks or a 2010 Matt Capps, so if you are looking to gauge value, think in those terms.
Recommendation: Should be owned in most 12-team mixed leagues by owners in need of saves, and should be owned in all NL-only leagues.
Dan Hudson | Arizona | SP | 10 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7.28 K/9, 2.07 K/BB, 31.1 GB
Oliver ROS: 4.66 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 2.08 K/BB
Since joining the Diamondbacks via trade, Hudson‘s surface stats have been lights out, and his underlying stats are solid too. In August, Hudson has thrown 22.2 innings, allowing 13 hits, four earned runs and four walks and striking out 17 batters, good for a 1.59 ERA, a 0.75 WHIP and a 3.88 xFIP. Hudson’s biggest problem will likely be his propensity for allowing too many fly ball; he has only a 36.1 GB percentage in August.
Recommendation: Should be owned in most 14-team or larger mixed leagues, and should be owned in all NL-only leagues.
Freddie Freeman | Atlanta | 1B | 0 percent Yahoo! ownership (not in player pool currently)
YTD: .305/.367/.506 Triple-A
Oliver ROS: No projected playing time
Freddie Freeman has clobbered the ball this season in Triple-A, mostly against right handed pitching, slashing .317/.384/.536. While it seemed unlikely at the beginning of the year that Freeman would play a role in re-draft leagues, it doesn’t seem so anymore. Troy Glaus is slashing .241/.348/.403 for the season, and the Braves are in the playoff hunt, and would likely promote him if it appeared he’d help the team.
While Chipper Jones‘ season-ending surgery may lead to speculation of Glaus shifting back across the diamond, the Braves have already said that Glaus has lost range and is now a first baseman. Those in deep keeper leagues should consider adding Freeman when he’s available, as he’s almost a shoo-in to take over first base next year.
Omar Infante | Atlanta | 2B, 3B, SS, OF | 21 percent Yahoo! ownership
Oliver ROS: .300/.345/.401
National League All-Star Omar Infante is still somehow unowned in 79 percent of Yahoo! leagues (sarcasm applies). On a serious note, the news of Jones’ injury helps Infante’s value, since he’ll now see everyday at-bats. Infante’s value lies entirely in his ability to hit for a good average, and with it, score runs and chip in some RBIs. He has only three home runs on the season and four stolen bases.
Infante’s .376 BABIP is almost certainly going to regress, but his 4.9 percent walk rate is likely to improve; his career mark is 6.0 percent and his walk rate last year was 8.3 percent. The greatest value Infante provides is with his position versatility, since he’s eligible at four positions, and is a good option to slot at middle infielder or fill in for a regular getting the day off.
Recommendation: Should be owned in most 12-team mixed leagues using a MI, and should be owned in all NL-only leagues.
Chris Johnson | Houston | 3B | 47 percent Yahoo! ownership
Oliver ROS: .260/.294/.407
Sometimes you have to look past a player’s minor league numbers and underwhelming prospect status and enjoy riding the hot hand. Chris Johnson would qualify as a sometime type of player. Johnson’s career minor league slash was only .272/.311/.415 coming into the year, and his slash in Triple-A last year was .281/.323/.461 with mediocre pop playing in the hitter-friendly PCL. All that said, his current torrid pace makes him a must-own in all leagues while he’s hot. Keep in mind regression from his insane .430 BABIP is going to happen, and his 4.5 percent walk rate to a 21.7 percent strikeout rate won’t cut it as the season moves along.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues while hot, or dealt at his max value.