Aroldis Chapman | Cincinnati | SP/RP | 35 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 13.5 K/9, 0.00 BB/9, 100.0 GB (2 innings pitched)
Oliver ROS: 5.20 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 6.9 K/9, 2.00 K/BB
Armed with a blazing triple-digit heater, southpaw Aroldis Chapman has been all the buzz since his promotion to the Reds. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, buzz doesn’t win fantasy championships, and coming out of the pen in a non-closer capacity means his 2010 impact will be mitigated from what it would be as either a starter or a closer. That said, Chapman does have a chance to help owners nearing their innings pitched limits in roto leagues, those using holds, and those in extremely deep leagues that value high strikeout relievers.
Since moving to the bullpen in Triple-A, Chapman has been electric. As a reliever he posted a 14.07 K/9 with a 51.6 groundball rate while limiting the walks to a respectable 3.45 BB/9. If Chapman is able to post a K/9 north of 10 and a BB/9 south of 3.8 or so, he has a chance to be useful in strikeouts and ratios with a chance at some cheap wins, all in a limited innings role. Those in shallow leagues should ignore the hype surrounding Chapman in the short term, but those owners in deep leagues or nearing their innings limit and in need of strikeouts should give Chapman a test run.
Recommendation: Should be owned in some deep mixed leagues as a cheap source of strikeouts, should be owned in most NL-only leagues.
Hisanori Takahashi | New York (NL) | SP/RP | 25 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 3.95 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 8.41 K/9, 2.56 K/BB, 38.0 GB
Oliver ROS: 3.86 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 6.9 K/9, 2.4 K/BB
The premature end to Francisco Rodriguez‘s 2010 campaign has left an open closer role, which Hisanori Takahashi has seemingly stepped up and taken for the remainder of the year. At this point, those in tight saves races, or those in need of saves in head-to-head leagues, are likely to turn over any stone in the hopes of finding saves underneath.
Takahashi’s pitch mix isn’t that of your typical close—his best offerings are his slider and his changeup. Regardless of how he gets the job done, saves are the end game here, and he’s even been able to post a decent strikeout-rate. Inducing just 38.0 percent GB means that there may be some bumps in the road, but that price is minor in relation to the potential gains of saves, and, given his solid K/BB rate, isn’t likely to be too damning to one’s ERA.
Recommendation: Should be owned by all save-starved owners regardless of league size.
Jordan Zimmermann | Washington | SP | 5 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 4.50 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 11.70 K/9, 13.00 K/BB, 39.1 GB
Oliver ROS: 4.25 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6.9 K/9, 4.00 K/BB
A frequent visitor to this weekly column, Jordan Zimmermann returns thanks in large part to a six-inning gem against the Marlins in which he allowed only one hit and zero walks and struck out nine. Somewhat lost among the devastating news to the Nationals of uber-prospect turned succeeding major league hurler Stephen Strasburg needing Tommy John surgery is the return of Tommy John surgery victim Zimmermann. Velocity readings on all four of Zimmermann’s pitches suggest he’s fully back and recovered.
While it’s almost certain the Nationals will be cautious with Zimmermann, as they should be, he’s likely to get at least a turn or two more in the rotation to get his innings pitched up this year so they can build on that total next year. Zimmermann is vastly underowned—he’s available in in 95 percent of Yahoo! leagues. He has the pedigree and the goods to be a true difference maker down the stretch. Those in need of quality innings in roto and head-to-head league formats should take a gamble on Zimmermann.
Recommendation: Should be owned in some 12-team mixed leagues and almost all larger mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.
Cameron Maybin | Florida | OF | 5 percent Yahoo! ownership
Oliver ROS: .257/.329/.390
The toolsy Cameron Maybin has done little but flash his potential and tease in his previous major league stints, but given his skills, his everyday spot in the outfield since Cody Ross‘ departure to San Francisco bears mention. In 236 plate appearances this season Maybin has smacked seven home runs while stealing six bases. Not staggering numbers, but useful. Unfortunately, they’ve been tied to a .236/.294/.366 slash, limiting his value.
In 147 Triple-A plate appearances, Maybin was able to slash .338/.407/.508, hitting four home runs and stealing five bases while posting a 8.8 percent walk rate and an 18.5 percent strikeout rate. It remains to be seen if his strikeout rate gain will translate to the majors, Early returns aren’t terribly promising: He’s struck out in 10 of 34 at-bats since his most recent promotion in August. Those in need of some contributions in home runs and stolen bases may want to give Maybin a look and hope he can put his tools to use for you down the stretch.
Recommendation: Should be owned in some 12-team mixed leagues using five outfielders and most larger mixed leagues using five-outfielders. Should be owned in most NL-only leagues.
Brandon Allen | Arizona |1B/OF | 1 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .667/.667/.1.667 (3 AB)
Oliver ROS: No projection
Mentioned in last week’s article, Brandon Allen has received the September call-up I expected. He paid immediate dividends for those who had him in their lineups for his first major league start this year at the major league level by slugging a grand slam and a single. Posting a .261/.405/.528 slash means that, as I have previously mentioned, he may be a drag on owners’ batting average. While he may have his batting average struggles, Allen offers an opportunity for some home runs and even stolen bases as his 25 HR and 14 stolen bases in Triple-A point to. Those with some wiggle room in batting average in need of some pop and possibly some speed need to make room for Allen.
Recommendation: Should be owned in some 12-team mixed leagues using five-outfielders and most larger mixed leagues using five-outfielders, should be owned in most NL-only leagues.
Lucas Duda | New York (NL) | OF | 0 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .000/.000/.000 (3 AB)
Oliver ROS: No projection
Lucas Duda opened the season ranked outside the Mets’ top-30 prospects according to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, making him a surprising potential contributor to fantasy owners at season’s end. In 425 at-bats split between Double-A and Triple-A (161 AB in Double-A and 264 in Triple-A) Duda slashed .304/.398/.569 with 23 home runs and a 60:84 walk-to-strikeout rate, and his MLE for his 264 Triple-A at bats was .262/.324/.487.
Duda’s OPS, north of .900 in both high minors stops, makes him an intriguing gamble for owners in need of some pop. His solid walk-to-strikeout rate illustrates he has nothing left to prove in the minors; his next and last test is succeeding against major league pitching. A September audition will not be a large enough sample size to draw any solid conclusions, but given his low prospect status, Duda has a lot on the line. Maybe Duda will play with a chip on his shoulder for those looking to take a gamble on him for his pop down the stretch.
Recommendation: Should be owned in some 14-team mixed leagues using five-outfielders. Should be owned in some NL-only leagues.