The AL's all-pickup rotation
By JOEL COLOMBY, QMI Agency
|Twins' Scott Diamond -- who hails from Guelph, Ont. -- has literally been a diamond in the rough for those fantasy owners who scooped him up off the waiver wire. (Getty Images).
Pitching predictions being the crapshoot they are (see R.A. Dickey, Ricky Romero and Tim Lincecum), I’ve long made the assertion that a fantasy owner in a standard, single-league rotisserie pool could build a quality rotation straight from the waiver wire. Load up pre-season on hitting, a closer or two and perhaps a staff ace. Then, as the season goes along, bid on as many promoted no-name starters as you can. And note that we are not including the top prospects here, as they likely would have been protected on the minor-league rosters. Looking back on this season, an AL owner could — if everything played out at as planned — have a rotation that included Twins’ Scott Diamond (10-5, 2.97) and Sam Deduno (4-0, 3.38), Rays’ Alex Cobb (7-8, 4.08), White Sox’s Jose Quintana (5-2, 2.77), Orioles’ Miguel Gonzalez (5-2, 3.38) and Chris Tillman (5-2, 3.40), A’s A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.42) and Indians’ Zach McAllister (5-4, 3.46). The NL hasn’t produced as many this season, but there is Brewers’ Mike Fiers (6-5, 2.63), Cards’ Joe Kelly (3-5, 3.41), Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin (4-4, 3.41) and swingman Eric Stults (3-2, 2.49) of the Padres. Yes, there are a few obvious factors to consider here: 1) For every called-up pitcher named above, there are three who are sent back down. 2) You are not going to get everyone you bid for, and 3) Until you get a rotation you are comfortable with, you may have dug yourself a hole too deep to get out of. So it’s not perfect, which is probably why I haven’t had the guts to try it. But theoretically, it is possible.
-- One of my miscalculations during pre-season forecasting was that Melky Cabrera would not carry over his strong 2011 season with the Royals to San Francisco. He did, and then some. But, as it turns out, he had a little pharmaceutical help, was caught and his season is over. Struggling Gregor Blanco, a LH bat who lost his starting OF job when Hunter Pence arrived, got the call in left the first two games without Cabrera — both against RHPs — going 2-for-4 each night. While some suggest a platoon is in order here, Blanco has actually hit southpaws better than righties this year (.260 to .229 with three of his five HRs in half the ABs).
-- Let’s not go overboard in our excitement over Manny Machado, just yet. The young Orioles phenom went 6-for-16 with three HRs and seven RBIs in his first four games but, as they say, consider the source. All six hits (which also included a double and an opposite-field triple) came off Royals starters Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, Will Smith and Luis Mendoza who have a combined 5.10 ERA this season and yielded a whopping 59 HRs in 425 innings. Note that Machado then went just 2-for-10 in his next series against the Red Sox, but was 1-for-3 off Justin Verlander on Friday.
-- Closing time: The Red Sox finally activated Andrew Bailey this week and word is that Alfredo Aceves’ job could be in danger … Jon Rauch has earned the past two saves for the Mets … Grant Balfour looks to have reclaimed the A’s closer’s job from Ryan Cook … Dale Thayer, as expected, takes over in San Diego with Huston Street hurt again.
With fantasy rating out of 5
Even playing almost every day now, he’s not much in the cumulative stats (HR, RBI, R, SB). But he is on a crazy tear of late, going 15-for-30 since Aug. 8 — including two four-hit games — raising his average from .258 to .280.
That 4-for-4 line on Friday likely prompted a few double-takes, as did his HR two games earlier. If you can get by the .153 AVG he took to the minors in mid-June, he’s 7-for-14 since being recalled Tuesday, getting four starts in a row at 3B as a catcher-eligible.
Notorious fantasy killer carried a spiffy 9.58 ERA into August. This month, somehow, he has a 1.29 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in three starts, including back-to-back scoreless wins. You wanna roll the dice? Go ahead. He’s all yours.
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With the spectre of Brian Roberts’ return no longer an issue, he becomes a legitimate mixed-league option, going 9-for-29 with two HRs his past 8 games.
Acquired from the Tigers in the Anibal Sanchez deal, he’s alternating starts with John Buck, but could work his way into a starting gig with a strong final six weeks. A LH bat with good contact skills, gap power.
CC Sabathia should be ready to make his next start on Friday … C.J. Wilson bruised, but didn’t break, his throwing hand during Monday’s outing ... Brett Lawrie (oblique) is expected back by midweek … Denard Span has missed the past week with a sore shoulder. He could be DL-bound … Kirk Nieuwenhuis (heel) will rejoin the Mets around Sept. 1 … Will Middlebrooks (wrist) won’t require surgery, but a return this year is highly unlikely … Nate Schierholtz (toe) is out until mid-September … The return of Joey Votto (knee) is still about three weeks away … Justin Ruggiano is back on the shelf with a strained oblique … His spot in CF for Miami will be taken by Emilio Bonifacio (thumb) who is slated to return Sunday … Seth Smith (hamstring) may be back later this coming week.
HOT AND NOT
Ryan Doumit MIN
.326, 4 HRs, 9 RBIs
Rajai Davis TOR
.250, 9 SBs, 6 RBIs
Eric Chavez NYY
.519, 3 HRs, 7 RBIs
- - - - - - -
Brian McCann ATL
.133, 0 HRs, 1 RBI
Ian Kinsler TEX
.163, 0 HRs, 1 SB
This one courtesy of an observant pair of eyes at Rotoworld.
Shelley Duncan CLEV
Heading into Saturday’s game
2012 -- 11 HRs, 29 runs
2011 -- 11 HRs, 29 runs
2010 -- 11 HRs, 29 runs
TAILS, I LOSE
Not that I regret making Bryce Harper the first off-the-board sleeper pick in my mixed-league draft (243rd overall) in March. But it was a coin toss between he and Angels Mike Trout, who went 14 picks later, and I can’t help but wonder how much closer to the top I’d be if it had come up heads.