Free Agent Frenzy: Marisnick ready to go for 'Stros
JUL 31, 2014 9:56p ET
Did you enjoy Thursday's rollercoaster trade deadline day? If so, check out the fantasy analysis of all the big deals at our Fantasy Trade Deadline Tracker. I ignored my kids for an entire day to produce that manifesto, so I hope you like it.
Here's this season's 17th edition of Free Agent Frenzy. Please note that, as in past seasons, no player will be mentioned in this space more than once in a four-week span, because we don't want to beat you over the head all year long about the same players. Let's get going!
(Note: All stats are through Wednesday.)
Catcher: Travis d'Arnaud, Mets (owned in 6.7 percent of FOXSports.com leagues)
D'Arnaud has come around lately, batting .272 with three home runs, 13 RBI, 11 runs scored and a .795 OPS in July. He's reached the point where he's a top-20 fantasy catcher.
Digging deeper: Prospect Andrew Susac (0.0 percent owned) has arrived in San Francisco to be Buster Posey's backup. In NL-only leagues, most hitters are rosterable, especially if they're catchers coming off a couple of seasons of .800-plus OBPs in the minors.
First base: Brandon Belt, Giants (owned in 50.5 percent of FOXSports.com leagues)
Belt (concussion) is about to undergo a short rehab assignment, and should return to the lineup next week. His season has been injury-plagued, but he has 10 home runs in 165 at bats.
Digging deeper: Chris Colabello (4.7 percent owned) appears to be in a platoon with Chris Parmelee at first base in Minnesota, and as the righty half he'll get the short end of the stick. However, if Colabello was cut loose in your AL-only league upon being sent to the minors in late May, remember that he has pretty good power to go along with all those strikeouts.
Second base: Jedd Gyorko, Padres (owned in 27 percent of FOXSports.com leagues)
Meet one of the leading candidates for Fantasy Bust of 2014! Maybe you regret picking Gyorko as your starting second baseman in March, but if you can get him off the wire now, the price (free!) is obviously much better. Gyorko was awful before going on the DL in early June, but he's seven-for-15 since coming back four games ago. That short sample doesn't make Gyorko intriguing - his 2013 numbers do.
Digging deeper: Remember when Jordany Valdespin (0.0 percent owned) wore out his welcome with the Mets? Valdespin has some power and speed, and has started seven of the last eight games for the Marlins, hitting a couple of homers over that time. Valdespin had eight home runs and 15 steals in 61 Triple-A games before his callips, and if you can't take a chance on that in your NL-only league (or perhaps even a deep mixed circuit), you're overthinking. I wonder if they miss him in Queens.
Third base: Mike Moustakas, Royals (owned in 6 percent of FOXSports.com leagues)
The trade of Danny Valencia to the Blue Jays has opened up an everyday role for Moustakas. He might never live up to his minor-league hype, but with five home runs in July, he's worth a look in any format at this wasteland of a fantasy position.
Digging deeper: Hey, deep mixed owners: Why don't you like Luis Valbuena (2 percent owned)? He's not sexy, but he has eight home runs, 34 RBI and 39 runs scored in 95 games, posesses fantasy eligibility at 2B/3B, and has been hitting live drives at a pretty good clip (22.3 percent). Here's an endorsement that I use often, but isn't as bad as it sounds: You could do worse.
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox (owned in 40.1 percent of FOXSports.com leagues)
Stephen Drew's departure to the Yankees means the Sox are now all-in on Bogaerts at shortstop. Bogaerts has had his struggles this season, but he's 12-for-37 over his last nine games, and might just be figuring things out. Even at age 21, he's too talented not to. I'd give my left arm to get this guy in a keeper league.
Digging deeper: Charlie Culberson (0.1 percent owned) had 16 homers with 18 steals between the minors and majors last season. Sure, those numbers were racked up at altitude, but he's playing a mile high now. Culberson has started four consecutive games for the Rox - three at shortstop, and one at second base. He has fantasy eligibility at 3B/SS/OF, and if there's a chance that he'll keep steady playing time, he's worth a look in any league beyond a 12-team mixer.
Outfield: Oscar Taveras, Cardinals (owned in 3.4 percent of FOXSports.com leagues)
Allen Craig has been traded to the Red Sox. You know what that means? It's showtime for Taveras. Put up or shut up. Mr. Blue Chipper. I'm in.
Digging deeper: The Marlins dealt Jake Marisnick (0.0 percent owned) to the Astros, who have lots of available outfield playing time with George Springer and Dexter Fowler on the DL. But even when those guys come back, Marisnick could be a decent deep mixed league pickup (get him immediately in AL-only leagues if you can). Marisnick has 10 home runs with 29 stolen bases between the minors and majors this season, and those numbers are music to any fantasy owner's ears.
Starting pitcher: Jake Odorizzi, Rays (owned in 37.6 percent of FOXSports.com leagues)
Why is Odorizzi available in so many leagues around here? His 3.80 ERA isn't awesome, but he ranks 20th in the majors with 129 strikeouts. You can't use this guy in your 12-team mixed league? Really?
Digging deeper: Tommy Milone (1.4 percent owned) wasn't happy when he lost his rotation slot in Oakland due to the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel acquisitions, but he should feel pretty good about getting dealt to the Twins on Thursday. Milone has an easy path to starting every fifth day, will pitch home games in a big ballpark, and looks like a decent bet to pist a sub-4.00 ERA.
Lindstrom will begin a rehab assignment at Triple A this weekend, and could return to the White Sox in a week or so. Unfortunately, Jake Petricka stands between Lindstrom and the closer's role. Too bad.
(What's that? Petricka has 41 strikeouts against 26 walks in 53 1/3 innings, and has a history of control problems on his minor-league resume? Lindstrom has a pretty good chance to get this job back. Petricka HAS the job, which makes him a better bet, but he's only saved five games, for crying out loud.)
Digging deeper: Chad Qualls has been very good for the Astros this season, but when he gave up five runs during a blown save opportunity on Wednesday night, it served as a reminder that he's replaceable. Since returning from the minors in mid-May, Josh Fields (0.2 percent owned) has posted a 0.65 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP with 41 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings. If you want to speculate on saves, it should be with a guy as dominant as Fields has been.