Top Free Agent Pickups (5/20-5/27)
A new week sometimes means a new plan of attack. Here are a few players you can put in your arsenal to come out firing on all cylinders.
Jurickson Profar, Tex, 2B (ESPN Owned 50%)
Many were surprised the Rangers signed Elvis Andrus this offseason to a major 8-year, $120 million contract because baseball’s No.1 prospect, Jurickson Profar, was in the waiting line to become the Rangers best new asset. With middle infielders, 2B Ian Kinsler and SS Elvis Andrus, locked up for the next five years many wonder when the 20-year-old Profar will get his shot in the Bigs. The time has come. Kinsler on the DL and now baseball’s No.1 prospect will get to put his skills on display. If you are looking for a 2B, there is nothing to lose taking a chance on Profar. I wouldn’t, however, drop or give up too much to pick Profar up because once Kinsler comes off the DL, Profar will most likely be sent back down.
Jon Jay, Stl, OF (ESPN Owned 61%)
After hitting a miserable .213 in April, Jay is hitting .379 in May. In his first three seasons, the Cardinal OF was a .300 hitter but with not a lot of speed or power not making him as attractive as other options. The downside for Jay, at the moment, is he hits in the backside of the St. Louis lineup where in the NL numbers don’t come easy for a player who doesn’t provide much speed or power. Nonetheless, the Cardinals are one of the best hitting teams and that says something for Jay moving forward.
Dayan Viciedo, CWS, OF (ESPN Owned 50%)
Before going on the DL, Viciedo was hitting .229, but since coming back in 32 ABs, the White Sox OF is hitting .375 with two bombs and 7 RBI’s/runs. At the moment, Chicago is near the bottom half of all major offensive categories which is good for the 24-year-old Cuban player. Veteran Adam Dunn can’t hit for average and Paul Konerko can’t seem to get it together in 2013. If the Sox continue to struggle offensively and Viciedo continues to hit don’t be surprised to find him batting in the cleanup or five spot consistently sooner than later as he has already a few times since coming off the DL.
Adam LaRoche, Was, 1B (ESPN Owned 83%)
LaRoche, who struggled in the early part of the season hitting a horrific .179 in May, has benefited from the injuries of 3B Ryan Zimmerman and OF Bryce Harper. In the last seven days, LaRoche has hit four home runs while drivin in 10. He is not going to help your average much, but if you’re looking a RBI producer with pop hitting 3 or 4 in a lineup LaRoche is your guy.
Alexei Ramirez, CWS, SS (ESPN Owned 74%)
Ramirez began the season batting towards the bottom of the lineup (6,7,8) hitting a respectable .281 but the RBI and run production wasn’t there for a struggling offense. In 109 ABs hitting in the 6,7,8 spot, Ramirez had a .252 average, but in only 48 ABs in the No.2 spot the Sox SS has hit .333 scoring nine of his 17 runs and driving in three of his 8 RBI’s. If Ramirez remains hitting second, he will be worth every penny. The only way he gets taken out of the No.2 slot is if he begins to struggle like Jeff Keppinger did earlier in the season. It looks as if though Ramirez has the two slot on lock with no real candidates to challenge.
Francisco Liriano, Pit, SP (ESPN Owned 55%)
Heeee’s baaaaack! Or is he? It’s not like he really left with any major injury, but Liriano’s plus 5.00 ERA the last three-out-of-four seasons had many wondering where the 12-3, 2.16 ERA, 1.00 WHIP hurler from 2006 went. The 29-year-old lefty, now in his eighth year of baseball, in two starts is looking like the 2006 version striking out 16 in 11 IP allowing only one run in each contest. Don’t get too gun-hoe, however, as his 1.55 WHIP displays Liriano hasn’t been as crisp as his 2-0 record. The Dominican native has yet to pitch into the sixth inning but a matchup at home against the Cubs shouldn’t scare you from starting Liriano if you take the leap of faith.
Andrew Bailey, Bos, RP (ESPN Owned 85%)
If you haven’t heard yet, Joel Hanrahan is out for the season opening the door for Bailey as Red Sox closer for the rest of the season. Bailey comes off the DL to begin the week and looks to maintain his dominance off his first 12.1 IP striking out 20 with a 1.46 ERA and 0.81 WHIP to begin 2013. It was a bicep injury that had Bailey on the DL in the first place, but the only negative feedback from manager John Farrell was that Bailey will not pitch in back-to-back games. Bailey should be owned by nearly all leagues in a week if he stays healthy because there is no threat of anybody taking the closer role away. Bailey will be his worst own enemy this year.
Matt Garza, CHC, SP (ESPN Owned 42%)
Coming off the DL and looking to make his first start of the season, Matt Garza has a likeable matchup against the Pirates Tuesday. The Cubs are missing Garza’s 9K’s/9IP rate from 2011 and hope to find some of the magic they signed him for inking Garza for $10 million a year. If all goes as planned, Garza will get his second start at Cin on Sunday so Garza should be watched closely in his first road test.