The player pool for daily fantasy baseball salary cap games gets pretty expansive around this time of year as teams begin to bring up their youngsters from Triple-A in an effort to see how they will fare against big league pitching. We covered some of them in the last column, but there were a number we didn’t touch on. Some will make for great choices while others might still be a little green and need some time to adjust before you start to use them. We’re going to look at some of the more recent call-ups and see who’s worthy and afterwards we’ll throw out a few picks, pans and sleepers.
Tyler Chatwood, COL (8/14 @ MIL) — We first got a look at Chatwood last season when he made 25 starts for the Angels and went 6-11 with a 4.75 ERA. He was dealt to Colorado late last year and since then has done very little due to injury. He’s healthy now, made 13 fairly unimpressive starts in the minors and has since been summoned to the big club as part of their “no more than 75 pitches per outing.” He’s currently 2-2 with a 5.06 ERA, so it’s probably best that you leave him be.
Will Smith, KC (8/15 @ OAK) — The 23-year old lefty gets very little fanfare, probably because he plays for Kansas City, a team that still considers Bruce Chen an ace. But Smith actually has some promise. While he’s made eight big league starts already and owns a rather undesirable 5.48 ERA, he’s turned things around lately, posting three quality starts in his last four outings. He only has 15 strikeouts in that span , but with a match-up in pitcher-friendly Oakland coming up, he just might warrant consideration.
Dan Straily, OAK (8/16 @ KC) – While Straily wasn’t on people’s radar coming into the season, he certainly grabbed everyone’s attention when he struck out 175 batters in just 138.1 innings between Double and Triple-A this year. He was brought up early last week and was impressive in his first outing, but let the red-hot Angels get the better of him in his second start. He’s tough on righties and should fare well against some of the weaker teams he’ll face…like the Royals.
Starling Marte, OF PIT – While he wasn’t exactly tearing it up down in Triple-A — .286-64-12-62-21 — he was impressive enough for them to bench some of their role players in favor of giving their 23-year old prized prospect a look. Since coming up, he’s been hitting .263 with four home runs, 10 RBI and three stolen bases. He’s definitely got the tools to succeed, but he’ll still need a little more time before he’s fully consistent.
Josh Vitters, 3B CHC — Vitters was actually playing very well for Triple-A Iowa before getting called up, batting .304 with 17 home runs and 68 RBI. But since his arrival, he’s been struggling with big league pitching and is only batting .100 through seven games. He’s struggling with strikeouts, a problem he had in the minors, and just doesn’t look ready yet.
David Cooper, 1B TOR — Cooper has been around for a while now — almost 40 games — but hardly gets noticed despite a .287 average, seven doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI. His power is considered mid-level, but he’s a strong contact hitter who posts a solid average, particularly against lefties, although most of his power comes against right-handed pitchers.
Wellington Castillo, C CHC — Castillo has been considered the catcher of the future for the Cubs, but he’s still green enough that he’ll split time with Steve Clevenger for the time being. But Castillo matches up well against right-handed pitching. He’s shown some promise during this second go around with the big club and is now batting .270 with three home runs and 10 RBI over a 17 game span.
Five We Like
Jhonny Peralta, SS (8/14 @ MIN) — Peralta has hit safely in eight of his last nine games and is batting .294 over that span. On top of that, he’s batting a robust .455 with a home run and three doubles over 22 at-bats against starter Brian Duensing.
Andre Ethier, OF (8/14 @ PIT) — He’s absolutely killing right-handers this year, batting .325 with nine home runs against them. If that isn’t enticing enough for this match-up against Kevin Correia, how about the fact that he’s batting .478 against the Pittsburgh righty with two doubles and a triple over 23 career at-bats? Yeah, that’ll work.
Felix Hernandez, SP (8/15 vs TB) — On top of the fact that King Felix already dismissed these Rays earlier in the season — eight innings of one-run ball — he’s been crazy good lately, posting four wins and a 1.64 ERA over his last six outings.
Chipper Jones, 3B (8/16 vs SD) — It looks as if Jones has made it through a recent back issue and is again tearing up pitching here in his final year. He’s facing right-handed Jason Marquis which pushes him to the left side of the plate where he’s batting.311 with seven of is 10 home runs. On top of that, Jones is batting .429 against Marquis with three home runs and a double through 14 at-bats.
Robinson Cano, 2B (8/16 vs TEX) — The top hitting second baseman is going to cost you some extra dough when setting up your team, but with his 25 home runs and .313 average are well worth it. He’s batting .311 with five home runs since the All Star break and is hitting a mammoth .368 with a home run, a double and a triple against Texas lefty, Derek Holland.
Five We Don’t
Carlos Pena, 1B (8/14 @ SEA) — He’s batting .194 on the season, .212 against right-handers this year and is hitting .190 specifically against starter Kevin Millwood.
Ervin Santana, SP (8/15 vs CLE) — What more reason do you need to avoid him besides the fact that he’s got an 8.62 ERA over his last six starts which only lasted a total of 31.1 innings?
B.J. Upton, OF (8/15 @ SEA) — He’s got just three hits in 28 at-bats (.107) with 10 strikeouts against King Felix and is only batting .228 here in the second half of the season.
Adam LaRoche, 1B (8/15 @ SF) — Though he’s having his usual solid second half, batting .282 with eight home runs, he’s only batting .254 against right-handers this year. Even worse is that against Tim Lincecum, he’s batting a horrific .160 over 25 at-bats.
Nick Markakis, OF (8/16 vs BOS) — While he seems to hit righties fairly well (.288 average with eight home runs this season), Boston’s Clay Buchholz gives him a tough time. Over 27 career at-bats against him, Markakis is batting just .111 with no extra-base hits.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites, including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for direct questions or comments you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.