San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal (12) doubles to lead off the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
There are no real drops of import this week, so we're going to head right into the adds. Unless you're, for some reason, still holding on to Daisuke Matsuzaka. Cut that out.
Yasmani Grandal, C (37 percent owned, +28 percent): Grandal hasn't drawn a walk yet, so his average and on-base mirror each other at .292, but the reason everyone is taking notice isn't how he's getting on base, but how quickly he's getting off base: Grandal has seven hits, four of them homers, in his first seven games in the majors.
The fascinating thing about this is Grandal's minor-league numbers, which suggested a highly-patient average hitter with some -- but not overly noticeable -- pop in his game. His career line in the minors is .314/.415/.498, and while you'd love that from a catcher -- or, well, anyone -- it doesn't quite scream homers in more than half of your games. It's been a grand debut, though, and success just makes it more likely he'll stick in San Diego when Nick Hundley has righted his own ship with a stint in the minors.
Franklin Morales, RP/SP (54 percent owned, +23 percent): What, do you all have perfect pitching staffs, and no room for Morales? What's the guy have to do to get your attention? He struck out 31 batters against three walks in 25-1/3 innings in June, and posted a 1.42 ERA split between (super) long-relief and starting. With Daniel Bard moving back to the bullpen, it's looking like Morales might just stick as a starter in the long-term with the Sox. Grab him before everyone notices that's the right thing to do, when you can still get him on FAAB for less than you know, all of what you have left.
Mike Leake, SP (45 percent owned, +15 percent): Things were a bit rougher to start the year, but Mike Leake has been stellar in the last eight of his 16 starts. The right-hander owns a 2.89 ERA in that stretch, covering 53 innings, and while the strikeouts aren't eye-popping (6.8 per nine), having five times as many punch outs as walks allowed is. His ERA was a lofty 7.11 as of May 11, but he's brought it all the way down to 4.01 since.
Leake is just 24, and has a career 4.03 ERA with very similar peripherals to what he's posted in 2012. This is basically who he is, although you'll get stretches like the current one where he's a bit better sometimes, depending on how good his control happens to be at that time. As long as the Reds let him start, he's a useful piece, even if he's not a game changer in standard mixed formats.
Alexi Amarista, 2B/LF (15 percent owned, +14 percent): Amarista was the topic du jour back on Wednesday, and his ownership has doubled in the short time since. (I will take full credit for this turn of events.) If you missed it:
Amarista isn't going to be an Allen Craig type utility player, but if he can hit some singles and doubles with the occasional steal in regular playing time, then he's an intriguing option for deep leagues, NL-only specifically. He's owned in just eight percent of standard mixed leagues, and that's probably for the best, but if he's still available in a non-standard format where his versatility can be utilized, then keep an eye on him.
It's been two days, so my opinion hasn't changed. Snag him in deep formats, as it's likely he'll be eligible for more than just the keystone and left very soon.
Travis Wood, SP (25 percent owned, +13 percent): Wood didn't begin the year in the Cubs rotation, but his recent pitching suggests he's there to stay now that he finally is. In nine starts and 56 innings, Wood owns a 3.05 ERA, 2.0 K/BB, and 6.3 strikeouts per nine. That's not enough for him to continue to post an ERA 30 percent better than the league average, and since he isn't much of a groundball pitcher, either, you probably won't want him for mixed leagues. If he's somehow still out there in an NL-only format -- or in a deep mixed league, like an 18-team, 30-man roster league that I myself drafted Wood in -- then scooping him up is a viable option. Your basic 12-team, though? Might be pushing it, since his FIP is 4.54, and the Cubs aren't exactly rolling in the Ws.
Jim Thome, DH (12 percent owned, +10 percent): Had Thome begun the year in the AL, he'd already be widely owned, even with expected limited playing time as a DH. He started out with the Phillies before his trade to Baltimore, though, meaning that most leagues haven't bothered with him. If he's around in AL-only, snag the newcomer.
Ben Sheets, SP (5 percent owned, +5 percent): Now there's a name I didn't expect to write in 2012. If Sheets is going to pitch, then there's a chance he'll be useful, and since NL-only pounces on everything with a pulse, you need to make the decision about whether you're the one to give Sheets a chance sooner than later. You don't need to start him out of the gate, but hey, you'll only get the chance to stash him now if it turns out he can help.