Scouts have long called the second-overall pick in the 2011 draft as close to major league ready as you can get. The 6-foot-2 left-hander has outstanding control and command, featuring two plus pitches with an advanced changeup and fastball which has recently been clocked in the 93-95 mph range. Hi slider is also a solid third pitch. Hultzen dazzled us all as we watched him in the Arizona Fall League where he put up a 1.40 ERA in six starts with an 18:5 K:BB in 19.1 innings. The only knock against the lefty has been inconsistent command, but nevertheless should get the call to the big leagues very shortly. Spend a buck now while he is still readily available.
Gregerson’s stock fell after a down year in 2011, but we can say with confidence that the 28-year-old is back to his regular form. He is striking out ten batters per nine innings with a respectable walk rate of three walks per nine. It is reasonable to speculate that Huston Street will be traded, and we also know that Dale Thayer was a journeyman for a reason. if you are speculating for saves, spend a buck now while his price is low.
Following the same strategy as above, Brothers could inherit save opportunities if Rafael Bethancourt is dealt. The 24-year-old struggled early in the season, but since his return the major leagues, he has been lights out holding opponents to a mere .130 batting average against. The lefty has long been tabbed as the closer of the future. Invest now while the price is low.
Garrett Jones, 1B/OF, Pirates (Owned: 10%) (FAAB: $45)
The 31-year-old is hitting .275 with 12 homers, 37 RBI and a .823 OPS through 69 games. Some of his underlying skills are nothing to write home about as his walk rate is down and his strikeout rate is up, but right now he is swinging a hot bat and playing regularly. He usually sits against lefties, but that will at least keep his batting average at respectable levels.
Jim Thome, DH, Orioles (Owned: 11%) (FAAB: $75)
The 41-year-old slugger still knows how to hit for power as he recently demonstrated is his recent nine-game stretch during interleague play where he went 12-for-36 with four home runs, two doubles, 14 RBI, four walks and a 1.137 OPS. After being traded to the Orioles, he should be playing nearly day. If you are in need of power, you have found your guy on the waiver wire.
Chris Tillman, SP, Orioles (Owned: 2%) (FAAB: $40)
Once a promising prospect, Tillman dropped off most owner’s radars, until this week where he took a shutout into the ninth inning against the Mariners, striking out seven and walking just two. His fastball hit 97 once, averaging an outstanding 95 MPH. The 24-year-old came over from the Mariners in the Erik Bedard deal, but has been a severe disappointment thus far. The stuff he showed in his last start is what scouts have been talking about for years.
Starling Marte, OF, Pirates (Owned: 7%) (FAAB: $2)
Marte, is hitting .291/.351/.495 with nine home runs, 52 RBI and 18 stolen bases through 83 games with Triple-A thus far. Rumors have been running rampant that the 23-year-old could get the call soon, making him worth a flyer in 15-team-leagues.
Ben Sheets, SP, Braves (Owned 2%) (FAAB: $30)
According the he Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sheets will throw 75 pitches or five innings for Double-A on Wednesday, then throw 90 pitches for his second start on Monday. If all goes well, he could be in the Braves rotation shortly thereafter.
So far, he was sitting around 90 mph on the radar gun. Scouts have been fairly positive on what they have seen so far. To call Sheets an injury risk would be an understatement, but if you have a deep bench in a 15-team league, is would be wise to roster him on your bench and attempt to catch lightning in a bottle.