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August 19, 2013 posted by Matthew Dewoskin

Fantasy Baseball Singles Only: Early Callups Edition

Fantasy Baseball Singles Only: Early Callups Edition
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We’re at the end of August and that means two things. First, there’s a little more than a month left on the schedule and the marathon of the baseball season turns into a spring. Second, teams start to look at prospects. The majority of callups occur around September 1st, but it’s not unheard of for some of the more interesting guys to be called up earlier.

The Cardinals have brought up second baseman Kolten Wong. He’ll likely see full-time duty against right-handers which means that David Freese or Matt Carpenter will split time at third. Carpenter has served as the Redbirds lead off hitter for the majority of the season and owns a .859 OPS. Freese owns a .724 OPS which doesn’t sound that bad when you notice the six homers and .265 batting average. Carpenter will get the majority of the playing time at third when Wong is in at second. Freese…probably shouldn’t be in a fantasy lineup at this point in the season.

Wong is the dreaded “better-in-real-life-than-in-fantasy” player. The first thing scouting reports start with is his high baseball IQ and intangibles. Baseball IQ and intangibles are great, but they’re not going to help in fantasy baseball. He runs well enough, but he never posted ridiculous stolen base totals in the minors. His .163 ISO in Triple-A won’t turn many heads either. Wong is essentially batting average, runs and an occasional steal. You could do worse at middle infield and likely are if you’re turning to Kolten Wong at this point in the season.

The Diamondbacks brought up power-hitting third baseman Matt Davidson. It’s been announced that Davidson will ride the pine as long as the D-backs are in the mix for a playoff spot. The D-backs are 7.5 games in back of the Dodgers with a 24.5% chance at the playoffs according to CoolStandings.com. It could be weeks before Davidson is fantasy relevant.  He’s waiver wire fodder until he gets a chance at a full-time job.

The White Sox have dealt Alex Rios and (finally) brought up Avisail Garcia. Garcia will have full-time at-bats for the rest of 2013 and beyond because the White Sox simply don’t have anyone else. When Jordan Danks and Blake Tekotte are the other options, your team doesn’t have any other options. Garcia is riding a six-game hit streak and absolutely deserves to be used in mixed leagues with five outfielders.

Sticking with the White Sox, infielder Leury Garcia should be up any day now. Garcia isn’t much of an offensive prospect. He strikes out too much (25.5% K % at Triple-A this year) and walks too little (6.7% BB% at Triple-A). He has one skill that will interest fantasy GMs. He’s capable of stealing lots of bases from a middle infield spot. He can play three infield positions reasonably well and he could push Conor Gillaspie and his .667 OPS out of the starting lineup if/when he gets the call to Chicago.

Will Middlebrooks is back from his exile to Pawtucket after a terrible first two months at the major league level. He’s playing every day again and he’s only owned in 31% of Yahoo! leagues. That’s probably the same percentage of leagues (not teams) that are totally abandoned right now, but he has a job in a good lineup and is a viable option at corner or utility. He has a .265 BABIP in 2013 with a .223 actual BA, but he’s posting a 1.00 GB:FB ratio with a 20.0% LD %. He’s proven that his 21.4% HR:FB ratio in 2012 wasn’t a total mirage because he’s rocking a 15.2% HR:FB ratio this year. Middlebrooks’ average might not recover this year, but he can add a little extra thump to a fantasy lineup in the closing weeks of the season for the price of a waiver wire add.

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