Throughout the season, this piece will attempt to sort through Minor League call-ups and identify their potential worth to your fantasy roster. Â With one week gone, we should all be thankful that this list is short and downright unimpressive.
***Notes on players from the International League (AAA) are my own unless otherwise acknowledged Â
Brayan Villarreal (SP, DET) – Doug Fister was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained costochondral muscle in his left side, prompting the 24-year-old Venezuelan to get the call from Toledo (AAA-IL). Â This move may come as a shock to many who felt Jacob Turner deserved a spot in the Tigers rotation out of Spring Training.Â Itâ€™s clear that theyâ€™re neither interested in burning options nor yo-yoing Turner around for 3 starts.Â Villarrealâ€™s slider can be very dangerous but his K/BB ratio took a turn for the worse in 2011 as he spent some time in the bullpen.Â If he ever hopes to stick with the Tigers long-term, it will probably be as a reliever.Â Outlook- Consider adding Villarreal in AL-only leagues for the next two weeks.Â
Kirk Nieuwenhuis (CF, NYM) â€“ The New York Mets placed Andres Torres on the 15-day DL with a strained left calf.Â Manager Terry Collins has already admitted that he Nieuwenhuis will find himself in â€œa bit of a platoonâ€ with Scott Hairston.Â The lefthander had his 2011 season cut short because of torn labrum but has the potential to contribute in New York.Â After watching Nieuwenhuis in 2010 and 2011, itâ€™s glaringly obvious that he doesnâ€™t have any plus attributes.Â His power is average (at best) and he doesnâ€™t blow you away with his speed.Â If he continues to mature as a gap hitter, though, Nieuwenhuis could become a serviceable 15/15/.280 guy for the Mets.Â Outlook- Add in NL-only leagues and consider him in deep mixed leagues (14 teams +).Â
Brian Bixler (3B/SS/OF, HOU) â€“ After Jed Lowrie hit the 15-day DL (retroactive to 3/29) with a sprained right thumb, the organization turned to Bixler.Â He swiped 28 bases with Indianapolis in 2007 and has posted batting averages north of .274 in all of his campaigns at the AAA level.Â He went 1-3 with a run, a walk and a strikeout on 4/7 against the Rockies and started over Jose Altuve at second base.Â Bixler doesnâ€™t figure to be anything more than a band aid for an organization already light on talent.Â The biggest question here is why would Brad Mills bench Jose Altuve after one game?Â Bixler was rightfully relegated to the bench on Sunday.Â Outlook- Roll the dice in NL-only leagues if you need a one week plug. Â Don’t expect much.
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