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April 18, 2013 posted by Matthew Dewoskin

Singles Only: Week Three Edition

Singles Only: Week Three Edition
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Dan Haren, SP, Washington Nationals

Dan Haren, SP, Washington Nationals

Things are still free and consensual here at Singles Only. We will take a look at a few younger options, but don’t worry. Everyone here is old enough to buy a beer and has been deemed to have enough experience to contribute to a big league team. Some guys might not be relevant at this point, but they still deserve to be acknowledged.

It’s time to put on the smoking jackets and trim the mustaches because it’s time for another edition of…Singles Only.

Oswaldo Arcia (not a misprint, get used to missing the “G”) was called up this past week for his first look at big league action while Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni recovers from an ankle issue. Arcia (it still looks misspelled) may very well be a useful player in fantasy baseball one day, but not right now. He’ll be back at Triple-A once Mastroianni is ready to come off the DL and he won’t see very many at bats while he is up. He’s been in the Twins system for four years, but he doesn’t even turn 22 until May 9th. Arcia has a bright future, but it’s exactly that, a future. Leave Arcia on the waiver wire.

Cleveland Indians center fielder/lead off guy Michael Bourn hit the DL with a finger laceration. How bad does a “laceration” have to be to force a guy to the DL? Drew Stubbs will likely get full-time at bats for the two weeks that Bourn is on the shelf. He could pop a few homers and swipe a few bags, but he will post a gross batting average. More than likely, Stubbs will also be batting next to guys like Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley towards the bottom of the order. He won’t have very many chances to rack up runs scored or driven in. It’s time to shrug your shoulders at this one. Is your fifth outfielder really worse than Drew Stubbs?

Aaron Hill also landed on the DL and it looks like he’s going to be doing a four-to-six week turn with a fractured hand. Didi Gregorious is going to handle shortstop while Cliff Pennington slides over to second base. Gregorious has a .694 OPS in over 2,000 minor league PAs. He’s known for his glove and should not be known for being owned in fantasy leagues. It’s hard to see any value for Gregorious in any format other than deep NL-only.

Cardinals slugger Matt Adams is a difficult case for fantasy GMs to figure out. It’s obvious that Adams has nothing to prove at Triple-A and he has a puncher’s chance of being a better option than Allen Craig, but he’s limited to part-time first base at-bats, pinch hit at bats and the occasional inter-league DH at bats. He could force Allen Craig back into the outfield if there’s an injury or Adams could wind up on the trading block.

Adams has a 1.048 OPS in very limited action right now. Wait. That’s his slugging percentage? He has a 1.613 OPS? Good lord. Adams is worth a stash in just about every format. He’s an injury away from getting full-time work. Adams has the minor league pedigree (.930 OPS in over 1500 minor league PAs) and the ability to be a difference maker.

The Brewers decided to follow the Tigers lead and bring back a retread. Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez signed a minor league deal with the Brewers. Milwaukee had a mediocre bullpen last year with Rodriguez and they didn’t address their lack of arms over the off-season. Rodriguez could actually wind up saving a game if he shows up 1. in a shape other than “round.” and 2. capable of pitching. He’s worth a speculative add in NL-only leagues, but that’s about it for now. 

Meanwhile in Detroit, it took two and a half weeks, 14-innings and a week of Phil Coke closing to get Joaquin Benoit a save and what a save it was. He gave up a potentially game tying hit to Dustin Ackley (!) only to have the tying run thrown out at the plate. Benoit was the first one to pat catcher Brayan Pena on the back while Pena was trying to remember where he was and rightfully so. Pena made sure that Benoit will be able to take the ball in the ninth inning the next time the Tigers have a lead worth saving. Jose Valverde is still looming. Actually looming. As in “not pitching, but standing around and making sure his presence is known.”

Ubaldo Jimenez is not, in fact, back. It took Jiminez all of one start to go back to getting pummeled again. After looking competent in his first start against the Blue Jays, Jimenez has given up seven runs in both of his last two starts. It’s safe to send Jimenez to the waiver wire and hope that his grim visage never darkens your roster again. The average velocity on his fastball is 90.9 MPH so far this season. That’s a career low for a man once capable of hitting triple digits.

Speaking of guys who might be done, let’s say a few words on Dan Haren. Haren probably isn’t done. He still has useful innings left in him.

He’s sporting a nasty 8.10 actual ERA, but his 4.61 xFIP claims that he’s been mediocre and not horrifically awful. His velocity is better now than it was last year at just about any point. He’s still not walking guys (12:1 K:BB ratio), but he is getting murdered on balls in play. In his three starts, he’s given up 1,204 base hits that have just missed gloves. Wait. That’s wrong, too. It only seems that way if you sit down and watch Haren pitch. He does own a .420 BABIP in a painfully small sample size. He’s also getting killed on balls hit in the air. Haren owns a 19.2% HR:FB ratio. His career average is 10.7%.

Haren is not this bad and appears to have some upside if he can get through this statistical variance he seems to be experiencing. Remember when we were screaming for everyone to trade for Max Scherzer last year? Haren could very well wind up as the poor man’s, early season version of 2012 Scherzer.

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