Matt Stroup

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Time to Huddle

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Michael Brantley, OF, CLE (Yahoo: 0 percent owned; ESPN: 0 percent)

Acquired in the CC Sabathia deal last summer, Brantley has joined the Indians and promptly started two straight games, going 3-for-7. He won't provide much power (just a 711 OPS at Triple-A), but what's important to know here is that Brantley has an abundance of speed. The 22-year-old was 46-for-51 on steals at Triple-A this season and should get ample opportunity to play for the woebegone Tribe down the stretch.

Wade Davis, SP, TB (Yahoo: 1 percent owned; ESPN: 0 percent)

The Rays' top pitching prospect is set to join the rotation on Sunday after posting a 10-8 record, 3.40 ERA and 140/60 K/BB ratio in 158.2 innings at Triple-A this season. He has a solid matchup against the Tigers for his debut on Sunday and is worth adding in AL-only leagues right away.


Franklin Morales, RP, COL (Yahoo: 3 percent owned; ESPN: 1 percent)

I'm listing Morales here because he got the save on Wednesday night with Huston Street expected to be sidelined for at least the remainder of the week with biceps tendinitis. However, it should be noted that Morales got the call in an inning where the Mets had two lefties due up, and there's a good chance that Rafael Betancourt (Yahoo: 2 percent owned; ESPN: 2 percent) would get the call in a different circumstance.

With that said, the Mets pinch-hit for both of their lefties, Morales was still left in to face three righties, and he retired all three. So for the moment, the hard-throwing lefty looks like the de facto closer while Street is out. Owners scrapping for saves should just be aware that Betancourt could be in the mix, and be willing to add both if roster space permits.

Buster Posey, C, SF (Yahoo: 0 percent owned; ESPN: 1 percent)

It doesn't look like Posey is in line for extensive playing time down the stretch, but consider this a warning shot for keeper leagues. The 2008 No. 5 overall pick had a 947 OPS with 18 homers, 31 doubles and 80 RBI between Single-A and Triple-A this season and projects as a standout fantasy catcher as soon as next year with Bengie Molina set to come off the books this summer.

Jim Thome, Util, LAD (Yahoo: 43 percent owned; ESPN: 77 percent)

Thome, Troy Glaus (Yahoo: 13 percent owned; ESPN: 15 percent) and Jason Giambi (Yahoo: 13 percent owned; ESPN: 13 percent) have all surfaced on active NL rosters in the past week, but none of the aging sluggers are in line for extensive at-bats and shouldn't be worth a roster spot in NL leagues barring an unforeseen injury. It's tempting to put one of these players on your roster – particularly Thome, who had 23 homers and 74 RBI for the White Sox this season – but don't let past track records influence you in this case. The playing time simply isn't there.

Oscar Salazar, 1B/3B, SD (Yahoo: 0 percent owned; ESPN: 0 percent)

Speaking of playing time, Salazar has seen an increase in at-bats with Kyle Blanks on the D.L. due to foot trouble, and the 31-year-old has responded by going 8-for-13 with a homer in his last five games (three of which were starts). Salazar can definitely hit – he has a .378/.405/.608 lie with four homers and 13 RBI in 74 at-bats between Baltimore and San Diego – and he'll be worth using in NL-only leagues if he continues to get semi-regular starts down the stretch.

Daniel McCutchen, SP, PIT (Yahoo: 0 percent owned; ESPN: 0 percent)

Don't get excited just because he has the same last name as his electric teammate named Andrew who has drilled 11 homers, 20 doubles and six triples with 15 steals and an 848 OPS in 317 at-bats. The starting pitching incarnation of McCutchen is anything but dynamic, but the change-up artist did have a 13-6 record with a 3.47 ERA and 110/29 K/BB ratio in 142.2 innings at Triple-A and tossed a respectable six innings in his debut on Monday (five hits, three runs, two walks, five strikeouts). Only make the move if you're desperate for innings, because remember – the only thing more dangerous than playing spot starter roulette is playing spot starter roulette in an AL- or NL-only league.

Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
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