Between the arrival of Mookie Betts, the return of Oscar Taveras and more closer turmoil than you can shake a stick at (if shaking sticks at innumerable things is in any way your thing), my Twitter feed was bursting with activity this week.
And I was out sick for all of it! Zoinks!
No time like the present, right? Let's catch up ... together.
I like Betts. He walked more than he struck out in his minor-league career, suggesting both a high batting average and high OPS are in his future. He runs well enough to steal bases but has enough pop that his entire worth doesn't depend on it. But looking beyond the hype, I don't know how long he's up, how much he's playing, if he's really ready at age 21 with only 77 games above Class A or if I can fit him into my lineup at second base or the outfield, two deep positions. With all those hurdles to clear, I'd be surprised if he's more productive than Billy Hamilton the rest of the way, though again, I like him overall.
Trying to make our lives difficult, of course. I mean, I'm sure Oscar Taveras owners are happy, but Allen Craig and, yes, Matt Adams owners can only lose in this scenario. So far, Adams is 3 for 3 since Taveras' return, but that's only because Matt Holliday was due for a day off. He and Craig could wind up in a three-man rotation with Taveras, which would preclude any from being a must-start mixed-league option. The ideal resolution for Fantasy owners would be Taveras in center field full-time, but so far, he's made only one of three starts there.
I'd say his chances are high. He began this year so well and has been so good for so long that I feel like the Giants wouldn't hesitate to go back to him if he has a nice run in middle relief, especially since they don't have an obvious replacement. Granted, I also predicted Jim Johnson, John Axford and Grant Balfour would reclaim the role when they lost it (Johnson actually did briefly), but Romo is the best of the four and doesn't have the obvious pitfalls the other three do.
My friend thinks he got a deal. We're betting on your response! Sale & Fister (a pickup way back) for Hanley & Bruce @CBSScottWhite— Kelly (@glittersparrkle) July 3, 2014
Eh ... it's not a slam dunk either way. Chris Sale is the best singular player in the deal, but Hanley Ramirez and Jay Bruce are third and fourth. I think I'd have a much harder time replacing a starting shortstop and outfielder than a couple starting pitchers, knowing how deep starting pitcher is, but with the right bench pieces in place, I guess I'd be willing to consolidate for Sale. In a vacuum, though, I'll take Ramirez and Bruce.
Even with Taveras' return, I couldn't bring myself to do that. I'd sit Allen Craig for J.D. Martinez, sure, but I couldn't see myself cutting him for him. Craig has been such a reliable source of batting average over the years that I can't help but think a major resurgence is coming, kind of like Victor Martinez last year.
Ah yes, Domingo Santana. The most unheralded of mid-summer callups. Forgive the outdated verb tense. The question still applies. I'd compare his arrival to Marcell Ozuna's last year. The minor-league numbers look ... pretty good. Certainly, you see the power potential, but the flaws are just as evident. You pointed them out yourself. Keep in mind Santana was also playing in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, which no doubt contributed to his .304 batting average. As well as it's gone for Ozuna, he's been no better than a fringe contributor in mixed leagues, which would certainly be a disappointment for Oscar Taveras or even Mookie Betts a year into their careers. Santana is just a different caliber of prospect. He has enough raw power to surprise me, but I'm in no rush to pick him up.