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Opportunity Knocks: MLB fantasy transaction analysis June 22 - June 29

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Summarizing the notable transactions and trends from previous week. We also highlight a couple former 1st round prospects that didn't live up to expectations with the organizations that drafted them but have shown small but promising samples with a change of scenery.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries, Trades, Promotions, Demotions from June 22 - June 29...

AL East:

  • Blue Jays called up LHP Matt Boyd, a favorite sleeper of mine for what it's worth, and he made his MLB debut on Saturday versus the Rangers (6.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K). Boyd was drafted in the 6th round just two years ago from Oregon State and had a minuscule 1.26 ERA at AA over 85.2 IP with 82 K and 18 BB.
  • Blue Jays activated 2B Devon Travis from the DL and optioned RHP Scott Copeland and INF Munenori Kawasaki to AAA.
  • Orioles activated starting pitchers LHP Wei-Yin Chen and RHP Miguel Gonzalez. The O's also expect 2B Jonathan Schoop back sometime this upcoming week.
  • Rays made a trade with the Angels, acquiring 1B/OF Marc Krauss in exchange for RHP Kyle Winkler. With James Loney still on the mend, opportunity is knocking for Krauss to get an extended look at first base. Rays also optioned infielders Tim Beckham and Nick Franklin to AAA.
  • Rays transferred OF Desmond Jennings to the 60-day DL and called up OF Grady Sizemore.
  • Red Sox activated RHP Justin Masterson from the DL who hopes to turn his early season struggles around. Red Sox optioned RHP Steven Wright to AAA.
  • With Masterson back and rookie LHP Eduardo Rodriguez holding his own so far, talented but erratic RHP Joe Kelly got the axe from Boston's rotation. He has been optioned to AAA.
  • Red Sox sent OF Rusney Castillo to AAA and recalled former Gamecock college world series hero OF Jackie Bradley, Jr. from AAA. Bradley is a defensive wiz still trying to make ends meet at the plate in the majors (Career .194/.266/.274 in 554 PA #yuck). He was batting .322/.398/.468 with 4 HR in 236 PA at AAA. Will some of that translate to the bigs this time around? Stay tuned.
  • Busy transaction week for the Sox. They also placed 2B Dustin Pedroia on the 15-day DL with a strained right hammy. Good thing super utility man Brock Holt is around to fill in. Holt is having a breakout year at the plate (.295/.387/.446 in 223 PA, 2 HR, 12.1 BB%, 21.1 K%, .367 wOBA, 133 wRC+).
  • Red Sox also called up former Arizona State star SS Deven Marrero.
  • Yankees activated RHP Ivan Nova from the 60-day DL, a nice boost to a rotation that faces a tough call on who moves to the bullpen with Nova back.
  • Yankees placed SS Brendan Ryan on the 15-day DL with a right thoracic strain and recalled INF Gregorio Petit from AAA.

AL Central:

  • Indians called up RHP Toru Murata as their 26th man on Sunday to make his MLB debut in Game 2 of the doubleheader with the Orioles.
  • Twins recalled SS Danny Santana from AAA along with young flamethrower RHP Alex Meyer and placed CF Byron Buxton on the 15-day DL with a left thumb sprain. Meyer carried a 5.11 ERA in 56.1 IP with 61 K and 30 BB at AAA.
  • Royals returned LHP Danny Duffy to the starting rotation after activating him from the 15-day DL.
  • White Sox ace LHP Chris Sale has fanned 63 batters over his last 36 IP which is just absurd.

AL West:

  • Angels called up top prospect LHP Andrew Heaney to make his MLB debut on Wednesday versus the Astros (6 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 5 K). You'll recall he was acquired this offseason from the Dodgers for 2B Howie Kendrick. With Jered Weaver and Matt Shoemaker still on the mend, opportunity is there for Heaney to get a few more starts to show what he can do.
  • Astros sent LHP Brett Oberholtzer to AAA and called up RHP Michael Feliz.
  • Astros also recalled former Top 100 prospect 1B Jon Singleton from AAA who will look to improve upon his last year's rookie season struggles in the majors (.168/.285/.335 with 13 HR in 362 PA). Singleton was batting an impressive .280/.387/.553 (.409 wOBA) with 17 HR and a solid 15% walk rate and 20.1% K rate at AAA.
  • Mariners optioned OF James Jones to AAA and recalled OF Franklin Gutierrez who has been getting starts versus LHP in the two-hole. He won't be the 6 WAR player he once was back in 2009 but ole Gooty does appear fully healthy for the first time in several years and the 32 year old was performing at a high level down at AAA: .317/.402/.500 (.401 wOBA) with 7 HR in 207 PA.
  • The Rangers are getting healthy: 3B Adrian Beltre returned this week and LHP Martin Perez, LF Josh Hamilton, and CF Delino DeShields, Jr. all began rehab assignments.
  • RHP Yovani Gallardo finished the month of June with a 0.54 ERA over 33.1 IP for the Rangers, best in the majors.

NL East:

  • Braves placed RHP Williams Perez on the 15-day DL with a left foot contusion. They summoned AA right-hander RHP Jake Brigham to take his place. The 27 year old Brigham pitched to a 3.05 ERA in 12 starts covering 69 IP with 54 K and 14 BB and would appear the favorite to make a start when Perez's turn comes up.
  • With 1B Freddie Freeman on the mend, the Braves have turned to a platoon of 1B/OF Joey Terdoslavich versus RHP and 3B Pedro Ciriaco versus LHP (with 3B Chris Johnson shifting over 1B) in his absence.
  • Marlins placed MLB home run leader RF Giancarlo Stanton on the 15-day DL with a broken hamate bone. Tough break, no pun intended, for the fish. Marlins called up OF Cole Gillespie to take Stanton's pace on the roster.
  • Marlins also called up SS Miguel Rojas and optioned INF Donovan Solano to AAA.
  • Mets called up top 100 prospect LHP Steven Matz from AAA to make his MLB debut on Sunday. Wow, what a memorable debut he had both on the mound (7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) and at the plate (3-for-3, 4 RBI). Word from Queens is that the Mets are rolling with a 6-man rotation now so it appears Matz is here to stay.
  • Nationals placed 2B Anthony Rendon on the 15-day DL with a left quadriceps strain and called up INF Emmanuel Burriss.
  • Nationals activated RHP Stephen Strasburg and optioned RHP Joe Ross to AAA.
  • Phillies placed 2B Chase Utley on the 15-day DL with right ankle inflammation and recalled 1B/OF Darin Ruf from AAA. Ruf sports a career .378 wOBA versus LHP at the big league level, an interesting little fantasy nugget I thought I'd share with the community.

NL Central:

  • Cardinals activated RHP Lance Lynn from the 15-day DL and optioned LHP Tyler Lyons back to AAA.
  • Cubs placed LHP Tsuyoshi Wada on the 15-day DL with left deltoid inflammation.
  • Cubs called up RHP Donn Roach who struggled in his Cubs debut on Saturday (3.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, BB, K)  ersus the Cardinals. Roach is a sinkerballer who sported an impressive 2.96 GO/AO down at AAA along with a 2.26 ERA in 82.2 IP with 33 K in 15 BB.
  • Reds called up RHP Josh Smith from AAA and transferred RHP Jon Moscot to the 60-day DL with a dislocated left shoulder.
  • Pirates placed 1B/OF Corey Hart on the 15-day DL with a left shoulder impingement and DFA'd OF Jose Tabata. Who would take their place? Answer below...
  • Pirates called up UTL Steve Lombardozzi and OF Gorkys Hernandez.
    NL West:
  • Giants placed OF Nori Aoki on the 15-day DL with a fractured right fibula. He's expected out at least two weeks, opening up extended playing time for Gregor Blanco. The Giants called up 1B/OF Travis Ishikawa to take his place on the roster.
  • Wow, quiet week of transactions for the NL West.
  • Giants have given 3B Matt Duffy a chance to run with the third base gig and that's exactly what he's doing. Duffy has been the hottest hitter on the Giants in June (.326/.370/.623, .423 wOBA, 179 wRC+ in 100 PA) and has been batting in the 3 hole of late.
  • Diamondbacks have been batting rookie SS Nick Ahmed in the leadoff spot of late which gives a small boost to his value in daily fantasy, especially when there's a LHP on the mound (.401 wOBA in 57 PA, small but intriguing sample).
Opportunity Knocks - Let's get to know a little more about these following players...

Chris Parmelee - 1B/OF - Orioles

With Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis gone (along with Alejandro De Aza), it's no secret that opportunity has been there in Baltimore this year for a corner outfielder with something to prove to step up. We thought here in Baltimore that former blue chip prospect Travis Snider might be that guy but he's put up a lukewarm performance to date. Perhaps, that guy is another former 1st rounder named Chris Parmelee. He ripped the ball down in AAA (.312/.381/.444 in 265 PA) and with a June 15th opt out clause in contract, he was quickly summoned to the majors and given an opportunity to show whether he can bring that AAA production with him. So far, he has: .302/.348/.721 with 4 HR in 46 PA, albeit with a meh 4.6% walk rate and 28.3% strikeout rate.

What's his story? If you're not familiar, Parmelee was a Twins 1st rounder out of high school back in 2006. His career in the low minors got off to a slow start but his production ticked up with each level he moved up with his most dominant hitting performance coming in 2012 at AAA where he batted .338/.457/.645 with 17 HR in 282 PA.

While he was never a blue chip prospect coming up through the Twins organization, Parmelee looked like a guy at this time with the hitting skills to become a league average first baseman with enough defensive versatility to play corner outfield as well. In the 2012 book John gave him a B- saying, "He isn't going to hit .300+ in the majors but I bet he can hit .260-.270 with moderate power and a good OBP. Not a star but should have a productive career." Something like a poor man's Adam Lind seemed a reasonable outcome. But, his AAA production never quite translated to the bigs during his time with the Twins (.249/.317/.392 with 24 HR in 901 PA) and he was cut loose this offseason.

Now, he has only produced over a 46 PA sample thus far for the O's so this writeup could look grossly premature in a couple weeks if he proceeds to hit .220 in July. But, the OPPORTUNITY is there for Parmelee to play every day right now for the Orioles and he has been hitting in the two-hole of late. He's also at that ripe age of 27 where power breakouts often occur and this guy definitely has some thump in his bat after watching him somehow hit this pitch out to dead center yesterday.

Sometimes, a change of scenery helps a player unlock his potential at the plate and what better change of scenery for a left-handed power hitter than the friendly confines of Camden Yards. We shall see if a true breakout is in the works for Parmelee or if his hot start is just a flash in the pan.

Mike Montgomery - LHP - Mariners

Is this a flash in the pan or has Montgomery turned a corner, ironically against the team that drafted him. That's the thought that went through my head as I watched the highlights from Montgomery's sensational outing against the Royals on Wednesday night. His final line: 9 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K. He had shown improvement down at AAA before his callup: 3.74 ERA in 53 IP, 47 H, 15 BB, 47 K. Solid, but not enough to get my attention until last Tuesday's outing.

Minor League Ball enthusiasts should recall a time in the not too distant past when the Royals farm system was the talk of the town heading into the 2011 season as the consensus top collection of minor league talent in the biz. At the forefront of the pitching side of that talent pool was Mike Montgomery, who rated top 50 on most prospect lists that offseason. At the time, John expressed concerns about his elbow but believed he had the highest ceiling of their pitching prospects with physical projection left and a promising fastball-curveball combo. His track record during the following years has been erratic at best.

John lowered his grade the following year, noting concerns about his pitch command and ability to sell his curveball. He was included in the Wil Myers trade and continued to show no progress in his command/control profile with two mediocre seasons at AAA with the Rays in 2013 and 2014. Seattle acquired him this offseason for Erasmo Ramirez. It's been a slow and steady downfall for Montgomery since he rated as a Grade B+ in the 2011 book as he didn't even make the cut for the prospect book coming into the 2015 season.

Let's get back to that Tuesday outing. What made that outing particularly impressive to me is that he racked up 11 strikeouts against one of the toughest teams in baseball to fan in the Royals. I also counted four different pitches - a 91-93 MPH fastball, a mid-80's slider, a low 80's changeup, and a mid 70's curveball - that picked up swinging strikeouts for him during this outing. The changeup in particular was the dominant pitch for Montgomery, showing ideal velocity separation from his fastball along with great arm action.

Most importantly, is that Montgomery showed above average command of his 4-pitch mix and worked lived consistently down in the zone all night. It's one outing, but an impressive one that reminds us of the promise he once showed and may still be there if his overall pitch command and sequencing takes a giant leap forward like it did for one start last Tuesday. We will find out if there's more where that came from tomorrow when he takes on the Padres.


Kendall Graveman - RHP - Athletics

If you don't first succeed, try again. His disastrous start in April led to a quick demotion but Graveman has pitched like a changed man since the Athletics recalled him from AAA on May 23rd. Over his last 7 starts here are the lovely totals: 2.34 ERA in 46.2 IP, 45 H, 11 BB, 34 K.

Graveman was involved in this offseason's Josh Donaldson trade as one of the main pieces, along with 3B Brett Lawrie, and SS Franklin Barreto that the Blue Jays sent to Oakland. After an impressive run through the minors culminating with a brief MLB trial last September, John gave him a Grade B- saying, "His sinking fastball was 87-90 MPH in college but bumped up 89-93 MPH in pro ball and retained the sinking movement. He added an excellent cutter to the mix and his changeup was better too. He also said, "it remains to be seen whether he'll start or relieve in the long run but everyone who saw him last year came away impressed by his rapid rise."

Graveman hasn't missed a ton of bats, fanning 6.5 per 9 innings over his last 7 starts and doesn't feature an elite groundball rate either at 47.9% so his recent dominance is likely overstating his true talent level. However, according to pitch F/X his mid-70's slider has been his best pitch to date with batters hitting just .133 and fanning at 40.1% rate in 52 at bats ending with said pitch. Perhaps, increased usage of that pitch could change Graveman's outlook.

For now, he looks like he should stick as a reliable backend starter in the A's rotation due to above average command of a solid 4-pitch mix. A great find for a former 8th round senior from Mississippi State that signed for $5,000.