First things first, Happy Draft Day, everyone. Christmas in June begins today and I will be glued to the old boob tube tonight at 7 ET to watch the MLB Draft take place. You should do the same if you don't have prior engagements. On to the transaction analysis for the previous week.
Injuries, Trades, Promotions, Demotions from June 1 - June 8...
- Blue Jays activated C/DH Dioner Navarro from the 15-Day DL and optioned C Josh Thole to AAA.
- 1B/OF Chris Colabello has seen regular playing time lately for the Blue Jays. He's batting .355/.400/.529 in 130 PA on the season. He's sill just 2.8 K on FanDuel and 3.0 K on DraftKings, making him a great value option while he rides out this hot streak, fueled by an unsustainable .453 BABIP.
- Orioles traded OF Alejandro De Aza to the Red Sox for minor league RHP Joe Gunkel. With De Aza out of the picture, Travis Snider and David Lough have seen a bump in playing time and both have been spotted in the two-hole on various occasions in recent Oriole lineups.
- OF Delmon Young has seen regular time in middle of the Orioles lineup of late. He's batting .308/.341/.462 (.352 wOBA) over the last two weeks and has a date with the Red Sox pitching staff this upcoming week, intriguing for daily fantasy purposes.
- Orioles activated C Matt Wieters from the DL, DFA'd INF Everth Cabrera, optioned C Steve Clevenger, and optioned RHP Mike Wright, all in the same day.
- Red Sox acquired OF Alejandro De Aza from the O's. De Aza will likely take on a 4th OF role for now. Red Sox DFA'd OF Carlos Peguero to make room for him.
- Boston's offensive output has been mostly sub-par to put it nicely over the last month, making it easy to overlook a certain budding star SS named Xander Bogaerts, who has batted .330/.355/.462 over the last month, whiffing just 6 times in his last 95 PA.
- Rays called up former LSU standout and late 1st round pick OF Mikie Mahtook. He could be an intriguing player to watch if some playing time opens up for him.
- The Buck Farmer rotation trial didn't work out. The Tigers optioned the rookie to AAA. LHP Kyle Ryan has been getting work in the rotation with LHP Kyle Lobstein still on the DL.
- The Twins optioned OF Oswaldo Arcia to AAA, meaning OF Eddie Rosario will continue to see regular playing time in LF. He's been performing well (.288/.301/.400) although the paucity of walks and 29.8% strikeout rate aren't encouraging.
- Twins placed RHP Ricky Nolasco on the 15-day DL and recalled LHP Tommy Milone to take his spot in the rotation.
- He was an all-star a year ago, now he's heading to AAA to figure out what went wrong. I'm talking about Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall. Also joining him is struggling SS Jose Ramirez. This opens up an opportunity for power hitting switch hitter Zach Walters, who got the call up. Could be a cheap source of power on DFS sites this week.
- The Astros made headlines on Sunday when they announced they are promoting 2012 number one overall pick and top prospect in the game, SS Carlos Correa.
- Mariners acquired 1B/OF Mark Trumbo and LHP Vidal Nuno from the D'backs in a 6-player trade. Nuno has been told he's joining the Mariners rotation.
- Rangers placed 3B Adrian Beltre on the 15-day DL, opening the door for star prospect 3B Joey Gallo and his plus-plus power bat to take over the reigns. He homered in his MLB debut, of course.
- Stepping Up: Former 1st round pick out of Oral Roberts, RHP Alex Gonzalez (also goes by the alias "Chi Chi"), tossed a three-hit shutout at Kansas City over the weekend.
- Rangers activated LHP Ross Detwiler from the 15-day DL. Does he bump Gonzalez from the rotation? Nope, Rangers moved him to the pen.
- OF Josh Hamilton has a strained left hammy so he hit the 15-day DL.
- Braves DFA'd OF Eric Young, Jr. and activated OF Joey Tedoslavich from the 15-day DL.
- Marlins sent beleaguered closer Steve Cishek to the minors. They also activated backup catcher Jeff Mathis from the 15-day DL. Jose Fernandez will be returning soon.
- Mets placed 2B/3B Daniel Murphy on the 15-Day DL and recalled INF Danny Muno from AAA. Eric Campbell has started the last three games at 3B. The Mets also activated RHP Dillon Gee earlier in the week.
- Here's a well kept secret. INF Ruben Tejada is hitting .309/.380/.432 (.350 wOBA) on the season and seeing regular playing time at the top of the Mets order of late.
- Nationals activated 3B Anthony Rendon from the 15-day DL and optioned RHP A.J. Cole to AAA.
- Nationals called up RHP Joe Ross from AA on Saturday to make his MLB debut versus the Cubs (5 IP. 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). Yes, that's Tyson's brother. The Nats acquired him in the 3-team Wil Myers trade from San Diego. John gave him a Grade B noting a 93-97 MPH sinking fastball and solid mid-80's slider with continued refinement of his changeup determining whether he sticks in a rotation.
- With OF Jayson Werth on the DL, regular playing time has opened for rookie OF Michael Taylor, whom John gave a B+ coming into the season, noting an intriguing power/speed combo and ability to get on base that helps compensate for the swing and miss in his game. He's batting .241/.324/.379 over the last two weeks, whiffing in 41.2% of PA, so there are definitely adjustments still to be made.
- Brewers claimed and activated 2B Hernan Perez off waivers from the Tigers, then proceeded to DFA Elian Herrera.
- Brewers called up former University of Texas ace and 1st rounder RHP Taylor Jungmann. He'll make his MLB debut on Tuesday versus the Pirates. John rated him a Grade B- coming into the season noting a low-90's sinker, decent slider, and fringy-to-average changeup and an innings eater build.
- Cardinals transferred 1B Matt Adams to the 60-day DL with a torn right quad. Meanwhile, Mark Reynolds aka the Sherriff of Swattingham continues to start at first base. Will that last all season? Methinks Ryan Howard could be returning home to Missouri at some point.
- Cubs placed OF Jorge Soler on the 15-day DL and activated OF Chris Denorfia from the DL. This has created an opportunity for OF Junior Lake to see time in the heart of the Cubs order of late.
- Reds DFA'd RHP Jason Marquis and also placed RHP Raisel Iglesias on the 15-day DL. That means a rotation opportunity is knocking for someone and that someone is RHP Jon Moscot. He'll pitch again on Wednesday versus the Phillies after losing his MLB debut.
- Reds placed OF Marlon Byrd on the 15-day DL. A platoon of Skip Schumaker and Kris Negron has been manning LF in his absence.
- Diamondbacks traded 1B/OF Mark Trumbo and LHP Vidal Nuno to the Mariners and received C Wellington Castillo and a trio of prospects in return.
- Diamondbacks activated 3B Jake Lamb from the 15-day DL. With 3B/OF Yasmany Tomas performing well, he can now shift to the outfield spot vacated by Mark Trumbo.
- Diamondbacks placed RHP Archie Bradley on the 15-day DL with shoulder tendinitis. They recalled LHP Robbie Ray from AAA. D'backs acquired Ray from Tigers this offseason.
- Dodgers activated OF Yasiel Puig from the 15-day DL and optioned OF Scott Schebler, who spent all of one day in the big leagues, to the minors.
- Dodgers placed OF Scott Van Slyke on the 15-day DL and recalled OF Chris Heisey. Heisey has been getting starts in the 2-hole against LHP and is minimum salary on FanDuel, making him an intriguing punt paly if that continues this week.
- 2B Howie Kendrick should be back in the Dodgers lineup tonight. If not, Kike Hernandez (kee-kay not kike, common mistake) has been holding down the fort just fine (.310/.333/.414 over last 14 days).
- Remember how 3B Casey McGehee got DFA'd last week? Well, he's back. Giants recalled him.
- Padres activated 1B Yonder Alonso from the 15-day DL. RHP Brandon Morrow and CF Wil Myers have begun their rehab assignments.
- Rockies placed RHP Jordan Lyles on the 15-day DL and recalled RHP David Hale, who will be starting tonight against the Cardinals. Hale struggles with lefties (.340 wOBA against) and the weather conditions are optimal at Coors tonight so you know what to do.
Opportunity Knocks - Let's get to know a little more about these following players...
Preston Tucker - LF - Astros
Tucker got off to a scorching start in AAA (.320/.378/.650 with 10 HR in 111 PA) and is off to a solid start with the Astros since his callup (.263/.330/.438 with 2 HR in 88 PA), earning himself some regular playing time in the 3rd spot of the batting order lately. What's his story?
Here's what John had to say about him, "There are players with better tools and prettier swings than Preston Tucker but at the end of the day he puts up the numbers, showing better-than-average power with decent strike zone judgment. He’s also a competent fielder in both left and right fields and can play some first base if you need him to. He is not going to hit for a high batting average in the majors, but should manage .250-.260 with some power and an adequate on-base percentage. In the offense-starved world of current MLB, that would be enough for him to last a while as a role player."
That still sounds about right to me. Tucker has handled the MLB jump reasonably well thus far, maintaining a respectable 8% walk rate and 20.5% strikeout rate while posting a .336 wOBA. He continues to look like a strong play in the short term for DFS as long his price remains low and he keeps hitting in the heart of the Astros order. And that bump in HR output he was showing in AAA intrigues me. Also, the Astros may draft his younger brother Kyle tonight, so that's fun.
Nate Karns - RHP - Rays
Karns overall numbers are pretty solid, probably better than you'd expect if you aren't that familiar with him. But, it's his performance of late that has been particulary impressive. Over his last six starts, Karns is sporting a 2.67 ERA, 3.41 FIP in 33.2 IP and has fanned 31 while walking 11. Off to an impressive start for a guy that was acquired for backup catcher Jose Lobaton in the offseason.
John gave him a grade C+ noting a fastball with movement that can touch upper 90's on his best days, an excellent curveball and average changeup, but docking him for advanced age and continued erratic command in 2014. John wrapped up his profile by saying "with minor improvements he could still be a number three starter but the chance that he gets slotted into the bullpen looks higher after a spotty Triple-A season."
It looks like Karns may have made those improvements as he has pitched like a number three type of late for the Rays. His walk rate still isn't ideal but he also hasn't walked more than three batters in an outing since April 22. With continued refinement of his fastball command, Karns is proving he has the stuff to succeed in a big league rotation. Not bad for a former 12th round pick.
Ben Paulson - 1B/OF - Rockies
When Justin Morneau hit the DL late last summer, the door opened for Paulsen to get a brief major league trial, during which he excelled to the tune of a .317/.348/.571 line with 4 HR in 66 PA. Morneau is sidelined again with concussion symptoms, opening the door back up to Paulsen and he's at it again in 2015: .321/.377/.607 line with 4 HR in 61 PA. Both small samples, I know. However, I'm intrigued that this year's sample features a K% decreased from 28.8% to 16.4% and a BABIP decrease from .400 to .333.
Who is this guy? He's a 27 year old rookie and a former 3rd round pick out of Clemson in 2009. As mentioned by John in the prospect book, he had a great deal of success in college but scouts questioned how his power tool would translate to pro ball. Sure enough, Paulsen "stalled in the high minors, not playing badly but never quite producing enough to keep himself notable as a first base prospect." After a solid AAA season in 2014, John gave him a Grade C, saying, "He can probably hit something like .260/.310/.440 if he got regular playing time in a normal park. That won’t work for most teams as a regular first baseman, but he could have value off the bench. In the old days Paulsen could make a living as a pinch-hitter but that is tougher now in the age of giant pitching staffs."
Paulsen, a left handed batter, has drawn favorable reviews for his defense at first and overall athleticism. He's seen some time in the left field for the Rockies and that added versatility could help him stick on a major league bench even if his bat turns out to be so-so by MLB first baseman standards, like scouts project. In the mean time, he's tearing it up so far in 2015 (.422 wOBA vs RHP), and continues to make a great punt play on DFS sites, especially when the Rockies are at home.
Chad Bettis - RHP - Rockies
Two Rockies player profiles? Yes, this is happening. I like to share what I perceive as well-kept secrets in this column and I think the following fact qualifies: Chad Bettis has made five starts now and during that time frame, he's tied for 6th best WAR among starting pitchers. He got this detailed writeup a week ago on FanGraphs, following a dominant outing against the Giants. I read it then and it struck my fancy but I wanted to see how a home date with the Dodgers top ranked offense versus RHP went before considering a writeup on him. He tossed a quality start: 6 IP, 5 H, ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
Bettis is a former 2nd round pick out of Texas Tech and was one of the more promising arms in the Rockies system in 2011 when John rated him Grade B saying he has the "stuff and approach to succeed in Colorado." He missed all of 2012 with shoulder issues which dropped his grade to C+ going into 2013. He struggled in his first MLB trial in 2013 with John noting that a bullpen future may be more likely due to concerns with his delivery and erratic command.
He's looked like a different pitcher so far in 2015, now working with a mid-70's curveball as his main breaking pitch that opponents have hit just .161 against and is generating a healthy 16.5% swinging strike percentage. Pair that with a sinking fastball that ranges 91-95 MPH and an average changeup with some depth and that mid-rotation upside is back in play if he can continue to display average or better command. Time will tell if his promising start is a mirage or not but the opportunity is certainly there for him to run with a rotation spot in Colorado with the current state their rotation is in.