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A run through ESPN's most popular additions to fantasy teams...

  • Russell Branyan.  Monster start to the season for Branyan, who's at .321-7-15-18-1 in 89 plate appearances.  He qualifies at both infield corners in most leagues.  Branyan's contact rate is 74%, an improvement on years past.  Playing more regularly doesn't hurt.  He's even hitting lefties a bit so far.  I remain skeptical that Branyan can hit .280 from here on out, but he could easily finish the year with 25 homers.
  • Hank Blalock.  Blalock blasted six homers in April, causing fantasy leaguers to wonder if he can reach 30 HR again.  His contact rate is up, but his OBP is ugly.  One has to hope his contract year will push him to rack up 550 ABs.  Health is the biggest question.
  • Scott Richmond.  Richmond's peripherals aren't too bad - 7.7 K.9, 3.6 BB/9.  His HR rate may come down a bit, but his .247 BABIP and hits allowed figure to come way up.  Richmond strikes me as a guy who will help the Jays a lot more than your fantasy team, as his ERA and WHIP may be in the 4.50/1.40 range from here on out.
  • Phil Hughes.  Two starts for Hughes - one good, one bad.  His fastball is up a tick from last year, and I expect a pretty good year if Hughes has health and opportunity.  I'd roster him in a mixed league but wouldn't want to be relying on him for a big contribution.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera.  Cabrera is hitting .319 with 19 runs scored and 4 steals in 94 ABs.  With a 78% contact rate that AVG is destined to come down.  But it is possible he scores 90 and swipes 20.  That is the upside.
  • Scott Downs.  Not sure what kind of league didn't have Downs owned several weeks ago.  For what it's worth, I expect him to keep the closer job when B.J. Ryan comes off the DL.
  • Dexter Fowler.  Fowler drew a lot of attention for stealing a hundred bases off Chris Young.  He had an intriguing April but has not hit in May.  Having skipped Triple A, Fowler may experience growing pains.  I'd keep him on the bench.
  • Ryan Franklin.  Similar to Downs, Franklin was owned a good while ago.  His strikeout rate is up, and he's rediscovered his impeccable control.  He'll blow a few saves once the .143 BABIP comes up, but I can envision Franklin holding on to the job for most of the season.
  • Melky Cabrera.  The Melk Man is up to .344-4-10-13-2 in 64 ABs.  He did flash this kind of ability over a three-month stretch in '07.  A poor man's Ryan Spilborghs maybe?
  • Kendry Morales.  With 4 HR in the last two weeks, Morales is up to .267-4-16-13-0.  A 20 HR season seems reasonable, but you might require more out of a mixed league corner spot.
  • Matt LaPorta.  LaPorta got the call after hitting .333/.414/.640 with 5 HR in 75 minor league ABs.  He'll play semi-regularly while Travis Hafner is out.  He's got a homer in 10 ABs so far and is good for 20 HR and a questionable AVG if he reaches 400 ABs this year.


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