Kelly Vision (USAT)
We start the casual Friday edition with a trip through the river of streams.
• What does Joe Kelly have to do to get in the circle of trust? He's allowed one run or fewer in six of his last seven turns, scoring three wins in his last four starts. Sure, he's a six-inning pitcher at most and the K/BB rate isn't in his corner (24 passes, 46 whiffs), but a zippy 47.4 ground-ball rate helps keep him out of trouble. There's nothing intimidating about this Chicago matchup, and he beat the Cubs in mid-July. Kelly is ready to go in 89 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Bud Norris wasn't doing much right in Houston, but perhaps a move to the Orioles - and a pennant race - has perked his game up. Norris scored wins over the Padres and Astros over the last two weeks, with a pair of quality starts, and a date at AT&T Park is good work if you can get it (the Giants are the lowest-scoring team in baseball since the All-Star break). Matt Cain works on the other side of this matchup, but in 2013, maybe that's not a big deal (4.47 ERA). Norris is unclaimed freight in about three-quarters of Yahoo! pools.
• Henderson Alvarez is a pitch-to-contact specialist all the way, striking out just 4.6 batters per nine innings. Normally that's an instant deal breaker, but Alvarez's 50 percent ground-ball clip (and some homer luck) explains his tidy ratios (2.80 ERA, 1.13 WHIP). The Braves are never an easy assignment and they're the only team that's roughed up Alvarez over his seven starts, but if you're in a head-to-head league and need to grab innings (and a shot at a win), Alvarez might be worth a shot. The anonymous Marlin is owned in just 5 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Inconsistent control has kept Wily Peralta out of the fantasy spotlight in 2013, but he's been doing a better job with the strike zone of late. If you mash up Peralta's previous five starts, you come up with a 3.00 ERA and 28 strikeouts against a reasonable 11 walks - that's a K/BB ratio we can live with. And that stretch becomes more impressive if you delete one messy turn in Coors Field (8 R, 5 ER), a park that comes with built-in excuses. A Sunday date against the ordinary Mariners at Safeco Field? Sign me up. Give Wily and the Poor Boys a Spin, ready for you in 88 percent of The Y.
• All things considered, Brandon Beachy hasn't looked bad over his first three turns back in the Atlanta rotation. The Rockies roughed him up in the debut, but Beachy was steady against Philadelphia the next time out and then dominant Friday night against Miami (eight scoreless, one walk, six punchouts). Add it all up and we're looking at four walks against 15 strikeouts over 18 solid innings, and the schedule plays nice going forward (Phillies, Mets). If you had Beachy on the bench as a wait-and-see play, it's time to press play.
• There's no easy answer at the back end of the Angels bullpen, but maybe Dane De La Rosa can take a sad song and make it better. De La Rosa came through in a cushy save spot Friday at Cleveland, walking one batter and protecting a three-run lead. Hey, there's a stat for that. He's been a little wild through the year, but solid ratios (3.74/1.23) and a strikeout rate just under one could make this an extended audition. We know Ernesto Frieri can't be trusted right now (look at that ugly set of game logs). De La Soul awaits your play in 96 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Is Avisail Garcia ready for his close-up? The former Detroit farmhand landed on Chicago's South Side after the three-way deal between the Tigers and the two Sox, and Garcia probably has an outfield spot now that Alex Rios is in Texas. Garcia was considered a Top 75 prospect entering the season, and his stock is surely on the rise after an impressive 47-game rip through the minors (.379/.431/.561, seven homers, six steals). The 22-year-old lottery ticket is owned in a mere three percent of Yahoo! leagues.
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