A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. In other words, to quote the meaning from Phrases.org, "It's better to have a small actual advantage than the chance of a greater one." At this time of year, this cliché is applicable to fantasy baseball. In my AL LABR league this week, I've been sitting on my full allotment of free agency dollars (FAAB). My squad is contending for the league lead, but the David Ortiz injury really crippled my team's power output – now in the bottom two in home runs. So, with Texas prospect Chris Davis up for silent auction this week, I decided to make a can't-lose bid for his services. It cost me any chance at a star NL player that might move over to the AL prior to the trade deadline, but that's likely to be nearly a month from now, if it happens at all. Which brings me back to the bird in the hand thing … waiting for the dare-to-be-great situation leads to frustration and regret more often than not.
In the Yahoo! Friends and Family League, I cut myself out of the action for any future buzz prospects like Davis, or Mat Gamel (see Prospect Watch below) because I used the No. 1 waiver spot a couple weeks ago on Howie Kendrick, who was surprisingly dropped. My offense has been abysmal and I felt Kendrick's bat was a notch above the best of what the typical waiver wire has to offer. So, rather than dream of far-off scenarios that my No. 1 waiver spot could land me, I opted for the immediate help. And, although my team is still struggling, I have no complaints with the .305 batting average that Kendrick has produced as a member of my squad.
Alright, let's take a look at the notable names on the diamond of late:
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
• Skip Schumaker, StL, OF
Last week I espoused the virtues of Kansas City outfielder David DeJesus. This week, it's time to plug the NL's version of DeJesus. Schumaker currently ranks No. 95 in the Y! game, just two spots behind DeJesus (No. 93). Both are getting it done with a batting average north of .300, middling home run and stolen base totals and a combined RBI/R total north of 75 – DeJesus has the better RBI number (41), while Schumaker has contributed more Runs (52). Also like DeJesus, Schumaker is red-hot right now, ranking No. 36 in the Y! game for the past month – 10 multi-hit games. If you missed out on the now 45-percent-owned DeJesus, look for the 20-percent-owned Schumaker. You probably won't even notice the difference.
• Kevin Slowey, Min, SP
Many of you are already on top of this, as Slowey sits atop the most added players in the Y! game for Monday. But it's going to take a big push to get Slowey, owned in just 9 percent of Y! leagues as of Sunday, over the 50 percent ownership hump – so I'll take another turn driving his bandwagon to help the cause. Simply put, Slowey has been fantastic over his past four starts – 3-0, 0.93 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 24/2 K-to-BB ratio. If not for an implosion against the White Sox in his second June start (3 IP, 10 ER), his string of solid outings would extend all the way back to Memorial Day weekend. Brad Evans summed up Slowey well in Sunday's Closing Time, so I won't get long-winded about his abilities. Just go pick up this control-master, if you still can.
PROSPECT WATCH: Top players down on the farm
- Mat Gamel, Mil, 3B (ETA – late July)
After mentioning Texas prospect Chris Davis here last week, he was called up shortly thereafter. Let's see if I can mine that kind of lucky timing once again with Gamel. Until now, I'd resisted placing, arguably, the minors' current top hitting prospect here. I figured I'd wait until he really pulled into range of a legitimate chance to get called up. And with the trade deadline a month away, and Gamel sitting on a 1.078 OPS at Double-A Huntsville, the timing just seems right … especially after reading this story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which claims that Milwaukee is the most likely trade destination for C.C. Sabathia given its need for a starter, its contending position in the standings and its bevy of top prospects, like Gamel. Regardless of what shakes out before the trade deadline, Gamel's big-time bat is major league-ready and is likely to arrive in The Show some time in the next 4-6 weeks.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values