Mariners C Mike Zunino
Is it possible the slash rate of .293/.356/.707 down of the farm can be translated to more success in Zunino’s return to the show? Possibly as evidenced by the .286/.316/.571 slash rate the last 14 days since returning from AAA. The 3rd overall pick in the 2012 Draft is a prime example of not bringing up prospects before they are ready. Zunino is still young enough at 26 to have an impactful career. Available in 99% of fantasy baseball leagues, Zunino may be worth a pickup in deeper or AL only leagues. I put in a claim this week in one of my leagues.
Royals 2B Whit Merrifield
.293/.349/.489 slash rate this season. Has been on fire to start the season. Merrifield transformed his body this offseason and is reaping the benefits. Still available in over 85% of fantasy baseball leagues. Added bonus is Merrifield has OF eligibility in some leagues. I’m a little late to the party, but put in a claim in a league Merrifield is still available.
Athletics SP Sean Manaea
3-1 record and 10.9 SO/9 since returning from the DL. 2 starts this week on Monday at home vs. the Blue Jays and a Saturday road tilt with the Rays. Available in roughly 50% of fantasy baseball leagues. I drafted Manaea late in a daily categories league.
Has the time finally come for Scooter Gennett to take over the second base job from Rickie Weeks? The 2011 All-Star is coming off a pair of down seasons. Weeks batted .230 in 2012 and just .209 in 2013. Weeks is due $11 million this season with a team option for $11.5 million in 2015. The option can be voided if Weeks does not make 600 plate appearances in 2014 or 1,200 plate appearances in 2013-2014 combined. Gennett batted .324 in 213 at-bats last season with the Brewers. The minor league track record is there for Gennett with a career .297 batting avg. and .337 on-base percentage. If Gennett is the choice the Brewers may be better off moving Weeks this winter.
The Royals are a potential trade fit for Weeks. Emilio Bonifacio and his career .262 bating avg. is better suited to play a utility role. Johnny Giovatella sports a career .240 batting avg in limited major league duty in Kansas City. The Royals do have a 2nd base prospect in the 4th overall pick in the 2010 draft in Christian Colon, who was selected ahead of Matt Harvey and Chris Sale. In 1779 career minor league plate appearances, Colon owns a .339 on-base percentage. A veteran acquired thru free agency or trade could be an option if the Royals want to give Colon a little more seasoning. Colon is playing winterball and hitting .357 in the Roberto Clemente league in Puerto Rico. Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, Mark Ellis, and Omar Infante are veteran free agents that possibly could come in on a short term deal.
The Royals went 86-76 fighting for a wild card berth late into the 2013 campaign. A major problem area for the Royals was the top spot in the order. Royals lead- off hitters batted .246 with a .309 OBP last season. The batting avg. is 26th and OBP 25th in all of baseball. Alex Gordon was out of place last season batting leadoff with a .255 avg. with a .323 OBP, but was much better in the 3 spot at a.391 clip. David Lough hit .271 with a .297 OBP in limited at-bats at the top spot. Lough owns a career .297 avg and .349 OBP in 7 minor league seasons. Alcides Escobar isn’t a candidate to bat leadoff with a career .179 avg. at the top spot. Lorenzo Cain owns a .243 avg. and .298 OBP at the top spot.
Rickie Weeks sports a career .256 avg. with a .354 OBP as a lead-off hitter. Ned Yost managed Weeks in Milwaukee and that could also assist in making a deal. Weeks presents a buy low option for the Royals as his value is at an all-time low. The Brewers may even have to help offset some of the salary to get a Weeks deal done. For the price, Weeks may be a better option than what they can find on the free agent market. It’s a short term option to help a team trying to win right now. The trade could help out the Brewers as well. Even if the Brewers have to pay a portion of Weeks salary, the balance could be used to address other problem areas of the club like the rotation or bullpen.