OpinionJune 19, 2008

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The Watch List #3

By Daniel Wilson

In this edition of The Watch List we look at two potentially tasty outfielders, a possible holds goldmine, and two minor leaguers who are blocked, but are primed and ready for the second half of 2008 no matter where their address may be.

Shin-Soo Choo:

A real hidden gem in Cleveland, Choo has been given the opportunity to be Cleveland’s right fielder vs RHP and over his first forty-odd at-bats has grabbed his chance with both hands. He is a career .301/.388/.460 hitter in the minors, and he also has a forty steal season under his belt. Definitely worth a pick-up as your last outfielder as I don’t think he’ll be hush-hush for much longer.

Jed Lowrie:

During July, Lowrie should be a staple of your watch list. There isn’t a whole lot for the Red Sox to gain by keeping him in Triple-A, so (in my opinion) it’ll be either Lowrie or Lugo traded. Nearly every team in the majors could use an infielder who slugged .500 last season, so Jed could end up anywhere. If he gets traded, and especially if his team says they’ll be using him at shortstop, run, don’t walk to waivers and snap him up.

Jose Veras:

If you are in a holds league and are looking for a speculative pick-up, have a look at Jose Veras. On the 8th and 10th of June he was given the eighth inning, and looks to be good enough to win and keep the job. He is a converted starter (like most top relievers), and since moving to relief he is averaging about 10 Ks per 9 innings. Also (even though Triple-A saves are normally given to go-nowhere veterans) he has two twenty save seasons under his belt at Triple-A, so the Yankees obviously like him in pressure situations.

Jason Kubel:

His April and May are best forgotten, but he looks ready to blast off in the tiny June sample so far. In 2008 he is sporting a promising fly-ball percentage of 42%, and a reasonably disappointing BABIP (for him) of .272. Home runs and higher average are just around the corner. Make sure you only start him against RHP and he should be a sweet addition to your team.

Justin Ruggiano:

Here’s a real speculative name to throw out there, a player who seems to be a quality hitter, but is blocked by everybody and their monkey in Tampa Bay. Minor league stats of .307/.396/.508 scream “give me a chance”, but so far opportunities have been limited. If Tampa Bay gives up on the non-sexy non-platoon of Hinske and Gross, Ruggiano is a name you want to know. Last year he had a 20/26 year in Triple-A while hitting .309/.386/.502.

Daniel Wilson is the future winner of the Cafe's Cold Stove League and the rest of the league knows it. Daniel is also very modest about his fantasy prowess. You can catch up with Daniel in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of AussieDodger.
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