June 05, 2009

News:Wang in, Hughes out of rotation

Views: An odd move, but a good sign considering the Yankees have George Jetson finger from pushing the panic button so often when it comes to Chien-Ming Wang. He's going to be fine. Wang had some location problems in April, and he might suffer in the short-term due to a lack of routine after going from New York to Tampa to beautiful Scranton and back to New York. Despite an unimpressive bottom line yesterday against Texas (five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3), his peripherals were strong: 5-to-1 K-to-BB ratio, 9-to-2 GB-to-FB ratio. Since his return, Wang has outstanding peripherals over 12 2/3: 4.0 K-to-BB and 4.6 GB-to-FB. As for Hughes, tough break for the youngster, but he's been sufficiently mediocre in the bigs this year and is rightfully the odd man out right now. His flyball tendencies make him a potential disaster in the bandbox that is the new Yankee Stadium.

Verdict: Your window is shrinking to steal Wang -- he's going to be fine from here on in. As for Hughes, there's a good chance he'll be back in the rotation at some point due to the fragility of Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and A.J. Burnett. But he's really not good enough to wait for in re-draft leagues.

News:Escobar struggles in rehab start

Views: Whatever. Class A Advanced hitters couldn't touch Kelvim Escobar during two starts for Rancho Cucamonga in the ultra-hitter-friendly Cal league. Another dominant outing against Triple-A bats would have been nice, but Escobar's velocity and stuff seem to be back. According to the L.A. Times, his only issue was locating his off-speed stuff, which will come over time. Escobar remains an injury risk and still has some rust to shake off, but it looks like he'll return to 2007 form at some point this season, maybe as soon as mid-July.

Verdict: Escobar belongs on a roster right now in AL-only leagues. Shallow mixed leaguers should take a flier if they have some room on the bench.

News:McLouth lands in Atlanta

Views: Last year's first half tear was a little too fluky for my tastes, and Nate McLouth is hitting a much more ordinary .264 with 16 homers and a .797 OPS in 107 games since last year's All-Star break. Still, the move to Atlanta will provide a boost. With Xavier Nady long gone and Ryan Doumit out, McLouth and Adam LaRoche were the only bats that made anyone nervous in Pittsburgh. In Atlanta, McLouth is penciled in to hit third in front of Chipper Jones. He'll be seeing a significant increase in fat fastballs.

Verdict: The guy who slugged .542 in the first half of 2008 is unlikely to come back, but he's a 20/20 threat whose average should climb from the .250s towards the .280s in Atlanta.

News:Beckham up, along with pretty much every other top prospect

Views: A big follow up to Wieters Week, as White Sox SS Gordon Beckham, Braves SP Tommy Hanson, Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen, A's SP Vin Mazzaro and Phillies SP Antonio Bastardo are all in the bigs. The quick breakdown: Beckham and Hanson headline the bunch. Despite stepping in at third base, Becks should qualify at a middle infield spot in most leagues. His power is middle-of-the-road at best at this point, he can hit for average. Hanson was the most dominant pitchers in the minors this season and should more than hold his own in the majors. McCutchen can run and has developing power, but he was never great against righties in the minors; Michael Bourn-like production could be coming. This season, Mazzaro is more of a back-of-the-rotation arm (as evidenced by his 1-to-4 K-to-BB ratio in his first start) with middle-of-the-rotation upside. Bastardo is high-risk high-reward; you have to love his ability to miss bats, but his flyball tendencies make him a ticking time bomb in Citizens Bank Park.

Verdict: Hanson should be gone in all leagues, while Beckham will make a solid addition for most. McCutchen is only an option in deeper leagues, unless you're desperate for steals. Mazzaro looks like roster filler in deeper re-draft leagues. Bastardo is not for the faint of heart, but the upside is there.

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