Sandlot shrink: Watch for Mathis, Madson, Canizares and more
Here's your weekly look at fantasy players to consider.
Doug Mathis, Texas Rangers: Mathis, 26, takes over for the injured Brandon McCarthy for now. He was 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 15 walks in 56 innings at AAA Oklahoma City but is not a top prospect. He had shoulder surgery last September and is supposedly healthy again but is not highly recommended. He might return to the bullpen when Matt Harrison is activated anyway.
Charlie Morton, Pittsburgh Pirates: Morton, 25, was recalled to join the rotation but left his first start with hamstring tightness. The right-hander, who was acquired in the Nate McLouth trade, was 7-2 with a 2.26 ERA with AAA Indianapolis. He struck out 62, walked 17 in 71 2/3 innings. A mid-rotation starter at best.
Matt Palmer, Los Angeles Angels: Palmer, 30, will take Kelvim Escobar's place in the rotation, as Mike Scioscia doesn't think Escobar has the proper stamina for starting. Palmer is 5-0 with a 4.06 ERA so far and could remain in the rotation for the rest of the year. He is not a top prospect though.
Aaron Poreda, Chicago White Sox: Poreda, 22, was recalled to pitch out of the bullpen. He has a 2.38 ERA in 11 starts for AA Birmingham with 69 strikeouts in 64 innings. He credits his success with an improved sharp-breaking slider to go with his 96-mph fastball and changeup. The 6-foot-6 southpaw is a top prospect and should eventually graduate to the rotation. Stash him on reserve if you can.
Ryan Madson, Philadelphia Phillies: Madson, 28, will close while Brad Lidge is on the DL, possibly for a while. Madson has improved his velocity to the mid-90s this year and it shows in his numbers: 2.22 ERA with a fine 31/9 k/ bb ratio 28 in innings. He also has a pretty good slider and changeup.
Mike MacDougal, Washington Nationals: MacDougal, 32, will take over the closer role for now. He is back throwing in the mid-90s so we'll have to see if that's for real before an endorsement is made. He last closed for Kansas City in 2005 posting 21 saves. He also has a history of high WHIP's so be careful.
Drew Storen, Washington Nationals: Storen, 21, was drafted #10 by the Nats this past week and signed right away. He will pitch in the minors this year but a good spring could net him the wide-open closer job next season. With a plus fastball (low-90s) and slider, he could come quickly. He also has the mentality to close. Good speculative pick for fantasy teams.
Important note: It looks like Brandon Morrow will be turned into a starter again and soon will be sent to AAA Tacoma to work in the rotation. The emergence of David Aardsma and Mark Lowe as well as minor leaguers Phillippe Aumont and Josh Fields gives the Mariners several potential closers. When Roy Corcoran is activated over the weekend, Morrow could be sent down.
Barbaro Canizares, Atlanta Braves: Canizares, 29, was hitting .344 with eight home runs for AAA Gwinnett. His bat might be for real but he can't play defense. Still, he batted cleanup Thursday night and went 1-for-4. Casey Kotchman will be activated soon to play first but Canizares could be used as a DH at AL parks in Baltimore and Boston during a three-city trip that starts Friday.
Brendan Harris, Minnesota Twins: Harris is playing so well that Ron Gardenhire said that he will stay a shortstop even though Nick Punto was activated. Harris is up to .290 after a hot streak; Punto, who will split time with Matt Tolbert at second base, is batting .187.
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