April 09, 2010

It's a long season; let us guide you through all of the potential names on the wire who can help your team.This week we are concentrating on some players who might've slipped through the cracks in some drafts.

Mike Aviles, Kansas City Royals -- The 29-year-old Aviles, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, was an unknown quantity though most of spring training due to questionable arm strength. Well, he says he's not 100 percent but is strong enough to play the infield. He can hit and had a great spring at the plate.

Travis Buck, Oakland Athletics -- Buck, 26, will start in left field until Coco Crisp comes back next month. Buck batted .261 with four home runs this spring but has struggled in limited duty the last two years. He strikes out a lot but is trying to draw more walks.

Eric Chavez, Oakland Athletics -- Chavez's value rose after the last minute jettison of Jack Cust. The 32-year-old Chavez has not played much the last two years because of back and elbow injuries but is a good enough hitter to hold down the lefty DH role for the season.

Fausto Carmona, Cleveland Indians -- Carmona, 26, is a sinkerballer with a nasty changeup but has had terrible command problems the last two years. One of the problems is that his stuff, especially the sinker, moves so much that he can't control it so hitter lay off. He worked on his mechanics this spring and had a very good camp and a decent first start. He doesn't get a lot of strikeouts but could be a sleeper this year.

Wade Davis, Tampa Bay Rays -- Davis, 24, won the fifth starter's job at the end of camp. His best pitch is a sharp-breaking curveball that is tremendous when he is on and gets him a lot of strikeouts. He throws in the low-90s with the power curve and improving changeup but still needs to reduce the walks a bit.

Sean Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Rays -- Rodriguez, 24, had a great spring and will play a lot until Matt Joyce comes off the DL in a week or two. After that his playing time will depend on how well he is hitting. He can play second base and the outfield as they like his versatility. He also has some pop at the plate with six homers this spring.

John Bowker, San Francisco Giants -- Bowker, 26, won the right field job over Nate Schierholtz by outhitting him this spring. He also slugged six homers. He struggled in a brief look-see the last two years but was a slugging force in the PCL last season. He needs to hit because his defense is below average.

Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals -- Desmond, 24, won the starting shortstop job over Cristian Guzman. Consider him a sleeper in NL-only leagues but beware a possible low batting average until he learns to draw a few more walks. He batted .321 with 11 home runs and 21 steals in the minors last year. If he plays well he remains the regular shortstop all season. But if not, there could be a semi-platoon between the middle infield positions between Desmond, Guzman and Adam Kennedy.

Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds -- The 22-year-old Leake, last year's first round pick for the Reds, has good stuff and looked poised in the exhibition season. He has a lot of talent but no experience. Aroldis Chapman got all the publicity in Reds camp this spring but this guy could be just as good. He is only 5-11, 180 pounds and is not overpowering but throws four pitches for strikes and is very competitive.

Felipe Paulino, Houston Astros -- Paulino, 26, has a live arm (mid-90s fastball, nasty slider) and won the fifth starter's job at the end of camp. He struggled terribly last year but showed improved command this spring; enough to where he creeped into some sleeper lists. He tweaked his mechanics with the help of pitching coach Brad Arnsberg.

You May Like