May 28, 2010

It's a long season; let us guide you through all of the potential names on the wire who can help your team. For more fantasy analysis, check out Sandlot

Zach Braddock, Milwaukee Brewers -- Braddock, 22, has closer stuff, and you never know in this bullpen. Trevor Hoffman has been awful, and Carlos Villanueva is inconsistent. Braddock was unhittable in 10 of his 11 appearances at AAA Nashville. He held opponents scoreless over 15 1/3 innings and allowed eight earned runs in the other, a two-thirds of an inning stint. He throws 91-94 with a hard slider. But he has been wild and injury-prone in the past (elbow, shoulder). He has struck out 28 and walked nine in 16 innings. Stash him away on reserve. Grade B-

Trevor Crowe, Cleveland Indians -- Crowe, 26, is playing center field with Grady Sizemore out for a while. Crowe isn't a great hitter but he could provide you with a few steals. He needs to improve on a terrible .286 career on base percentage first. Grade C+

R.A. Dickey, New York Mets -- Dickey, 35, has a pair of quality starts under his belt but he has been inconsistent his whole career (as most knuckleballers are) so it would probably be risky to grab him. He said he gets a little bit better at throwing the knuckleball each year. He is still refining it while trying to trust it more. The scouting report over the last couple of years has been to get him to fastball counts and you'll get fastballs. This year, it's been a little bit different, and I think that's really helped. I don't just throw a token fastball 2-0 or 3-1. Now, you're going to get a knuckleball. Grade C+

Chris Iannetta, Colorado Rockies -- Iannetta, 27, was recalled to share time behind the plate. He was hitting .347 with five home runs at AAA Colorado Springs. He said the regular at-bats and the fatigue of playing every day made him a better offensive player. He was hitting .133 with two homers with the Rockies prior to his recall. Grade C+

Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers -- Lucroy, 23, could split time behind the plate with George Kottaras in place of Greg Zaun (out with a torn labrum) if he hits. He batted .311 in the minors this year but just .238 at AAA. He can swing the bat and draws walks but has some defensive limitations. Grade B- if he platoons.

Sam LeCur, Cincinnati Reds -- LeCur, 26, will make a couple of starts until Homer Bailey returns. He is 5-2 with a 2.55 ERA in nine starts at AAA Louisville but is not a top prospect. He throws around 90 mph with a slider and changeup, but being a flyball pitcher, he gives up a few home runs. He is smart and durable though. Grade C

Carlos Monasterios, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Monasterios, 24, could make a few spot starts until Vicente Padilla returns in a couple of weeks. The Rule 5 pick, who has a 1.90 ERA in 12 appearances this season, made one previous start May 1. He is not a hard thrower and needs to be sharp to win so be careful here. The club prefers him in middle relief. Grade C

Fernando Nieve, New York Mets -- Nieve, 27, rejoins the rotation and could stay there if he pitches well. He went 3-3 with a 3.12 ERA as a starter last year but is 7-9 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.42 WHIP lifetime. As a starter, he would throw his curveball and changeup more. As a reliever, he relies on a 92 mph fastball and a slider. Recently he told reporters he needed to improve his curveball to use all four pitches as a starter. Grade C+

Will Ohman, Baltimore Orioles -- Ohman, 32, will take over closing duties until Mike Gonzalez or Alfredo Simon return. Ohman hasn't allowed a run in 24 games, spanning 14 2/3 innings but has mostly been a middleman or situational guy in his career (three career saves). Norfolk closer Frank Mata was also recalled to help out, probably in a setup role. He posted a 1.86 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with eight saves in 14 2/3 innings but is not overpowering. Grade B

Hisanori Takahashi, New York Mets -- The Japanese veteran looked good in his first two starts and will stay in the rotation for now. He throws a variety of breaking pitches and off-speed stuff mixed with high-80s fastballs from all angles. Grade B-

Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles -- Tillman, 22, was recalled to join the rotation. He is 5-4 with a 3.12 ERA with AAA Norfolk and threw a no-hitter last month. He throws in the mid-90s with a big curveball and a changeup. He is a top prospect but still might be a bit young to rely on for consistency. He was 2-5 with a 5.30 ERA for the O's last year. Grade B-

Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates -- Walker, 24, was recalled to help out at third base and in a utility role. The former top prospect was batting .321-6-26-10 in 168 at-bats at AAA. He has also has played first, second and outfield. He played in 17 games for the Pirates last year and hit .194. Grade C

P.J. Walters, St. Louis Cardinals -- Walters, 25, could stay in the rotation with Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse on the DL. He is a finesse pitcher with a great changeup and could have some success if he brings that control to the majors. He's had trouble with walks in the past. He posted a 0.48 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and a 23/3 K/BB ratio in three starts for AAA Memphis. Grade C+ is a group of sportswriters with a direct pipeline to general managers, managers, coaches, players and scouts in baseball, football and basketball.

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