The non-waiver trades have come and gone and those players were grabbed like Christmas candy last week. But if you need more players for your fantasy teams, who is out there to find this week?
Most lists would start with players called up from the minors last week like J.P. Arencibia, C, Toronto whose first pitch in the majors he would drill into the left field bleachers. In fact his whole first day with the Blue Jays was historic – 4-5 with two home runs, a double and a single. He may not have many weeks that good….BUT the home run power is for real – he had 31 at AAA Las Vegas before his callup.
But there is one player who won’t get as much attention, but actually has a higher upside – even if that might be next year. Dan Johnson, 1B, Tampa Bay – There is a parallel I am going to suggest here even though. I am not sure it will come to pass because the upside is tremendous. Think of a very promising first baseman with great minor league numbers called up to the majors with great fanfare who struggled for a few years and did not emerge as the power hitter everyone thought he would be until he resurfaced in another organization. Now look back at one of the best minor league seasons we have seen in the last twenty years at Sacramento in the PCL in 2004….29 HR (another 34 xbh with 29 doubles and five triples), 111 RBI with a .2985 BAvg. That was when Johnson was in the Oakland organization….and it was NOT a fluke season. The previous season in AA Midland, Johnson had 27 HR (57 total xbh), 114 RBI and a .290 BAvg…and seven stolen bases.
In 2005 and 2006, he was up and down with Oakland and Sacramento, never showing his A game in the big leagues and then he lost virtually the entire season in 2007 due to injury. In 2008 he resurfaced in the Rays organization and had 25 HR and 83 RBI hitting .307 at AAA Durham, before missing the entire 2009 season – at least in the US – he played in Japan. By the way, that first baseman I alluded to earlier…..had 28 HR, 105 RBI, 12 SB and hit .2987 at AA Tulsa in 2000, and had 23 HR with 74 RBI, 11 SB, hitting .2877 at AAA Oklahoma before being called up to Texas in 2001. He was then traded to Oakland and subsequently Detroit where everyone was looking for those numbers at the major league level. Five seasons combined in Oakland, Detroit (mainly), and finally Boston before he too arrived in Tampa Bay and finally showed that power in the major leagues. Ironic indeed that Johnson is now replacing that 1B – Carlos Pena in the Rays lineup.
(reprinted excerpt from The Shopping Cart Week 18>19 at www.mastersball.com)