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Insider

David Freese worth late pick in 2012

9/22/2011

&#8226 St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese hit a big three-run home run Wednesday night, his 10th of a truncated season, and knocked in five runs. Freese, hitting .293 with 54 RBIs in 90 games, hasn't been able to stay healthy as a big leaguer, but his bat looks legit. Think of Freese, a potential 20-homer option, in the late rounds next season.

&#8226 Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel held promise for this year but has been a season-long bust; however, his home run Wednesday was his seventh of September, generally a harbinger of future full-season power. In the first five months, Morel hit two. Morel doesn't draw walks but he also appears to have enough power to matter.

&#8226 Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie should top Freese, Morel and most everyone at the hot corner in 2012. On Wednesday, Edwin Encarnacion handled the position, as Lawrie's season is over due to a broken finger. Lawrie hit nine home runs and stole seven bases -- with a .953 OPS -- in 150 at-bats as a rookie. Sounds like a top-10 third baseman to us, a future Ryan Braun type. Cut him in one-year leagues and look at Encarnacion for the final week, as he has 16 home runs.

&#8226 The terrific second half for Florida Marlins right-hander Javier Vazquez continued Wednesday with seven shutout innings against Atlanta. Vazquez has allowed one run in 29 September innings, and lowered his season ERA in 11 consecutive starts. Not only is he worth using in his final outing next week, but if he chooses to pitch again in 2012, he'll be draft-worthy.

&#8226 Cincinnati Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo tossed a six-hit shutout Wednesday against the Houston Astros, winning his ninth game and outdueling Wandy Rodriguez. Arroyo entered play with the second-worst ERA among 98 qualifiers in baseball, ahead of only John Lackey, yet is owned in 31.4 percent of ESPN standard leagues. There's bounce-back potential in 2012.