Commentary

Teagarden a nice prospect

Updated: July 5, 2009, 3:03 PM ET
By Jason Grey | ESPN.com

Taylor Teagarden is better than this.

The Rangers' backup catcher went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs on Saturday to raise his average to .232 on the season, but he has yet to go deep.

It hasn't quite been what fantasy owners were expecting, even given that his stellar performance at the end of last season (.341 with five homers in September) was a little bit over his head.

Before the season, it was thought that there would at least be some sort of time-share or platoon arrangement between Teagarden and starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia, especially given that Teagarden is a far better defensive catcher, but it hasn't worked out that way. Teagarden has gotten just one or two starts a week, registering 69 at-bats, while Saltalamacchia has gotten 212.

Teagarden, for one, believes that his lack of consistent playing time has been the main culprit in his inability to get into an offensive groove.

"When I was playing every day coming up in the minors, I felt like I was able to hit for average and power," Teagarden said. "I don't feel that way right now. I'm seeing a lot more off-speed stuff, but I'm just trying to handle the bat as well as I can and just get on base. It's tough to get your timing down when you're not in the lineup, and if your timing and mechanics aren't right, you're not going to have good at-bats and get good hits."

However, recent comments by manager Ron Washington to the Dallas Morning News indicate that Teagarden could be in line for at least a few more at-bats. With the temperatures heating up, he wants to keep both catchers fresh by giving Teagarden at least one more start per week.

Teagarden has never been expected to hit for a high batting average, but rather to provide an acceptable one in the context of his patience and power. The bottom line is that continued patience with Teagarden as your second catcher in AL-only leagues can pay off in the second half -- even if he doesn't squeeze out more at-bats from Salty, he has the offensive capability to put up better numbers than he has thus far.

Potential pickups

Here's a look at some new additions to the player pool this week that you may be considering for your roster.

American League

Anthony Swarzak, SP, Twins: Swarzak is not necessarily a new addition to the player pool, but in case he was dropped in your league when he was sent down a few weeks ago, he's worth picking back up again in AL-only leagues after the Twins had to put Kevin Slowey on the disabled list, as he'll re-enter the Twins' rotation.

Tommy Hunter, SP, Rangers: Hunter has acquitted himself well in three starts this season and will stay in the rotation at least until Matt Harrison returns. However, despite his big frame, he's not a strikeout pitcher, and his fly-ball tendencies are a problem that will only be exacerbated by his home park. Combine that with the fact he's been somewhat hittable in the minors, and his second-half future doesn't look that bright.

Shawn Kelley, RP, Mariners: Kelley missed two months because of an oblique injury and returns to the M's 'pen to become the primary reliever in the seventh inning, with a chance of moving into the primary setup role should Mark Lowe falter. He has the potential to be a bit better than your average middle man.

Dave Dellucci, OF, Blue Jays: Dellucci, who was let go by the Indians earlier in the season, was called up to the roster when Russ Adams was designated for assignment. Though he really can't play left field anymore, some scouts think there's still enough juice in his bat against right-handed pitching for him to be mildly useful, though he's hit just one homer in 16 games this season. If you're desperate for some punch in a deep AL-only league, he might be worth a look depending on who else is out there in your free-agent pool.

Brian Duensing, RP, Twins: The career minor league starter was called up to fill a relief role in the Twins' 'pen. The lefty has never had great raw stuff, but he's gotten by in the upper minors on control and location. He's probably not suited to be an everyday member of a rotation at the big league level, and his current long-relief role doesn't give him much fantasy value.

Ryan Langerhans, OF, Mariners: Langerhans was called up to the give the M's another outfielder in the wake of Endy Chavez's season-ending injury. Before this latest stint in the big leagues, Langerhans was a career .233 hitter with 24 homers in 474 games, and those kinds of numbers should be of little interest to fantasy players.

Julio Borbon, OF, Rangers: I wrote a full profile on Borbon in my Minor Achievements column Wednesday. While there is intriguing speed potential here, Borbon is likely to find himself back in the minors when Josh Hamilton is ready to go, limiting his short-term value, as his main asset at the current time is giving the club a pure center fielder in case something happens to Marlon Byrd.

Luke French, SP, Tigers: French had posted a 1.66 ERA and 41 strikeouts in his past six minor league starts to earn the right to replace Alfredo Figaro in the Tigers' rotation. Although the 23-year-old has shown better tilt and command on his slider, I'm still dubious about his potential to have sustained success in a big league rotation at this point in his career.

Fu-Te Ni, RP, Tigers: Ni is a sidearming southpaw who is viewed as a situational lefty or long reliever at best, and neither of those roles are usually conducive to fantasy value.

National League

Ryan Sadowski, SP, Giants: The Giants wanted to move Jonathan Sanchez out of the rotation, but didn't want to rush prospects Madison Bumgarner, Tim Alderson, or even Kevin Pucetas to the big leagues just yet, so they called upon Sadowsky, who has responded with 13 scoreless innings to start his major league career. Even though he has a favorable home park and gets a ton of ground balls, there's likely going to be some major bumps in the road ahead. He had problems with a few too many walks in the minors, and his lack of an out pitch means the strikeout numbers will be pedestrian. It's possible he could have some short-term success beating the odds like Kyle Kendrick did for the Phillies in 2007, but we know how that eventually turned out.

Sam Fuld, OF, Cubs: The Cubs are giving Fuld some looks in the leadoff job, and he has the skills to do just that. He walks more than he strikes out, knows how to handle the strike zone, and has the speed to create some havoc on the bases. He failed to beat out Felix Pie for the Opening Day job in center in 2008 and still has a bunch of veterans to beat out for a role in a crowded Cubs outfield. Still, even manager Lou Piniella classified him as a "prototype leadoff hitter," so he may continue to get opportunities if he keeps getting on base. If you need speed in NL-only leagues, he's a viable option.

[+] EnlargeGarrett Jones
Kim Klement/US PresswireGarrett Jones has at least some temporary value in Pittsburgh.

Garrett Jones, OF, Pirates: Jones is a 28-year-old minor league journeyman who spent years being blocked by better prospects in the Twins' system. He had a career .450 slugging percentage in the minors but just a .312 on-base percentage. Jones almost made the Pirates' club out of spring training, and after their trades last week, he will compete for playing time in left field (at least until Lastings Milledge returns to the big leagues.) Jones hit .308 with 12 homers and 14 steals at Triple-A this season. Considering how underwhelming Brandon Moss has been this season, Jones has a chance to earn some significant at-bats and has started four straight games since his recall. There's limited upside, and the playing time may not last very long, but if you're trolling the free-agent pool for a hitter in deep NL-only leagues this week, you could do worse.

Claudio Vargas, RP, Dodgers: Vargas was activated from the 60-day disabled list to serve a middle-relief role in the Dodgers' bullpen. As if that weren't enough to blunt his potential fantasy value, during his time in Arizona, Vargas was known as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Vargas" for his inconsistent performance, which tells you all you need to know.

Brooks Conrad, 2B, Braves: Conrad was summoned when Kelly Johnson went on the disabled list, but he shouldn't get much playing time, as Martin Prado's hot bat has cemented him as the starter for now. The 29-year-old has shown some power in the minors but has never hit for much average, and his strikeouts have been excessive, leading me to believe he wouldn't be able to do much even if he did some get extended at-bats.

Rodrigo Lopez, SP, Phillies: With Antonio Bastardo on the shelf, the Phillies called upon Lopez to fill his spot in the rotation for at least a few starts, and he responded Friday with his first win in the big leagues in almost two years. Still, Lopez has had just one season (2004) when he was useful in fantasy play, and that was driven by a lot of good luck. While there is some short-term positive value, don't expect the soft-tossing righty to turn it into the long-term variety.

Jarrett Hoffpauir, 2B, Cardinals: Hoffpauir is likely just a temporary fill-in for the Cards' infield until Mark DeRosa is ready to return from his wrist injury this week, so he shouldn't garner any fantasy interest, especially since he lacks power and speed.

Drew Sutton, IF, Reds: Sutton may be a mild sleeper in NL-only leagues, as he's a player who was impressive at the past Arizona Fall League after posting a 20-homer, 20-steal season repeating Double-A last season. He didn't fit into the Astros' plans, so the Reds acquired him in the deal that sent Jeff Keppinger to Houston. Sutton battled mononucleosis earlier this year, which has limited his at-bats. He's versatile enough to play all over the infield and outfield, and that appears to be the kind of utility role the Reds have him pegged for at the moment, but if it appears he's going to get some regular at-bats, he could surprise. He has a very good, controlled swing; doubles power; and some speed.

Another week, another young Angels starter. To see whether Jason Grey is a believer in Sean O'Sullivan, join ESPN Insider. Insider

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