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FAAB Factor - AL: The Angels' Next Closer?

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire.com and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

STARTING PITCHERS

Andy Pettitte - Pettitte came off the DL Sunday and worked through six easy innings against the Orioles, allowing just one run while throwing 79 pitches. He appears to be in good form heading into the playoffs. On the off chance that someone in your mixed league dropped him, assuming no DL and a short bench, grab him. Max Bid.

Rick VandenHurk - With Jake Arrieta getting shut down for the season with a bone spur in his elbow, VandenHurk will step into the rotation, either on Tuesday or Wednesday, at Boston. It hasn't been a great year for VandenHurk, as he got buried by the Marlins before getting dealt to the O's. He had a decent but not great strikeout rate in the minors this year, with better rates in the past. Mixed: No; AL: $0.

RELIEF PITCHERS

Taylor Buchholz - Though he's not a good candidate for success this year, I like the Jays' claim of Buchholz off waivers. Before his multiple arm problems, Buchholz might have very well been the Rockies' most effective receiver. He might be a darkhorse for the Jays' back-end of the bullpen in 2011. Mixed and AL: No.

Phil Coke - We covered Coke last week, but the news now is that Jose Valverde has been shut down from closing duties and Coke will close in his place, I'd bid your max available if you need saves.

Rich Hill - Hill always misses a lot of bats, forever encouraging teams to take a shot at him. However, when Dave Duncan gives up on a pitcher, that's usually enough for me to watch from afar. The reason to stay away from Hill is pretty obvious - he walked 5.87 batters per nine innings at Triple-A Memphis before his release, and that rate went down to a still-high 4.92 at Pawtucket. Hope usually springs eternal, but I'll watch this one from afar and wish him good luck. Mixed and AL: No.

Jacob McGee - McGee is finally up with the Rays, pitching out of the bullpen, though his long-term future lies in the starting rotation. It's just a question whether it's in the Rays rotation or with another team, as part of a trade package. He flashed a bit of his potential on Sunday, striking out two in a scoreless inning. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Jordan Walden - Walden picked up the save on Sunday after Fernando Rodney had blown the save on Saturday. Rodney got a vote of confidence after Saturday's blown save, and had also pitched the day before, so I don't think that this is a change of roles. However, when looking at the Angels' options next year, I think you have to seriously consider Walden as at least an equal alternative to Rodney. Walden has been touching the high-90's with his fastball since his promotion, and he had an 18:4 K:BB in 10 innings prior to Sunday's save. That K-rate actually eclipses what he's done in the minors this year. Look for Rodney to be the first alternative most of the time over the last two weeks, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Walden get at least one more save. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

CATCHERS

Josh Donaldson - Stop us if you've heard this one before about an A's hitter - Donaldson is a Three True Outcomes type of player, likely to hit for low average, draw a number of walks and hits for a little bit of power. He got a token start at DH on Sunday, but for the most part he's going to be getting just 1-to-2 starts per week. Mixed: No; AL: $0.

Jose Morales - Joe Mauer's knee injury will probably keep him out for a couple of days, and Morales is the likely beneficiary of most of the playing time that results. The Twins had essentially put Morales on ice as they made their final push to put away the White Sox, but now that it's mission accomplished for them, they have the luxury of taking their time with Mauer. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

CORNER INFIELDERS

Dan Johnson - Johnson has had a pretty big week, hitting three homers in two days earlier in the week, probably cementing a playoff roster spot. Keep in mind that he might be the Rays' starting first baseman next year, if Carlos Pena walks, as expected. Mixed: $4; AL: $12.

Brent Morel - Now that the White Sox are essentially out of it, Morel is going to take away playing time from Omar Vizquel at third base. He definitely has the nod in manager Ozzie Guillen's eyes over Dayan Viciedo. Guillen recently compared Morel to Robin Ventura and Joe Crede. He has a modicum of pop and some speed. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Mark Trumbo - The Angels haven't availed themselves the opportunity to play Trumbo despite being clearly out of it for the last three months, despite Kendry Morales being out for the season. The fact that he hasn't played in September is a good enough indication to me that he's not really in the Angels' early 2011 plans, even with the announcement that they'd like to have him play outfield in winter ball. I'm not sure why they don't even take a look at him this month, though. While admittedly doing it at elevation, Trumbo hit 36 homers and managed to post a .366 on-base percentage. His Triple-A contact rate wasn't good (.76), and I think that the Angels really hate the Three True Outcomes types. Even still, if they play him and he shines, he at least raises his value as a trade chit in the organization. I don't see how appeasing the veterans in this case makes any sense. Mixed and AL: No.

Brandon Wood - With Erick Aybar banged up, Wood is getting some run at shortstop for the Angels this week. Granted, he's coming off a three-month period of being set on-ice, but he earned that icing, and since coming back he hasn't shown any improvement. The Angels are sending him to the Arizona Fall League to try to regain his confidence/boost his trade value. This might be a move of a last resort, but there is some precedence of success - the pitching analog might be Gavin Floyd's career path - flameout with the Phillies, pitch well in the AFL, get traded to the White Sox, and gradually improve there. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

MIDDLE INFIELDERS

Brent Lillibridge - Lillibridge is getting extra playing time right now because of Gordon Beckham's hand injury. Though he actually has a decent slugging percentage, Lillibridge's fantasy value lies in his stolen base potential, and even that ship hasn't come in, with four stolen bases on the year. Still, he might net you that one extra stolen base over the next two weeks, which in itself has a little bit of value in the deepest of leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

OUTFIELDERS

Matt Carson - Coco Crisp's broken pinkie finger might create more playing time for Carson, assuming Rajai Davis keeps playing center field. There's no need for the A's to rush Crisp back this year - except to save my fantasy teams - just check out how good he's been in limited time this year. Carson is an organization soldier, not a prospect. He hit for average at Triple-A Sacramento, and he has some speed, but neither are likely to come through at this level. Mixed: No; AL: $0.

Chris Carter - Credit goes to the A's for sticking with Carter even though he has been way overmatched at the major league level. He still hasn't had his first major league hit and entering Sunday's play he had a Brandon Wood-like 1:13 BB:K ratio. There's a lot of power upside remaining in his bat, but there's still a lot of work left to be done. Mixed: $1; AL: $2.

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