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Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

Upgrades:

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, BOS - It's hard to upgrade a player who was universally considered a top-12 fantasy player at the beginning of the season. Until recently, Gonzalez was hitting only for average, batting .314 during April. On May 3 the power switch was flipped and you can't find a better hitter since then. He's gone 17-for-47 since then (.362) with eight home runs and 16 RBI (11 games). With his lineup, it's going to be tough to pitch around him with Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz waiting to hit behind him. I'd be curious to see where Gonzalez would go if a fresh fantasy draft was completed today.

Adam Dunn, DH, CHI- A few weeks ago I downgraded Dunn, considering his struggles at the plate. He appears to have turned the corner and gotten past any of the lingering effects of his appendectomy. Over his last seven games he's gone 12-for-29 (.414) with seven doubles and a home run. The strikeouts are always going to be a concern if your league penalizes you for them but it looks like the Dunn of old is back.

Ryan Dempster, P, CHI - Dempster has turned things around after getting off to a rocky start. After a rough April where had a 9.58 ERA (a result of nine home runs), Dempster has been a different pitcher in the month of May. Over his last three starts (20.0 innings), Dempster holds a 2.25 ERA with a 20:3 K:BB ratio. There's nothing to suggest Dempster can't be a solid starter in most formats going forward - his K/9, BB/9, GB rate and velocity are in line with exactly what he did last season. The only numbers out of the normal are an inflated BABIP and HR/FB rate. If you had benched Dempster after the dismal April, get him back into your lineup.

Laynce Nix, OF, WAS - The Michael Morse injury opened up playing time for Nix, who may be making this a permanent move. Nix has raked for the Nationals, hitting safely in his last six games with two homers and a .423 batting average. It shouldn't be a complete shock, considering he hit .291 last season in Cincinnati and had 15 home runs in 309 at-bats two seasons ago. He has the upside to hit 15-20 homers with regular playing time and I'd predict a batting average somewhere in the .260-.270 range going forward.

As The Cardinals' Bullpen Turns:

Fernando Salas, P, STL - Pitching guru Dave Duncan announced that Eduardo Sanchez has been removed from the closer's role and the player to get most of the save opportunities will likely be Salas. Of course Duncan also mentioned how well Mitchell Boggs has pitched, so he's another possible candidate. In the end, I think I'd go with Salas for this week but who knows how long that will last.

Injuries:

Vernon Wells, OF, LAA - Wells was placed on the DL with a groin strain, which doesn't sound too bad considering he won't need any type of surgery. It's unfortunate for Wells' owners as he seemed to be righting the ship at the plate. While the batting average still wasn't there, he had three home runs in his last eight games. There is no timetable for his return.

Julio Borbon, OF, TEX - Borbon hit the DL with a hamstring injury, which now makes the entire starting outfield for the Rangers out on the disabled list. Look for Craig Gentry and Chris Davis to get the extra playing time with a little Endy Chavez mixed in as well. Look for Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton to return to the lineup as soon as 7-10 days.

Brandon Beachy, P, ATL - Beachy was in the middle of putting together a nice run towards the Rookie of the Year award when he felt a "tearing sensation" in his oblique while swinging a bat. He is headed to the DL and could be out more than 15 days. The question that remains to be answered is whether Julio Teheran or Mike Minor will take his spot in the rotation.

Ike Davis, 1B, NYM - I talked about Justin Smoak a couple of weeks ago and to me, Davis is the National League version of him. Both were regarded as top prospects when in the minors, yet both seemed to lose their shine heading into this season. Both have home ballparks that are conducive for power hitters and with the depth and talent among first basemen they were drafted in the late rounds or not at all. Before suffering an ankle sprain to send him to the DL, Davis was batting .302 with seven home runs and 17 RBI. Daniel Murphy has slid over to first base while Davis has been out with Justin Turner getting regular playing time at second base. The sprain doesn't sound too bad and I'd look for Davis to return by the end of the month.

Check Status:

Adam Lind, 1B, TOR - I find it odd that the Blue Jays won't put Lind on the DL for whatever reason. He hasn't played in over a week, yet the team is still listing him as day-to-day. Personally, I'm benching him this week to err on the side of caution. It's too bad he got hurt; he was batting 20-for-41 (.488) with six home runs over his previous 10 games.

Grady Sizemore, OF, CLE - Sizemore has been dealing with a right knee injury after jamming it on a slide during Tuesday's game. The good news is it's not the same knee he had microfracture surgery on and structurally the knee is sound. He'll likely make a return sometime this week but he's another guy that should be benched for the upcoming scoring period to play it safe.

Shane Victorino, OF, PHI - Victorino left Saturday's contest with a hamstring injury, definitely not something you want to hear from a player with his speed. It looks like he'll miss at least the next few games while the Phillies try to determine the severity of the injury.

Downgrades:

Brandon League, P, SEA - I was kind of surprised League wasn't given a few days off getting lit up in three consecutive appearances. Rather, manager Eric Wedge ran him back out to get torched for a fourth time. He now has four straight losses and has given more earned runs (10) than outs (9) in his last four outings. Jamey Wright looks like he'll be next in line to close with Aaron Laffey being another option if League is removed from the closer's role.

Kyle Drabek, P, TOR - Drabek looked like the real deal to start the season, allowing only four earned runs over his first three starts (18.2 innings, 1.93 ERA). However, a closer look at his numbers shows he was living dangerously. During those three games he had a 5.30 BB/9 rate, showing a lack of control. Issuing the free passes has caught up to him, as the control has gotten worse since those first three games and he currently sports an over 5.86 BB/9 rate. In his last five starts (24.1 innings), his ERA has been 7.03. While some bumps in the road are expected with a rookie pitcher, at some point I'd guess his rotation spot will be in jeopardy. Control has been an issue as his 3.78 BB/9 rate in the minors last year isn't offset but a huge K/9 ratio. He's still a solid pitching prospect; he obviously needs to work on finding the strike zone.