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FAAB Factor - AL: Here Come the Twins

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown

Managing Editor of NBA Content kyle@rotowire.com

STARTING PITCHERS

Carlos Carrasco, SP, CLE - Carrasco had a rough outing in his first start back from the DL on June 2, but since then, he's allowed just one run over his last 21.2 innings of work. In those last three starts, he's struck out 17 and walked just five. Carrasco's recent hot streak has helped him lower his ERA from a bloated 5.18 ERA on June 2 to where it currently stands at 3.87. He showed the ability to strikeout batters in bunches during his time in the minors, and it's possible the 24-year-old starter could finally be figuring out how to accomplish that at the major league level. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Jake Peavy, SP, CHW - I have an irrationally deep well of love for Peavy, because he has the ability to a dominant strikeout pitcher. He's in line to return from the DL and start this Wednesday. Peavy's (groin) biggest problem the last few seasons has been his inability to stay healthy. His latest trip to the DL caused him to reflect on his role with the White Sox, and he said he'd be willing to convert to a bullpen role if it helped the team and kept him healthy. Rather than do something so drastic as convert a starter making $17 million this season to a bullpen guy, the White Sox will run with a six-man rotation again. I'm curtailing my bids based on his inability to stay healthy. Mixed: $6; AL: $12.

Andrew Miller, SP, BOS - Miller will be called up to start Monday, and he's expected to stay with the team for a little while to mix in with John Lackey and Tim Wakefield at the fourth and fifth spots of the rotation. Through 65.2 innings at Triple-A this season, Miller has posted a 2.47 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 61:35 K:BB ratio. Control continues to mire the 26-year-old lefty's bid for success as a major league pitcher, but he's reduced his walk rate at Triple-A this season. If he's able to continue limiting his walks in his promotion to the majors, Miller could find a permanent starting spot in the Red Sox' rotation. He has the talent to be a top-flight pitcher in the league, but he lacks the consistency. Mixed: $1; AL: $2.

Zach Stewart, SP, TOR - Stewart made his major league debut Thursday, throwing seven innings of two-run ball while striking out four and walking one. He was called up from Double-A this week, where he had posted a pedestrian 4.39 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and 49:21 K:BB ratio over 69.2 innings. Kyle Drabeck was demoted to clear the spot in the rotation for Stewart. Drabeck will work on getting his confidence back in the minors and should be recalled at some point down the line. I'm skeptical of Stewart's prospects going forward and am not investing in him in anything but the deepest of leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.


RELIEF PITCHERS

Frank Francisco, RP, TOR - I seem to be covering a different Blue Jays closer every week in this space. This week, the lucky winner is Frank Francisco, because he recorded two saves for the Jays this week (Wednesday and Friday) and appears to be the current closer. That's a loose job title in Toronto these days, as it seems to be assigned to a different guy each week. Jon Rauch and Casey Janssen recorded saves a week and a half ago, but now the 41% owned (in Yahoo! leagues) Francisco is the guy to own. Mixed: $3; AL: $4.

Brad Bergesen, SP, BAL - Bergesen was recalled this week. He'll likely work out of the bullpen, and he could be moved into the starting rotation if Jeremy Guthrie (back) has to go on the DL. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.


CATCHERS

Miguel Olivo, C, SEA - Olivo appears to have adopted Russell Branyan's all-or-nothing approach at the plate. He went from hitting four home runs through the first two months of the season to plating seven home runs through the first two and a half weeks of June. Olivo has 12 hits in June, seven of which were home runs, two that went for a double, and three that were singles. He's going to the plate hacking and catching all ball or all air. In addition to his impressive power, Olivo has posted a 0:18 BB:K ratio through 16 games in June. If he could ever put together his June power with the discipline he showed at the plate in May (11 walks), Olivo could be a premier hitting catcher. But for now, it's worth riding his power streak and collecting home runs. Just hope he doesn't decide to change his approach again and revert to the version of himself that tries to draw walks and fails to put the ball out of the park. While we love guys that can draw walks in reality, most fantasy leagues reward big home run hitters much more than high OBP players. Olivo is already owned in 50% of Yahoo! leagues, making it unlikely that he'd be available in any AL-only leagues, but mixed league players should consider adding the streaking bopper. Mixed: $7; AL: Unlikely that he's available.

Joe Mauer, C, MIN - Joe "The Power" Mauer (leg) is back. Rejoice fantasy owners and Twins fans, your savior has returned from his journey to the DL, and he brought his boom stick back to the middle of your lineup. We still don't understand why the Twins weren't using him as a DH while he worked back into good enough shape to play catcher, but that's all in the past now. Mauer caught back-to-back games Friday and Saturday this weekend, going 1-for-7 with an RBI and a walk through those games. He's hitting a bizarre .220 through 41 at-bats this season, but based on his track record and the calculations I have worked out using my zodiac calendar, I suspect the former batting champ will regain his form at the plate sooner than later. Make sure he's in your active lineups for the upcoming week.

Matt Treanor, C, KC - Treanor is owned in 0% of Yahoo! leagues, and despite Brayan Pena hitting much better than him this season, he's started four of the Royals' last five games. I don't want to say that Treanor has claimed the starting job at catcher from such a small sample size, but it's worth noticing that he's been getting more than his typical every-other-day start recently. If you're looking for a live bat at catcher in AL-only leagues, Treanor should be available. Mixed: $0; AL:$1.

Taylor Teagarden, C, TEX - Teagarden was recalled to take Mike Napoli's (oblique) spot on the roster. He's been terrific at Triple-A this season, hitting .326 with nine home runs and a 15:26 BB:K ratio through 86 at-bats, but he's unlikely to get many at-bats with Yorvit Torrealba starting most days. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.


CORNER INFIELDERS

Casey Kotchman, 1B, TB - Kotchman is the Rays' starting first baseman, and he's owned in only 3% of Yahoo! leagues. Through 171 at-bats this season, he's hit .339 with three home runs, 17 RBI, a steal, and a 16:16 BB:K ratio. Kotchman doesn't hit the ball over the fence much, but his ability to draw walks and hit doubles (11) has helped him to post a high average, .400 OBP, and .868 OPS. His .868 OPS is the seventh best OPS of first base eligible AL players this season. Kotchman's value is hurt significantly by his inability to hit home runs and his nasty goatee, but he's otherwise a good bat, hitting in the middle of a decent lineup every day. Mixed: $4; AL: $6.

Scott Sizemore, 3B, OAK - Sizemore has started the last eight games at third base for the Athletics and has hit .387 with a home run, six RBI, two doubles, and a 5:7 BB:K ratio since being traded to the team two weeks ago. Adam Rosales was coming off the DL at the same time that Sizmore was acquired from the Tigers, and it was largely believed that the two players would be sharing the job at third. Sizemore quickly laid claim to the position and has continued to produce at the plate to keep it. He's owned in only 2% of Yahoo! leagues and is begging to be owned universally in AL-only leagues, with consideration in deeper mixed leagues. Sizemore is a great add in AL-only leagues right now, but he may not have enough power to justify rostering in standard mixed leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $7.

Luke Hughes, 1B, MIN - Hughes shifted over to first base this week with Justin Morneau (wrist) going on the DL. He'll get consistent at-bats there as long as Morneau is out and could regain the starting job at second base when Morneau eventually returns. Hughes was already doing a good job of fixing his season at the dish since he got recalled, and a move to first may help him continue his good work at the plate. For some reason, he's done particularly well hitting when starting at first base. Through 36 at-bats as the Twins' first baseman this season, Hughes has hit .361 with three doubles and six runs scored. He's owned in just 1% of Yahoo! leagues and is eligible at first, second, and third base in many leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $4.


MIDDLE INFIELDERS

Reid Brignac, SS, TB - Brignac has started four of the Rays' last five games at shortstop. The only game he was kept out of the lineup was against the left-handed Brad Hand. Though he continues to struggle hitting the ball, Brignac has drawn five walks at the plate this week, raising his OPS by 44 points over the four games. If he's going to continue playing against all right-handed pitchers and improving his approach at the plate, Brignac could turn around his horrible season. Through 141 at-bats this season, he's hit .177 with one home run, nine RBI, two steals, and a 9:35 BB:K ratio. Mixed: $1; AL: $2.

Dustin Ackley, 2B, SEA - Ackley was called up by the Mariners on Friday and quickly made a good impression on the fantasy world. Through his first two games in the majors, he went 2-for-8 with a home run. The Mariners took him with the 2nd-overall pick of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, and it only took him a year and a half to find his way to the majors. Ackley is 23-years-old and got plenty of experience playing for North Carolina in college, making him one of the more polished prospects that will be making their debuts this season. In 271 at-bats at Triple-A Tacoma this season, he hit .303 with nine home runs, 35 RBI, seven steals, and a remarkable 55:38 BB:K ratio. He has great discipline at the plate and has drawn comparisons to Chase Utley. If you need help in the middle infield or are just looking to improve your bench with a top prospect, make a high bid on Ackley this week. Unless he struggles mightily or gets injured, he'll be with the club the rest of the season as their starting second baseman. Mixed: $32; AL: $40.

Mark Ellis, 2B, OAK - Ellis (hamstring) is expected to come off the DL as early as Wednesday, but he isn't guaranteed his starting spot back at second base. Jemile Weeks was called up to man second base two weeks ago and has hit .325 with three doubles, three triples, six RBI, a steal, and a 1:3 BB:K ratio through 40 at-bats during that time. Though we wouldn't have put it past ex-manager Bob Geren to pass over a productive prospective for a weak, Gollum-faced player like Ellis (hitting .211 through 209 at-bats before going on the DL), we feel a little more confident that manager Bob Melvin will continue to keep Weeks as the primary second baseman as long as the rookie continues to perform. Mixed: $0; AL: $8.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS/2B, MIN - Nishioka returned from the DL Wednesday, but the Twins didn't get him in the lineup until Thursday. They batted him third in the lineup and started him at shortstop in his return, but moved him down to the seven hole Friday and Saturday. He's expected to continue starting at short the rest of the season. Mixed: $8; AL: $15.

Marco Scutaro, SS, BOS - Scutaro has reclaimed the starting shortstop job at least as long as Jed Lowrie (shoulder) is on the DL, and there's a good chance that Scutaro will keep the starting spot even when Lowrie is ready to return. He's owned in 12% of Yahoo! leagues and has hit .282 through 103 at-bats this season. Scutaro doesn't have enough power or speed to be of use in standard mixed leagues, but he'll be a live bat in a great lineup for AL-only players. Mixed: $0; AL: $3.


OUTFIELDERS/UTILITY

Corey Patterson, OF, TOR - Patterson is already owned in most AL-only leagues, but his universal 35% ownership in Yahoo! leagues seems low considering his production so far this season. Through 251 at-bats, he's hit .275 with five home runs, 29 RBI, and 11 steals. Patterson has the starting left field job locked down for the moment. There's always the chance that the Blue Jays could look to the future and recall Travis Snider or Eric Thames, but until that happens, Patterson deserves to be owned in most standard mixed leagues. The only argument against grabbing Patterson in mixed leagues is a lack of perceived upside for a 31-year-old journeyman. As long as he continues to hit out of the two hole for the Jays daily, Patterson should will be worth rostering in standard mixed leagues. See if he's been underappreciated and is still sitting in your league's free agent pool. Mixed: $12; AL: Unlikely that he's available.

Ben Revere, OF, MIN - Revere has excelled as the Twins' leadoff hitter since being installed there. Through 14 games hitting out of the leadoff spot, he's hit .288 with nine runs scored, four RBI, three steals, and a 2:6 BB:K ratio. Those numbers aren't good enough to require ownership in standard mixed leagues, but Revere's role as the Twins' starting center fielder and leadoff man make him worthy of universal ownership in most AL-only leagues. He's currently owned in only 2% of Yahoo! leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $6.

Adam Rosales, OF, OAK - Rosales started in left field Saturday with Josh Willingham (Achilles) out of the lineup. The Athletics have been trying to find ways to get Rosales into the lineup since his return from the DL, but the emergence of Scott Sizemore at third has limited the available at-bats for Rosales. Willingham is expected to miss several games at the least and could be headed to the DL. It wouldn't be surprising at all to see Rosales the majority of the playing time in left, while Willingham is out of the lineup. I'm making a speculative buy on him this week in any AL-only leagues that I need outfield help in. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Josh Reddick/Darnell McDonald/Mike Cameron, OF, BOS - Reddick, Cameron, and McDonald will share the load in left field over the next two weeks, while Carl Crawford is on the disabled list. Take your pick. McDonald and Reddick should get the most at-bats, but with three guys fighting for at-bats within a limited timeframe, I'm avoiding them all. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Travis Hafner, DH, CLE - Hafner returned from the DL Friday. While it's nice for the Indians to get Hafner back from the DL, it's worth noting that they go on the road for nine straight interleague games starting June 24, and Hafner will be limited to pinch-hit duties during that stretch. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.