Charlie Furbush, SP, DET - Furbush will join the Tigers' rotation Monday after the team decided the Phil Coke experiment as a starter had dragged on long enough. Through eight starts (46.1 innings) at Triple-A before his call-up, Furbush posted a 2.91 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 55:14 K:BB ratio. His high K-rate makes him worth grabbing in pretty much any sized league. The Tigers have had him up and working out of the bullpen since the end of May. Through 21.2 innings out of the pen, Furbush posted a 2.49 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 17:9 K:BB ratio. Now he'll get his turn to try and carve out a spot in the Tigers' rotation. If he performs well, Furbush should keep the spot the rest of the season. Grab him in any leagues that you need help in your fantasy rotation. Mixed: $5; AL: $8.
Kyle Davies, SP, KC - Davies was activated from the disabled list Saturday and looked very much like himself in his return to the rotation. He lasted just three innings, giving up seven runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks. Davies has a lucky 7.77 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, and 31:19 K:BB ratio through 44 innings of work this season. At this point, he's no more than a live arm. If he doesn't get it turned around soon, Davies could lose his job all together. I'm not wasting a roster spot on him until he proves he isn't going to implode every time he steps on the mound. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.
Bartolo Colon, SP, NYY - Colon return from the disabled list Saturday and went right back to work, posting zeros on the score board. In six innings of work, he shutout the hot-hitting Mets, allowing five hits, walking none, and striking out six. Through 84.1 innings this season, Colon has posted a 2.88 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 78:18 K:BB ratio. He's pitching like the former Cy Young award winner that he is, and he's available in plenty of mixed leagues due to his DL trip pushing people to drop him. Make sure he's not sitting in your free agent pool. Colon is owned in just 47% of Yahoo! leagues. Mixed: $14; AL: $20.
Phil Hughes, SP, NYY - Hughes struck out eight and walked two in his latest rehab start. He has one more rehab start scheduled, and then Hughes could get called back up to the Yankees' rotation sometime in the coming week. The Yanks are going to use him in the rotation in his return. Hughes is owned in just 36% of Yahoo! leagues right now, but as soon as he gets recalled, he'll become a hot commodity once again. The potential is there for Hughes to post great strikeout numbers and pick up plenty of wins with the Yankees' bats behind him. I'm bidding less on him right now, because it's a speculative pickup based on the idea that he'll be up by the end of the week. Mixed: $8; AL: $14.
Rich Harden, SP, OAK - Harden returned from the disabled list Friday and started against the Diamondbacks. He pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out six. As long as Harden is healthy, he has the ability to pitch like an ace. He's been grabbed in 10% of Yahoo! leagues so far, and he'll be owned in a lot more once the word gets out that he's back in the rotation. Grab him this weekend if you need help with your starting rotation and don't mind the likelihood that he'll injure himself somehow eventually. Mixed: $4; AL: $8.
Brett Cecil, SP, TOR - Cecil was recalled to start Thursday's game against the Pirates and gave up six runs on eight hits and three walks in 6.1 innings of work. He also struck out six in the outing, a season-high in strikeouts. Cecil is a live arm right now for leagues that it's worth rostering all starters in, but he shouldn't be counted on to make too big of a positive impact. He simply isn't that good. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.
Tommy Hunter, RP, TEX - Hunter was activated from the disabled list Friday and will be used out of the bullpen by the Rangers. He should fill a long relief role for the Rangers and could pick up the odd win here and there as a result. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.
Fautino De Los Santos, RP, OAK - De Los Santos was recalled this week. He strikes out lots of batters, but he also gives up plenty of hits. There's a possibility he could find a late inning role at some point, but he'd have to work his way there. Through 4.1 innings of work in the majors this season, he's struck out nine while allowing just two hits and a walk. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.
Darren O'Day, RP, TEX - He was activated from the disabled Saturday and gave up two home runs in his return the bullpen. If he can get everything straightened out, there's the possibility he could get into the late inning mix behind Neftali Feliz. That's a big if though. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.
Bobby Jenks, RP, BOS - He was activated from the disabled list Tuesday. Jenks currently has a 6.75 ERA, 2.32 WHIP, and 17:13 K:BB ratio through 14.7 innings this season. He's only worth owning in exceptionally deep leagues that require rostering relievers who might inherit the closer's role if an injury were to befall the incumbent. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.
Josh Bard, C, SEA - Bard started the last three games for the Mariners with Chris Gimenez (oblique) headed to the DL and Miguel Olivo (hamstring) day-to-day. Though Olivo is expected to return as early as Sunday, Bard is worth a grab in deeper leagues that require backup catchers to be owned. "Shakespeare" was hitting .301 with two home runs and 41 RBI through 226 at-bats at Triple-A this season. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, CLE - Chisenhall was called up by the Indians on Monday and given the everyday job at third. Through 253 at-bats at Triple-A Columbus this season, he hit .265 with seven home runs , 44 RBI, and a 28:47 BB:K ratio. MLB.com has Chisenhall ranked as the 28th best prospect in the majors. He's got some pop in his bat, but he may struggle to hit for a decent average in his first trip to the majors. With third base being so thin in fantasy this season, Chisenhall will be a popular player this weekend. If you need help at corner infield, Chisenhall is a high-potential player worth adding. Just know that, like all high-profile prospects, you'll need to overpay to get him in most leagues. Through his first four games in the majors, Chisenhall has hit .313 (5-for-16) with two doubles and an RBI. If you're into comparisons, he posted numbers that mirrored Aaron Hill's production as a minor leaguer. He's worth a big bid, because he should man the hot corner the rest of the season for the Indians. Mixed: $16; AL: $30.
Blake Davis, 2B, BAL - Davis has been sharing the second base job with Robert Andino for the last week and a half. He's hit .333 (6-for-18) with a triple, two RBI, and a steal through six games. Manager Buck Showalter has been putting him in the lineup every other day, so Davis has started to build some value in deeper AL-only leagues. The 27-year-old rookie posted a career-high .719 OPS through 183 at-bats at Triple-A this season. As it stands now, he doesn't have a lot of solid value, but it's worth taking notice that the team is giving him action. Robert Andino is the only thing standing in Davis' way from getting more playing time, meaning there's a chance the Orioles could turn to him as their regular second baseman if he continues to have success at the plate. I'm not ready to buy him yet in most leagues, but if you're desperate for middle infield help, it might be worth grabbing Davis cheap and stashing him for a week to see if the Orioles start to increase his work load. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.
Carlos Guillen, 2B, DET - Guillen started a rehab assignment this week and was quickly moved from High-A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo. It's encouraging to see him move so close the major league team. When he's ready to return in the next couple weeks, Ryan Raburn should get moved to a utility role, and Guillen should be eased into the everyday job at second. Though he may not have enough speed or power any longer to be of use in standard mixed leagues, Guillen could be a heck of a grab in AL-only leagues if he's able to stay healthy the rest of the season. It might be worth making a speculative grab of him on the cheap this week and holding onto him for a week or two to see where he lands in the Tigers' game plan. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.
Derek Jeter, SS, NYY - Jeter is scheduled to return to the Yankees' lineup Monday, so make sure you have him active for the coming week.
Elvis Andrus, SS, TEX - Andrus returned to the lineup Thursday after missing the previous few days with a wrist injury. Make sure he's in your lineup for the upcoming week.
Yamaico Navarro, SS, BOS - Navarro was called up from Triple-A on Thursday. He didn't see action until getting called on to pinch-hit Saturday night, and he rose to the occasion, planting a pitch over the wall. He's getting rewarded with a spot start at shortstop Sunday, but it's highly unlikely that he'd start to play over Marco Scutaro with any regularity. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.
Andy Dirks, OF, DET - Dirks has seen action in six of the Tigers' last seven games. He sent three balls over the fence this week, and has hit .255 with six home runs, 15 RBI, and three steals through 94 at-bats this season. There's no guarantee that he'll continue to get playing time, but manager Jim Leyland will keep finding him at-bats as long as he's producing. Dirks was outstanding at Triple-A this season before his call-up. He hit .328 with six home runs, 20 RBI, and 10 steals in 131 at-bats for Toledo. Brennan Boesch and Magglio Ordonez are ahead of him in the outfield rotation at the corners, and Casper Wells will continue to get time as well, so it's hard to see a situation where Dirks would get an everyday job unless Ordonez gets traded. It's worth making a speculative bid on him while he's on his hot streak, but don't pay for what he did. Pay for what you think he might do in the future. With that understanding, it's not worth spending more than a couple bucks on him. Mixed: $0; AL: $3.
Chris Carter, OF, OAK - Manager Bob Melvin was mind numbingly committed to keeping Carter on the bench after his call-up and only using him as a backup player until some stroke of genius came upon him Thursday, and Melvin started Carter at DH. He's given the young slugger three consecutive starts and appears has hit him out of the five hole each day. I'm still a bit skeptical that this about-face in the team's game plan with Carter will stick, but the free-swinging masher has the kind of power that can play even in the expansive Oakland outfield. If you're looking high-risk/high-reward buy right now, Carter would be a good grab. There remains the possibility that he could get sent back to Triple-A whenever Josh Willingham (Achilles) returns, and the tradition of fielding a lineup of singles hitters makes me worry that Carter won't be long for the starting lineup. That's the pessimist in me talking. The optimist in me looks at Carters' five bombs that he hit through 85 at-bats at Triple-A this season and makes me want to recommend picking him up in all standard mixed leagues. Though he's unlikely to hit for a good average, Carter could be a tremendous slugger in the vein of Adam Dunn (pre-2011) with enough at-bats in the majors. Since he's starting a fourth straight game Sunday, I'm recommending grabbing him now, before anyone else notices that the Athletics crawled from underneath the dunce cap and started playing their best power hitting prospect. He's worth a speculative add for the next week if nothing else. If you really want him, you may need to bid a fair amount more than what I'm suggesting. Mixed: $5; AL: $12.
Eric Thames, OF, TOR - Thames is in the starting lineup for the seventh straight day Sunday. He's got a lock on the starting gig right now with Jose Bautista shifting to third base, and he's in the midst of an eight game hitting streak. I wasn't too bullish on him earlier this season, because the outfield rotation was too deep to anticipate any one or two players to step up and claim an everyday role. However, Bautista's return to third has given Thames the opportunity to be in the lineup every day. Through his first 72 at-bats in the majors, Thames has hit .319 with two home runs, eight RBI, 14 runs scored, and a 4:23 BB:K ratio. He's available in 97% of Yahoo! leagues. AL-only players should make sure he isn't sitting in the free agent pool in any of their leagues, and deeper mixed league players may want to consider grabbing the 25-year-old rookie. They're batting him second, right in front of Bautista, meaning anytime he gets on base there's a great chance he'll make it all the way home. Mixed: $1; AL: $7.
I went through and looked at some prospects to try and give a quick look at some exciting work being done in the minors right now. Unless we get a direct line on the thoughts of an organization from a beat writer or a chatty member of the front office, it’s often impossible to know precisely when a player is going to get their call-up to the majors. Lonnie Chisenhall seemed to come out of left field, while Dustin Ackley and Brett Lawrie (before he was derailed by a hand/wrist injury) were talked about a lot. The Phillies were saying just days in advance of Domonic Brown’s call-up that they had no such plans, and then, surprise of all surprises, the team pulled him to the majors.
If you’re looking for the best coverage on minor league prospects, read Jesse Siegel’s Minor League Barometer, Jason Collette’s Farm Futures, and Bernie Pleskoff’s Bernie on the Scene.
Blake Beaven, SP, SEA - Beaven was called up to start Sunday’s game in place of Erik Bedard. He should get two starts before the All-Star break, but there’s a good chance he’ll be sent down after that. Bedard isn’t expected to miss more than the minimum 15 days with his current trip to the DL. Beaven has posted a 4.45 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, and 64:20 K:BB ratio through 93.0 innings at Triple-A. He’s struggled through most of his work at Triple-A, but he had plenty of success at Double-A. Unfortunately, his prospects as a fantasy starter aren’t too rosy, because he doesn’t strikeout enough batters. Mixed: $0; AL: $2.
Kyle Gibson, SP, MIN - Gibson has posted a 4.17 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 86:22 K:BB ratio through 86.1 innings of work at Triple-A Rochester this season. He was the Twins’ first-round pick in the 2009 draft. If the Twins look to call-up someone from the minors to join their starting rotation at some point this season, Gibson is in line to get an opportunity. Mixed: $4; AL: $6.
Jesus Montero, C, NYY - He’s projected to be a September call-up this season. Montero could be used as the DH and help relieve Russell Martin over the final month. Beyond that, he’s unlikely to see much action before next season. Mixed: $3; AL: $6.
Tyler Flowers, C, CHW - Flowers has hit .246 with 13 home runs, 28 RBI, and a 38:72 BB:K ratio. If anything were to happen to A.J. Pierzynski or Ramon Castro, Flowers could the call-up to the majors. His bat could be tremendous in U.S. Cellular field. Don’t be scared by his sub-.250 batting average. His combination of power and ability to draw walks make him a great hitting catcher. Probably the best opportunity for Flowers to see regular action this season would be for him to get a September call-up with the White Sox resigned to the fact that they’re out of the playoff race. As long as the team is still in contention for the playoffs, it seems unlikely that he’d get the call. Mixed: $10; AL: $17.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, CLE - Kipnis was leapfrogged by his Triple-A teammate Cord Phelps for a promotion to the Indians’ middle infield earlier this season, but Phelps has struggled in the field and been unimpressive at the plate so far. Eventually, Kipnis should get the call to either join or replace Phelps on the Indians’ roster. Through 295 at-bats at Triple-A this season, Kipnis has hit .305 with 11 home runs, nine triples, 14 doubles, 50 RBI, 11 steals, and a 40:59 BB:K ratio. He’s been better than good, he’s been unbelievable. Coupling his triples and doubles with his good home run pop, shows how dynamic of a hitter Kipnis can be. If you grab him early and stash him, you can get him cheaper. If you wait, you’ll probably have to pay a bigger price. This kid’s profile is going to explode the deeper we get into summer. Mixed: $16; AL: $26.
Desmond Jennings, OF, TB - Jennings has hit .367 with 10 home runs, 55 runs scored, and 16 steals in 295 at-bats this season. He’s expected to get called up soon, but people have been looking forward to his impending call-up all season. The Rays seem content playing Justin Ruggiano, Sam Fuld, and Matt Joyce at the corners. Probably the best bet for Jennings to earn his call-up would be if the Rays were to trade B.J. Upton, as has been long rumored to be a possibility. Ultimately though, don’t be surprised if the Rays were to call up Brandon Guyer instead of Jennings the next time they need an outfielder. If you’re buying Jennings, it’s because you need speed. He doesn’t have much in the power department. Is he potentially going to be a great player someday? Yes, he could be, but don’t overpay for a name. As great as Jason Heyward was in his rookie season, the phenom still only hit .277 with 18 home runs and 72 RBI. Those are great numbers for a rookie season, but they aren’t worth the price you had to pay to get Heyward last season. When he gets called up, Jennings will have people making max bids on him based purely on his name. Either buy him ahead of time and stash him, or let other people overpay for him. Of course, if you’re desperate for steals, then you may want to go for broke on him when he gets called up. Like most bids, it’s contingent on need and the situation dictated by your league. Mixed: $24; AL: $32.
Dayan Viciedo, OF, CHW - Everyone has been clamoring for Viciedo to get called up to take over Juan Pierre’s job in left field, but until the front office makes that call, manager Ozzie Guillen will continue to start his current left fielder. Through 322 at-bats this season, Viciedo has his .326 with 15 home runs, 58 RBI, and a steal. He did well in his call-up to the majors last season, hitting .308 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 104 at-bats. It’s encouraging that Viciedo has already shown composure at the big league level. He doesn’t have a well known name like Desmond Jennings, but he could ultimately be the better fantasy player this season. Mixed: $8; AL: $14.
Nick Weglarz, OF, CLE - Weglarz has been derailed by injuries the last two seasons, but his combination of extra-base power and patience make him an intriguing player that could help the Indians at some point this season. If he hadn’t been sidelined with a torn meniscus earlier this season, Weglarz may have already earned a call-up. But as it stands, he’s playing in Double-A and working to get his batting average up. Through 61 at-bats since his return from the DL, Weglarz has hit .197 with two home runs, six doubles, nine RBI, 16 runs scored, and a 26:17 BB:K ratio. Despite having a sub-Mendoza .197 average, his 26 walks have him sporting a ridiculous .443 OBP. He’s already on the 40-man roster, so it wouldn’t be difficult for the Indians to find room for him. Do to his injury issues over the last two seasons, there’s a good chance we won’t see him until rosters expend in September. Mixed: $0; AL: $2.
Mike Trout, OF, LAA - Trout has hit .330 with nine home run, 10 triples, 12 doubles, 26 RBI, 64 runs scored, 26 steals, and a 37:57 BB:K ratio through 270 at-bats at Double-A this season. He’s projected to be an everyday player for the Angels in 2012, and it’d be surprising if we didn’t at least see him get a September call-up this season. His bat is simply too intriguing at 19 years old for the Angels to not get him some looks at major league pitching this year. MLB.com has him ranked as the top prospect in baseball. My bid price is based on what I think he’d contribute if called up right now. If you’re trying to buy him in a keeper league, you’d probably have to break the bank. Mixed: $14; AL: $22.