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MLB Barometer: E5 On the Rise

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:

Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, TOR - Let's go back to May 31. That day is possibly the day that saved Encaracion's season and without the events that transpired that day, I likely wouldn't be discussing E5 here. May 31 was the day top prospect Brett Lawrie took a pitch of his left hand which has sidelined him since. Until that point the Blue Jays had used a myriad of players at third base including Encarnacion, all of which provided little if any, production. There were rumors swirling that Brett Lawrie was going to be called up and given every day playing status. At that point, Encarnacion had hit .257 in April, .236 in May and had one home run in 156 at-bats. Not that he would have been benched or DFA'd had Lawrie not gotten hurt, but his presence would have eaten into Encarnacion's playing time. Since the injury did happen, E5 has gotten an extended run and produced for Toronto. Over his last 14 games he's gone 16-for-59 (.271) with four home runs. With Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez battling injuries, Encarnacion is a good plug-in if you need to bench either of those guys in the upcoming weeks.

Travis Snider, OF, TOR - After giving up on the Juan Rivera experiment, it appears the Blue Jays are ready to let Snider become an everyday player. While playing for Las Vegas in the PCL, Snider boasted a .403 OBP while stealing seven bases and hitting 25 extra base hits in 201 at-bats. Since re-joining Toronto he's gone 10-for-27 (.370) and had eight RBI over six games. The 7:0 K:BB ratio over that span is a bit concerning but again, the Blue Jays appear to be ready to let him learn while on the job.

Nate Schierholtz, OF, SF - Schierholtz has gotten regular playing time over the last couple of weeks and the consistency of at-bats has provided production out of right field for the Giants. Over his last 11 games as a starter, Schierholtz is 16-for-42 (.381) with three home runs and eight RBI. He plays above-average defense and has a rocket for an arm (see the Buster Posey injury). Schierholtz should remain a fixture in the lineup given his recent surge and could provide good power/average numbers if you need outfield help.

Emilio Bonifacio, OF, FLA - I remember how happy I was the first week of baseball a couple of years ago when I drafted Bonifacio in multiple places. The pixie dust quickly wore off for Bonifacio, who ended up with a .611 OPS that season. Lately though, Bonifacio may be recapturing that magic. He's hit safely in 11 straight games (16-for-43, .372) and has eight stolen bases during that span. The Marlins appear to let him hit leadoff, where he had a .389 OBP with a 20:13 K:BB ratio. Yes, a .480 BABIP is unsustainable but his K rate has come down seven percent over the last two months and he's had a walk rate of over 13 percent in two of the last three months. Bonifacio also is eligible at multi-positions, making it easy to find a spot for him in daily leagues. The power will never be there but he's proven to be a cheap source of steals if you're looking for them.

Josh Reddick, OF, BOS - Reddick has filled in admirably for the Red Sox with Carl Crawford still out with a hamstring injury. Reddick has gone 12-for-29 (.414) over his last 10 games with five RBI. Unfortunately, Crawford is expected to return in about a week which will likely push Reddick back into a bench role or to Triple-A. The other scenario, which is a possibility, is that J.D. Drew (.649 OPS) loses playing time to Reddick. Keep an eye on the Boston outfield to see what shuffling occurs when Crawford returns.

Injuries:

Charlie Blackmon, OF, COL - Blackmon suffered a broken foot, which will sideline him for the next 6-8 weeks which makes him droppable in most formats. While he was playing solid defense he had struggled recently against big league pitching hitting only 8-for-59 (.136) in his last 15 games. Ryan Spilborghs should fill in most games in center field but fantasy disappointment Dexter Fowler could be working his way back to the Rockies. Over eight July games at Triple-A, Fowler sports a .474 OBP and could get called-up if the Rockies offense continues to struggle.

Peter Bourjos, OF, LAA - You might have heard by now about Bourjos' hamstring injury, considering the promotion of elite prospect Mike Trout was attached to the story. Unfortunately for Trout owners his stay with the Angels appears that it will be a short one. Mike Scioscia has already stated that Bourjos will return to starting duties when healthy, which may be just around the corner since they didn't put him on the DL. Expect Trout to be sent down over the next week but keep in mind that he could be re-called if any of the outfielders gets hurt.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY - A-Rod has a small tear in his meniscus which will result in surgery; the question is will that be now or at the end of the season? I'd guess he does it now which means the Yankees will use Eduardo Nunez as their regular third baseman. Nunez can run, as evidenced by his 10 stolen bases. If you're looking for help in deeper/AL-only formats, give Nunez a look.

Check Status:

Matt Capps, P, MIN - As a Capps' owner in more than one place, it's been a roller coaster of a week for him. After blowing a save against Milwaukee and then getting yanked prematurely in the following two appearances, Capps got the call Friday night and successfully converted the opportunity. It looks like Capps will get the next shot although his 0:3 K:BB ratio over his last 5.2 innings doesn't instill a lot of confidence. It may take only one more bad outing by Capps for Ron Gardenhire to turn to Joe Nathan (zero earned runs in his last five appearances) or Glen Perkins (1.97 ERA, 1.22 WHIP).

Jon Rauch, P, TOR - After being named the team's new closer, Rauch promptly went out and blew the save opportunity Saturday. I'm not sure Rauch was a better option than Frank Francisco, as he's allowed a run in three of his last four outings. I'd guess Rauch gets another shot but if he falters again anytime soon look for the closing carousel to start up again. Maybe Octavio Dotel (nine straight scoreless appearances, one walk in his last 14 innings) gets the next chance?

Downgrades:

Zach Britton, P, BAL - I'll admit I was surprised to see that Britton was sent to the minors, even after his implosion at Boston on Friday. After a stellar start he only had a 4.50 ERA over five June starts, but even coupled with Friday's outing that didn't seem to be enough to demote him since the Orioles are last in team ERA with a 4.72 mark. Britton will now join Brian Matusz and it wouldn't surprise me if both become fantasy contributors again by the end of the season.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, KC - Let me preface this with a note to state that this is a downgrade for those in redraft leagues. If you're in a keeper league disregard this as Moustakas still remains an elite prospect with a bright future. However, he's struggled so far with the Royals and after a going 0-for-19 in his previous four games he received a day off Saturday. After collecting five hits including a home run in his first four games, Moose has seen his average plummet to .227 while collecting no more homers. Most rookies have their ups and downs and Moustakas is no different; just temper your expectations for this season.

You can follow on Twitter @KCPayne26