RotoWire Partners

FAAB Factor - AL: New Joe, Same as the Old Joe

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown is the Managing Editor of NBA Content for RotoWire.com. He hosts the Fantasy Basketball Podcast and writes about fantasy basketball. Kyle used to run an after school program and approaches his work as an editor with teaching in mind. He genuinely cares about helping others win their fantasy basketball leagues, which seems really dorky when it's written in the third person. kyle@rotowire.com

STARTING PITCHERS

Mitch Atkins, SP, BAL - Atkins has made two starts for the Orioles since being called up to join the rotation on July 5. He did well in his first start, limiting the Rangers to one run over six innings, but he was then shellacked by the Red Sox in his second start, giving up six runs (including three home runs) in just 1.2 innings of work. With Matusz showing improved velocity on his fastball in the minors, Atkins' immediate future in the rotation could hinge largely on how well he pitches Sunday. He's proven to be very hittable through his first two starts, which doesn't illustrate a trend for success so it's hard to recommend him in most leagues right now. If your AL-only league requires that all starters be rostered, Atkins is worth a buck. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Alfredo Simon, SP, BAL - Simon was made a part of the rotation to trips ago, and he's performed well enough that the Orioles are probably going to give him a long look there. His experience in the bullpen will always keep him a candidate to get pushed, but as long as the Orioles' pitching prospects continue to struggle, the team will role with Simon. The 30-year-old righty left the team following his last start to make a court appearance in the Dominican that could complicate his role with the Orioles, but the team's willingness to move him into the rotation in the midst of his legal issues leads me to believe that Simon will not be at risk of missing any starts in the near future. Even his current trip to the Dominican isn't supposed to keep him from making his next start on Tuesday. Though he'll likely post elevated ERA and WHIP numbers, Simon has the ability to be impressive at times, making him worth rostering in deeper leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Brian Matusz, SP, BAL - Matusz made his third start for Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday, throwing seven innings of shutout ball. He gave up three hits and two walks while striking out eight, and the lefty showed some improvement on the velocity of his fastball. As long as Matusz continues to show progress, the Orioles should get him back up with the big league club sooner than later. His potential and the time he's already spent in the majors this season has him owned in virtually all AL-only leagues already, but Matusz has shown the ability to be of use in standard mixed leagues as well. If you're looking for help with your mix of starters, Matusz should at least be on watch lists in standard leagues. Deeper leagues that require preemptive pickups may require that you make a speculative buy on Matusz in the near future. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

RELIEF PITCHERS

Joe Nathan, Closer, MIN - Nathan has finally been given the closer role again in Minnesota. The typically reasonable and genius Ron Gardenhire finally escaped from the underneath the covers he was hiding in to mask himself from the horror story that was Matt Capps. Nathan was announced as the team's closer Saturday afternoon, and he was brought in to prove the job was his and shutdown the Royals in the top of the ninth. If you had Capps, or just need a closer, there aren't any other top-50 ranked potential closers that are going to be getting jobs over the rest of the season. Bid high, or don't bid at all. Mixed: $17; AL: $22.

Al Alburquerque, RP, DET - One-pitch Al was activated from DL Saturday. He'll be used in a seventh inning role to help the Tigers get to Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde. The diminutive rookie reliever has struck out a ridiculous 47 batters through 29.1 innings of work. If you're utilizing high-K relievers, he's a good grab for Ks and holds. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Jake McGee, RP, TB - McGee was recalled from Triple-A Thursday to help bolster the Rays' bullpen. He was a candidate to be the team's closer at the start of the season, but he struggled out of the gate and got optioned back to the minors. If the infallible Kyle Farnsworth comes back to reality at any point, McGee could end up closing for the Rays. That seems like a long shot at this point though. Through 33.1 innings at Triple-A, McGee posted a 2.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 38:8 K:BB ratio. AL-only leaguers should grab him to stash in case he takes over closing duties before the end of the season. Mixed: $0; AL: $2.

CATCHERS

Jose Lobaton, C, TB - Lobaton was recalled from Triple-A Durham on Thursday with John Jaso going on the DL. I'd like to think the Rays would give him a chance to claim a spot, because he's one of those rare catchers who can actually swing a bat. However, Kelly Shoppach will likely be given lots of extra work behind the plate, and Lobaton will probably only be used in spot duty. Through 184 at-bats at Triple-A this season, he hit .293 with eight home runs, 31 RBI, and 10 doubles. Jaso is expected to return in two weeks, meaning Lobaton's opportunity will be short lived. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

CORNER INFIELDERS

Brett Lawrie, 3B/2B, TOR - Lawrie is expected to get moved up to Triple-A to continue his rehab after Sunday's game with Double-A Dunedin. He's still working his way back from the broken left hand he suffered when hit by a pitch on May 31. Prior to breaking his hand, Lawrie was hitting .354 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI through 52 games. It was believed at the time that his call-up to the majors was imminent, but an inside pitch delayed that action. Though I'm not usually one for making more of something than it is, it's worth mentioning that Lawrie was hit by a pitch in his hand twice in Saturday's rehab game with Dunedin. The team has him wearing a protective glove that made the incidents more or less a non story, but it's a little concerning that Lawrie is repeatedly leaving himself open getting hit in the area of his hand and wrist. As soon as he shows he's swinging the bat well at Triple-A, the Blue Jays should be looking to get him action in the majors. However, the presence of Jose Bautista (ankle) at third, Eric Thames production in right field, and Travis Snider's grip on the left field job could persuade the Blue Jays to remain patient with giving Lawrie a call-up. Having said that, the reality of their lineup situation should eventually mean less at-bats for Edwin Encarnacion at DH, with Snider, Thames, and Bautista operating in an outfield/DH rotation and Lawrie getting the starts at third base. It's worth grabbing Lawrie on the cheap right now and stashing him for a couple weeks in anticipation of his call-up. If his call-up were already announced, I'd be suggesting that you bid more. Mixed: $7; AL: $10.

MIDDLE INFIELDERS

Carlos Guillen, 2B, DET - Guillen was activated from the DL and made his season debut in the majors Saturday. He'll be the everyday second baseman for the Tigers as long as he can stay healthy. Through 253 at-bats last season, Guillen hit .273 with six home runs, 34 RBI, and a steal. He's only owned in one percent of Yahoo! leagues. I'm not buying him in anything but the deepest of mixed leagues, but I'm absolutely adding him in my AL-only leagues. Don't sleep on him. With Miguel Cabrera, Brennan Boesch, and Victor Martinez getting on base like whoa, Guillen should have tons of opportunities to rack up RBI. Mixed: $0; AL: $4.

Eric Sogard, SS/2B, OAK - Sogard was called up from Triple-A Friday, but he isn't expected to anything more than a pinch-hitter at the moment. Jemile Weeks and Cliff Pennington have the lock on the middle infield jobs. I'm putting Sogard on my watch lists on the chance that the Athletics completely commit to the future and decide to trade Pennington, but until that happens, Sogard will struggle to have enduring value. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Trevor Plouffe, SS/1B/OF, MIN - Plouffe was originally expected to get used as the team's first baseman when they called him up, but they've opted to throw him into right field the last three days and are starting Michael Cuddyer at first. His versatility will make him of great use in AL-only leagues. Through 69 at-bats with the Twins this season, Plouffe has hit .217 with four home runs, 12 RBI, and a steal. He has some pop for a middle infielder, but he's seldom hit for a decent average in the minors. Mixed: $0; AL: $4.

OUTFIELDERS/UTILITY

Matt Angle, OF, BAL - Angle is getting his first major league start Sunday and was put immediately into the leadoff spot because of his speed. He doesn't possess any power and has struggled to hit better than .260 at Triple-A the last two seasons. Vladimir Guerrero (hand) was placed on the 15-day DL to clear room for Angle, but the call-up may not be a prolonged one. Luke Scott could be activated from the DL as early as Tuesday, which would likely mean Angle getting optioned back to the minors. If you're desperate for help in AL-only leagues and want to take a minimum-bid flier on Angle, that's all I'd risk spending. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Travis Snider, OF, TOR - Snider has hit .381 with one home run, eight doubles, 11 RBI, and two steals through 42 at-bats since getting called up at the start of July. He's the Blue Jays' everyday left fielder, and he's made a solid case to be added as a speculative pickup in deeper mixed leagues. We've waxed poetic about this kid's potential for more than three years, so I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here, but he's owned in just 31% of Yahoo! leagues. Unfortunately, the lack of over-the-fence power he's shown at the majors and minors this season (just four total home runs through 330 at-bats between the majors and minors) means he's not worth using in the outfield or utility spot in standard mixed leagues. If you think that pop is going to show up soon, through, go ahead and grab him there. Mixed: $0; AL: $4.

Eric Thames, OF, TOR - He remains owned in just 12% of Yahoo! leagues, and his role as the number two hitter in front of Jose Bautista makes him worthy of ownership in, arguably, even standard mixed leagues. I'm just going to keep on pimping him until his % owned gets over 50% in Yahoo!. The kid is hitting .319 with four home runs, 14 RBI, 23 runs, 10 doubles, and two triples through 116 at-bats. No need to bid crazy here. If anyone else were interested, they'd likely have already bought him. Mixed: $7; AL: $10.

Carl Crawford, OF, BOS - Crawford is supposed to return to the Red Sox on Monday. Make sure you have him active for the upcoming week.

Delmon Young, OF, MIN - Young was activated from the DL in the Twins' return from the All-Star break. He reclaimed his starting job in left. Make sure he's back in your lineups.

Top Fantasy Baseball Player News