RotoWire Partners

FAAB Factor - AL: Slowey Back on the Radar

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

Kevin Slowey, SP, MIN - Slowey was rechristened as a starter for the Twins after Scott Baker was put on the DL. He's made two starts since rejoining the rotation, but his first one was rained out. As a result, he only earned the stats from Friday's shellacking. The Yankees lit him up for six runs on nine hits over 5.2 innings. Slowey has had a tumultuous season; he was demoted to the bullpen and was reluctant, if not reticent, to accept pitching in relief, and then he suffered an abdominal strain that sidelined him for the better part of the last three months. In 28 starts last season, Slowey posted a 4.45 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 116:29 K:BB ratio through 155.2 innings. He has the potential to be a decent starter in even 12-team mixed leagues when the Twins are playing well, but with the Twinkies struggling this season, he's probably only of use as a starter in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only formats. Mixed: $0; AL: $4.

Jerome Williams, SP, LAA - Williams was called up by the Angels on Wednesday and named Sunday's starter when Tyler Chatwood was demoted Thursday. He posted a 3.91 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 60:15 K:BB ratio through 73.2 innings at Triple-A this season. At 29 years old, it's hard to consider Williams much of a prospect. Through 425 innings in the majors over his career, he's been consistently mediocre. Take a flier on him if you're desperate for a live arm in AL-only leagues, but don't expect him to shake the pillars of creation. He's more of a staff filler in deeper formats than anything else. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Brian Matusz, SP, BAL - Matusz was recalled by the Orioles on Tuesday and struggled through 6.2 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits. Worst of all, he was beat up by the Athletics' lowly slap-hitting lineup of has-beens and never-weres. It remains to be seen if Matusz will stick in the rotation, as the Orioles have to weigh their lack of alternatives against the possibility of shattering his confidence by continuing to start him with poor results. AL-only players may want to take a flier on him for next week, and based on his potential to still develop into good pitcher, mixed league managers will want to have Matusz on their watch lists in case he puts it together before the end of the season. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

RELIEF PITCHERS

Josh Kinney, RP, CHW - Kinney is a 32-year-old relief pitcher. He's not exciting, and his potential to contribute in fantasy is in many ways nonexistent; however, he also showed up big in his season debut Friday. Pitching in long relief for the White Sox, with the game out of reach, Kinney struck out six batters and only allowed one hit in three innings. He's had two consecutive promising seasons at Triple-A, but his last tour of duty in the majors was a debacle for the Cardinals. I wanted to shed the spotlight on the impressive work he did Friday, but Kinney realistically has no value in anything but the absolute deepest of AL-only leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Chance Ruffin, RP, SEA - Ruffin, or the “Bullpen Dog” as I just decided to name him, was sent to the Mariners on Wednesday to complete the trade that sent Doug Fister to Detroit. He was viewed by the Tigers as a potential closer-of-the-future candidate, and he'll likely carry that same title with the Mariners. He's already pitched in relief for the Mariners twice this week, striking out three over his two innings. Ruffin is unlikely to be of much use this season, but it's worth getting familiar with him in consideration of him potentially pitching in high-leverage situations for the Mariners next season. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.


CATCHERS

Hank Conger, C, LAA - Conger was recalled by the Angels on Thursday, and they had him make the start at catcher Saturday. He's got the best bat out of all the Angels' catchers, but his inconsistency at the plate earlier this season got him demoted in July. Conger will have to be productive with the lumber to steal playing time. I'm not buying him in most leagues this week, but I will be monitoring his playing time over the coming week to see how often the Angels are committed to getting him in the lineup. AL-only players in two-catcher leagues may not want to wait the week, so it may be worth just shelling out a $1 flier for him and seeing how things develop. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

John Jaso, C, TB - Jaso was activated from the DL Friday, and he was immediately given a start behind the plate. He'll be splitting catching duties with Kelly Shoppach for the rest of the season, limiting his fantasy potential. Robinson Chirinos was demoted to open a spot for Jaso's return. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Ryan Lavarnway, C/DH, BOS - Lavarnway has started at DH for each of the last three days for the Red Sox, and he should continue to get regular action there for the upcoming week with David Ortiz's (heel) return projected to come anywhere from the middle of the week to the end of the week. Through 209 at-bats in Triple-A this season, Lavarnway hit .301 with 16 home runs, 47 RBI, and 36 runs scored. His at-bats will dry up when Ortiz is ready to return, but as a catcher, Lavarnway is worth taking a flier on for the upcoming week to see how his situation (and Ortiz's injury) plays out. There's no doubt that Lavarnway can handle a bat, but there remain questions about his ability to catch adequately in the majors. The Red Sox have been impressed with the 23-year-old's growth behind the plate this season, but that doesn't mean they're ready to start giving him playing time there ahead of Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The plan is to have him up in the majors for the rest of the season, but his at-bats may not come regular enough to make him viable in most formats. Mixed: $1; AL: $2.

Tyler Flowers, C, CHW - Flowers has taken over the starting catcher position with A.J. “No Chin” Pierzynski on the DL with a wrist injury, and he should hang onto that role at least until September 1. Over the last seven days, Flowers has hit .316 with a triple, two doubles, two RBI, and three walks in 19 at-bats. Though Pierzynski will probably reclaim the primary catching job for the White Sox when he returns from the DL, Flowers' potential to be a great hitting catcher makes him an interesting add at this time. I'm taking a flier on him in any leagues that I don't already have an elite option at the position and hoping that Pierzynski doesn't return this season. Mixed: $4; AL: $7.

CORNER INFIELDERS

Brandon Inge, 3B, DET - Inge was recalled from Triple-A Toledo by the Tigers on Saturday, and he was immediately moved into the starting lineup at third base. While in Triple-A, Inge hit .287 with seven home runs, 19 RBI, and 18 runs scored in 108 at-bats. The Tigers plan on starting him against left-handed pitchers and using him late in games as a defensive replacement. In his first game back Saturday, Inge teed off on a home run and a ground-rule double. He could be a sneaky power addition if he is productive and gets enough at-bats. If you need corner infield help in AL-only leagues, it may be worth taking a flier on him for the coming week to see how much playing time he gets.

MIDDLE INFIELDERS

Luis Valbuena, 2B, CLE - Valbuena was recalled by the Indians on Friday to take Jason Kipnis' (hamstring/oblique) place on the roster. Kipnis was placed on the 15-day DL after suffering a mild hamstring strain while stretching before Friday's game. Valbuena started at second Friday and Saturday, but Jason Donald was given the start Sunday. They'll share time at second, while Kipnis is on the DL for the next three weeks. Through 371 at-bats at Triple-A Columbus this season, Valbuena hit .299 with 16 home runs, 71 RBI, and 57 runs scored. The 25-year-old infielder has offensive potential, but he's failed to put everything together when given chances to play in the bigs over the past few years. He's hit 4-for-29 and recorded a putrid 0:8 BB:K ratio through his first 29 at-bats in the bigs this season. I'm not buying him in anything but the deepest of AL-only leagues right now, and I'm only taking a flier on him there. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Luke Hughes, 2B, MIN - Hughes was recalled by the Twins on Thursday, and he was immediately put into action. He started Friday and Saturday. The Twins are using him heavily right now, but Hughes will return to a reserve role when Michael Cuddyer (neck) is ready to return to full action. If you want to grab Hughes on a flier for the next week, with the expectation that Cuddyer may not be able to overcome his current neck injury, that would be a decent strategy. Hughes has been largely mediocre at both the Triple-A and major league levels, hitting a sub-.700 OPS at both levels. If Cuddyer earns a trip to the DL, Hughes could become of use in AL-only leagues as a live bat, but he'll otherwise struggle to provide long-term value. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

OUTFIELDERS/UTILITY

Mike Trout, OF, LAA - Trout was recalled by the Angels on Friday and started Friday and Saturday. The Angels plan on giving him three or four starts per week, but they could give him more action if he finds a comfort zone at the plate. At just 20 years old, Trout has carried the baggage of being the Angels' top prospect this season. Expectations are atmospheric for Trout, and there's a strong chance the Angels are planning on him breaking spring training as a regular next season. With that in mind, I'm buying him in keeper leagues to hold him in anticipation of next year. If he excels over the final month of the season, the hype machine could make Trout a valuable trade piece or legitimate keeper. Don't roster him if you have contributors filling your roster and would jeopardize your chances to win this season, but consider rostering him if you can afford to have him sit on your bench the rest of the season. With the current playing time projection, it would be irresponsible of me to suggest spending a big portion of your budget on him this week in one-year leagues, but keeper league players will want to consider his value within their respective format. My bids on him this week are based completely on his pedigree and potential as one of the league's top-ranked prospects. If he wasn't already purchased for big money when he was called up earlier this season, then he shouldn't go for an absurd amount this time around with our expectations reduced for this season. Mixed: $2; AL: $5.

Rene Tosoni, OF, MIN - Tosoni was recalled by the Twins on Wednesday, and he's been in the starting lineup for four straight games coming into Sunday. With Delmon Young traded to the AL Central leading Tigers and Michael Cuddyer (neck) resting, Tosoni has been getting lots of opportunities to play. However, when Cuddyer returns to the lineup this week, Tosoni's at-bats could dry up quickly. He's recorded just three hits through 17 at-bats over the last four games, and he's struck out five times. Considering Cuddyer may continue to have trouble with his neck, it may be worth taking a flier on Tosoni in AL-only leagues with a hope that he stays of use as a live bat in the Twins' lineup. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.