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FAAB Factor - AL: Finally Dunn in Chicago?

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown

Managing Editor of NBA Content kyle@rotowire.com

STARTING PITCHERS

Zach Britton, SP, BAL - Britton was spectacular for the first two months of the season, taking Baltimore on a delusional ride of hope much like the fanciful rides Pittsburgh, and to a lesser degree Cleveland, went on this season. Through his first nine starts, Britton had a 2.14 ERA over 59 innings. Though his strikeout rate remained mediocre, he beamed with potential and was a solid contributor even in standard mixed leagues. Rookie road bumps took him off course from the end of May into the beginning of July. Due to continuing struggles, Britton was demoted at the beginning of July and ended up on the disabled list at the beginning of August. Thinking positively, itís possible that Britton was pitching through shoulder issues for some time, which may have caused him to struggle. If thatís the case, then his return from the DL could be a boon to fantasy teams looking for a dominant starter to help their fantasy rotation down the stretch. In his first start returning from the DL Monday, Britton threw six innings of one-run ball, giving up six hits and four walks while striking out four. The walks are somewhat concerning as they were the most he had allowed in a start this season, but they may also have merely been a fluke. Through his first three innings against the Yankees on Sunday, Britton had three strikeouts and only one walk. Iím adding him on speculation for the week ahead as long as he finishes out his start against the Yankees well, but I also wonít hesitate to drop him if he struggles at all. Deeper leagues will definitely want him, and shallower leagues will want to target him if streaming pitchers. Mixed: $6; AL: $9.

Matthew Moore, SP, TB - Moore is the hottest pitching prospect in all of baseball, and he could be getting called up to make some starts for the Rays as earlier as the coming week. When rosters expand on September 1, Moore should be joining the team. And they may even bring him sooner than that. He pitched most of this season in Double-A, but the Rays recently moved him up to Triple-A Durham. While his stats probably should have regressed a little with his move up a level, they didnít. His numbers got better. Through seven starts at Durham, Moore has posted a 0.89 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 63:11 K:BB ratio in 40.2 innings of work. Seriously. He's only 22, but is showing plenty of polish. Mixed: $0; AL: $3.

Anthony Vazquez, SP, SEA - Vazquez made his MLB debut Tuesday, and he was beat up by the Indians. He gave up five earned runs on nine hits over 5.1 innings, but still managed to earn a win. At least in the short term, there is nothing to be excited about here. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Scott Diamond, SP, MIN - Diamond was recalled to start in place of the injured Francisco Liriano (shoulder) on Friday. He didnít fare well against the Tigers, giving up five runs on 11 hits over 6.1 innings. Itís unknown if heíll get another start, but feel free to make a cheap speculative add on him if youíre in need of a live arm in an AL-only league. Just donít expect him to be a big help. If you do grab him, itís only with an eye toward poaching a win. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

RELIEF PITCHERS

Joel Carreno, SP/RP, TOR - Carreno was called up from Double-A New Hampshire, and heís working in long relief for the Blue Jays right now. The Jays signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, and theyíve been bringing him along slowly. Though Iím reluctant to suggest that heíd be a candidate to leave spring training with a rotation spot next season, Carrenoís eventual ascension to the bigs will potentially be a moment worth taking special notice of. Due to his high strikeout rate, Carreno has the potential to develop into a top-tier fantasy option. Through 134.2 innings at Double-A this season, Carreno posted a 3.41 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 152:68 K:BB ratio. He wonít crack the starting rotation at all this season, but itís worth getting familiar with his name. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.


CATCHERS

Omir Santos, C, DET - With Victor Martinez (back/hamstring) unable to catch even in a backup role right now, the Tigers called up Santos to fill in for a game Thursday. He was then sent back to the minors. Theyíll call him back up when rosters expand, but he wonít play enough to be of use. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Anthony Recker, C, OAK - Recker represents a good potentially good power bat at catcher in fantasy. However, at 27 years old, his status as a prospect is somewhat dim. Landon Powell was demoted to make room on the roster for Recker. Heíll only see action every few days, but he could become a viable second catcher option in AL-only leagues if he gets enough starts behind the plate. Iím making a speculative add on him in some of my deeper leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

CORNER INFIELDERS

Kyle Seager, 3B, SEA - Seager has been handling the third base duties for the Mariners for the last three weeks, but a modest showing in his first trip to the bigs earlier this season deadened his prospects a bit when he was recalled. With that said, heís broken through a wall against major league pitching, and heís been having great success the past two weeks. Seager is currently in the midst of an eight-game hit streak. During that streak, heís hit two home runs and six doubles. Heís not just getting on base, heís hitting for power. Seager is currently owned in 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Grab him if you need middle infield help. Mixed: $7; AL: $10.

MIDDLE INFIELDERS

Kelly Johnson, 2B, TOR - Johnson was traded to the Blue Jays in exchange for Aaron Hill and John McDonald on Tuesday. The move was fairly lateral, but it gave the Diamondbacks and Jays each a new second baseman. Both Johnson and Hill can hit for power, but they struggle to hit for a good average. Through 430 at-bats with the Diamondbacks this season, Johnson hit .209 with 18 home runs and 13 steals. As a member of the Jays, he should continue to hit the same way. Heíll strike out with nauseating regularity, but heíll go on streaks in which he produces an absurd number of home runs. Johnson should also get the green light to set the basepaths on fire. The Jays have a reputation for letting their players steal as many bases as possible, so thereís a chance Johnson could become more aggressive. However, due to his usual approach at the plate resulting in an all-or-nothing outcome, Johnson patently doesnít put himself in a lot of situations that are appropriate to steal. Of the 90 hits heís recorded this season, over half of them (46) have been of the extra-base variety. Most steals happen with players going from first to second. Johnson hits so few singles, that there arenít as many opportunities to steal. Mixed: $10; AL: $29.

Brendan Ryan, SS, SEA - Ryan (shoulder) returned from the DL Monday and has played in every game since. If youíre using him, make sure to have him activated for the coming week. Injury update.

Ryan Adams, 2B, BAL - With Chris Davis (shoulder) on the DL and Mark Reynolds filling in at first base, the Orioles called up Adams on Monday. They brought him up to help fill out the infield. Heís started at second every day since his callup, pushing Robert Andino to third for the time being. Adams has a little bit of power, and heís played well in limited action with the Orioles this season. He should stay with the club the rest of the year, but if Davis returns from the DL as expected next week, Adams could get moved to the bench or put into a timeshare. Both situations would dramatically lessen his value in fantasy. Itís worth taking a flier on him in deeper leagues for middle-infield help, but be aware that he may lose his starting gig soon. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Cord Phelps/Jason Donald, 2B, CLE - Phelps and Donald will be sharing action at second until Jason Kipnis (hamstring) is ready to return from the DL. Both players will struggle to be of use in fantasy as long as theyíre in a timeshare. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Jason Repko, OF, MIN - Repko (shoulder) was activated from the DL Friday. He took the departed Jim Thomeís roster spot. Look for Repko to be used in a reserve role, limiting his use to deeper leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.


OUTFIELDERS/DH

Matt Angle, OF, BAL - Angle was recalled Tuesday to help fill in out in center field, while Adam Jones recovered from an illness. Jones returned to the Oriolesí starting lineup Sunday, and that probably means Angle will be relegated to a bench role. Thereís no great loss here. Angle has enough speed to be a source of steals with enough playing time, but unless heís getting regular at-bats, heís simply not worth wasting a roster spot on. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Dayan Viciedo, OF, CHW - Viciedo finally got called up by the White Sox. His bat should have had him playing in the bigs all season, but the dead weight of Adam Dunn and Juan Pierre (at least for the first couple months of the season) was zombified enough to keep the rotting meat that is their baseball skills in the lineup. Carlos Quentin (shoulder) being placed on the DL Saturday opened a spot on in the White Soxís lineup for Viciedo, and he should start every day in right field while Quentin is out. That may not necessarily be the case, but thatís what should happen. Manager Ozzie Guillen may use Quentinís absence to get Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios in the lineup on the same day, and Brent Lillibridge might even get a couple extra starts. Time will tell, but Viciedo has a major league ready bat. He could produce fantasy-relevant stats immediately. Through 452 at-bats at Triple-A Charlotte this season, Viciedo hit .296 with 20 home runs, 27 doubles, 76 RBI, and two steals. In U.S. Cellular Field, he could punch a few pitches over the fence. Grab him if you need some power in your outfield. Iím recommending lower bids, because he might not play every day. Plus, heíll likely be a reserve when Quentin returns in a couple weeks. However, if youíre looking to grab him and keep him for next season, bid more. Mixed: $6; AL: $8.

Dewayne Wise, OF, TOR - Wise was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays on Friday. They picked him up to have him fill in out in center field, while Colby Rasmus (wrist) is on the DL. He keeps finding work around the league because of his defense, but heís too inconsistent to rely on in most fantasy leagues. If youíre looking for some cheap short-term steals in an AL-only league, he could help you there. The Jays should play him in center in a timeshare with Mike McCoy until Rasmus returns from the DL. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Jerad Head, OF, CLE - Head was called up from Triple-A on Sunday, and with Michael Brantley (wrist) out for the remainder of the season, Head could get regular playing time going forward. He was immediately put in the starting lineup Sunday, batting ninth and playing in left field. Shin-Soo Choo (oblique) is also sidelined at the moment. Once Choo is ready to ready to return to the lineup, Head will likely be put into a timeshare with Ezequiel Carrera. And that could even dissolve if Grady Sizemore (knee) is able to work his way back into playing shape. Through 463 at-bats at Columbus this season, Head hit .284 with 24 home runs, 28 doubles, and three steals. In the minors, he was used at second and third base occasionally, so thereís the chance he could be used in a super utility role for the Indians if Cord Phelps or any of their other current infield rotation bats play swing themselves into a spot on the bench. Itís worth taking a flier on Head for the upcoming week to see how much action heíll be getting and to see if his power translates to the bigs fastidiously. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

B.J. Upton, OF, - Upton (shoulder) returned to the starting lineup Friday. Heís healthy enough to play, so make sure you have him activated for the coming week. Injury update.

Desmond Jennings, OF, TB - This dude is only owned in 65 percent of Yahoo! leagues right now. Why? Through his first 130 at-bats in the majors, Jennings has hit over .330 with eight home runs, 14 steals, 19 RBI, and 22 runs scored. He should be universally owned, and heís officially made himself a keeper in even the shallowest of fantasy leagues. Jennings hasnít just lived up to the hype, he surpassed it. Iíve only watched him in one game since he got called up, but in that game, he beat out two ground balls to get infield singles. Heís a power threat, and his speed means he can get on base and make it all the way home on any ball he puts in play. I know anyone that is here reading this article is unlikely to have let him sit in the free-agent pool this long, but his torrid streak since getting called up begged for some raising of the roof in his honor. Max bid in leagues where he's available.

Jake Fox, DH, BAL - Fox was recalled by the Orioles this week. Heís unlikely to see enough action to be of use in fantasy. It would take a season-ending injury to Vladimir Guerrero to open up enough at-bats for Fox to be of use. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.