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The Daily Duel: Werth Every Penny

Nick Falk

Nick Falk

Nick began at RotoWire in the spring of 2012 and is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves as the Tampa Bay Rays beat writer and assisted with content and editing for the baseball and football magazines. He is an avid enthusiast of baseball statistics and scouting evaluations.

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New Additions

Jose Tabata, OF, PIT, $3100 – With youngster Starling Marte heading to the disabled list on Sunday, Tabata was brought back up to the majors for the first time since July 1, when his struggles led to a demotion to Triple-A Indianapolis. Though disappointed at the setback, Tabata responded in his stint at Indy by hitting .297/.353/.354 over 158 at-bats. In his first two games back in the majors, Tabata went 2-for-7 and 3-for-5 with two doubles. His opportunity to get his once-promising career back on track is here and places him atop the order in the middle of a pennant race. Tabata’s price is also reasonable for a guy with a solid batting average and plus speed on the base paths.

Ian Desmond, SS, WSH, $4000 – Desmond was activated from the disabled list on Friday. After a few games of shaking off the rust, he recorded two hits, including a homer, in his fourth game back. The Nationals have the best record in the National League (as of August 23) and they're adding their breakout shortstop back to a potent lineup. Desmond’s price tag is quite high but he offers a unique blend of power and speed that few at his position possess. He may need a day of rest at some point but as he finds his swing, Desmond's about as sure of a bet the shortstop position can offer.


Yasmani Grandal, C, SD, $3100 – The Padres have to be excited to have their highly touted catching prospect back in the lineup. Grandal was hitting the cover off the ball with a .312 batting average, five home runs, and 15 RBI in 24 games before he strained a muscle in his side. With almost a week of seeing big league pitching again, expect him to start finding his form again. He has a lot of pop in his bat and typically hits fifth for the Friars, which should provide some decent run-producing opportunities going forward.


Stephen Drew, SS, OAK, $3000 – Drew was traded to the contending Oakland A’s on Monday and will likely be plugged into the two-hole and play shortstop right away. He struggled this season in Arizona while trying to get back to form after the nasty ankle injury that ended his season in 2011. In 135 at-bats with the Diamondbacks, Drew hit .193/.290/.311 and only had two home runs. Amazingly, his numbers have almost eclipsed the production of the A’s primary shortstop Cliff Pennington this season, as he has managed to hit .198 with three home runs in 313 at-bats. The hope is the change of scenery will help Drew find the power and batting average combo that he had a few years ago.


Seth Smith, OF, OAK, $3100 – Smith was reinstated from the disabled list on Tuesday and put right into the lineup at DH. Before his hamstring injury, he had been a regular in the A’s lineup and rotated between DH and both corner outfield spots. He has not lit it up with the bat as far as batting average, but he has connected on 11 home runs and should find himself with many RBI opportunities hitting behind the middle of an A’s order that has a knack for getting on base. Smith is definitely the type of guy that should be played with consideration taken to the matchup.


Luke Scott, 1B, TB, $3300 – Scott was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday and had not played in a game since July 20. His overall numbers this year have not been very impressive (.225/.278/.439), but he has managed to crank 12 home runs with 45 RBI in only 69 games. His career numbers have been consistent when he has been healthy and history indicates he should be a decent power source, even when hitting down in the Rays’ order. His price tag may be a little overvalued but with his power potential, he could be a decent fill-in with the right pitching matchup.


On Fire

These players have been some of the hottest hitters in the league recently. They are worth considering putting into the lineup regardless of the price they cost. Hot streaks do not always last but one of my rules is if a player is smoking the ball, there is no reason to sit him down.


Jay Bruce, OF, CIN, $4000 – After a tough two-month cold spell, Bruce has been crushing the ball the last week and a half. From August 12 to August 20, the Reds’ slugger hit .457 with four home runs and 11 RBI over nine games. This hot streak raised his average 18 points from .243 to .261. He still has drastic splits hitting .270 against right-handers and only .231 against southpaws. His price tag is high but his hot hand might just be worth rolling with.


Josh Donaldson, 3B, OAK, $2800 – Donaldson is a sneaky undervalued pick at his position. Since being called back up to the majors, Donaldson has lit up the scoreboard for the A’s. In 31 at-bats, he has hit .419 with a homer and six RBI. This hot streak is not just an anomaly as he hit .335 with an alarming 1.000 OPS, 13 long balls and 45 RBI over 51 games with Triple-A Sacramento. This is his third trip to the majors this season, but this time it looks like Donaldson is here to stay.


Jayson Werth, OF, WSH, $3200 – Since returning from the disabled list, Werth has been looking more like the $126-million man the Nats thought they signed last season. In August, he has a .381/.466/.524 line. Looks like that wrist feels better! Although he has not homered in that stretch, he has hit seven doubles, which were his trademark when he lined 46 two-base hits in 2010 with the Phillies.

Chase Headley, 3B, SD, $3900 – The Padres’ switch-hitting third baseman can be up-and-down from game-to-game, but Headley has been hitting them hard and deep in August. For the month, he has an OPS of 1.026 which includes nine home runs, good for tops in the majors. In fact, 37.5 percent of his hits for the month have gone over the fence. His price is expensive and he's amongst multiple hot hitters in his position group, but he is as sure of a bet as there is currently at the hot corner.


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