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The Daily Duel: Prospecting for Gold

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.

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Teams continue to call up players, so we’ll bypass the "Tip of the Week" opener again this week and dive right in to the “Newbies” section. We’ll also take a look at the usual value players and guys who are mashing at the plate.

Newbies

Mike Zunino, SEA, $2300 – I’m not particularly high on Zunino, and he didn’t exactly light the world on fire in the minors this season. That being said, the Mariners appear ready to give their prospects a shot. Despite a .238 batting average at Triple-A Tacoma, he did have 11 home runs over 208 plate appearances. You can’t go wrong with Zunino’s price. He’s a right-handed hitter, so you might want to consider him against southpaws, especially on the road.

Nick Franklin, SEA, $3000 – Franklin was called up to replace Dustin Ackley, who has seen his prospect star fade quickly. The 22-year-old middle infielder was raking at hitter-friendly Triple-A Tacoma with a .912 OPS and had an impressive 20:30 K:BB ratio. His production has carried over to big leagues so far, as Franklin sports a .904 OPS over 76 plate appearances since joining the Mariners. He’s going to be a regular in the lineup every day given the lack of pop from the Seattle middle infielders.

Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE, $2500 –Personally, Chisenhall might be the most intriguing prospect I write about this week. He raked during the spring training but looked completely lost with the Tribe, posting a .604 OPS over 99 plate appearances. He wasn’t playing every day and I question if that was a big enough sample size to demote him. After getting the demotion to Triple-A Columbus, Chisenhall absolutely crushed it with a 1.132 OPS over 125 plate appearances. That number is especially impressive considering it’s the International League and not a hitter’s haven like the Pacific Coast League. He has the pedigree, so I’d bank on Chisenhall rebounding, provided he gets regular playing time.

Wil Myers, TB, $3100 – Rays fans have patiently been waiting for Myers to get the call. He started off the year slowly in Triple-A Durham, bue Myers heated up at recently and received a promotion from the Rays as soon as the Super Two deadline passed. The key piece in the James Shields deal, Myers compiled 14 home runs, 57 RBI and a .876 OPS in 289 plate appearances for the Bulls. A sneaky part of Myers’ game no one is talking about is his ability to swipe a bag. He was 7-for-8 in the steals department this season and Joe Maddon loves to run. The Rays have taken the pressure off him to start, hitting him sixth in the lineup for Tuesday afternoon’s game. Don’t be surprised if he gets off to a hot start and this is his lowest price for the rest of the season.

Value Players Looking To Rebound

Here are some players who have seen their value drop significantly due to poor production in the season thus far. You might be surprised at some of the names and how much their stock has fallen. That being said, for most of these players there is either a track record of success or enough pedigree that they should be able to turn their season around sooner rather than later. As a result, they should provide good value in the near future.

Matt Adams, STL, $3000 – Looking at his numbers, Adams hasn’t done anything to earn a downgrade. His deflated price is likely the result of his sparse use as opposed to his overall effectiveness when he’s in the lineup. Adams is likely best suited as a designated hitter in the American League, but while he’s with the Cardinals he’ll have to settle for the occasional start at first base. The trick with Adams is to watch the Cardinals lineup and wait for a favorable matchup to slot his solid .893 OPS into your lineup.

Alex Gordon, KC, $2800 – I’m not sure why Gordon’s value has dropped so much, as he’s been one of the best Royals’ hitters this season. His .297 batting average looks good, but his .778 OPS is 45 points less than last season and 100 points fewer than his breakout campaign two years ago. Eric Hosmer has moved into the two spot behind him and he’s responded with a .296 batting average over the last two weeks. Look for Gordon, and the rest of the Royals, to heat up especially once the weather heats up.

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 there is no reason to sit a player down if he is smoking the ball.

Jason Kipnis, CLE, $4200 – Even after going 0-for-4 on Monday night, Kipnis is still batting .440 with a 1.171 OPS over the last seven days. He’s put himself into the elite status among second baseman due to his power/speed combo, which is rare when looking at the fantasy landscape for second basemen. The upside here is that he could hit for more power although it may come with fewer stolen bases. That still translates into more fantasy points in the FanDuel system.

Michael Cuddyer, COL, $5000 – I might wait until he gets back to the thin air at Coors Field, but you can’t argue with what Cuddyer’s done lately. He extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games Tuesday night and has a 1.042 OPS over the last 30 days. He appears to be completely healthy after his DL stint and the ball will fly out of the park in Coors in July and August.


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