National League - FAAB - 6/23/13
Henderson Alvarez, Marlins - Alvarez, sidelined with right shoulder inflammation, will be pushed to around 85 pitches in his rehab start for Double-A Jacksonville on Saturday. Alvarez made his third official appearance as he works his way back from a spring shoulder injury and had looked strong in his first two outings, allowing three earned runs over 10.0 innings so far. The Marlins may choose to leave Alvarez down on the farm for one additional start as the team sorts out their potential rotation, but he is certainly making progress towards a return to the majors by the end of June. Tom Koehler looked like the obvious candidate to be bumped, but Miami may reconsider after his brilliant performance on Thursday. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early spec bid)
Hiram Burgos, Brewers - Burgos, on the 15-day disabled list Friday with right shoulder impingement, will make one more rehab stint for Triple-A Nashville before being activated from the disabled list. He tossed four innings in a rehab start Tuesday, so he should be good to go after one more outing. Whether Burgos returns to the Brewers or stays in the minors remains to be seen. He really struggled over his last three starts after pitching well in his first three, and it's certainly possible that the sore shoulder was contributing to his issues. Burgos is a finesse-type righty who shot up the organizational chart for the Brewers in 2012, going 10-4 with a 1.95 ERA in 28 games, including 27 starts, across three levels. He is not a big strikeout pitcher, but he averaged 8.1 K/9 last season and dropped his WHIP to a career-best 1.04. His fastball tops out around 91 mph, but he mixes in a change, curve, slider and cutter to keep hitters off-balance. The Brewers have been using relievers like Alfredo Figaro, Tom Gorzelanny and Donovan Hand as starters recently, so Burgos could get the call, though Marco Estrada may be ready to return shortly as well. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.
Robbie Erlin/Tyson Ross/Burch Smith/Tim Stauffer - Clayton Richard landed on the 15-day Saturday with an injury to his AC joint, leaving an open rotation spot that is to be filled by Erlin, Ross, Smith or Stauffer. Erlin was solid in his one start for San Diego on June 1 before he was sent back to Triple-A Tucson. He was bombed there last Sunday in the minors but rebounded to allow just two runs in six innings to get the win Friday. Erlin, who missed three months last with a strained elbow but is healthy now, only throws in the low-90s along with a change up and curveball but relies many on his stellar control and mound presence. Ross opened the season in the rotation and was 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts when he suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder while batting on April 17 at Dodger Stadium. Since returning from the disabled list on May 11, Ross has pitched out of the bullpen, mainly in long relief. He threw three innings Friday when Richards left the game. Ross has started taking batting practice, which is a good indication his shoulder is fully healthy. Smith's ridiculous numbers at Double-A through his first six starts (1.15 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 37:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio and .155 BAA) earned him a call up to the Padres in May. He was hit hard in three starts for San Diego before getting sent down to Tucson, where he is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA in four starts. Stauffer came into the game in the first inning Friday when Richard left with the injury after throwing just two pitches. He put forth a solid effort, throwing 70 pitches (40 strikes) and induced five groundball outs while allowing one run on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in four innings to get the win. A triceps and elbow injury that limited Stauffer to just one start last year and he has been used in the bullpen this year. Any one of the four pitchers can get the role, but I think Erlin or Smith get the first shot at filling it. Erlin/Smith - Mixed: $1; NL: $5; Ross/Stauffer - Mixed: $0; NL: $2.
Marco Estrada, Brewers - Estrada, sidelined with a strained left hamstring, is slated to begin a rehab assignment but still needs to be cleared by team doctors. It was thought that would happen Thursday, after he made it through his last throwing session Monday without issue, but that was not the case. Manager Ron Roenicke believes Estrada will need only one rehab start before rejoining the big club, so if he returns this weekend, he should return sometime during next week's series with the Cubs. Estrada emerged as one of the team's best starters in 2012. In 23 starts - after having never made more than seven in a season - Estrada posted a 3.64 ERA and stellar 143:29 K:BB ratio over 138.1 innings. This year, he has struggled, hurt by 14 home runs in 69.1 innings leading to a 5.32 ERA before he was sidelined. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.
Dillon Gee, Mets - Gee's overall numbers prior to Saturday - 4.56 ERA and 1.44 WHIP - are less than impressive, but they don't tell the full story. Gee had allowed just five earned runs while posting a 32:4 K:BB over 29.1 innings in his last four outings, but did regress allowing five earned runs on eight hits in five innings Saturday. His recent hot streak is even more impressive when you factor in that Gee is still dealing with flexor tendinitis, though it obviously has not inhibited his performance. One more positive sign is that Gee's BABIP is .348 and strand rate is .698, which also bode well for continuing his recent and for future success. In addition, his recent hot streak coupled with Jon Niese's shoulder injury mean that he is no longer a candidate to lose his rotation spot due to the promotion of Zack Wheeler. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.
Jeanmar Gomez, Pirates - Gomez, on the 15-day DL with a strained right forearm, is coming off five scoreless rehab innings Wednesday and will be called up to start Wednesday against the Mariners. Brandon Cumpton, who made a couple of spot starts in place of Gomez, is on his way back down, meaning Gomez is likely ready to roll after two rehab starts. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.
Donovan Hand, Brewers - Hand started Saturday for Milwaukee against the Braves against Tim Hudson. Hand has posted a respectable 3.38 ERA in eight relief appearances for the Brewers this season, but he hadn't gone beyond three innings at any point prior to Saturday, when he threw 4.2 scoreless frames. The last time he started was 2010, so this may just be a one-off situation, though Saturday's outing could result in him getting another start. Mixed: No; NL: $0.
Joe Kelly, Cardinals - Kelly looks to be the favorite to start in place of Tyler Lyons, who was optioned down to Triple-A Louisville after struggling again Saturday. Kelly tossed five scoreless innings of relief against the Rangers on Friday and allowed just five hits with no walks and three strikeouts. With this performance and a recent spot start featuring one run over 5.2 innings earlier this month, the Cardinals look to be turning to Kelly the next time they need a fifth starter, though that is not expected top occur until July 6. Kelly started 16 games for the Cardinals last year and threw eight in relief, where he was far more successful, so it remains to be seen if he will remain in the rotation or be replaced by either Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.
Mike Kickham, Giants - Kickham could be called up for Tuesday's game against the Dodgers if Chad Gaudin (forearm) isn't ready to go. Kickham is coming off of a great start for Triple-A Fresno on Thursday in which he went 7.2 innings with one run and five strikeouts. Overall, the big lefty hasn't put up great numbers at Triple-A Fresno this year (4.81 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 69:33 K:BB), and he didn't fare too well with the Giants in his major league debut on May 28th, giving up four runs over 2.1 innings against the Athletics, but this would be a call up of need not reward. If Kickham is to be used by the big club next Tuesday, he will likely be called up either Sunday or Monday. Kickham was drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 MLB draft and sports a plus fastball (92-94 MPH), a plus slider, a curveball, and a change. His main flaw is the lack of command of his pitches. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.
Ted Lilly, Dodgers - Yes, it's time for another Lilly returning from the injured list post. This time, Lilly, who has been sidelined with a neck disc injury, may be able to return as early as next week. This was the third stint on the DL this year for Lilly, who has suffered from injury the past two years after a solid first season in LA. Before injuring his shoulder last year, Lilly had a 3.14 ERA, though given the regression in both his strikeout (5.7 K/9) and walk rates (3.5 BB/9) compared to 2011 (7.4 and 2.4 respectively), it's possible he was hurting before hitting the disabled list. He has posted an ERA under four the past four years and should benefit from once again pitching at Chavez Ravine, as he did last year before he was sidelined. The Dodgers could use him back in the rotation, so he will slide back in once he is healthy. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (assuming he is healthy).
Brandon McCarthy, Diamondbacks - McCarthy had a medical scare a couple of weeks back with a seizure stemming from a live drive he took to the head last season, but he's otherwise recovered nicely from the shoulder inflammation that sidelined him on June 2. He had been throwing off flat ground but was able o throw a 25-pitch bullpen session Friday. McCarthy is scheduled to throw another session on Monday and could face live hitters as early as the end of next week. He had seemed to turn it around after a slow start, notching four straight quality starts prior to his poor start right before he was sidelined. McCarthy has landed on the DL each of the past five years, so you know what you get when you own him. He may be targeting a late-June return, but it would not be surprising to see him remain out until after the All-Star break. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (early spec bid).
Drew Pomeranz, Rockies - Pomeranz struck out three and walked one while holding Tacoma to two runs on five hits over seven innings to earn his eighth win of the season against just one loss at Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday. In his second tour of the Pacific Coast League, Pomeranz is issuing fewer walks, while continuing to keep the ball in the park. With a 62:23 K:BB ratio over his last 10 starts (57.1 innings), Pomeranz, who struggled with the big club last year, could be on the radar for a recall to Colorado in the near future. Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (early spec bid).
Zeke Spruill, Diamondbacks - Spruill was recalled from Triple-A Reno on Friday. Spruill has worked exclusively as a starter for the Diamondbacks at Triple-A, but he'll serve in a long relief capacity for his first taste of the big leagues. Spruill was considered to be just a throw-in piece in the Justin Upton trade this past offseason, but has quickly become the diamond in the rough the D-Backs were hoping for. He looks like a completely different pitcher since the Arizona Fall League last fall. The big difference has been the ability and confidence to throw a curveball. Spruill now has a full arsenal of pitches and is built to go the distance, which is something the D-Backs desperately need. Their starters have averaged just under six innings a start over the past month and the bullpen's starting to wear thin. Spruill has all the tools to be a quality starter for the D-Backs and with his recent stellar play may end up in the rotation despite working in the bullpen for now. Mixed: $1; NL: $4
Covered last week - Roy Oswalt, Rockies - made Rockies debut on Thursday. He gave up four runs and nine hits while striking out 11 over five innings to take the loss Thursday. Oswalt's fastball topped out at 94 mph and was able to generate groundballs in the minors, which should help him at Coors Field. Mixed: $4; NL: $11; Zack Wheeler, Mets - made much anticipated major-league debut Tuesday in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Braves, throwing six shutout innings and notching the win. He was sent down to the minors but will be called back up to start Monday or Tuesday and remain in the rotation with Jon Niese on the DL. Mixed: $8; NL: $22.
Injury activation/update - Chris Capuano, Dodgers - was activated off the DL after missing three weeks with a strained triceps and improved to 2-4 Wednesday as he gave up just three hits over six scoreless innings against the Yankees. Mixed: $2; NL: $7; Nathan Eovaldi, Marlins - out all season with shoulder inflammation, was activated and made season debut starting Tuesday against Arizona. He allowed just three hits and two earned runs in a six-inning no-decision. Mixed: $2; NL: $7; Wandy Rodriguez, Pirates - making his first rehab start for Triple-A Indy on Sunday since leaving a game against Atlanta on June 5. There is no timetable for his return, especially since he is just now starting to throw curve balls.
Anthony Bass/Michael Blazek/Brad Boxberger/Greg Burke/J.C. Ramirez/Duke Welker - This week's middle reliever call ups/acquisitions were in San Diego, St. Louis, San Diego, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Neither of them have major fantasy value. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.
Steve Cishek, Marlins - Cishek struggled earlier in the season, and while he's been nearly flawless of late, the Marlins don't figure to keep providing him with many save opportunities. That said, he notched his 12th save of the season Friday, giving him six straight conversions and he is now 12-for-14 on the year. Miami has not officially announced any intention to end the committee approach to closing games, but it looks like Cishek will handle most of the save opportunities going forward, as has been the case over the last few weeks. Cishek has shown much better control, and as long as that continues, his success rate will remain high. That said, it's possible the Marlins look to move him to get more assets at the deadline, which impacts his fantasy value, but for now he is the Marlins' closer. Mixed: $9; NL: spike in value due to hot streak, but should be owned already.
Jim Henderson, Brewers - With Francisco Rodriguez notching his 300th save Saturday, manager Ron Roenicke could turn the closer role back to Henderson, who has acted in a set-up role since returning from his hamstring injury on June 9. Henderson has vacillated between strong and poor performances since his return, posting two blown saves, one hold, a 4.50 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, and 6:2 K:BB ratio in six frames. Even if he doesn't regain the role full-time role, he should se an uptick in saves with K-Rod notching #300. Should be owned in all formats, but if not, go $4/13 and up if you think he is named the full-time closer.
Justin Wilson, Pirates - Wilson continues to be used by and produce for manager Clint Hurdle. He notched his sixth hold Sunday to go along with five relief wins. Wilson has allowed just 25 hits but 17 walks to go with his 38 strikeouts in 41.2 innings as one of the two main lefties for the Bucs. Hurdle continues to use him in high leverage situations, with only closer Jason Grilli and eighth-inning setup man, Mark Melancon, ahead of him in the pecking order, though Tony Watson is right there with him. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.
Covered last week (s) - Rafael Betancourt, Rockies - out since June 1 with a strained groin and pitched a two-inning simulated game Friday. He may be activated next week, though it's still to be determined if he will regain the closer role in Colorado given how well Rex Brothers has pitched. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (up if you think he regains his role as the Rockies' closer). J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks - sprained UCL, began his rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A Reno. Heath Bell has converted on 13-of-16 save chances since taking over for Putz, including a blown save Saturday while also allowing a home run in five straight contests so Putz should push him for the ninth-inning job upon his return. Putz is expected to pitch on back-to-back days Monday and Tuesday and then return to the D-Backs next weekend. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (up substantially if you think he gets the closer's job back).
Tony Sanchez, Pirates - Sanchez was called up on Friday after hitting .306/.389/.563 with nine homer in 55 games with Triple-A Indianapolis to begin the year. He is expected to see some at-bats during Pittsburgh's current five-game road trip that started Friday against American League teams due to the designated hitter rule in effect and may head back to the minors after it's over. Sanchez, selected fourth overall in 2009, is decent defensively but his status as an elite prospect has dropped the past few seasons, and with Russell Martin signed for next year as well, his upside right now is as a backup catcher. Mixed: No; NL: $2
Injury activation - Carlos Ruiz, Phillies - returned from his strained hamstring on Tuesday, FYI as should be owned in all leagues.
Yonder Alonzo, Padres - Alonso, on the disabled list since June 1 with a fracture of the metacarpal on his right middle finger, is hoping a visit and CAT scan with a hand specialist on Monday will lead to a return to baseball activities. He has missed 17 straight games with the injury and recently was able to take the splint off his right hand. The pain has significantly reduced, and after Monday's visit, Alonso could start rehab work. Prior to getting hurt, Alonso was hitting .284/.335/.416 with six home runs and 29 RBI in 54 games. In his absence, the Padres have mostly used Kyle Blanks at first base, though Jesus Guzman has also seen the occasional game at the position. Mixed: $3; NL: likely still owned, but bid of $9 as an early spec one if not.
Ike Davis, Mets - Davis is finally starting to show some life in the minors. He went 3-for-5, including blasting a pair of home runs, Thursday and reached base eight times Wednesday and Thursday at Triple-A Las Vegas. He followed that up with two more home runs on Friday and is now up to .310 in 12 games as he continues to work on removing the hitch in his swing, by keeping his front hip in, which prevents him from flying open, while showing better plate discipline. He is expected to remain in the minors a few more weeks, returning after the All-Star break if he remained hot. With Lucas Duda's injured side landing him on the DL, Davis may end up back in NY sooner than that, even though Zach Lutz was promoted Saturday night. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early spec bid, will rise if he stays hot or gets called up for Duda).
Rickie Weeks, Brewers - Weeks has picked up the pace offensively of late, homering three times in the last 10 games he has played in -- the same total he had through his first 53 games -- and going 20-for-57 (.351) in 19 games since May 21. He is still sharing playing time at second base with Scooter Gennett, but at least he appears to have gotten his bat going after a dismal start to the season. Last year, it took until after the All-Star break for Weeks to heat up, so at least he is getting an earlier jump on it this season. It may only be a matter of time before Weeks regains the full-time starting job back. Mixed: $7; NL: $18 (only for those with a strong constitution and lots of antacids).
Covered last two weeks - Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks - broken left hand, remaining at Triple-A Reno on rehab stint but is to return to the lineup Tuesday. just an FYI, as still should be owned in all leagues, but if not, spec bid of Mixed: $11; NL: 27.
Injury activation/news - Jedd Gyorko, Padres - (groin) slated to return Tuesday, just an FYI as should be owned in all leagues.; Chase Utley, Phillies - (strained right oblique), returned to action Friday, just an FYI as should be owned in all leagues.
Elian Herrera, Dodgers - The Dodgers recalled Herrera from Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday and optioned reliever Chris Withrow down. Herrera is an extremely versatile -- albeit light-hitting -- player and will likely be focusing on the outfield for now until the Dodgers get healthy there. He produced a somewhat respectable .251/.340/.332 batting line over 214 major league plate appearances last season, filling in for Mark Ellis, That said, he lacks much in the way of power and he's not a speed guy, so don't expect much. Mixed: No; NL: $0.
Paul Janish, Braves - The Braves called up Janish on Friday. Janish had posted an uninspiring .207/.285/.244 slash line with 12 RBI in 41 games with Triple-A Gwinnett so far this season, but the Braves brought him up Friday with Ramiro Pena (shoulder) hitting the DL. He can play third and will help at the other infield positions for the time being, but Tyler Pastornicky is a more potent offensive weapon and may see more opportunities than Janish in the short-term. Janish is known for his fielding; so don't expect much at the plate. Mixed: No; NL: $0.
Tyler Pastornicky, Braves - Pastornicky was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday. A brief stay in the majors aside, Pastornicky has spent the entire season at Gwinnett, batting .309/.351/.429 with four homers, 25 RBI, 35 runs scored, and seven stolen bases in 233 at-bats. He is slated to provide depth in the infield, though he does have more offensive upside than Paul Janish and could see time in place of Dan Uggla, who is struggling at the plate and dealing with vision issues. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.
Pedro Ciriaco, Padres - Ciriaco was profiled last week after he was traded to the Padres for a player to be named or cash but gets another mention due to his hot start. Ciriaco is starting at shortstop and has been very effective since being traded to the Pads. In six games, he has hit .412. His homer Thursday was his first as a Padre and his second of the season. With Everth Cabrera on the 15-day DL, Ciriaco should see most of the looks at shortstop in his absence, especially given his hot start in San Diego. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.
Zach Lutz, Mets - The Mets recalled Lutz from Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday. The move corresponded with Lucas Duda's (oblique) placement on the 15-day DL. Lutz had a .372 OBP in 53 games for Las Vegas, and he should provide depth at the corner infield positions, seeing most of his time at first base. Mixed: NL; NL: $0.
Covered last week - Eric Chavez, Diamondbacks - strained right oblique, slated to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Reno early this week. Barring a setback, he could be back in the fold by the end of the week. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.
Injury activation - Pablo Sandoval, Giants - (foot), expected to be activated Monday, just an FYI as should be owned in all leagues.
Andrew Brown, Mets - Brown was called up after the Mets' doubleheader sweep of the Braves on Tuesday to replace the injured Scott Atchison on the roster. With Zack Wheeler due back to start next Monday or Tuesday, Brown's stint in the majors may be brief. That said, Brown was raking at Triple-A Las Vegas but will be limited to pinch-hit duty with the Mets, now that Eric Young Jr. is with the Mets. Mixed: No; NL: $0.
Corey Dickerson, Rockies - Dickerson was brought up by Colorado on Friday to help out with Dexter Fowler (finger) still ailing and Tyler Colvin struggling. Not only did Dickerson hit .386/.429/.646 with nine homers at Triple-A Colorado Springs to begin the year, he also added 19 doubles and legged out 13 triples. Dickerson has progressed steadily up the ladder producing at each level and in the Arizona Fall League. He could have a shot at decent playing time given the aforementioned issues with the outfield. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.
Adam Eaton, Diamondbacks - Eaton could go on a rehab assignment within the next week or 10 days. Last weekend, Eaton served as a designated hitter in extended spring games as he continues to rehab the elbow injury that has kept him sidelined all season. When asked how he's been feeling, Eaton replied that everything feels good and that he feels back to where he was prior to making that one outfield throw. The D-Backs' outfielder will most likely head out on a rehab assignment within the next couple of weeks and if all goes well could be back by the second week of July. The D-Backs have no reason to rush him back, especially since Gerardo Parra has played lights out in his place. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (early spec bid, or maybe wishful thinking given I own him in multiple leagues).
Chris Heisey, Reds - Heisey, out since April 29 with a right hamstring injury, is expected to return to the Reds on Tuesday in Oakland. He will likely be used in left field, where Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson have been filling in during his absence. However, manager Dusty Baker said he could also use Heisey in the DH slot in the five upcoming games the Reds have in American League parks. After going 4-for-7 in two rehab starts with Triple-A Louisville, Heisey appears ready to return. Keep in mind that he is better against lefties, but should play against most pitchers with Ryan Ludwick still out. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.
Jose Tabata, Pirates - Tabata, sidelined since May 27 with a strained left oblique, began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday. Though his recovery from the oblique injury was initially slow, Tabata seems to have picked up his activities in the last week. He should only need a few games at Indianapolis before the team brings him back from the DL, likely early next week. Travis Snider has gone ice cold, so Tabata could get a crack at the starting job in right field once he returns. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.
Scott Van Slyke, Dodgers - Van Slyke, whose left shoulder discomfort began after he attempted a diving catch back on May 25 and landed him on the DL on June 11, began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday, He may only need a short rehab assignment and could be back with the Dodgers as soon as the middle of next week, when he is eligible to return from the DL. Van Slyke got the team's attention in a big way by delivering a .397/.503/.733 line through 34 games, including nine home runs and 30 RBI. Those numbers build off what he did in the minors the past two seasons - .346/.425/.593 in 2011, .327/.404/.578 last year. This offseason, he worked on shortening his leg kick and making his swing more compact, which has paid dividends at the plate, including in the majors, as he had six home runs in 24 games for LA. Van Slyke should immediately see playing time in left field, as Carl Crawford is still going to be out for a while. Mixed: $4; NL: $11.
Eric Young, Jr., Mets - Manager Terry Collins said Young, who was acquired Wednesday in a trade for Collin McHugh from the Rockies, would receive ample playing time right away with the Mets, and to date, that has been the case. Neither Juan Lagares nor Kirk Nieuwenhuis have provided much offensive punch in the outfield, so Young is seeing extensive playing time in left and center field while batting leadoff a year after batting .316 and stealing 14 bases for the Rockies over 98 games. It will be interesting to see if Collins, who is pretty conservative on the bases, allows Young to run wild. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.
Gregor Blanco, Giants - Blanco has quietly turned it on a bit since Angel Pagan went down with a hamstring injury, and is now hitting in the leadoff spot where his base-stealing abilities might become more apparent. He still sits against some tougher lefties, but he is making a strong case for more consistent playing time. Pagan just had a setback in his rehab assignment, so we may be looking at a long-term run for Blanco. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.
Covered last week - Matt Kemp, Dodgers - ran the bases Friday and could return from his strained right hamstring, assuming no setbacks, by the end of the week.
Injury update - Bryce Harper, Nationals - out since the beginning of June with a knee injury, he is likely to begin a rehab assignment with High-A Potomac on Wednesday or Thursday and is looking to get into six rehab games. The hope is that if he has no setbacks, he could return for next weekend's series against the Mets, but that may is unlikely given the number of rehab games he wants to play in. Just an FYI as still should be owned in all formats.