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FAAB Factor - AL: Help Coming Soon?

Andrew Martinez

Andrew Martinez

Andrew Martinez writes about baseball and football, in addition to hosting the award winning RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio. He is a native Texan and roots for the Astros, Texans, Rockets, and Rice Owls.

Starting Pitchers:

Wei-Yen Chen, Orioles - Chen is scheduled to come off the DL on Tuesday this week to face the Rangers, after dealing with an oblique injury. He'll return to a 3.04 ERA (4.73 xFIP) with 27 strikeouts and 12 walks over 47.1 innings. His strikeout rate has fallen from a season ago, his debut in the majors, but his walk rate and home run rate too have fallen, thus helping to lower his ERA. If he can somehow start missing bats at the rate he did last season, Chen could be useful asset to all AL only owners. As it, he has fringe-average command is someone mixed league owners will want to spot-start, if at all possible. Last season with the Oriole he had a 4.02 ERA (4.34 xFIP) with 154 strikeouts and 57 walks over 192.2 innings. This week he should face the Rangers and Blue Jays at home. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.

Felix Doubront, Red Sox - Doubront has been on a bit of a roll lately, allowing two earned runs or less in eight of his last 10 starts. Granted, he hasn't always pitched deep into those starts or shown the best command of his pitches. Still with 83 strikeouts over 86.2 innings as a starter this season, he's someone worth taking a look at in mixed leagues. Doubront would have a higher ceiling in fantasy leagues, if he had better control and didn't carry a career walk rate of 4.06 BB/9. On the season he has a 4.11 ERA (3.94 xFIP) and is a back-end option for most AL only owners. This week he has a favorable matchup against the Mariners on the road. Mixed: $4; AL: Owned.

Danny Duffy, Royals - Duffy made his sixth appearance at Triple-A Omaha this week, as he continues his come back from Tommy John surgery. Over those six appearances he has a 5.88 ERA with 25 strikeouts and 11 walks over 26 innings. And while his ERA is ugly, he has shown improvement with a five-inning shutout performance, followed by a 5.2 inning shutout performance at the end of last month. His most recent outing was not so hot (four earned runs over 5.1 innings) and thus he'll likely spend some more time at Omaha, before the team is ready to bring him back up to the majors. Considering Wade Davis has a 5.42 ERA and the team is still in the hunt for a Wild Card playoff spot, the move might be made sooner rather than later. Duffy has a 5.28 ERA (4.58 xFIP) with 115 strikeouts and 69 walks over 133 innings at the major league level. He'll be a low-end option for AL only owners, when he returns. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Scott Feldman, Orioles - Feldman was traded to the Orioles this week, as the O's attempted to bolster their rotation for a playoff run. Previously Feldman was with the Cubs and held a 3.46 ERA (3.90 xFIP) with 67 strikeouts and 25 walks over 91 innings. He's no stranger to the AL as Feldman came up with the Rangers and most recently made 21 starts for them in 2012 with a 5.09 ERA (3.87 xFIP). Much of the reason for Feldman's lowered ERA with the Cubs this season is a career low .255 BABIP. Other than that, he has not thrown any new pitches or gained any new velocity to suggest he is a different pitcher than the one we saw with the Rangers last season. Now in the AL East, Feldman is not someone AL only owners will want to rely on or bid on heavily this week in their leagues. He's a fifth starter for the Orioles and a lower end option for owners in all formats. This week he faces the Rangers and Blue Jays at home. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.

Alexi Ogando, Rangers - Ogando made his first rehab start at Triple-A Round Rock this weekend, as he makes his way back from a shoulder injury. He's likely to continue his rehab there through the All-Star break, before rejoining the Rangers. Before he hit the shelf, Ogando had a 2.93 ERA (4.61 xFIP) with 43 strikeouts and 22 walks over 55.1 innings. His command has dropped significantly from a season ago, but that might have been the result of his shoulder injury. Last season his K/BB ratio was 3.88, which is almost double what it is this season at 1.95 K/BB. If for some reason he was dropped in any of your leagues, get him stashed away right away. He has the potential to be a real difference maker for the Rangers and fantasy owners in the second half of the season. The team only has two proven starters in their rotation as of today; so don't expect Ogando to get moved back to the bullpen, when he returns. Mixed: $10; AL: Owned.

Michael Pineda, Yankees - Pineda is almost done with his rehab assignment and is likely to be optioned to Triple-A as the team does not think he's ready to join their rotation yet. While his results at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre have been encouraging (3.60 ERA), his control and command have not been there. In his most recent start on Saturday he had a sequence where he walked a batter, threw a wild pitch, got an out, before walking another batter to load the bases. He settled down after that, but it showed that he likely needs more polishing in the minors. He's coming off of 2012 surgery to the labrum in his shoulder, after posting a 3.74 ERA (3.53 xFIP) with 173 strikeouts and 55 walks over 171 innings with the Mariners in 2011. He's still worth stashing in AL only formats, but don't be surprised if we don't see him until August. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Todd Redmond, Blue Jays - Redmond was called up this week from Triple-A Buffalo to take the roster spot of the recently disposed Chieng-Ming Wang. Redmond made a relief appearance on Wednesday, but is scheduled to make his first start with the team on Sunday against the Twins. Redmond has spent five seasons at Triple-A, including this one, and holds a 3.83 ERA at that level over 652.2 innings with a 3.31 K/BB. This season at Triple-A Buffalo he had 29 strikeouts and five walks over 26.2 innings. At 28 years old, he isn't a prospect by any stretch of the imagination. With Brandon Morrow not expected to rejoin the team until August, expect Redmond to be given a few starts to prove himself. This week he faces the Orioles on the road. Mixed: $2; AL: $9.

Taijuan Walker, Mariners - Since being promoted to Triple-A Tacoma, Walker has pitched 11 innings of shutout ball with 12 strikeouts, four walks, and five hits allowed. This is impressive on its own, but even more so, when one considers it's the PCL, where the ball flies out with regularity. Walker is only 20 years old and is on the fast track to the majors with excellent stuff and improving command. The only question now is how long does he stay at Tacoma, before getting the call. Erasmo Ramirez is ahead of him in the pecking order to get moved up and because he's on the 40-man roster, Danny Hultzen might also be too, though Hultzen is dealing with shoulder issues at the moment. Those in AL only formats need to keep tabs on him because after the All-Star break there won't be much holding him back. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Relief Pitchers:

Kevin Gausman, Orioles - As a reliever Gausman has thrown seven shutout innings with six strikeouts, one walk, and just four hits allowed. He is expected to remain in the bullpen, until the team needs another spot starter, which might not be soon, considering the team just traded for Scott Feldman and is set to get Wei-Yin Chen back this week. In the bullpen Gausman can pitch in long relief or work his way up the chain as an effective setup man. Either way, Gausman could potentially have value, much in the way that Drew Smyly does for the Tigers. This might not translate to many saves or wins, but can certainly help lower an owner's ERA and/or ratios in the process. Don't forget about him, just because he's not starting games. Mixed: $2; AL: $9.

Tommy Hunter, Orioles - With Jim Johnson blowing his MLB leading sixth save this week, owners speculating for save should again turn their attend to Hunter, who has a 2.09 ERA (3.83 xFIP). Johnson has had stretches this season where he's looked excellent and others where you wonder how everyone doesn't get a hit off of him. It's this inconsistency that could lead to his ultimate undoing or perhaps just time off for him to rest his arm, which has been worked hard as he leads all MLB relievers with 200 IP since the start of 2011. Whether or not Hunter sees save opportunities, he should be able to help all owners lower their rate stats as he has shown excellent command this season out of the O's bullpen. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners - Wilhelmsen is reportedly back in the mix to close games for the Mariners once again, after stringing together a few scoreless outings. On Wednesday he got his first save in over two weeks, in an extra innings game. Manager Eric Wedge figures to play the match-ups with Wilhelmsen and Oliver Perez, until Wilhelmsen is ready to make the job his again. To Wilhelmsen's credit he hasn't walked a batter over his last six appearances, though he hasn't been missing many bats either. If you're speculating for saves, he needs to be picked, though I'm not confident he'll be able to hold the job down, if he does indeed get it back. That said, there wouldn’t be many other options, if Oliver Perez is traded at the deadline. Mixed: $4; AL: $13.

Catchers:

Alex Avila, Tigers - Avila came off the DL this week, after dealing with a forearm injury, and got off to a hot start, going 3-for-7 in his first two games with a double and home run. He's had a rough first half this season due to a declining contact rate and lack of power. There was talk of him trying to retool his swing earlier this season, something that would likely benefit him as he's hitting just .174/.270/.303 this season. If you have the luxury of platooning Avila do so, as he's just 1-for-29 this season against LHP. Likely owned in most AL only leagues, he makes for a low-end option in most mixed leagues that use two catchers. Mixed: $2; AL: Owned.

Josh Phegley, White Sox - Phegley was called-up this week from Triple-A Charlotte when the White Sox decided to DFA Hector Gimenez, and will now share catching duties with the struggling Tyler Flowers. In his debut Phegley made his presence known as he drove in two runs on a single. Considering Flowers has hit .208/.260/.372 this season, it shouldn't take much for Phegley to earn the lion's share of the starts behind the dish. This season at Charlotte he hit .316/.368/.597 with 15 homers over 258 PA. In AL only formats he makes for a decent first catcher option, while in mixed leagues he's more of a second catcher option. Considering what's out there in AL only formats, you might have to bid more than what's expected to snag Phegley. I'd rather take my chances with Phegley than sit idle with the likes of John Jaso, Jose Lobaton, Chris Iannetta (unless it was an OBP league), Derek Norris, or Hank Conger to name a few. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.

Corner Infielders:

Luis Cruz, Yankees - The Yankees signed Cruz this week to give the left side of their infield some added depth. He was with the Dodgers earlier this season and hit .127/.175/.169 with one homer over 128 PA, before being DFA'd late last month. He figures to see steady playing time, until the All-Star break, when Derek Jeter should be back, allowing Eduardo Nunez can shift over to third base. A lifetime .240/.277/.329 hitter, Cruz has minimal value in most leagues. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox - Over his last five games at Triple-A Pawtucket, Middlebrooks has had two two-homer games and started to show he might be ready for another look at the MLB level for the Red Sox. The team put Stephen Drew on the DL this week with a hamstring injury that figures to keep him out through the end of the month. In turn, Jose Iglesias has moved over to short to fill-in and Brandon Snyder is starting at third base, but is Snyder really a better option than Middlebrooks?  In the short-term, perhaps, but the longer Drew remains out of the lineup, the longer the team has to consider if bringing Middlebrooks might be the best solution. It's that or bring up Xander Bogaerts and the team doesn't seem ready to go down that path just yet. Middlebrooks has real problems making contact, but his power is real and is reason enough to stash him in AL only formats, if he was dropped. In mixed leagues, it's probably just best to steer clear of this situation. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Brent Morel, White Sox - Morel was called back up this week from Triple-A Charlotte to give the team some added depth, after Paul Konerko hit the DL. At Charlotte he hit .283/.373/.438 with five homers and nine stolen bases over 293 PA. He didn't get much playing time last time he was up and that doesn't figure to change much this time around with Jeff Keppinger able to fill in any gaps in the lineup on a daily basis. If Morel were to see consistent at-bats the results likely would not be pretty as he lacks power and swings and misses far too much. He's a low-end corner bat even in AL only formats. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees - Rodriguez started a rehab assignment this week, in his efforts to rejoin the Yankees by the end of this month. He's coming back from left hip surgery, which is no small thing at 37-years old. So far he's still at Single-A Tampa, but figures to ramp up his rehab, as we get closer to August. Last season he hit .272/.353/.430 with 18 homers and 13 stolen bases over 529 PA. Those playing for this season would be wise to try and stash him for the last two months of the season. At minimum he should be a productive corner bat and considering what the Yankees look like these days, he should find himself hitting in the top half of the lineup. Mixed: $4; AL: $12.

Brandon Snyder, Red Sox - With Stephen Drew landing on the DL, Jose Iglesias has moved from third to shortstop and Synder has become the Red Sox starting third baseman. So far he has gone 6-for-22 with two doubles and a homer. Defensively, he committed an error on Saturday night that led to the Red Sox tying the game in the ninth inning, of what ended up being a loss. At Triple-A Pawtucket earlier this season he hit .266/.338/.468 with 10 homers and three stolen bases over 263 PA. He has some power, but swings and misses too much and does a poor job of getting on base. Don't expect to see him hold the job down for long if he keeps on making mental miscues like he did on Saturday night. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Brett Wallace, Astros - Wallace went 3-for-5 this week in a game against the Rays with two homers, giving him three homers over his last five games. He figures to continue to see steady at-bats against RHPs, of whom he has hit all three of his home runs against, while being sat against LHPs, of whom he has hit .225/.272/.305 against for his career. This platoon should help mitigate the damage to his batting average and help owners more than it hurts them. He hit LHPs well at Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier this season, so there might be room for him to grow out of this platoon role, if he stays hot. He's never been able to sustain any short-term success he's achieved because he swings and misses far too much and that's showing itself again, as he's struck out 25 times in just 58 PA, since being back up. If you dismissed him when he came up almost two weeks ago, you probably made the right decision. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Middle Infielders:

Grant Green, A's - Green rapped out four hits on Friday, two of which were doubles, to put him in second place in the PCL for hits with 111 on the season. He's now hitting .319/.375/.503 with 11 homers and four stolen bases over 384 PA at Triple-A Sacramento. As a prospect, he has shifted around plenty defensively, but seems to have settled at second base for now. At the MLB level, Eric Sogard has done little offensively to instill confidence in his bat at second, as he has hit .257/.335/.325 with no homers and seven stolen bases over 215 PA. The team has been reticent to make the switch because Green is still learning second base defensively. There's not much else Green can do offensively to make his case for a promotion, so those who do stash him, might be waiting a while. Still, he should be up before September. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Brock Holt, Red Sox - Holt was brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday to give the Red Sox some added infield depth, after Stephen Drew hit the DL. At Pawtucket this season he hit .263/.336/.297 with one homer and seven steals over 236 PA. He has almost no power with limited speed, so there's not really much upside here for fantasy owners, should he start to see regular at-bats. He played at third base in his first game up, so he should at least offer some positional flexibility to owners. Don't expect his stay in the majors to be a long one. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Derek Jeter, Yankees - Jeter started his rehab assignment on Saturday at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, as he makes his way back from an ankle injury. Considering he's starting out at Triple-A, Jeter doesn't figure to need too many games to get up to speed and ready to rejoin the Yankees. He's expected to be back sometime after the All-Star break, which puts him ahead of the return of Alex Rodriguez, who is also rehabbing. Last season Jeter hit .316/.362/.429 with 15 homers and nine stolen bases over 740 PA. Continue to stash him in all leagues, if possible. Mixed: $5; AL: $20.

Eduardo Nunez, Yankees - Nunez was activated from the 60-day DL on Saturday, after dealing with an oblique injury that kept him out since early May. He figures to start everyday at shortstop, until Derek Jeter is back, at which point he can switch over to third base and help out there. A career .261/.313/.367 hitter, Nunez has good speed and stole 22 bases over 338 PA in 2011. He's unlikely to help in many other categories, but given the state of shortstop this season and the dearth of stolen bases, he figures to have value in all leagues. Mixed: $4; AL: $13.

Outfielders:

Nick Castellanos, Tigers - I'm going to continue to beat the drum for Castellanos as someone that needs to be stashed in all leagues, until he gets promoted. Only 21 years old, he's hitting .291/.366/.467 at Triple-A Toledo with 11 homers and three stolen bases over 399 PA. The Tigers have not given any indication that he's close to joining the team, but we got the same line from the Rays, before they ultimately brought up Wil Myers. Castellanos came up as a third baseman, before switching to the outfield, so don't be surprised if he's dealt to a team with a need at that position. If he were to come up with the Tigers, Andy Dirks would likely lose playing time, as he has hit .249/.311/.356 this season over 287 PA. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Manny Ramirez, Rangers - Manny signed a minor league deal with the Rangers this week, in hopes of making his way back to the majors. The team sees him as a possible DH option to compliment the ailing Lance Berkman, who is hitting just .256/.355/.380 this season with 6 homers over 279 PA. The last time we saw Manny in the majors was in 2011, when he went 1-of-17 with the Rays, before calling it quits. Last season he tried to latch on with the A's and hit .302/.348/.349 at Triple-A Sacramento over 69 PA, but that included three doubles and no homers. MLB considers his 100-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy served, so that won't delay him from joining the team. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Nolan Reimold, Orioles - Reimold came off the DL this week, after dealing with a hamstring injury. He'll occasionally take away at-bats from Nate McLouth in left field, but more than likely see time at DH with the fragile Brian Roberts and fellow outfielder Corey Dickerson. Reimold is a career .253/.329/.440 hitter with decent power and not much speed. If his .234 BABIP moves upward, closer to his career .282 mark, he should at least be of use to AL only owners as a fifth outfielder. As is, it's tough to see him having value in mixed leagues. Mixed: $2; AL: $7.

Michael Saunders, Mariners - Saunders started a game in the outfield for the Mariners this week for the first time in almost a week and a half. He missed time dealing with a spiked finger that wasn't injured badly enough to force him to the DL. In his return he hit a home run, so his finger doesn't appear to be affecting his grip too much. On the season he's hit .207/.291/.325 with five homers and 10 stolen bases over 235 PA. Last season he was one home run shy of going 20/20, which tells you something about his skill set. If he was dropped in any mixed leagues, now would be a good time to pick him back up. He won't hit for average, but his power/speed combination is unlikely to be matched on the waiver wire. Mixed: $6; AL: Owned.

Blake Tekotte, White Sox - Tekotte was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Friday to give the White Sox some added depth in their outfield as DeWayne Wise continues to recover from his hamstring woes. At Charlotte he hit .249/.331/.432 with four homers and 10 stolen bases over 262 PA. Formerly with the Padres organization, Tekotte has real problems making contact. He definitely has some speed as he stole 36 bases over 498 PA in Double-A back in 2011. He might figure into the White Sox lineup, after the trade deadline, if guys like Alex Rios are moved, but we're not there yet. Until then, don't expect Tekotte to have much, if any, value to owners. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Matt Tuiasosopo, Tigers - Tuiasosopo was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with an injury to his ribs. He returns to a batting line of .338/.466/.563 with three homers over 88 PA. He hasn't been used much this season, but should at minimum start to take away at-bats from Andy Dirks in left field. He has some power, but does a poor job of making contact. He does a decent job of walking as a means of getting on base, so those in leagues that use OBP over AVG, should keep that in mind. Until he starts to see steady at-bats, his value is limited to that of a utility or last outfielder in most AL only formats. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Note: If you have anyone else you'd like me to discuss, just drop a line in the comments section.

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