Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles - Chen came back this week and fired off seven innings with only one earned run on three walks and four strikeouts against the Rangers. The last time we saw Chen, was back in early May, so his return was likely a welcomed one for the O's. On the season he now has a 2.82 ERA (4.77 xFIP) with 31 strikeouts and 15 walks over 54.1 innings. Last season was his first in America and thus he is not a well-known commodity, so some owners may not be as eager roster him as they should be. He has not shown a deft touch at missing bats, but has done well to avoid walking many batters, so his command has remained fringe-average. Because of this, his potential to help owners only goes so far, but with a good offense backing him, he should be a nice option for most owners every time out in the second half. Mixed: $5; AL: $15.
Jarred Cosart, Astros - Cosart's no-hit bid on Friday night in his debut was the talk of baseball that night and for good reason as he showed impressive poise in his first start in the majors. He also however showed why owners should remain somewhat skeptical as he walked three batters, while striking out two. His command has come and gone at times this season and in his last minor league start this was clearly evident as he walked four batters over 5.1 innings, while striking out three. He has the potential to miss plenty of bats with two plus pitches, but he must limit the walks or his outings will remain erratic. In his favor, he has limited home runs at every stop in the minors, so the walks haven't led to much further damage. He'll need to keep it this way, if he is to stick in the majors as a starter, which some scouts doubt he will do. For now he makes for an interesting starter with upside for the second half of the season. Expect to see him back on July 23rd or as soon as the Astros need a fifth starter, after the All-Star break. Mixed: $6; AL: $18.
Zach McAllister, Indians - McAllister is likely one or two more rehab starts away from rejoining the Indians rotation, where he had a 3.43 ERA (4.65 xFIP) earlier this season. He did a mediocre job of missing pitches, when he was healthy, so there's not a high ceiling for profit here. He's coming back from a strained right middle finger that affected his ability to command his off-speed pitches. Now healthy, he is someone that AL only owners should again rely on, as he allowed three earned runs or less in 10 of his 11 starts, earlier this season. He doesn't have a long track history of success, so it's fair for mixed league owners to remain somewhat skeptical, but with a good offense behind him, McAllister should a better than average option in most of his starts. Mixed: $7; AL: $20.
Ivan Nova, Yankees - Nova has been fantastic in his last two starts back in the Yankees rotation with 17 strikeouts and only three walks over 17 innings against the Orioles and Royals. David Phelps is close to returning, but the team may have second thoughts about putting him back in their rotation with how well Nova is performing right now. On the season Nova has a 4.02 ERA (3.34 xFIP) with 42 strikeouts and 14 walks over 40.1 innings as a starter. Last season he started 28 games and registered an ERA over five, so it's fair for owners to remain somewhat hesitant to buy into what he's offering. This season he has thrown harder that he did a season and is missing more bats, while keeping the ball in the yard, all of which are great signs for his progress. It's only two starts, but owners should ride the hot hand, until Nova proves he is not to be trusted. Mixed: $5; AL: $15.
Alexi Ogando, Rangers - Ogando is set to rejoin the Rangers rotation, after the break, after dealing with a right shoulder inflammation. Shoulder injuries are nothing to play with and Ogando last pitched in the majors in early June, so it's fair to use some caution in his first start back. That said, he has shown himself to be a great asset to owners, when healthy. As a starter he has a 3.36 ERA (4.09 xFIP) with 169 strikeouts and 65 walks over 225.1 innings for his career. He was starting to use a change-up more often this season, before his injury, which should help keep hitters more honest at the plate, as he usually only offers a fastball and slider. If he's still available in your league, pounce at the chance to roster him as he should be a strong option for all owners in the second half of the season. Mixed: $12; AL: Owned.
Erasmo Ramirez, Mariners - Ramirez fell flat this week in his return to the M's rotation as he allowed seven earned runs over just 4.2 innings with four walks and four strikeouts. He was optioned back to the minors afterward, but should be back up, once the team needs another fifth starter. He faced the Red Sox, which is somewhat understandable, but make no mistake, this was not what owners were hoping for. Still, he showed enough last season that owners should remain optimistic as to what he can offer their team in the second half of the season. Last season as a starter he had a 3.64 ERA (3.52 xFIP), with 41 strikeouts and eight walks over 47 innings as a starter. It's fair to lower your expectations after such a bad first outing, but don't lose faith completely, there's still potential for profit here in the second half. Mixed: $7; AL: $20.
Danny Salazar, Indians - Salazar was very impressive in his MLB debut this week as he pumped fastballs right by hitters, on his way to a seven strikeout performance with only two hits and one walk allowed over six innings to the Blue Jays. Unfortunately it is up in the air as to when we'll see Salazar back with the team as Zach McAllister is about to return from the DL and will have first dibs at claiming the fifth starter spot in the Indians rotation, moreover, there aren't any other starters in said rotation that have struggled much recently, so it's tough to see Salazar having much value right now. The best case scenario would be if he came up as a reliever and was at least able to get his feet wet in the bullpen. This season at Triple-A Columbus he has a 3.40 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 13 walks over 42.1 innings. The spike in his strikeout rate this season is dramatic and should open up eyes as to just how effective he can be, when he's locating his pitches. If you're trying to measure him up against Trevor Bauer, take Salazar and run. Bauer hasn't ever shown the command that Salazar has this season. Mixed: $1; AL: $6.
Sonny Gray, A's - Gray was brought up from Triple-A Sacramento this week to help with the A's bullpen. Should something happen to any of the A's starters, Gray would be the first to step in and is thus great insurance for those worrying about the possibility of Bartolo Colon missing time because of the Biogenesis case. Should he not miss time, Gray is still someone that is capable of missing bats and acting akin to Drew Smylyo of the Tigers. There's upside here, it just might not be actualized until 2014. Owners in keeper leagues should up their bids as Gray posted a 2.81 ERA with 107 strikeouts and 34 walks over 102.1 innings this season at Triple-A Sacramento and profiles as a middle of the rotation starter down the line. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.
J.R. Murphy, Yankees - On the season Yankees catchers are batting just .227/.296/.320, which leaves plenty of room for Murphy, currently at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, to possibly be promoted in the second half of the season and show what he's got. Currently at Scraton/Wilkes-Barre he's hitting .293/.372/.476 with three homers over 94 PA. He's only 22 years old, but is not considered much of a prospect. Earlier this season at Double-A Trenton he hit .268/.352/.421 with six homers over 211 PA. GM Brian Cashman has already stated that he's surveyed the trade market and considers it barren, in regards to catchers, so Murphy may be the best in-house option to help the team offensively at catcher. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Chris Colabello, Twins - If Justin Morneau is traded this season to a contender, Colabello might be the next man up to take his spot as the Twins starting first baseman. This season at Triple-A Rochester he has hit .358/.437/.658 with 24 homers over 366 PA. This is only his second season in the minors at age 29, which is an oddity, but explainable once you consider he spent seven seasons in independent ball. Last season at Double-A New Britain he hit .280/.355/.474 with 19 homers over 561 PA, so his power is not a complete fluke. If you're speculating for power or an under the radar corner bat for the after the trade deadline, give Colabello a look. Mixed: $2; AL: $6.
Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays - Lawrie came off the DL this weekend, after dealing with an ankle injury that kept him out since late May. The Blue Jays are playing him at second base, his old position in the minor leagues and with the Brewers. This should help his fantasy value, once he's played enough games there to qualify in all leagues. Offensively there are some questions as to what Lawrie can offer owners, as he was hitting just .266/.324/.433 with five homers and two stolen bases over 153 PA, before he got hurt. At 23 years old, the power is there and the threat of a stolen base exists, while he's young. Still, he doesn't make very good contact and won't walk much, so that's a concern. If he's still available in mixed leagues, he's almost certainly worth rostering because of his power/speed skill set. Mixed: $20; AL: Owned.
Mike Moustakas, Royals - Moustakas has raised his game over the last month with a .293/.333/.439 batting line and two homers over 87 PA. Some of this might be because of new hitting instructor George Brett or it might be an adjustment that Moustakas made on his own. Either way, Moustakas is talented enough that a small break out like this might be a harbinger of things to come and bears watching. Considering his start to this season, he's lucky to not be figuring things out at Triple-A Omaha. Last season he hit 20 homers with a .242/.296/.412 batting line over 614 PA. His contact rate is up this season and he's striking out less, but a pesky .230 BABIP is drowning this progress. If he's still available in your mixed league, consider him as a corner or utility bat to help your offense. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.
Justin Smoak, Mariners - Over the last 30 days Smoak is hitting .306/.383/.542 with four homers over 81 PA, which is significant progress from how he started the season. He has a career high .321 BABIP working in his favor this season, which somewhat skews his numbers this season, that look to be on the rise. Outside of that, he's hitting very similarly to how he did a season ago, which should leave owners skeptical to as how much real progress he's made this season. One thing that must be factored in is the movement of the fences in at Safeco Field, which might be helping to boost his numbers. If you're speculating for power or playing for next season, Smoak makes for an interesting post-hype sleeper in the second half of the season. Mixed: $6; AL: Owned.
Stephen Drew, Red Sox - Drew is set to come off the DL on Sunday, after dealing with a hamstring injury for the last two weeks. He should allow Jose Iglesias to shift back to third base and allow Brock Holt to move into a more supportive role. Before he left, Drew hit .233/.313/.4109 with five homers over 262 PA. It's likely unrealistic to expect Drew to perform like he did at Arizona, rather owners should hope that he stays healthy. If you're in a mixed league, give him a look as he can help your counting stats. Mixed: $4; AL: Owned.
Grant Green, A's - Green was called up from his stay at Triple-A Sacramento, where he was just awarded PCL player of the month, for June, before making his way to Oakland this week. At Sacramento he hit .318/.374/.500 with 11 homers and four stolen bases over 388 PA. He is expected to platoon with Eric Sogard at second base, though it's difficult to see Sogard holding his own as he is a career .234/.303/.368 battler against RHPs. Green will need to hit to earn his keep at the MLB level, but should shed Sogard and the platoon as the season progresses. Mixed: $3; AL: $11.
Hernan Perez, Tigers - With Omar Infante hitting the DL this week, Perez was brought up from Double-A Erie. There he hit .297/.321/.417 with four homers and 24 stolen bases. His speed is something that owners can use in most leagues, but it is yet to be seen if manager Jim Leyland will take advantage, as the Tigers are last in the AL when it comes to stolen bases. Infante is not expected to miss more than the minimum 15-days on the DL, so owners should not grow attached to Perez. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Jackie Bradley, Red Sox - Jackie Bradley was brought back up from Triple-A Pawtucket this week to help give the Red Sox some added depth behind Jacoby Ellsbury in center field. At Pawtucket he hit .297/.393/.530 with seven homers and four stolen bases over 215 PA. At the MLB level, he has struggled to make contact, which is a real concern, but he shouldn't have a .194 BABIP for long. Unfortunately, he has been used sparingly as a defensive replacement and pinch runner as of late, so don't expect him to generate much value. It would likely benefit all if he went back to Pawtucket, until a real opportunity presented itself in Boston. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.
Craig Gentry, Rangers - Gentry is set to begin a rehab assignment on Monday and should be ready to rejoin the Rangers shortly after the All-Star break. He's working his way back from a hand that doesn't seem to be all that serious. Earlier this season he hit .216/.311/.310 with one homer and eight stolen bases over 133 PA, which seems low, but was enough to keep Leonys Martin at bay for a while. That is no longer the case as Martin has started to flourish in his absence and is unlikely to start sharing his playing time, once Gentry is back in the mix. Gentry can help owners somewhat with his speed, but until a job opens back up for him full-time, it's difficult to see him helping on a consistent basis. Mixed: $1; AL: $6.
Justin Maxwell, Astros - Maxwell was brought off the seven day DL this week, after suffering concussion like symptoms. He goes back to manning the outfield, though it's unclear where he's best served playing as Brandon Barnes has done a good job defensively of playing center field and now with Brett Wallace up and hitting, Chris Carter has taken over left field, leaving right field as the only other alternative. When Maxwell is at his best he is hitting for power and stealing bases with a somewhat manageable batting average. This season however, he has dealt with an injury to his hand, so it is yet to be seen just how much power he can hit for. Until he shows that he can hit like he did last season, when he belted 18 homers over 352 PA, owners should remain skeptical. Mixed: $4; AL: $14.
Manny Ramirez, Rangers - Ramirez hit two home runs this week at Triple-A Round Rock, as he has started to find his groove on the comeback trail. Before dismissing the 41 year old, consider that his barrier to playing time is Lance Berkman, who has not shown a great ability to stay healthy this season. It is unrealistic to expect Ramirez to be the great offensive threat he once was in his days with Red Sox, but he should offer a handful of home runs, once he gets the call later this summer. Don't dismiss him, this is baseball and weirder things have happened, just look at the seasons Raul Ibanez and Bartolo Colon are having. Mixed: $2; AL: $9.
Note: If you have anyone else you'd like me to discuss, just drop a line in the comments section.