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FAAB Factor - AL: Back To the Future

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:

Alex Cobb, Rays - Cobb is set to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday, as he makes his way back from that terrible incident where he took a ball off his head earlier this season. He shouldn't need more than a start or two to get himself ready and rejoin the Rays rotation, so bid aggressively, if he's still available in your league. Prior to his injury he was having a breakout season with a 3.01 ERA (2.99 xFIP), 76 strikeouts, and 23 walks over 83.2 innings. Fortunately he was not seriously hurt and his arm was not injured, so he should be fresh for the second half of the season. Mixed: $12; AL: Owned.

Jarred Cosart, Astros - Cosart is set to make his second start this coming Tuesday against the A's at home. It will be a special start for him considering he's from the Houston area and that his debut against the Rays was nearly a no-hitter. At Triple-A Oklahoma City this season he had a 3.19 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 50 walks over 93 innings. I expect him to miss plenty of bats, while in the majors, but question what control will come with it as he rarely showed a consistent ability to limit the walks, while in the minors. He should be member of the Astros rotation for the remainder of the season or until the team caps his innings in September. If the rotation sticks to form, he could get another start on Sunday at Toronto. Mixed: $6; AL: $18.

Tommy Hanson, Angels - Hanson is set to come off the DL on Tuesday, after dealing with a forearm injury that has caused him to miss the last month of action with the Angels. This season has been a rough one for him as he's had a 5.10 ERA (4.92 xFIP) with 33 strikeouts and 17 walks over 47.2 innings. He's had a couple of back-to-back quality starts this season, but that's about all he's had go right. He's simply not the same pitcher we saw back in Atlanta. This week he'll get the Twins at home. Buyer beware. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Colby Lewis, Rangers - Lewis is set to make another rehab start at Double-A Frisco this Monday, as he continues his road back from a forearm injury. He has yet to regain his velocity and his fastball sat around 87 mph in his last start, so it's clear he still has some work to do. However, he hasn't noted any soreness that's out of the ordinary and thus he remains on schedule to rejoin the team sometime in early August, baring a setback. Last season with the Rangers he was having one of his best seasons yet with a 3.43 ERA (3.89 xFIP), 93 strikeouts and 14 walks over 105 innings, before he suffered the injury to his flexor tendon. Until his rehab starts begin to go more smoothly and he shows more flashes of what he once was, owners should remain skeptical and hesitant to invest in him for the second half. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Zach McAllister, Indians - McAllister is set to make his return to the Indians rotation on Tuesday against the Mariners on the road. He has been on the DL dealing with a finger injury since the beginning of June. Earlier this season he had a 3.43 ERA (4.64 xFIP) with 45 strikeouts and 22 walks over 65.2 innings. His command is fringe-average and will need to improve some in the second-half, if he's to be of real use to owners in all formats. Still, he's allowed three earned runs or less in 14 of his last 16 starts, dating back to last season, so he's shown some consistency. He's a safer option than most free agent pitchers on the waiver wire. Mixed: $7; AL: $20.

Taijuan Walker, Mariners - Walker is the last big pitching prospect still out there in AL only leagues that could come up and dominate right away. At Double-A Jackson this season he posted a 2.46 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 23 walks over 84 innings. He then made the jump to Triple-A Tacoma and over his first four starts there has crushed the competition allowing just two earned runs with 21 strikeouts and seven walks over 21 innings. He's ready right now to help the Mariners and thus needs to be on everyone's radar for a promotion that could come at any moment. The team has shown with other players this season that they'll promote prospects aggressively, if they think the player is ready for the challenge. Walker looks ready, so don't be caught off guard if he comes up sooner than expected. If you're saving your FAAB dollars for any pitching prospect still in the minors, it better be for Walker. Mixed: $5; AL: $20.

Relief Pitchers:

Jose Cisnero, Astros - With the trade deadline approaching one of the teams that is sure to be a seller is that of the Astros, who are likely to move their closer Jose Veras. Should this happen, Cisnero would be the most likely fill-in as he has a 3.05 ERA (3.70 xFIP) with 39 strikeouts and 17 walks over 38.1 innings. The walks are a bit concerning, but he does well enough to miss bats and there are few if any other competitors to take the job, in what is one of the league's worst bullpens. This is Cisnero's first season in the majors, so he lacks experience. He's shown himself to be dominant at time though as he has a run of 17.1 scoreless innings over 10 appearances earlier this season. If you're speculating for saves, he's worth a look in all formats. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Catchers:

Chris Herrmann, Twins - Hermann was brought back up on Friday to help give the Twins some added depth at catcher and in the outfield, after a series of roster moves. Previously he was at Triple-A Rochester, where he hit .227/.297/.312 with two homers and three stolen bases over 275 PA. At 25-years old, Herrmann is not a prospect and will likely only see limited at-bats, until the outfield is back to health, at which point he'll likely go back to Rochester. If you're in an AL only that uses two catchers, you might squeak out some value over the next two weeks. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Corner Infielders:

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox - Bogaerts is last elite level minor league hitter still out there in AL only leagues that could come up and be a real difference maker the last two months of the season, perhaps similar to how Manny Machado affected the Orioles last season in their run towards the playoffs. If you're still hoarding your FAAB dollars, this needs to be kept in mind, as we're likely not going to see many other prospects make their debut until September, when rosters expand. Bogaerts has hit .290/.386/.484 with 13 homers and seven stolen bases over 387 PA between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox currently have Stephen Drew, fresh off the DL, and Jose Iglesias, who has hit way over his head this season, on the left side of their infield. Adding Bogaerts to the mix might seem rash considering he's only 20 years old, but it's tough to find many negative things written about him in the scouting community and by all accounts his bat is going to be special. Mixed: $4; AL: $12.

Chris Colabello, Twins - Colabello was brought back up from Triple-A Rochester on Friday to add some depth to first base and the Twins outfield. At Rochester he hit .354/.432/.652 with 24 homers and two steals over 375 PA. This is only his second season with the Twins organization; previously he was in independent ball for seven seasons. Last season he hit .280/.355/.474 with 19 homers over 561 PA at Double-A New Britain. Should Justin Morneau be traded, first base would likely be Colabello's for the remainder of the season, so keep that in mind when bidding. At 29-years old, he's not a prospect, but that doesn't mean he can't still be a late bloomer. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees - A-Rod is set to come off the DL this coming week and rejoin the Yankees, after spending the first half of the season recovering and rehabbing from hip surgery. At 37-years old, he's been slow to recover and has had to DH instead of play defense in his most recent rehab game because of tightness in his left quad. That said, the team is sure to welcome his offensive potential back to a lineup that has been decimated by injuries, his included, this season. Last season he hit .272/.353/.430 with 18 homers and 13 steals over 529 PA. He struggled mightily in the playoffs, but that was with his hip injured. Now healthy enough to rejoin the team, he should at minimum be considered for his power, while the speed is likely gone for good. The Biogensis case is still out there, but it's not likely to affect players this season, given how long the arbitration hearings and defense by the players union is likely to take. Don't let his reputation discourage your bidding. Mixed: $8; AL: $20.

Danny Valencia, Orioles - Valencia was recalled on Friday to split time at DH with Henry Urrutia, as the team moves on from Nolan Reimold, who is out for the season. Valencia played 44 games at third last season and is likely to see the occasional start there and at first, while on the active roster. Previously he was at Triple-A Norfolk, where he hit .314/.350/.607 with 12 homers over 206 PA. He's not likely to hit for that much power or that high of an average in the majors. He's best served facing primarily LHPs, of which he has a .309/.351/.469 batting line against over 370 PA. If used this way, he has limited potential, even in AL only formats. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Middle Infielders:

Douglas Bernier, Twins - Bernier was brought up on Friday to give the Twins some added depth up the middle. Prior to this he hit .295/.370/.407 with three homers and four stolen bases over 353 PA at Triple-A Rochester. Unless something happens to Jamey Carroll, who is already the team's backup middle-infielder, don't expect Bernier to get much playing time. He's best left on the waiver wire of all leagues. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Thomas Field, Angels - With Brendan Harris DFA'd, Field was called up on Saturday to fill his role as the team's backup up the middle in their infield defense. At Triple-A Salt Lake City he hit .297/.390/.488 with nine homers and five stolen bases over 293 PA. If he were to see real playing time, his power might be of some use to owners. As is though, he will only see the occasional start when Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar needs a day off. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Chris Getz, Royals - The Johnny Giavotella experiment was deemed a failure and thus he was shipped back to Triple-A Omaha, in favor of Chris Getz, the team's former starting second baseman. Getz is a career .252/.310/.312 hitter with no power, but some speed that could potentially help owners. This could be said of Giavotella and Elliot Johnson as well, who have all spent time at the keystone. To compound problems, Getz sprained his knee on Saturday and thus Giavotella could be back up to take his roster spot, if he needs a trip to the DL. In sum, the position has been a long game of musical chairs between Getz, Johnson, and Getz and none have proven to be the answer the team is looking for. It's best for owners to steer clear of this mess if they can. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Brent Lillibridge, Yankees - With Derek Jeter back on the DL, the team recalled Lillibridge to help give the team some added depth in their infield and potentially their outfield too as he can play multiple positions defensively. Offensively it's tough to see him helping owners much as he's a career .206/.271/.337 hitter with very little power, but some speed, if given enough playing time to show it. Given the health of the Yankees roster, if wouldn't be a stretch to see Lillibridge get enough playing time to be of some use in the short-term in AL only formats. Past that however and his inability to make contact would likely expose him. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Outfielders:

Jeff Baker, Rangers - Baker was activated from the DL on Friday and has gone back to his utility role for the Rangers. Baker is a career .303/.355/.531 hitter against LHPs, so those in daily formats should be able to squeeze some value out of him, despite his sporadic playing time. He also has some pop in his bat with already nine homers this season over just 96 PA. Because he can play the infield, expect him to see more playing time that someone like Craig Gentry, who is tethered to the outfield. There are worse fifth outfielders in AL only formats. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Craig Gentry, Rangers - Gentry was activated from the DL on Friday and has resumed his role as a backup outfield for the Rangers. Earlier this season he was playing ahead of Leonys Martin, but that changed after Martin showed himself to be a very capable defender and one with a higher upside offensively. Gentry is a career .267/.338/.348 hitter with no power, but enough speed to help in AL only leagues. That said, he has a tough time getting on base to show that speed. Expect him to give Martin the occasional day off and be used as a pinch-runner late in games. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Manny Ramirez, Rangers - Manny continues to do his thing at Triple-A Round Rock, in hopes of joining the Rangers as a DH. So far he's hit .250/.333/.475 with three homers over 45 PA. His competition for at-bats at the MLB level is that of Lance Berkman, who is currently on the DL with a hip injury, but should return relatively soon. Should Berkman get injured again, not unlikely at 37 years old, the team will have to consider giving Ramirez a look. Ramirez is a wild card for the Rangers and should be viewed likewise by fantasy owners. However until there's a spot for him to log at-bats everyday with the team, there's really no sense in bidding him up. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Henry Urrutia, Orioles - With Nolan Reimold out for the remainder of the season, Urrutia has an opportunity to take the O's starting DH job and run with. This is the 26-year old Cuban defector's first season in American professional baseball and he has acquitted himself well, as he tore through Double-A Bowie, before being promoted to Triple-A Norfolk. All told, he has hit .365/.427/.531 with seven homers with one stolen base over 288 PA. It is worth noting that all of those homers were at Double-A and he only got in 64 PA at Triple-A, so to say he's been fast-tracked to the majors would be an understatement. Scouts have questions about how his swing will hold up at the MLB level against quality velocity and just how much power he can hit for. Defensively, he can be used in the outfield and should qualify there in all leagues, but it will be an adventure if he plays there as this area of his game needs the most work. Don't be surprised to see him DH exclusively for the team. Mixed: $2; AL: $9.

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

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