Andrew Albers, Twins – In his debut on Tuesday against the Royals on the road, Albers pitched 8.1 scoreless innings with four hits allowed, two strikeouts, and one walk. Prior to this, he was at Triple-A Rochester, where he had a 2.86 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 32 walks over 132.1 innings. At 27-years old, he's not a prospect, but that shouldn't dissuade owners from taking a chance on him, as he showed good control at Double and Triple-A, in the minors. If he can keep that up, he'll be relevant in more than just AL-only formats, but we're not there yet. This coming week he faces the Indians and White Sox at home. Mixed: $2; AL: $7.
Danny Duffy, Royals – Duffy made a spot start for the Royals this week, as he pitched 3.2 innings and allowed two earned runs to the Twins. On the one hand he was able to strikeout seven batters, but on the other hand he was pulled from the game because he was already up to 93 pitches and couldn't make it out of the fourth inning. He was sent back down to Triple-A Omaha after the game, but could be back up this week, as the Royals have a double-header with the Tigers this week on Friday. Given the opponent though, it's doubtful owners will want to start him, even in AL-only formats. Moreover, Wade Davis is back with the team, following his leave to attend to a family matter, so it's not like Duffy has a spot open for him to stay in the team's rotation. He should be back up by September, at the latest. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Sonny Gray, A's – Gray made his starting pitching debut on Saturday, when he pitched six innings against the Blue Jays on the road and gave up two earned runs with four hits allowed, five strikeouts, and three walks. He was shaky through his first three innings, but then settled down and faced the minimum number of batters his last three innings. He has supplanted Tommy Milone in the A's rotation and is likely to remain there, as long as he continues to pitch well. Earlier this season he was at Triple-A Sacramento, where he posted a 3.42 ERA with 118 strikeouts and 39 walks over 118.1 innings. Those numbers might not sound overly impressive, but they were among the best in the PCL, where the ball is known to jump off bats. This week he faces the Astros at home, which is a matchup all owners should look to jump on. Mixed: $5; AL: $20.
Brett Oberholtzer, Astros – Oberholtzer made the second start of his career this week against the Red Sox and spun seven shutout innings with four hits allowed, two strikeouts, and two walks at home. That is now back-to-back starts with no earned runs allowed against two pretty formidable offenses (his first start was at Baltimore). At Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier this season he had a 4.37 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 25 walks over 80.1 innings. His lack of strikeouts in his first two starts is a concern because the odds are low that he'll be able to keep his walks to a minimum like this for very long, though he did show pretty good control in the minors. This week he faces the Rangers at home and Angels on the road. Considering his first two outings and the level of those opponents, owners should be more trusting of him that teammate Brad Peacock for now. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.
Brad Peacock, Astros – Peacock rejoined the Astros rotation last Sunday and has since made two starts, pitching a combined 13 innings with four earned runs, only seven hits allowed, 15 strikeouts, and six walks. He struck out 10 Twins batters in his return and allowed only one earned run against the Rangers, both of which are surprising accomplishments for the young pitcher. Prior to this, he was at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he posted a 2.73 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 22 walks over 79 innings. He has had problems in the past with his control and this was again evident in his most recent start. This week he faces the Angels on the road. Those in mixed leagues will likely want to pass on him for now. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Danny Salazar, Indians – Salazar made his second MLB start this week, as he pitched 7.2 innings and allowed four earned runs against the Tigers at home with seven hits allowed, 10 strikeouts, and one walk. Considering the opponent, his 10 strikeouts look mighty nice and only add to his impressive debut outing, in the middle of last month. After that start, he was sent back down to Triple-A Columbus as there wasn't a spot for him in the rotation, but he'll get to stick around this time as Corey Kluber has gone down with a sprained finger and will be out four to six weeks. At Columbus, Salazar was equally impressive sporting a 2.73 ERA with 78 strikeouts and 14 walks over 59.1 innings. This week he faces the Twins and A's on the road. If you haven't bought in yet, now's the time. Mixed: $5; AL: $20.
Dane De La Rosa & Kevin Jepsen, Angels – Ernesto Frieri is out as the Angels closer and it's not tough to see why, as he has a 19.06 ERA with three losses and two blown saves over his last eight appearances. Really the entire Angels bullpen has been terrible all season long, Frieri is just leading by example right now. The next best option after Frieri is, well that's just it, there are no good options in this bullpen. Over the last 30 days, Kevin Jepsen is the only reliever of much consequence with an ERA under 4.00. Everyone else is new to the bullpen or has been awful. Dane De La Rosa got a save on Friday, so he's the most likely option to continue to see save chances, but he has a 5.56 ERA (3.95 xFIP) with eight strikeouts and six walks over the last 30 days (11.1 IP). Jepsen is the team's best option as he has a 3.86 ERA (3.17 xFIP) with 10 strikeouts and two walks over the last 30 days (9.1 IP). Jepsen will miss more bats than De La Rosa, which is another reason he should be closing and he has much more experience. There's the possibility that Frieri gets his job back, but he'll have to earn that and there's no telling how long that might take. Really, this is a situation to avoid, if at all possible. De La Rosa Mixed: $5; AL: $15. Jepsen Mixed: $4; AL: $12.
Danny Farquhar, Mariners – After converting three consecutive save opportunities, it appears Farquhar is the new closer for the M's, after Tom Wilhelmsen blew it. On the season, Farquhar's 4.95 ERA seems lousy, but he's got a 2.05 xFIP with 55 strikeouts and 14 walks over 36.1 IP. More than anything, a .363 BABIP and 54.5 percent strand rate have skewed his ERA much higher than what his skill level suggests. At 26-years old, he's a rookie and is likely still getting used to pitching in the majors, so there might be some hiccups along the way, but for the remainder of the season, he's the best bet to end up with the most saves out of the M's bullpen. If he's still available in any of your leagues, grab him. Mixed: $7; AL: $25.
Josh Fields & Wesley Wright, Astros – Almost any way you slice it, the Astros have the worst bullpen in the majors. Right now their relievers are a mix of rookies and castoffs. Jose Cisnero was thought to be the front-runner for the closing gig, after the team traded Jose Veras to the Tigers, but that was before he was demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Most recently Josh Fields earned a save for the team on Monday, but then he turned around and gave up five earned runs over his next two outings (1.1 IP). The only option that makes sense right now for the club is Wesley Wright, who has experience, and an ERA that's below 4.00. For the season, Wright has 40 strikeouts and 16 walks over 41.1 innings with a 3.92 ERA (3.73 xFIP). Still, you have to wonder how many more save opportunities a club on pace for 110 losses has in it and if it's even worth your time as an owner to chase those saves. If it were me, I'd roster Wright and cut bait at the first sign of trouble. Fields Mixed: $3; AL: $9. Wright Mixed: $3; AL: $12.
George Kottaras, Royals – With Salvador Perez landing on the 7-day DL with a concussion, Kottaras has split time behind the dish with Brett Hayes for the Royals. On the season he's hit .176/.384/.432 with five homers over 99 PA. He's shown an impressive eye at the plate, but hasn't made enough contact for it to really matter. Perez has started to feel better as of late and could come off the DL early this week, so any future value Kottaras might have is fleeting. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Humberto Quintero, Mariners – Since joining the M's late last month, Quintero has hit .286/.333/.536 with two homers over 30 PA. He's starting over Henry Blanco and likely will continue to do so, at least until he slows down offensively. A career .236 hitter, Quintero is unlikely to keep this up for long, but until he slows down, he's worth a look in more AL-only formats. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Josh Thole, Blue Jays – With J.P. Arencibia dealing with knee bursitis and having hit .188/.243/.290 over the last 30 days, Thole has been starting to see more and more playing time for the Blue Jays. A career .250/.325/.321 hitter, Thole is nothing special, but he at least makes pretty good contact for a catcher (88 percent for his career). He's just dealing with a .164 BABIP this season, so his numbers are down right now. Give him a look if you're in need of a second catcher in AL only formats. Mixed: No; AL: $3.
Stephen Vogt, A's – Since John Jaso left the A's with a concussion late last month; Vogt has seen the lion's share of playing time behind the dish, over Derek Norris. He has rewarded the team by hitting .286/.375/.464 over this span and is likely to continue to see steady at-bats moving forward, as Jaso has yet to resume baseball activities yet. Earlier this season, Vogt hit .324/.398/.547 with 13 homers over 338 PA at Triple-A Sacramento, so he's got some power to offer owners. At 28-years old, he's just now getting his first real taste of the majors and is doing what he can to show the team he belongs. Give him a look in deeper leagues that utilize two catchers. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
David Adams, Yankees – Adams was brought back up this week from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to give the Yankees some additional infield depth, as they deal with the injury to Derek Jeter. He's been up and down a couple of times this season, which isn't surprising given the team's injury woes. On the season he has hit .194/.257/.271 with two homers over 141 PA. In the minors he consistently hit for a good average, but then again he's only seen 190 PA at Triple-A. Unless a major injury hits the infield, he's unlikely to have much value. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox – The Red Sox finally pulled the trigger Saturday and brought Middlebrooks back up from Triple-A Pawtucket. Brandon Snyder going to the DL brought on the move, but really this could've been done sooner, given the trade of Jose Iglesias and the play of Brock Holt. Middlebrooks was struggling at Pawtucket for a while there, but picked it up recently going 8-for-22 with a double and two homers over the last week. It carried over on Saturday as he went 2-for-4 in Kansas City. Still, he has problems making contact and his eye at the plate needs work, so there's a reason why he was sent down in the first place. He can hit for power and in the Red Sox lineup he's likely to be helpful in the runs department, so give him a look in mixed leagues as well. Mixed: $6; AL: $25.
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees – Guess who's back, back again. A-Rod's back, tell a friend. Actually, unless you've been in a coma, there's no way you could've missed the much-maligned return of A-Rod to the Yankees this week. Last season, he hit .272/.353/.430 with 18 homers and 13 stolen bases over 529 PA, most of which came before he got hurt and slumped badly in the playoffs. At 37-years old, he's coming off of hip surgery and rehab, so even the most optimistic owner should temper expectations for the aging pariah. Moreover, his power has been in steady decline since 2007, which is a concern, as he doesn't hold much value to owners, if he's not hitting for power. He struck out three times, in his most recent game, and will likely need a little bit of time, before he settles in. The appeals process of his suspension won't conclude until after the season is well over, so he'll be allowed to play out the remainder of the season. Unless you're desperate for a corner bat, it's likely best to steer clear of A-Rod and the media circus that surrounds him. Mixed: $5; AL: $20.
Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox – Despite the recent promotion of Will Middlebrooks, Bogaerts is still in mix to be promoted before September, when rosters expand. This would allow the team to carry him on their playoff roster, much as the Orioles did last season with Manny Machado, of whom Bogaerts is often compared to. Speaking of which, Machado was brought up on August 9 last season, which is almost a year ago today. Bogaerts is currently playing shortstop, his natural position, and third base, so that when he does arrive in the majors, he'll be able to help much in the same way that Jose Iglesias did on the left side of the Red Sox infield. Offensively, he has hit .289/.376/.469 with eight homers and two stolen bases over 222 PA at Triple-A Pawtucket this season and is among the most highly touted prospects in the minors. A RHB, he would likely be an immediate upgrade over the lefty, Stephen Drew against LHPs, of whom Drew has hit .198/.259/.356 against this season. Don't be surprised to see Bogaerts up sooner, rather than later. Mixed: $3; AL: $15.
Grant Green, Angels – With Howie Kendrick landing on the DL, after hyper-extending his knee, Green is poised to see the majority of starts at second base for the Halos. He was formerly with the A's, before a trade late last month brought him to the Angels, in exchange for Alberto Callaspo. In the minors this season, he hit .326/.380/.493 with 11 homers and four stolen bases over 443 PA, between Triple-A Sacramento and Salt Lake, both in the PCL, where the ball flies out with regularity. A former first round pick in the 2009 draft, Green is no longer a highly touted prospect, but still holds upside in AL-only formats. Kendrick should be back sometime in September, if not earlier, so don't bid on Green having a job to the end of the season, though Chris Nelson is expendable at third base. Mixed: $4; AL: $16.
Omar Infante, Tigers – Infante is expected to return to the Tigers lineup sometime this week and possibly as early as Monday, after dealing with an ankle injury that has forced him to miss almost a month's worth of action. He would've been back sooner, but he suffered a setback in his rehab and most recently needed a day off from action, in his rehab assignment. Before he was injured, he hit .309/.340/.447 with six homers and four stolen bases over 309 PA. Owned in all AL-only formats, he's worth checking on in mixed leagues, to see if someone dropped him during his somewhat lengthy absence. Mixed: $15; AL: Owned.
Eduardo Nunez, Yankees – The Captain, Derek Jeter, landed on the DL again this week, this time with a calf injury, and in his place Nunez has gone back to starting at shortstop for the Yankees. Nunez is a career .260/.310/.368 hitter with six homers and 43 stolen bases over 686 career PA. This season he only has one homer and five stolen bases thru 195 PA, which is low for him. Jeter is expected back in a week, so Nunez's value is limited, though he should see some playing time in between spelling him and A-Rod at third base. This week the Yankees play seven games, four of which come against the Angels, who were just railroaded by the Rangers on the base paths, so hopefully Nunez can help out in a pinch for owners looking for some speed. Mixed: $2; AL: $10.
Engel Beltre, Rangers – Beltre was brought back up this week to give the Rangers some added depth in their outfield, before the team traded for Alex Rios, who has taken over in right field. At Triple-A Round Rock this season, Beltre hit .302/.360/.405 with four homers and 14 stolen bases over 339 PA. He's unlikely to see much playing time, outside of occasionally spelling David Murphy and pinch-running duties. He's a fifth outfielder at best in AL-only formats. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Jason Bourgeois, Rays – With Desmond Jennings landing on the DL this week with a fractured left middle finger, Bourgeois was brought up from Triple-A Durham to give the Rays some added depth in their outfield. The most likely scenario will have Wil Myers and Sam Fuld in center field with Kelly Johnson and Sean Rodriguez in left and Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist in right, so there's not much room for Bourgeois to contribute. Still, should he find playing time, he has the type of speed owners crave. In 2011 with the Astros he stole 31 bases over 252 PA, while hitting .294/.323/.357. At Durham this season he .291/.336/.371 with 21 stolen bases over 363 PA. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Sam Fuld, Rays – Desmond Jennings' above mentioned injury has forced the team to shift Wil Myers to center field for the time being, but at some point Fuld figures to see some playing time there as well. Fuld has hit .273/.351/.273 with one stolen base since July 1st this season over 37 PA, but has more speed than that, he just has not shown it. In 2011 he stole 20 bases over 346 PA, granted it came with a .240 batting average. Give him a look in AL-only formats, if you're desperate for speed. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Avisail Garcia, White Sox – Traded to the White Sox in the deal that sent Jose Iglesias to the Tigers and Jake Peavy to the Red Sox, Garcia was brought up this week from the minors, after Alex Rios was traded to the Rangers. Garcia, a former high end prospect in the Tigers system, hit .374/.420/.540 with six homers and two stolen bases over 188 PA this season between Triple-A Toledo and Charlotte. He has also logged some time in the majors this season, hitting .241/.273/.373 with two homers over 88 PA, when he was with the Tigers. Only 22-years old, he is expected to hit for power as he matures as a hitter. Expect him to see regular playing time for the remainder of the season, as the White Sox continue to rebuild. Mixed: $5; AL: $18.
Robbie Grossman, Astros – Since coming back up at the end of July, Grossman has hit .400/.460/.667 with three doubles, three homers, and four stolen bases over 52 PA. The Astros have auditioned a host of different outfielders this season, but few, if any, have been this hot. At Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier this season, he hit .281/.396/.364 with two homers and 15 stolen bases over 310 PA, so it seems his speed is more likely to continue than his recent power binge. Still, until he slows down, he's worth grabbing in whatever AL-only formats he's left in and some mixed leagues. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.
Justin Maxwell, Royals – Since coming over from the Astros, in a trade before the deadline, Maxwell has been red hot with three homers over his last 18 PA. On the season he's batting .268/.339/.452 with five homers and four stolen bases over 174 PA, but he has also dealt with a fractured left hand that put him out for almost two months. The recent oblique strain that Lorenzo Cain suffered this week, should allow Maxwell to see some playing time against RHPs, of whom he had been benched against, in a platoon with David Lough. Until he cools off, give him a look in AL-only formats and deeper mixed leagues. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.
Note: If you have anyone else you'd like me to discuss, just drop a line in the comments section.