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FAAB Factor - AL: I Think You're Starting, Mr. Anderson

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:

Brett Anderson, A's - Anderson was originally slated to begin his rehab assignment as a reliever, but that changed this week once Bartolo Colon landed on the DL with a groin injury. Now Anderson is being worked as a starter once again, just in case the team needs him to step in to their rotation come September. He's coming off of a foot injury, but it seems like it's always something with Anderson, as he's dealt with ankle, thumb, back, oblique, and elbow issues, and that's only the last two seasons. The last time we actually saw Anderson on major league mound he had a 6.21 ERA (3.59 xFIP) with 29 strikeouts and 15 walks over 29 innings this season. It's difficult to say what to expect, considering he's only pitched 64 innings in the majors, since his Tommy John surgery in 2011. Still, he has enough potential, that those in AL only formats should at minimum keep tabs on him in his rehab assignment. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Alex Cobb, Rays - Cobb made his first start this week, since behind hit in the head with a ball almost two months ago. In his return he pitched five innings and allowed one earned run with six strikeouts and two walks against the Mariners at home. He was pulled after 88 pitches, but his velocity was right where it had been before he left and he should be fine to pitch deeper into games moving forward. On the season he owns a sterling 2.94 ERA (2.94 xFIP) with 82 strikeouts and 25 walks over 88.2 innings, in what has been a breakout season for the young righty. If he was dropped in your league over his lengthy DL stint, pick up him with haste. This week he faces the Orioles on the road. Mixed: $25; AL: Owned.

Tommy Milone, A's - Milone was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday to replace Bartolo Colon, who hit the DL with a groin injury. Milone had been sent to Sacramento recently, after a start against the Rangers blew up in his face. The move might have been premature, but it allowed the team to give Sonny Gray a look in their rotation. Milone is back now and able to work on lowering his 4.39 ERA (4.36 xFIP), which is something he had been doing this month (3.75 ERA), before being sent down. He's had trouble with the long ball this season, as he's given up 22 homers in his 22 starts this season. If he can curtail that a bit over the last six weeks of the season, he should finis the season with an ERA below 4.00. This week he faces the Orioles on the road. Mixed: $4; AL: $16.

Garrett Richards, Angels - Richards made two starts this week, one against the Yankees in which he went eight innings and allowed two earned runs and the other against the Astros in which he lasted six innings and gave up five earned runs, but struck out seven batters. In sum, he has now made five starts, since rejoining the Angels rotation and has a 3.38 ERA with 23 strikeouts and six walks over 32 innings to show for it. Last season as a starter he had a 4.42 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 27 walks over 53 innings. The change in his performance might be due to a curveball, which is a pitch he just started throwing again when he returned to the Halos rotation. This week he faces the Mariners on the road. Mixed: $5; AL: $20.

Andre Rienzo, White Sox - Rienzo made his fourth start in the White Sox rotation this week and gave up one earned run over six innings to the Twins on the road, in a no-decision. So far he has a 3.70 ERA (4.68 xFIP) with 16 strikeouts and 11 walks over 24.1 innings in the majors. His inability to miss bats like he did at Triple-A Charlotte earlier this season is concerning, though he's still adjusting. Still, he's going to need to either make that adjustment quickly or start walking fewer batters, if he wants to keep his ERA under 4.00 for the remainder of the season. So while three quality starts in his first four MLB outings is nice, Rienzo is not exactly a safe option in shallower leagues. This week he faces the Royals on the road. Mixed: $2; AL: $6.

Relief Pitchers:

Dane De La Rosa, Angels - No real news this week in the closer role for the Angels, as they've only won two of their last seven games and one was a blowout (their bullpen still found a way to implode). The other was a win Saturday night against the Astros, in which their bullpen pitched very well with four shutout innings that included only two hits allowed and no walks. De La Rosa pitched the eighth inning with one hit allowed and a strikeout. He is expected to hold down the closer role for now, until Ernesto Frieri can get his act together. Speaking of which, Frieri pitched the ninth and tenth inning on Saturday night and allowed one hit with four strikeouts, to get the win. He has now had three outings with no walks, two hits, and seven strikeouts over four innings. I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in the closer role before the end of the month, if he can string together a few more outings like those. In the meantime though, De La Rosa, who has had seven consecutive outings without an earned run, is the man to own. Mixed: $5; AL: $18.

Josh Fields & Chia-Jen Lo, Astros - Manager Bo Porter said on Saturday that he would use a two-man committee comprised of Fields and Lo to close out games for the Astros moving forward. The news makes owning either reliever almost moot, as the Astros are on pace to win around 16 more games this season. Of the two, Lo is the better bet to emerge as the full-time closer as he has made seven scoreless appearances to start his career, which just started at the end of last month. Both are RHPs, so there's no advantage to be gained there. If possible, avoid this situation and spend your FAAB dollars elsewhere. Fields Mixed: $3; AL: $12. Lo Mixed: $3; AL: $12.

Darren O'Day & Francisco Rodriguez, Orioles - Jim Johnson blew his ninth save of the season on Wednesday this week (I hear his 10th one is free) leading to speculation that he may be removed from the closer role. It's not so much that he's blown nine saves, rather that he's blown three in a row and on Friday in relief, gave up a solo homer, which gives him four straight outings in which he's been scored upon. Prior to this Johnson had been excellent with 10 consecutive converted save opportunities. Of course prior to that, Johnson had a couple of poor outings. The team traded for K-Rod for situations just like this, so they would have an experienced former closer who they could turn to, in the event that Johnson needed time to sort things out. So expect him to at least figure into the picture moving forward, along with O'Day and possibly Tommy Hunter and Brian Matusz. The entire bullpen has been pretty decent, Johnson aside, over the last month so don't be surprised to see Buck Showalter mix and match his bullpen in save situations for the remainder of the month. O'Day Mixed: $3; AL: $8. Rodriguez Mixed: $4; AL: $12.

David Robertson, Yankees - Mo Rivera has blown his last three saves and hasn't appeared in a game in almost a week now, so it's about that time to mention Robertson's name as a possible name to watch for Yankee saves. Robertson has a 1.78 ERA (2.71 xFIP) with 60 strikeouts and 15 walks over 50.2 innings this season and is undoubtedly one of the best non-closer relievers in the game today. He only has six saves to his name right now, but that could change next season, should the team decide to make him their full-time closer. For the remainder of this season, it's really a matter of can Mo overcome this hiccup, in what has been a Hall of Fame career. The answer is almost certainly yes and he'll be back to sawing off bats with his cutter in no time, but in the event he doesn't, Robertson is the man to own. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.

Catchers:

Bryan Holaday, Tigers - Holaday was called-up from Triple-A Toledo this week, after Alex Avila hit the DL with concussion like symptoms. Until Avila returns, Holaday will serve as the backup to Brayan Pena. At Toledo this season, Holaday hit .262/.313/.378 with four homers over 305 PA. Those numbers are all career highs for Holaday in the minors, which give some perspective to see that his ceiling is not very high offensively. Given his playing time is likely to be sporadic, at best, it's tough to see Holaday having value in anything other than deep AL only and daily formats. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Brayan Pena, Tigers - Alex Avila, the Tigers starting catcher was placed on the 7-day DL last Sunday with concussion-like symptoms and is eligible to return this Sunday, but his return has been delayed because he has yet to be cleared for baseball activities. Until this happens, his timetable to return is unknown and Pena will handle the team's starting backstop duties. Pena, to his credit, has hit .306/.330/.415 this season with four homers over 196 PA. While this is a small sample size for the entire season, this is generally how much playing time Pena sees each season as a career backup. This season his BABIP is up .321, which is well above his career average of .275 and not supported by an increase in his contact or line drive rate, so there's reason to believe he's been pretty lucky to achieve that .300 plus batting average. Still, he's got a starting spot in a very good lineup, so until we hear further about Avila's status, Pena is worth owning in at least AL only formats and possibly deeper mixed leagues that use two catchers. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.

David Ross, Red Sox - Ross has finally overcome his concussion and the symptoms associated with it to return to action in the minor leagues and may be activated to the Red Sox roster as soon as Monday, this coming week. He's been on the shelf for almost two months, so to see him finally making his way back is encouraging news. Before his injury, Ross hit .185/.274/.400 this season with four homers and one stolen base over 75 PA. The reason he's someone to keep an eye on in fantasy leagues is because he hits for power. He has a career isolated power average of .207, which is impressive, given his role primarily as a backup throughout his career. When he does return, he'll be behind Salty for playing time, but should be ahead of Lavarnway, who doesn't have nearly the same defensive chops. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Stephen Vogt, A's - News came out this week that John Jason will miss another three-to-four weeks due to his concussion, which means that Vogt could remain the A's starting catcher for the rest of the season. He has hit .283/.365/.391 with two doubles and one homer over 53 PA, since coming up in late July to help fill in for Jaso. He has some power and most recently hit 13 homers over 338 PA in Triple-A Sacramento this season, so there's some upside here. Those wondering about Derek Norris should note that Norris is a RHB, so if a platoon develops with Vogt, it is Vogt that will be on the profitable side as he's a LHB. Moreover, Norris has been dealing with a back injury he's just now getting over, so it's unlikely he'll steal playing time away from Vogt, at least initially. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Corner Infielders:

Nate Freiman, A's - Freiman went 4-for-4 in a game this week with a double and homer, as he swatted his way to four RBI and a run. His playing time has been limited this season, as the team has primarily platooned him with Brandon Moss, such that Freiman only really sees at-bats against LHPs. Against southpaws he has hit .319/.357/.479 this season, which is fantastic, the only problem is that he's only seen 129 PA. Unless the A's start facing more lefties or something happens to Moss, it's difficult to see Freiman's role growing and thus he's limited to value in only AL only and daily formats. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Chris Nelson, Angels - Nelson got hot this week with a five game hitting streak that saw him hit two homers on Thusday against the Yankees, one of his former teams. With the Angels this season, he has hit .274/.338/.397 with two homers and two stolen bases over 80 PA. All of those numbers are improvements over how he hit with the Yankees and previously the Rockies earlier this season. While he may stay hot for a little while longer, it's tough to see him hitting for much power down the stretch as he never really hit for power, even while in Colorado. The team will have a decision to make once Howie Kendrick is ready to come off the DL and Grant Green needs a place to play everyday. Given that Green came up as a third baseman in the minors, it's easy to see how the Angels could make Nelson expendable, which further dims his future prospects this season. Ride his hitting streak in AL only and daily formats a while longer, if you're desperate for a corner bat. Mixed: $2; AL: $6.

Mark Reynolds, Yankees - Let go by the Indians and picked up by the Yankees this week, Reynolds made quite the debut for his new team, as he went 2-for-5 with a home run. A RHB, he offers the team an alternative to LHB Lyle Overbay and a backup to Alex Rodriguez, who could burst into flames and reveal himself as Satan at any moment, as the media tells it. Reynolds has hit for power and quite a bit of it over his career, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him continue to do so in New York. Of course this power has always come at a price, as Reynolds is extremely poor at making contact and hitting for average. There is also the fact that he's been prone to streaks as a hitter, which is not uncommon in baseball, but what is uncommon is that Reynolds' streaks are usually filled with plenty of loud contact and displays of raw power. If every home run matters to your team and you can sacrifice the batting average, Reynolds should be given top priority in your FAAB budget. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.

Middle Infielders:

Emilio Bonifacio, Royals - Dealt to the Royals on Wednesday this week, Bonifacio has started four consecutive games for his new team and had a stolen base in each one of them. His speed is nothing new, as Bonifacio has always been quick on the base paths and quick with his feet defensively, which has allowed him to play every position on the field this season, except for catcher and first base. He's only batting .220/.264/.325 this season partly due to a deflated .279 BABIP, which is well below his career .329 average. He's been better as of late with a .262/.342/.369 batting line since the start of July, so it's not like he's been in a funk all season long. If he can continue to find playing time, there's no doubt that Bonifacio will be an asset down the stretch to owners as the Royals, who are first in the AL in stolen bases, will continue to utilize his speed. Considering Miguel Tejada is no longer with the team, Lorenzo Cain is still on the DL, and his ability to play all over the field, Bonifacio should be able to find his way into plenty of games with his new team. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.

Chris Getz, Royals - Activated from the DL on Monday, after dealing with a knee injury, Getz is back to being the Royals starting second baseman. For a while there Miguel Tejada looked like he was going to make the position his, but then he landed on the DL, before finally being suspended for using greenies this weekend. Getz is a career .253/.312/.312 hitter with good bat to ball contact skills and nice speed, but no power. So far this season he has 11 stolen bases over 205 PA. He has already stolen three bases this week, so he appears over his previous knee woes. Moving forward, expect him to keep on running, although likely not at this pace. Elliot Johnson was mercifully DFA'd this week, so he's no longer around to hover over Getz and steal playing time from him, unfortunately however, Jamey Carroll is now on the team and will steal at-bats away against LHPs. Mixed: $3; AL: $8.

Marwin Gonzalez, Astros - Gonzalez was brought back up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday this week, to give the team some depth up the middle in their infield. Unfortunately, he has yet to see any playing time since rejoining the team, which is not all that surprising considering Jake Elmore is also on the team to serve a similar role. Earlier this season Gonzalez hit .230/.250/.339 with four homers and five stolen bases over 188 PA with the team. Until a spot opens up for him, it's tough to see him having any value, in even the deepest of leagues. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Munenori Kawasaki, Blue Jays - Kawasaki was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday this week, before he had to leave the team for the birth of a child on Friday. A clubhouse and internet favorite, Kawasaki has hit only .205/.309/.286 this season with one homer and seven stolen bases over 223 PA. He's primarily known for his glove, which explains away some of his offensive shortcomings, but that does nothing for fantasy owners. It's conceivable to see him getting playing time at second base over Maicer Izturis, who has hit only .237/.291/.314 tho season, but even then, there's his poor batting average to deal with. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Outfielders:

Peter Bourjos, Angels - Bourjos was activated from the DL this week, after missing almost a month and a half of action with a wrist injury. He's still feeling soreness in his wrist and has not ruled out surgery, after the season, so it's clearly still an issue for him and one that could eat at his playing time down the stretch. Before he hit the shelf, he hit .333/.392/.457 on the season with three homers and four stolen bases over 147 PA. He has hit for more power and shown more speed on the base paths in the past and likely still has 20/20 potential, if he can stay healthy. Another obstacle to overcome for the remainder of this season, in addition to his wrist, is that of J.B. Shuck, who has hit for average (.293) and played great defense for the Halos, since Bourjos went down. Currently the team has Bourjos back starting in center and Shuck coming off the bench/hitting DH, but that could change if Bourjos' wrist acts up again. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.

Anthony Gose, Blue Jays - Colby Rasmus hit the DL this week with a strained left oblique, which prompted the team to call-up Gose from Triple-A Buffalo. Oblique injuries can be tricky and difficult to overcome, so it wouldn't surprise to see Rasmus not return until sometime next month. Gose hit .239/.316/.336 with three homers and 22 stolen bases over 443 PA at Buffalo this season. His poor batting average and on base skills are of no surprise as he strikes out frequently, make poor contact, and does not have a keen eye at the plate. However, he does have speed for days, so when he does get on base, he is a threat to take a base and get in scoring position. Defensively, he'll hold down centerfield, until Rasmus rejoins the team. If you're desperate for stolen base help, Gose can help, just expect a real drain on your batting average and/or batting average. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays - Pillar was called-up from Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday this week, after the Blue Jays had Rasmus (oblique) and Cabrera (knee) hit the DL. This season in the minors he hit .307/.353/.461 with nine homers and 23 stolen bases over 545 PA between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. Only 24-years old, Pillar is not considered much of a prospect and profiles more as a backup, than as a regular starter down the line. The fact that he's gotten off to an 0-for-10 start likely won't help his cause to play ahead of Rajai Davis in left-field, in place of Cabrera. He'll see playing time here and there, but unless another injury hits the Blue Jays outfield, don't expect to see too much of Pillar. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Wilkin Ramirez, Twins - Ramirez came off the DL on Monday this week, after dealing with a concussion that kept him out since late May. He had been on a rehab assignment, most recently at Double-A New Britain. This week however, he was able to get back in the Twins lineup and help contribute, going 2-for-7 with a triple and two walks. Prior to his injury, he had hit .244/.271/.311 over 49 PA, but again that was back in May. Last season at Triple-A Rochester he hit .276/.316/.451 with 15 homers and seven stolen bases over 396 PA. At 27-years old, he is not a prospect and is not likely to see too much playing time, behind as a backup, so don't expect much production from him down the stretch. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

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