RotoWire Partners

FAAB Factor - AL: September Speculation

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 could rejoin the A's rotation on Tuesday this coming week, the day that Tommy Milone is set to pitch. The decision will be made Monday, when the team decides if he needs another rehab start or is healthy enough to rejoin the active roster. Milone has already had his start on Saturday bumped back to Tuesday, so it seems like the team may not be that fond of keeping him in their rotation. This is of course on top of the fact that he was already once taken out of the rotation for Sonny Gray. Before his recent foot injury, Anderson had a 6.21 ERA (3.59 xFIP) with 29 strikeouts and 15 walks over 29 innings, but that was all back in April, which seems like forever ago now. If he does takeover Milone's spot in the rotation, he'll face the Tigers on the road and Rays at home this week. Mixed: $5; AL: $20.

Carlos Carrasco, Indians - Carrasco is a candidate to take over Scott Kazmir's spot in the rotation, should he falter in his start on Sunday. Over Kazmir's last two starts he's pitched a combined eight innings and allowed 10 earned runs, while dealing with a "dead arm." The team has already pushed back his last two starts, so it's clear they know he's ailing and are trying to help him as much as possible with rest, but it might be time for him to go on the DL, if he can't figure things out on Sunday. Carrasco is currently in the bullpen, where he can do less damage to the team and himself. On the season he has a 7.43 ERA (4.43 xFIP) with 26 strikeouts and 17 walks over 40 innings. The team could also turn to Trevor Bauer, but he's been almost worse and is still in Triple-A Columbus. If Carrasco does takeover Kazmir's spot, he'd likely face the Tigers this week in Detroit, which is a recipe for disaster. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Danny Duffy & Yordano Ventura, Royals - Once the Royals are eliminated from playoff contention and stop fooling themselves with Wade Davis, Duffy and Ventura are two September call-ups we might see join the Royals rotation for a couple of starts. Duffy has already made two starts with the team this season and pitched fairly well, all things considered. His first start only lasted 3.2 innings and he allowed two earned runs, but he managed to strikeout seven batters with two walks. His other start was six shutout innings against the Tigers with only one hit allowed, three strikeouts, and three walks. He's still making his way back from Tommy John surgery, so the team likely won't want him out there for too many innings. As for Ventura, he's not yet on the 40-man roster, so his promotion seems less likely. He has a 3.52 ERA at Triple-A Omaha with 76 strikeouts and 32 walks over 71.2 innings this season. He needs to work on this control, so the team may not want to expose him to major league hitters yet. The sooner the team cuts their losses from the sunk cost that is Wade Davis, the better for Duffy, Ventura, and fantasy owners. Duffy Mixed: $3; AL: $10. Ventura Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Kevin Gausman, Orioles - Gausman is a likely September call-up for the Orioles, the only question is if he joins their rotation or moves into their bullpen. Scott Feldman has been predictably bad since joining the team and could be a candidate to lose his spot, but there's also Jason Hammel looming and the team is still fighting to make the playoffs, so there's a few different factors for the team to consider with Gausman. Since he went back down to Triple-A Norfolk, he's had a 2.96 ERA with 25 strikeouts and eight walks over 27.1 innings. He still holds immense potential and is viewed by many as a potential front-end starter, so don't sleep on him, if you're in a keeper league. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Erik Johnson, White Sox - Johnson has dominated at Triple-A Charlotte this season with a 1.79 ERA, 49 strikeouts, and 17 walks over 50.1 innings. Dating back to when he was at Double-A Birmingham, he has now allowed two earned runs or less in 10 consecutive starts. The White Sox are clearly out of contention and at some point in September are likely to give Johnson a look, either in their bullpen or their rotation. If he joins their rotation, even for a few starts, you'll want to invest, perhaps even in mixed leagues. Of all the minor league pitchers that could make their MLB debut in September, I'm highest on Johnson. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.
 
Michael Pineda, Yankees - Forget about it. While Pineda has resumed throwing on flat ground, this comes after being shutdown due to discomfort in his right shoulder. This is on top of the fact that the team has handled him with kid gloves, since he returned to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre in early July. He would first need to get back on a mound and then be stretched out, something that has yet to happen this season, before the team would be able to use him as a starter, and this is assuming he doesn't have any further setbacks. Avoid this situation. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Taijuan Walker, Mariners - Maybe the highest profile AL minor leaguer pitcher, Walker is unlikely to see much action in September with the Mariners. He has already pitched 138.2 innings this season, which is already more than the 126.2 he pitched last season. There are some rumblings that his max is 150 innings, which if true would only leave him with two starts left to make this season. There's also the matter of his performance, which hasn't been very sharp this month with a 4.95 ERA, 22 strikeouts, and 13 walks over 20 innings. On top of all of this, he's not on the 40-man roster yet, so there's that to deal with. Add it all up and I believe we don't see Walker at all this season. If you believe otherwise, then bid on him, but don't count on him making many starts. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Relief Pitchers:

Ernesto Frieri, Angels - After imploding a little over two weeks ago, Frieri seems back in the closer role for the Angels again, after he struck out the side on Friday night for his first save since the beginning of the month. Then again, the Angels haven't had a converted save since August 9th, so perhaps I'm reading too much into one save. Over his last six innings, Frieri has allowed three hits with one walk, 10 strikeouts, and no runs allowed, so he's at least pitching like he deserves another shot at the job. Still, it's tough to trust someone who has been so erratic in the second half of the season. Mixed: $8; AL: Owned.

Tommy Hunter, Orioles - Hunter nailed down his fourth save of the season on Wednesday with a clean outing, while Jim Johnson remained in the bullpen. Johnson however, notched his 40th save of the season on Friday night, with a clean outing of his own, setup by Hunter in the eighth inning. It seems as though Johnson is still clearly in the mix for saves and likely to garner the majority of opportunities for the remainder of the season, but that manager Buck Showalter is not afraid of going to Hunter, if he feels Johnson needs the night off. As such, Hunter seems to be the best handcuff to Johnson and deservedly, as he has a 2.60 ERA (3.87 xFIP) with 48 strikeouts and 11 walks over 69.1 innings this season. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.

Catchers:

Alex Avila, Tigers - Avila is on track to rejoin the Tigers sometime this week, after going on the 7-day DL with a concussion. He's been out of action since August 10, but started a rehab assignment on Thursday. He has experienced some dizziness recently, so there's a chance that he's not activated till later in the week. When healthy this season, Avila hasn't been very productive for fantasy owners, with a .198/.288/.340 batting line and nine homers over 289 PA. He's a second catcher in most AL only formats, at best, considering how well Brayan Pena has played in his stead. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Cody Clark, Astros - At 31-years old, Clark made his major league debut this week, when Astros backup catcher Max Stassi hit the DL, after taking a pitch to the face. Clark hit .217/.258/.273 with one homer over 158 PA this season at Triple-A Oklahoma City and offers fantasy owners little to no value offensively. With Carlos Corporan (concussion) likely to come off the 7-day DL sometime this week, Clark's time with the team is likely to be short-lived. At least he made it to the majors once. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Chris Herrmann, Twins - Herrmann received a boost in playing time this week, when Joe Mauer hit the 7-day DL with a concussion. He has been with the team for over a month, but has failed to produce offensively. On the season he has a .232/.321/.394 batting line with three homers over 114 PA. Like Ryan Doumit, he can also play the outfield, so he offers the team and fantasy owners a bit of roster flexibility. This week he had back-to-back games with two doubles, so at least he's making himself useful, as of late. Mauer figures to be back sometime later this week or early next week, so Herrmann's value to owners might not last long. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Jose Lobaton, Rays - Lobaton went 5-for-10 this week with two homers, as he gave the Rays a bit of an offensive spark. On the season he's hitting .266/.325/.421 with six homers over 236 PA, as he continues to split time with Jose Molina behind the dish. Molina is a proven commodity defensively, so it's unlikely Lobaton steals many at-bats away, though he has been better offensively all season long. He needs to be owned in all AL only formats and likely some deeper mixed leagues that use two catchers. Mixed: $2; AL: Owned.

Kurt Suzuki, A's - Suzuki was traded from the Nationals back to his old team, the A's this week, as they deal with injuries to both John Jaso (concussion) and Derek Norris (toe). Stephen Vogt has been handling the everyday catching duties, but he's been exposed offensively with a .222/.278/.333 batting line over 81 PA. Suzuki is a career .252/.309/.374 hitter and isn't likely to do too much better, but at least he enters into a situation that he's familiar with, as he spent his first five and half seasons in the majors with the team. His last homer came almost two months ago; so don't expect much from Suzuki any time soon. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Corner Infielders:

Lance Berkman, Rangers - Berkman is headed for a minor league rehab assignment soon and should be back with the Rangers early next month. He's working his way back from a hip injury that has kept him out of game action since early July. Questioning just how much he has left in the tank is fair, considering he hit just .254/.355/.377 with six homers over 282 PA, prior to his injury. Moreover, he's 37-years old and appeared in just 32 games last season, also because of injuries. When he does come back it'll be only as a DH, though he likely has first base eligibility in most leagues. If you're desperate for power, he's worth stashing now, in hopes of a few bombs next month. Mixed: $1; AL: $6.

Wilson Betemit, Orioles - Betemit moved his rehab assignment to Triple-A Norfolk his week, as he continues to make his way back from a knee injury that has cost him the entire season. He is scheduled to come off of said assignment on Sunday and rejoin the team thereafter, but nothing has been formally announced yet. Last season with the team he hit .261/.322/.422 with 12 homers over 376 PA, between first and third base mostly. He's hit .293/.359/.328 through 64 PA in his rehab assignment from rookie level GCL through Norfolk, so he appears ready to rejoin the team. He'll likely back up both corner infield spots and spend time at DH, making Steve Pearce and Danny Valencia expendable, until rosters expand. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox - Bogaerts made his MLB debut this week on Wednesday, as the Red Sox finally decided to pull the trigger and get his service time clock running. So far he's only gotten five at-bats in three game appearances and played between third base and shortstop, a situation that is likely to continue. The one immediate upgrade he gives the team is a solution against LHPs for when Stephen Drew sits (.198/.248/.372 vs LHP). That alone doesn't give Bogaerts much value, but it's a start as he continues to try and establish himself. He likely would've been up sooner, but Will Middlebrooks has been hitting well since his promotion and seems locked into his position defensively, though he did play a few innings at second base this week. Offensively, Bogaerts comes highly touted as he hit .297/.388/.477 with 15 homers and seven stolen bases between Double-Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket this season as a 20-year old. He's drawn comparison to Manny Machado, but owners should not expect that sort of production from Bogaerts this season, considering his limited playing time right now. Mixed: $2; AL: $10.

Luis Jimenez, Angels - Jimenez is a possible September call-up that might actually get some playing time, as Chris Nelson has done little (.224/.280/.347) with the Angels to prove he belongs in their long-term third base plans. At Triple-A Salt Lake he has hit .293/.335/.426 with four homers over 209 PA. There was some talk earlier this month that he was going to miss the rest of the season due to a labrum issue, but his shoulder has improved significantly and he's been able to continue to play. We saw Jimenez up with the team earlier this season, when he hit .232/.264/.275 and did little to show he deserved to stay. Given how far out of contention the Halos are though, he'll likely get another look next month. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Brent Morel, White Sox - The Pale Hose haven't gotten much production out of Conor Gillaspie this season at third base and could turn to Morel in September, to see if he might be part of their plans in 2014. This season at Triple-A Charlotte he has hit .266/.350/.407 with six homers and 14 stolen bases over 414 PA. He is not a serious offensive threat, as we saw in 2011 when he hit .245/.287/.366 over 444 PA at the MLB level, but that doesn't mean he's not better than Gillaspie, which still isn't saying much. He at least has some speed, which could be of some use to owners in September, when rosters expand. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Jonathan Singleton, Astros - The highest profile first base prospect in the AL, I don't anticipate seeing Singleton get much, if any, playing time in September with the Astros. He's hit only .211/.337/.349 with six homers over 264 PA this season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, after a slow start to the season that began with a suspension. He's warmed up this month, but still is not performing to the levels he showed last season, which is another issue. Moreover, the OKC Red Hawks are locks to make the PCL playoffs and the Astros might want to keep Singleton with that team, as they're going to achieve more this season than the Astros have. If anything, I expect to see Singleton around for the last two weeks of the season, at which point I'm not sure he'll have any value in most formats, unless the team decides to play him every day. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Middle Infielders:

Tim Beckham, Rays - We're likely to get our first major league look at the former 2008 No. 1 overall pick this September, once rosters expand. At Triple-A Durham he has hit .273/.335/.380 this season with three homers and 15 stolen bases over 484 PA. Considering the Rays are in the thick of the hunt for the AL East title, it's unclear how much time, if any Beckham, will be able to steal away from Yunel Escobar. Then again, it's not exactly like Escobar has been lighting it up offensively this second half, hitting .313/.384/.394 with one homer and one steal. Beckham has more speed, but less power and is only 23-years old, so manager Joe Maddon will likely pick and choose his spots with Beckham, thus limiting his value. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Christian Colon, Royals - Given how poorly Alcides Escobar has hit in the second half of this season (.209/.222/.237), it's likely that Colon gets at least a taste of second base or shortstop in September for the Royals. This season at Triple-A Omaha he has hit .266/.327/.377 with 12 homers and 13 stolen bases over 538 PA. The former fourth overall pick of the 2010 draft, Colon has been a massive failure as a prospect, but that doesn't mean he still can't carve out a role for himself in 2014, starting this September. He has limited power and speed, but his defense is reportedly good enough to allow him to be an everyday regular. Keep him in mind, when rosters expand. Mixed: No; AL: $4.

Leury Garcia, White Sox - Garcia was brought up from Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday this week to give the White Sox some added depth. On the season he has hit .265/.314/.395 with four homers and 15 stolen bases between Triple-A Round Rock with the Rangers and Charlotte with the White Sox, of whom he was traded to in the Alex Rios deal. Offensively, Garcia is skilled at stealing bases (31 at Double-A Frisco last season), but has yet to show that speed in Triple-A. Other than that, owners are likely to get a pretty hollow batting average, when Garcia does play, which figures to be sporadically as Alexei Ramirez isn't going anywhere this season. Defensively, Garcia is a whiz and could be the future shortstop of the organization, in time. For now though, he has very limited value, even in AL only formats. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Ryan Goins, Blue Jays - Goins was called-up this week from Triple-A Buffalo, after Maicer Izturis was lost for the season with an ankle injury. At Buffalo he hit .257/.311/.369 with six homers and three stolen bases over 418 PA. He figures to split time with Munenori Kawasaki at second base for the rest of the season, but Kawasaki is one of the lightest hitting players in the game, so there's certainly room for Goins to assert himself and make the position his. Through the minors, Goins has never really shown much power or speed, though he's only 25 years old. Because of the playing time, he's at least worth a look in all AL only formats. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Derek Jeter, Yankees - The Captain is set to come off the DL for a third time this season, this time from a calf injury. At 39-years old he's likely still skilled enough to hit for average, but the power and speed are shaky bets, at best. Last season he hit .316/.362/.429 with 15 homers and nine stolen bases over 740 PA, but that was over a full healthy season. This season he's already had to deal with an ankle, quad, and now calf injury. Given how shallow shortstop is this season in fantasy leagues, it's easy to see Jeter being a top 10 and maybe even top-five option at the position for the remainder of the season in the AL. If he's still available in your league, bid him up and hope he stays healthy. Mixed: $20; AL: Owned.

Hernan Perez, Tigers - We're likely to see Perez back up early next month, to give Omar Infante some time off to rest, before the playoffs start. Perez filled in with Ramon Santiago, while Infante was hurt earlier this season with an ankle injury that continues to nag at him. Perez hit .298/.322/.417 with four homers and 24 stolen bases over 384 PA at Double-A Erie this season, before getting moved up to Triple-A Toledo less than two weeks ago. It's unlikely that Perez sees extended playing time, unless Infante gets hurt again, so keep him in mind only if you're desperate for stolen bases. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Outfielders:

Nick Castellanos, Tigers - One of the more highly touted AL outfield prospects in the minors, Castellanos is unlikely to make his major league debut in September. I thought there was some real merit to the rumblings he would be called up in June, but that was back when he was hitting. Since then, he's gone cold at the plate with a .212/.256/.301 batting line in July and a .230/.309/.410 batting line in August. Tigers manager Jim Leyland isn't particularly fond of using rookies in September, which makes Castellanos' promotion all the more unlikely at this point. Moreover, it's tough to argue Andy Dirks hasn't been holding his own in left field, when he's hit .284/.369/.392 in the second half of the season, granted he has only one homer and one stolen base. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Michael Choice & Michael Taylor, A's - With the A's outfield batting an AL low .206/.283/.381 in the second half of the season, it's likely we see one of Choice or Taylor, if not both, in September. Taylor is currently on the 40-man roster and has been up already once this season, so he's the more likely option, but both have hit well at Triple-A Sacramento this season. Specifically, Taylor has hit .286/.366/.486 with 17 homers and five stolen bases over 443 PA, while Choice has hit .298/.384/.442 with 14 homers and one stolen base over 570 PA. Taylor, 27-years old, is four years older than Choice, 23 years old, and closer to what should be his peak years, another factor that favors Taylor. It's doubtful either would push Reddick, Cespedes, or Crisp out of a starting job, but it's very possible Chris Young and certainly Seth Smith would lose at-bats. Choice Mixed: No; AL: $1. Taylor Mixed: No; AL: $4.

Chris Colabello, Twins - Colabello was recalled this week, when Joe Mauer hit the DL with a concussion. He was with the team earlier this month, but was sent down due to a roster crunch. Prior to his demotion, he hit .211/.290/.356 with four homers over 100 PA, but that doesn't really tell the whole picture as he was really starting to warm up at the plate at the end there. At Triple-A Rochester this season he crushed it with a .352/.427/.639 batting line and 24 homers over 391 PA. His story is a unique one as he spent seven years in the Independent League, before latching on with the Twins farm system last season. With only four at-bats since his recall, expect Colabello's role to potentially grow next month, once rosters expand, as first baseman Justin Morneau is a free agent after this season and unlikely to return, thus leaving first base open for Colabello to potentially make his in 2014. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

David DeJesus, Rays - DeJesus was traded to the Nationals and then to the Rays this week, in a move Tampa Bay made to solidify their outfield for their pending playoff run. He will likely face only RHPs as he's hit only .156/.224/.178 against LHPs this season in 49 PA. He's still behind Matt Joyce in left field and Desmond Jennings in center, so his playing time likely only affects Sam Fuld. DeJesus doesn't have much power or speed, so don't expect him to produce much, even when he does take the field. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Moises Sierra, Blue Jays - Sierra was called-up from Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday this week, after Jose Bautista hit the DL with a hip injury. At Buffalo he hit .261/.309/.422 this season with 11 homers and 12 stolen bases over 412 PA. At 24-years old, he's not much of a prospect, but can hit for some power with a little bit of speed. Considering that Melky Cabrera is out for the season and Colby Rasmus has yet to turn the corner from his oblique injury, Sierra could be in line for more playing time than most reserve outfielders. So far in his first four games he has gone 0-for-8 at the plate, but he has three walks, which is encouraging. Mixed: No; AL: $4.

George Springer, Astros - One of the hottest hitters anywhere right now, Springer has a chance to become the first minor league player to go 40/40 in the modern era, if he can hit three more homers before the season is over. With that achievement in reach and the Triple-A Oklahoma City Red Hawks a lock to make the PCL playoffs, it's unlikely we see Springer in the majors this September, if at all. The team could use his promotion to sell tickets and draw eyeballs to their games on television, but it's more likely that he finishes his season with OKC as he's not even on the Astros' 40-man roster yet. However, should he come up, he'd likely be the most intriguing AL minor leaguer to debut in September, outside of perhaps Taijuan Walker. His blend of power and speed is impressive and he's actually improved his eye at the plate since being moved up from Double-A Corpus to OKC, which is not something you usually see with prospects. Bid on Springer if you'd like, just don't be surprised to see him make his debut in 2014. Mixed: $1; AL: $6. - Bid everything you have left in an AL only, if you’re confident he’s coming up on Sept 1.

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