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FAAB Factor - AL: Big Debut For Walker

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:

Travis Blackley, Rangers - Blackley made his second start of the season for the Rangers this week and held the Mariners to three earned runs over six innings with five hits allowed, one walk, and four strikeouts. He was with the Astros earlier this season as a reliever and sported a 4.89 ERA (4.67 xFIP) with 29 strikeouts and 20 walks over 35 innings. He struggles to miss bats and his command is below average, at best, so it's unlikely he lasts long in the Rangers rotation, what with rosters expanding this month. This week he faces the Angels on the road. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Clay Buchholz, Red Sox - Buchholz (shoulder) is scheduled to pitch in one more rehab start this week, before he's activated from the DL. Prior to hitting the shelf, he was one of the best starters in the game with a 1.71 ERA (3.17 xFIP), 81 strikeouts, and 29 walks over 84.1 innings. Of course those are all numbers he compiled back in April, May, and early June. Since then he's likely sat on a few waiver wires, been picked up, and dropped again as owners have grown impatient. If he's on your waiver wire now, he should be added with haste as he has the potential to dominate once again down the stretch for the Red Sox and fantasy owners. Mixed: $25; AL: $50 (everything you have left, if you need starting pitching and he's available).

Paul Clemens, Astros - Clemens was called-up from Triple-A Oklahoma City this week to make his first MLB start and he performed well. He held the White Sox to one earned run over six innings with four hits allowed, two walks, and two strikeouts on the road. He had been up with the team earlier this season as a reliever and had a 6.36 ERA (4.66 xFIP) with 37 strikeouts and 16 walks over 46.2 innings. At OKC he had a 4.50 ERA with 16 strikeouts and 11 walks over 30 innings, all as a starter. It's tough to see him having much success given his past failures and fringe-average command as a starter. This week he'll face the Twins at home and A's on the road. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Danny Duffy, Royals - Duffy made his third MLB start this season and shut out the Twins for 6.2 innings as he allowed five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. It was by far his best outing, since he has Tommy John surgery. Moreover, he and not Wade Davis will be sticking in the rotation, now that Davis has been sent to the minors. Of note is the fact that Duffy went to his fastball much less than in his first two starts, as he went to his curveball and change-up much more. Before he got hurt, Duffy was considered a rising prospect in the Royals system and he seems to have reestablished himself back in that position, given some of his recent success. This week he faces the Mariners and Tigers at home, the latter of which will be an interesting test for the young lefty. Mixed: $20; AL: $40.

Corey Kluber, Indians - Kluber is set to pitch in a simulated game on Monday and if all goes well, he could be activated from the DL on Friday to start against the Mets. He's coming back from a sprained middle finger in his right hand and has been out for almost a month. Prior to his injury, he was in the midst of a breakout season with a 3.54 ERA (2.96 xFIP), 116 strikeouts, and 26 walks over 122 innings. If for some reason he's available on your waiver wire, he needs to be snapped up immediately. Mixed: $25; AL: $50 (everything you have left, if you need starting pitching and he's available).

Taijuan Walker, Mariners - Much to my surprise, Walker was called up to the majors on Friday to make his MLB debut. He did not disappoint as he pitched five innings with no earned runs, two hits allowed, one walk, and two strikeouts against the Astros. For those unaware of his talents, Walker is an elite-pitching prospect that profiles as a front-end starter. This season he held a 2.93 ERA with 160 strikeouts and 57 walks over 141.1 innings between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma, as a 20-year old. Considering the innings he has already logged, it'll be interesting to see how many more starts the team gives Walker down the stretch. It's clear from his first start, which lasted only 70 pitches, the team is going to monitor his workload, no matter how good he looks. Mixed: $15; AL: $35.

Relief Pitchers:

Brett Anderson, A's - Anderson came off the 60-day DL this week, after dealing with a foot injury. He returns as a reliever as the A's rotation is currently full, with Bartolo Colon now back from injury himself. He's the likely best option for a 6th starter, should the team need one down the stretch or in a pinch. For now though, he'll be coming out of the bullpen, where his value is diminished, but not all together lost, as he'll likely still be able to help owners with strikeout potential. Earlier this season he had a 6.47 ERA (3.55 xFIP) with 30 strikeouts and 15 walks over 32 innings. If you're in a keeper league, he's worth speculating on, as perhaps maybe 2014 is the season he stays healthy an puts it all together. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Neftali Feliz, Rangers - After suffering an elbow injury, having Tommy John surgery, and rehabbing, Feliz is finally back with the Rangers. He's most likely to be used in middle-relief outings and low-leverage situations for the remainder of the season. Before anyone jumps to questions as to when he might close again for the Rangers, the team and owners will first need to see how he performs in the majors, post surgery. From there, the team will likely still wait until next spring, before determining what role he's be suited to be used in (starting or relieving). He's worth speculating on in keeper leagues because of his past performance, but expect limitations on his workload going into next season. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Kevin Gausman, Orioles - Gausman was brought back up this week from Triple-A Norfolk to help the O's out of the bullpen. In his most recent stint at Norfolk he pitched 30.1 innings and had a 2.67 ERA with 29 strikeouts and eight walks. He holds immense upside as a starting pitching prospect, despite his rough first five starts in the majors. He had eight strikeouts and three walks earlier this season over 9.2 innings out of the bullpen for the O's and should be able to help owners with their ratios somewhat down the stretch. He's worth speculating on in keeper leagues because of his upside as a starting pitcher in 2014 and beyond. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Catchers:

Carlos Corporan, Astros - Corporan began hitting off of a tee this weekend, as he continues to work his way back from a concussion that has kept him out for almost two weeks. He is no longer experiencing headaches or other concussion related symptoms, so he should be activated from the DL sometime this week. Before he was injured, he hit .245/.309/.411 with seven homers over 166 PA. He has barely enough talent to be of consideration as a second catcher in AL only formats, as teammate Jason Castro gets most of the starts behind the plate. Although, given the Astros roster, Castro sometimes hits from the DH position, so Corporan might have a slight edge in at-bats versus other backup catchers. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Derek Norris, A's - Norris appeared in a rehab game on Saturday, as he works his way back from a fractured big left toe. Since he hit the DL, the team has gone out and got Kurt Suzuki to help fill the void he and John Jaso (concussion) left on the depth chart, behind Stephen Vogt. Thus, it's a little unclear as to how the team will handle the playing time at the catcher position, once Norris is ready to come off the DL, which could be sometime this week. Before he hit the DL, Norris was starting to really heat up in the second half of the season, hitting .341/.413/.610 with three homers over 46 PA. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Josmil Pinto, Twins - Pinto was called-up from Triple-A Rochester on Saturday, prior to September call-ups, when the Twins traded Justin Morneau and had an empty roster spot left. Starting catcher Joe Mauer is still out with a concussion, but has "ramped up" his activities and could come off the DL sometime later this week. Until then, expect to see Chris Hermann and Pinto, along with Ryan Doumit occasionally, continue to soak up the at-bats. Pinto hit .309/.400/.482 with 15 homers over 528 PA between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester this season, in his age 24 season. He could be in the mix for a backup catcher role with the team next season, especially if the team decides to move Joe Mauer off of the catcher position. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Mike Zunino, Mariners - Zunino started a rehab assignment this week, as he works his way back from a fractured hamate bone. He's been out for over a month, so seeing him swing a bat and get back to his catching duties is encouraging. When he is ready to rejoin the M's, which could be late this week or early next, he should go back to his role as the team's full-time catcher, so his rehab and timetable bears watching. He hit .242/.315/.343 with two homers over 111 PA, earlier this season in the majors, after being promoted aggressively though the minors. He's only 22 years old; so don't be surprised to see him struggle as he continues to adjust to the majors, when he does return, despite his lofty prospect status. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Corner Infielders:

Daric Barton, A's - When Josh Reddick hit the DL with his nagging wrist issue this week, Barton was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take his roster spot and thus far has gotten plenty of playing time at first base, as Brandon Moss has moved to right field to take over for the ailing Reddick. Barton hit .297/.423/.430 with seven homers over 488 PA at Sacramento this season. He does a fairly good job of getting on base, despite the fact that he doesn't make the best contact, so he gets a slight bump in value in leagues that use OBP. He's a LHB, so he should continue the platoon that Moss started with Nate Freiman earlier this season. Expect Barton to see steady at-bats, until Reddick is ready to come back, which is likely to happen late this month. Barton is a career .234/.346/.342 hitter against RHPs over 1,408 PA in the majors, so don't expect any miracles here. Mixed: $8; AL: $25.

Lance Berkman, Rangers - Berkman is expected to be activated from the DL on Sunday, after dealing with a hip injury. He has been over his injury for a little while now and has just been waiting for rosters to expand, so that he could rejoin the active roster. He's been out of action for almost two months now and hasn't appeared in a minor league game for over two weeks, so some rust is to be expected. Before he hit the DL, he hit .254/.355/.377 with six homers over 282 PA. At his age and level of agility, it's unrealistic to expect him to get much playing time, anywhere other than DH and perhaps occasionally at first base. He still has the potential to hit for power, but will be hard pressed to find playing time, while the team continues to try to work Jurickson Profar into the lineup. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Nick Castellanos, Tigers - Castellanos is finally getting the call to join the Tigers, as a member of the initial wave of September call-ups this season. Given the status of Miguel Cabrera's abdomen right now, it's not inconceivable to think that Castellanos, originally a third baseman, could see playing time at the hot corner, until Cabrera is fully healthy. Most likely though, Castellanos will see his debut come in the outfield, where he has converted two in the minors. At Triple-A Toledo this season he hit .276/.343/.446 with 17 homers and four stolen bases over 591 PA. He started off the season slow, picked it up in May, was red hot in June, crashed in July, and then started to pick things back up in August, so it's not as if he was knocking down the door, letting the team know he was ready for a promotion. Expect him to see some playing time with Andy Dirks and Matt Tuiasosopo in left field down the stretch. Mixed: $5; AL: $15.

Chris Colabello, Twins - With Justin Morneau now in Pittsburgh, expect Colabello to be the Twins starting first baseman for the remainder of the season. He was up with the team earlier this season and got off to a painfully slow start, before rounding into form and getting hot, but was then sent back down to Triple-A Rochester. Up again now, he has gotten off to another slow start (0-for-19 with 12 strikeouts), but the team appears ready to let him see what he can do for the final month of the season with increased playing time. This season at Triple-A Rochester he was a beast, as he hit .352/.427/.639 with 24 homers and two stolen bases over 391 PA. For those that don't know his story, he spent seven years in the Independent League, before finally catching on with the Twins minor league system last season. He has the potential to hit for power, but he's going to have to start making more contact in a hurry, if he's going to show it and help owners down the stretch. Mixed: $10; AL: Owned.

Luis Jimenez, Angels - Jimenez was brought back up from Triple-A Salt Lake this week, after Chris Nelson hit the DL with a hamstring injury. At Salt Lake, he hit .284/.326/.411 with four homers and 11 stolen bases over 218 PA. He was up with the team earlier this season, but failed to impress, when he hit .232/.264/.275 with no homers over 72 PA from the middle of April through the middle of May. Nelson isn't in the team's long-term plans, so expect Jimenez to see regular at-bats for the final month of the season, to show what he can do, at 25 years old. Howie Kendrick is expected to come off the DL soon and when he does Grant Green will need a place to play, so don't be surprised if he and Jimenez share at-bats at third base later this month. Mixed: $5; AL: $15.

Middle Infielders:

Dustin Ackley, Mariners - Ackley hit two doubles, a triple, and two homers this week to finish the month of August hitting a scorching .390/.420/.597 with six doubles, two triples, and two homers. Considering he hit .243 in July and .138 in May, this is a very welcomed hot streak. He's only 25 years old, so there's still time for him to develop into the player many touted when he was originally drafted. Unfortunately, he's still striking out too often and walking only on occasion, so his current skill set may only take him so far. Still, until he slows down or he's worth a look in mixed leagues, as he's eligible at both second base and outfield. Don't give up on him yet. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

John McDonald, Red Sox - McDonald was traded to the Red Sox on Saturday, as the team attempts to sure up their infield defense down the stretch. He can play second, short, third, and even outfield in a pinch, so it's understandable why the team brought him in. That said, he likely won't do much offensively to help the club, as he's a career .235/.274/.327 hitter over 2,551 PA at age 38. It's highly doubtful he gets much playing time with Xander Bogaerts around, so don't expect much from the glove only veteran. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Hernan Perez, Tigers - Perez was brought up on Saturday, prior to roster expansion, as the Tigers look to gain some depth defensively in their infield, as Miguel Cabrera deals with an abdomen injury. Perez was up with the team earlier this season, when Omar Infante was out, and hit .214/.237/.250 over 61 uneventful plate appearances. In the minors this season he did much better, hitting .301/.330/.410 with four homers and 28 stolen bases over 458 PA between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. He could see some playing time at shortstop with Jose Iglesias sliding over to third base, while Cabrera heals, but that's not likely to last for long, unless Cabrera is forced to the DL. Either way, his offensive potential is limited in fantasy circles. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Jose Ramirez, Indians - A September call-up, Ramirez is expected to join the Indians early this month, after spending the season at Double-A Akron. The 20-year old hit .272/.325/.349 with three homers and 38 stolen bases over 533 PA at Akron, so he might be of some use for his speed. There's no reason to think he'll get regular at-bats with Jason Kipnis ahead of him, so perhaps he'll be used as a pinch runner and late defensive replacement. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Jemile Weeks, A's - Rickie's brother is expected to be one of the initial September call-ups this month, now that rosters have expanded. He hit .273/.379/.372 with four homers and 17 stolen bases over 610 PA this season at Triple-A Sacramento. He's been up with the team before and even hit .303/.340/.421 with 22 stolen bases over 437 PA in 2011, but his stock has since fallen within the organization. He can play second base and has recently moved to the outfield, in an attempt to diversify his skill set, so it'll be interesting to see how the team uses him, if they indeed do give him much playing time. Outfielders Chris Young and Seth Smith haven't done much of anything for a while now, so perhaps Weeks can carve out a role for himself there. He's got good speed, so any real playing time, should net him stolen base opportunities. Keep him in mind, if every stolen base matters to your team. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Outfielders:

Abraham, Almonte, Mariners - With Mike Morse shipped out of town, Almonte was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday. At Tacoma he hit .314/.403/.491 with 11 homers and 20 stolen bases over 396 PA. 24-years old, he's not a highly touted prospect, but clearly has some speed to offer owners. With the team unlikely to play the fragile Franklin Gutierrez every day, expect Almonte to see his fair share of at-bats in both corner outfield positions down the stretch. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.

Quintin Berry, Red Sox - Traded from the Royals to the Red Sox earlier this week, Berry is expected to be a call-up early this month, now that rosters have expanded. He hit .222/.343/.292 with two homers and 13 stolen bases over 172 PA this season at Triple-A Omaha with the Royals. Given these offensive struggles, don't expect to see him getting much playing time anytime soon. If anything, he'll be a defensive replacement and pinch runner late in games. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Matt Carson, Indians - Carson was brought up from Triple-A Columbus this week, when Ryan Rayburn hit the DL with an Achilles' injury. At Columbus he hit .252/.322/.394 with 14 homers and 14 stolen bases over 490 PA. At 32-years old, he is much too old to be a prospect and will likely find it difficult to find much playing time in Indians' outfield mix, especially now that the team has acquired Jason Kubel. It'd take at least one injury for him to have much value in AL only leagues. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners - Finally, Gutierrez was activated from the DL this week, after spending nearly two months out with a hamstring injury. Before that he played in two games in June, after missing another two months with said hamstring injury. He's only played in 154 games since the start of 2011, so calling him Mr. Glass might be doing glass an injustice, as even it is not as fragile as Gutierrez seems to be. When he is on the field, he's an outstanding defender and offers good power and speed. This week he hit a double and two homers, sandwiched around a couple of days off. He has 20/20 potential, over the course of a full season, though that seems doubtful to happen now, given his health issues. Still, the talent is there, if he can stay on the field. Expect him to see fairly regular at-bats at both corner outfield spots the rest of the way. Mixed: $4; AL: $16.

Jason Kubel, Indians - Kubel was acquired from the Diamondbacks this week after he fell out of favor with his old team. It's not hard to see why the team stopped playing him, as he hit .220/.288/.324 with five homers over 267 PA this season. A LHB, he's hit RHP well in the past, but struggled to do so in the desert this season. He's flat out not making enough contact at the plate to be of much use and his power is down dramatically, so it's doubtful he'll be of much use to the Indians or fantasy owners, unless something changes in his approach. With Ryan Raburn on the DL, he'll get some playing time, but shouldn't be counted on to do much offensively. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Daron Mastroianni, Twins - Mastroianni was brought back up from Triple-A Rochester on Friday, as the Twins adjust to Wilkin Ramirez landing on the DL with a broken left leg. Mastroianni spent the bulk of this season getting over an ankle injury that required surgery and likely would've been back sooner, but he also hyper-extended his right knee. Now over said injuries, he's been able to rehab and work himself back into shape. At Rochester he hit .240/.397/.260 with four stolen bases over 63 PA, but that doesn't really say much about his skill set as Mastroianni has fantastic speed. He stole 21 bases over just 186 PA last season with the Twins, to put things in better perspective. With Oswaldo Arcia also out right now with a wrist injury, expect Mastroianni to see somewhat regular at-bats in right field for the Twins down the stretch. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Alex Presley, Twins - As part of the Justin Morneau deal, Presley was traded to the Twins on Saturday. He immediately factors into their depleted outfield, despite his lack of offensive upside. In Pittsburgh he hit .264/.274/.389 with two homers over 73 PA this season. Before that he was in Triple-A Indianapolis, where he hit .298/.376/.427 with five homers and 17 stolen bases over 391 PA. A LHB, he might form a platoon with RHB, Darin Mastroianni, who was just recently recalled from the minors. If this does happen, expect Presley to garner the majority of playing time. Either way, he doesn't offer much value to owners as he makes weak contact and doesn't have a very keen eye at the plate. Mixed: $2; AL: $7.

Delmon Young, Rays - Young is back in the majors, after a quick stint in the minors, following his trade from the Phillies. In Philly he hit .261/.302/.397 with eight homers over 291 PA. At 27 years old, he struggles against RHPs enough that a platoon role is best for him. His power is intact, however depressed it might be from what the expectations once were, when he was a hotshot prospect years ago. It's tough to see him finding consistent at-bats in the Rays outfield, especially considering he's not eligible to be on their playoff roster. Don't expect to hear much from Young down the stretch, unless Wil Myers really continues to slump or an injury occurs. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

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

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