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The Daily Duel: Red Hot Sox

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

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Teams continue to call up players in this week’s “Newbies” section. It’s important to track everyone returning or making debuts in their respective lineups, as they could make for sneaky plays in tournament formats if your opponents aren't keeping track of them.

Newbies

Abraham Almonte, SEA, $3000 – Almonte, like many of the other current members of the Mariners, played the majority of the season at Triple-A Tuscon. He started at Double-A and between the two minor league levels he hit 15 home runs and stole 26 bases. Almonte has hit primarily in the two-hole so far, going 7-for-25 with a home run, stolen base, seven runs and three RBI in his short audition. With Seattle looking towards the future, expect Almonte to get plenty of at-bats over the next few weeks.

Nick Castellanos, DET, $2400 – The 21-year-old finished his Triple-A season batting .276 with 18 home runs in 595 plate appearances - impressive numbers for the International League. The Tigers have used him as a platoon player, meaning he’ll be in the lineup when Detroit faces left-handed pitching. He’s considered their top-hitting prospect and can be used as a “pot odds” player in the outfield if you’re looking for a cheap player.

Value Players Looking To Rebound

Here are some players who have seen their value drop significantly due to poor production in the season thus far. You might be surprised at some of the names and how much their stock has fallen. That being said, for most of these players there is either a track record of success or enough pedigree that they should be able to turn their season around sooner rather than later. As a result, they should provide good value in the near future.

David Freese, STL, $2700 – I contemplated putting Freese in the next section given his current hot streak, but his price is so low I decided to slot him in as a “Value Player.” The World Series hero is having something of a disappointing season considering his OPS is down 117 points from last season. As of late, though, he’s mashing at the plate going 5-for-16 with two home runs over the last week. Again, you can’t go wrong given his price and the fact that the Cardinals are one of the highest scoring teams in the National League..

On Fire

These players have been some of the hottest hitters in the league recently. They are worth considering putting into the lineup regardless of the price they cost. Hot streaks do not always last, but there is no reason to sit a player down if he is smoking the ball.

Mike Napoli, BOS, $4600 – Napoli headed into Wednesday night’s tilt against the Rays in the midst of an 11-for-22 stretch over the last week, which included three doubles, four home runs and nine RBI. In his second at-bat against the Rays Wednesday, he smacked a two-run double continuing his hot run. He’s been in the cleanup spot for the Red Sox behind David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, which is a great place to rack up counting stats. He’s not cheap but he’s definitely been earning his price over the last week.

Will Middlebrooks, 3B, BOS, $4000 – Middlebrooks came into the season something of a sleeper after hitting 15 home runs in only 318 plate appearances last season. He was sent down to the minors during the month of June and spent almost two months working on his swing. The results have been positive, as he’s raised his OPS by 130 points since returning while also showing a nice power stroke over the last week. Prior to an 0-for-3 performance Tuesday night, Middlebrooks had gone 11-for-22 over his previous five games (all multi-hit) and smashed four home runs. Don’t be surprised if the Red Sox bump him up in their lineup, which would offer more RBI opportunities, should he continue to produce.

Ryan Zimmerman, WAS, $4500 – While on vacation in Disney World a couple of seasons ago, a funny moment involving Zimmerman occurred when I took my son to a Braves/Nationals Grapefruit league game. We got to the park early to get autographs and some women in the crowd kept yelling “Ryan! Ryan! Ryan!” to my son’s annoyance. He finally turned around and yelled, “Could you give me a minute?” Most of the crowd laughed and he did eventually come around and sign every autograph that was asked of him. He’s arguably been the hottest hitter in the game recording six home runs in his last seven games after Wednesday’s bomb. Ride him while he’s hot.

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