As another baseball season enters the final stretch, here's a look at some of the most noteworthy baseball transactions this week and their fantasy implications.
Nick Buss, OF - recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque
Alex Castellanos, OF - recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque
Impact: With both Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier falling victim to injury recently, and with Matt Kemp's durability an issue, the Dodgers opted to call in some outfield reinforcements to help the remainder of the season. Buss is a 26-year-old speedster who made huge strides with the bat this year, hitting .303 with 84 runs, 17 home runs, 100 RBI and 21 stolen bases at Triple-A. Castellanos appears to have a similar skill set, but his numbers this year went in the opposite direction. After hitting at least .320 in each of the previous two seasons, his average dropped to just .257 in 2013, though he did maintain his power and stolen base numbers. Of the two players, Buss should get more playing time this September, and he could possibly help a fantasy team as long as the Dodgers outfielders continue to experience issues with injuries.
Matt Kemp, OF - activated from the 15-day DL
Impact: Kemp missed nearly two months with a sprained left ankle before returning Monday. His numbers before the injury were disappointing, as he hit just .263 with five home runs and 27 RBI in 62 games. His playing time could be sporadic, and he no longer appears to be the star player that he had been in recent years. He could have some value in deeper NL-only leagues, but he is not recommended otherwise.
Johnny Cueto, RHP - activated from the 60-day DL
Impact: Cueto hadn't pitched since June 28 due to a strained right lat. The Dominican right-hander had emerged as one of baseball's top starters after going a combined 28-14 with a 2.58 ERA over the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He should be on a strict pitch count for his remaining starts, and it remains to be seen whether he'll be able to regain his pre-injury form. However, there's still a good chance that he can be of some help in many league formats.
Chris Nelson, 3B - activated from the 15-day DL
Impact: Nelson served as the Halos' regular third baseman before he suffered a strained right hamstring at the end of August. He wasn't expected back before the end of the season, but his recovery went more smoothly than expected. He has spent time with three major-league clubs this season, and has an overall slash line of .227/.273/.327, making him a less than desirable fantasy option in most leagues even with regular at-bats. It is unclear how much playing time he'll get over the final weeks of the season, though he was not in the lineup Tuesday or Wednesday. Andrew Romine could still see a fair amount of time at the hot corner, but remains a dicey fantasy option.
Jason Castro, C - placed on the 15-day DL (right knee)
Impact: Castro hadn't appeared in a game since Sept. 7 (when he was used as a DH), and hasn't caught a game since Sept. 2 due to soreness in his right knee. He received treatment to drain a cyst in the knee, but his ongoing pain has forced the team to shut him down for the remainder of the season. Carlos Corporan should get most of the playing time behind the dish, and the team also has Cody Clark and Matt Pagnozzi on hand to help out as well. Corporan has shown some power this year, and could be worth a look in deeper leagues.
Yordano Ventura, RHP - contract purchased from Triple-A Omaha
Danny Duffy, LHP - placed on the 15-day DL (left forearm)
Impact: Ventura is a flame-thrower who could make a name for himself over the next year or so. The 22-year-old Dominican right-hander put together a strong 2013 campaign between Double-A and Triple-A, going a combined 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 134.2 innings. He had a nice debut on Tuesday, as his fastball averaged 97 mph on the radar gun and he gave up just one run on five hits and two walks through 5.2 innings against the Indians. He takes over the rotation spot of Danny Duffy, who has been limited to just 11 starts the last two seasons due to injury. Duffy pitched well in his five starts in 2013, going 2-0 with a 1.85 ERA. He's dealing with a mild left forearm strain, and is eligible to return Sept. 23. However, there's a good chance that he's done for the year.
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B - placed on the 15-day DL (left wrist)
Impact: In a season where very little has gone as planned for the Jays, they have suffered another casualty, losing their top run producer to a left wrist injury that will require surgery. Encarnacion finishes the year with a .272 average, 36 home runs and 104 RBI in 142 games and should be ready to go for spring training next year. Adam Lind and Mark De Rosa could both see extra time at first base, with the team rotating players in and out of the DH spot over their remaining games.