Derek Holland, Rangers - Baby steps, that's what it seems the Rangers want Holland taking right now. Saturday he threw 67 pitches in a simulated game, as he continues his rehab from knee surgery. Once he gets a legit rehab assignment, we'll have a much better idea of when he might be close to rejoining the team, but at this point it still seems like late July is the most realistic timetable for him. Last season he had a 3.42 ERA (3.44 FIP) with 189 strikeouts and 64 walks over 213 IP. Continue to monitor his progress and stash him in leagues for the second half. Mixed: $5; AL: $15.
Alex Meyer & Trevor May, Twins - Meyer pitched six innings and allowed one earned run on three hits, one walk, and three strikeouts on Saturday. Other than that, not much news on him or May this week, as both continue to bid their time in the minors. Yohan Pino, who passed both for a promotion last week and had a promising first start against the White Sox was lit up this week by the Angels, so perhaps another poor outing or two from him and we might start to hear some rumblings about when either Meyer or May will be on their way. For now, continue to stash both of if forced to pick, Meyer, as he hold more upside. At Triple-A Rochester Meyer has a 3.61 ER (3.92 FIP) with 86 strikeouts and 35 walks over 77.1 IP, while May has a 2.94 ERA (3.12 FIP) with 81 strikeouts and 31 walks over 79.2 IP. Both Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
Brad Mills, A's - After two starts in the majors, Mills has pitched 10.1 innings with five earned runs, eight strikeouts, and four walks. With Drew Pomeranz on the DL with a fractured right (non-pitching) hand, Mills will continue to get his starts in the rotation. Prior to this, he was with the Brewers at Triple-A Nashville, where he had a 1.56 ERA (3.29 FIP) with 77 strikeouts and 18 walks over 75 IP. He had never shown any consistent level of success in the majors or minors, until last season at Triple-A Round Rock with the Rangers, when he had a 3.87 ERA (4.29 FIP) with 73 strikeouts and 29 walks over 97.2 IP. He does not throw hard and has not been hit hard, but that may change this week, when he goes on the road to face the Tigers and is back at home to face the Blue Jays. If he can make it unscathed in these two tough tests, he might be a legit mixed league option. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Brett Oberholtzer, Astros - Dallas Keuchel is dealing with an inflamed wrist, after throwing in a bullpen session this week. He was forced to miss his scheduled start on Saturday and might need a trip to the DL to rest it. In his place Saturday was Oberholtzer, who held the Tigers to one earned run over 6.1 innings with two walks and four strikeouts. Previous to that he had been at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he had a 4.65 ERA (5.76 FIP) with 31 strikeout and three walks over 31 innings. The ERA is poor, but he pitched much better in his last two starts there and the strikeout to walk ratio is intriguing enough that he might be worth another start this coming week, if Keuchel cannot take his turn in the rotation against the Angels on the road. It's a tough matchup for him, but then again that's likely what owners said when he faced the Tigers on Saturday. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Tyler Skaggs, Angels - After dealing with a hamstring injury for the majority of this month, Skaggs is finally ready to rejoin the Angels rotation this week. He'll most likely be forcing Hector Santiago to the bullpen, as Matt Shoemaker has shown enough that he warrants more time in the rotation. Before he was injured, Skaggs had a 4.34 ERA (3.63 FIP) with 58 strikeouts and 24 walks over 76.2 IP. His velocity this season has ticked up from where it was the last two seasons with the Diamondbacks, but he hasn't missed bats or shown the command like he had in the past, in the minors, when he was considered an elite prospect. Still, he's only 22 years old and is still figuring it out. This week, he figures to start against the Astros at home. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.
Taijuan Walker, Mariners - After pitching a shutout this week at Triple-A Tacoma with four hits, no walks, and eight strikeouts Walker is ready to come back to the majors. He's coming off a shoulder injury, but from his last minor league start appears to clearly be over it and ready to be turned loose again. This coming week, he'll be facing the Astros and White Sox on the road. All things considered, it's not a bad setup for him, though the Astros have shown to be a better offense than in the past. Still, as an elite pitching prospect, he needs to be picked up in all AL only formats where available and most mixed leagues too. Last season between Double and Triple-A he had a 2.93 ERA with 160 strikeouts and 57 walks over 141.1 IP. Mixed: $8; AL: $25.
Jason Grilli, Angels - In one of the odder trades we've seen recently, the Pirates and Angels swapped struggling relievers sending Grilli to the Angels for Ernesto Frieri. Just last season Grilli had a 2.70 ERA with 33 saves to his name and looked to be someone owners could really count on, going into this season. However, this season his walk rate has climbed, his strike out rate has fallen, he's given up more home runs, and in general doesn't look the reliever we saw last season. Now with the Angels, he'll continue to work in middle relief, until he can prove himself. There's no reason to think he'll be closing games for the Angels, if he pitches like he did with the Pirates, so unless the Halos coaching staff can correct his mechanics or help him change his approach, this is a buyer beware situation. I'd much rather own Joe Smith right now, who nailed down his seventh save on Thursday and backed it up with a scoreless outing on Saturday and hasn't had really any of the issues that Grilli has this season. Mixed: $2; AL: $6.
Jake McGee, Rays - At this point I have to imagine McGee is owned in all competitive leagues. This time last week, Joel Peralta looked like he might start creeping into the mix for saves, but then we saw the team go to McGee twice this week and him secure the save. McGee has most of the traits you want your closer to have in that he throws hard, misses bats, limits walks, and keeps the ball in the yard. The only real knock on him is that he's LHP, but like Sean Doolittle, this isn't a problem for McGee as he's actually better against RHBs than against LHBs. The only thing is seems now is for manager Joe Maddon to show some trust in him by continuing to trot him out there in late game situations. Mixed: $8; AL: $24.
Jake Petricka & Zach Putnam, White Sox - Within the White Sox committee at closer, Petricka and Putnam look to be the new names to know, as Petricka got a save on Friday and Putnam one on Saturday. On the season Petricka has a 2.08 ERA (3.59 FIP), while Putnam has a 2.30 ERA (3.39 FIP), but both have issues with their command, in particular Petricka, who walk too many batters. I don't really see either reliever succeeding in the role and expect this committee to continue moving forward. If you're speculating for saves though, these two might not be a bad place to start, as they're at least in the mix. Both Mixed: $3; AL: $10.
Caleb Joseph, Orioles - Joseph hit his first two major league home runs this week, as part of a 4-for-13 week that also saw him hit a double. He hasn't been anything special so far, but then again he hasn't really needed to, what with only Nick Hundley to battle for playing time, with Matt Wieters (elbow) lost for the season. Joseph was very productive at Double-A Bowie last season, hitting .299/.346/.494 with 22 home runs and four stolen bases over 570 PA, so there's a chance that the power we saw this week is a hint at what's to come. He's 28 years old, so he should be in his peak production years. If you're desperate for power or need a spark at catcher, he might worth bidding on. He's been getting the lion's share of playing time behind the plate, over Hundley this entire month. Mixed: $2; AL: $9.
Dioner Navarro, Blue Jays - Over the last week, Navarro has swung a hot bat, going 8-for-23 with two doubles and two home runs, heading into Sunday. He also almost had another home run of sorts this week, when he tried to stretch a hit that should've been caught for a fly ball out from a double into a home run, when the throw to second missed badly. As you would expect, he doesn't run well at all and was tagged out a home, but you can't knock his hustle. Overall this season, he has hit .272 with five home runs over 259 PA for the Blue Jays, which is mighty useful in AL only formats. He might be an asset in mixed leagues that use two catchers, if his production from this week keeps up. Mixed: $2; AL: Owned.
Stephen Vogt, A's - Vogt's playing time has dipped lately with the return of Josh Reddick (knee) from the DL and the team's swing on the schedule into NL parks, where there's no DH. However it appears that Reddick has injured that balky knee again and will need another stint on the DL, thus giving Vogt another shot at more playing time. In 20 games this month, he has hit .333/.359/.483 with one double, one triple, and two home runs over 64 PA. As long as he continues to get playing time, which appears to be the case again, he should hold value in AL only and deeper mixed leagues, as he qualifies at catcher, but will be in right field most days. Mixed: $4; AL: Owned.
Mike Carp, Red Sox - Carp (foot) is close to returning from a rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket, but when he does rejoin the team, it's tough to say where he fits in, as Mike Napoli is healthy and playing first base and the outfield is crowded with a platoon in left field, the surging Brock Holt, and now Mookie Betts, though Betts arrival could mean that we see Jackie Bradley back in the minors soon. It's doubtful you were counting on him before he got hurt, what with his .214 average and zero home runs, but in the event you see him on your waiver wire, he can likely be avoided, unless you're looking for a place holder. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Nate Freiman, A's - With Josh Reddick (knee) headed back to the DL, Freiman was brought up from Triple-A Sacramento to take his roster spot. He hits LHP very well, last season posting a .304/.352/.453 batting line against with four home runs over 162 PA. He will rarely start against RHP, so it's tough to see how he'll have any value in mixed leagues. Still, in an AL only you could do worse, if you're looking for a stopgap till one of your players is back or needs to miss a day. Mixed: No; AL: $3.
Logan Morrison, Mariners - I wrote about Morrison here two weeks ago, when he was activated by the team and since then, he's started to warm up. Over the last two weeks, he has hit .271/.321/.479 with one double and three home runs. His numbers on the season are still plenty ugly, but for right now he's getting steady playing time at first base and is being productive enough that owners in deeper mixed leagues should note of him. Justin Smoak is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma right now and his return might muddy up things for the Mariners, but even when healthy, he wasn't productive, so there are no assurances that he'll get his job back. Mixed: $5; AL: $16.
Carlos Pena, Rangers - Pena was brought up from Triple-A Round Rock this week, as the Rangers continue to look for an answer at first base offensively. So far, Pena has gone 3-for-19 with a home run, which about what owners should expect, as he has some pop in his bat, but he swings and misses far too often. Unless you're punting batting average or intend to use him only as a stopgap for a week or so, it's difficult to see how Pena can help owners. Last season between the Royals and Astros, he hit .207/.321/.346 with eight home runs over 328 PA. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Trevor Plouffe, Twins - Plouffe is currently dealing with a rib injury on the DL, but that should end shortly, as he's set to miss only the minimum amount of time with no rehab assignment needed. Prior to his departure, he hit .241/.320/.400 with five home runs over 278 PA. Already owned in all AL only formats, he's a lower end option in mixed leagues, where he was dropped. He's performing at about the same level as last season, which is still well below that of 2012, when we saw his power really spike up. Mixed: $4; AL: Owned.
Justin Smoak, Mariners - Smoak is currently on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma, as he continues to work his way back from a quad injury. The minimum two weeks have already passed, so at this point the team must want him to work on his swing and timing. Logan Morrison is currently holding things down for the team at first base, so when Smoak gets back, we may see Morrison stay there or move over to DH, thus ending Endy Chavez's time with the club. Either way, don't hold your breath on Smoak returning and being helpful to your fantasy club, as he's a career .225 hitter that swings and misses too much, with just average power as the payoff. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.
Mookie Betts, Red Sox - To the surprise of many, Betts was called up on Saturday to join the club and help them offensively. This season in the minors between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, he hit .345/.437/.520 with eight home runs and 29 stolen bases over 359 PA. Just last season he was at High-A Salem, so to call his ascent through the minors this season fast would be selling him a little bit short. He's slated to play in right field this Sunday, as the club continues to shift around their lineup, in hopes of finding a spark offensively. As excited as I'm sure many of you are (myself included), there needs to be a level of restraint in regards to the expectations here because he is only 21 years old and not every prospect that comes up hits the ground running. To acquire him though, no restraint should be shown, as it will likely take a large part of your FAAB budget to get him, especially in AL only formats and keeper leagues. He's a second baseman by glove, which is what he's listed at in CBS leagues, but I've seen in Yahoo! leagues he's listed as a shortstop right now, and in ESPN leagues, he's not even in the player pool yet, so check your league eligibility for him before bidding, to see where you can work him into your lineup. He should be eligible at outfield though for everyone in short order. Mixed: $10; AL: $30.
Alberto Callaspo, A's - After dealing with the trio of Eric Sogard, Nick Punto, and Callaspo at second base, the team has finally decided to give Callaspo some extended run at the position. He has hit .390/.426/.439 over the last two weeks with no real power, but a nose for getting on base and his competition at the position is weak. Still, it's a bump in value for him and allows owners in mixed leagues to start him everyday now. On the season, his numbers look poor, as he has a .248 batting average and only three home runs, but he's played much better as of late and that power output is normal for him. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.
Pedro Florimon & Jorge Polanco, Twins - With Danny Santana (knee) on the DL, Florimon has taken over shortstop duties for the Twins again. The team also decided to bring up Polanco all the way from High-A Fort Myers to give the team some depth at the position, which is a bit surprising as that's a very large jump for any player. So far Polanco has seen limited duty, mostly pinch hitting and pinch running. At Fort Myers, he hit .289/.363/.404 with five home runs and eight stolen bases over 329 PA, but again that was High-A. As for Florimon, he hasn't done really anything this season at the major league level with a .092 batting average over 86 PA. Last season with the club he hit .221 with nine home runs and 15 stolen bases over 446 PA, so he should be able to help owners, once he gets going again. Still, this is a situation most owners should avoid, if possible. Both Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
Logan Forsythe, Rays - Yunel Escobar has been dealing with a nagging shoulder injury that might require he go on the DL soon. In his place defensively Ben Zobrist has slide over to cover for him and Forsythe has started to see more playing time at second base. To his credit, he has gone 8-for-18 with a triple and home run over the last week. Should Escobar indeed go on the DL, Forsythe is work a look for those that may have lost Brett Lawrie or Danny Santana, as he plays a little bit everywhere defensively. His exploits this week aside, he's not an even average hitter, but likely won't have to fight for playing time, which is something. Mixed: $2; AL: $6.
Munenori Kawasaki & Steve Tolleson, Blue Jays - The hand injury to Brett Lawrie is set to cost him at least the next month, so in his place the team has turned third base back over to Juan Francisco more full-time, but has started to mix in Tolleson there and give second base to Kawasaki full-time. Francisco is poor against LHP and will likely sit most days against them, so that's where Tolleson will fit in there, which gives him little value. To his credit, he has hit .333/.393/.588 against LHP with two home runs over 56 PA this season. The worrisome part of this arrangement is that it leaves Kawasaki to play full time at second base, where he is an offensive liability. So far in 464 career PA, he has one home run with nine stolen bases and a .225 batting average. It's doubtful any owner can stomach that and as such, he should be avoided in most formats. Both Mixed: $1; AL: $5.
Anthony Gose, Brad Glenn, & Darin Mastroianni, Blue Jays - Jose Bautista is not in the lineup Sunday for the Blue Jays and at this point, and it was sounding more likely that he will be headed to the DL because of his achy hamstring, that is until he pinch-hit on Sunday. The team has used a combination of Gose, Glenn, and Mastroianni in right field for him with none proving as an adequate filler. Gose has the most speed, though he has only stolen five bases in 122 PA this season with a .245 batting average. Mastroianni, who was brought up this week from Triple-A Buffalo hit a home run Saturday, but is also known much more for his speed, though he does a poor job of getting on base and makes weak contact. Of the bunch though, Glenn may be the best bet to help owners, as he also just came up from Triple-A Buffalo, where he's shown some power. This season there he hit .377/.418/.570 with four home runs and two stolen bases over 122 PA. It would be best for all if Bautista does not hit the DL, as this group leaves much to be desired offensively and even if Glenn is the best bet, he might not get the lion's share of playing time while Bautista is out. Glenn Mixed: $2; AL: $6. Gose & Mastroianni Mixed: $1; AL: $4.
L.J. Hoes, Astros - Hoes was brought back up this week from Triple-A Oklahoma City to replace Robbie Grossman in left field. On the season Hoes has hit .195 with two home runs over 87 PA. It's doubtful that he will fair much better than Grossman did or Jesus Guzman, who somehow remains on the team's roster. Still, as long as he's getting playing time, he's worth giving a shot in AL only formats, if you're looking for a new fifth outfielder. At some point Domingo Santana will end this sadness in left field for the Astros, but that time doesn't appear to be now yet. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.
Domingo Santana, Astros - Santana clubbed his 13th home run of the season on Friday, as he is now batting .305/.383/.508 on the season with four stolen bases over 350 PA, down at Triple-A Oklahoma City. At some point the Astros will stop trotting out L.J. Hoes, Robbie Grossman, Jesus Guzman, and Alex Presley in left field and bring Santana up to see what his power bat can do. He does swing and miss at a high rate, but takes enough walks right now that it's defensible. For now, continue to stash him in AL only formats and deep mixed leagues, as there's a clear need for him and after the All-Star break there may not be much reason to keep him in the minors any longer. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.
Michael Saunders, Mariners - After dealing with a shoulder injury on the DL, Saunders was activated this week and returned to the starting lineup, going 2-for-4 with a double in his first game back. Likely owned in all AL only formats by now, he's a deeper mixed league option now healthy. On the season he's hit .266 with four home runs and two stolen bases over 172 PA. Back in 2012 he was one home run shy of going 20/20 with a .247 batting average, so we know that he has a good blend of power and speed within his skill set. Mixed: $4; AL: Owned.
Note: If you have anyone else you'd like me to discuss, just drop a line in the comments section.