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AL FAAB Factor: Fallen Closer Returns

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown is the Managing Editor of NBA Content for He hosts the Fantasy Basketball Podcast and writes about fantasy basketball. Kyle used to run an after school program and approaches his work as an editor with teaching in mind. He genuinely cares about helping others win their fantasy basketball leagues, which seems really dorky when it's written in the third person.


Bruce Chen, SP, KC - Chen (back) was activated from the DL this week and pitched six innings in his return to the rotation. He gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out four. Chen was doing well before going on the DL, but his return to the lineup is more indicative of what should be expected from him. He's worth using as an innings eater in AL-only formats, but he doesn't do anything exceptionally well to warrant ownership in standard mixed leagues. In 48.2 innings this season, he's posted a 3.88 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 28:16 K:BB ratio. If there's one good thing to say about Chen, it's that he should remain in the rotation the rest of the season. Mixed: $0; AL: $3.

Brian Gordon, SP, NYY - Gordon has made two starts with the Yankees, and he's slated to get one more before Bartolo Colon (hamstring) returns to the rotation. However, the Yankees could decide to skip him due of the off days they have in their schedule. Gordon was mediocre in his first two starts, posting a 5.23 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over 10.1 innings. Unless Colon suffers a setback, Gordon's tentative value should dry up. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Josh Outman, SP, OAK - Outman got the call at the end of May to help the Athletics' when their rotation arms were mowed down by injuries. In his six starts since joining the rotation, Outman has posted a 2.86 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 16:13 K:BB ratio through 34.2 innings. That K:BB ratio won't win him many fans, but he's otherwise been stellar and is only owned in 4% of Yahoo! leagues. Grab him this week if you need a starter in AL-only leagues. Unfortunately, he hasn't been getting enough strikeouts(man) to warrant rostering in standard mixed leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $3.


Joe Nathan, RP, MIN - Nathan was activated from the DL Friday and returned to work Saturday, giving up a solo homer to Corey Hart. He's an exciting reliever due to his past success, but before going on the DL, Nathan had posted a 7.63 ERA through 15.1 innings. Even in AL-only leagues, I'm not buying him until he shows he's healthy and worthy of a spot. Mixed: $0; AL: $2.

Ryan Perry, RP, DET - Perry was recalled Friday after being sent down to the minors to fix some things. He was used in long relief Friday, pitching 2.1 innings. Perry has been considered an option to be the team's closer of the future at times, but his lack of control has limited him. Keep an eye on him, as he could eventually stake a claim to the setup role in front of Valverde. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.


No big news here. Miguel Olivo has continued doing his best Mike Piazza impression lately, but I touched on that last week.


Brandon Inge, 3B, DET - Inge was activated from the DL Thursday and officially returned to the lineup against the Diamondbacks on Friday. He was immediately given his starting role as the team's third baseman back. That means Don Kelly will go back to serving in a utility role. Before going on the DL with the kissing disease (mononucleosis), Inge was struggling at the dish but staying in the starting lineup for his glove. He'll continue to be used for that same reason in his return. Don't expect much production out of Inge, but grab him if you need an everyday bat at third in AL-only leagues. In 169 at-bats this season, Inge has hit .207 with one home run, 12 RBI, and a putrid .551 OPS. Mixed: $0; AL: $3.

Alberto Callaspo, 3B, LAA - Callaspo has started three of the Angels' last four games and looks to be working his way back into being their everyday third baseman. He should reclaim the starting role, but that might mean he will still gets bumped from the lineup one or two times a week so Maicer Izturis can get a couple starts. Callaspo has hit .276 with three home runs, 29 RBI, and two steals in 243 at-bats this season. He doesn't have much over-the-fence power or speed on the basepaths, but Callaspo can hit for a decent average. Mixed: $0; AL: $2.

Mark Ellis, 1B, OAK - Ellis has started two of the last four games at first base and appears to be in a lefty/righty timeshare with Conor Jackson at first now that the team has sent Daric Barton packing. The team is trying to get Ellis at-bats at other spots in the infield with Jemile Weeks taking over the everyday role at second. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Adam Kennedy, 3B, SEA - Kennedy has started three of the last five games at third base for the Mariners, relegating Chone Figgins to a bench role lately. This move comes as part of an avalanche effect of Dustin Ackley's callup. Kennedy has hit better than Figgins this year, so the Mariners are finding ways to keep him in the lineup. It looks like Kennedy could continue to get at least four starts a week, making him of use in most AL-only leagues. Mixed: $0; AL: $4.

Chris Carter, 1B/OF, OAK - Carter was called up this week but has failed to receive a start yet. He was used as a sub and got one at-bat since. He was batting just .235 through 85 at-bats at Triple-A this season (around a wrist injury), and he's probably headed back to the minors when Josh Willingham returns from the DL in a week. If you're bullish on him and have room to stash players, go ahead and grab him. Otherwise, I wouldn't waste the money on him right now. I'd be singing a different tune if manager Bob Melvin were actually getting him in the lineup, but that just hasn't been the case. Mixed: $0; AL: $2.


J.J. Hardy, SS, BAL - I've written about Hardy a couple times this season, because his early trip to the DL has left him sitting in free agent pools even though he's put up production worthy of ownership in shallow mixed leagues. Coupled with his inheritance of the leadoff spot in the Orioles' lineup, Hardy's value begs that his current 56% ownership in Yahoo! leagues move to the 90% or higher range. Through 180 at-bats this season, he's posted a .311 average with 10 home runs, 29 RBI, and an outstanding .923 OPS. He's undoubtedly owned in all AL-only leagues, but mixed league players need to check and make sure he isn't still available. In 15 games as the team's leadoff hitter, Hardy has hit .368 with six home runs, 12 RBI, 13 runs scored, and a 1.149 OPS. Mixed: $15; AL: Already universally owned.

Elliot Johnson, SS, TB - Johnson is getting his fourth start at shortstop in the last six games Sunday, and it appears the Rays have flipped back to making him their starter after toying with Reid Brignac's inconsistent bat in the last couple weeks. Johnson's work at the plate has been as impressive as a pile of vomit lately (just one hit in his last 20 at-bats), but he's more appealing than Brignac due to the fact that he's miraculously still hovering above the Mendoza line. At this point, he's a live bat. Mixed: $0 AL: $1.

Andres Blanco, SS, TEX - Blanco has started the last few days at shortstop to fill in for Elvis Andrus (wrist), but Andrus is supposed to return to the lineup as early as Tuesday. That would nullify any tentative value Blanco may have had this weekend. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.


Eric Thames, OF, TOR - Thames was recalled Thursday, played Friday, and has been out of the lineup Saturday and Sunday. Initial reports upon his callup said that he would be getting regular at-bats, but his absence from the lineup two straight days speaks to the contrary. With that said, it should be understood that the Jays haven't had the DH this week, since they've been playing in NL parks for interleague play. Thames has hit .298 with four RBI through 47 at-bats in the majors this season, and he should have an opportunity, once the team returns to AL action Monday, to start staking a claim to a starting job in the outfield. The Jays moved Jose Bautista back to third base earlier this week opening the door for Thames in the outfield. He's worth a flier in both mixed and AL-only leagues, but temper your expectations. Mixed: $2; AL: $5.

Brent Lillibridge, OF, CHW - Lillibridge started the last White Sox's last three games leading into Sunday. We're tempering our expectations here, because manager Ozzie Guillen has continued to support and defend the road block that is Jun Pierre despite terrible offense and weak defensive play. Couple that with the impending callup of Dayan Viciedo, whom will likely become the everyday left fielder upon his promotion. Through 107 at-bats this season, Lillibridge has hit .271 with seven home runs, 15 RBI, and six steals. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Dayan Viciedo, OF, CHW - Speaking of Viciedo, Guillen told the media Saturday that he isn't protecting Pierre (or anyone for that matter) and that he'd play Viciedo if the front office called up the 22-year-old slugger. While I'm hesitant to propose that you make an early grab on Viciedo, it's worth reviewing his stats and putting him on your watch lists. When called up to the majors last season, he hit .308 with five home runs, 13 RBI, and a 2:25 BB:K ratio through 104 at-bats. He has continued producing positive statistics at Triple-A Charlotte this season, hitting .325 with 12 home runs, 54 RBI, and a 16:57 BB:K ratio in 295 at-bats. Viciedo is expected to get called up and claim the left field job eventually, but I caution grabbing him too early. Brett Lawrie showed us earlier this season how dangerous putting the cart before the horse can be. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Austin Kearns, OF, CLE - It's hard to pimp Kearns too hard considering he's hit .194 with zero home runs, and two RBI in 93 at-bats. He's in line to get more playing time in right field with Shin-Soo Choo going on the DL for the next six weeks after undergoing thumb surgery, but the bulk of his value is just from him being a live bat in AL-only leagues. Shelley Duncan and Travis Buck should also be in the mix in right while Choo is out, so Kearns may only get three or four starts per week. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Jason Repko, OF, MIN - Repko is starting in left field Sunday after Delmon Young sprained his ankle in a comic attempt to snag a line drive at the wall Saturday and earned a trip to the DL. When Jason Kubel (foot) returns this week, the Twins might put Repko on the bench, keep Michael Cuddyer in right, and start Kubel in left, but keep an eye on the situation in case they give Repko the everyday job in left while Young is out. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Jason Kubel, OF, MIN - Kubel is expected to return from the DL as early as Monday. Though he's started most of the year in right field, the team could opt to start him in left as long as Delmon Young is on the DL to keep Cuddyer in right. Kubel should already be owned in all AL-only leagues, but mixed league players may be able to grab him this week. He's currently owned in just 52% of Yahoo! leagues. Before going on the DL, Kubel hit .310 with five home runs, 30 RBI, and a steal through 200 at-bats. Mixed: $6; AL: Unlikely that he's available.

Jarrod Dyson, OF, KC - Everyone loves Dyson because of his ridiculously efficient and aggressive work on the basepaths this season, but he simply doesn't have room to get regular playing time with the Royals' outfield full of players having career seasons. Only grab him if your league is so deep that you need to stash players before a real opportunity to play arises. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Brett Gardner, OF, NYY - After the Yankees tried using Nick Swisher as the leadoff hitter for three games, Gardner was finally given the reigns to the leadoff spot seven games ago. He's led off six of the last seven games with Derek Jeter (calf) currently out of the lineup. Gardner has been used as a semi-regular starter most of the season, but Jeter's absence has pushed the Yankees to use him in an everyday role lately. I'd like to think the Yankees would stop pandering to Jeter and give Gardner the start leading off even when the veteran returns, but things being as they are, Jeter will probably reclaim the role when he returns so that his pride doesn't get hurt. Gardner is already owned in 74% of Yahoo! leagues. He hasn't exactly excelled as a leadoff hitter this season (batting just .229 in 70 at-bats there this season), so it's hard to argue that he be owned any deeper. However, I am recommending grabbing him in shallower leagues as long as he's hitting out of the leadoff spot, because despite his struggles there earlier this season, Gardner proved last year that he could do well in the role. In 346 at-bats as the Yankees' leadoff hitter last season, he hit .295 with 69 runs scored and 37 steals. Mixed: $8; AL: Absolutely no way he should be available.