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The Daily Duel: Value Found in Players Returning From Injury

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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Here are some guys who are good additions to your team who are currently out-producing their value. Keep in mind that these prices can change daily, so take advantage of them while you can.

Brett Wallace, 1B, HOU, $3100 – Do you remember that highly-touted Cardinals prospect who seemed to be traded ten times while still in the minors? Wallace is that guy. He was recalled to the majors after raking at Triple-A Oklahoma City. While at OKC, Wallace had a .470 slugging percentage, although that was coupled with a 25-percent strikeout rate. In the small sample size since joining the Astros, he’s compiled a 1.215 OPS in 29 plate appearances. As a left-handed batter he should find himself in the lineup on most nights and heads to Arlington to play in one of the best hitter’s parks this weekend.

Brian Roberts, 2B, BAL, $2500 – Remember him? He’s hardly a stranger to the Orioles lineup and finally made his long-awaited season debut Tuesday after missing most of the last two seasons with injuries. At 34 and with a lot of rust, it’s tough to predict what he’ll do the rest of the season. When healthy, he was a consistent producer in the lineup and was good for double-digit home runs and at least 30 stolen bases a season. The Orioles lineup has been a pleasant surprise and if he can stay in the leadoff spot, there’s likely value here given his discounted price.

Pablo Sandoval, 3B, SF, $3000 – Sandoval was off to a hot start before suffering a hand injury. Before the injury he had an OPS over .900 with five home runs, 16 RBI and 17 runs in only 24 games. Since his return he’s gone 1-for-11 with two strikeouts and no extra base hits, indicating he may still be working on his timing. Once he does rediscover his timing, look for Sandoval to return to being one of the better “bad ball” hitters in the game.

Brandon Moss, OF, OAK, $2500 – Moss is an interesting guy that could be finally shedding the “Quad-A” player label. After mashing 15 home runs in only 196 at-bats at Triple-A Sacramento, he’s already hit three in six games for the Athletics. He provides an immediate upgrade over the carousel of players the A’s were using at first base and should be a regular in the lineup for time being.

Alex Presley, OF, PIT, $3000 – Presley has done nothing but hit since returning from his demotion to Triple-A Indianapolis earlier this month. He had a 1.018 OPS over 18 games in the minors and has carried that production over to his latest stint with the Pirates. Over seven June games since his return, he’s scored seven runs, hit one homer and swiped three bags. He’s looks a lot more confident in the leadoff spot and has seen his teammates behind him pick up their production since the beginning of the season.

Jason Bay, OF, NYM, $2500 – Bay’s a tough one to recommend right now, as he was 0-for-16 since his return to the Met’s lineup before launching a home run Thursday afternoon. But given the long layoff, it’s likely he just needed some time to get acclimated to big league pitching. Hopefully Thursday’s home run is a sign he’s turning things around at the dish.

Juan Uribe, 3B, LAD, $2600 – Uribe has returned to the Dodgers lineup after missing time due to a wrist injury. However, he’s come back to a crowded infield that now has Elian Herrera, who has filled in nicely while Uribe has been out. While Uribe struggled mightily last season, he’s still only two seasons removed from a 24-home run campaign. There’s not a ton of upside here but given the right matchup and stadium, he could be a nice fill-in to keep in mind.

Players Looking To Rebound

Here are some players who have seen their value drop significantly due to poor production recently. You might be surprised at some of the names and how much their stock has fallen. This section will also include players who seem to be turning things around as we speak but come at a discounted price due to their recent slump.

Ike Davis, 1B, NYM, $2700 – I know this is somewhat going out on a limb but I like what I’ve seen lately from Davis. After there were some grumblings about sending him down to the minors once Jason Bay was activated, he’s responded in a positive way at the plate. Over the last week (six games), he’s gone 5-for-15 at the plate with six walks (.524 OBP). Those numbers include a home run and show he’s being more patient at the plate instead of pressing. Given his consistency of getting on base, he’s a sneaky play at this price.

Jordan Schafer, OF, HOU, $2900 – Schafer had a hot start to the season, getting on base at a .351 clip with two home runs and eight stolen bases in April. Since then his production has tailed off, as he hasn’t hit a home run since and his OBP has gone down. Most recently, he’s dealt with pink eye and has lost some playing time to Justin Maxwell. However, there’s still a lot of upside here given his speed and he should be on the field more days than not.

Denard Span, OF, MIN, $3100 – After a day off last Wednesday, Span has looked refocused at the plate and has been a big producer for the Twins. He’s gone 3-for-10 with a home run while drawing four walks for a .500 OBP. Oddly, Span has bucked the usual trend of Target Field and had better home than away splits for OPS the last three seasons (.973 vs .532 this season). He looks to be a good play right now while he’s producing at leadoff for Minnesota.

Tip Of The Week

Try to remember the small dog in the fight. What do I mean? We’ve all seen places like Coors Field, Rangers Stadium and Yankee Stadium play as extreme hitter’s parks over the last few years. The ball tends to fly out of the park, especially as the weather gets warmer (which is coming quickly). This makes some of the weaker teams in the league good value plays when they’re visiting these stadiums. Often times teams like the Mariners, Athletics or Padres visit these fields and find success (think about the Mariners visiting Texas a couple of weeks ago). Due to their below average production while at their home parks, the players on these teams will come at a greatly reduced price. Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to explore the lineups in these parks when the weaker teams are in town (hint, take a look at Houston this weekend).


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