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The Daily Duel: Thome Returns to American League

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.


Jim Thome, 1B, BAL, $3000 The future HOFer has a new home after being dealt to the Baltimore Orioles. While his strikeouts have been something of a concern, Thome did have 37 home runs from 2010-2011 in 482 at-bats in Minnesota. Remember that Target Field doesnt play well to left-handed hitters so Camden Yards should play better for the 41-year-old.

Yasmani Grandal, C, SD, $2700 With the poor play of Nick Hundley, the Padres made the decision that the future is now and promoted Grandal to become the every day catcher. Grandal, who has a ton of pedigree, has shown hes ready for the big show and has gone 5-for-18 (.278) with three home runs in his first four games since rejoining the team. Look for him to play on a regular basis and be a solid value with his price so low.

Derek Norris, C, OAK, $3000 Norris could be in line to take over the lions share of playing time from Kurt Suzuki now that hes up with the big club. A key piece in the Gio Gonzalez deal, Norris has solid pedigree and had a decent .805 OPS at Triple-A Sacramento before his call-up. He projects to have plus power for the position and can accumulate a few stolen bases as well. Oakland isnt the ideal environment for hitters, but the leaguewide lack of production at the catcher position this season makes him a solid choice.

Luis Cruz, SS, LAD, $2500 Hes hardly a prospect at 28, but Cruz could find his way to some playing time with the Dodgers given how anemic their offense has been lately. He finished with a double, RBI and stolen base (of home) Tuesday night and should see more playing time in the short term. Cruz was able to compile an .877 OPS at hitter-friendly Triple-A Albuquerque and his versatility to play almost any position will help his playing time, while his other teammates are on the mend.

Drew Sutton, SS, PIT, $2800 Sutton was just claimed off waivers from the Rays a couple of weeks ago and has hit the ground running with the Pirates. He hit a dramatic walk-off home run to win the game Tuesday night and has gone 8-for-27 (.407, 1.152 OPS) since joining his new team. Hes not a great prospect at 29, but he has a lot of versatility which could help the Pirates as they make a run for their division.

Scott Moore, 2B, HOU, $2800 The Astros have decided to give Moore a shot at playing time after he posted a .958 OPS at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Hes filled in nicely for both Jose Altuve and Chris Johnson while they deal with minor ailments. Moore has hit safely in all four games hes played in so far, which included two doubles and a home run.

Slump busters?

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.

Brian McCann, C, ATL, $2900 McCann had a forgettable month of June, watching his average drop 22 points while only hitting .193 for those 30 days. The good news is that he had a .224 BABIP which means luck was not on his side for the month. This reminds me of last weeks mention about Ryan Zimmerman, who went on to have his best week of the season. Im not saying McCann is going to have the best week of his season, but hes too good of a player for this slump to continue.

B.J. Upton, OF, TB, $3100 As quickly as the trade rumors have quieted down, so has Uptons bat over the last month. His batting average dropped 33 points from June 1 to July, and he had only three stolen bases. As a result, his price has dropped from close to $4000 to where it is now. The good news is that Upton has gone 4-for-8 over his last two games with a home run and stolen base. The attraction of Upton is just that; he has the ability to hit home runs and steal bases which is what makes him a potentially very valuable fantasy option.

Currently On Fire

Here are some players who have caught fire lately. Im going to point out players who might have a bigger price than most of the value players I usually discuss but arent quite at the price the elite players command.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, ARI, $3900 Owners who have stuck it out with Goldschmidt have been handsomely rewarded. The hulking first baseman has raked since the beginning of June, raising his batting average from .272 to the current number of .308. Even more encouraging is that seven of his 11 home runs have come during that time and hes swiped five bags as well. While he obviously wont keep up this type of torrid pace, a 20/20 season is now within reach for the second-year player.

Tyler Colvin, OF, COL, $3500 It shouldnt come as a surprise that Colvin has taken advantage of his home park this season and has a 1.105 while at the friendly confines of Coors Field. Quietly, he is starting to produce on the road as well and is up to a total of 10 home runs in only 168 at-bats for the season. Hes only 26 and has tons of pedigree, so it shouldnt come as a complete surprise that hes starting to be effective with the bat. Take a look at using him in your lineup, especially when hes playing in Colorado.

Alexi Amarista, 2B, SD, $3300 Amarista appears to be running away with the second base job for the Padres and hes doing it with his bat. Despite his smaller stature, Amarista has hit four home runs, two doubles and 12 RBI over his last six games. The note to take away from here is that all of this production has come on the road; playing in Petco will definitely suppress his power numbers. However, hell play half of his games on the road and a long home stand could reduce his price tag.

Shelley Duncan, OF, CLE, $3000 Duncan has worked his way into regular playing time by heating up at the plate. Over his last five games hes gone 7-for-16 (.438) with three home runs and six RBI. Duncan has appeared to be a Quad-A player in the past, showing good power in the minors but never showing enough in the majors to garner every day playing time. However, that time could be coming now given the lack of other options the Indians have in the outfield.


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