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FAAB Factor - AL: Looking Ahead

Andrew Martinez

Andrew Martinez writes about baseball and football. He is a native Texan and roots for the Astros, Rockets, Texans, and Rice Owls.

Starting Pitchers:

Brett Anderson, A's - Anderson has been used as a reliever since he's rejoined the team, but he could and should go back to being a starter next season. He has battled a litany of injuries this season and in his career, but there's clear upside here, if he can just remain healthy. In 2010 he had a 2.80 ERA (3.62 xFIP) with 75 strikeouts and 22 walks over 112.1 innings. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Danny Duffy, Royals - Duffy went on the DL this week with a forearm strain, but did not have any structural damage, after undergoing a MRI. He had a 1.85 ERA (4.61 xFIP) with 22 strikeouts and 14 walks over 24.1 innings in the majors this season. He should rejoin the rotation next season and build upon his already impressive ability to miss bats. His control needs some work, but that's to be expected after coming off of Tommy John surgery last season. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Jake Odorizzi, Rays - Odorizzi was brought back up this week from Triple-A Durham to add some depth to the Rays bullpen. He previously made four starts this season for the team and one other relief appearance. At Durham he posted a 3.33 ERA with 124 strikeouts and 40 walks over 124.1 innings this season. There is no clear spot for him in the rotation, but that could change next season. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Drew Smyly, Tigers - If Smyly goes back to being a starter in 2014, he could present considerable value to owners who act now to pick him up. This season as a reliever he had a 2.43 ERA (3.00 xFIP) with 78 strikeouts and 16 walks over 74.0 innings in middle relief. In 2012 he had a 3.79 ERA (3.87 xFIP) as a starter with 88 strikeouts and 26 walks over 95 innings. He knows how to miss bats and has good control. The only thing stopping him could be the organization’s decision to keep him in the bullpen, but that would be short sighted as he has more upside as a starter. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Yordano Ventura, Royals - Ventura made his MLB debut this week against the Royals and pitched 5.2 innings with only one earned run allowed. He added three strikeouts with two walks and five hits allowed. He has elite velocity and is very skilled at missing bats. He has much work to do, before he becomes an established arm and dependable option in fantasy leagues, but those in keeper leagues would be smart to pick him up now. This season between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, he posted a 3.14 with 155 strikeouts and 53 walks over 134.2 innings. This week he faces the Mariners and White Sox on the road. Mixed: $5; AL: $20.

Relief Pitchers:

Neftali Feliz & Joakim Soria, Rangers - Feliz and Soria are in setup roles for now, but next season they could see an increased role, now that both are further away from their injuries that cost them the majority of the first half. For Feliz the upside is clear, as he has formerly saved 32 games in 2011 with a 2.74 ERA (4.27 xFIP). He had Tommy John surgery last season and it caused him to miss the majority of this season, but so far he's unscored upon in six appearances. For Soria, he also had Tommy John surgery and most recently saved 28 games for the Royals in 2011 with a 4.03 ERA (3.38 xFIP). Each are worth speculating on for 2014. Both Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Chia-Jen Lo, Astros - While the Astros have been a poor source of saves this season and are likely to be a poor source of saves again in 2014, saves are saves and next season Lo could be the man the team goes to into the high leverage situations. In 17 appearances this season he has a 4.58 ERA (4.90 xFIP) with 16 strikeouts and 12 walks over 17.2 innings, but he was much more impressive in the minors with much better command. Right now the team is using Josh Fields and Josh Zeid, but the team isn't married to either option. The team isn't likely to spend much money in the free agent market for a reliever either, which also works in Lo's favor. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

David Robertson, Yankees - With Mo Rivera's retirement Robertson is poised to become the Yankees closer in 2014. This season he has a 2.14 ERA (2.62 xFIP) with a 75 strikeouts and 18 walks over 63 innings. He has seven saves so far in his career, but has stepped up already in key situations to help the team out. The only way he doesn't see saves next season is if the team signs a big free agent arm in the off-season. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Bruce Rondon, Tigers - Rondon was thought to be the closer out of spring training this season, but he fell on his face and was quickly sent back to the minors. Next season though, he could re-emerge as a late inning option, as he has posted a 3.58 ERA (3.43 xFIP) with 27 strikeouts and 11 walks over 27.2 innings in the majors. Currently the team has Joaquin Benoit as a closer and he's performed well, but things can change quickly in the world of relievers. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Sergio Santos, Blue Jays - Santos is working in a middle relief role for now, behind Casey Janssen, but that could change next season. He battled elbow issues for the majority of the season and had a procedure to remove bone spurs and chips from his elbow in May, but has emerged a still effective option. This season he has a 1.64 ERA (3.11 xFIP) with 21 strikeouts and four walks over 22 innings. In 2011 he saved 30 games with the White Sox, before the Blue Jays traded for him. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.


Hank Conger, Angels - Conger has hit enough this season for me to think that he could start next season for the Halos. Manager Mike Scioscia might not be back next season, taking with him any allegiances to the more defensive minded Chris Iannetta. Conger makes better contact than Iannetta, though the power and on base advantage goes to latter. The other thing to consider is that Iannetta will be 31 years old next season, while Conger will be 26. In the second half of this season, Conger has hit .263/.327/.384 with one homer over 110 PA. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

J.R. Murphy, Yankees - Murphy got a couple of starts behind the dish for the Yankees this week, as he continues to back up Chris Stewart, with Austin Romine out for the rest of the season with concussion issues. This season between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre he hit .269/.347/.426 with 12 homers over 468 PA. If you're extremely desperate for a second catcher this week, he's an option. Next season, if the team doesn't sign free agent at the position, he'll battle Romine, Stewart, and Francisco Cervelli for playing time with him being the youngster with offensive upside most of the others lacks. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Brayan Pena, Tigers - Pena benefited this season from Alex Avila missing time due to injury and being exposed as a weak contact hitter. Pena is a much stronger bat-to-ball hitter and doesn't strike out nearly as often. However, he does not have nearly the power that Avila, five years his junior, possesses. Still, going into 2014, Pena seems like the better bet to help owners. In the second half of this season, he hit .345/.348/.476 with two homers over 89 PA. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Josmil Pinto, Twins - Pinto continues to get the lion's share of playing time at catcher for the Twins, as Joe Mauer continues to deal with concussion issues. This season between Double-A new Britain and Triple-A Rochester he hit .309/.400/.482 with 15 homers over 528 PA. Going into next spring, the team is highly unlikely to give him a starting role, as the decision to move Mauer off of catcher hasn't been made yet. When it is made though, expect Pinto to possibly be the next in line to start behind the dish for the team. In only 54 PA this season at the MLB level, he's hit .360/.407/.580 with two homers. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Corner Infielders:

Daric Barton, A's - Barton has showed enough since coming back up this season, that the team might consider him for a more permanent role at first base next season. The big issue for him is that Brandon Moss is also a LHB and has really excelled this season in a platoon role, though he's been forced to outfield duty because of injuries. When the A's have a full complement of outfielders, Moss will likely go back to first base and Barton will have little playing time. Still, this season he hit .292/.360/.354 with one homer over 75 PA. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Chris Nelson, Angels - Nelson was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with a hamstring injury late last month. It's unclear how much plaint time, if any he'll get this week, as Andrew Romine has been starting at third base for the team as of late. Between the Rockies, Yankees, and Angels he has hit .227/.273/.327 with three homers and two stolen bases over 227 PA this season. Mixed: $1; AL: $2.

Marcus Semien, White Sox - Semien looks like he could start next season as the Pale Hose's starting third baseman. This season between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte he hit .284/.401/.479 with 19 homers and 24 stolen bases over 625 PA. The team got very little production out of Jeff Keppinger and Conor Gillaspie this season at the hot corner and likely won't be in line for much playing time there in 2014. Semien is only 22 years old, but worth the team taking a chance on as the White Sox try to improve. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Kevin Youkilis, Yankees - Earlier this month there was talk that Youk would try to return for this, the final week of the season. Here we are and there have been no such further rumblings, but it could still happen. He's currently still on the DL, after undergoing back surgery in late June. At 34 years old, it's fair to debate what he has left in the tank that's of benefit to owners. This season he hit .219/.305/.343 with two homers over 118 PA. If your league allows you to pickup injured players, he's worth a speculative add going into next season because of his power. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Middle Infielders:

Ryan Goins, Blue Jays - Despite hitting .232/.250/.317 with one homer over 84 PA this season, the Blue Jays could open next season with Goins as their starting second baseman. He's a better defender than he is hitter, so the team could be onto something. This season the team tried Mark DeRosa, Emilio Bonifacio, and Maicer Izturis at the keystone base and all three could be gone in 2014, so Goins has a real shot. This season from Rookie League ball to High-A to Double-A New Hampshire to Triple-A Buffalo he hit .284/.340/.404 with three homers and two stolen bases over 356 PA. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Grant Green, Angels - Green really has no home in the current Angels lineup, as Howie Kendrick is back at second base and he's not had enough practice defensively to man third base, as he did in the minors. Next season though, he could be the team's starting third baseman, as Chris Nelson, Luis Jimenez, and Andrew Romine are not going to stand in his way. This season at Triple-A between the A's and Angels organizations, he hit .325/.379/.500 with 11 homers and four stolen bases over 415 PA. He'll be entering his age 26 season and is a former first round pick, so there are some things to like about his profile. In the majors he has hit .254/.308/.346 with one homer over 143 PA, but that also includes an 0-for-15 debut he had with the A's, before they traded. There's upside here. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Carlos Triunfel, Mariners - Heading into Saturday, Triunfel had started five of the last six games for the M's at shortstop, as Brad Miller deals with hamstring injury. This season at Triple-A Tacoma, he hit .282/.328/.394 with five homers and six stolen bases over 413 PA. He doesn't offer nearly the offensive upside of Miller, but he's worth considering this week, if you're desperate for a middle infield bat. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.


Jim Adduci, Rangers - Adduci started three games this week in left field for the Rangers, as the team seems to have moved on from the idea of David Murphy (.220/.281/.377 this season) as a starting member of their lineup. At Triple-A Round Rock this season he hit .298/.381/.463 with 16 homers and 32 stolen bases over 551 PA at 28 years old. The age factor makes him a non-prospect, but that doesn't mean he still can't help the Rangers and AL owners looking for a fifth outfield this last week. So far he's hit .267/.313/.300 with two stolen bases over 32 PA, since coming up when rosters expanded earlier this month. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Mike Carp, Red Sox - A bench bat for the Red Sox, Carp has started four of the last five games for the team in left field. He has good power and has hit RHPs to the tune of .307/374/.553 with eight homers over 203 PA, but has had to contend with Daniel Nava for playing time, along with platoon mate Jonny Gomes. If every homer matters to your fantasy team and he's still out there, give him a shot. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Robbie Grossman, Astros - Grossman is unlikely to return this season, as he deals with an oblique injury, but has shown enough to think that he might in 2014 as a starting member of the Astros outfield. This season he came up, struggled, went back down to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and then came back up to hit .322/.351/.466 with four homers and four stolen bases over 157 PA. It's the strides he made in his plate discipline, when he went back down, that should serve as optimism for 2014. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Moises Sierra, Blue Jays - With Edwin Encarnacion done for the season with a wrist injury, the Blue Jays have shifted Sierra to DH. This season at Triple-A Buffalo he hit .261/.309/.422 with 11 homers and 12 stolen bases over 412 PA. In the majors this season he has hit .313/.378/.538 with one homer and one stolen base over 90 PA. Because he appears locked into solid playing time, he's worth a look in AL only leagues and deeper mixed leagues. He's unlikely to factor into the team's 2014 plans, at least initially. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.


Danny Valencia, Orioles - The O's trotted out a slew of different hitters this season trying to find one that would stick as their DH. The only option that seems to have survived and could head into 2014 in that same role is Valencia. This season he hit .307/.338/.586 with eight homers over 148 PA. His power is easily the best of the current options. If the team doesn't sign a free agent in the off-season to fill this role, Valencia could be a valuable pick-up this week. Mixed: $1; AL: $1.

Note: If you have anyone else you'd like me to discuss, just drop a line in the comments section.