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FAAB Factor-AL: Planning 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:

Scott Carroll, White Sox - Carroll came up from Triple-A Charlotte this week and turned in two impressive starts, first holding the Rays to one earned run over 7.1 innings and then holding the Indians to no earned runs over six innings. In total he had three strikeouts with three walks and one earned run allowed. The strikeouts are a red flag that his initial success is not likely to carry over. This shouldn't come as a great to surprise, when looking at his minor league numbers, as he had 13 strikeouts in 23 innings this season at Charlotte. This coming week he gets the Cubs, so maybe he'll be able to keep his strong debut going. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Roenis Elias, Mariners - Elias struck out 10 Yankees batters on Thursday with two walks and just one earned run allowed over seven innings. It was an eye-opening start for the Cuban, who has battled command issues for much of the season, prior to this start. For the season he now has a 3.09 ERA (3.83 xFIP) with 31 strikeouts and 16 walks over 35.0 innings. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he has a curveball and change-up that he goes to as well. Last season at Double-A Jackson, he has a 3.18 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 50 walks over 130 innings. If he starts to tap into that command, he'll have a chance to hang around in the Mariners rotation. This week he faces the A's on the road and Royals at home. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Collin McHugh, Astros - After two starts, McHugh has 19 strikeouts and three walks with one earned run allowed over 15.1 innings. This Sunday he is taking on the Mariners, and baring a disaster, will be deserving of continuing to start for the Astros. It's highly unlikely he keeps up this level of dominance, but even with some regression, we've seen what's capable, when he's got it all working. This week he gets a much stiffer test against the Orioles on the road. If he can get through that start without much damage, he might be ready for those in 12 team mixed leagues, as more than just a streaming option. In AL only formats he is a must own, until he slows down or the league figures him out. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

Robbie Ray, Tigers - Ray is a streaming option this week, as he makes his debut against the Astros at home. He was the centerpiece of the Doug Fister trade, so obviously the Tigers like him. This season at Triple-A Toledo he has 21 strikeouts and five walks over 29.1 innings with a 1.53 ERA. Once Anibal Sanchez is over his finger laceration and comes off the DL, Ray will likely go back to Toledo, so his value is very short-term. Still, it'll be interesting to see what he does in his debut against a weak offense. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Andre Rienzo, White Sox - Rienzo made his second start of the season this week against the Rays, where he allowed just two earned runs over six innings for his second win of the season. He has eight strikeouts and six walks over 13.1 innings this season, which is not good, as he's going to have to show much better command, if he's going to last as a starter. Last season at Triple-A Charlotte he had a 4.06 ERA with 113 strikeouts and 46 walks over 113 innings. If he can perform more like that, he might be of use in mixed leagues. This week he gets the Diamondbacks at home. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays - Stroman got the call on Saturday to come up from Triple-A Buffalo, but unfortunately, he will not be a starter yet. He will first get his feet wet in the bullpen, before the team decides to move him into their rotation. Considering how poorly Dustin McGowan (5.87 ERA) has pitched this season, it should be long before we see Stroman starting. For those new to Stroman, he's one of the Blue Jays top prospects and had a 1.69 ERA with 36 strikeouts and seven walks over 26.2 innings this season at Buffalo. Even in relief, he's sure to miss bats with his slider, so he should be of use to owners in AL only and deeper mixed formats right away. Mixed: $5; AL: $18.

Relief Pitchers:

Brett Cecil/Steve Delabar/Aaron Loup, Blue Jays - Sergio Santos has been removed from the closer role for the Blue Jays, as they attempt to go with a committee led by Loup, until Janssen (back) is ready to return to the team. Loup is a LHP, so it would make sense that would be used against LHB and Delabar, a RHP, against RHP. Cecil is also in the mix, but it's tougher to see him earning save opportunities with Loup the guy they want to go to. Cecil has done the best to miss the most bats this season with Loup and Delabar battling command issues, but in a two-week window (or less) anything could happen. The one thing that looks certain is that Janssen will be given every opportunity to regain the job, once he comes off the DL. Cecil Mixed: $1; AL: $4.  Delabar Mixed: $3; AL: $9.  Loup Mixed: $3; AL: $9.


Bryan Holaday, Tigers - Alex Avila has been dealing with back spasms as of late, which has allowed Holaday to start five of the last seven Tigers games. In his limited action this season Holaday has gone 8-for-27 with one double and one stolen base. Last season at Triple-A Toledo he hit .260/.312/.372 with four homers over 320 PA. Back spasms can be tricky to deal with, so if you're an Avila owner, it might not be a bad idea to check on the availability of Holaday in AL only formats. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Erik Kratz, Blue Jays - Kratz was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo this week to give the Blue Jays some added depth behind the plate, as Dioner Navarro deals with a quad injury. A career .219/.279/.410 hitter with 19 home runs over 427 PA, Kratz has power, but it's unlikely that he'll get enough playing time to show it, unless Navarro lands on the DL. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Derek Norris, A's - There is talk the A's may be in the trade market for a starting pitcher, perhaps at the expense of catcher John Jaso. A move such as this makes some sense, considering that Norris has gotten off to such a great start, hitting .367/.441/.550 with five doubles and two home runs over 68 PA. Only 25 years old, Norris has shown power like this before in the minors. Should Jaso get moved, Norris would receive an extra bump in playing time. If he's still available in your 12 team mixed league, he's worth another look as a second catcher. Mixed: $7; AL: Owned.  

Corner Infielders:

C.J. Cron, Angels - Cron was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday, as the team looks for a real DH, as Raul Ibanez is only hitting .149/.221/.299 for them in that role. In his debut, Cron went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI, which should immediately give him the upper hand in playing time over Ibanez, who could be DFA'd soon, if he doesn't start to hit. As for Cron, he's only 24 years old and last year hit .274/.319/.428 with 14 homers and eight stolen bases at Double-A Arkansas and had gotten off to a quick start at Salt Lake with six homers in 122 PA, before getting the call. Expect the power to continue, it's only a matter of if he will continue to hit, as he adjusts to the majors. He needs to be owned in all AL only formats and deeper mixed leagues. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.

Conor Gillaspie, White Sox - Gillaspie is currently on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, as he makes his way back from a hand injury. Once he's ready to return to the White Sox later this week though, it's uncertain where he fits in, as Gordon Beckham and Marcus Semien are more set in their roles at second and third base. The team could opt to send Leury Garcia back down, but even that wouldn't assure Gillaspie of steady at-bats. Last season Gillaspie hit .245/.305/.390 with 13 homers over 452 PA. He should be back with the team later this week. He hit .302/.347/.413 with seven doubles over 72 PA this season, before landing on the DL. Mixed: $1; AL: $5. 

Luis Jimenez, Angels - Jimenez was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday to fill in for David Freese, who landed on the DL with a finger injury. Jimenez should platoon with Ian Stewart at the hot corner, until Freese returns. Jimenez will likely see the majority of starts against LHP, which doesn't exactly help his value. Prior to being called up, Jimenez hit .304/.340/.609 with seven homers and five stolen bases over 98 PA. Unless something happens to Stewart, don't expect to see Jimenez in the lineup that often. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Kendrys Morales, Free Agent - With the first-year player draft approaching early next month, it's time to stash Morales in any leagues where he may be available. Once the draft is over, the team that Morales signs with no longer has to forfeit a draft pick, so he should be picked up very quickly thereafter. There have been rumblings about him latching on with the Mariners and Orioles, but nothing more than that. Last season with the Mariners, he hit. 277/.336/.449 with 23 homers over 657 PA. Keep an eye on him. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Steve Pearce, Orioles - After being released by the Orioles last week, the team quickly moved to re-sign Pearce, after Chris Davis landed on the DL with an oblique injury. Since then, he's started the last four games for the team at first base and gone 5-for-16 with two doubles and seven strikeouts. Last season with the team he hit .261/.362/.420 with four homers and one stolen base over 138 PA, so it's understandable why the team initially dismissed him. Don't expect Pearce to have much value, once Davis returns in a couple weeks. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.

Middle Infielders:

Eduardo Escobar/Danny Santana, Twins - Escobar is the starting shortstop for the Twins for now, after Pedro Florimon started the season hitting well below the Mendoza Line. Escobar is no great bet to be an upgrade offensively, as he hit .236/.282/.345 with three homers last season over 179 PA. Santana was called up from Triple-A Rochester on Friday to give the team some added depth at the position. At Rochester he hit .268/.311/.381 with four stolen bases over 105 PA, before getting the call. I wouldn't be surprised to see Eduardo Nunez factoring into this mix in the coming weeks as well, once he's healthy. Escobar Mixed: $2; AL: $9. Santana Mixed: No; AL: $2.  

Chris Getz/Steve Tolleson, Blue Jays - Getz was brought up from Triple-A Buffalo this week and is expected to get the majority of playing time at second base for the Blue Jays. Last season with the Royals he hit .220/.288/.273 with one homer and 16 stolen bases over 237 PA. Those numbers are a pretty fair representation of what owners should expect, as he won't hit for any power, but should help with his speed. As for Tolleson, he was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo this week as well, to help give the team some depth, behind Getz. He hit .236/.345/.333 with one homer and six stolen bases over 84 PA at Buffalo, so don't expect him to be helpful offensively. He could see some playing time at shortstop, but even then, it will only be to give Jose Reyes a day off. Getz Mixed: $3; AL: $12. Tolleson Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Mike Aviles/Jose Ramirez, Indians - With Jason Kipnis on the DL with an oblique strain for the next month or so, the Tribe has opted to DFA Elliot Johnson and instead go with Aviles at the keystone base. So far he has hit .250/.295/.321 with one homer and four stolen bases over 64 PA. He has hit for more power in the past, but those numbers aren't far off from those for his career. He's a decent alternative for those that have lost Kipnis in AL only formats. As for Ramirez, he was called up from Triple-A Columbus and figures to back up Aviles. At Columbus, he hit .319/.365/.484 with four homers and eight stolen bases over 105 PA, so he's got an interesting power/speed combination at only 21 years old. If he can get some playing time, he might impress. He has more upside than that of Aviles, but with only 105 PA above Double-A, he might not be ready for the promotion just yet. Aviles Mixed: $5; AL: $18.  Ramirez Mixed: $1; AL: $5.


Jordan Danks/Moises Sierra, White Sox - With Adam Eaton landing on the DL with a hamstring injury, expect to see Danks garner the majority of the starts in centerfield. Danks has done very little offensively this season, hitting .086/.238/.171 with one homer and two stolen bases over 42 PA. He's got some light power and speed, but just might not be able to hit enough at the major league level to hang around very long. The extra playing time should give him the at-bats to find a rhythm at the plate, but even then, he's no safe bet to do much. Sierra was DFA'd by the Blue Jays earlier this week, before getting picked up by the White Sox and added to the active roster this Sunday. He doesn't have a much better offensive profile than that of Danks, as he hit .261/.309/.422 with 11 homers and 12 stolen bases last season at Triple-A Buffalo. Danks Mixed: $2; AL: $8.   Sierra Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Grant Green, Angels - Green was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday, to help give the Angels some added depth all over the place. He can play second base, third base, shortstop, and in the outfield, so don't be surprised to see him in the Halos lineup at any of those spots. Last season at Triple-A Sacramento with the A's organization, he hit .325/.379/.500 with 11 homers and four stolen bases over 415 PA, before getting called up and eventually traded to the Angels. At 26-years old, the former first round pick has some power and speed, yet neither has really materialized at the major league level. With J.B. Shuck sent back to Salt Lake, don't be surprised to see Green in left field, until Josh Hamilton is ready to return to the team. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.

Nyjer Morgan, Indians - Morgan is back with the Tribe, now that Michael Bourn is dealing with a hamstring injury. Earlier this season Morgan stole three bases in nine games, going 8-for-23 at the plate. He'll always have value because of his speed, so those desperate for stolen bases in AL only formats should be able to use him as cheap speed, until Bourn is back in the lineup. Last season with the Brewers "T-Plush" had a .239/.302/.308 batting line with 12 stolen bases over 289 PA. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Sean Rodriguez, Rays - Rodriguez had a pair of three-hit games this week as he raised his batting line to .250/.313/.636 over 48 PA. He had four doubles and a homer in those two games, showcasing his power. He has played a little first base, a little second base, some outfield and DH, so he's a bit of a utility man for the Rays right now. He is much better against LHP, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him continue to start against southpaws this season and not coincidentally three of his four homers this season have come off of them. If he can stay healthy, he's well on his way to setting a career high in home runs and perhaps batting average too, as he has upped his contact rate to over 79 percent this season, well above his career 74 percent mark. Mixed: $3; AL: Owned.

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