RotoWire Partners

FAAB Factor-AL: Riding the Hot Hand

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:

Danny Duffy, Royals - After two rough starts at the end of May, Duffy has rebounded in June with a 1.75 ERA (2.50 FIP), 23 strikeouts, and six walks over 25.2 innings in four starts. His improved command has been noticeable, as has his ERA, which now stands at 2.91 (4.15 FIP) as a starter this season. He showed up at the end of the 2013 season, after dealing with Tommy John surgery and all the rehab and time working his way back in the minors, to post a 1.85 ERA (3.09 FIP) over 24.1 innings in five starts, so perhaps his recent success is just him getting back to being that pitcher. He needs to be owned in more mixed leagues. This week he gets the Dodgers at home. Mixed: $7; AL: Owned.

Kyle Gibson, Twins - With two starts this coming week, against the Angels and Rangers on the road, mixed league owners are likely considering adding Gibson to their roster. Over his last three starts he hasn't allowed a run, as he's struck out 16 batters with five walks and nine hits allowed over 21 IP. On the season he has a 3.25 ERA (3.50 FIP) with 46 strikeouts and 25 walks over 83 IP. His command leaves much to be desired and because he misses so few bats, it's tough to really recommend him in shallower leagues. Still, he's been on a roll lately and has a 55.8 percent ground ball rate; so some may want to take a chance on him. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

Derek Holland, Rangers - Holland remains a player worth stashing in AL only and deeper mixed leagues, as he continues to work his way back from his knee injury. At this point it seems likely that we won't see him until late July, as he still hasn't gone on a rehab assignment yet. Considering all the injuries the Rangers have had this season, it makes sense for the team to not rush Holland back too soon, despite the comments he's made that he thinks he's ready to ramp up his comeback. Last season he had a 3.42 ERA (3.44 FIP) with 189 strikeouts and 64 walks over 213 IP. Continue to monitor his progress, as there should be news about a rehab assignment soon. Mixed: $5; AL: $15.

Nick Martinez, Rangers - Martinez has pitched well in his last two starts, allowing four earned runs with six strikeouts and two walks over 13 innings. This is improvement over his previous three starts, where he was lit up and looked like he might be headed back to the minors. Overall he still has an ugly 5.06 ERA (5.98 FIP) on the season as a starter with 19 strikeouts and 20 walks over 48 IP. This coming week he gets the Twins at home. He's at least worth checking on in AL only formats, where owners may have dismissed him, after his rough patch of starts. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Trevor May, Twins - While he doesn't have the upside of his teammate Alex Meyer, May has started to open some eyes with his improved strikeout rate over some of his recent starts. For the season he has a 2.94 ERA (3.13 FIP) with 81 strikeouts and 31 walks over 79.2 IP at Triple-A Rochester. He has lowered his walk rate some, in comparison to last season, and because he doesn't have the ceiling of some of the other Twins pitching prospects, the team might not as hesitant to start his service clock this summer. Those in AL only formats should stash him for this season, though the upside isn't nearly as high with someone like Meyer. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Alex Meyer, Twins - No real news on Meyer this week, other than that he got passed over by Yohan Pino, when the team needed to dip into their minor leagues for a starter. Meyer needs to show more consistency from start to start and work on his control, but overall, he seems ready to another challenge. His strikeout rate remains strong at 10.6 K/9, so perhaps the team just wants to see him really dominate or continue to work on his pitches at Triple-A Rochester. Still, he remains an intriguing prospect worth stashing in AL only formats. On the season he has a 3.46 ERA (3.43 FIP) with 80 strikeouts and 32 walks over 67.2 IP. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.

Yohan Pino, Twins - In his MLB debut, Pino pitched seven innings against the White Sox at home and gave up two earned runs with seven strikeouts, one walk, and five hits allowed. Unfortunately he took the no-decision, but it was still a very positive debut for the career minor leaguer who at age 30 was just now getting his first taste of the majors. This is actually his second time to be with the Twins organization, as he originally came up with them when he was 22-years old. Since then he has spent time in the Indians, Blue Jays, and Reds organizations. Prior to his promotion he had a 1.92 ERA (3.72 FIP) with 61 strikeouts and 16 walks over 61 IP at Triple-A Rochester. With none of the upside that a Trevor May or Alex Meyer possess, it's easy to see why the Twins brought up Pino, just to see what he can offer them, while the other two continue their development. This week he'll take on the Angels on the road. Expectations should remain low. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Taijuan Walker, Mariners - Walker remains in the minors at Triple-A Tacoma, as he continues to work his way back from his shoulder injury and towards a promotion back to the majors. That plan might have suffered a setback this week, after he gave up seven runs (three earned) over five innings with two home runs. That's now six home runs that he's given up in his five starts at Tacoma this season. Overall, his command needs more work. Continue to stash him in AL only formats, as he should be up this summer. An elite pitching prospect, last season he had a 2.93 ERA with 160 strikeouts and 57 walks over 141.1 IP between Double and Triple-A. Mixed: $5; AL: $15.

Chase Whitley, Yankees - Whitley is starting to look more and more like a real option for owners in mixed leagues, now that he's starting to pitch deeper into games. In two of his last three starts he pitched at least seven innings and in six of his seven starts he has allowed two earned runs or less, both of which are positive signs. Maybe most importantly though, he continues to limit the walks, of which he has issued four in his 38.2 innings this season. With that sort of control, he doesn't have to miss as many bats to still be effective. He has also done a great job limiting home runs, of which he has only served up one. His 2.56 ERA (2.69 FIP) seems too good to be true and it likely is, but for now he needs to be picked up in more leagues. This coming week he gets the Blue Jays on the road and Red Sox at home. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

Relief Pitchers:

Joe Smith, Angels - Tough to say what goes on in Angels manager Mike Scioscia's head when late game situations arise and he needs to turn to his bullpen. What's been clear is that Ernesto Frieri is not the answer right now, what with his 11.27 ERA this month (5.13 overall). Some games it seems, he just gets it in his head that he's going to use a certain reliever to close a game out, no matter what the situation dictates and the results have been usually met with a facial expression from Scioscia that explains it all, as disaster has found his bullpen yet again. Smith seems like the man for the job closing out games right now, as he has a 2.35 ERA (3.08 FIP) this month with 11 strikeouts and one walk in eight appearances. I might have made mention of Kevin Jepsen, but has had control issues and has blown two saves, the most recent one coming Saturday against the Rangers, where with a one run lead, he gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. And really, Scioscia likely should've never left going to Smith, who did fine closing games out earlier this season, has a career 2.97 ERA, is a RHP, and gets plenty of ground balls; really nothing not to like there. Mixed: $4; AL: $12.


Francisco Cervelli, Yankees - Cervelli was activated from the DL this week after dealing with a hamstring injury. He has started one game since then and went 1-for-3. Expect him to back up Brian McCann most days, thus limiting his value to only AL only leagues that use two catchers. For his career, he's a .269/.340/.364 hitter. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Robinson Chirinos, Rangers - It might be time for those in deeper mixed leagues to give Chirinos another look, as over his last five games he's had one double and two home runs. Over the last month, he's hit .267 with four doubles and four home runs, which isn't all that bad for a second catcher and certainly useful in AL only formats, where he's likely already owned. Geovany Soto is still working his way back from his knee injury and won't be back with the team until after the All-Star break, so there's still time for Chirinos to help owners. Mixed: $2; AL: Owned.

Jesus Montero, Mariners - I mentioned Montero here last week, when he had first been called back up, and since then he has gone 4-for-14 with a home run and run. The power shouldn't come as a big surprise, as he hit eight home runs at Triple-A Tacoma earlier this season. What will be a surprise is if he can continue to hit for average, something that he had real problems with last season. At only 24 years old, he deserves another chance to prove himself in the majors and because he still has catcher eligibility, he's worth taking a flyer on, at least in AL only formats. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Stephen Vogt, A's - Since being called up on June 1st, Vogt has hit .354/.373/.479 with one home run. Earlier this season at Triple-A Sacramento, he hit for average as well and mixed in a few home runs. Most teams wouldn't be able to carry a third catcher, as the A's are doing now with Vogt, but he can also play right field, where he's started five of the last seven games. Josh Reddick is expected back Tuesday, so it'll be interesting to see what the team does with the hot hitting Vogt, but don't be surprised to see him kept over someone like a Kyle Blanks. Mixed: $3; AL: Owned.

Corner Infielders:

Eduardo Escobar, Twins - Since Trevor Plouffe hit the DL with a rib injury this past week, Escobar has started all seven games in his place. He hasn't done much with that opportunity, as he's gone 5-for-23 with two doubles and one run over that stretch, but at least he's getting the at-bats. On the season, he's hitting a very respectable .298/.345/.447 with two home runs and one stolen base over 205 PA. Plouffe doesn't figure to be able to come off the DL, when his minimum 15 days are up, so Escobar might be useful through the All-Star break. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.

Grant Green, Angels - David Freese's days might be numbered, as he's hit just .238/.328/.267 over the last month with no home runs. The logical replacement for him on the active roster is Green, who was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake this week. There he hit .32/.367/.481 with three home runs over 169 PA. Known for his diverse glove, Green has hit .354/.368/.462 with the team this season over 68 PA with one home run. It wouldn't be surprising for the team to start sitting Freese more often to give Green some run at the hot corner to see what he can bring offensively. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Steve Pearce, Orioles - This week Pearce went 8-for-21 with four doubles and two home runs, as he continues to bounce between left field and DH. On the season he's hitting .333/.387/.579 with six home runs and two stolen bases over 124 PA. He's also been moved up to second in the lineup over the last four games, with Manny Machado moving down to seventh in the order, which obviously helps Pearce's potential to score runs. With eligibility at first base, he's worth adding as a corner infield bat, in those AL only and deeper mixed leagues, where he's still available. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

Justin Smoak, Mariners - Smoak (quad) started a rehab assignment this week at Triple-A Tacoma, meaning it shouldn't be much longer before we see him back in the majors, possibly even as soon as Wednesday this coming week. There was some hope that he had started to turn a corner with his hot start to the season, but that turned out to be just a tease, as he hit .208/.282/.361 with seven home runs this season over 241 PA. In AL only formats, he's worth picking back up, if he was dropped, just for the counting stats, but by now you should know what you're getting. In mixed leagues, you can likely ignore him. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Middle Infielders:

Mookie Betts, Red Sox - Mookie just keeps on hitting down at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's now up to a .319/.402/.472 batting line with two home runs and five stolen bases over 82 PA. On the season he's now batting .346/.433/.531 with eight home runs and 27 stolen bases between Double-A and Triple-A. Once Brock Holt cools down, Mookie might be the next man up, as he's proving that the minors are not a big enough challenge for him. He's a second baseman by glove, but has been playing center field at Pawtucket and this week Red Sox manager John Farrell said that he might start seeing time in right field as well, showing the organization isn't opposed to get him reps at multiple positions, with a possible promotion looming later this season. Owners should stash Mookie, where possible, as he figures to be up later this summer. If you're in a keeper league, he's a must own. Mixed: $2; AL: $9.

Brad Miller, Mariners - This week Miller swung a hot bat, as he went 9-for-23 with two home runs. On the season, he's still hitting a porous .202/.272/.324 over 237 PA, but perhaps this recent hot streak is a sign that he's started to turn the corner. Last season he performed much better down the stretch, with a .265 batting average, eight home runs, and five stolen bases over 335 PA. At 24 years old, the Mariners have continued to stick with him through his awful April and May, which is starting to payoff this month. He should be picked up in deeper mixed leagues and looks to be a nice buy low candidate in AL only formats, if you can find an owner that has already soured on him. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

Donnie Murphy, Rangers - Murphy went 2-for-4 with two home runs in a game this week against the A's, in a start at first base, as the Rangers continue to look for a solution at first base, now that Mitch Moreland (ankle) is gone. The other option at first has been Brad Snyder, who I mentioned last week, and so far is 4-for-27 with one home run on the season. Murphy hit 11 home runs last season with a .255 batting average over 163 PA for the Cubs, so he's got some power. If Snyder continues to slump like this, don't be surprised to see Murphy start to get more playing time. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Rougned Odor, Rangers - Hitting ninth most nights, Odor is batting .300 on the season with three home runs and one stolen base over 109 PA. Considering the jump he made from Double-A to the majors, I'm surprised he hasn't struggled, but then again I didn't think he'd be this good of a contact hitter right away. Considering some of the holes the Rangers have in their lineup, it wouldn't be surprising to see Odor move up in the order soon. He's still giving some playing time away to Luis Sardinas, but at this point it's clear he's the better option. In deeper mixed leagues, he's worth a look as a middle infielder, especially if he starts to move up in the order. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.


Lorenzo Cain & Justin Maxwell, Royals - With Norichika Aoki going on the DL with a groin injury Saturday, Cain figures to see the majority of playing time in his place. Cain had previously been sharing time with Jarrod Dyson in center field, but that had begun to change recently, as Dyson began to start most days over him. Now with the injury to Aoki though, Cain should resume seeing regular at-bats. On the season he's hit .315, but it's been hollow, as he's only hit two home runs and stolen six bases over his 195 PA. Maxwell was brought up from Triple-A Omaha, in a corresponding move to Aoki going on the DL, but he doesn't figure to contribute much offensively. To his credit he did hit .316/.358/.541 with five home runs and two stolen bases over 106 PA at Omaha this season. The bigger problem is his lack of success at the major league level, where he's a career .225 hitter. Cain Mixed: $2; AL: $8. Maxwell Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Brandon Guyer, Rays - Back after battling through a thumb injury, Guyer was activated from the DL on Thursday this past week. So far he's gone 3-for-11 with two runs in his return, showing his thumb woes are behind him. With David DeJesus out with a left hand fracture for what looks to be at least a month, Guyer should see regular playing time in left field. Last season at Triple-A Durham he hit .301/.374/.458 with seven home runs and 22 stolen bases over 405 PA. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

J.D. Martinez, Tigers - Maybe the hottest hitter in all of baseball over the last week, Martinez has hit four home runs with 10 RBI and five runs over his last seven games. He has seen extended playing time as of last due to the nagging hamstring of Torii Hunter. And considering that Hunter hasn't played in the last five Tigers games, headed into Sunday, a trip to the DL might be in the cards, thus securing more playing time for Martinez. His recent power binge is a surprise, considering how badly he flamed out with the Astros in the second half of 2012 and all of 2013, but maybe he just needed a change of scenery. Earlier this season at Triple-A Toledo, he hit .308/.366/.846 with 10 home runs and two stolen bases over only 71 PA, showing this power was certainly there. Find a spot for him on your roster, until he cools down or Hunter returns and his playing time gets cut. Mixed: $8; AL: Owned.

Domingo Santana, Astros - For all of the strides the Astros have made this season, they still have one of the worst left fields in terms of offensive production. The group of L.J. Hoes, Alex Presley, and Robbie Grossman has collectively given them a .208/.285/.311 batting line this season with seven home runs and a MLB low 31 runs scored. Santana, though traditionally a right fielder, is currently at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he has hit .294/.375/.481 with 11 home runs and four stolen bases over 327 PA. It might not be long before the team decides to cut bait on Presley, who is hitless in his last 11 at-bats and has a .234 batting average for the season, and decides to give Santana some run. He needs to work on cutting down his strikeout rate, but he takes a fair amount of walks and the power is intriguing enough that we may see him this summer, making him a nice player to stash in AL only and deep mixed leagues. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Michael Saunders, Mariners - Saunders, who is currently on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma as he works his way back from a shoulder injury, is eligible to come off the DL on Thursday this coming week. Before he left the team, he hit .265/.313/.429 with four home runs and two stolen bases over 165 PA. In 2012, he was one home run shy of going 20/20, showing he has a nice blend of power and speed offensively. Considering the Mariners have been rolling with Endy Chavez in right field most days, Saunders should immediately get his job back. If he was dropped in any AL only or deeper mixed leagues, now would be a good time to check on his status. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.

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