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FAAB Factor-AL: First Big Trade!

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:

Clay Buchholz, Red Sox - This week Buchholz gets two starts, one at home against the White Sox and the other on the road against the Astros. In his two starts back from the DL (ERA related injury), he has pitched 13.2 innings with five earned runs, four strikeouts, and no walks allowed. This is hardly impressive stuff, but perhaps it is reason enough to trot him out there for his two starts this coming week. Prior to his stint on the DL he was awful and I don't blame any owner for claiming he's dead to them, as his 6.22 ERA and 1.74 WHIP this season have sent many an ERA and WHIP to the morgue. If you're in an AL only league, you could do worse, I think. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Kevin Correia, Twins - Over his last six starts, Correia has a 3.34 ERA with 14 strikeouts and eight walks over 35 IP. This coming week he gets the Mariners and Rockies on the road, in a situation where some owners may be looking at his recent success and thinking about starting him in weekly leagues. That start against the Rockies in Coors should be enough to dissuade them, but if not just consider that low strikeout total and the limited upside he brings. In AL only formats, you'll likely need to trot him out there, but in mixed leagues this is a situation to avoid. Mixed: $1; AL: Owned.

Jason Hammel, A's - Now with the A's, pitching in the AL is nothing new to Hammel, as he was with the Orioles the last two seasons and the Rays, when he first broke into the majors. Things should be much better for him this time around, as he will no longer be in the AL East and gets the benefit of pitching in Oakland, where any home run problems he might have had in the past will have room to fall in for outs. With the Cubs he had a 2.98 ERA (3.17 FIP) with 104 strikeouts and 23 walks over 108.2 IP. The A's have a way about get the most juice out of even the most sour lemons, but in this case they have a pretty pitcher to work with, so don't hesitate to bid up on Hammel, even if his numbers won't be as good as they were in the NL Central. Mixed: Owned; AL: $25.

Derek Holland, Rangers - Holland will be evaluated by team doctors on Monday, before the team decides where to send him on a rehab assignment. The thinking is that he'll need at least two rehab starts before he rejoins the team's rotation later this month. He's coming back from knee surgery in the offseason, so his arm strength shouldn't be an issue. He needs to be owned in all AL only and deeper mixed leagues. Last season he had a 3.42 ERA (3.44 FIP) with 189 strikeouts and 64 walks over 213 IP. Mixed: $6; AL: $18.

Miles Mikolas, Rangers - Mikolas made his MLB debut this past week, as he pitched 5.1 innings with three earned runs, four strikeouts, and two walks against the Orioles on the road. Prior to this, he was at Triple-A Round Rock, where he had a 3.22 ERA with 38 strikeouts and only three walks over 44.2 IP. He's going to need that sort of control to carry over to the majors, if he's to have success, as he doesn't miss enough bats. This coming week, he faces the Astros and Angels at home. Most owners likely won't be as desperate as the Rangers are for pitching help to turn to Mikolas. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Danny Salazar, Indians - This past Monday Salazar pitched 7.1 innings with one earned run allowed, nine strikeouts, and one walk at Triple-A Columbus, giving hope that he might have turned a corner and be close to rejoining the Indians rotation soon. He followed that up on Saturday pitching six innings, giving up four earned runs with nine strikeouts and three walks. His command has improved over his last four starts with a 34-to-eight strikeout-to-walk ratio. The only real question is can he limit the home runs, if called back up. In his first six games at Columbus he gave up a home run in each start, though he hasn't given up any in his last two starts. Between Josh Tomlin and T.J. House, there's room for him in the majors, he just needs to keep the ball in the park. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Jeff Samardzija, A's - Welcome to the party, pal! After his trade from the Cubs to the A's, Samardzija now finds himself pitching for a contender that looks to be all-in, after they acquired him and teammate Jason Hammel to help bolster their staff. With the Cubs this season he had a 2.83 ERA (3.07 FIP) with 103 strikeouts and 31 walks over 108 IP. Pitching in Oakland should help make his transition to the AL a smooth one, as it's one of the better pitcher parks in all of baseball. The bidding to acquire Samardzija in AL only formats is likely to be aggressive, as he strikes out plenty of bats with good command. The only question is how badly do you need the starting pitching help?  Mixed: Owned; AL: $30.

Tyler Skaggs, Angels - Skaggs made his return to the Angels rotation this past week, after dealing with a hamstring injury, as he held the White Sox to two earned runs over 7.2 innings with six strikeouts and one walk on the road. This coming week he gets the Blue Jays at home and Rangers on the road. If he can prove himself in that first matchup against the Blue Jays, more owners in mixed leagues should find a spot for him, as the Rangers aren't nearly as tough offensively, even at home. On the season he has a 4.16 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 25 walks over 84.1 IP. Mixed: $5; AL: $18.

Relief Pitchers:

Neftali Feliz, Rangers - Feliz was brought back up this week from Triple-A Round Rock to give the Rangers bullpen some depth. In his first outing back, he walked the first two batters he faced, but then retired the next six in succession. It might take a little bit of time before he starts to factor back into high leverage situations, but that time table could be accelerated by the Joakim Soria trade talks. If Soria were to be dealt away, Feliz could get his old job back. Before that though, he'll need to earn back manager Ron Washington's trust and prove that he can handle back-to-back days throwing and maintaining his velocity. Still, he's worth taking a flyer on, if you're speculating for saves in the second half. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Javy Guerra, Jacob Petricka, & Zach Putnam, White Sox - Putnam got himself in the conversation to start seeing more save opportunities after he nailed down a save at the end of June and a win on Wednesday this week, but then he blew a save on Saturday, giving up one run on three hits to the Mariners. He's still in the mix, but can't really afford many more mishaps like that in the short-term, if he's going to take over the closer role. Overall this season he has a 2.41 ERA (3.35 FIP) with 27 strikeouts and 12 walks over 33.2 IP. Petricka is also in that mix, as he hasn't allowed a run, since his last save on June 27th. However, he has command issues with 34 strikeouts and 24 walks over 46.2 IP this season. The best bet may be Guerra right now, as he has a 2.00 ERA (4.56 FIP) with 18 strikeouts and 10 walks over 18 innings, all since coming up from the minors in late May. Maybe most impressive is that he has allowed just one earned run over his last 11 appearances. Guerra - Mixed: $3; AL: $9. Petricka - Mixed: $1; AL: $3. Putnam -Mixed: $2; AL: $6.


Geovany Soto, Rangers - This past Friday, Soto finally started a rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock, as he works his way back from an orb meniscus in his knee. Based on this timetable, he should ready to rejoin the Rangers active roster, after the All-Star break. Last season with the club, he hit .245/.328/.466 with nine home runs over 184 PA. The batting average will almost certainly be a concern, but he has enough power to make him relevant in AL only and deep mixed formats as a second catcher. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Corner Infielders:

David Freese, Angels - After a poor April and May, Freese started to turn things around in later part of June and it has carried over into July, as this week he went 8-for-15 with three doubles and two home runs. Over the last two weeks he is hitting .417/.462/.750, which is something to take note of in mixed leagues, where owners are looking for corner infield help. He's already owned in all AL only leagues, but maybe it's an opportunity to buy low on him from an owner that has already soured on him. In 2012 he hit .293/.372/.467 with 20 home runs over 567 PA with the Cardinals. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

Logan Morrison, Mariners - This week the Mariners activated Justin Smoak from the 15-day DL and optioned him to Triple-A Tacoma, a sign that they're confident in what Morrison is offering them at first base right now. Tough to argue with the decision, as he has really started to produce over the last two weeks, hitting .345/.393/.545 with two doubles (both this week) and three home runs. On the season, his numbers still aren't great, but he's shown more power than he did last season with the Marlins and he's logging consistent playing time, now that he's over his hamstring injury that he dealt with for much of the early part of this season. If he's still available in mixed leagues, he's worth running out there as corner or utility bat. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

Mike Moustakas, Royals - Moustakas went 2-for-4 on the 4th of July with a home run, a sign of life from a very depressed bat. Over the last two weeks, he has hit .278/.397/.444 with two home runs. He has been very difficult, if next to impossible, to own outside of AL only formats this season because of his cellar dwelling batting average of .192. While his recent production isn't likely to sway many owners to take a chance on him in mixed leagues, they should at least take note that he's been performing better lately. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Chris Parmelee, Twins - Joe Mauer's oblique injury that landed him on the DL has opened up playing time for Parmelee at first base, a much better fit for him defensively than in the outfield, where the team was sometimes sending him out to defend. Offensively, he's been productive as of late, going 8-for-30 this week with three doubles. Oblique injuries can be tricky to peg for how long they might keep a player out, so don't be surprised to see Parmelee stick at the position through the end of the month. Mixed: $2; AL: $9.

Zelous Wheeler, Yankees - Wheeler was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this week, after the team optioned Yangervis Solarte to the minors. In his first game, Wheeler went 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs; not bad for a career minor leaguer making his MLB debut. At Scranton/Wilkes-Barre he hit .299/.367/.467 with seven home runs and one stolen base over 270 PA. He has some power and is a nice story, but isn't an option in mixed leagues, until he can show some consistency at this level. The only block to steady playing time for him is Kelly Johnson, who has hit .212/.289/.376 this season, so there's certainly an opportunity here for Wheeler to seize upon. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Middle Infielders:

Christian Colon, Royals - Colon was brought up from Triple-A Omaha this week, as the Royals decided to pull the plug on Pedro Ciriaco when he was DFA'd. At Omaha, Colon hit .296/.360/.384 with four home runs and 14 stolen bases over 334 PA. 25-years old, this is the most speed he's shown in the minors, where he's been considered a top 10 prospect within the Royals system. So far he's only started one game at second base, where he went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple, though that could change, if he can get hot, as Omar Infante has only hit .256 this season and has struggled to stay healthy consistently. He's middle infield depth in AL only formats, but worth keeping an eye on in mixed leagues. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Logan Forsythe, Rays - Forsythe went 2-for-3 with a home run on Saturday, his second in the last week, as he has really started to warm up offensively. Over the last two weeks he has hit .419/.479/.698 with a double, triple, and three home runs with 10 runs over 43 PA. Defensively he has taken over second base, as Ben Zobrist is now at shortstop, while Yunel Escobar (shoulder) remains out. He's eligible at second base, but has played at first, third, short, and in the outfield as well, so depending on your league rules, he might have a fair amount of position flexibility defensively. Before this season, he spent the start of his career with the Padres, where he posted less than inspiring numbers, which is likely why they let him go. For now he needs to be owned in all AL only formats, at least until Escobar is ready to return. At that point his playing time might be sporadic, unless he can keep this offensive surge up. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.

Marwin Gonzalez & Enrique Hernandez, Astros - This week the Astros optioned Jonathan Villar down to the minors, as his struggles offensively were enough for them to decide he needed time elsewhere to work on his approach. The team called up Hernandez to take his roster spot and fill a utility role for the team, but that might change, as he's gotten off to a 6-for-15 start with a double and home run in his first five games. Between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, Hernandez hit .336/.379/.503 with 20 doubles, nine home runs, and six stolen bases over 332 PA, so it's not as if he hasn't earned this promotion. He has already played at second and in the outfield, but he figures to start most games at short stop, likely at the expense of Gonzalez, who was thought to be the new starter, after Villar was optioned. Gonzalez hasn't done anything wrong this season, hitting .277/.341/.420 with four home runs over 124 PA. He's arguably just as hot as Hernandez right now with two home runs in the last week. If both keep this up, they'll both end up in the lineup, likely at the expense of Chris Carter or LJ Hoes. Gonzalez Mixed: $2; AL: $6. Hernandez Mixed: $2; AL: $6.

Adam Rosales, Rangers - Rosales was brought back up this week, when the team decided to send Luis Sardinas back to the minors. He'll serve as middle infield depth and see the occasional start at first base, so don't expect much out of utility infielder. At Triple-A Round Rock he hit .276/.349/.434 with seven home runs and three stolen bases over 307 PA, before his promotion. A career .220 hitter, his batting average is likely to negate any positive he brings to most teams. Mixed: No; AL: $2.


Norichika Aoki, Royals - Aoki (groin) is set to begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Northwest Arkansas early this coming week, which means he could be ready to rejoin the team possibly later this week. Before his injury, he really struggled with his new team, hitting just .263/.326/.324 with no home runs and seven stolen bases over 292 PA. It's tough to say how much playing time he'll get once he rejoins the roster, as he was losing time to Lorenzo Cain, even before his injury. Either way, he's not much of an option in mixed leagues. Mixed: $2; AL: Owned.

Mike Aviles & Tyler Holt, Indians - The Tribe brought up Holt from Triple-A Columbus this Sunday, when they placed Michael Bourn on the DL with a strained left hamstring. This season between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, he hit .300/.425/.380 with two home runs and 21 stolen bases over 328 PA. He's most likely to be used as depth, while Aviles soaks up most of the at-bats left behind by Bourn, as Michael Brantley moves to center and Aviles to left field. To this point Aviles has hit .266/.286/.351 with three home runs and eight stolen bases over 202 PA. He's eligible at second, short, and third, along with in the outfield, as he's a Jack of all trades, master of none. Aviles Mixed: $1; AL: $4. Holt Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Tony Campana, Angels - Campana was traded to the Angels this week, as they look to add some depth to their outfield. A career .246 hitter, it's unlikely that he has value in even most AL only formats, as his only real skill of use to owners is his speed and faced with sporadic playing time, it's very tough to tell when that speed will be of use. Back in 2012 he hit .264 with 30 stolen bases over 192 PA with the Cubs. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Chris Colabello, Twins - With Joe Mauer (oblique) on the DL, Colabello was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to give the team some depth at first base and in the outfield. He got off to a scorching start earlier this season, hitting .295/.343/.484 with three home runs and 27 RBI in the month of April, but came crashing back down to Earth in May, before being sent down to the minors. While at Rochester, he hit .275/.347/.473 with six home runs over 147 PA, so it's not like he didn't make himself useful. Don't expect to see him in the lineup too often this time around. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Cole Gillespie, Blue Jays - Gillespie was claimed off waivers from the Mariners, who earlier this week designated him for assignment, as the Blue Jays look to add depth to their outfield. Don't expect him to have much offensive value with his new team, though they'll likely need his depth, as they adjust to life without Edwin Encarnacion, who suffered a quad injury on Saturday night. On the season Gillespie has hit .254/.312/.324 with one home run and two stolen bases over 78 PA. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Corey Hart, Mariners - Hart was activated off the DL this week, after dealing with a hamstring injury. In his two games back, he has gone 1-for-7, out of the DH role. On the season he's hit .205/.287/.342 with five home runs and two stolen bases over 164 PA. He's going to need to warm up offensively, before most in mixed leagues should take a chance on him, despite his name and the fact that he hit 30 home runs last season with the Brewers. In AL only leagues, he need to be picked up where ever he was dropped, as he's going to log consistent playing time, as long as he stays healthy. Mixed: $4; AL: $15.

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