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FAAB Factor-AL: Buyer Beware

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 will get two starts this coming week, one against the Royals at home and the other against the Twins on the road. Since rejoining the White Sox rotation late last month, he has a 3.97 ERA (3.80 FIP) with 14 strikeouts and eight walks over 22.2 innings in four starts. He hasn't been pitching deep into games and in his last start he left early because of a stiff lower back, but the break should've given him time to get over the ailment. He gets ground balls at a decent clip (54.3 percent) and has kept the ball in the yard, so if his defense can pick him up, he might be a decent low-end option in most leagues this coming week. Mixed: $2; AL: $7.

Shane Greene, Yankees - Greene has two starts this coming week, one against the Rangers and the other against the Blue Jays, both at home. Before the break he made two starts in which he pitched 13.1 innings with nine strikeouts, two walks, and two earned runs allowed against the Orioles and Indians both on the road. In his start against the Orioles he struck out nine batters, which is impressive. At Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier this season he had a 4.61 ERA (3.42 FIP) with 57 strikeouts and 26 walks over 66.1 IP. With Masahiro Tanaka out for an extended period of time, there's room for Greene to prove himself. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Derek Holland, Rangers - Count me among the many that are frustrated with how Holland's return is going. From the reports that are coming out and from how his rehab has gone to this point, Holland should already be close to back by now, but the Rangers are taking things deliberately slow. It's tough to blame them, as almost everything they've touched this season has turned to dust, but at some point they need to stop coddling Holland and let him get on with his rehab. The earliest we're likely going to see him is late next month, so it might not even be worth it for some owners to bid on him. Last season he had a 3.42 ERA (3.44 FIP) with 189 strikeouts and 64 walks over 213 IP. I don't blame anyone that's out of patience, as I'm almost there myself. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.

Alex Meyer, Twins - If you've been reading this column lately, you pretty much know the story on Meyer by now, as he's doing well in the minors and looks ready to for a promotion to the majors. At Triple-A Rochester this season he has a 3.30 ERA with 107 strikeouts and 47 walks over 95.1 IP. The walks are an issue, as he's had 12 walks in his last 18 innings, but at this point that's to be expected. He generates enough swings and misses that he can overcome the walks in the minors right now, but he needs to take his command up a notch or two. He's working on a change-up right now, so that may explain some of the loss of control in his recent starts. There are only so many Kris Johnsons and Yohan Pinos of the world that the organization can throw out there before they turn to Meyer and see what he can do. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

James Paxton, Mariners - Currently on a rehab assignment, Paxton (back) said he felt no soreness following his outing on Saturday. He should be back on the mound on Tuesday for another appearance at Low-A Everett, where he will be throwing 60 pitches. After that he could be ramped up to 75 pitches and if all goes well he could be back in the majors after that around the early half of August. Earlier this season, back in April, he made two starts where he pitched a total of 12 innings with 13 strikeouts, two walks, and three earned runs allowed, though one start was a gem with seven shutout innings and nine strikeouts. He's worth stashing in AL only formats if you have the room on your bench. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Yohan Pino, Twins - Pino should get two starts this coming week against the Indians and White Sox, both at home. On the season he has a 4.39 ERA over 26.7 innings, but in his last two starts he has a 1.64 ERA with seven strikeouts and four walks over 11 innings. He showed nice control in the minors and has bounced around quite a bit, so it's somewhat surprising that this is his first real shot at starting in the majors. At Triple-A Rochester earlier this season he had a 2.45 ERA (4.06 FIP) with 67 strikeouts and 23 walks over 66 IP. If he's available in your AL league, he's worth a shot this coming week. Mixed: $2; AL: $6.

Anthony Ranaudo, Red Sox - Between 30.1 innings last season and 106.2 this season, Ranaudo has pitched 137 innings at Triple-A Pawtucket and he's compiled a 2.69 ERA with 112 strikeouts and 51 walks. With numbers like that and the Red Sox looking like they're likely to be sellers at the trade deadline, we may see Ranaudo sooner than expected down the stretch. It certainly doesn't seem like there's much for him left to accomplish at Pawtucket. I suppose he could start to work deeper in games, but that's nitpicking. There have been reports that he's working on a slider, so that's something to monitor, but it shouldn't hold him back from being the next man up, should a rotation spot open up. Check status on him in AL only formats and keep an eye on him in deep mixed leagues. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Danny Salazar, Indians - Salazar is scheduled to return to the Indians rotation this coming Tuesday against the Twins on the road. This comes after pitching 53.2 innings at Triple-A Columbus with a 4.02 ERA (3.96 FIP), 67 strikeouts, and 28 walks. I am hopeful that the Salazar we saw earlier this season is gone and the lights-out flamethrower we saw last season is back, but it's tough to believe in him when in his last two starts he went 11.2 innings and walked 11 batters. The strikeouts are there in his minor league numbers, it's the control and the long ball that he has problems with and both have been issues while in the minors this time around. He issued a home run in each of his first six starts in Columbus, before not allowing any in his last four starts, which is a step in the right direction. I cannot get over the walks though in his last two starts, despite the fantastic strikeout rate. If he does well in his start against the Twins, he should get another audition, but there are no sure things as Justin Masterson should be back in the rotation by then. I don't think he's any better skill wise than what we saw earlier this season, but I could and hope to be wrong. He comes back to a 5.53 ERA (4.71 FIP) with 47 strikeouts and 17 walks over 40.2 IP. Buyer beware. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Taijuan Walker, Mariners - Tough to say when Walker will be back with the Mariners and in their rotation next, as his two most recent outings at Triple-A Tacoma have only lasted five innings with one strikeout in each outing. The thinking was that he would go down during the break and continue to work his way back, as he had only made two starts in the majors since returning from a shoulder injury. The last time he was in the minors his final start was a nine-inning shutout with eight strikeouts, so it's tough to tell if he's regressed or is still just working his way back. Either way, he's someone worth stashing in AL only formats for now. Last season between Double-A and Triple-A he had a 2.93 ERA with 160 strikeouts and 57 walks over 141.1 IP. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.

Relief Pitchers:

Zach Putnam, White Sox - In two games since the break the White Sox have had two saves and Putnam has both of them, thus strengthening his case to be the team's closer moving forward. Friday's save was a clean outing with two strikeouts and a groundout to preserve a one run lead against the Astros. Saturday was a little different as Jake Petricka started the ninth inning with a one-run lead, but walked the first batter, got the first out, gave up an infield hit to put the winning run on base, and then got the second out, before being pulled for Putnam to get the final batter out to end things. Both Petricka and Putnam are RHP and were facing a LHB, so there was no split advantage, at least that I'm aware of between the two. On the season Putnam has a 2.41 ERA (3.16 FIP) with 32 strikeouts and 13 walks over 37.1 IP. He might not be the closer in name, but he needs to be owned in all leagues until further notice. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.

Huston Street, Angels - Street was traded from the Padres to the Angels this week to assume their closer role and strengthen their frequently struggling bullpen. Former closer Joe Smith will return to a setup role, though he did nothing wrong while earning saves for the team and will likely prove once again be a reliable middle reliever. In his first appearance with his new team, Street gave up one hit with one strikeout in a scoreless inning of work in a tied game. Street came up with the A's, so he knows the league and the division well, so there shouldn't be any needed adjustment there. On the season his numbers have been fantastic with a 1.06 ERA (2.84 FIP), 35 strikeouts, and seven walks over 34 innings. The only thing that stands between him and perhaps the best season of his career is health, which has been a problem for him over the years. Still, owners should bid with confidence on the new Halos closer. Mixed: Owned; AL: $24.


J.P. Arencibia, Rangers - In yet another sign that this is a lost season for the Rangers, they DFA'd Carlos Pena after the break and brought Arencibia up from Triple-A Round Rock to take his place at first base. He's a catcher by glove but will see most of his time at first base, as the Rangers really don't have much to lose by playing him instead of Robinson Chirinos or Adam Rosales. In his first game, he went 1-for-3 with a home run. Last season with the Blue Jays he hit .194/.227/.365 with 21 home runs in 497 PA and that's about what owners should expect right now; a very poor batting average mixed in with some power. There might be some reason for optimism, if it weren't for his continued struggles in the minors to be able to take a walk and not strikeout in at least a quarter of his at-bats. If every last home run matters to your team and you can take the hit that is sure to come to your batting average, Arencibia is your guy. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Curt Casali, Rays - Casali was called up from Triple-A Durham on Thursday, after Ryan Hanigan hit the DL with an oblique injury. Between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham this season, he hit .261/.392/.381 with four home runs over 279 PA. He'll share time with Jose Molina, but will be the backup on most nights, giving him fleeting value to most owners. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Geovany Soto, Rangers - After dealing with a torn meniscus for the entire first half of the season, Soto was activated from the DL. He's expected to share time with Robinson Chirinos, and J.P. Arencibia to a lesser degree. Last season with the team he hit .245/.328/.466 with nine home runs over 184 PA. A career .247 hitter, he should hit for a better average than Arencibia with about the same amount of power, though he likely won't get as many at-bats. If you're in a mixed league, you can surely do better. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Corner Infielders:

Dan Johnson, Blue Jays - Johnson was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo last Friday, when Adam Lind (foot) hit the DL, and has since gone 2-for-12 with a double, six walks and four runs. Lind is expected to be out for 2-to-3 weeks, which is much earlier than his original 6-to-8 week timetable, which means Johnson has at least two more weeks left to fill in. At that point he still might have a spot on the roster because Edwin Encarnacion is out with a quad injury and has no timetable for his return. Skills wise, Johnson is a career .236 hitter, but he does well with what he has to get on base and has some power to offer. He hasn't appeared in more than 14 games in a season since 2011, when you may remember him for his final day of the regular season heroics that helped propel the Rays into the playoffs. For now he's a low-end stopgap that should get at-bats for the next two weeks or so. Before his call-up, he hit .248/.402/.471 with 17 home runs over 403 PA at Buffalo. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox - Middlebrooks resumed his rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, as he continues to work his way back from a finger and wrist injury. He shouldn't need that many more games before he's ready to rejoin the Red Sox, so owners should check his status on their waiver wire for him. The thinking is that he'll play primarily third base against LHP (there had been talk of the outfield), which will shift Xander Bogaerts back over to short and Stephen Drew to the bench or possibly to another team in a trade. Against LHP, he is a career .288/.342/.491 hitter with 11 home runs over 243 PA, so the platoon makes sense, but it just won't add up to as many at-bats, at least in the short term. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Nick Swisher, Indians - This month Swisher is hitting .293/.317/.500 with three home runs over 60 PA. That might not stand out to you, but when you put it in the context of what Swisher has done this season, it marks one of the best stretches he's had this season. He likely isn't owned in very many mixed leagues because on the season he's hitting just .212 with eight home runs in 330 PA. He's got more power than he's shown thus far and makes for a decent bounce back candidate in the second half. Mixed: $6; AL: Owned.

Middle Infielders:

Grant Green, Angels - Green was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake last Sunday when Collin Cowgill was put on the DL with an injured thumb and nose. He'll be a utility guy used at almost every position, including first base and DH, where teammate C.J. Cron played before he was optioned to the minors on Saturday. Cron should be up fairly soon, as he was sent down because of roster crutch after the Angels had a late game on Friday night, but they had another one on Saturday, so Green might get more run in the coming days than anticipated. At Salt Lake this season he hit .321/.372/.512 with four home runs and three stolen bases over 183 PA. In the majors this season he's hit .324/.333/.419 with one home run and stolen base over 78 PA. He really just needs a chance to play everyday, but that might not happen for a while, at least not unless the Halos decide to sit David Freese and his .669 OPS for a while. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Enrique Hernandez, Astros - Hernandez has been up for 14 games now and so far, so good, as he has a .318/.400/.477 batting line with two doubles, one triple, and one home run over 43 PA. He's played second, short, and in the outfield, so the Astros clearly want to see what he can do offensively enough to keep finding ways to use him defensively. Looking at the depth chart, it's probably not a bad idea for the Astros to keep running him out there in left field considering what they've gotten out of L.J. Hoes and Robbie Grossman this season. This season between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City, he hit .336/.379/.503 with nine home runs and six stolen bases over 332 PA. Mixed: $2; AL: $7.

Micah Johnson, White Sox - Hitting .312/.369/.417 with four home runs and 18 stolen bases between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, it might not be long before we see Johnson in the majors. It helps that Gordon Beckham has hit just .238/.291/.379 this season with seven home runs and two stolen bases over 308 PA for the Pale Hose. Beckham has shown enough that it's likely time for the team to move on from him and give Johnson a chance to at least show what he can do in the second half. This month at Charlotte, Johnson is hitting .386/.413/.455 over 49 PA. Mixed: No; AL: $2.


Chris Dickerson, Indians - On Saturday Dickerson hit his first two home runs of the season and for his new team against the Tigers. He's only been with the Tribe for eight games, so he's likely still unowned in most AL only formats. Before this he was with the Pirates in their Triple-A system at Indianapolis, where he hit .309/.407/.479 with seven home runs and 12 stolen bases over 280 PA. A career .271/.346/.436 hitter vs RHP, he should be able to carve out some decent playing time for himself if he can keep up some of this against RHP. His only real competition for playing time is Ryan Raburn, who should be his platoon mate, as he hits well against LHP. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Josh Reddick, A's - Reddick should be back soon, as he is currently continuing to work his way back from a knee injury on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento. He has already injured this knee twice this season, so expect the A's to give him time to rest in between starts and to pull him out of late game situations, in favor of a defensive replacement. Offensively, he wasn't doing so hot either, before he left, as he hit .229/.296/.358 with four home runs over 196 PA. The batting average isn't a huge surprise, but it's still a concern, as he's never been an even average contact hitter. Expect Stephen Vogt to see his time in right field start to slip once Reddick is back. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.

Alfonso Soriano, FA - Soriano is a man without a team after the Yankees released him this week, which likely means most owners have cut bait on him as well. But he'll likely have a new team soon, possibly in the AL, meaning it might actually be time to buy on him, albeit at a very cheap, speculative price. It's easy to see why he was released as he hit .221/.244/.367 with six home runs over 238 PA at 38 years old. Still, he's one season removed from hitting .255 with 34 home runs and 18 stolen bases over 626 PA between the Cubs and the Yankees. Heck it was just around this time last season when he was traded and he had a huge impact in AL formats, as he really caught fire down the stretch. I'm not saying that's going to happen this time around, but crazier things have happened and it wouldn't surprise me to see a team like the Blue Jays, Mariners, Angels, or Indians sign him. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Shane Victorino, Red Sox - Victorino is back from the DL, after dealing with a hamstring injury that cost him almost two months of action. His return meant that Mookie Betts was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket so that he can get everyday at-bats there. Victorino returns to a .242/.276/.352 batting line with one home run and two stolen bases over 99 PA. At this point in his career, he likely won't hit for a high average or steal many bases, especially after coming off of a hamstring injury. The power should still be there though. He should be picked up in all AL only formats, where he was dropped, and most mixed leagues. Mixed: $6; AL: Owned.

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