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FAAB Factor-AL: Second Half Surge

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:

Carlos Carrasco, Indians - In his third start back in the Indians rotation, Carrasco pitched six innings and gave up one earned run on two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Those three starts combined, he has pitched 18 innings with one earned run, seven hits allowed, two walks, and 17 strikeouts. This is no fluke to me, as his fastball is now sitting 96 mph consistently, which is close to four mph higher than when he started the season. He's also throwing his slider more. In general, he seems like a refreshed pitcher and if he can keep these changes he's made, someone that all owners should be targeting in their leagues. This coming week he gets the White Sox on the road. I'm a believer. Mixed: $8; AL: $25.

Rubby De La Rosa, Red Sox - In three of his last four starts, De La Rosa has allowed two earned runs or less and pitched at least six innings. Unfortunately that other start mixed in there he gave up six earned runs over four innings. He needs to work on his control, as he's walking far too many batters right now, but at least in those three starts he showed some promise. On the season, he has a 3.69 ERA (4.41 FIP) with 58 strikeouts and 29 walks over 78 innings. This coming week he gets the Blue Jays and Rays on the road. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Derek Holland, Rangers - We should finally get to see Holland when rosters expand next month, this after waiting much of the second half for him to re-emerge from his rehab, caused by off-season knee surgery. He had his most recent rehab start scratched due to back spasms, which is somewhat concerning. Still, he shouldn't need but one or maybe two more starts at Triple-A Round Rock before we see him in the majors again. Last season he had a 3.42 ERA (3.44 FIP) with 189 strikeouts and 64 walks over 213 IP. Mixed: $3; AL: $10.

Wade LeBlanc, Angels - With Garrett Richards gone for the year, LeBLanc is the new man up in the Halos rotation. This season at Triple-A Salt Lake, he has pitched to a 4.00 ERA (3.87 FIP) with 116 strikeouts and 37 walks over 123.2 innings. He's got a career 4.59 ERA over 370.1 innings as a starter. This coming week he gets the Marlins, one of his former teams, and the A's at home. Expectations should remain low and those in mixed leagues should wait till he shows some signs of life, before bidding on him. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Jason Vargas, Royals - Vargas dropped his season ERA from 3.68 to 3.17 in his last two starts, when he threw a three-hit shutout against the A's and then allowed just one earned run to the Twins over seven innings. Before then he hadn't gone six innings in his last three starts. He doesn't miss many bats, but he makes up for it by not walking many batters either. He's a must own and start in all leagues right now. This coming week he gets the Indians at home. Mixed: $7; AL: Owned.

Taijuan Walker, Mariners - Walker pitched six innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts in his most recent outing for Triple-A Tacoma. His last three starts have been collectively great, as he's limited the walks and shown a great ability to miss bats. The next step is for him to rejoin the Mariners rotation, though that might not be until next month when rosters expand. Considering how well all the Mariners starters have pitched this season and especially the last month, it'll take an injury before we see Walker back in the rotation. If nothing else, he'll be an effective arm out of the bullpen. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Allen Webster, Red Sox - In his last three starts, Webster has gone at least six innings and allowed three earned runs or less with two wins and a no-decision to show for it. Given that two of those opponents were the Angels and the other the Astros, those are pretty good results. This season at Pawtucket, he had a 3.10 ERA (3.72 FIP) with 100 strikeouts and 44 walks over 122 innings. He needs to miss more bats to keep any level of success, but for now he looks usable in AL only and deeper mixed formats. This week he gets the Rays on the road. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Relief Pitchers:

Luke Gregerson, A's - It's probably nothing, but Sean Doolittle felt a cramp in his side Saturday night, while pitching and picking up his 20th save of the season. After the game he reportedly felt fine and passed some tests, but if you're an overly concerned owner of his, you might want to check on the availability of Gregerson in your league, who has a 2.17 ERA this season. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Jose Veras, Astros - With Chad Qualls dealing with tightness in his lower back this week, Veras was able to pick up his first save of the season Wednesday. Qualls has since come back and pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a non-save situation, showing his back tightness might be behind him. Still, if you're scrapping for every last save, it might not be a bad idea to roster Veras in the hopes that Qualls needs more time to rest down the stretch. Since rejoining the Astros this season, Veras has a 2.79 ERA (4.23 FIP) with 18 strikeouts and 10 walks over 19.1 IP. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.


Roberto Perez, Indians - With Yan Gomes landing on the 7-day DL with a concussion, Perez should start most games behind the dish for the Tribe. On the season he's hit .244/.295/.366 with one home run over 47 PA in 14 games. Prior to that he was at Triple-A Columbus where he hit .304/.405/.517 with eight home runs over 209 PA. The team could move Carlos Santana back to catcher, but he hasn't started a game there since late May and they don't have many other first base options, now that Nick Swisher is out for the season. Hopefully Gomes returns as soon as he's allowed to and the team doesn't have to rely on Perez too much. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Corner Infielders:

Logan Morrison, Mariners - Morrison has been hot this month, hitting .328/.386/.438 with one home run over 70 PA in August. The power leaves much to be desired, but at least he's hitting, which is much more than he can say in the previous months this season. Unless the power really comes on, it's hard to trust him much more than you would James Loney, who similarly doesn't hit for much power at the position. Given his age (26 years old), it wouldn't be surprising to see more power, but perhaps he's traded that for a more disciplined approach at the plate. Mixed: $2; AL: Owned.

Kennys Vargas, Twins - Vargas had three multi-hit games this week, as he went on to hit five doubles, one home run, drive in eight runs and score seven runs himself. That's a heck of a week for any hitter and over the last two weeks he's hitting .316/.339/.579 with three home runs over 57 PA. He's been moved to DH now that Joe Mauer is back, but that obviously hasn't affected his production at the plate. He hit .281/.360/.472 with 17 home runs over 405 PA this season at Double-A New Britain earlier this season, where he was a selection to the Futures Game during the All-Star break, so it's not like this has come out of nowhere. For now he needs to be owned in all leagues, until he cools off or the league adjusts to him. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

Zelous Wheeler, Yankees - Wheeler was brought back up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this week, after the Yankees decided they needed another bench bat, in case Carlos Beltran (elbow) needs time on the DL. Earlier this season, when he was up, Wheeler hit .267 with two home runs in 21 PA. At Scranton Wilkes-Barre he hit .296/.367/.467 with nine home runs over 338 PA. Between third base, the outfield, and DH he should see some playing time in the coming days, but not enough to count on him consistently helping owners. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Middle Infielders:

Francisco Lindor, Indians - Lindor has hit only .244 this month at Triple-A Columbus, but he still figures to get some playing time next month, when rosters expand, especially if the Indians fall further in the standings. On the season, between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, he has hit .274/.338/.379 with nine home runs and 28 stolen bases over 523 PA. He should be a great talent defensively, while he continues to make adjustments offensively. Only 20 years old, he's the future of the organization, so it makes sense that the team would want to see what he can do now, before they potentially make him their everyday starter at shortstop next season. Mixed: $2; AL: $7.

Carlos Sanchez & Marcus Semien, White Sox - Now that Gordon Beckham has been shipped out to Anaheim, second base is open for the White Sox. Micah Johnson would've likely gotten the first call from the minors, but he's dealing with a hamstring injury and is done for the season. Sanchez was the next man up and comes from Triple-A Charlotte to help the team out at the keystone base. At Charlotte, he hit .293/.349/.412 with seven home runs and 16 stolen bases over 494 PA. The job should be his, until rosters expand next month, when we could potentially see Semien back with the team. Semien hit .218/.287/.327 earlier this season with three home runs and three stolen bases over 181 PA. After going back down to Charlotte, he rebounded to hit .261/.367/.471 with 12 home runs and five stolen bases over 335 PA. He could also be used as a utility infielder and possibly in the outfield as well, when he comes back. Sanchez Mixed: $2; AL: $8. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Eduardo Escobar, Twins - Escobar hit a double, triple, and home run this week, en route to an 11-hit week that included a 5-hit game against the Tigers. Outside of a hellish June (.208 batting average), Escobar has delivered an acceptable batting average most months, though it's come with no power or speed. It's tough to expect much more from him and this week will likely serve as the high-water mark for his season offensively. Still, he needs to be owned in deep mixed leagues until he cools off. Mixed: $3; AL: Owned.


Dustin Ackley, Mariners - Ackley hit a 3-run home run on Saturday and drew a walk in his five plate appearances. Over the last week he has a .379 OBP and in the second half of the season he's really turned things around in general, hitting .308/.348/.508 with five home runs and five stolen bases over 141 PA. He's been inconsistent in his career so far, so it's tough to tell if he's really on to something or if he's going to slide back into his old ways. For now he needs to be owned in more mixed leagues, as he still has second base eligibility from last season's games played, and could be very helpful with his power/speed down the stretch in shallower mixed leagues. Mixed: $6; AL: Owned.

Oswaldo Arcia, Twins - Arcia has been on fire lately, with three home runs this week and three home runs last week. For the month of August, he's hit .265/.315/.647 with seven home runs over 73 PA. He has really struggled with LHP this season (.187 batting average against), to the point that it's surprising he's not sitting more often against them. For now, he needs to be owned in all leagues, as this sort of power is tough to find on the waiver wire, even in shallower leagues. Going into next season, he'll be 24 years old and primed to really breakout, if he can stay healthy. Mixed: $8; AL: Owned.

Mookie Betts, Red Sox - Betts is back and if you've already grown tired of him being yo-yoed between the majors and minors and not getting any consistent playing time in the majors, I don't blame you. Since being recalled this time though, he has gotten consistent playing time, going 4-for-19 with two doubles, four strikeouts, four walks, and a stolen base this week. He's a precocious talent at only 21 years old that will hopefully be allowed to settle in from here on out. Defensively he's been playing center field every day, but we'll see how that goes once Rusney Castillo, the new Cuban signee, is up with the team next month. Earlier this season between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, he hit .346/.431/.529 with 11 home runs and 33 stolen bases over 464 PA. Mixed: $2; AL: $10.

Rusney Castillo, Red Sox - After signing a 7-year deal with the Red Sox, Castillo is expected to spend some time in the minors this week before making his MLB debut next month when rosters expand. It's tough to say where exactly he'll play in the outfield, considering the glut of options the Red Sox find themselves with, after all their moves around the trade deadline, but it sounds like the team wants Castillo to be their center fielder of the future (so long Jackie Bradley). Offensively, it's tough to say what to expect until Castillo is in America playing every day, but the power and speed should be there, according to scouts. What kind of batting average we get is to be determined and even a full complement of at-bats in September might not tell us much, as he'll be making several adjustments in his life, not just those related to baseball either. Given the success of other Cuban imports over the last few years, the bidding is likely to be high for Castillo in any AL only format and especially in those with keepers. If you're in a redraft league, no sense in waiting for a bigger name to come up from the minors next month, this is about as big as it gets. Mixed: $15; AL: $45 Really you should bid all that you have left or can part with.

Craig Gentry, A's - Gentry was activated from the 15-day DL this week, after dealing with a hand injury that kept him out for almost a month. In his first two games back, he's gone 2-for-7 with a walk and stolen base. The speed is what owners should be hoping to get out of him, as he has 19 stolen bases on the season over 224 PA. A career .276 hitter, he shouldn't bring down your batting average either. Find a place for him, now that he's back in AL only and deeper mixed league formats. Mixed: $3; AL: $12.

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