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FAAB Factor-AL: September Expansion Is Nigh

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 Baker, Rangers - In his last two starts for the Rangers, since joining their rotation again, Baker has pitched 11.1 innings with three earned runs allowed. Of course he has only struck out four batters, though he did it with only two walks allowed to the Royals and Astros. Given how bad the rotation has been for the Rangers this season, they'll take it. He's throwing a little harder than he was earlier this season as a starter, but it's not enough to make me think he has changed who he is as a pitcher or to give him a bump in value. For now, roll with him in AL only leagues until he cools off. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Derek Holland, Rangers - Holland will finally make his return to the Rangers rotation this coming week on Tuesday when he faces the Royals on the road. He's coming off knee surgery he had in the offseason and has been rehabbing in the minors, working towards a comeback. He was less than impressive in those rehab starts at Triple-A Round Rock, so a fair bit of caution should be used here. Still, he struck out 12 batters with five walks over his last two starts and last season he had a 3.42 ERA (3.44 FIP) with 189 strikeouts and 64 walks over 213 IP. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Kyle Lobstein, Tigers - Two starts into his MLB career and Lobstein looks like he might belong, as he's pitched 11.2 innings with four earned runs, three strikeouts and four walks. Really he had one mediocre outing in his debut and an outstanding effort in his second game against the Yankees, with one earned run allowed over six innings. The strikeouts are a concern though, as his control isn't good enough to miss so few bats. At Triple-A Toledo this season he had a 4.07 ERA (3.30 FIP) with 127 strikeouts and 42 walks over 146 IP. If he can get back to missing bats like that he should be fine. This coming week he gets the Indians on the road and the Giants at home. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Drew Pomeranz, A's - It was only a spot start, but Pomeranz pitched great this week against the Astros on the road, giving up just three hits with no earned runs with one walk and seven strikeouts over 5.1 innings. He went back down to the minors afterwards, but we should see him back when rosters expand in September. Given how Jason Hammel has been hit or miss lately in his last five starts, it's not crazy to think that Pomeranz might get another start or two down the stretch. On the season he has a 2.66 ERA (4.07 FIP) with 55 strikeouts and 24 walks over 61 IP. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Anthony Ranaudo, Red Sox - Ranaudo made another start for the Red Sox this week and posted a quality start with three earned runs over six innings with four strikeouts and three walks against the Rays on the road. Through three starts now, he has a 4.50 ERA (6.64 FIP) with eight strikeouts and seven walks over 18 innings. He needs to firm up his command, as he won't last long missing so few bats if he's going to walk batters at that rate. He's been effective this season at Triple-A Pawtucket, so there's reason to believe he will improve. At Pawtucket he had a 2.61 ERA (3.70 FIP) with 111 strikeouts and 54 walks over 138 IP. Expect him back up when rosters expand and to likely make a couple of starts down the stretch. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Taijuan Walker, Mariners - It's highly likely we see Walker up when rosters expand in September, as he's been showing great stuff down in the minors since he was sent back down. In his most recent outing he wasn't so hot with five earned runs given up over six innings, but he did strike out six batters with only two walks. It's the command that has improved since he went back down that could make him helpful down the stretch. If nothing else, he'd be a great arm out of the pen, as he can strike out a fair amount of batters. At Triple-A Tacoma this season he has a 4.81 ERA (5.30 FIP) with 74 strikeouts and 25 walks over 73 IP. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Relief Pitchers:

Eric O'Flaherty, A's - With Sean Doolittle on the DL with an oblique injury, O'Flaherty and not Luke Gregerson was named the team's interim closer. This season he has only appeared in 16 games, but has a 1.76 ERA with 12 strikeouts and four walks over 15.1 IP. He picked up his first save this week against the Astros, but gave up a solo home run in the process. Still, he figures to hold on to the job. Likely not a bad idea to pick up Gregerson, just in case, though he was passed over as manager Bob Melvin likes him in his setup role. Mixed: $7; AL: $20 all you can part with, if you're chasing saves.

Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays- Sanchez picked up his first save of his MLB career on Satuday, as he pitched two clean innings against the Yankees with three strikeouts and no walks. On the season he has a 1.66 ERA with 20 strikeouts and three walks over 21.2 IP. He's not likely to get any one inning save chances or take over Casey Janssen's job, but he's proven himself an effective option in short relief since coming up and converting from a starter. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.


Steve Clevenger, Orioles - Clevenger was recalled this week from Triple-A Norfolk to serve as backup depth behind Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley. Because of this setup, he's unlikely to have value in most formats. At Norfolk this season, he hit .305/.366/.389 with two home runs and a stolen base over 254 PA. This season with the O's, he has hit .234/289/.364 over 83 PA. If something were to happen to one of the backstops ahead of him he might have value, but it'd be tough to peg when he'd see playing time. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Ryan Hanigan, Rays - Hanigan came off the 15-day DL this week after dealing with an oblique injury. In his return, he's played in four games, going 3-for-11 with a double, RBI and three walks. On the season he's batting .216/.319/.330 with four home runs over 206 PA. He'll continue to split time with Jose Molina, which gives him some value in AL only formats. He's much easier to play in an OBP format, as he has a good eye at the plate. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Josmil Pinto, Twins - Pinto is one of the few minor leaguer catchers that when he comes up for September roster expansion could actually see some real playing time. He's the team's catcher of the future, though that role has been somewhat muddied by Kurt Suzuki's two-year extension he received back in July. Suzuki has hit .250/.322/.361 in the second half of the season with only one home run. Pinto at Triple-A Rochester has hit .279/.378/.456 with six home runs over 238 PA. Earlier this season in the majors he hit .222/.323/.407 with seven home runs over 158 PA. His ability to get on base is real; he just needs to work on his contact skills, like most catchers. The power is real too, he just needs some playing time for it to shine through. If nothing else, he should at least have the role as backup to Suzuki for the duration of the season. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Tomas, Telis, Rangers - With Geovany Soto going to the A's, Telis was brought up from Triple-A Round Rock to take his roster spot. This season between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock, he hit .318/.352/.431 with five home runs and eight stolen bases over 442 PA. So far this week he has gone 4-for-16 with a double and four RBI in four games that he started. He's likely to continue to share time with Robinson Chirinos for the rest of the season, which should give him some slight value in AL only formats. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Corner Infielders:

Russell Branyan, Indians - Branyan signed a minor league deal with the Indians this week and figures to spend a little time there before coming up in September, in a possible pinch-hitting role. He hasn't been in the majors since 2011, when he was with the Diamondbacks and Angels and hit .197/.295/.370 with five home runs over 146 PA, between the two clubs. Prior to signing, he was in the Mexican Leagues, where he hit .296 with 19 home runs over 272 PA. It's tough to tell how that translates to the minors or major leagues, but one thing is for sure - he still has power. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

C.J. Cron, Angels - We should see Cron back when rosters expand, as he's done more than enough to hold his own at Triple-A Salt Lake this season, with a .316/.385/.511 batting line and seven home runs over 213 PA. Earlier this season with the major league club he hit .266/.295/.462 with nine home runs over 207 PA. He isn't likely to see much playing time, unless Pujols gets hurt or time opens up at DH, but at least he has experience from earlier this season playing in a similar situation. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Eric Hosmer, Royals - Currently on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha, Hosmer (hand) should be back with the Royals in the coming week. This is after being out for almost a month. He'll come back to a .267/.312/.377 batting line with six home runs and three stolen bases over 445 PA. Still only 24 years old, his status as an up and coming player has taken a real hit, as he has yet to take the next step in the power department. For now, he needs to be picked up in any AL formats he was dropped in and reconsidered in mixed leagues. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

Kelly Johnson, Orioles - Johnson was traded to the Orioles on Saturday as they deal with the season ending surgery to Manny Machado. Johnson will most likely start fairly often at third base, which will allow Chris Davis to go back to first base and Steve Pearce to DH more often. A .212 hitter this season with only six home runs and two stolen bases over 226 PA, Johnson has value in AL only formats because of his playing time, but that's about it. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Jayson Nix, Royals - Claimed off waivers from the Pirates, Nix is likely to see playing time between second and third base for the Royals. Omar Infante is dealing with a shoulder injury right now, so Nix will likely man second until he's ready to play again. For the season, Nix has hit .130/.183/.169 with one home run and one stolen base over 83 PA. Always a batting average liability, Nix had power in his mid-twenties, but now over 30 years old, it's tough to see him finding much value for owners. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Ryan Rua, Rangers - With J.P. Arencibia hitting .141 this month, the Rangers brought up Rua from Triple-A Round Rock this week. Between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock, he hit .306/.378/.488 with 18 home runs and six stolen bases over 529 PA. In his first two games, he has started at first base and hit fifth, which isn't a bad place to be, in a Rangers lineup that falls off after its first four hitters. Expect him to share time with Arencibia down the stretch. Mixed: $3; AL: $9.

Justin Smoak, Mariners - Smoak should be up when rosters expand, as he has major league experience and has hit well at Triple-A Tacoma, batting .337/.420/.505 with seven home runs over 245 PA this season. Of course, how much he'll struggle again with major league pitching is another matter, as we've seen him enough to know he has power but he can't hit for average. Earlier this season he had a .208 batting average with seven home runs over 262 PA. He'll see occasional time behind Logan Morrison and Kendrys Morales. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Middle Infielders:

Gordon Beckham, Angels - Beckham went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in a game this week and had another game where he knocked in another two runs for his new team, the Halos. It's nothing special, but at least he's showing signs of life, something that was hard to come by when he was with the White Sox. For right now he's still the backup second and third baseman and holds minimal value outside of AL only formats. On the season he's hit .219/.263/.337 with eight home runs and three stolen bases over 441 PA. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Christian Colon & Johnny Giavotella, Royals - Colon was optioned down to Double-A Northwest Arkansas this week to make room for Jayson Nix. He should be back soon enough though, as he hit well in the majors with a .302 batting average over 46 PA in just 19 games. He'll resume his role as a middle infield reserve when back up. As for Giavotella, he's done really well at Triple-A Omaha this season, batting .307/.371/.432 with six home runs and 20 stolen bases over 488 PA. If you're in need of stolen bases he's someone to check on once rosters expand. He won't take away from anyone's starting role (been there, done that), but he could pinch run for the team. Both Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Nick Franklin, Rays - Traded from the Mariners about a month ago, Franklin should be up when rosters expand. Since joining the Rays though he hasn't done well at Triple-A Durham, hitting .191/.265/.281 with two home runs with two stolen bases over 100 PA. With that sort of low-end production, it's debatable for the Rays to even bring him up. While he was in Triple-A Tacoma with the Mariners, he hit .294/.392/.455 with nine home runs over 333 PA, so perhaps he's just in a funk that he'll soon pull out of. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Francisco Lindor, Indians - Jose Ramirez is currently holding down shortstop for the Indians and doing well too, going 11-for-30 this week with three doubles, a triple, and two stolen bases. Still, he might see his playing time cut down, as we're likely to see Lindor come up from Triple-A Columbus once rosters expand. Between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus he has hit .276/.339/.385 with 10 home runs and 28 stolen bases over 556 PA this season. He's the shortstop of the future for the team and if they fall farther out of the Wild Card race he should see some significant playing time. Either way, he's an asset for his speed and those chasing stolen bases. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Jed Lowrie & Nick Punto, A's - Both Lowrie (finger) and Punto (hamstring) should be back with the A's this coming week after going on the DL with their respective injuries. For Lowrie, he'll reclaim his starting job and look for a strong finish to what has been an otherwise down offensive season, as he's hit only .238 with five home runs over 465 PA. Still, the team values his versatility and needs him down the stretch. Those in mixed leagues can take a wait and see approach. As for Punto, he doesn't have really any offensive value as he's hit .207 this season with only two home runs over 204 PA. He means more to the team defensively than anything else and can safely be ignored this coming month. Lowrie - Mixed: $5; AL: Owned. Punto - Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Jorge Polanco, Twins - Up with the team for five games earlier this season, we're likely to see Polanco back in September. Between High-A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain this season, he has hit .286/.352/.393 with seven home runs and 17 stolen bases over 579 PA. At the MLB level Eduardo Escobar is currently manning shortstop, but he's hitless in his last 19 at-bats. Polanco might be the shortstop of the future for this team, so it makes sense to see what he can do in September as the team is well out of contention this season. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Luis Sardinas, Rangers - Up earlier this season when he was battling Rougned Odor for playing time, Sardinas is likely to be back with the club once rosters expand. At Triple-A Round Rock this season he hit .281/.302/.360 with one home run and eight stolen bases over 263 PA. When he was with the major league club, he hit .288/.329/.318 with one stolen base over 72 PA, but it was clear he wasn't going to get enough playing time to validate keeping him up when Odor had the job. Because of his lack of speed and power, he doesn't have much value, outside of AL only formats. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Marcus Semien, White Sox - Tough to say where Semien slots in when rosters expand, as he's played second base, third base, shortstop and in the outfield this season between the majors and minors. When he was up earlier this season he hit .218 with three homers and three stolen bases over 181 PA. He rebounded at Triple-A Charlotte with a .271/.384/.508 batting line that included 15 home runs and seven stolen bases over 362 PA. Expect to see him get time a little bit of everywhere, but mainly in the outfield, if/when he comes back up. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

Jonathan Villar, Astros - With Marwin Gonzalez dealing with a hamstring injury, we might see more of Villlar as a September call-up than previously thought. Gonzalez has hit .272 this season and had two three-hit games this past week, including four doubles, so he's seeing the ball well. Villar has hit .275/.370/.394 this month at Triple-A Oklahoma City with two home runs and 12 stolen bases over 129 PA. His speed has never been in question, as he's stolen 24 bases this season at Oklahoma City over 220 PA and 14 stolen bases this season in the majors over 247 PA. The question is whether he can hit, something he didn't do earlier this season with a .200 batting average. Even if he only serves as a backup, he'll be valuable to those chase steals, especially in AL only formats. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.


Billy Burns, A's - With speed for days, Burns is a name to keep an eye on, once rosters expand. This season between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento he stole 54 bases over 538 PA. Unfortunately he also batted .237/.316/.616, so don't expect to see his name in the lineup. Rather, he could be a useful commodity, if he's their go to guy for pinch running. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Michael Choice, Rangers - With the news that Shin-Soo Choo (elbow) is done for the season, Choice was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock this week. So far he's been starting every game and has gone 3-for-17 with a double and home run. The strikeouts are a problem and he isn't likely to hit for average down the stretch, but he does have power. On the season he's batting .177/.248/.326 with nine home runs over 238 PA. He'll have value in AL only formats the remainder of the season. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Adam Eaton, White Sox - Eaton was activated from the DL this week, after dealing with an oblique injury. So far he looks like he never left, going 10-for-23 with two doubles, a triple, and two stolen bases in his return. Pick him up in any leagues where he was dropped. Mixed: $10; AL: Owned.

Anthony Gose & Darin Mastroianni, Blue Jays - Gose and Mastroianni should be back up, when rosters expand in September. Both have great speed, but neither can really hit. Gose stole 14 bases over 205 PA earlier this season with a .234 batting average. As for Mastroianni, he only stolen one base earlier this season over 44 PA, with a .116 batting average, but we saw him steal 21 bases back in 2012 over just 186 PA, so he has speed. If both are called up, they might cancel each other's value out, so keep an eye on playing time. Both Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Aaron Hicks, Twins - Given his speed, it's possible that Hicks might come up in September, when rosters expand. It's somewhat doubtful though, given his lack of ability to hit for average at the MLB level, in two different stints. He was up earlier this season and only hit .198 and stole two bases over 156 PA. Still, he did show speed in the minors in 2012, when he stole 32 bases over 563 PA at Double-A New Britain. He's on the low end of speed options for this coming month. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

James Jones, Mariners - Jones was recalled on Friday from Triple-A Tacoma to serve as backup depth in the outfield. Earlier this season with the club he hit .253/.282/.306 with 20 stolen bases over 312 PA. Now with Austin Jackson in the fold, it'll be tough for him to come by playing time, but he may be used as a pinch runner, which could give him some value in AL only formats At Triple-A Tacoma he hit .282/.341/.397 with two home runs and seven stolen bases over 173 PA. Mixed: $1; AL: $4.

Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays - Called up from Triple-A Buffalo this week, Pillar has gone 4-for-15 with three doubles and two runs, since his return to the majors. At Buffalo, he hit .323/.359/.509 with 10 home runs and 27 stolen bases over 434 PA. Colby Rasmus has been dealing with an illness as of late, so Pillar has been filling in, but he could start to share the playing time, if he can get hot at the plate. For now, he's one of the better fourth outfield options in the AL, given his mastery of Triple-A. Mixed: $2; AL: $8.

Alex Presley & Domingo Santana, Astros - Presley is still dealing with an oblique injury, but should be over that soon, as he's set to take on a rehab assignment on Monday. This season with the team he has hit .252/.291/.359 with five home runs and four stolen bases over 221 PA. As for Santana, he should be a September call-up, as he's one of the more intriguing prospects the Astros have. At Triple-A Oklahoma City this season he has hit .300/.389/.482 with 16 home runs and six stolen bases over 504 PA. He swings and miss too much, but needs a new challenge. Earlier this season he was up with the team, but only got 18 PA. He could impress with his power, if he gets enough playing time in September. Presley Mixed: No; AL: $2. Santana Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Moises Sierra, White Sox - Sierra was activated from the 15-day DL on Sunday, after dealing with a back injury. With Alejandro De Aza going to the Orioles (who I don't see a change in his value), the White Sox need another body to patrol the outfield. Sierra doesn't offer much offensively, as he's hit .236/.265/.345 with two home runs and two stolen bases over 155 PA this season. As a backup, he'll have fleeting value as the season winds down. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.

Chris Young, Yankees - Young signed a minor league contract with the Yankees this week and is likely to be up with the team, once rosters expand. Earlier this season with the Mets, he hit .205/.283/.346 with eight home runs and seven stolen bases over 287 PA. The power and speed have always been there for Young, it's about making contact or the lack there of for him. If you can take the hit or think your batting average is set for the season standings, he's worth a flier, once we see him up. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

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