Over the last 30 days, Kurt Suzuki has 30 hits in 82 at-bats (.366) with 11 runs, four HRs, and 19 RBI to improve his batting average in .286. His bat is trending upward, and the free agent pool for the catching position remains an area of weakness.
The Red Sox shipped Christian Vazquez back to AAA after hitting .226 over 164 at-bats with only one HR and 12 RBI. This will create more at-bats for Sandy Leon or Ryan Hanigan with both options have no real value in shallow leagues. Hanigan has hit only .213 over his last 703 at-bats with nine HRs and 83 RBI. Sandy Leon has a real weak resume over ten seasons in the minors (.238 with 24 HRs and 228 RBI in 2016 at-bats.
I was surprised to see Seattle send Mike Zunino back to the minors after smashing two HRs with three RBI in his first start in the majors. My feeling is the Mariners have to be working on a deal behind the scenes at the catcher position. With next week being a short schedule due to the All-Star game, I might hold Zunino to see what shakes out.
David Freese had his nine-game hitting streak (13-for-33 with nine runs, four HRs, and eight RBI) on Saturday night. He’s started 12 of the last 14 games for the Pirates. His success in 2016 projected over 550 at-bats would be 94 runs, 22 HRs, and 85 RBI, which is well worth a starting role in most formats.
The Nationals placed Ryan Zimmerman on the DL with a rib cage strain. This will create short-term opportunity for Clint Robinson. In his three games as a starter, Robinson has a pair of HRs with two RBI. Over eight seasons in the minors, Clint hit .302 with 141 HRs, 587 RBI, and 14 SBs over 3361 at-bats. His skill projects to 20/80 upside even with a short major league resume at age 31. If I lost Zimmerman, I would target Robinson as my replacement.
Kennys Vargas was called up last week to replace Trevor Plouffe on the roster. Over his first four games back in the majors, Kennys has five hits in 11 at-bats with four runs, two HRs, and three RBI. At AAA in 2016, Vargas only hit .235 with 14 HRs and 53 RBI in 285 at-bats. He has 30 HR upside with some batting average risk. If Kennys plays well, he may stick on the roster.
Wilmer Flores has turned into a beast over his last six games (11-for-21 with seven runs, five HRs, and 10 RBI) to put his season back in motion, but he could be losing at-bats to Jose Reyes unless New York shifts him to first base.
Cesar Hernandez may be poised to go on a speed run. Over the last 30 days, Hernandez hit .359 with 12 runs, one HR, eight RBI, and two SBs in 92 at-bats. His only out is speed so if he doesn’t run; Cesar is a losing start in all formats.
After struggling over his first 13 games in the majors (3-for-29 with one RBI), Ryan Schimpf found his rhythm in July (8-for-30 with five runs, four HRs, and six RBI). After spending eight years in the minors (.249 with 128 HRs, 412 RBI, and 36 RBI in 2579 at-bats), Schimpf finally got his chance in the majors at age 28. He played his best ball of his career at AAA in 2016 (.355 with 15 HRs and 48 RBI over 166 at-bats). Ryan has a long road to the majors, but he could offer power from the second base position.
Yunel Escobar has a 13 game hitting streak (24-for-60) with seven runs and nine RBI. His batting average (.325) is in an attractive area, but his lack of production in HRs (three) and RBI (27) makes him a tough start in most Roto formats.
Luis Valbuena has five-game hitting streak (7-for-17) with six runs, three HRs, and eight RBI. Over his last 30 games, Luis hit .348 with 14 runs, six HRs, and 19 RBI in 89 at-bats. His swing continues to rise even with the threat of losing some at-bats with A.J. Reed added to the major league roster.
Over the last five games, Chase Headley has six hits in 16 at-bats with five runs, two HRs, and five RBI. His HR (seven) and RBI (26) production remains well below starting Fantasy pace in all formats after 257 at-bats, but Headley has been more than serviceable over the month (.266 with 13 runs, four HRs, and 14 RBI).
I still can’t believe Didi Gregorius is available in a 12 team league that I’m using for a reference. Over the last 30 days, Didi hit .345 with 21 runs, seven HRs, 21 RBI, and three SBs. Gregorius is now hitting .298 with 11 HRs, 41 RBI, and five SBs over 290 at-bats. His success isn’t a fluke, and he should be owned in all formats.
Freddy Galvis found his stroke over his last four games (8-for-16 with three runs, a HR, two RBI, and two SBs). His batting average (.229) still has plenty of risk and his power is limited to the mid-teens with double-digit steals.
The Twins called up Eddie Rosario from AAA on July 2nd. Over six starts over a seven-game span with Minnesota, Eddie has nine hits in 25 at-bats with five runs, one HR, and three RBI. At AAA in 2016, Rosario hit .319 with seven HRs, 25 RBI, and five SBs in 160 at-bats. His bat had value over the second half of 2015 (.255 with 35 runs, nine HR, 29 RBI, and four SBs). His swing has upside if he continues to get close to full-time at-bats.
Brandon Drury has been non-productive over the last month or so. During this span, he’s only hitting .232 with eight runs, one HR, and three RBI over 56 at-bats. The Diamondbacks have started him in each of the last six games leading to a hit in each game (8-for-26 with two runs, one HR, and four RBI). Drury has a solid 20/80 skill set with upside in batting average and his path for more playing time looks pretty clear with Pete O’Brien shipped back to AAA. Brandon probably only makes sense in deep leagues.
Alex Dickerson played extremely well at AAA in 2016 (.382 with 10 HRs and 51 RBI in 217 at-bats). His K rate (11.3) was in a plus area this season in the minors. Over six years in the minors, Dickerson hit .309 with 58 HRs, 325 RBI, and 26 SBs in 1926 at-bats. Alex is an older player (26) at AAA so his numbers may not translate as well over the long well in the majors. He’s a player to watch with possible short-term value with everyday at-bats.
The Mariners will move Mike Montgomery into the starting rotation on Sunday with Taijuan Walker placed on the DL. His arm has shown growth in 2016 (2.15 ERA and 1.05 WHIP) with some improvement in his K rate (7.9 – 6.4 in 2015) and his walk rate (2.9 – 3.7 in 2015). Mike is a former first round draft pick (2008) who struggled to find his way to the majors. He had success in the starting rotation in June in 2015 (1.62 ERA in 44.1 innings with 29 Ks over six starts) before struggling over the second of last year (0-3 with 8.23 ERA). His window may be short, but he’s worth a flier if you are looking for an upgrade in your pitching depth.
Pittsburgh finally called up Tyler Glasnow. He struggled a bit in his major league debut (four runs and five baserunners in 5.1 innings with five Ks). Over 17 starts at AAA in 2016, Tyler had a 1.78 ERA with 113 Ks in 96 innings. His arm has electric upside once he figures out how to throw more strikes (4.9 walks per 9 in the minors this year). I don’t think the Pirates will push him over 150 innings in 2016, so Tyler only has about 50 innings left in the tank.
There’s a chance that the Angels call up Tyler Skaggs after the All-Star break. Over six starts in the minors in 2016, Tyler has a 2.62 ERA with 24 Ks in 24 innings. He’s worked his way to 73 pitches in each of his last two starts at AAA (three runs in 10 innings with no walks and nine strikeouts). Over his four appearances in June and July (17 innings), Skaggs didn’t walk a batter. Tyler is a first round talent (2009) as well.