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Sunday 25th Jun 2017

This past week, I noticed that both Travis Snider and Joba Chamberlain were released. Remember just how folks salivated over these guys when they made their respective debuts? And now Snider is without a team while Chamberlain was just picked up, along with Wandy Rodriguez, by the Kansas City Royals.

Which cannot be said for the now Athletics sort of third baseman/left fielder/DH/first baseman, Danny Valencia, whom the Athletics grabbed off waivers in late-July, and whom the Jays decided was expendable despite a solid .297-7-29 line. Valencia has been pretty good with Oakland, going .298-3-10. He is a tougher pick in an AL-only or mixed format as the Athletics do a lot of platooning, but he is not a bad lower end play in daily formats.

David Peralta is probably not quite as obscure as Valencia, being a starter in the Arizona outfield, posting a great .304-12-63 line thus far. But, he has been smoking hot, hitting .474-2-10 this past week, making him a solid DFS choice as well as a good target to watch for 2016.

The Yankees promoted one of their top hitting prospects with the arrival of first baseman Gregory Bird, a fifth-round pick out of high school in 2011. I saw Bird at the AFL last year and he had a smooth swing and looked good enough as a hitter. He started out well this year at Double-A Trenton, hitting .258-6-29 before moving up to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he hit .301-6-23, and over 347 minor league games, Bird has an OBP of .395 and OPS of .878. Bird might be up and down depending upon Mark Teixeira's stretch strength, but he is a definite pick-up if your league involves reserve lists and freezes.

The Padres' Jedd Gyorko seems to be back, or least hot after taking the last year-and-a-half off from his great rookie season of .249-23-63 over 125 games. Gyorko struggled last year to the tune of .210-10-51 and finally played himself out of the lineup, and back into the Minors, losing his gig to Cory Spangenberg. Spangenberg's injury forced the team's hand, and they recalled Gyorko, who has been getting it back together with a .292-2-10 week while raising his average to .240. Gyorko might well be best as a platoon against lefties (.813 OPS), but also remember he was a third baseman in the Minors, so if he can handle right-handers, there could indeed be room for both youngsters within the Friars infield.

The Reds' spoils from the Johnny Cueto deal began to surface with the first start by John Lamb. I covered Lamb back at the trade deadline when I looked at the trade deadline spoils, but to refresh, he was a fifth-round high school pick in 2008 with great stuff and a delicate wing. Lamb does indeed look like he has made it back. With a 10-2, 2.67 minor league record, that includes 117 strikeouts over 111.3 innings, there is very little reason to not let Lamb adjust to the Majors, ideally making him veteran ready for a full campaign in 2016. But, if you can hold off activating until next year, that is probably not a bad path.

The Mariners brought back would-be closer Danny Farquhar this week. Farquhar, a small (5'9") hard thrower, had been very good over 2013-14, but struggled this year and was demoted, and even in the Minors, his 1.392 WHIP and 3.62 ERA don't bode so well for use this season. Wait till next, and watch him in the spring.

Colin Rea was a 12th round pick of the Padres in 2011, out of Indiana State, and while he pitched very well at San Antonio this year (3-1, 1.08, with an 0.8013 WHIP over 75 frames) he was less than stellar at Double-A (2-2, 4.39, 1.583 WHIP over 26.6 innings), so he is probably not much of a pick-up this season either. Rea does pitch in a good home park, but the three runs on seven hits he allowed over five innings in his first start are probably indicative of the near path for the big (6'5") righty. Keep him on your radar, though.

Finally, Boston advanced yet another pitching prospect with the return of Matt Barnes, a first rounder of the team in 2011. Barnes has already spent time at Fenway this year prior to the call back, but with less than stellar (3-2, 5.64, 1.881 WHIP) results, so you can probably shine him on as well for now. However, Barnes did nail 417 minor league strikeouts over 397.3 innings, and though he was a starter in the Minors, he could be a closer in the making with dominant numbers like those in his resume.

DFS Watch: OK, Mastersball is dedicated to covering the fun market of Daily Games. In fact, you know we play FantasyScore and participate in the FanDuel Tout Wars contest (you play against all the Touts every Tuesday at the Tout Wars Challenge), so let's add to our daily MastersDaily coverage and simply pick a couple of series/games/starts this week that look good.

Pitchers to Watch: Clearly, the pitching match-up that should grab your tournament eye is the Tuesday battle between the Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) and the Athletics. However, at least as the week begins, I would take a look at James Shields, pitching at home Tuesday against the Braves.

Hitters to Watch: Once again, on Tuesday, the hitting crazy Jays face the Phils in a contest between rookie Aaron Nola and R.A. Dickey, which should be a nice run-scoring opportunity. Later in the week, on Thursday, the Pirates/Giants contest proposes Charlie Morton and the erratic Jake Peavy, which could also produce some killer hitting numbers coming off a week where the Mariners and Orioles and Red Sox scored runs by the boatload.

 

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