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Thursday 17th Aug 2017

First and foremost, the happiest and safest of Memorial Day holidays to all of you and your families. Of course, it is easy to be able to enjoy ourselves in a world where Scott Kazmir, still a functioning lefty, goes to the 60-day DL, and Kyle Blanks is released.

As for your roto teams, this is indeed the time to take stock of your team, if you have a realistic shot at winning, and what you can do to make that happen. So, as usual, the Hotpage is here to help you stay ahead of the curve, and we will start locally this time with Athletics second sacker Jed Lowrie.

The keystone guy, Lowrie was .500-0-4 over the past week, with four doubles, notching his season totals to .303-6-16 with 29 runs scored, and is signed through this season, though with a 2018 option. However, with Franklin Barreto, Chad Pinder and Matt Chapman on the horizon, and Marcus Semien and Ryon Healy already producing, Lowrie becomes an obvious trade chip to a contending team.

I wanted Hunter Renfroe, of whom I have more than a few shares, and who was largely disappointing as he was adjusting to full-time play over the course of an entire season in the big leagues, but he has finally started to push his numbers north of the Mendoza line. With a .429-1-2 week, Renfroe raised his season line to .231-9-20 and his OBP up to an almost respectable .286. Keep it going, Hunter.

Similarly, if you have been waiting for the explosive Carlos Gonzalez, alas, he has finally got some heat in his bat with a .303-2-10 month, pushing his season totals to .244-4-16. A good month ago, a friend actually sent me a note asking if he should acquire Cargo, who had been dropped by his frustrated owner, and I simply responded "absolutely," noting that Gonzalez is a potential impact player. Even if you don't need him, pulling Gonzalez out of the free agent pool and preventing other owners from having him is in and of itself a great move.

If you want to watch for the emergence of the next dominant pitcher in baseball, try Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray, who over the past two weeks has gone 2-0, 1.93 over 18.6 innings with 17 whiffs and a stunning 0.857 WHIP, giving Ray a 4-3, 3.45 over 60 innings, with 74 whiffs, and most importantly, a 1.20 WHIP. Including this season, Ray has a career WHIP of 1.413, so if Ray indeed has gained that final command, look out for him, and try to own him wherever you can.

Let's check out a couple of Beantown players next, starting with a hitter I like in first sacker Sam Travis, who looked like the first base heir apparent in 2015, following his .307-9-78 year, with 32 doubles, split between High-A and Double-A. But, after a hot start (.272-6-29) at Pawtucket last year, Travis blew out his knee and missed the bulk of 2016, waylaying progress. But, after a .286-4-14 start at Triple-A, he has arrived and will be the ultimate answer to first base.

Travis' teammate, pitcher Brian Johnson, stunned the universe on Saturday, shutting out Seattle on five hits, tossing a complete game on the same day that Chase Anderson struggled to keep his pitch count under 120 trying to no-hit Arizona. Johnson, a first-round pick in 2012, has a 2-0, 2.57 mark with Boston, augmented by 2-0, 2.87 at Pawtucket. Johnson lost the numbers game to the activation of David Price. That is cool: grab him and stash him, for it is certain the Sox will need him again this year.

The Braves advanced former Padres top pick Matt Wisler, and while it is very difficult for me to recommend a hurler with a career big league 15-21, 4.95 line, I have long liked Wisler and his control. As a minor leaguer, Wisler has a line of 31-23, 3.65 over 524.6 frames with a 1.20 WHIP to go with 474 whiffs. The Braves are indeed working through the struggles to get to the next step, and Wisler could rise to the occasion and become a solid #3 starter. While I am not suggesting you grab him now, I am saying keep an eye on the guy. I think he is better than his numbers suggest.

Finally, Leury Garcia, the 26-year-old outfielder of the Pale Hose, is seriously worth taking a look at in every format. That is because Garcia has grabbed a starting gig, posting .276-6-17 totals with four steals, with 22 runs scored. Garcia has a .273-22-210 line with 322 runs and 204 swipes over 657 minor league games. He might really just be a fourth outfielder, but he is playing like a #3 this year, so in your deep league, don't let Garcia sit in the FA pool.

Make sure you check out my radio show on FNTSY every Thursday night, from 8-10 PM, ET. This week my special guest will be Ron Shandler, Tout Wars and BBHQ founder.

And, feel free to bug, cajole, harangue, or simply praise me @lawrmichaels.

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