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Monday 21st Aug 2017

Two months ago today the Tampa Bay Rays had a healthy lead in the AL East. They sat at 30-12, good for a .714 winning percentage. Their talented squad dominated on the mound, in the field, and at the plate.

They appeared to be the team every other should try to follow. Intelligent off-season moves (minus the Pat Burrell signing), strong development of a plethora of talented prospects, good trades when necessary, and a focus on run prevention. As we all watched them perform at the highest level, I couldn’t help but think to myself that I should have seen this coming. The Rays weren’t the surprise of 2010. Instead they were the team that deserved to be in first place. The team that we should have seen coming.

But over the past two months, that all has changed. Tampa has gone 27-25 since May 21, becoming quite a mediocre team. Its staff aces have begun to crumble. The big bats haven’t been so big. And it appears that the once crowned “Best Team in Baseball” has returned to its perfectly respectable position as just an above average team.

Looking further reveals an even more unpleasant idea, that most of the Rays fantasy studs could be done contributing at a high level.

Let’s first take a look at their pitching staff:

Matt Garza: Perhaps one of the most interesting starters on the staff, Garza had people singing the Cy Young tune after an incredible April (35 IP, 4-1, 34 K, 2 HR allowed, 2.06 ERA, 1.14 WHIP). And since then, it’s been all down hill. From May through today, Garza’s K/9 plummeted to less than 6, his ERA sky-rocketed with his WHIP, and he’s allowed a whopping 16 home runs in less than three months. The bad news for Garza owners is that there isn’t much to indicate any of this is going to change. He hasn’t been unlucky in any statistical metric aside from HR/FB, and he hasn’t shown enough dominance in the past for us to expect him to “return to form.” This could be where he sits for the rest of the season.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Same.

David Price: I included Price in my second half predictions column last week under the Busts category, and he then went on to give up seven runs in five innings. From last week:

His crazy 80.2% strand rate indicates he’s been quite lucky, and an xFIP (a stat used to judge ERA independent of fielding) of 3.95 ranks him outside of the top starters in the league. Command has always been his issue; when he can locate his slider and fastball, he’s been filthy. But his walk rate has been just as bad as it was last year, and I’m slightly concerned that he rarely uses his slider anymore (just 6.7% of the time, as opposed to 30.2% when he first entered the league).  

Add to it that he’s been on the fortunate side of the long ball (much lower HR/FB rates than his career averages) and that it’s his first season where he’ll increase his innings totals beyond his career high, and there are definitely some concerns. I’d seriously consider selling him before there doesn’t become much left to sell.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Worse.

Wade Davis: While Davis has been better lately, his inconsistent command and inability to use pitches other than his fastball has caused him some trouble. As with the rest of the staff, he’s struggled allowing too many home runs, and many wonder when Jeremy Hellickson will arrive to take his place.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Same.

James Shields: It’s tough to be successful when you’re giving up more than a homer per game, and that’s what Shields has been doing. The only starter on the staff who has actually suffered from bad luck, if he can keep the ball in the park, he should be able to improve as the season goes on.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Improve.

Jeff Niemann: And there’s the opposite side of the coin, where Niemann has benefited from a .246 batting average against on balls in play and an insanely high strand rate of 84.5%. He’s been a solid starter for the Rays this year, no doubt, but his June/July numbers are more like the type of pitcher that he’s shown to be, and while he can still be successful, his ERA and WHIP will likely start to digress.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Worse.

 

And then the lineup…

C- John Jaso, Kelly Shoppach: Jaso has been an on-base machine, but he’s seen his batting average plummet and he doesn’t have much power, making him a somewhat useless fantasy catcher. Shoppach has been just dreadful (.194, 1 HR), and we could see some improvement there, but neither of these guys are good options at the catcher position.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Same.

1B- Carlos Pena: Pena has been very Pena-like. Lots of strikeouts, terrible batting average, lots of homers.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Same.

2B- Sean Rodriguez, Reid Brignac: While Rodriguez has shown flashes of brilliance, he strikes out far too often. He has 66 Ks to just seven walks in 224 at bats this season, and while he adds a little bit of pop, it’s tough to be successful when you can’t put the ball in play. Brignac hasn’t been much better, and while he can hit for a slightly better average, neither of these guys will contribute enough to be fantasy-relevant. And with the Rays searching for a better corner outfield option (Jayson Werth, Corey Hart), it’s likely that Ben Zobrist will move back to second base sending both these guys to the bench.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Worse.

SS- Jason Bartlett: Another bust candidate from last week’s column, Bartlett just hasn’t been running at all this season. He stole 30 times last year, but nagging injuries (hamstring) have left him a cripple. His batting average may improve, but he’s not a strong hitter and without his speed there isn’t much to be excited about.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Same.

3B- Evan Longoria: He’s hit for a better average this season and less power, but a generous BABIP and unlucky HR/FB rate indicates both of them should head back to normal.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Same.

LF- Carl Crawford: Crawford has been sizzling hot this season, exhibiting the power everyone thought he had to couple with his blazing speed. But an errant pick off throw struck him directly in the gonads, and he’ll need some rest after suffering from testicular contusions (it’s hard to even read that without wincing... ouch). Regardless, he’s been phenomenal this year and there’s nothing that indicates he won’t continue to be.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Same.

CF- BJ Upton: Oh man. If I were a Rays fan I’d be hoping that Upton was dealt. He doesn’t hustle and creates chaos in the dugout, doesn’t do a great job of getting on base, hits for a low average, and appears to be swinging for the fences every time he’s at the plate. The speed is there, and that’s where he’ll help, but that’s about it, and the once vibrant hopes of BJ Upton tearing apart the fantasy baseball scene appear to be fading.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Same.

RF- Ben Zobrist: OK, so maybe we were wrong to think Zobrist was going to hit 25 homers again, but he’s still an on-base machine who has great speed. The lack of power hinders his fantasy value, but I think OBP is a strong indication of hitter quality, and he has a great approach at the plate. Watching him is truly enjoyable, and I think some of that power will start to come back, along with a slight increase in batting average.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Improve.

Other- Matt Joyce: Am I the only one who thinks he still deserves playing time? I’d rather have him in the lineup (against righthanders) in RF, pushing Zobrist to 2B, rather than either of the second sackers the Rays have been using. He’s walked 15 times to just nine strikeouts, and while he’s only hitting .220, if he was given more at bats he could prove himself. Too bad there will likely be new blood in that dugout soon, and he may never get a real chance this year.

Improve, stay the same, or get worse? Improve.


The point of this entire exercise was to break down the team piece by piece, and without looking at the bullpen (third best in the AL in ERA), it is evident there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot to look forward to with the Rays in 2010. It explains why they’ve regressed from a dominant team to an above average one, and while they’ll likely keep in contention in the AL East, I believe the Rays won’t even make the playoffs this year if the Red Sox can get healthy.

And in fantasy baseball, I’m even less impressed. Their starters give up too many home runs and a few of them have benefited from great luck. The lineup has its holes and inconsistencies, and after Crawford, Zobrist, Longoria, there isn’t much to be excited about.

Sorry Rays fans, but April and May could become those two months of glory that you’ll always remember, in a season that left playoff hopes unfulfilled.

There have been many surprises in the first half of the season, and there will surely be many more in the second half. Here’s a list of guys who may break through in the tail end, and a few who could become big ole’ busts.

Break Through:

Joe Mauer, MIN: It’d be hard to discuss first half surprises without talking the disappointment of Joe Mauer. We figured he would display less power this year than his outburst of 2009 indicated, yet I’m still surprised that he hit just four homers in the first half.

And we at least thought his batting average would more than make up for the lack in power, but at .293, it isn’t very Mauer-like. Good news folks, there’s no need to worry. Mauer has battled with the alignment of Target Field, and openly expressed his discontent for the Twins new ballpark, but the stats indicate his production should return to normal in the second half.

His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is 0.26 below his career average, and he’s hitting home runs on just 5% of flyballs, still below his 10.7% career average, and much less than the 20.4% clip he showed last year.

Add in 24 doubles in 290 at bats (on pace to shatter his career high). We can hope that a few of those turn into home runs, and Mauer should be well on his way to being an elite fantasy catcher yet again.

Second Half Hopeful: .324, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 43 R, 1 SB

Aaron Hill, TOR: C’mon guys, Aaron Hill isn’t great, but he isn’t this bad either. He’s suffering from an insanely low .180 BABIP and his home run pace is actually in line with what you should expect. He won’t make or break your team in the second half, but I think he’ll become at least useful as a mixed league second baseman.

Second Half Hopeful: .270, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 31 R, 2 SB

Curtis Granderson, NYY: Taking a look at Grandy’s splits usually tells the story: terrible against lefties, fantastic against righties. But what’s been interesting this year has been his at bat totals against each. Last season he had 451 against righties (.275, 28 HR) and 180 against lefties (.183, 2HR), taking more than 71% of his at bats against righthanders. But this year, he’s taken just 61% of his at bats against righties, and the results aren’t fun to watch. He’s still played well against them, but with just 138 at bats, his 6 HRs aren’t much different than we’d expect. Maybe opposing teams have been doing everything they can to get a lefty in when Granderson is up, but he should fare better in the second half when Joe Girardi begins to play the matchups more consistently.

Second Half Hopeful: .268, 9 HR, 33 RBI, 28 R, 8 SB

Zack Greinke, KC: Greinke has raised his K/9 in the second half every season he’s been a pro so far, and I’m not expecting anything different this year. He’s picked it up as of late too, fanning 35 in his last 39 innings and winning his last four decisions. He’s allowed a few more home runs this season than the last, but he’s still looked dominant and should put together a strong second half again for the Royals.

Second Half Hopeful: 88 IP, 7 W, 98 K, 2.77 ERA, 1.14 WHIP

Busts

Adam Lind, TOR: Lind doesn’t exactly have the biggest expectations to meet in the second half after a miserable start to the season (.214, 12 HR). But his power numbers are actually in line with what I expected. He’s never been a huge home run guy in the minor leagues, and projects more of a 25-guy than the 35-guy he showed us last year. His batting average is bound to go up, but I believe there may be a correlation with him trying to hit for more power and instead, creating more outs. His fly ball percentage is the highest of his career and his HR/FB is right on par with his average, so I wouldn’t expect his power to re-appear in the second half.

Second Half Blunder: .261, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 28 R, 0 SB

Jason Bartlett, TB: After his 14 HR campaign last year, there weren’t many believers that Bartlett would have another strong season in the power category this year. But we at least expected some speed and a solid average, and we’re being disappointed. The bottom line though is that he’s been extremely unlucky, with low BABIP numbers nearly 60 points under his average. But he isn’t running. And while he says his hamstring is getting better, it doesn’t look like it. He’s attempted just six steals this year after swiping 30 bags last season, and his infield hit percentage is down more than three times his career average. Bartlett doesn’t have much power, and his main contributions come from his speed, but it’s no where to be found.

Second Half Blunder: .258, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 35 R, 7 SB

Alex Rios, CWS: I don’t really have any statistical research behind this one, but Rios has had problems maintaining consistency throughout his career, and I’d be shocked if he keeps playing as well as he has been. He’s finished with a batting average above .300 just once in his seven-year career and has hit more than 17 home runs just once as well. He’s also been caught stealing nine times already this season, matching his career high. There isn’t a whole lot to point to that indicates his fantastic first half will continue, and I’ll live on the side of caution with him in the second half. And if the White Sox fall out of contention, they’ll become big-time sellers at the end of the month, liquidating a few parts of their lineup. Rios won’t be bad, but I just can’t see him being this good.

Second Half Blunder: .284, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 37 R, 9 SB

Brian Roberts, BAL: There isn’t a whole lot of encouraging news coming out of Baltimore regarding Brian Roberts. It’s hard to consider him a bust at this point, but I had to include him on the list seeing as he probably won’t make a fantasy impact at any point this season. He’s on the field at least, rehabbing with the Gulf Coast League Orioles, but he doesn’t think he’ll be back until at least August, and Andy MacPhail has no reason to rush his recovery. Roberts may be worth hanging onto if you have the roster space, but if you’ve been holding him around for a while waiting to cut bait, it wouldn’t be a terrible decision to let him go.

Second Half Blunder: 82 AB, .282, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 16 R, 2 SB

David Price, TB: The terrific first half of David Price has been great for fantasy owners. He’s been able to pitch deeper into games, keep the ball in the park, and increase his K/9 from a season ago. But his crazy 80.2% strand rate indicates he’s been quite lucky, and an xFIP (a stat used to judge ERA independent of fielding) of 3.95 ranks him outside of the top starters in the league. Command has always been his issue; when he can locate his slider and fastball, he’s been filthy. But his walk rate has been just as bad as it was last year, and I’m slightly concerned that he rarely uses his slider anymore (just 6.7% of the time, as opposed to 30.2% when he first entered the league). And that’s not my main concern. I’m worried about his innings, and his body staying healthy. Price hasn't tossed a whole lot of innings aside from last year, and his pitch/inning ratio was quite high. I don’t know that his body will hold up for a full 200+ inning season nor how his young frame will adapt when he begins to tire down the stretch.

Second Half Blunder: 86 IP, 6 W, 68 K, 3.60 ERA, 1.28 WHIP

 

When Michael Brantley made his return from Columbus to become the Indians new leadoff hitter and center fielder, he was glooming with confidence. The 23-year-old had struggled in his first go around with Cleveland earlier this season, hitting 5-for-32 without stealing a base. But after more than two months at Triple-A, he had done enough to earn himself another Indians uniform.

Brantley hit .315 in 241 at bats, waking 29 times to just 27 strikeouts, and swiping 11 bags in 16 tries. The International League was doing everything it could to keep him on first base too, since he went 46-for-51 in base stealing attempts there last season. Opposing pitchers threw over three or four times per at bat to check on him, and used the slide step almost exclusively, but it only made Brantley work harder at becoming a threat on the bases.

Manager Manny Acta already told reporters that Brantley will be playing center and hitting lead off almost every day, and with little competition behind him, he should get an extended try this time.

Brantley adjusted his swing while in the minors, getting his front foot in place quicker, allowing him to use his legs more and get a better look at the ball. He also moved his hands further from his body in attempt to gain more power.

The power isn’t what fantasy owners will be looking for out of Brantley though, as he’s a career .300 hitter in the minors with far more walks than strikeouts, and his speed alone will surely add value. Look for him to get consistent playing time the rest of the season, and those in search of speed will be happy with what they find.

While on the Indians, Luis Valbuena has also played well at Triple-A, hitting .300 in 40 at bats. There isn’t a whole lot in front of him at second base, but he doesn’t bring much to the table for fantasy owners. Even so, he’s worth keeping an eye on in deeper leagues.

The leading innings-eater for Cleveland’s Triple-A squad, Carlos Carrasco is due up with the big league club at some point this year, as cited by Acta. Carrasco has fanned 82 in 96.2 innings on his way to a 4.38 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. Consistent struggle with command has kept him from becoming a stud, but he could provide some value upon his call up if he can keep the strikeout numbers high.

If I had my choice among Triple-A starters though, I’d still be hanging on to Jeremy Hellickson. I’ve even got him stashed in a couple 12-team mixed leagues. It’s just too hard to ignore his ridiculous stat line: 11-2, 2.21 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 104 Ks in 105.2 IP.

He’s been highly regarded in baseball, ranked No. 18 in Baseball America’s top prospects list this year. And with Wade Davis struggling, he could get his chance soon.

There has also been speculation that the Rays may make a trade. B.J. Upton has been involved in some talks, and with Desmond Jennings just waiting to be the center fielder of the future, that makes sense. And Andrew Friedman has shown he’s willing to deal just about anyone. Don’t be surprised if a starter gets moved too, opening the door for Hellickson.

And with Jake Peavy leaving his Tuesday night start in the second inning with an apparent right arm injury, the Daniel Hudson clock keeps ticking in Chicago. Hudson has fanned 108 in just over 93 innings at Triple-A Charlotte, with a 3.47 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Carlos Torres is also dazzling, with 103 Ks in 110 IP, adding a 3.35 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, but Hudson has been the name most fantasy players have been waiting for.

He’s been tagged as the White Sox’ No. 3 prospect by Baseball America, and has consistently fanned around 10 per nine innings. He could come up and be dominant right away, though control problems have been an issue in the past. If Peavy has to hit the DL, Hudson could see time with the streaking Sox sooner than expected.

Felix Pie made his return to the Orioles on Tuesday, batting seventh and playing left field while going 2-for-6 at the dish with an RBI. The O’s have said they don’t want to rush him back, so he’ll likely have frequent rest for the first week or so. And with Corey Patterson playing great in the leadoff role, Pie may see limited time for a while before Paterson comes down to earth, or Pie plays too good to stay on the bench.

Don’t hold your breath.

 

 

The injury plague has pestered the Boston Red Sox all season, and now even worse news comes out of Beantown as Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez will be missing some time over the next couple of weeks. Pedroia is expected to miss six weeks with a broken left foot after he fouled a ball off it last weekend. Bill Hall played second base on Sunday, but the Sox recently traded for Eric Patterson from the A’s, and he could see significant time there as well. Both Hall and Patterson play the infield and outfield, so it will be interesting to see how Terry Francona uses them in Pedroia’s absence.

I think Patterson is going to get a chance to play, with Hall getting some time in the outfield. But it will likely come down to who’s playing better, since neither of them have hit well this season. It could develop into a platoon situation with the right-handed Hall and the lefty-swinging Patterson, but it may be Patterson’s job to lose.

“We want to get [Patterson] here and work him out at second. What he really gives, hopefully, is a lot of versatility,” Francona told the Boston Globe on Sunday. “He can play the outfield; he can play second. Billy can kind of do the same things. Maybe they complement each other.’’

Martinez will hit the DL and is expected to take just the minimum time off. He has a bone fracture in his left thumb, but it’s expected to heal on its own by the time he’s eligible to return. Jason Varitek becomes a mixed-league worthy catcher for at least the next two weeks.

 

Matt Joyce got recalled to the Rays last Thursday and Joe Maddon said he’ll get a chance to play every day. Even when Carl Crawford returns, Joyce is expected to get his at bats in the outfield. He hasn’t shined since two years ago when he hit 12 home runs in a third of a season, but he was hitting .293 with 22 walks to 21 strikeouts in 93 at bats in Triple-A this year and could provide some pop.

 

Taking advantage of Edwin Encarnacion’s demotion to Triple-A, Jarrett Hoffpauir has been the starting third baseman for the Jays over the past week. At 27 years old, Hoffpauir had just 12 major league at bats before his promotion, but had been raking in the minors, hitting .328 with 9 homers, 43 RBI, and a 21:15 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Brett Wallace is still in the minors hitting good as well (.301 average, 14 HR), but his likely landing spot is first base, which could open up soon when Lyle Overbay gets traded. So that leaves Hoffpauir with third base all to himself, and if he can fend off Encarnacion from taking his job back, he could be a decent option in deeper leagues.

It was only a matter of time before Carlos Quentin (five homers in his last seven games) started seeing better results with the bat. He’s been on the wrong side of the luck fountain this year, with just a .225 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). His walk rate is also up, and after his home run/fly ball percentage continues to climb back up to his normal rates, he should be a solid .250-30 HR guy the rest of the way this year.

Anthony Lerew turned in his second quality start in three tries for the Royals on Monday night, tossing six innings and fanning four, while allowing just one run on three hits and one walk. The 27-year-old righthander has been consistently decent in the minor leagues (5-3, 2.84 ERA in Triple-A this season), and while he doesn’t strikeout a whole bunch, he does keep the ball in the park and could be an average replacement player if you’re digging for innings.

Brennan Boesch just won’t stop hitting for the Tigers. He’s now got his average up to .335, with 12 home runs and 45 RBI in 54 games. His free-swinging style may become a problem and his batting average is sure to take a dip (career .269 average in the minors), but the power is legit. I may even offer a few trades in a league where I’m short on home runs, where someone might be looking to sell high and be happy to get any value for him.

Jason Repko was called up to the Twins on Friday from Triple-A Rochester. He played right field and went 1-for-4 at the dish, but likely will take on a reserve role in the outfield.

Alfredo Simon appears to have his closing job back in Baltimore after shutting down the Nationals on Sunday. David Hernandez pitched the eighth inning, so Simon owners can breathe easier for now.

Speaking of the Orioles, it’s a good thing to keep their Triple-A sluggers in mind as they could be sellers in the trade market pretty soon. Ty Wigginton is expected to be moved, while Justin Turner, Michael Aubrey, Rhyne Hughes, and Nolan Reimold could be beneficiaries.

Jason Mastrodonato is a student at Northeastern University and a sports reporter for The Boston Globe. He earned a second place finish in the FantasyPros911.com Expert League last season. He can be heard weekly on the Fantasy Roundtable Radio Show or you can follow him on Twitter, @JMastrodonato.

Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava made himself a day over the weekend, cracking a grand slam in his first major league at bat. On the first pitch he saw, he cranked a Joe Blanton fastball into the Fenway Park seats.

Quietly, Nava has actually hit everywhere he’s been, collecting a .354 batting average across the minor leagues. He’s a tremendous story, if you want to read up on him. No one wanted him in college, he became the towel-boy for a little while, was a minor league manager, but now has a shot to play a bit with the Sox outfield on the fritz. He even hit leadoff on Tuesday with Marco Scutaro out of the lineup.

Even so, I had to laugh when John Halpin of Fox Sports spent $175 to pick him up in our FantasyPros911.com Expert League this week, since Nava likely won’t stay up too long. But Darnell McDonald is still swinging the bat for the Sox, so who knows. And Jacoby Ellsbury is back on the DL for an indefinite amount of time, so Nava is definitely worth a pick up.

Conor Jackson was the first name to move in what is sure to be a busy trading season. The A’s acquired him from Arizona after Jackson has been struggling and the DBacks are 11 games out of first place in the NL West.

He becomes a must-add in AL-only formats of course, but I’m not sure how much playing time he’s going to get. He’ll take over initially, hit second, and play left field, where Eric Patterson is currently batting .210. But with Coco Crisp due to return at some point, his playing time may cut down to about four-to-five days a week, but I think he’s going to get his chance to play every day.

Jackson has been terrible since overcoming the Valley Fever, but hasn’t played a full season since 2008. Scouts have always thought he had more pop than he’s exhibited, and he’s shown the ability to hit .300 before. If he can stay healthy and keep himself in the lineup (while it isn’t the most attractive of lineups), Jackson could have some value in deeper formats.

The beloved DeWayne Wise is back in the majors again, after teasing us with his speed and inability to hit as the White Sox center fielder the past two years. Wise started in left field for the Blue Jays on Monday and collected a pair of hits and a trio of strikeouts in five at bats.

Wise probably won’t see a whole lot of action once Fred Lewis overcomes his foot injury, but Cito Gaston likes him and he could provide a little bit of speed.

Jesse Litsch made his return from Tommy John surgery last weekend and scattered nine hits over two innings, allowing seven earned runs. Gaston wasn’t impressed.

“"Anytime a guy is coming off Tommy John surgery you worry,” he said. “He had the one good inning when he was able to get his two-seamer to sink. He didn't throw a lot of four-seamers."

He’s never been a strikeout-pitcher, but Litsch was serviceable back in 2008, so he’s worth keeping an eye on to see if he can regain his form.

Quick Hits

Alfredo Simon returned to the Orioles after a short stint on the DL, and while he’ll be eased back into the closer role, he’s worth an add if your chasing saves.

Mike Carp has been getting the starts at first base for Seattle over the past week, but that probably won’t last long as he’s hit .182 over that time. Carp hit 10 home runs in 50 games at Triple-A, but also fanned 42 times and hit just .250.

The Mariners also recalled reliever Brian Sweeney, who makes an interesting add if you need some relief help. Sweeney struckout 32 and walked just 8 in 28.2 innings at Triple-A.

The Yankees recalled Chad Huffman to take the spot of injured Marcus Thames. Huffman came over from San Diego and has hit decent in the minors. He’s a replacement level player in AL formats, but may get some at bats against left-handers.

Justin Ruggiano got called up by the Rays after Gabe Kapler hit the DL. Ruggiano stole 12 bags at Triple-A Durham and could provide some speed of the bench with the occasional start while he’s with Tampa.

Felix Doubront will get the call to start for the Red Sox on Friday against the Dodgers. He’s been great at both Double-A (2.51 ERA, 38 strikeouts in 43 IP) and Triple-A (1.08 ERA, 16 Ks in 16.2 IP). He could be a one-and-done option, as Boston likes to do quite often with their young guys, but he’s intriguing none-the-less.

Jason Mastrodonato is a student at Northeastern University and a sports reporter for The Boston Globe. He earned a second place finish in the FantasyPros911.com Expert League last season. He can be heard weekly on the Fantasy Roundtable Radio Show or you can follow him on Twitter, @JMastrodonato.

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