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AL FAAB Factor: Pineiro Back on the Bump

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown is the Managing Editor of NBA Content for He hosts the Fantasy Basketball Podcast and writes about fantasy basketball. Kyle used to run an after school program and approaches his work as an editor with teaching in mind. He genuinely cares about helping others win their fantasy basketball leagues, which seems really dorky when it's written in the third person.


Jesse Litsch – Litsch was recalled Monday to take Brett Cecil’s spot in the Jays’ rotation. He started Tuesday’s game against Texas and picked up the win with 10 runs of support from his offense. Litsch only made one start in Triple-A following his demotion, and that start was cut short since the team wanted to keep his arm ready to pitch Tuesday. Litsch is only owned in one percent of Yahoo! Leagues, but with a 3.86 ERA through 23.1 innings, he has been one of the bright spots in the Blue Jays’ rotation. He’s going up against the Yankees in his next start and has limited their current roster to a respectable .246/.342/.406 slash line over 69 at-bats. He’s not a big strikeout pitcher, and even his current 6.6 K/9 ratio is better than should be expected going forward. Still, if you’re looking for someone to give you a lot of innings and moderate strikeouts in a deep league, Litsch can do that while maintaining an ERA right around 4.00. Mixed: $0; AL:$3.

Kevin Millwood – Millwood could have been added to the Yankees’ rotation had Ivan Nova struggled in his latest start, but Nova came through with a quality start Tuesday, limiting the White Sox to just a single run over 6.1 innings. On Thursday, Millwood pitched two disastrous innings for Triple-A Scranton in which he gave up six runs on seven hits. Nova will stay in the rotation for now, and Millwood can opt out of his deal if he’s not with the Yankees by Sunday. Mixed: $0; AL:$0.

Mike Montgomery/Danny Duffy – With Kyle Davies posting a 7.98 ERA and 1.81 WHIP through his first 29.1 innings this season and no other Royals’ starter having a great all-around year, there is a chance that Montgomery or Duffy could get called up from Triple-A Omaha sooner than the Royals would prefer. Montgomery is 21 years old and has posted a 2.67 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 23:15 K:BB ratio over 27 innings in five starts. His high walk rate might have him behind Duffy in the current hierarchy as Duffy, at just 22 years old, has posted a remarkable 0.90 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 24:4 K:BB ratio over 20 innings in four starts. Aaron Crow, who’s pitching out of the Royals’ bullpen right now and has posted a 0.00 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 14:5 K:BB ratio over 13.2 innings of relief, could get converted to a starter at some point. We’re not buying these guys right now, but we’re keeping an eye on their work in Triple-A in case the Royals decide to make a move. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Philip Humber – Humber has been a boon to the struggling White Sox this season. He was given the fifth rotation spot after Jake Peavy had a setback in shoulder rehab and has posted a 3.06 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 21:8 K:BB ratio in 32.1 innings over five starts. Peavy’s general inability to stay healthy makes Humber worthy of a roster spot in deeper leagues. He carried a lofty 4.64 ERA through 513.2 career innings in Triple-A, so we don’t expect the 28-year-old former third-overall pick to suddenly be a top-flight starter. However, he has the potential to be better than his historical numbers indicate. Peavy is expected to make two more rehab starts before rejoining the White Sox. At that time, Humber will probably be used of out of the bullpen. If you need help for a couple more starts, he’s worth a short-term grab; and there remains the potential for him to be a long-term option for the White Sox if Peavy suffers another setback or the team decides to move a starter. Humber is currently owned in only five percent of Yahoo! leagues. Mixed: $5; AL: $7.

Alex White – White was called up to the majors Saturday and made his first career start against the Tigers. He was called up because the team placed Carlos Carrasco on the 15-day DL with right elbow inflammation. White posted a stellar 1.90 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 28:5 K:BB ratio in four starts for Triple-A Columbus before his call-up Saturday. He has tremendous potential, but the team may not keep him up for long. Carrasco could return when first eligible, which would likely push White back to the minors. White was respectable in his start Saturday, striking out four and limiting the Tigers to two runs over six innings. He walked four batters, indicating that he may have been trying to do too much in his first start, but the fact that he left with the win should earn him at least another start or two. He’s worth taking a flier on in most leagues based purely on his potential. Mixed: $5; AL: $7.

Joel Pineiro – Pineiro returned from the 15-day DL Thursday and made his first start of the season against the Rays on Saturday. He pitched seven innings of one-run ball and limited the Rays to four hits and a walk while striking out three. Pineiro has shown the potential to be a serviceable fantasy option, but he has also had trouble staying consistent. In 152.1 innings with the Angels last season, he posted a 3.84 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 92:34 K:BB ratio. There’s some concern that the tightness in his throwing shoulder that kept him out the first month of the season could return, but we’re looking at Pineiro with the expectation that he’ll post numbers similar to last year’s, while discounting the price slightly based on his health and the possibility that he could again be mediocre. Pineiro is currently owned in only five percent of Yahoo! leagues. Mixed: $8: AL: $12.

Anthony Swarzak – Swarzak was called up from Triple-A Rochester to make a spot start for the Twins in their doubleheader against the Rays on Thursday. He gave up five runs over 5.1 innings and was sent back to the minors after the game. As of a few weeks ago he wasn’t considered a top option to fill a rotation spot for the Twins, and he hasn’t been that impressive in the minors this season. Through 20.1 innings with Rochester, he has posted a 4.87 ERA with a 14:6 K:BB ratio. Leave him in the trough. Mixed: $0, AL: $0.


Sergio Santos – Santos essentially claimed the White Sox’ closer role this week with back-to-back saves on Monday and Tuesday, but as of Sunday morning he was still only owned in 42 percent of Yahoo! leagues. With a 0.00 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 14:5 K:BB ratio over 11.2 innings of relief this season, there’s no reason Santos shouldn’t be universally owned in all leagues that count saves. Forward-looking fantasy players made a play for him two weeks ago with the hope that he’d take over the gig as the White Sox’ closer, but the team never said Santos would be their guy until he came in and closed the door on the Yankees on Monday. Mixed: $9; AL: $15.

Daniel Cortes – Cortes was called up by the Mariners last Sunday but has yet to see any action. Last season, he posted 104 strikeouts in 101.2 minor league innings. He’s got the potential to rack up strikeouts, but his spotty control will keep him out of high-pressure situations initially. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Michael Wuertz – Wuertz was activated from the disabled list Monday, and Bobby Cramer was optioned to Triple-A as a result. He’ll pick up plenty of holds, but he’s behind Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour in the bullpen pecking order. Plus, he’ll be knocked down a spot further with Andrew Bailey’s return on the horizon. Wuertz had a rough time on the mound last season, posting a 4.31 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and 40:21 K:BB ratio over 39.2 innings. Last season was arguably the worst of Wuertz’ career. Look for him to rebound and be a good source of strikeouts and holds in relief. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Glen Perkins – Perkins has worked his way into being one of the Twins’ top setup men behind closer Matt Capps. He’s owned in just one percent of Yahoo! leagues and has posted a 0.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 7:3 K:BB ratio in 12 innings of work this season. If your league counts holds, or is so deep that you need to roster relievers on the pure possibility that they could get saves in the future, Perkins is worth putting on your watch list. Mixed: $0; $0.

Pedro Strop – Strop’s impressive work so far this season could put him in line to be used as a setup man in the future. He’s still seeing most of his work with either a hefty lead or the game out of reach, but he has posted a 1.17 ERA and 1.17 WHIP through 7.2 innings and is begging for a bigger role. His 9:7 K:BB ratio is no doubt a concern, but it hasn’t hurt his ERA so far. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.


Francisco Cervelli/Gustavo Molina – Cervelli was activated from the DL Friday and made his first start of the season Sunday. Molina was sent back to the minors as a result of Cervelli’s return. He’s expected to get more starts than Molina made to help lighten the load on Russell Martin and keep Martin fresh. Cervelli doesn’t have any power, but those in deep AL-only leagues that start two catchers should consider adding him. Cervelli could get upwards of two starts per week and should hit just around .270 while benefitting from batting in the Yankees’ lineup. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Josh Donaldson – Donaldson was called up to serve as insurance while Kurt Suzuki was away from the team for the birth of his child. Suzuki returned to the team Friday, so Donaldson was sent back to the minors without having seen any action. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.


David Cooper – Cooper was called up Friday by the Blue Jays, who plan on giving the 24-year-old hitting prospect plenty of at-bats while he’s on the roster. He’ll see most of his action at DH but will also start at first when Adam Lind needs a rest. The Blue Jays threw him into the fire Friday and Saturday, so it’s clear they want him to see action right away. Cooper still has room for development, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him hit a fair amount of doubles, a few home runs, and post an average over .250. He has typically hit over .300 in the minors but hit just .258 in his last two seasons at Double-A. In contrast, he was hitting .395 through 81 at-bats at Triple-A this season. Cooper hit 20 home runs in 498 at-bats at Double-A last season and had two home runs at Triple-A so far this season. Buy him in deep leagues if you’re in need to help at first, but check your league’s positional eligibility rules. Some will only be able to use him in the DH/utility spot for now. Mixed: $2; AL: $4.

Justin Smoak – Smoak is already owned in any AL-only league, but he’s still only owned in only 34 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Smoak has been one of the lone bright spots in a Mariners terrible lineup, and he seems to finally be displaying the potential that made him the key piece in the deal that sent Cliff Lee to Texas. Through 74 at-bats, the 24-year-old first baseman has a .284 average with four home runs and 17 RBI. It’s time for mixed league players need to stop sitting on him and get him on the roster. Mixed: $14; AL: $25.


Alexi Amarista – Amarista was called up Monday after Maicer Izturis was scratched from last Sunday’s lineup with a sore left hamstring. The team has worked Amarista into the lineup three times this week by moving Howie Kendrick over to first and taking the slumping Mark Trumbo out of the lineup. His .455 average was leading the PCL before his call-up, and he complimented his impressive average with two home runs, 16 RBI, and six doubles. With Izturis returning to the lineup Saturday, it’ll be tough for Amarista to get regular at-bats, and the team could decide to move him back to the minors sooner rather than later. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Scott Sizemore – Sizemore is hitting .417 with two home runs, three steals, and 13 RBI in 72 at-bats with Triple-A Toledo this season. The Tigers have been mixing and matching to try and find a lineup that allows them to get production out of their second baseman. If Sizemore continues to swing a hot bat and Will Rhymes (hitting just .206) continues to struggle, the team could look to call up Sizemore. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Brett Lawrie – Despite the Blue Jays dealing with several injuries to their infield corps, the team has no plans to rush Lawrie to the big leagues. He’s currently crushing the ball at Triple-A Las Vegas, posting a .361 average with four home runs, 12 RBI, and five steals in 97 at-bats. Lawrie is playing at third this season, and he’s still getting acclimated there, as evidenced by his six errors through 22 games. Keep him high on your watch list, but don’t get too anxious for his call-up just yet. We should see him later this season, just not in the immediate future. Mixed: $0; AL: $0.

Brent Lillibridge – Lillibridge has been using his defense and grit to get regular at-bats recently. He’s still only getting odd at-bats and often is just being subbed in as a defensive replacement, but his versatility has led to him seeing action at second base and all three outfield spots. Lillibridge is hitting .320 with two home runs and three steals this season, but he’s done that damage in only 25 at-bats. He’s a great utility player to have right now, but he doesn’t get enough at-bats to be of use in most leagues. Still, since he has started two of the team’s last three games, it’s worth taking a flier on him this week to see if he continues to get playing time. He’s currently owned in zero percent of Yahoo! leagues. Mixed: $0; Al: $2.


Rajai Davis – Davis is owned in nearly every AL-only league, but mixed league players should take notice of his return from the DL. In his first game back after rehabbing a ankle injury, Davis stole two bases. Now that his ankle is healthy, Davis should start every day in center and leadoff for the Jays. Several Jays are on pace to steal a career-high in bases this season, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Davis collect 50 over the remainder of the season if he’s able to stay healthy. Mixed: $16; AL: $25.

Rene Tosoni – Tosoni has started every game for the Twins since being called up Thursday. He’s filling in for Delmon Young, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left oblique, and is getting an opportunity to play right now. In the minors this season Tosoni hit .286 with three home runs, six doubles, and 16 RBI in 19 games at Triple-A Rochester. He has hit just 3-for-14 in his first four games with the Twins, but he remained in the lineup Sunday. Unless he starts to tear the cover off the ball, Tosoni is expected to return to the minors when Young is activated. If you’re desperate for outfield help, it might be worth taking a flier on him for the week. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.

Juan Rivera – Rivera has found his stroke at the plate and had a nine-game hitting streak going into Sunday. He has raised his average to .233 to go with two home runs and a steal. Rivera has the potential for 20+ home runs with everyday at-bats, and he’s owned in only four percent of Yahoo! leagues. Go grab him if you need a slugger and can sacrifice some average. Mixed: $6: AL: $10.