It’s taken all baseball season but Roto Frank has finally been promoted to both AL and NL-only league analysis. Woo! We’ll consider this my September call-up. For those who’ve been waiting on the incumbent return of one Giancarlo Stanton, bad news is looming. Apparently, he’s acknowledged that he may not return after all as he left a recent rehab game with continued soreness in his left hand. The Marlins are 23 games under .500 so why risk further injury to your star player? The power surge would have been great down the stretch, especially in mono-leagues, but it’s out of our control. One guy who is returning, however, is a Frank favorite: Marcus Stroman.
Stroman is a fellow New York native and although he pitches for the wrong team in the AL East, there is no denying his talent. Once rated a top prospect in the Blue Jays’ organization, Stroman boasts a strong combination of talent and command with his pitches. In 26 games last season (20 starts), Stroman struck out 7.65 batters per nine innings while walking just 1.93. He also ranked 12th in the Majors in groundball percentage, inducing them 53.8 percent of the time, which plays well in his ballpark, the Rogers Centre. Stroman relies on a strong fastball in the mid-90s and mixes in three different breaking pitches, including a curve, cutter and slider. He’s only making his season debut this Saturday because he suffered a torn ACL in Spring Training. It should be quite the experience considering the start will come at Yankee Stadium, making it a homecoming of sorts for the young starter. Stroman should be able to help in all pitching categories down the stretch.
On the flipside of that, the Yankees are battling injuries of their own, the latest being Nathan Eovaldi, who was shut down with elbow soreness. Eovaldi is a 14-game winner but the numbers suggest luck has been on his side throughout the course of this season. Replacing him, in the meantime, will be Adam Warren. In 14 starts this season, Warren owned a 3.59 ERA to go along with a 1.19 WHIP. The strikeouts won’t necessarily be plentiful, but he could put together solid starts down the stretch and pick up some wins given the Yankees’ offense.
Aaron Brooks, 25 years old, has rejoined the Oakland A’s rotation simply because of injuries and their lack of depth. Nonetheless, he’s been quite the mixed bag of results, with three of his starts going for six or more innings while two of them ended in 2.1 innings or less. Mind you, one of those starts was in Toronto, where any pitcher could be prone to a blow up game. He does offer upside pitching in that ballpark and when he’s on, he could be a valuable piece. In 19 starts in the minors this season, Brooks held a 3.56 ERA while averaging nearly a strikeout per inning. The lack of consistency is worrisome but he has the talent to produce down the stretch.
Joey Gallo was among the many September call-ups, but he offers nearly the best power upside of the bunch. He’ll only play against right-handed pitching, so keep that in mind, but if your chasing home runs and RBIs at this point, he could help close the gap. He is a streaky hitter and managed to hit five home runs in June at the Major League level. If he catches fire now, he could put a lot of fly balls out in a hurry.
In the speed department, two players are making their presence felt on the base paths, even though it may just be as a pinch runner. Drew Stubbs has latched on with the Rangers and has one stolen base in the past seven days. He has three seasons of 30 or more stolen bases under his belt. Jonathan Villar is the other candidate for stolen bases, as he’s chipped in one recently as well. He has 252 stolen bases in his minor league career and that’s obviously the reason he was a September call up. If you have a wasted starting roster spot at this point, why not take a crack at a few extra stolen bases?
The Brewers have been a mess in the infield this season, which has ultimately led to an opportunity for Elian Herrera. He only has seven home runs on the season but perhaps an everyday job has increased his confidence. He has two homers and seven RBIs over the last seven days while batting .250. He’s extremely versatile for Fantasy purposes, as he has eligibility at second base, shortstop, third base and outfield in Yahoo! Leagues. He’s going to get the chance to play every day, although he fares much better against right-handed pitching.
Sticking with the Brewers, the team has called up Zach Davies, the fourth ranked pitching prospect in the organization, according to MLB.com. Davies isn’t a strikeout specialist and sports an average fastball but he has a deceptive changeup, which makes it a plus pitch to go along with his exceptional control. Davies came over from the Orioles in the Gerardo Parra trade and was 6-8 with a 3.30 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) in the minors this season. His next start will be at the Pirates, a team that is mediocre at home against right-handed pitching.
Shifting over to the west coast, pitching prospect Colin Rea is coming off an impressive start against the Rockies. He went seven shutout frames in that game, allowing just two hits and striking out four against an extremely potent lineup. Rea is the top pitching prospect in the Padres’ organization and proved it in the minors this season. He was 5-4 with a 1.95 ERA in 18 starts across two different levels. The fact that he pitches in Petco Park could lead to solid performances in the closing month of the season.
Finally, Randall Grichuk and Matt Adams are making their respective returns to the Cardinals. Grichuk made a pinch-hit appearance last night and was already doing Randall Grichuk-type things, blasting a home run in his first game back. He was on fire before getting hurt, posting a 1.004 OPS in the second half to go along with nine home runs and 20 RBIs. It’s uncertain whether Adams can play the field right away, making his status rather unknown. He may be used merely as a pinch hitter moving forward. The return of these two spells disaster for the value of Brandon Moss and Tommy Pham.