D.J. Short

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Win With Edwin

Thursday, May 26, 2011




AL ONLY

Andy Oliver SP, Tigers (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

Phil Coke went on the disabled list with an ankle injury this week, which means that Oliver will take his place in the starting rotation Sunday against the hot-hitting Red Sox. Armed with a fastball that touches the mid-90s, the 23-year-old southpaw has a 3.31 ERA and 49/20 K/BB ratio over his first nine starts with Triple-A Toledo this season. It would be risky to use him against Boston this weekend, but I'd still file him away just in case Coke requires an extended absence or Brad Penny inevitably gets hurt.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, Red Sox (Yahoo: 7 percent owned, ESPN: 0.7 percent)

Look at who has been showing some real signs of life lately. Salty went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer Wednesday afternoon against the Indians and is now batting .292 (9-for-25) with four homers and seven RBI over his last seven games. His batting average has gone up from .200 to .240 in the process. While I have him filed under AL-only here, I could even see using him in deeper mixed formats or two-catcher leagues while he's swinging a hot bat.

Josh Outman SP, Athletics (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

Outman filled in for the injured Brandon McCarthy in the starting rotation Monday against the Angels and allowed just one run over seven innings. It was his first start in the big leagues since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June of 2009. Outman has predictably struggled to regain his command post-op, as evidenced by his 27 walks over 37 2/3 innings with Triple-A Sacramento, so there will likely be some bumps in the road here, but I like him for the upside he showed prior to surgery.

NL ONLY

Vance Worley SP, Phillies (Yahoo: 5 percent owned, ESPN: 6.6 percent)

Joe Blanton won't begin a throwing program for approximately 3-4 weeks, so Worley should get the chance to fill in until sometime around the All-Star break. The 23-year-old right-hander stumbled a bit on Tuesday night against the Reds, walking four while allowing three runs over five innings, but he still owns a 1.85 ERA and 30/14 K/BB ratio over his first 34 innings in the big leagues. Worley won't be this fortunate forever, of course, but he's a must-own in NL-only leagues for now.

Juan Miranda 1B, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 2 percent owned, ESPN: 0.4 percent)

The release of Russell Branyan over the weekend just happened to coincide with a hot streak for Miranda, as he went 9-for-18 (.500) with one home run, three doubles, a triple and five RBI over the course of five games. The Cuban first baseman is now batting a very respectable .272/.392/.494 over his first 98 plate appearances this season. He hasn't played since being hit by a pitch on his right hand this past Sunday, but he is expected to return to the lineup soon. Xavier Nady may steal some at-bats away against left-handers, but I could see Miranda having value in deeper mixed leagues eventually.

Reed Johnson OF, Cubs (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, 0.9 percent)

Marlon Byrd is out indefinitely after being hit in the left eye by a pitch last Saturday and suffering multiple facial fractures. Johnson has started each of the last three games in center field and figures to get most of the playing time during his absence. The 34-year-old is batting .367/.435/.633 with two homers, eight doubles, one triple and 18 RBI over his first 60 at-bats this season. He rarely ever walks these days and his batting average on balls in play (.426) is completely unsustainable, but he's worth using with a clear path to playing time.

Jeff Keppinger 2B/SS, Astros (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, 0.1 percent)

Keppinger, who underwent surgery in January to remove a sesamoid bone from his left foot, was finally activated from the disabled list following Wednesday's game. Brad Mills hasn't said how they'll use him, but he could take playing time away from the struggling Bill Hall at second base, especially if the Astros want to showcase him for a potential trade. The veteran utility man batted .288/.351/.393 with six homers and 59 RBI this season, so he's plenty useful in a MI (middle infield) spot if given the opportunity.

Rubby De La Rosa RP, Dodgers (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

The Dodgers are really hurting in their bullpen right now, so De La Rosa got the call from Double-A Chattanooga on Tuesday night. The 22-year-old right-hander has exclusively worked as a starting pitcher this season, notching 52 strikeouts over 40 innings at the minor league level, but it's possible his high-90s fastball could play even bigger out of the bullpen. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hasn't settled on a closer, even using Javy Guerra for a save opportunity Tuesday night, so the opportunity is there for the taking.


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D.J. Short is a Rotoworld baseball editor and contributes to NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog. You can also find him on Twitter.
Email :D.J. Short



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