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Show Notes: 6/22



Here's a recap of Saturday's edition of RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today hosted by Derek VanRiper and Shannon McKeown.

Opening Thoughts

Nationals manager Davey Johnson says the number of rehab games Bryce Harper receives isn't up to Harper. While Harper wants six or seven games, three to four games might end up being the happy medium.

Josh Hamilton is expected to return Tuesday for the Angels' series against the Cardinals. He's always been a streaky player, and Shannon thinks he's got a double-digit home-run month left in him this season, although Derek suggests his home run distances and ball-speed off the bat may be a sign of a significant decline in bat speed this season. Either way, Hamilton is so talented that it's tough not to buy low on him, especially for desperate owners.

Gerrit Cole is 3-0 through three starts for the Pirates, and averaged 96 MPH on his fastball Friday night against the Angels. Shannon likes him slightly better than Mets rookie Zack Wheeler for the Mets for the rest of the season, although Wheeler will probably have the higher strikeout numbers.

Nate Schierholtz never really met expectations in San Francisco, but he's having a great year for the Cubs. He could be valuable trade bait for the Cubs if a contender that needs corner outfield help when the trade deadline gets close emerges.

Closer News

The Tigers designated Jose Valverde for assignment Friday, but the real problem going back to this offseason is that Detroit didn't bring anyone in to take his place. Joaquin Benoit is the No. 1 option at this point, bu manager Jim Leyland loves using him as a setup man. Shannon thinks eventually somebody else will be brought in via trade, although Phil Coke and Drew Smyly could get some opportunities in the meantime. If the Tigers fill the position in house, Bruce Rondon would be Derek's pick for the job due to his dominance at Triple-A Toledo.

Of the potential closers available in some leagues with a weekly waiver deadline approaching, Koji Uehara is the best option.

In terms of in-season dollar values, Jason Grilli has been a top-five pitcher (including starters) this season, and with the Pirates contending for a Wild Card spot, he won't be moved to a contender at the trade deadline as many feared in March.

Even though he's still under club control for four more seasons, Addison Reed is a luxury that a bad team like the White Sox should probably look to trade. General manager Rick Hahn still believes the Sox have a chance to make the playoffs, but the hope of a rally could disappear before the July 31 trade dealine, especially if the Tigers start to pull away in the AL Central.

Paul Sporer - Guest Segment

Eric Stults gives up a lot of home runs when he misses in the strike zone, but he hasn't been doing that over the past calendar year. His home-run rate is only 0.6 HR/9, and even though he doesn't throw hard, he has shown he's capable of having the occasional big strikeout game. He's only owned in 25% of ESPN leagues and 32% of Yahoo leagues, but he's been a top-40 pitcher to this point and should be owned in 100% of leagues with a two-start week including a home start against the Phillies and road start at Miami in the upcoming lineup period.

John Lackey has been impressive this season, and it's looking more and more likely that his recent bad seasons pre-Tommy John surgery were outliers. Lost in the time missed with the elbow injury is Lackey's off-field issues including his ex-wife's battle with cancer prior to their divorce in 2011.

Although he was knocked around by the Orioles last time out, Rick Porcello has bounced back after giving up nine runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Angels this season. As an elite groundball pitcher. he's probably on the wrong team, but his numbers since the Angels disaster warrant a pickup in leagues where he's still available.

Jason Collette - Guest Segment

The Rays may be forced to move Alex Torres into the starting rotation at some point with other starters like Chris Archer struggling. Fernando Rodney is still struggling in the bullpen as well, but the Rays generally give their relievers a long leash (dating back to Troy Percival a few seasons ago).

Jordan Lyles was probably called up too early, but he's matured well and looks like a solid pickup for a few reasons that Jason outlined in his latest column.

Jeremy Hellickson has implemented more slide steps out of the stretch because the Rays' catchers have struggled throwing out basestealers, and it's resulting in pitches being left up in the zone. Historically, Hellickson's effectiveness from the stretch has enabled him to outpitch his advanced ERA indicators.

Pedro Alvarez still strikes out a lot, so his average won't be great, but he should consistently hit 25-30 home runs, and Jason likes him better than a player like Adam Dunn, whose average will be far worse even if he might hit a few more homers than Alvarez.

Odds & Ends

Oswaldo Arcia has been impressive this season, especially for a guy who wasn't on most (if any) top-100 prospect lists. He could be a solid pickup in deeper mixed leagues if the Twins continue to give him regular at-bats.

Austin Jackson was back in the starting lineup Saturday night, but he only had 12 steals last season on 18 attempts, so owners should temper their expectations, especially coming off a hamstring injury.

Will Middlebrooks has nine walks and 60 strikeouts so far this season, and could be in danger of getting sent back to Triple-A, although there's not much more he could prove at that level.

This could be the last time to buy low on Martin Perez for the Rangers, especially with Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm struggling. He's still only 22 years old, and if he has a decent start Saturday against the Cardinals, could find himself with a permanent spot in the rotation.

Zack Greinke is pitching with hardware in his collarbone, and could be less than 100 percent right now, considering his velocity is down significantly from last season.

Ryan Howard continues to own Dillon Gee (four of his 10 homers this season have come against the Mets right-hander), but he carries a lot of risk for owners seeking to acquire him for discounted power. Plus, the Phillies could be tempted to shut him down early as he's already playing through inflammation and a possible cartilage tear in his left knee.

Prospects

Dylan Bundy is now throwing from 125 feet, but he likely won't be ready for a full major league workload until 2015 due to the time he's missed this season. The lost time has also reduced his chances of getting a look in the Orioles' rotation in the second half, and regular starts in the big leagues may not come until after the Super Two deadline in 2014.

The Mariners moved Taijuan Walker up to Triple-A, and even though the PCL is a hitters league, he's probably better off there than making the jump all the way to the majors.

Brett Jackson, who was placed on the minor league DL on Saturday evening, is nowhere near being called up by the Cubs, and the former first-round pick is looking like a total bust with 77 strikeouts this season in 242 plate appearances (31.8%) at Triple-A Iowa this season.

Andrew Martinez - Guest Segment

After mashing at Triple-A, Lonnie Chisenhall could find a consistent home in the Cleveland lineup now with Mark Reynolds' recent slump and Nick Swisher facing a potential stint on the DL.

While Andrew also thinks that Benoit looks like the best short-term closer pickup in Detroit, he likes Drew Smyly as a cheap bullpen addition for the Tigers in deeper formats.

Jose Alvarez is filling in for Anibal Sanchez, and has shown he can strike out batters in a limited role. He can be picked up cheaper than a player like Martin Perez, and will be valuable in leagues where wins are over-valued, although Sanchez is currently expected to return July 1.

Mariners hitters like Dustin Ackley are almost impossible to evaluate because of the inflated offensive numbers in the PCL and the organization's high failure rate developing hitting prospects.

Taijuan Walker shouldn't be in the PCL for too long, considering how well he pitched in Double-A, and also that the Mariners don't want to destroy his confidence. Meanwhile, Jeremy Bonderman continues to hold onto a spot in the Seattle rotation.

NL Waiver Targets

With Angel Pagan and Andres Torres injured for the Giants, Gregor Blanco looks like he'll get everyday playing time, and should provide some cheap speed and receive an opportunity to lead off.

The Rockies called up Corey Dickerson, and Rockies prospects are always interesting because of the air in Colorado. Tyler Colvin looks like he could be the one to lose playing time, as he's only hitting .179 over the last two weeks despite showing power.

Jordy Mercer is the starting shortstop for the Pirates now, and he can chip in offensively. His ownership rate is low enough for him to be available as a temporary replacement for Everth Cabrera owners.

Caleb Gindl won't hit for power or steal a lot of bases, but he could prove to be a decent source of average and runs scored if he wrestles away at-bats from Logan Schafer while Ryan Braun (thumb) is on the disabled list.

Eric Young is getting a chance to lead off for the Mets and could be in position to play four or five times a week. He had 27 steals in 77 games in 2011 and could steal 40-50 bases if he gets the opportunity to play that often, something that evaded him in the Rockies' crowded outfield throughout his career.

Shannon isn't completely giving up on Dan Haren (DVR did before the season started), but he got knocked around again Saturday and may need some time to work on his stuff in the bullpen. For owners in very deep NL-only leagues, a low bid on Ross Ohlendorf could yield some fruit as was reaching 95-96 mph with his fastball from the stretch in an effective long relief appearance for Washington on Saturday.

RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today airs from 11am-2pm eastern time Monday through Friday on XM 87, Sirius 210 and on Saturday from 4-7pm. Jeff Erickson and Chris Liss will host Monday's show.

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