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Show Notes: 7/20



A quick summary of Saturday's edition of RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today with Derek VanRiper and Jason Thornbury.

Opening Thoughts

Matt Holliday's production has gradually declined in recent years with the Cardinals, and it seems like there is a good chance that fantasy owners will downgrade him too much because of his age and susceptibility to injury. If that happens, he could shape up to be a valuable target in 2014. Holliday landed on the disabled list Saturday (retroactive to July 12) with a right hamstring strain.

The Cardinals called up Brock Peterson on Saturday to replace Holliday. Peterson has a .946 OPS and is leading the PCL with 22 home runs. He looks like yet another case of the Cardinals capably filling a spot with a player who nobody ever thought would even make it to the majors.

Aramis Ramirez is expected to miss another 10-14 days but Thorn thinks there are still teams out there who would be willing to give up at least a mid-level prospect to get him after the non-waiver trade deadline.

Jason Heyward is expected to return to the lineup Sunday, and suggested that he could have played Saturday, but simply felt that another day of rest was the better choice.

Fernando Rodney has over 20 saves, but many owners drafted him as a top-five closer this year and he's failed to return the value necessary to merit that spot. His strikeout rate is up to 12.5 K/9 in 2013 after hovering around a strikeout per inning last season, but he's once again walking too many batters.

Brandon Barnes had a five-hit night Friday while hitting for the cycle and even though he's on a bad team in the Astros, he gets to hit in a prominent spot in the lineup. He can also steal some bases, and could be a viable stopgap in deep mixers where available.

Marlon Byrd was completely written off before the Mets signed him this winter, but he continues to produce while working from the cleanup spot and has provided a surprising amount of power including his 16th home run of the season Friday night.

Paul Sporer Guest Segment: Pitching

Patrick Corbin looks like he's going to go well over 200 innings for the first time in his career this season, but Paul isn't too worried about him breaking down. Some pitchers are more affected than others by their innings count, and there's really no way to know how Corbin will handle the increased workload.

Jose Fernandez has pitched well after many people thought the Marlins may have rushed him to the majors. Miami isn't going to contend this year, but Paul likes the way he's been handled.

Jarrod Parker had a terrible start to the season, but in early May started to turn things around and now has a 2.88 ERA in his last 14 starts. His overall ERA is still 3.59 because of his poor April, leaving the window open for a slight discount in some trade situations.

Hector Santiago is starting for the White Sox now, and it looks like he's going to stay in the rotation with the potential departure of Jake Peavy and/or John Danks. He has a 9.9 K/9 as a starter, and his WHIP is down a significant amount from what it was when he was coming out of the bullpen.

Nick Schlain Guest Segment: Prospects

Austin Hedges has all the tools behind the plate defensively, and Nick thinks his offensive production will be serviceable enough to keep him in the lineup everyday and give him value down the road.

Astros outfielder George Springer has shown a lot potential offensively, but Nick wants to see him show some consistency before moving him into his top-10 prospects.

Xander Bogaerts looks like the heir apparent at shortstop for the Red Sox, and could take over the job next season, if a promotion (a la Manny Machado in 2012) doesn't take place in August or September.

Corey Seager may not stick at shortstop long term since he's 6-foot-4 and hardly stellar defensively, but he has such an elite bat he should hit enough to project as a corner-infield option. Nick cited the Dodgers' current willingness to use Hanley Ramirez at shortstop as a glimmer of hope for Seager to remain on the left side of the infield.

Andrew Martinez Guest Segment: AL Pickups

Matt Garza looks like he could be headed to the Rangers, and Taijuan Walker may be the last remaining high-impact pitching prospect to get a promotion to the big leagues in the AL pool, so Garza may be worth a heavy FAAB bid if he changes leagues. Of course, the possibility of landing in Oakland would make Garza even more valuable than if he ends up having to pitch half of his games in Texas.

Alex Rodriguez is set to come back soon, and most people have written him off, but Andrew likes his ceiling compared to other options on the wire at third base.

Brett Anderson is returning from an injury to his leg/ankle, so his arm should be fresh when he starts pitching again. Andrew thinks Colby Lewis will return before Anderson, and can post better strikeout numbers, although Anderson's home park offers a more pitcher-firnedly run environment.

Returning to the Houston rotation Tuesday, Jarred Cosart had one phenomenal start, so Andrew would favor the lesser known, more experienced prospects since Cosart's price will probably be pretty steep.

Andrew also suggested a Manny Machado type late-season arrival to the big leagues for Xander Bogaerts if the Red Sox are unwilling to go back to Will Middlebrooks at third base.

NL Pickups

Rafael Betancourt was placed on the 15-day DL on Friday, and Rex Brothers will take over the closer job in his absence. Betancourt had an appendectomy, and the wide range of recovery times means Brothers could be valuable for more than a couple of weeks.

Junior Lake was brought up by the Cubs on Friday, and while he doesn't really have a defensive position, he has shown some offensive skills in the minors. The Cubs thought enough of him to move him from the infield to center field for his big league debut, and it looks like he'll see significant playing time the rest of the way.

With Ryan Braun's early departure Friday night (the Brewers had a 2-0 lead in the top of the seventh, and he was due up in the bottom of the inning), Logan Schafer may still have a path to part-time at-bats. Although Braun returned to the starting lineup Saturday, it's worth monitoring his status closely in the coming days as he returns from his thumb injury.

Matt Adams should get an opportunity to hit in the middle of the Cardinals lineup with Matt Holliday's trip to the DL and Adams has shown decent power in spot playing time this season, hitting seven home runs in 37 games. Allen Craig will likely move to left field to open up first base for Adams.

Football Notes

Larry Fitzgerald's YPT bottomed out a 5.1 last season with the Cardinals' woes at quarterback, but he should return to form in 2013 with Carson Palmer taking the reins. Will there be any discount on his draft day price?

Thorn, who prefers Fitzgerald over each of the following two receivers, downgrades Andre Johnson because the Texans don't throw the ball at the goal line. While Victor Cruz has a big new contract, he dropped too many balls last season to be considered one of the elite pass catchers in the NFL.

Jimmy Graham went 22nd overall in the Vegas draft, and Thorn thinks that's too high, even though the gap between him and the rest of the tight ends on the board is huge in a 16-team league.

Darren McFadden fell to the 40th pick and Thorn thinks that's an appropriate spot for an unreliable running back who still has potential.

Both DVR and Thorn thought Danny Amendola offered value at the No. 52 overall pick. Although Amendola lacks the size many teams covet in a red-zone target, the Patriots' willingness to throw passes close to the goal line, the potential to be among the league leaders in receptions, and the move to a more potent New England offense provide a few reasons for optimism.

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