Andrew Heaney SP, LAA
Heaney has been out since early 2016 due to a torn UCL that required Tommy John. Friday night was his first start of the season, and while he was shelled for five runs and four HRs, he’s worth monitoring. He has pitched well in his rehab starts and appears to be rather healthy, as he is a Low Injury Risk with an Above Average Health Performance Factor according to Inside Injuries. Heaney was solid in 2015, when he posted a 3.49 ERA and a 1.6 WAR for the Angels in 18 starts. When starters first come back from Tommy John you should always temper expectations, but there is definitely potential for Heaney to come back and put up solid numbers the rest of the way. He’s worth a look, but let him improve on his debut first.
Cory Spangenburg 2B/3B/OF, SD
Eligibility at two different positions and a scalding hot bat? Yes, please. Spangenburg has been on a tear of late, going 13 for his last 35, including four homers, seven total extra-base hits and 10 RBIs. He brings a bit of a speed element as well, racking up eight stolen bases in 93 games. The power seems a bit flukey, and he’s struck out nearly 27 percent of the time this season, but this hot streak is worth noting. He has also hit in some favorable spots in the Padres’ lineup recently, making his run-scoring potential higher. Overall, you’re not going to do a lot better on the wire than a guy on a hot streak with this kind of positional versatility at this point in the season. The power and overall production might not last, but he’s worth a roll of the dice.
Juan Minaya RP, CWS
With the White Sox unloading every veteran arm in their bullpen, the closer spot is wide open. Jake Petricka got the first chance Wednesday and blew a save against the Dodgers, likely ending his chances to close for the time being. Minaya is probably the guy the White Sox want to seize the job, as he’s a young guy who throws relatively hard (94.5 MPH average fastball velocity) and strikes people out (11.79 K/9). The problem is the 4.66 ERA that he’s posted at the Major League level this season, but ERA is a poor stat to use to evaluate relievers, especially over a sample size as small as 29 innings. He has the ability to develop into a solid back-end reliever, so you have to believe the White Sox will give him a chance the rest of the way, making him a worthy pickup as a cheap lottery ticket option.
Tyler Austin 1B, NYY
Austin was just recalled by the Yankees Thursday after a stint in the minors that when he strained a hamstring in his first chance with the big club earlier this year. Austin remains an Elevated Injury Risk, but he also has an Above Average HPF. He’s healthy enough to play and has been hitting well at Triple-A since returning from the hamstring issue, but it’s unclear how much playing time he will receive with Chase Headley currently manning first base for the Bronx Bombers. Austin should get some at-bats against left-handers, and if he shows some power he might take away more time than just that for Headley, who hasn’t hit for any pop. Austin has hit as many homers (7) in 44 minor league games this season as Headley has hit in 111 games for the Yankees. First base is a deep position, but Austin is still worth a look in deeper leagues.
Seung-Hwan Oh RP, STL
Trevor Rosenthal had wrestled the closer job away from Oh before hitting the 10-Day DL with right elbow irritation. Rosenthal had Tommy John on the same elbow, which is quite worrisome and leads one to wonder how long he might be out. He has jumped to a High Injury Risk with a Poor HPF, so it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if he’s out for a while, perhaps the rest of the season. While he is out, Oh will regain his closer spot. He’s 18 for 21 in converting save chances this season, and his peripheral numbers are pretty solid. If he’s still out there in your league, he is a clear cut plug and play closer for a Cardinals’ team that all of a sudden finds themselves in the hunt. Go get him if at all possible.
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