By Fred Zinkie
Special to Yahoo Sports
A handful of injured stars are returning to their lineups this week. And while gamers rostering them are justifiably excited to get them back, this may be a good time to sell their services to a team that could use their specific skill set.
Also, this week’s 10-pack includes a couple of speedsters and a closer who may not see many save chances this summer.
Aaron Nola, SP, Phillies
Nola continues to be downright frustrating for those who grabbed him as their ace, carrying a 4.89 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP after 15 starts. And there is seemingly no end in sight, as the 26 year old has allowed 14 earned runs across 16.1 innings during his past three outings. Still, there is sky-high potential within Nola’s right arm, and he is the type of gamble that is worth taking for those who need a massive jolt in the pitching categories.
German Marquez, SP, Rockies
Marquez provides a great example of how gamers need to ride the wave on the trade market, as he was once on my sell-high list. But after thriving during April, the right-hander has logged a 5.91 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP across his past nine starts. Still, he has a solid 4.3 K:BB ratio across that nine-start stretch and has been the victim of a .361 BABIP while making six of those starts at Coors Field. Some rostering Marquez will sell him cheap, but his value is likely somewhere between what it was in April and what it is now.
Lance Lynn, SP, Rangers
Although I have been slow to come around on Lynn, I have to admit that he is pitching well enough for gamers to give him more respect on the trade market. The right-hander has been stellar on the surface of late, posting a 2.78 ERA since the middle of May. And a closer look reveals eye-popping skills, including an 8.3 K:BB ratio. In fact, Lynn owns a 1.79 FIP since mid-May and has actually been held back by a .354 BABIP.
Mallex Smith, OF, Mariners
Those in roto formats need to be in tune with the immense value Smith holds from this point forward. The speedster ranks second in the majors in steals despite spending time in the minors, and he has not been a total zero in the power categories (five homers). Smith is certainly the man for gamers to target when they need to make a move in the steals category and can’t afford the likes of Adalberto Mondesi.
Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Rays
Remarkably, Kiermaier is one of just three players (along with Christian Yelich and Tim Anderson) who have accumulated at least eight homers and 13 steals this season. He is also one of just eight players with at least 13 steals and an average over .250. And he is one of only five players with at least 13 steals and a total higher than 30 in both RBI and runs scored. You get the picture: Kiermaier is an underrated five-category asset who can be acquired for a reasonable price in many leagues.
Zach Davies, SP, Brewers
Davies won’t fetch a massive return, but his 7-1 record and 2.60 ERA should attract some attention on the trade market. The right-hander is not providing enough whiffs (5.7 K/9 rate), and his 4.29 FIP is a strong indicator that he is destined for some serious regression. This is a good time to deal Davies for an underperforming starter with more skills, such as Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.
Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Yankees
Stanton has enjoyed a productive rehab assignment, which should combine with his powerful career resume to make him the perfect tonic for a fantasy team that is languishing in the power categories. But there is no guarantee that this imposing slugger will avoid a return trip to the IL, and he is not going to help in the batting average and steals standings. Those rostering Stanton who have fared fine in homers and RBI during his absence may want to deal him right away and address an area of need in the process.
Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
Altuve is in a similar situation to Stanton, but I am less optimistic that a healthy Altuve will make a big fantasy impact. The former speedster is coming off a significant hamstring injury on the heels of knee problems last season. Gamers should not expect the 29 year old to provide many steals upon his return, which was a big reason he was drafted in the first place.
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Yankees
Encarnacion has been excellent this season, and those rostering him shouldn’t feel any sense of urgency to move him. But the veteran could be overvalued by some league-mates who combine his high homer total with his recent move to Yankee Stadium and conclude that another uptick is coming. His 22.6 percent HR/FB rate has little room to improve, and he could feel a small playing time crunch once the Bombers have a healthy roster. After all, oversized sluggers such as Stanton and Aaron Judge could benefit from some starts at DH.
Shane Greene, RP, Tigers
Greene is pitching well this season (0.96 ERA, 0.82 WHIP), but he hasn’t flashed top-tier-closer strikeout skills (9.3 K/9 rate), and he has greatly benefited from a .174 BABIP that does not resemble his .305 career mark. Still, the main reason the right-hander finds a spot on this list is that he is highly unlikely to maintain a high saves total when pitching for one of the worst teams in baseball. So far, he has picked up a save in a remarkable 80 percent of Detroit’s victories.