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Javier Baez is coming to The Show, but he gets to top the list one final time.
The Graduates: James Paxton (6), Justin Masterson (9)
It only took three-and-a-half months, but Paxton finally reemerged on a major league mound on Saturday, allowing two runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Orioles. Considering the matchup and the rust he was fighting off, it was a pretty positive outing overall. If the current schedule he’s on holds, he’ll pitch exclusively either at home in Safeco or in National League parks for the remainder of August—which is an awfully nice way to ease back into things after a long layoff. Masterson not only graduated, but he switched teams in the process. With the Cardinals, he should have an easier time finding value in mixed leagues than in Cleveland, and is certainly worth owning in 14-team mixed leagues and deeper (while streaming him in shallower leagues than that).
The Departed: Robert Refsnyder (21), Mike Foltynewicz (HM)
Sure, the Yankees not developing a positional prospect that’s made any sort of impact at the major league level since Brett Gardner is partly because their system as a whole has been down, but it’s also because of the same thing that Refsnyder must be feeling right now. Regardless of the hole, the Yankees have the cash to fill it cheaply. In this case, the Yankees brought in Stephen Drew to play second, Chase Headley to play third, and Martin Prado to play the outfield spot not taken by Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. In other words, like Forrest Gump getting on the school bus, every position that Refsnyder could have been an option at is now taken. Foltynewicz gets the strange distinction of getting called up to the majors, but appearing in the Departed section, rather than as a graduate. That’s because he’ll be used in the bullpen the rest of the season, and with “Mr Untouchable” Chad Qualls holding down the back-end of the Astros’ pen, you can let him go in just about all redraft leagues.
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If these players are on your league's waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of the league.
Adam Eaton, OF, Chicago White Sox
It’s pretty incredible that Eaton is still owned in fewer than half of Yahoo leagues and barely more than that in ESPN formats. Eaton returned from the All-Star Break with a vengeance, and he’s been taking it out on opposing pitchers to the tune of a .413/.471/.478 line with seven runs and two steals (along with five walks and five strikeouts). Sure you’d like to see him hit for a little more power, even if it’s not the over-the-fence variety, but if he keeps getting on base at the top of the White Sox lineup, he’s going to score a lot of runs the rest of the way. Additionally, the power (which there is enough of here to make him a double-digit homer guy over a full season) that hasn’t shown up lately will push him toward being an outfielder who needs to be owned in all leagues in August and September. —Bret Sayre
The latest on Mookie Betts, Javier Baez, Noah Syndergaard, and other players who should be on your fantasy radar in case they earn promotions.
The Graduates: Neftali Feliz (22)
This past week saw the sad-sack Rangers finally deal off their closer (who had been one of the best in baseball to this point) Joakim Soria to the Tigers, freeing their former star closer to retake the role. Unfortunately, Feliz still doesn’t have his pre-Tommy John velocity back and it’s manifesting itself in diminished strikeout numbers (he has four in 11 1/3 innings). He can keep the job without the whiffs, as they don’t really have a great alternative, but his value will be diminished if it doesn’t pick up a little.
The Departed: Joey Gallo (HM)
As much fun as this would be, there’s just zero incentive for the Rangers to rush Gallo when he hasn’t even gotten a half-season’s worth of at-bats at Double-A.
Trading for Kendrys Morales isn't the Mariners' only attempt at an offensive upgrade this week.
The Situation: The Mariners aren’t getting offensive production from the shortstop position at the major-league level, and Taylor has been swinging serious wood at the Triple-A level.
Background: Taylor was an unheralded fifth round selection in the 2012 draft from the University of Virginia despite showing fundamental defensive skills and wheels at the collegiate level. He’s made steady progress since turning pro, hitting at every level and really shining last fall in the prospect-heavy Arizona Fall League, with his gap-to-gap approach and leather ability at a premium spot.