May 01, 2009

Brian Bannister, Kansas City Royals: Bannister, who was off to a good start at AAA Omaha, was recalled to rejoin the rotation. He does not throw hard and is not a big play in fantasy leagues but he could have a couple of good games if he maintains his command. He struggled all last year and a decent season in 2007.

Brett Cecil, Toronto Blue Jays: Cecil, 22, went 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in four starts with AAA Las Vegas but he was recalled anyway to join the rotation. The 2007 second-round pick is an excellent prospect and should be watched closely. He went 8-5 combined in the minors last year with a 118/39 ratio of strikeouts to walks in 108 innings. He had a nice spring but was farmed out for more experience. He is a sinker-slider guy with an improving changeup and command. The latter two will be the critical factors in his long-term success but he looks like a decent prospect so far. Watch him.

Mitchell Boggs, St. Louis Cardinals: Boggs, 25, joins the rotation because he takes too much time to warm up out of the bullpen. He throws in the low-90s with a sinker, slider and change. He needs to change speeds better and his control needs work. He posted a 7.25 ERA in six starts for the Cards last year.

Chad Gaudin, San Diego Padres: Gaudin was promoted to replace Shawn Hill in the rotation. He made two starts with AAA Portland, giving up no runs on four hits over 8 2/3 innings. He issued two walks and struck out 10. He has a 28-25 major league record with a 4.45 ERA in 185 games (50 starts). He was 4-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 50 games with Oakland and the Cubs last year.

Phil Hughes, New York Yankees: Hughes, 22, was recalled to take Wang's place in the rotation. He is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre so far, but has struggle in two previous stints with the big club. But he is more relaxed this year even his changeup is still a work in progress. He struggled last season partly because he pitched with a fractured rib. But he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League and in spring training and has added a cutter to his repertoire. His first start Tuesday was sharp as well. Worth a flier now.

Justin Masterson, Boston Red Sox: Masterson, 24, will make a few starts for Daisuke Matsuzaka but he is a nice pitcher to have on your roster anyway. He pitched well in spot duty last year and had a fine spring. He is tough on right-handers, who have hit .201 off him in his career, and also effective against lefties (.241).

Felipe Paulino, Houston Astros: Paulino began the season at AAA Round Rock, where he was 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA, but has thrown so well filling in the rotation that the Astros could keep him on the roster. He throws hard with a good curve but needs another pitch.

Robert Ray, Toronto Blue Jays: Ray, 25, throws a fastball, slider and changeup but is not overpowering. He throws harder pitching out of the bullpen but will join the rotation for now. He went 13-9 combined in the minors last year with a k/bb 132/45 ratio in 167 innings. Not a top prospect.

Jordan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals: Zimmermann, 22, was recalled to be the fifth starter after two weeks in the minors. He is young so there will be some rough spots but he is a top prospect who throws in the low-to-mid-90s with a curve, slider and developing changeup.

There are many temporary closer available, the best of which could be LaTroy Hawkins (Houston) who is filling in for Jose Valverde, out for three weeks with a strained calf muscle. Julián Tavárez and Kip Wells will be closing for Washington until Joe Beimel returns from the DL next week. Beilmel says he is healthy and ready to go and could hold the job longer than Hawkins.

Ryan Madson will close in Philly until Brad Lidge returns. And Huston Street will take over closing duties again in Colorado. Street has been very effective this week while Manny Corpas is moving in the opposite direction. He is rushing his delivery, causing his arm slot to change, causing his slider and sinker to flatten out.

Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies: Fowler, whose five steals earlier in the week tied a modern-day, major-league rookie record, will get regular starts in center field for now. "I am not going to run him into a hole, but maybe he won't get there," Clint Hurdle said. He refined his swing last year and batted .335 with nine homers and 20 steals for AA Tulsa.

Jason Jaramillo, Pittsburgh Pirates: Jaramillo will get most of the playing time behind the plate, but he won't have much fantasy value. Ryan Doumit (right wrist) is out 8-10 weeks and Robinzon Diaz, a good hit, no field catcher was recalled to back him up. Jaramillo, 26, was a career .271 hitter in the minors but is a better defensive player than hitter. Diaz, 25, is a .305 hitter in the minors.

Eric Patterson, Oakland Athletics: Patterson should get some starts at second base against right-handers. He is not a good defensive player and struggled offensively in a callup last year (.192) but has some potential and can steal bases. He was hitting .329 with two homers and nine steals at AAA Sacramento. Grab him if you need speed. Grab him for his pop and speed although he is not expected to be a big power guy.

Adam Rosales, Cincinnati Reds: Rosales, 25, was recalled from AAA Louisville while Edwin Encarnacion is out. He was hitting .431 with four homers in 65 at-bats and will play third base for now. "We'll see," Dusty Baker said. "He'll play. Everybody plays." Rosales leads the International League in slugging (.754). He played in 18 games for the Reds last year, hitting .207 in 29 at-bats. He also hit .287 with 11 home runs and 58 RBI at AAA Louisville. He should be considered in NL-only leagues. Grade B-

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