After being demoted to Triple-A Columbus in May, Danny Salazar returns to the big leagues in place of Justin Masterson.
Allan Hamilton/Icon SMI
By Michael Beller
July 21, 2014

 Danny Salazar was one of the biggest busts in the first half of the season after starring for the Indians in a cameo last year. He was in the rotation for the first two months of the season, compiling a 1-4 record, 5.53 ERA and 1.62 WHIP before being sent down to Triple-A Columbus. He hasn’t pitched much better in the minors, going 3-6 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, and yet he’s still of interest to fantasy owners.

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Justin Masterson hit the DL just before the All-Star break with a sore knee, and will be on the shelf for at least the rest of the week. He made a rehab start with Columbus on Sunday, and could rejoin the Indians’ rotation in time for his next turn. Salazar will take his place for the time being, starting Tuesday against the Twins. Even if Masterson is able to come back and make his next scheduled start on Friday, Salazar could earn a permanent spot in the rotation with a good outing Tuesday.

Despite his season-long struggles, there’s no doubt Salazar is one of the most talented pitchers in the Cleveland organization. He made 10 starts down the stretch in 2013 as the Indians charged into the playoffs, amassing a 3.12 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 65 strikeouts against 15 walks in 52 innings. His strikeout stuff is undoubtedly legitimate, but he fell victim to the longball time and time again before getting sent back to Columbus to work things out. That ability to miss bats is what makes him such an attractive option for fantasy owners, even though he has been a net negative this year.

Salazar can take advantage of a Minnesota team that is hitting .246/.320/.373 with a .309 wOBA, 94 weighted runs created plus and, most importantly, a 21.6-percent strikeout rate. Feel free to kick the tires and see what he brings you this week. If he ends up sticking in the rotation, he can be a major addition for the final two months of the season.

Two-start pitchers

  1. Chris Sale
  2. Adam Wainwright
  3. Julio Teheran
  4. Cliff Lee
  5. Scott Kazmir
  6. Mat Latos
  7. Wily Peralta
  8. Rick Porcello
  9. Hyun-jin Ryu
  10. Doug Fister
  11. Mike Minor
  12. Justin Verlander
  13. John Lackey
  14. Jonathon Niese
  15. Jacob deGrom
  16. Ryan Vogelsong
  17. Bud Norris
  18. Matt Cain
  19. Jeremy Guthrie
  20. Taijuan Walker
  21. Drew Hutchison
  22. Jake Peavy
  23. Roenis Elias
  24. Eric Stults
  25. Hector Santiago
  26. Franklin Morales
  27. Bruce Chen
  28. Tom Koehler
  29. Chase Whitley
  30. J.A. Happ
  31. Jimmy Nelson
  32. Roberto Hernandez
  33. Shane Greene
  34. Jacob Turner
  35. Michael Gonzalez
  36. Edinson Volquez
  37. T.J. House
  38. Scott Carroll
  39. Miles Mikolas
  40. Nick Martinez
  41. Vidal Nuno
  42. Matt Shoemaker
  43. Kris Johnson
  44. Yohan Pino
  45. Kyle Hendricks

Teams playing seven games

Red Sox
White Sox
Blue Jays

Teams playing five games


Weekday day games (all times Eastern)


Indians @ Twins, 1:10
Royals @ White Sox, 2:10
Reds @ Brewers, 2:10
Nationals @ Rockies, 3:10
Mets @ Mariners, 3:40
Tigers @ Diamondbacks, 3:40


Red Sox @ Blue Jays, 12:37
Rangers @ Yankees, 1:05
Giants @ Phillies, 1:05
Astros @ A’s, 3:35


Cardinals @ Cubs, 4:05

Favorable matchups

Braves (vs. Miami, vs. San Diego) – The Braves spend the entire week at home, and their two most challenging matchups are against Nathan Eovaldi and Jesse Hahn.

Indians (@ Minnesota, @ Kansas City) – The Indians do draw Yordano Ventura and Jeremy Guthrie in Kansas City, but any week that includes the Twins is a good one.

Tigers (@ Arizona, @ Los Angeles Angels) – The Tigers begin the week in a great hitter’s park in the desert, and they avoid Garrett Richards and Jered Weaver in their trip to Arizona.

Pirates (vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, @ Colorado) – The Pirates have the good fortune to miss Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and get to play in Coors Field for three days.

A’s (vs. Houston, @ Texas) – The A’s are slated to face Brett Oberholtzer, Brad Peacock, Scott Feldman, Nick Tepesch, Miles Mikolas and Nick Martinez this week.

Unfavorable matchups

Diamondbacks (vs. Detroit, @ Philadelphia) – Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Anibal Sanchez and Cliff Lee make this a rough week for the Diamondbacks.

Orioles (@ Los Angeles Angels, @ Seattle) – It isn’t a terrible week for the Orioles, but they will face Jered Weaver, Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker.

Reds (@ Milwaukee, vs. Washington) – The Reds have to deal with Wily Peralta, Kyle Lohse, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister this week.

Giants (@ Philadelphia, vs. Los Angeles Dodgers) – Any week you have to face Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke is a tough one. The Giants also go up against Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett.

Rays (@ St. Louis, vs. Boston) – The Rays only play five games this week, and they’ll see Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Jon Lester and John Lackey.

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