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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Chris Taylor arrives, Jake Petricka takes over

By Tim Heaney

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Players on the rise in value or with great upcoming matchups. For more players to pick up, click on our Fantasy Baseball Free Agents!

SS Chris Taylor, Seattle Mariners
Taylor a tool man?

SS Chris Taylor, Seattle Mariners

In 302 Triple-A Tacoma at-bats, Taylor has posted a .328-5-37 line with 14 stolen bases and a .894 on-base-plus-slugging rate. Seattle needs offense. He'll play. Taylor's pedigree doesn't scream star as loudly as his stats do, but it at least says his call-up could produce solid deep-league MI numbers.

RP Jake Petricka, Chicago White Sox

With Zach Putnam (shoulder) on the disabled list, Petricka, who wrapped up a save Thursday, has command of the saves picture probably for at least the next two weeks before Matt Lindstrom (ankle) returns. And who knows if Lindstrom will perform aptly when he returns anyway.

1B/OF Darin Ruf, Philadelphia Phillies

Ryne Sandberg admitted he's going to try platoon arrangements soon, meaning Ryan Howard may be on his way out, or at least become the most expensive batboy in baseball history. Ruf's power finding playing time is an intriguing development for deep-mixed players.

SP Chase Anderson, Arizona Diamondbacks

(2-start special: at Cincinnati Reds, vs. Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Reds' decimated lineup will fold, even at Great American Ball Park. The Pirates struggle on the road. Expect Anderson's surprisingly effective season to continue.


Players losing value, potentially drop candidates.

1B Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies

See above. His 15 HRs and 60 RBIs weren't enough to save his full-time job. It'll be a ... Ruf ... go for Howard's workload. He's cut-worthy in most mixed leagues. Of course, if someone in the trade market wants to take a chance on him, Howard may be worth tucking away.

Matchup notes

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox (Aug 1-3)

Brian McCann has enjoyed a turnaround in July to the tune of a .313 BA, one HR and six runs driven in (67 at-bats). He can thank Kevin Long for removing the toe-tap from his swing, which has improved the vet's timing. McCann boasts a .314-3-7 line for 2014 against the Sox in 35 AB and should continue enjoying his plate appearances in Fenway. He's 5-for-13 with an RBI and a .928 on-base-plus-slugging percentage there in pinstripes.

Kansas City Royals at Oakland Athletics (Aug 1-3)

Who has scored the second-most runs at home this season? Surprisingly, the A's, who enjoy mashing opponents in their typically pitcher-friendly confines. They've logged a top-5 OPS at their digs, as well. This may mean bad news if James Shields has to pitch there. The fantasy bargain ace's rate of homers allowed per nine innings explodes to 1.21 on the road, as opposed to 0.66 at Kauffman Stadium. The trip to the Bay might not be so kind to the righty.

Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals (Aug 1-3)

The Nats' pitchers, who rank among the best at home, line up as Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg. Avoid Phillies, right? Not necessarily, perhaps not even Grady Sizemore in deep games. He's earning reps based on handedness matchups, and he's thriving (relatively) against righties with a .261 BA with a .702 OPS (161 AB), compared to .150 and .432 against southpaws (60). He also was better on the road with the Red Sox earlier and could benefit from time away from Citizens Bank Park (.167 BA, .439 OPS).

Colorado Rockies at Detroit Tigers (Aug 1-3)

While Rockies left-handers Franklin Morales, Yohan Flande and Jorge De La Rosa, the scheduled starters this series, are thankful to be away from Coors Field, Detroit has plenty of platoon pains in the rear waiting. Nick Castellanos, who has had a quiet year after notable preseason hype, should enjoy facing this trio. He has three homers in 91 AB versus lefties and only three in 225 against righties. Plus, Castellanos' .309 clip and .789 OPS at Comerica Park dwarf his .224 and .644 numbers elsewhere.


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