Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled
SP Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians
How bizaare, Salazar being available
Now that the Tribe knows Corey Kluber (sprained middle finger on right hand) is out for at least a month, they can pencil in Salazar every fifth day in the short term. The righty has earned his opportunity. He had Tommy John surgery in 2010, and it was a tough road back. Make sure you read Paul Hoynes' piece on him (and note the radar-gun readings cited).
Salazar has recorded a 2.71 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and a 12.48 K/9 in his 21 games (20 starts) in the minors this season, approximately two-thirds of them spent with Triple-A Columbus. He's walked a measly 24 batters in his 93 total innings on the farm. He's yielded five runs, on nine hits (two homers) and two walks), with 17 strikeouts, in two big-league starts (13 2/3 stanzas).
Salazar, 23, may have a rough start or three before 2013 is in the books. Roto and head-to-head managers can't ask for prettier peripherals and more strikeout upside than this for their title runs, though.
1B/OF Darin Ruf, Philadelphia Phillies
Players with first-base eligibility that doesn't do fantasy owners any good are a dime a dozen. Ruf, 27, is probably not one of those types, but just in case he doesn't excite you, he has outfield eligibility as well. You can almost always find room for a player like him there. Tim urged you to pick him up about 2 1/2 weeks ago. He picked a good one. What's the holdup?
Ruf replaced Ryan Howard (knee surgery) about a month ago and hasn't looked back. To keep his bat in the lineup, the Phils are willing to play him in either corner outfield spot, boding well for his PT chances if Howard does return. Charlie Manuel can't find an excuse to sit him, regardless, right now. Ruf was batting .294 with a .400 OBP and four home runs before he went 2-for-5 with another ding dong on Thursday.
This is the same character who in Double-A ball last year belted 38 long balls, 20 of them in August. He has some pop, and the yard in the City of Brotherly Love has been known to accommodate, on occasion. Manuel has inched Ruf up the order, too. This dude is long gone in OBP leagues (or he should be), but those in other formats still have time to catch on.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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