Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled
SP Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics
Joyce heating back up?
The A's added Gray to their starting five this past weekend, and he's expected to remain there for the foreseeable future. He'd made a couple of relief appearances in July, but Saturday's appearance was his debut as a starter. He went six stanzas, giving up four hits (one homer), four runs (two earned) and three walks. He struck out five.
Gray, 23, has been pretty good at the upper levels of the minors, but he didn't consistently display the strikeout ability until this year, with Triple-A Sacramento. At that farm rung, he posted a 10-7 record with a 3.42 ERA, an 8.97 K/9 and a 2.97 BB/9. No one lingers who is a serious threat to his spot in the short term. The high-upside right-hander deserves play.
OF Matt Joyce, Tampa Bay Rays
At this point of 2013, Joyce's slash line in 356 plate appearances is virtually identical to the one he put up in 462 plate appearances last year. Fortunately, he hasn't missed significant time because of an injury, so if he remains so fortunate, he should surpass his total of 17 round-trippers last season and threaten to reach 20. He's never hit that many in an MLB season.
Joyce, 29, went into a tailspin in mid-June; from June 19 through Aug. 2 (the day prior to his birthday), he batted .169 and fanned 25 times in 101 plate appearances. He began to lose PT and then complained about the lack of opportunities to turn things around. Tampa Bay spent the past week in American League parks, so Joe Maddon had to sit one more player than usual in five straight contests.
In his last six games (three starts), Joyce has reverted back to the kind of control of the strike zone, with easily driven contact, which has made him successful. He collected five hits (two of them doubles) in 13 at-bats and walked three times, with only three strikeouts. More good things are on the horizon for Joyce as the season approaches the three-quarter pole.
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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