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Eaton has value in box, on basepaths
D-backs prospect could be a cheap source of power and steals
07/10/2013 9:21 AM ET
Adam Eaton swiped 44 bases in 130 Minor League games last season.
Adam Eaton swiped 44 bases in 130 Minor League games last season. (Reno Aces)

Fantasy Focus is a regular MiLB.com feature in which we use a Minor League perspective to give you the edge in your fantasy league. Have a fantasy question? Tweet it to @MiLB or @AshMarshallMLB with the hashtag #fantasyfocus.

In this week's Fantasy Focus, we look at what value a healthy Adam Eaton can bring to your team and we consider whether Angel Sanchez is worth a look in keeper leagues

As always, there's a roundup of the most notable Minor League rehabs. This week we look at Brett Lawrie's stint in New Hampshire, Troy Tulowitzki's time in Colorado Springs and Yonder Alonso's spell in Tucson.

Under the Radar

Chris Owings isn't the most patient player, but if OBP isn't a concern in your league, the 21-year-old Reno shortstop could bring a lot of value to the table if Arizona gives him the call.

Didi Gregorius has performed admirably at short and Aaron Hill is back at second, but Martin Prado has been disappointing at third and, if the Diamondbacks decide to give him a chance there, his bat looks like it will help owners.

Even before hitting three homers on Tuesday as part of a 4-for-4, five-RBI night, Owings had the third-best OPS among PCL middle infielders. After the outburst, he now sports a .355/.375/.509 line in 92 games for the Aces.

Will He Stick?

We've sung Grant Green's praises both in this space and others on our site before, so it wasn't too big a surprise to see him make the big jump to the A's on Monday. The 25-year-old second baseman owned a .318/.374/.500 slash line with 11 homers, three triples, 25 doubles and 49 RBIs in 81 games at Triple-A Sacramento, and those numbers were well on pace to surpass his performance from a year ago at the same level.

But for now, it looks like the right-hander's going to platoon with left-handed Eric Sogard at second. Green, predictably, had better splits against lefties (.366/.423/.563) than righties (.306/.362/.484), so that role should serve him well. He'll have to completely mash to take on the gig full-time, so we advise staying away for now until it looks like he'll be a regular in the lineup.

Rehabs of Note

Rehabbing a sprained left ankle, Brett Lawrie continues his climb back to the Majors with a stint in Triple-A Buffalo this week. Here's his two-run blast Tuesday night:

In three Double-A starts with New Hampshire, the Blue Jays third baseman went 3-for-9 with four walks and two strikeouts.

He has been on the DL since May 29, but he didn't start playing in games again until the end of June. In 139 big league at-bats this year, he's batting .209 with five homers and 14 RBIs.

* * *

Troy Tulowitzki felt nothing but "expected soreness" after his first rehab start with Triple-A Colorado Springs, MLB.com reported.

Tulowitzki hasn't played since June 13, when he suffered a rib injury diving for a ground ball. Manager Walt Weiss said he hoped Tulowitzki could possibly return as early as Thursday.

The Rockies shortstop was batting .347 with 16 homers and 51 RBIs before the injury.

* * *

Yonder Alonso got back to playing in live games this week with a pair of rehab starts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

Sidelined since June 1 with a broken hand, Alonso is expected to make about five starts in the Minors or until he's taking pain-free swings with regularity.

He went 0-for-3 with the Triple-A Tucson Padres on Monday, but he went a perfect 4-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored at home to Tacoma on Tuesday.

He was batting .284 with six homers and 29 RBIs with the Padres before being hit on the hand.

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Transaction of Note

The Dodgers acquired Ricky Nolasco on Saturday and, if you happen to be in a pretty deep keeper league, an arm like Angel Sanchez, the top prospect the Marlins received in return, wouldn't be a bad one to keep an eye on.

But of more immediate concern, Steve Ames, a 25-year-old reliever likely overlooked in the trade, could be one to watch if the Marlins wind up dealing their current closer, Steve Cishek, and giving some of their other 'pen arms a look in the role.

Ames has been a very solid relief arm in the Minors. Last year with Double-A Chattanooga he saved 18 games and recorded a 1.56 ERA in 63 1/3 innings, striking out 72 and walking 13.

He hasn't been quite that good this year, but he did have eight saves for Triple-A Albuquerque before the trade, with a 3.67 ERA in a very difficult environment for pitchers. If Miami does find itself looking for a new closer, Ames is the kind of guy who could get a shot.

Stock Up

The D-backs activated Adam Eaton -- an preseason favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year -- Tuesday night after he missed the first three-plus months of the season with a UCL injury sustained in his left elbow during Spring Training. Arizona's No. 3 prospect had attempted to comeback in May but felt discomfort in the elbow and did not return to the Minors for a rehab assignment until late last month.

Obviously, his arrival back in the Majors, where he owned a .259/.382/.412 slash line in 22 games last season, would be enough for his stock to rise. But there are other reasons to be optimistic that he'll hit the ground running. Eaton was 9-for-21 this month between Class A Advanced Visalia and Triple-A Reno, and although that's a small sample size, at least it shows he's healthy enough to get around on some balls.

It might take him some time to put up numbers quite like that in the Majors, but he is capable of a high average (he batted .381 in 119 games for Reno last year). His biggest fantasy value comes on the basepaths. He stole 46 bags between the Minors and Majors last year. Consider picking him up if your team is steal-deficient.

Stock Down

We featured Yordano Ventura in the "Keep an Eye On" section here one month ago when he was just being called up to Triple-A Omaha for this very reason. He's 2-3 with a 4.93 ERA in seven games (six starts) for the Storm Chasers.

His strikeout rate is still strong at 9.3 K/9, but his walk rate is elevated from 3.1 BB/9 at Double-A Northwest Arkansas to 4.4 in the PCL while his WHIP is also up a healthy margin from 1.02 to 1.47. These are obviously some growing pains for the 22-year-old right hander, but he's certainly not banging down the door to the Royals. His MLB debut may not come until September at this point.

Keep an Eye On

Power is what put D.J. Peterson high on a lot of teams' boards going into last month's Draft. He led Team USA in homers and RBIs last summer and then batted .408 with 18 homers and 72 RBIs for New Mexico this spring as a junior. The Mariners got him with the 12th overall pick, and now he's putting that power on display at Class A Short-Season Everett.

He's homered five times and drove in 20 in 19 games with the AquaSox, highlighted by a two-homer performance Saturday. It'll be interesting to see how many he can hit out in a full season of pro ball next year. He's certainly off to a promising start for now, though.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Sam Dykstra and Jonathan Raymond contributed to the report. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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