Jeff Francoeur (OF--Royals) The Royals rewarded Jeff Francoeur's fine efforts this season with a two year extension that is estimated around $13.5 million. Francoeur struggled to find consistency in his hometown Atlanta and had on-and-off times while playing for the Mets. He's put together one of his best campaigns in 2011 batting .277 with fifteen homers. While Francoeur will never be a solid on-base guy (career OBP of .312), he's has a solid ISO this season at .186 and an equally solid weighted on-base average of .344. While he will never amount to superstar status, Francoeur is on a pace for 19 home runs and 86 RBI. All decent numbers that are certainly serviceable in mixed-league formats.
Denard Span (OF--Twins) Denard Span was placed on the 15-day DL with continued migraine issues that stemmed from a concussion he had with Royals' catcher Brayan Pena back on June 3rd. There's a possibility if the issues can't be alleviated, he could be shut down for the rest of the season. Since sustaining his injury with limited playing time, Span is batting just .051 (2-for-39). Prior to that, he had been .300 on the year. Certainly Span is a better hitter than what he is showing of late and the concussion has obviously had an effect on his play. Owners may need to cut Span for the rest of year as he may be risky until his head is cleared. When healthy, he's been a solid option in deeper mixed leagues.
Alex Gordon (OF--Royals) Alex Gordon has been on quite the tear of late as he slugged his second home run in as many days giving him sixteen on the season. It seems that Gordon is finally paying dividends after struggle as one of the Royals' top prospects for several years. He's on pace to reach the twenty home run plateau this year and around 186 hits. He's strikeout rate (19.6%) is higher than what owners would probably like to see but is overall contribution with a weighted on-base average of .370 indicates that he has really put together a breakout year. No reason to think that Gordon isn't finally coming into his own and established himself as a solid outfield option. Expect his value to rise in 2012.
Matt LaPorta (1B--Indians) Matt LaPorta connected for his eleventh home run of the year on Thursday against the White Sox. It was his first home run for August as he continues to struggle to find a consistent rhythm. LaPorta has an awful 72.5% contract rate which is largely responsible for his poor .241 and .298 OBP. He's been disappointing for the Indians as he was the main prize in the CC Sabathia deal that brought him to the Indians from the Brewers where he was heralded as one of the top prospects. While there is still a spark of hope that LaPorta may finally turn the corner, he's already 26 and should be showing more strides by name. Consider him allow-end option in AL leagues.
Tyler Flowers (C--White Sox) It's nice to see Tyler Flowers get some playing time finally as he is starting to inch his way more and more as a regular in the White Sox lineup. Having collected his first major-league home run in the past week, Flowers continues to find ways of getting on base as he is batting .320 in just 30+ at-bats. Sure, it's not a lot but it's a good start. Flowers has terrific power, always has, but his tendency to expand the strike zone has been has been one of his shortcomings. He's a shoe-in to be a guy who will approach 150 strikeouts per year, but to his credit Flowers demonstrated a solid EYE in the minors that should help to buoy his average and provide him with a solid OBP. If he can somehow improve on a contract rate that could be below 70%, he could be a nice addition at a thin position with his power.
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