Yonder Alonso (1B - SD): After a short rehab stint in which he was 6-11, the Padres felt they had seen enough from Yonder Alonso and will activate him on Friday off the disabled list. Alonso was putting together a solid CI-worthy fantasy season before going on the disabled list (.284-66-18-87-9 pace) and deserves immediate attention in all formats. Alonso hasn't shown a ton of improvement over his 2012 campaign with the exception of the power department where a more normalized HR/FB Rate is allowing him to post acceptable power totals from a CI spot. The Padres lineup has a bit more depth to it this year and with Alonso entrenched in the center of it, he should be able to post competitive counting totals. If you're looking for help at a CI spot, make sure to check your waiver wire to see if Alonso is available.
Matt Adams (1B - STL): Adams got a potentially big boost to his value on Thursday as Matt Holliday left the game early with a hamstring issue. Adams came in as the immediate replacement and he figures to be the one to benefit most from any extended time missed by Holliday. The Cardinals can shift Allen Craig to the OF allowing Adams to get the majority of AB's at 1B. Adams has hit .322/.370/.576 in limited time this year thanks to a .254 ISO and fortunate .373 BABIP. Adams power is very real (.295 ISO at AAA last year) but his batting average has been insulated by facing primarily RHP and having an inordinately high BABIP. Adams is more of a .275-.280 hitter. The Cardinals are a dynamic offense and Adams will be thrust into the middle of it which should provide plenty of RBI opportunities and the ability to compete with elite hitters in the counting categories. He's an immediate add in all formats.
Justin Upton (OF - ATL): As Paul alluded to last week in this space, Justin Upton's 3-hit game about 10 days ago appears to have propelled him into an extended hot streak. One of the streakiest hitters in all of baseball, Upton has now picked up 8 hits in his last 15 AB's , including 5 2B's and a HR. It's always tough to pick a spot in the season and judge Upton's growth because his peripherals waver so strongly with his streaks but for the year has seen a pretty alarming drop-off in his contact rates. For Upton's career he's averaged a 73.4% contact rate but this year he's down to 69.6% and perhaps most concerning is the drop on contact in the strike zone (75.1%, career 81.9%). Upton is just 25, turns 26 in August, and he's recovered some of the power drop-off he experienced last season, but it's a bit alarming to see Upton lose so much contact in the strike zone. Upton's raw power and strong lineup positioning in a good lineup should help him challenge 25-30 HR, 95 R, and 85 RBI's, but I hesitate to consider him more than a 3rd/4th round pick with the drop-off in contact issues. If you can take advantage of a recent hot streak and sell Upton for closer to his preseason value, I'd take the route of trading off some volatility and perhaps additional performance risk.
Yovani Gallardo (SP - MIL): Gallardo had an outing on Thursday night that was fairly representative of his 2013 season. Gallardo allowed 3 ER's over 6 innings as he surrendered 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 3. Gallardo's seen a dip in his velocity this season and with it a significant dip in his swinging strike rate and overall K%. Gallardo's been a great fantasy asset in the past because of his consistency, durability, and that great K Rate. When you take away the K Rate, his always shaky BB Rate becomes amplified as more balls come into play with base-runners on. Without the strikeouts his "pass-able" WHIP becomes a detractor, as does his ERA. He's really nothing more than a spot-starter in traditional formats with a shiny name of a former #3 fantasy starter. Treat him accordingly.
Chris Capuano (SP - LAD): Capuano rebounded from consecutive awful outings to toss 6 1/3 shutout innings against the Rockies "A" team on Thursday night. With Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler activated from the disabled list, Capuano got the best the Rockies had to offer and responded with 8 K's and just 6 hits allowed over his 6 1/3 innings. Capuano's peripherals have largely been in-tact this year with past years but a dip in his swinging strike rate has led to a mild drop-off in his K Rate. Other than that, Capuano's numbers look identical to the last few seasons. In big ballparks where his FB Rate plays well, he remains an effective spot starter and a very roster-worthy option in deep leagues.