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FAAB Factor - NL: Will Bauer Get the Call - Now!?

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire.com and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

Jan Levine

Jan Levine

Levine covers baseball, basketball and hockey for RotoWire. In addition to his column writing, he's the master of the MLB and NHL cheatsheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets.

STARTING PITCHERS

Trevor Bauer - We'll start off with a speculative pick that's more likely to have value in keeper leagues than at all this season. Bauer was a quick sign by the Diamondbacks after getting drafted third overall in June, and since signing he has torn it up at the first two levels, with a combined 33:8 K:BB in 19 innings between High-A and Double-A. All along the Diamondbacks have considered calling Bauer up for relief work in September, even before his successes. Obviously he won't close barring multiple injuries, but he conceivably could be in the Arizona rotation by mid-2012. In keeper leagues, that's worth a simoleon or two. There's also an outside chance he'll ultimately replace Wade Miley in the rotation in September. Mixed and NL: $2 speculative bid where allowed in keeper leagues; no bid in redraft leagues.

Kyle Kendrick - Thanks to Cole Hamels' shoulder issue, Kendrick picked up a start last week and might remain in the rotation for the rest of the year. They very well could go to a six-man rotation down the stretch, with the Braves seven games back and the wild card teams a couple of light years behind. Kendrick carries a nice 3.24 ERA, but his 46 strikeouts in 97.1 innings and his 4.61 FIP ERA tell a different story. He'll benefit from good run support most likely if he sticks in the rotation, so if you're chasing wins … wait, as Cory Schwartz and Mike Siano might say, don't chase wins. Mixed: $1; NL: $3.

Wade Miley - Miley made his major league debut with a loss against the Braves on Saturday, giving up five runs over four innings. I'm not quite sure I'm buying the big bump in his strikeout rate over 54.1 innings at Triple-A Reno - prior to that he had just one year where his rate topped 7.0 per nine innings, though that was in 2010 at Double-A Mobile. But even at Mobile this year, that K-rate had dropped below 6.0. Anyhow, there's an opportunity for someone to replace Jason Marquis for the rest of the season, and right now Miley has that chance. In the long run, don't be surprised if someone like Micah Owings or even Trevor Bauer replaces him if there are any more starts like Saturday's outing. Mixed: No; NL: $1.

Mike Minor - Jan Levine has covered Minor on multiple occasions so I'll keep this brief to point out that Minor has two starts, albeit on the road, against the Cubs and Mets this week, and struck out nine in his last start against the Giants. It had to be pretty vexing for the Giants to see this, when the Braves were in on the bidding for the now injured Carlos Beltran and refused to part with Minor, whereas they dealt Zack Wheeler to get their injured prize. Mixed: $5; NL: $29 (in the 12 NL-only leagues in this country where he's still available).

Chris Narveson - Narveson (thumb) will come off the DL on Monday to pitch the first game of the Brewers' doubleheader against the Pirates. This would be an attractive enough start to use Narveson in most cases coming off the DL, but considering the Brewers' recent history against the Pirates and the way the two organizations have been playing in the last month, this is a very nice spot. He might still not get two starts this week, because of Thursday's off-day. Mixed: $3; NL: $15.

Dan Runzler - Runzler's spot start in place of the injured Jonathan Sanchez did not go so well - he gave up four runs in 1.2 innings on three hits and three walks, destroying whatever bullpen depth that the Giants could feign in a game that ultimately went extra-innings. He was in there as a bit of a last resort in the first place - the Giants didn't have another realistic replacement option on the 40-man roster. It's dubious that he'll get a second shot after Sunday's outing. If Sanchez has to miss another start, look for the Giants to resort to extraordinary measures off their 40-man roster rather than turn to Runzler. Mixed and NL: No.

Alex White - White will return from the DL on Tuesday, replacing Jason Hammel in the Rockies' rotation, presumably for the rest of the season. He faces the Astros and Bud Norris, albeit in Coors Field - and also at a time when the Astros have actually hit a little bit. I'd probably try to avoid using him here if possible, even if it's advisable in the long run to roster him. I'm really curious to see how he throws his breaking ball - I can't shake seeing Adam Eaton's downhill turn once he suffered his finger injuries and wasn't the same pitcher. Mixed: No - maybe a minimum unit bid in a keeper league; NL: $2.

RELIEF PITCHERS

Kenley Jansen - Javy Guerra had his first blown save Saturday - it's not as if his job security is in question (after all, the game was in Coors Field), but rather a reminder that his ceiling might not be as high as Jansen's. Jansen is scheduled to return from the DL Friday, and while he's had his blow-up outings, those 61 strikeouts in 37 innings are rather attractive. His goal for September should be to work on his command, as he's also walked 21 guys in that span. Prior to his most recent trip to the DL, he had corrected most of those control woes. It's entirely possible that he'll be the Dodgers' closer in 2012. Mixed: $2; NL: $8.

Bobby Parnell - The Mets' closer job is now a timeshare between Parnell and Jason Isringhausen, and after Izzy's Saturday blowup, the future really is now. Sure, Parnell hasn't been good lately, but he has 50 K's in 41.2 innings and a FIP ERA that's a full run below his 4.10 real-life ERA. The fact that he blew a lead in his last opportunity Monday against the Padres should be leveraged to acquire him more cheaply. It's worth noting that the Mets said that Pedro Beato will not be considered as part of the picture. Mixed: $8; NL: $20 - price is higher than Ramon Ramirez because he's more likely to have a longer run.

Ramon Ramirez/ Jeremy Affeldt / Santiago Casilla - Both Brian Wilson and closer-in-waiting Sergio Romo have elbow problems that have sent them to the DL. Ramirez is likely first in line to close should a save opportunity arise, but manager Bruce Bochy specifically said that he's not married to one particular guy in Wilson's absence. Affeldt is likely to get a look in situations that require a lefty, though he's not really a specialist, and Javier Lopez could also factor in during those situations. Ramirez - Mixed: $8; NL: $15; Affeldt - Mixed: $1; NL: $2; Casilla and Lopez: Mixed and NL: $0.

CATCHERS

Ryan Doumit - Doumit has been pretty good since returning from his latest DL trip, slashing .287/.352/.457 heading into Sunday's game. Of course, therein lies the rub - it's rare that he's been able to stay healthy. NL keeper league owners have a pretty tough choice on Doumit if they keep 10-12 players per season - it's hard to find productive catchers, yet how can one count on a player with Doumit's injury history? If you can, try to sell him at his peak while acquiring future catcher considerations - does a league rival have Wilin Rosario in their farm system and is contending this year? See if Doumit-plus gets the deal done. Mixed: $4 - no NL bid, under the presumption that he's already owned.

Hector Sanchez / Chris Stewart - Eli Whiteside's unique sliding technique landed him on the DL with a concussion, so Stewart and Sanchez will split the catching duties during his absence. Sanchez started the year in High-A and skipped Double-A entirely to go to Triple-A Fresno, where he had a .655 OPS. Stewart will probably get most of the starts. Neither will be all that interesting from a fantasy perspective. Stewart - Mixed: $0; NL: $2; Sanchez - Mixed and NL: No.

CORNER INFIELDERS

Jose Lopez - Despite an earlier disastrous stint with the Marlins, Lopez is back for more, and the playing time is pretty solid for him, with Hanley Ramirez still out - possibly for the bulk of the season - creating one extra infield slot opening, even after the return of Omar Infante from the DL. Mixed: $0; NL: $5

Brandon Wood - Pedro Alvarez has been sent back down, so Wood and Josh Harrison will share the resulting playing time at third base. Wood has improved with the change of scenery from Anaheim to Pittsburgh - alas, that improvement has turned him into a merely bad hitter rather than a horrific one. With a .74 contact rate, it's going to be hard to hit for average, and unlike other prodigious whiffers in the game, he doesn't provide enough power or speed to compensate. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

MIDDLE INFIELDERS

Dee Gordon - Gordon is due back from the DL on Thursday, and once again he'll be the full-time shortstop when he returns. That's obviously the right decision, even if Justin Sellers has shown a few glimpses here-and-there. If anything, the Dodgers should explore playing Sellers at second base. It doesn't matter if they win now - so even though Jamey Carroll is the better player now, it behooves them to see if Sellers has the wherewithal to stick at second base in the future. Meanwhile, Gordon could be a sneaky candidate to win a lot of leagues if you need those three extra points in stolen bases the rest of the way. Mixed: $10; NL: All you can eat.

Josh Harrison - Harrison's playing time at third base might pick up a tiny bit with Pedro Alvarez back down in Triple-A, but right now Brandon Wood is getting most of the playing time there. But Wood is no great shakes, so it won't be shocking if Harrison's time kicks up to three-to-four starts per week. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Omar Infante - Infante is back from the DL - watch carefully to see if the Marlins decide to use him at shortstop now-and-then, with Hanley Ramirez looking increasingly unlikely to return this season. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Miguel Tejada - The Giants weren't in any hurry to bring Tejada back from the DL, at least before half their roster went on the DL in the past week. Most of his time will be spent at third base when he does play, because we've all seen the movie where he plays a shortstop and it doesn't end well. He's had a great career, but this year has been avert-your-eyes-bad. There's little reason to think that changes in September. Mixed: $0; NL: $1.

Wilson Valdez - Valdez has gotten virtually all the time at third base with Placido Polanco's latest injury, with Michael Martinez getting very little time. There's not much to see here - no power and just a smidge of speed. Polanco could return this week, so Valdez is useful only if you have a complete zero in one of your infield slots. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

OUTFIELDERS

Brian Bogusevic - Carlos Lee and Jason Michael really just need to go away for the rest of the season. I understand that Lee is under contract beyond this season, but the very most important thing that the Astros can do for the last weeks of the season is to play the likes of Bogusevic, J.D. Martinez, Jordan Schafer and Jason Bourgeois as much as humanly possible, to better evaluate what they have. Bogusevic's minor league numbers don't scream off the page, nor does his relatively older age, but remember he's a converted pitcher, so age-to-level has to be harder to gauge. It's all the more reason to play him more now, before you have to make a real decision on your personnel for 2012 and beyond. Schafer's return from the DL this week only complicates matters. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Chris Heisey - Heisey isn't back from the DL, but he's getting closer from recovering from his oblique injury. It might be this week or it might even be September 1, but once Heisey returns, he'll get the bulk of the starts in left field. Yonder Alonso's defense was lacking and Dave Sappelt hasn't proven he's more than a Quad-A hitter, so there's not much holding him back. Mixed: $2; NL: $8.

John Mayberry - I list Mayberry for two reasons. One, he's playing more often, with Domonic Brown back in the minors and Raul Ibanez sitting more frequently against lefties - manager Charlie Manuel has denied that there's a platoon, but Mayberry has started seven of the last eight games in which the Phillies have faced a lefty starter. And two, he's one of the bigger mistakes I've made across my fantasy leagues this year - I'm in a Strat-o-Matic keeper league that's exceptionally deep - any playing time makes a guy useful. Mayberry had just 12 at-bats last season, so needing a few cuts to get down to the keeper limits, I thought he was an easy cut. Alas, after the fact I saw that we could keep non-carded players (guys that didn't get enough service time to get a Strat-o-Matic card) without counting against the cap. It was plain as day in the league rules - I just missed it. Know your league rules folks - you never know when you'll be tossing back a guy who the next year could slug over .500 in 186 at-bats (and counting). Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Jordan Schafer - Schafer (finger) is expected back from the DL this week, beginning with a Coors Field trip to start the week. Watch the transaction wires carefully to see when he's activated - the Astros plan on playing him regularly. He's by no means old, but at the same time, he hasn't shown much at the plate ever since his PED suspension while with the Braves. This is an important stretch for him. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Jose Tabata - Tabata is finally back from his quad injury, and in case there was any doubt about his playing time, the team signing him to a six-year contract extension is a pretty clear expression of content. Tabata and Andrew McCutchen will occupy two outfield spots, and the likes of Garrett Jones (once Derek Lee returns from the DL), Alex Presley (once he returns) and Ryan Ludwick will have to scrap for playing time in the other corner outfield slot. That early-season power burst from Tabata is a distant memory, but he still can bring good on-base skills and stolen bases where applicable. Mixed: $8; NL: $20.