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FAAB Factor - NL: Jansen Creating Striking Impression

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.

National League - FAAB - 9/25/11
 
This is the last column of the season. Thanks for reading and for those who provided comments during the year. If you have any suggestions of comments, please contact RotoWire at support@rotowire.com or myself at jan.levine@gmail.com.
 
Starting Pitching:

Anthony Bass - Bass, making a spot start in place of Tim Stauffer, marched into Colorado and threw five innings of shutout ball, good for the second win of the rookie's career -- both of which have come in Colorado. Once again he didn't miss many bats, striking out just one, but he issued only one walk and there's some degree of difficulty here facing the Rockies in their home park. Bass has posted very solid numbers in the minors in his career, including a 3.75 ERA, 1.199 WHIP and 62:21 K:BB ratio in 69.2 innings at Double-A San Antonio, he throws pretty hard, and he gets to pitch in Petco, so the 23-year-old makes for an interesting prospect. However, he will have to fight Casey Kelly and Robbie Erlin for a rotation spot, but could slot in as one of San Diego's five starters before those two are ready. Mixed: $2; NL: $7

Lucas Harrell - Harrell will start Sunday's game against the Rockies, taking the spot of Bud Norris, who had to leave Tuesday's start against the Reds after just 2.2 innings with right bicep tendinitis. Harrell, who threw 5.1 scoreless innings against the Brewers in his first start for the Astros on September 2, had been solid in nine starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City, going 5-2 with a 1.72 ERA. However, his 38:24 K:BB ratio in 52 innings is not impressive, and in 58 starts (330 innings) at Triple-A, Harrell has only 220 strikeouts to 148 walks. For now, he will move back to the bullpen, but his arsenal - sinker, cut fastball, slider, changeup and the occasional curveball - seems to play better as a starter. Mixed: $0; NL: $3

Cory Luebke - Luebke earned his sixth win of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.23 on Monday against the Rockies. He allowed just two runs on one hit (a home run) and three walks while striking out nine in seven innings. Luebke continues to impress since being moved into the rotation. His 2.97 xFIP indicates that he has pitched better than his ERA, and his 9.97 K/9 gives him plenty of value in any type of league next season. His 11 percent swinging strike rate ranks eighth among starting pitchers with at least 120 innings pitched and he also has done a good job of limiting walks, putting on just 2.69/9IP. Luebke should enter spring training firmly entrenched as the Padres' third starter behind Mat Latos and Tim Stauffer. Mixed: $12; NL: $25

Jarrod Parker - Parker was profiled last week when the view was that he might be called up to “experience” a pennant race. That possibility became a reality when he was promoted Monday from Double-A Mobile. Parker posted a 3.79 ERA at Mobile with 112 strikeouts and 55 walks in 130.2 innings this season. He had Tommy John surgery in October 2009 and used this season to work his way back into prospect status. While Parker is an excellent late season pickup in leagues where he can be kept for 2012, his role down the stretch originally figured to be that of an extra arm in the bullpen for manager Kirk Gibson, but with Arizona clinching the division, he will start Tuesday against the Dodgers. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (more in keeper leagues).

Relief Pitchers:

Steve Cishek - Leo Nunez was placed on the restricted list Thursday and speculation is that he has been playing in the U.S. under a falsified name, and he is actually 29 and not his listed 28. If those are true, then there is a pretty good chance Nunez does not pitch again in 2011, and it could affect his status in future seasons. Cishek is the likely candidate to close the rest of the way, though Edward Mujica and Clay Hensley could also factor in the mix, but manager Jack McKeon went with Cishek the last time Nunez was sidelined. Despite Florida moving into a new stadium next year - hello Miami Marlins - and having some money to spend, Cishek could keep the job given how well he has pitched this season; 2.84 ERA, 1.220 WHIP and 52:18 K:BB ratio in 50.2 innings. Mixed: $4; NL: $13

Kenley Jansen - Jansen has developed a mid-90s cutter that looks to have led to his posting a league-leading 15.7 K/9, including striking out 24 of the last 37 batters he has faced. In addition, of the 19 runners he has inherited this season only one has scored. To provide some more numbers about his dominance, since the end of May, in 28.1 innings, Jansen has a 0.64 ERA. It's far too early to tell and while Javy Guerra has done well since taking over that spot, look for Jansen to pitch his way into the closer role next spring. Mixed: $6; NL: $17 (based on keeper league)

Catchers:

Steven Clevenger - The Cubs called up Clevenger on Monday. He's already 25 and doesn't offer much upside after spending this season at Double-A, but Clevenger could get a start or two behind the plate and make his MLB debut before the end of the season. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Wilson Ramos - Ramos, who struggled in August, is having a big September, batting .386 with two home runs and 11 RBI. That strong finish should be enough to keep him in the offseason as the projected starting catcher over Jesus Flores as Ivan Rodriguez is unlikely to return. Mixed: $3; NL: $9

Josh Thole - Thole, whose average was .207 on May 25, is now hitting .268 after his 2-for-4 effort Thursday. Thole had altered his style to generate more power, by no longer choking up on the bat and swinging for the fences. In addition, he made several defensive adjustments that backfired. In late-May, he went back to his old style and once again became what he is, an excellent contact hitter with minimal power, and a decent defender. In July, his first child, a son, Camden, was born, and instead of obsessing over every 0-for-4, he let the bad days go, which has improved his mental outlook. Mixed: $3; NL: $11.

Corner Infielders:

Chase Headley - Headley, out since August 6 with a fractured left pinkie finger, rejoined the Padres on Monday. He saw his first action, starting on Wednesday, going 0-for-2, which is not surprising, as he had not seen much live pitching while recovering. With just a few games left, Headley should start at least once as Andy Parrino and Jesus Guzman will also at the hot corner with James Darnell out, as Headley is not yet ready to face left-handers. With multiple options available to SD next year, and Jedd Gyorko possibly ready next year, it would not be surprising to see Headley traded in the offseason. Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Jordan Pacheco - Pacheco may serve as the Rockies' utility man in 2012. Pacheco has been one of the few bright spots for the Rockies offensively down the stretch, hitting .268 with two homers in 15 games while bouncing back and forth from first and third base. He spent most of his time in the minors as a catcher and committed a handful of errors in the majors as a corner infielder, however the catching job is sufficiently spoken for between starter Chris Iannetta and rising prospect Wilin Rosario. Meanwhile, first and third are wide open for the taking, and if Pacheco satisfies your league's eligibility requirements at catcher, based on his minor-league action, while getting enough at-bats as a corner infielder as well as possibly second base, where he played Thursday, there could be some real value here in 2012, just don't expect much power. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (lower a bit if not catcher eligible)

Middle Infielders:

Matt Downs - Downs started in right field Tuesday, which is the fifth spot he has started at this year, leaving just the battery spots open. So those positions don't feel left out, there has been some talk of Downs getting some time behind the plate before 2012. With nine home runs, 39 RBI and 17 walks - albeit with 46K - in 193 at-bats, Downs has shown some power and patience; that, along with ability to play multiple positions, makes him a perfect NL-only league utility player. If he can somehow get 350-400 AB, his value will extend to deeper mixed leagues, Mixed: $2; NL: $7

Freddy Galvis - Galvis was honored as the Phillies' Paul Owens Award winner for the best position player in the team's minor league system. Galvis improved significantly this year, hitting a combined .278/.324/.392 with eight home runs and 23 stolen bases between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He had been considered an all-glove prospect when the season began and now he has shown signs of being something more than that. The offensive numbers aren't overwhelming but if Galvis can hit around .260 in the majors, his glove is going to keep him in the big leagues for a long time. He could get his first opportunity with the Phillies next spring if the team is unable to retain Jimmy Rollins. Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Ruben Tejada - A day after seeing his hit streak end at eight games, Tejada went 2-for-4, driving in three runs, in the Mets' 8-6 comeback win over the Cardinals on Thursday and had hits in both games of the Mets' doubleheader Saturday. Tejada had one of the key hits in the ninth Thursday - a two-run, game-tying double - and is now hitting .280 on the year. If Jose Reyes does re-sign with the Mets, Tejada should be the starting second baseman, if not, look for Tejada to move over to the other side of the second base bag and be the starting shortstop in 2012. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 

Eric Young Jr. - The Rockies have given Young a decent run of playing time down the stretch with Carlos Gonzalez missing from the outfield due to his wrist injury. He has five steals over his last seven games, so he could provide some cheap steals for speed-hungry teams in the year's final few games. In addition, he made be on the trade block this off-season, which could help land him more of a full-time role elsewhere given the logjam in Colorado. Mixed: $7; NL: $18

Outfielders:

Tony Campana - The Cubs are going to give Campana, who picked up his 23rd steal of the season Friday, a look in center next spring and if he gets stronger over the winter and learns to drive the ball more, as manager Mike Quade has asked, he could be a nice fixture out there in the ivy. Campana already has the speed roto league owners covet and could be a nice sleeper in 2012. Mixed: $2; NL: $7

Juan Rivera - After Thursday, Rivera is hitting .294 with 44 RBI since the Dodgers acquired him from Toronto during the All-Star break. Rivera has seen time at both corner outfield spots as well as first base and could end up back in LA next year, depending on what the Dodgers do with James Loney and if they want to play Jerry Sands daily. Even if not, his performance following the trade may have done enough for him to find a starting spot elsewhere in baseball after a poor 2010 with the Angels and start to the 2011 season with the Blue Jays. Mixed: $5; NL: $16

Jerry Sands - Sands was profiled again when he was first promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque in September, but his current performance warrants another mention. He went 1-for-3 Friday to extend his career-best hitting streak to 11 games. Sands is 19-for-42 during that span and 20-for-56 since his recall, during which he has played exclusively in left field. James Loney, the incumbent at first base, would probably stand to make $6 million or more in arbitration next year, which is far too much given his mediocre production, even with his hot streak the past month. Sands, who struggled in his stint with LA earlier in the year, tore up the minors for the third straight year, hitting 29 homers with 88 RBI in 370 at-bats for Albuquerque, though keep in mind the PCL is a hitters-league. Even if Loney is back in LA, Sands could end up starting in left field, depending on what the Dodgers do with Juan Rivera. Mixed: $4; NL: $13.

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