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FAAB Factor - NL: Bauer Power

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 - 7/1/12
 
Starting Pitching:

Trevor Bauer/Josh Collmenter/Pat Corbin - I profiled Bauer, Collmenter and Corbin last week but with all three getting promoted this week and roles being somewhat determined, they all warranted another mention this week. Bauer was promoted to take the roster and rotation spot of the injured Joe Saunders (strained left shoulder), who may be on the shelf for an extended period of time. Bauer has been beyond impressive in his first full professional season, and his high strikeout rate has survived the jump from Double-A to Triple-A. He has struggled a bit with walks at both levels but his five-pitch arsenal, including a plus-plus curveball, should help him at the next level. Bauer made his major league debut Thursday, allowing two runs and five hits over four innings. He issued three walks, struck out three, tossing 74 pitches. He failed to have a 1-2-3 inning, but was able to work in-and-out of trouble. The groin injury, which forced his early exit, is considered minor and he is expected to make his next start. Collmenter, who was moved to the bullpen in late-April, gave up just one run off three hits and three walks with six strikeouts over four innings against the Cubs on Friday in making a spot start for Saunders. With Daniel Hudson landing on the DL with a torn UCL, Collmenter will get the first chance to fill his rotation spot. The Diamondbacks will reassess their starters at the All-Star break, so it remains to be seen if Collmenter will remain in the rotation long-term. Corbin led the Southern League in innings pitched (160.1) and strikeouts (142) and got off to a strong start this year, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 25:8 K:BB ratio in 27 innings for Double-A Mobile to earn the promotion at the end of April. He was up-and-down in his five starts in the majors, but has posted a 3.86 ERA, 33:12 K:BB ratio and .289 BAA since getting optioned to Triple-A Reno in late-May. For now, Corbin, who relieved Bauer on Thursday, tossing three scoreless innings of relief Thursday, allowing just one hit with three strikeouts, will pitch out of the bullpen, though he could move into the rotation down the road. Bauer - Mixed: $5; NL: $14; Collmenter - Mixed: $2; NL: $7; and Corbin - Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (though that could change if he gets the 5th rotation spot).

Andrew Cashner - Cashner was optioned to Double-A San Antonio after moving from the bullpen and making one start on June 9 in order to be stretched out for a rotation spot. Prior to that, he made 27 relief appearances (recording 34 strikeouts and 18 walks in 28.1 innings). In the minors, he allowed three earned runs while posting a 23:3 K:BB ratio in 14.1 IP prior to getting promoted. Cashner was spectacular in a no-decision Thursday, allowing just two hits and two runs with a career-high nine strikeouts over 6.1 innings at Houston, flashing his 100 mph fastball. Cashner, who was the Cubs' first round pick in 2008 and was drafted as a starter has the potential to strike out a batter per inning and should benefit from pitching half his home games at Petco Park. Rumblings about making Cashner the closer of the future will probably continue, but it looks like he will be a starter, at least for the short-term, for the Padres. Mixed: $6; NL: $17 (value rises with move to starting).

Ryan Dempster - Dempster, on the DL with tightness in a right lat muscle, will be out until after the All-Star Game. Although Dempster made it through his flat ground session Monday without discomfort, it's believed that he will need one extra turn through the rotation before he's activated from the disabled list. He apparently had been pitching through the soreness for a couple starts, but he showed no indication of being hurt while tossing 22 consecutive scoreless innings prior to being sidelined. Dempster has posted a 2.11 ERA, 1.012 WHIP and a 66:22 K:BB ratio and is likely to be moved to a contender just before the trading deadline. No bid because he should be owned in all leagues.

Ross Detwiler - Detwiler should have been covered last week when he moved into the rotation with Chien-Ming Wang shifting to the bullpen. Detwiler was sent to the bullpen in late May to allow Wang to slide into the rotation; now the two pitchers have had their roles reversed. Detwiler was dominant for a fifth starter early in the season, compiling a 3.88 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 50.2 innings. Detwiler threw five scoreless innings in a no-decision in his return to the Nationals' rotation Tuesday against Baltimore. Once he gets stretched out again, look for him to go longer than seven innings and post solid, across-the-board numbers. Mixed: $3; NL: $9

Michael Fiers - Fiers tossed six shutout innings Saturday, scattering two hits and three walks while striking out a career-high 10, as the Brewers bashed the D-Backs. Fiers boasts a 0.42 ERA, 0.797 WHIP, and 24:6 K:BB ratio in 21.1 innings over his last four appearances, a stellar run for any pitcher, let alone one who entered 2012 with just two (scoreless) big league innings under his belt. His stuff is questionable for a major league pitcher -- he struggles to break 90 with the fastball -- but the results and peripherals suggest he could manage with what he has, as seen by his recent performances. Fiers should at a minimum remain in Milwaukee's rotation until Shawn Marcum comes off the DL, and even after that, could stick if the Brewers decide to replace the struggling Randy Wolf. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Roy Halladay - Halladay, who has been sidelined with a strained lat muscle since the end of May, threw 33 pitches during a bullpen session Friday. Pitching coach Rich Dubee was very encouraged by the outing, as Halladay threw all of his pitches Friday. There's no word yet as to what his next step toward a return will be. Prior to being sidelined, Halladay was 4-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 70.3 innings thus far. He hasn't posted an ERA above 3.00 since the 2007 season. His velocity is down about one mile per hour from last season, and his K/9 has dipped from 8.47 last season to 6.97 this season, which may indicate that he had hidden the injury, rumored to be the case since the spring, for a while before it sidelined him. If healthy when he does return - possibly in late-July - he should be jumped on in all leagues.

Juan Nicasio - Nicasio, out since June 2 with a strained left knee, was encouraged by a 30-pitch session against live hitting Tuesday and will throw another session Saturday. Nicasio has kept his arm strong despite being out with the injury. He was able to place his pitches on both sides of the plate Tuesday, and says his knee is feeling good. Nicasio, who fanned 54 in 58 innings, hadn't won since April 30 and allowed 94 hits and walks in just 58 innings, could return to the rotation before the All-Star break. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Bud Norris - Norris, out since his June 13 start with a sprained left knee, allowed two runs on three hits, striking out seven in a five-inning rehab stint Saturday. That was enough for the Astros, as they activated Norris, who started Friday night for Houston. Norris believes the sprained left knee that landed him on the disabled list was related to hip flexor soreness he experienced in the three starts prior to the injury. Whatever the cause, Norris is 100% healthy now, with the leg ailments firmly behind him. No bid because he should be owned in all leagues.

Joe Saunders - Saunders, sidelined with a strained left shoulder since June 17, was scheduled to throw a light bullpen session Saturday. The timetable continues to suggest that Saunders will rejoin the D-Backs' rotation right around (but likely after) the All-Star break. Josh Collmenter has taken a rotation spot with the loss of Saunders and Dan Hudson to the disabled list, and it's believed that Collmenter will return to the bullpen once Saunders is ready to return depending on the effectiveness of rookie Trevor Bauer. Prior to being injured, Saunders had been having a fairly solid year, going 4-5 with an ERA of 3.44, 1,383 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in 81 innings on the heels of a rebound campaign last year. Mixed: $5; NL: still should be owned

Chris Volstad - Volstad will be called up to start Tuesday's game. Casey Coleman was in the running to make Tuesday's start, but the Cubs elected to go with Volstad. After a solid 2009 season in Florida, Volstad regressed last year and bottomed out this one, going 0-6 with a 7.46 ERA in eight starts with the Cubs to earn a demotion to the minors. He has been mildly better at Triple-A Iowa, going 2-3 with a 4.44 ERA, 1.414 WHIP and 41:12 K:BB ratio in 50.2 innings over eight starts. His stint may only last until Ryan Dempster is ready to come of the DL. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Kip Wells - The Padres promoted Wells to the majors Monday and he allowed five runs (two earned) on seven hits in his first start Tuesday against Houston. Wells, who was let go in April by the White Sox, pitched the past two months in the minors for San Diego. Prior to Tuesday, Wells last pitched in the major leagues in 2009, when he went 2-5 with a 5.33 ERA with the Nationals and the Reds. He starts again Sunday, moving Ross Ohlendorf to the bullpen, and the best you can say about Wells is that he should half his starts at pitching-friendly Petco Park. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Relief Pitchers:
 
Barret Browning/Tyler Chatwood/Maikel Cleto/Rafael Dolis/Justin Hampson/Jeremy Horst/Brad Penny/Brian Sanches- This week's batch of middle relief promotions/activations took place in St. Louis, Colorado, St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Philadelphia. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Javy Guerra - Guerra has been dealing with a sore knee for a few weeks, but the Dodgers decided to place him on the DL and have him undergo surgery in early-June when his mechanics changed to compensate for the knee injury. Guerra, who was expected to be out 4-to-6 weeks while recovering from the procedure, could start a minor-league rehab assignment Sunday. Guerra likely will return after the All-Star break and should move into the role of Kenley Jansen's set-up man. Mixed: $1; NL: $5

Carlos Marmol - Marmol has yet to falter since re-taking the Cubs' closer role in mid-June, rallying off saves in five straight chances, including one Saturday. He has struck out eight in those five innings, but he has also hit the 20-pitch mark in four of those six outings. Given Marmol's erratic tendencies, which started last year and got worse this season, he's likely to have a short leash as closer, though his recent success has just made that leash a lot longer. In addition, James Russell and Shawn Camp are nice relievers, but neither are much better than Marmol in the closer role. Mixed: $7; NL: $19 (likely owned, but in case there are still a few non-believers)

Bobby Parnell - Parnell has assumed the closer role with Frank Francisco (oblique) landing on the disabled list. Parnell is a fireballer, averaging 95.3 MPH on his fastball, but he hasn't been able to miss bats like the velocity numbers suggest. Prior to assuming the closer role, he allowed 33 hits and struck out 30 batters while posting a 3.30 ERA in 30 innings. He has been one of the best relievers in the game of baseball as of late having giving up no runs, no walks, and only one hit in his last 6.1 innings since being shelled by the Yankees June 10. Parnell struggled last year in the closer role, as his inability to throw his off-speed pitches and issues with command and control resulted in too many hitters' counts and fat pitches, leading to his .351 BABIP. Parnell has made strides in those areas, though the BABIP is still .336, but he should fare better in the role this season. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (spike in value).

Catchers:

Yasmani Grandal - Grandal was promoted from Triple-A Tucson in early-June only to last two days in the majors. He was called up again Friday and should stick this time with Nick Hundley getting sent down to the minors. Grandal was the top prospect received by San Diego from Cincinnati in the Mat Latos trade. Grandal hit .330/.438/.515 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 194 AB in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. He is now going from one extreme to another in Petco Park, and he remains unproven against major league competition, though he did blast his first two home runs Saturday. He projects as a high-average hitter with the potential to hit 20 homers at the major league level who is solid defensively. Mixed: $6; NL: $17.

Ramon Hernandez - Hernandez, on the disabled list since May 25 with a strained left hand, took 30 swings off a batting tee Tuesday and should go on a rehab assignment shortly. Wilin Rosario will continue to collect the majority of the starts behind the plate for the Rockies in Hernandez's absence. When Hernandez returns, look for him to be a part-time catcher as Rosario has been fairly solid in his absence, providing power, albeit with a low batting average. In addition, it's also possible that Hernandez is dealt as Rosario is locked in as the Rockies' starting catcher. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Erik Kratz - The Phillies called up Kratz to replace Brian Schneider as Carlos Ruiz's backup after Schneider sprained his ankle in game two of Sunday's doubleheader. Kratz, who has been on the Triple-A/ major league shuttle a few times this season, should serve as left-handed power off the bench. He hit 15 homers in 358 at-bats for Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Michael McKenry - While Rod Barajas continues to deal with a bone bruise on his knee, McKenry made his fifth consecutive start Thursday. McKenry has thrived with regular playing time the last five games, batting 9-for-17 with two homers, six RBI and two walks in that span. Barajas returned form his injury Friday, and it looks as if he if won't require a DL stint, but McKenry may have earned a bump in playing time with his recent hot streak. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.
 
First Basemen:
 
Lance Berkman - Berkman, who had his torn meniscus surgically repaired on May 25 and was expected to miss 8-to-10 weeks, will rejoin the Cardinals on Sunday to continue his rehab. The good news, if there is such a case given the surgery he had, is that no torn ACL was reported as had first been rumored. The hope is that Berkman will be back at the end of July and regain his spot as the team's starting first baseman. Big Puma had a rebound campaign last year and was off to a solid spot before he got injured. Mixed: $8; NL: $22 (early speculative bid, will rise as he gets closer to returning).

Ike Davis - It was just a few weeks ago that the Mets were thinking of sending down Davis, but his recent stretch of hot play has ended those discussions. Davis blasted a three-run home run Saturday, giving him six long balls and 24 RBI in the month, all of which along with a .333 batting average has come since June 8. In addition, he is no longer on the inter-state, upping is batting average above .200 and now has 11 HR and 45 RBI. The change for Davis came when he started to be more aggressive at the plate, which has paid off nicely for him and the Mets. Mixed: $11; NL: $35 (likely owned but major upgrade in value lately).

Ryan Howard - I profiled Howard last week, but now that he started a rehab assignment Thursday and should be back within three weeks, he warrants another mention. Howard (Achilles) said that he believes his calf won't be 100 percent this year and likely will be limited running this week, but since his game is power and not speed, that may not be a huge concern. Howard likely will need the full 20 days in rehab games, meaning that Howard could be back shortly after the All-Star break. His numbers declined a bit the past two years from his 2007-2009 peak, but he is still a solid power/RBI threat. Mixed: $9: NL: $25 (bid to rise as he gets closer to returning).
 
Anthony Rizzo - What was speculated last week became official this week as Rizzo was called up Monday and in the Cubs' lineup Tuesday. Rizzo has obliterated Triple-A pitching, posting a .342/.405/.696 line with 23 home runs and 62 RBI. He ripped up Triple-A pitching last year, but struggled mightily after his call up last year, which creates some questions as to how high his upside is. Rizzo blasted his first home run Saturday and it looks like he will play just about every day against both lefties and righties. Mixed: $8: NL: $22.

Second Base:
 
Alexi Amarista - Amarista mashed in two home runs against the Rockies from the eight hole, gathering a total of four RBI in the process during the Padres 8-4 win. The homers were Amarista's second and third of the season, and since getting regular playing time dating back to June 24 he has raised his average from .227 to .253. He is seeing time at second, short and left field and should be in the lineup almost every day. Mixed: $2: NL: $7.

Mark Ellis - Ellis, out since mid-May with a sprained MCL and a bone bruise on the outside of his knee, began a four-game rehab assignment with High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday. The Dodgers plan to activate Ellis on Thursday, and he would likely return to his starting role at second base. In such a case, Jerry Hairston would likely move over to third base on most nights, cutting into at-bats for Juan Uribe and Elian Herrera. He is the prototypical No. 2 hitter who will hit for average and rack up plenty of runs scored; just don't expect any power or speed. Mixed: $2; NL: $7

Daniel Murphy - Like his teammate Davis, there were calls for Murphy to be sent down due to his slump at the plate. LIke Davis, Murphy has gotten hot at the plate to quell those discussions. After going over 320 at-bats without a home run, Murphy hit three in three games this past week with nine RBI. This type of power production is a rarity for Murphy, but no one is complaining one bit. He's also hit safely in five straight games and has his overall batting average up to a much more respectable .280 mark for the season while also playing solid defense in the field. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (though likely owned in single-league formats).

Chase Utley - Utley, who was profiled the past three weeks and has been sidelined since the beginning of the season due to his knee woes, gets another mention this week as he was activated off the DL and called up to Philadelphia. Utley immediately resumes second base duties for the Phillies, but he will be rested liberally to make sure his knees stay as healthy as possible. Hoping for Utley to replicate the numbers of his 2005-2009 heyday is unrealistic, but despite his injury woes and drop in production the last two seasons, Utley still has above-average power and speed for a second baseman and should hit around .270. Mixed: $9; NL: $24.
 
Shortstops:
 
Chris Nelson - Nelson's torrid June has upped his value in nearly all formats. He's raised his average 54 points since returning from the DL June 1, accumulating all five of his homers and 16 of his 23 RBI during the month. With Nolan Arenado slated to remain in the minors for the rest of the season, Nelson will share third base with Jordan Pacheco and play second on days where Pacheco handles the hot corner. Mixed: $7; NL: likely owned

Third Basemen:

Pedro Alvarez - Alvarez, who was hitting just .189 on June 5, is now hitting .226 through Saturday. Alvarez batted .262 with seven home runs, 20 RBI and a .926 OPS in June to provide the Pirates with some needed offense. He still strikes out too much - 82 in 238 at-bats - and walks too infrequently - 24 in 262 plate appearances - but his ability to hit for power gives him some leeway and rope in Pittsburgh and likely means that he will remain in the lineup for as long as he drives the ball over the wall. Mixed: $14; NL: already owned.

Scott Moore - The Astros purchased Moore's contract from Triple-A Oklahoma City this past week. Moore, who was hitting .318 with 10 homers and 54 RBI with the Redhawks, provides the Astros with some added infield depth. He got the start at second base on Thursday to put another lefty bat in the lineup, but don't look for him to play there very often.

Drew Sutton - Sutton was claimed off waivers by the Pirates last Sunday and has seen solid playing time in left field with Jose Tabata and Alex Presley struggling. Sutton batted a modest .271/.314/.354 in 48 at-bats with Tampa Bay this season before being designated for assignment. He also can play all over the infield and provide the Pirates with some defensive flexibility. Manager Clint Hurdle isn't afraid to go with a hand that's hot, so Sutton should continue to play for as long as he produces. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Outfielders:

Jason Bay - Bay, sidelined since June 15 with a concussion, could resume baseball activities by the weekend. He began by riding a stationary bike Wednesday to verify that he's symptom-free with activity before advancing to running and then baseball activities. Bay has had an injury-prone past two seasons with the Mets, suffering a concussion that last July that sidelined him for the year, a rib injury that kept him from April 23 to June 6 and now, this concussion. As far as getting back into the lineup, it still appears likely that Bay will be out until the All-Star break. Mixed: $3; NL: $9

Tyler Colvin - Although Colvin has performed more impressively than the pricier Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton, the team likely wants to get some more return on those two players before vaulting Colvin ahead of them on the depth chart. Even so, if Colvin can continue to hit as he has lately, when he has started several games in a row, he may force the Rockies to put money aside and play the better player. Mixed: $4; NL: $13 (likely owned but increase in PT warrants uptick in value).

Mark DeRosa - DeRosa, who had been on the DL since April 28 with a strained oblique, was activated Monday. Prior to being sidelined, DeRosa hit .081 in 13 games with the Nationals this season. DeRosa is a utility player and will be more likely to appear off the bench than in the starting lineup. However he could get the occasional start at 3B when the Nationals choose to rest Ryan Zimmerman and his inflamed AC joint. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Laynce Nix - Nix, out since early-May with a calf injury, could begin a minor league rehab assignment soon. Nix had a small setback last week, but is apparently making strides in his recovery again. When he returns to the Phillies, Nix will likely be a part-time outfielder and see the occasional start at first base. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Jason Pridie - Pridie was called up from Triple-A on Saturday to take Jim Thome's spot on the roster after Thome was sent to the Orioles in a trade Saturday. Pridie will add depth in the outfield but doesn't figure to see meaningful playing time. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Scott Van Slyke - The Dodgers recalled Van Slyke from Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday. Van Slyke, who was a 14th-round pick out of high school by LA back in 2005, had a breakthrough campaign last year at Double-A and carried that performance into this season to earn a promotion in early-May. He appeared in 17 games with the Dodgers when Juan Rivera was sidelined. Though Van Slyke posted just a .574 OPS, he figures to see action in right field with Andre Ethier dealing with an oblique injury and the Dodgers also without Matt Kemp. Kemp is due back on July 13, at which point Van Slyke will likely be sent down. Mixed: No; NL: $2.