RotoWire Partners

FAAB Factor - NL: Hanson Back in Business

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: 8/19/12


Starting Pitching:

Jhoulys Chacin: Chacin (pectoral), profiled last week, gets another mention, as he will be activated off the disabled list and start Tuesday against the Mets. He last pitched in the majors on May 1 and has been sidelined since then with an irritated nerve in his right pectoral. He made his last rehab start Thursday, allowing one run and five hits over seven innings, while throwing 91 pitches, 55 for strikes, with his fastball sitting in the low-90s. For now, the Rockies are expected to go with a five-man rotation, but given that they want to use a four-man staff, it will be interesting to see who will be the odd man out. Our money is on Tyler Chatwood. Mixed: $4; NL: $11.

Jamie Garcia: Garcia, also highlighted last week, receives another mention as he threw 93 pitches, 60 for strikes, over five innings for Triple-A Memphis in what was his fourth and final rehab start Tuesday. Garcia, who has not pitched for the Cardinals since June 5 as he dealt with both shoulder and elbow ailments, will be activated and start Sunday. Considering his normal stuff, it made sense that he was dealing with an injury when he was sidelined as he had just three wins and a 4.48 ERA. Now that he is believed to be truly healthy, he should provide St. Louis and his fantasy owners with a nice boost the last six weeks of the season. Mixed: $11; NL: $30.

Tommy Hanson: Hanson, who was mentioned last week, gets another note this week as he was activated off the disabled list and started Friday against the Dodgers. He was sidelined with a strained back and needed just one five-inning, 78-pitch rehab start last Sunday before returning to the Braves' rotation. Atlanta is going to a six-man rotation for the remainder of August since the team is in the midst of a 19-games-in-19-days stretch along with Kris Medlen's work since moving into the rotation and Atlanta not wanting to move him back to the bullpen. (Should still be owned in all formats).

Lucas Harrell: Harrell pitched eight innings of one-run ball Tuesday, scattering six hits and a pair of walks among six strikeouts, in the Astros' 10-1 victory over the similarly futile Cubs. Fortunately for Houston, Harrell's abilities deflect futility as he's allowed two or fewer runs in all seven starting nods since the All-Star break. In the second half, he's 3-2 with a 2.06 ERA, 1.282 WHIP, and 38:20 K:BB ratio in 43.2 innings, lowering his ERA from 4.56 to 3.81. With his 10th win of the season, he's provided the team with more than a quarter of their 39 wins in 2012. Despite the poor team around him, continue to roll Harrell out there as he gives Houston the best shot at winning. Mixed: $7; NL: $18 (likely owned but a spike in value).

Jeremy Hefner: The Mets will utilize a six-man rotation beginning Sunday, when Hefner starts in D.C. against the Nationals. Exempt from this arrangement is R.A. Dickey, who will continue to pitch every fifth game. So after Hefner, Dickey should come back on standard rest Monday against Colorado at Citi Field, followed by Chris Young on Tuesday and Matt Harvey on Wednesday. This will allow Harvey to stay under the 170-inning limit set by the organization and give Johan Santana and Young additional rest as they come back from their respective shoulder surgeries. Hefner pitched fairly well when Johan Santana was out due to his ankle injury, and with the rumors that Santana could be shut down early due to his post-no-hitter struggles, Hefner should remain in the rotation for the remainder of the season, though Jenrry Mejia could also get a look. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

John Lannan/Chien Ming-Wang: Lannan, who pitched well in two spot starts for the Nationals, could be back with the team by the end of the month if Stephen Strasburg misses a handful of starts as expected. Lannan's major league numbers, albeit in a small sample size, have been markedly better than how he has pitched for Triple-A Syracuse, so don't overrate him even if he does land in the Nationals' rotation. If Lannan doesn't replace Strasburg, it could be Wang who does so. Wang, out since early July with a strained right hip, is inching closer to a return. After a brief setback last week, Wang was able to make another rehab start and should be ready for the majors after a few more outings. It may come down to Lannan or Wang as the replacement for Strasburg if or when he is shut down. Both - Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early speculative bid).

Shawn Marcum: Marcum was profiled the past two weeks when he threw a bullpen session, then a simulated game followed by his first rehab start. He gets another mention this week as he tossed a second rehab start and it was announced that he will make a third minor-league rehab start before rejoining the Brewers. Expect him to make his return sometime during the Brewers' series with the Pirates next weekend. Marcum has not pitched for the Brewers since he went 7.2 innings on June 14. He is 5-3 on the season with a 3.39 ERA, building off his strong 2011 campaign and alleviating the concerns following his very late season fade. Mixed: $4; NL: $11.

Jennry Mejia: Mejia could appear in the Mets' rotation sometime during September. Though his long-term future is likely as a reliever, he's seen success since being moved back to a starting role at Triple-A Buffalo, allowing two earned runs in 18.1 innings over four starts. Mejia, who returned from Tommy John surgery this season and failed in his conversion to relieving, could get the call to limit the innings burden on Matt Harvey and provide insurance if Johan Santana is shut down prior to the season ending. When he is on, Mejia uses a low-to-mid 90s cutting/sinking fastball, plus changeup, and work-in-progress curveball. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early speculative bid).

Guillermo Moscoco: Moscoso was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Wednesday to start against the Brewers. Drew Pomeranz (chest soreness) was moved back to Sunday, allowing Moscoso to get the spot start. However, Moscoso has been terrible as both a starter and a long reliever with the Rockies this season, going 0-1 with a 8.23 ERA in 10 appearances. He wasn't faring much better as a starter at Colorado Springs, going 8-5 with a 6.25 ERA in 16 nods. Moscoco allowed four runs over four innings Wednesday and may stick with the team as a long reliever due to the Rockies using a four-man staff, at least until Jhoulys Chacin returns Tuesday. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Jacob Turner: The Marlins are considering using a six-man rotation if they promote Turner next week to start one game of Wednesday's doubleheader. Turner, who came to Miami from Detroit in the Anibal Sanchez deal, is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 16:12 K:BB ratio in 27.1 innings over five starts with Triple-A New Orleans after pitching well for Triple-A Toledo while with the Tigers. He has made six major league starts over his career with very limited success, including a career 8.28 ERA. Much of that stems from awful control and allowing a number of home runs, including three in two innings against the Angels earlier this month. Still, Turner is just 21 years old and a top-25 prospect. He can touch 95 mph with his fastball and also has a very good change-up and breaking ball. Turner could see better success following his move to the NL. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Relief Pitchers:

Michael Bowden/Scott Elbert/Erik Hacker/Will Harris/Jared Hughes/Tom Layne/Mike Zagurski: This week's batch of middle-relief promotions/activations/trade acquisitions took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Colorado, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Arizona. All of them will pitch in middle relief for their respective teams. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Francisco Cordero: Cordero, who has been out since August 2 with a sprained ligament to a toe on his right foot, is feeling better and hopes to be able to go on a minor league rehab assignment soon. That assignment may last 10 days or so, meaning that Houston could wait until the rosters expand to activate Cordero. Even when he does return, with Houston looking towards the future, look for Cordero to set up Wilton Lopez, rather than the other way around, though he might see the occasional save opportunity. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Kameron Loe/Manny Parra: Loe got the save in Milwaukee's win last Sunday over the Astros. The Brewers' bullpen has been in shambles lately, with Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford both falling apart. Jim Henderson threw 33 pitches the night before, prompting the team to turn to Loe. In addition, Manny Parra started the ninth inning Thursday with the Brewers holding a three-run lead, but was replaced with two on and one out by Jim Henderson, who notched the save. What both of these instances show is that the Milwaukee bullpen is still in a state of flux and almost anyone could grab a save. Loe (Mixed: $1; NL: $4); Parra (Mixed: $0; NL: $2).

Adam Ottavino: Ottavino has been excellent in August, posting a 1.32 ERA over 13.2 innings. He's added two wins to his ledger in the last week and is beginning to merit more consideration in deeper NL-only leagues as a result of his ability to eat innings as a reliever in conjunction with the team's four-man rotation. Ottavino now has 56 strikeouts in 53.1 innings, and his last six outings have all been of the multi-inning variety. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Jon Rauch: Rauch relieved an ineffective Frank Francisco twice in the past seven days, notching a save in each chance. Francisco threw a perfect ninth inning Saturday to get the save, so no change is imminent. That said, Rauch has been the Mets' best reliever the past two months since June 10, lowering his ERA from 4.62 to 3.07 and WHIP from 1.29 to 0.947, despite pain in his knees. Rauch is next in line if Francisco struggles again, adding to his value. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (save chances speculation).

Shawn Tolleson: Tolleson has not allowed a run while surrendering just two hits over his last nine innings. His big league career got off to a rocky start (7.71 ERA in his first eight appearances), but he's been excellent lately. He had a ridiculous 105:18 K:BB in just 69 innings in the minors last year, so seeing him pitch the eighth or ninth inning at some point in the future wouldn't be a huge surprise. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Catchers:

Rob Brantly: Brantly, who was acquired by the Marlins from the Tigers in the Anibal Sanchez trade last month, was a somewhat surprising call-up his week. The 23-year-old backstop hit .298/.340/.412 with five homers in 362 at-bats while splitting time between Double- and Triple-A this season. He had turned it on with Triple-A New Orleans, posting a .947 OPS in 54 plate appearances, prompting the promotion. Brantly, a third-round pick in the 2010 draft by Detroit, is more known for his defense, so if he is able to mix in some offense, as he has in the minors, it enhances his baseball prospects and gives him fantasy value. He likely will back up the slumping John Buck, replacing Brett Hayes, who was optioned to the minors. If Brantly plays well, he could open 2013 as the starting catcher in Miami. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Yasmani Grandal: Grandal, sidelined by a strained right oblique since July 31, was profiled last week when he hit off a tee, played long-toss and finally hit on the field. He completed a brief rehab assignment, was activated from the 15-day DL and started at catcher Friday against the Giants. Grandal was hitting .312 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in his first 24 games in the big leagues and should be activated ASAP. (Just an FYI as still should be owned in all formats).

Kelly Shoppach: The Mets acquired Shoppach from the Red Sox in a waiver claim this week. With Boston looking to make room for Ryan Lavarnway behind the plate, Shoppach was expendable. New York has been looking for a solid right-handed batter to platoon with Josh Thole, and they get it in Shoppach, who hits southpaws well. Shoppach, who hit .250 with five home runs, 12 doubles and 17 RBI in 48 games for Boston, had a career .894 OPS with 31 home runs in 492 career at-bats against lefties before the trade. In addition, his ability to hit for power could enable him to see time against righties and cut into Thole's time behind the plate. Shoppach gets the next six weeks to audition for a spot in New York for the 2013 season. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

First Basemen:

Brandon Belt: Belt has been on a major roll in August, upping his average from .237 to .267. Part of that jump might be attributable to him finally being used every day, but whether the streak came as a result of him playing every day or him playing every day resulted in the streak, he has earned the playing time he is getting. The power numbers are still lacking, but Belt should have a chance to drive in runs playing daily, which is something the Giants will desperately need with Melky Cabrera out for the year due to his 50-game suspension. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (value spike).

Lance Berkman: Berkman, out with soreness in his right knee, will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday. That same knee was operated on earlier this year, costing him two months of playing time. Berkman lasted three weeks after coming off the DL before soreness in the knee landed him right back on the DL on August 3. Maybe the rest this time will help, but given the amount of time he has missed as well as issues and setbacks he has had with it, consider us skeptical. Mixed: $8; NL: $22 (early spec bid presuming he is healthy).

Garrett Jones: Jones is having a big August, posting a .364 batting average and 1.058 OPS with three home runs and 16 RBI. He now has 19 home runs and 65 RBI, putting him in reasonable range of his career-highs of 21 and 86 set in 2010. Jones looked to be on the verge of losing a good portion of his playing time when the Pirates acquired Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez, and called up Starling Marte, but his production has forced Pittsburgh to keep him in the lineup. Mixed: $11; NL: should be owned.

James Loney: Loney went 1-for-3 on Saturday with his fourth home run of the season and second in three games. He went all of June and July without a long ball, so this qualifies as a power surge for the Dodgers' first baseman. Perhaps this helps give him a few extra starts at the expense of Juan Rivera. In addition, Loney had a huge August (1.066 OPS) last year, so a big finish, like he had last season, isn't completely out of the question. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (in case he was waived during his struggles).

Matthew McBride: McBride was profiled two weeks ago when he was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs. He was enjoying a breakout season in his third campaign at Triple-A, batting an incredible .354/.386/.561 with 10 homers and 77 RBI. With Michael Cuddyer (oblique) landing back on the DL, McBride, who was sent down this week to make room for Cuddyer, could be heading back to the Rockies. If he does, look for McBride to see spot starts at first base when Tyler Colvin is in the outfield. Mixed: $0; NL: $4.

Second Base:

Emilio Bonifacio: Bonifacio, who was sidelined from May 18 through July 13 with a torn ligament in his left thumb that required surgery, lasted just three weeks before he re-injured the thumb. Initially, reports were that he would miss the remainder of the season. Those dire predictions proved to be unfounded and his time of absence was revised to just 2-to-3 weeks. Bonifacio progressed in the past nine days from swinging off a tee, to taking BP, starting and beginning a rehab assignment, and finally being activated from the DL on Saturday night. Now that he is back, there could still be one change as manager Ozzie Guillen is worried Bonifacio could be at a bigger risk of re-injuring the thumb at second base so he may move him to the outfield. Bonifacio has only played 15 games at second so far this season, so if Guillen gets his way, Bonifacio's keeper league owners will lose some 2013 position flexibility for the speedster. However, that won't impact his value for the last six weeks or so of the season. Mixed: $35; NL: $65 (bid in case he was waived when injured and season-ending diagnosis came out).

DJ LeMahieu: LeMahieu went 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored in the Rockies' 5-3 win over the Marlins on Thursday. He continues to impress at the plate when he's in the lineup, as the outing marked his fifth multi-hit game over his last seven starts. He's currently holding off Chris Nelson for the starting job at second base. However, once his hot streak ends, don't expect LeMahieu to compensate with any counting stats as he eventually will be displaced when Troy Tulowitzki (groin) returns and Josh Rutledge moves to second base. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Andrelton Simmons: The Braves expect that Simmons (finger) will need a total of six weeks from the point of his DL trip to recover, a span that includes a potential rehab assignment. That would put him roughly at an August 24 return date. However, he has not yet been cleared to do baseball activities and is limited to physical therapy. Due to that reason and the approaching roster expansion deadline, the Braves may wait a week and make someone else possibly playoff-eligible. For now, Paul Janish wlll continue to man shortstop for Atlanta. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (early speculative bid).

Rickie Weeks: Overall, Weeks has had a disappointing season, but lately, he is doing his best to salvage it. He has gone on a tear recently, raising his average from .190 on July 21 to .223 through Saturday's game. In July, Weeks posted a .272/.380/.533 line, but he's been even better in August. With 13 HR, 44 RBI and 53 runs, the counting stats are there, but now with him raising his batting average, the full package for Weeks, including his position in the field, is on display. (Value spike in case you can acquire him from an owner focused on just his overall batting average).

Shortstops:

Willie Bloomquist: Bloomquist (back) is not expected to come off the disabled list on August 24, the first day he is eligible, as D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson is not very confident that Bloomquist will be ready to play when he can be reinstated. The team is looking for the "sparkplug" that he is to its offense. Bloomquist is hitting .300 this year with 21 doubles and 22 RBI in 323 at-bats. When he does return, with Stephen Drew still struggling, Bloomquist could see copious amounts of playing time at shortstop. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (early bid).

Ian Desmond: Desmond, sidelined since July 22 with a torn oblique, was activated off the disabled list and was in the lineup Friday against the Mets. He was able return without a rehab stint and made great progress the past week to be able to be activated. Prior to being sidelined, Desmond was hitting .286/.322/.503 with 17 HR, 53 RBI, and 51 runs in 364 at-bats. He was on fire in July prior to being sidelined, posting a .356/.431/.644 slash line. (Just an FYI as still should be owned in all leagues; if not, go $45/$75).

Josh Harrison: Harrison figures to see steady playing time for however long Neil Walker is out with a dislocated finger. Harrison, who qualifies at second base, third base, shortstop, and the outfield, might not be a long-term answer, but he has the ability to put up a decent average for a week or two at a time for fantasy owners. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Donnie Murphy: Murphy (strained left hamstring) was activated from the disabled list Saturday night. He's hit just .194/.267/.403 with three homers and eight RBI in limited action this season (67 at-bats) but gives Florida a utility infielder. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Troy Tulowitzki: Tulowitzki, limited to 47 games due to a left groin injury that required surgery in June, could embark on a rehab assignment before the end of August. He plans to accompany the Rockies on their upcoming road trip to New York and Chicago, and then he could begin a rehab assignment the final week of August. The minor league season ends in the beginning of September, so Tulowitzki could be back in Denver around then. Given his ability to get hot and carry a fantasy team, run, don't walk, and grab Tulo on the hopes you get a full month from him in September. Mixed: $25; NL: $55 (early spec bid as he will go for the max when he does return).

Jack Wilson: Wilson, on the 15-day disabled list with a dislocated right pinkie since July 14, had a cortisone shot last Sunday and will begin a rehab stint with Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. Wilson, who was batting .169 before he was sidelined, expects to be back with the Braves on September 1. In the meantime, Paul Janish will continue to fill in as the starting shortstop, backed up by Tyler Pastornicky, while Wilson and Andrelton Simmons (finger) remain out with injuries. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Third Basemen:

Yamaico Navarro: Navarro was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday. Navarro, who played 25 games with the Bucs earlier in the year but posted just a .499 OPS in 51 plate appearances, will add some depth to the Pirates' infield while Neil Walker deals with a dislocated right pinkie finger. He'll likely be used in a backup capacity and projects to see only a few starts, even if Walker requires a DL stint. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Placido Polanco: Polanco, sidelined since July 23 with lower back inflammation, was mentioned last week when he began to hit and take groundballs, with the team feeding him the grounders. He started a three-game rehab stint with High-A Clearwater on Thursday and is expected to rejoin the Phillies on Monday against Cincinnati. Manager Charlie Manuel said earlier this week that it would be unlikely to see Polanco play everyday over the rest of the season. If that holds true, Polanco, who is hitting just .255 overall and has struggled since the All-Star break, will split time with Kevin Frandsen when he returns. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Pablo Sandoval: Sandoval, out since July 28 with a strained left hamstring, was profiled last week when he started a rehab assignment with High-A San Jose. Sandoval completed that assignment and was activated by the Giants on Monday. Before being sidelined, the Panda, who missed six weeks with a broken hamate bone in his left hand, had put up a solid .299/.352/.491 triple-slash with eight home runs and 33 RBI in 234 at-bats this season. His value to the Giants spiked this week with the suspension of Melky Cabrera, as Sandoval should bat in a prime, run-producing spot in the batting order. (Just an FYI as should still be owned in all leagues).

Outfielders:

Charlie Blackmon: Blackmon was called up Saturday to replace Carlos Gonzalez (bereavement list) on the 25-man roster. Blackmon's stay probably won't last long since Carlos Gonzalez will return next week, though the possibly season-ending injury to Michael Cuddyer, who re-aggravated his oblique strain Saturday, could extend Blackmon's stint with the team. Blackmon has a .303/.385/.482 batting line at Triple-A Colorado Springs this season and is a decent prospect, as he showed in a brief stint in the majors before he was injured, but the Rockies already have a lot of talent in the outfield. Mixed: No; NL: $0 (more in keeper leagues).

Gregor Blanco: Pushed to a bench role following the acquisition of Hunter Pence, Blanco had been limited mainly to pinch-hitting duties since the start of August. The suspension of Melky Cabrera has changed all of that, however, as Blanco has been seeing the bulk of Cabrera's playing time in left field. Blanco got off to a hot start, hitting .280 as of mid-June, but slumped all the way to .232 before Pence was acquired. Over 305 at-bats this season, Blanco holds a poor .239/.335/.348 slash line with just five home runs and 28 RBI. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Andrew Brown: Brown is a candidate for promotion with Michael Cuddyer landing on the DL due to him aggravating his strained right oblique muscle. Brown had a cup of coffee with the Rockies in July, going 5-for-25 in 11 games. If he is promoted, look for him to see the occasional start in the outfield. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Justin Christian: Christian was recalled from Triple-A Fresno on Friday. Christian showed little in a stint with the Giants earlier in the season, going 6-for-38, but provides outfield depth following Melky Cabrera's 50-game suspension. Gregor Blanco looks to be the everyday starter in left field, even with the addition of Christian, who will see the occasional start. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

John Mayberry/Juan Pierre: Mayberry, who homered Saturday, is seeing the bulk of the action in center field with Nate Schierholtz out 3-to-4 weeks with a broken toe. In addition, Pierre is seeing a spike in playing time as he is playing nearly every day in left field. Laynce Nix is seeing the occasional start in left and center, but Mayberry and Pierre look to be the primary beneficiaries of Schierholtz's injury. Mayberry (Mixed: $5; NL: $14; already owned but gets a spike in value); Pierre (Mixed: $4; NL; $11; mainly for stolen base potential).

Jose Tabata: Tabata will return to the majors no later than as a September call-up, according to Pirates GM Neal Huntington. He is having a big August for Triple-A Indianapolis, and after a slow start, he has upped his OPS to .727. He still isn't hitting for power, but the attitude and effort, which were issues in the majors and when he was first sent down, are no longer problems. When Tabata is called up, he should split time with Travis Snider in right field. Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (early speculative bid).