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FAAB Factor - NL: Closing Opportunities

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 - 9/16/12
 
Starting Pitching:

Chris Carpenter - Carpenter threw 70 pitches Monday and reported things going well. His next simulated game came Saturday, where he threw 95 pitches. If Carpenter does not have any setbacks, he may start this week, which looked in general like a major long-shot when he had surgery in mid-July to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome. Carpenter hypothetically could pitch as many as three games this season, without any setbacks. Be cautious because his pitch count will definitely be monitored in a return and some rust can be expected as well. If he pitches in anywhere near the form as he has been capable of, the Cardinals will receive a huge boost to their rotation in what is shaping up to be a crazy wild-card race. Mixed: $3; NL: $9. (more value in keeper leagues)

Jeurys Familia - Familia, profiled the last two weeks, gets another mention as it was announced he will get a spot start the last week of the season. Familia, who for now will work in the pen, hit a bit of a rough patch in late July, but he recovered well from it with a 35:9 K:BB over his last five outings. Familia finished 9-9 with a 4.73 ERA in 28 starts for Triple-A Buffalo. When he is on, Familia mixes a late moving, mid-90s fastball with a developing slider and changeup. His strikeout potential is huge, but he's going to have to learn to limit the walks he allows. Once Familia's control is a little stronger, he could do some serious damage in the majors. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Lance Lynn - Lynn, who got off to a tremendous start but faltered after the All-Star break and was moved to the bullpen in mid-August, started Thursday against the Dodgers, replacing the injured Jake Westbrook (oblique). He allowed just one run on five hits in six innings but Westbrook may miss just the one start, plus Jamie Garcia is expected to start Saturday and St. Louis could turn to Shelby Miller or Trevor Rosenthal, so it may just be this one start now and done for Lynn. Even if it is, Lynn could still get a start late in the year if the Cardinals need a fresh arm. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Kyle McPherson - McPherson, called up when the rosters expanded on September 1, could get a spot start or two before season's end. McPherson has displayed the most electric stuff of any Pittsburgh callup in September, using his 95 mph fastball. He's allowed two runs in 10 relief innings, striking out 10 while walking two. Interestingly, the Pirates have lost all six of the games in which he's pitched. Depending upon matchup, McPherson could prove worthy of fantasy consideration for his start. Mixed: $0; NL: $3

Jennry Mejia - Mejia, profiled the last two weeks, gets another mention as he moved into the starting rotation Saturday against the Brewers. That outing did not go well, as he struggled with his command and control, allowing five runs on six hits and five walks in just three innings. Though Mejia's long-term future is likely as a reliever, he had success after being moved back to a starting role at Triple-A Buffalo in early-August. Mejia, who returned from Tommy John surgery this season and failed in his conversion to relieving, uses a low-to-mid 90s cutting/sinking fastball, plus-changeup and work-in-progress curveball. Despite the poor first start, he should see a few more turns in the rotation down the stretch. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Ricky Nolasco - Nolasco tossed a four-hitter Sunday with six strikeouts and one walk as Miami hammered Washington 8-0. While notching the fourth shutout of his career, Nolasco secured his third consecutive victory, during which he's allowed one earned across 25 innings with 16 strikeouts and a single walk after allowing four runs or more in seven of his previous eight outings. This hot streak has lowered his ERA from 5.07 to 4.40 and WHIP from 1.45 to 1.35. He'll have another shot at extending his strong finish to the season this Sunday against Cincinnati. Mixed: $7; NL: $17.

Ben Sheets - Sheets, out since late-August with right shoulder inflammation, threw two innings in a simulated game Monday and was activated Saturday. He is expected pitch out of the bullpen, though he might get a spot start or two down the stretch. After a strong start following his return to the majors, Sheets went 1-4 with a 5.34 ERA over five starts in August, likely due to the shoulder fatigue. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Relief Pitchers:

Phillippe Aumont - Aumont has a successful first run in the majors, notching four holds and a save since his call up in August. All of those holds and the save have come since September 3, as manager Charlie Manuel has gained confidence in the young righty. Aumont's one bobble on Thursday came in his third game in as many days and fifth in six days, so he gets a mini-pass from it. Aumont has found better success as a reliever following his transition from starting, with refining his command and control the key to his future success. For now, Jonathan Papelbon blocks Aumont, but his name is one to keep in mind for down the road. Mixed: $2; NL: $7

Jonathan Broxton/J.J. Hoover - Broxton notched the save on Tuesday while Hoover collected his first big-league save Wednesday against the Pirates, working around a hit and striking out a batter in a scoreless ninth. Aroldis Chapman is getting a few days off for dead arm, so Broxton, who came over from KC at the trade deadline, and Hoover, who has carried over his minor-league success to the majors, could see some more chances in the short term, though manager Dusty Baker will probably play matchups in using them. Broxton - Mixed: $3; NL: $9; Hoover - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Enerio Del Rosario/Stephen Fife/Clay Hensley/Bryan Morris/Josh Outman/Chad Qualls/Rick VandenHurk - This week's batch of middle relief promotions and activations took place in Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Colorado and Pittsburgh, (2x). All of them will pitch in middle relief for their respective teams. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

David Hernandez - Hernandez tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning Wednesday to pick up his second save in as many games. On top of the two saves, he's struck out three batters and only allowed one baserunner over the last two games. J.J. Putz is not expected to miss much more time with his back injury, but Arizona knows they can turn to Hernandez whenever Putz is sidelined. The one piece of bad news that came out last week was that the D-Backs are planning on exercising the $6.5 million team option on Putz this offseason, meaning that Hernandez will be in a set-up role again next year. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Drew Storen - Storen notched his second save of the year Wednesday against the Mets, entering with two on and two out in the ninth and finishing it off. Tyler Clippard had pitched the last two days and four of the last five, so he was probably just getting some rest, meaning it's probably not time to jump on the Storen bandwagon again. That said, Clippard has been struggling of late, giving up five runs in those five games, so there could be some opportunity for Storen, who has allowed one run in his last 12 appearances, to win his job back entering the postseason. Mixed: $4; NL: $13.

Huston Street - Street, sidelined since August 11 with a strained calf, felt good after completing a simulated game and fielding practice Wednesday. This effort came on the heels of him pitching a sim game but not fielding his position Monday. Street was slated to be activated on September 2 but felt soreness in his calf while running the Friday before that, which shut him down for a bit. Luke Gregerson has done an excellent job filling in for Street, notching seven saves while he has been sidelined. If he comes back, Street will take a 20.1-inning scoreless streak off the DL with him. He has not allowed a run since June 17 and is a perfect 21-for-21 in save chances with 45K in just 36IP this season. He has used his slider more, compensating for a one mile-per-hour drop in fastball velocity, which has resulted in more groundballs.Mixed: $8; NL: $22.

Catchers:

Steve Hill/Carlos Corporan/Anthony Recker/Ali Solis- The parade of backup catcher call-ups continued this week in St. Louis, Houston, Chicago and San Diego. None of them will see extended time and will be used to give the starters a break as well as a pinch-hitter. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

First Basemen:

Brandon Belt - Belt drove in four runs while going 2-for-4 with a home run to lead the Giants past the Rockies on Tuesday. He slugged his sixth home run of the year while breaking the 50-RBI mark for the first time in his short career. Belt is 12-for-35 with two home runs and 12 RBI in September. Mixed: $15; NL: owned but gets an upgrade

Matt Carpenter - Carpenter started at second base and batted seventh Friday, blasting a home run in three at-bats. Playing Carpenter at second gives St. Louis their best possible lineup, but he's considered to be a defensive downgrade from Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso. We probably won't see this alignment too many more times, but if we do, Carpenter could enter next season with eligibility at four positions: outfield, first base, second base, and third base. He doesn't play every day, but has started five of the Cardinals' past seven games, and has a very solid September with 12 RBI. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Darin Ruf - Ruf led all players in the minor leagues with 38 home runs this season along with a 317 batting average and 104 RBI. He went on a tear in August with 20 home runs in 29 games. Ruf was not on the 40-man roster, but the Phillies rewarded him for his big season by adding him and calling him on Monday. The Phillies played Ruf in left field a bit in the minors since Ryan Howard blocks him at first base in the majors. He will play winter ball in Venezuela to get more work in the outfield this offseason. With Philly still in the Wild Card race, Ruf will be hard-pressed to see much action. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.
 
Second Base:

Elian Herrera - The parade of back-up shortstop call-ups continued this week in Los Angeles. Herrera won't see extended time and will be used as a utility infielder and as a pinch-hitter. Mixed: No. NL: $0.
 
Shortstops:

Chase d'Arnaud/Gil Valazquez - The parade of back-up shortstop call-ups continued this week in Pittsburgh and Florida. Neither will see extended time and each will be used as a utility infielder and as a pinch-hitter. Mixed: No. NL: $0.

Dee Gordon - Gordon, who had thumb surgery in early-July, was activated off the 60-day DL on Tuesday. With Hanley Ramirez now the starting shortstop for the Dodgers, there may not be a place in the starting lineup for Gordon. His speed could make him very useful for Los Angeles as a pinch-runner at the minimum, which is what occurred Saturday, as he stole a base in that role. In addition, Gordon is still viewed as the future starting shortstop in LA with Hanley likely to move to third base, though there is some talk of Gordon playing second base. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Third Basemen:

Jed Lowrie - Lowrie, out since July 15 with an ankle injury and a nerve injury in his right leg, was activated off the disabled list this weekafter a brief rehab stint. Lowrie will appear in roughly every other game until he is back to full strength. He will be wearing a brace on the right knee, which he doesn't expect to go away soon. Eventually, which has to come in the next three weeks, the Astros would like Lowrie to be able to fulfill an everyday role. Prior to getting hurt, Lowrie was second NL shortstops in HR with 14 and had a solid .343 OBA. Mixed: $7; NL: $17.

Outfielders:

Eric Young Jr. - Young, sidelined since August 19 with a strained left rib cage muscle, is likely to return sometime this upcoming week. Young was arguably the hottest hitter in the majors during the month of August, batting .406 with three homers and three stolen bases in 64 at-bats, before succumbing to the injury and landing on the DL. Given his smashing success leading up to the injury, he should be inserted as the team's starter in right field on most nights. Mixed: $9; NL: $25.