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FAAB Factor - NL: Nolan Arenado Gets the Call

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 - 4/28/13

Starting Pitching:

Henderson Alvarez, Marlins - Alvarez, sidelined with right shoulder inflammation, will start a rehab assignment at High-A Jupiter on Thursday. Alvarez had a solid spring, earning a 3.55 ERA and 11:3 K:BB ratio before being placed on the 15-day DL on March 31. It's uncertain how many rehab appearances he'll need, but the right-hander still appears on track for a mid-to-late May activation. When he returns, Alex Sanabia or Wade LeBlanc will likely be sent to the minors. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (spec bid)

Chris Capuano, Dodgers - Capuano (strained calf) threw a bullpen session Wednesday and appears on track to be activated from the DL when he's eligible to return May 3. He is slated to throw a simulated game Sunday and will make one minor-league start before he rejoins the LA rotation. Capuano had just moved into the rotation, replacing Zach Greinke, when he was injured in his first start. He posted a 3.72 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 162:54 K:BB ratio in 198.1 innings last season but stumbled down the stretch. For now, Matt Magill, who replaced Stephen Fife when Fife landed on the DL, will start in Capuano's spot. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Andrew Cashner, Padres - Cashner, filling in for the ill Clayton Richard, went four innings and allowed two runs on two hits and one walk, while striking out five, in his first start last Saturday against the Giants. The original thought was that this would be a one-time start, but with Tyson Ross landing on the DL with a subluxation in his left shoulder, Cashner will remain in the Padres' rotation. He built off that solid first start by earning his first win of the season after allowing just one run on five hits and one walk with five strikeouts over six innings against the Giants on Friday. Cashner's spring was abbreviated due to an offseason hunting accident in which he sustained a lacerated tendon in his left thumb. However, he progressed through his recovery much more quickly than expected, and now that he has built up his arm strength, he's a prime candidate to remain the rotation. Considering Cashner notched just 15.1 innings in 2011 and 69.2 frames last year due to injuries, the Padres may actually prefer that his workload doesn't increase too incredibly much in 2013. If he does remain a starter, he will likely be capped at 150 to 160 innings. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (with strong upside if he can somehow stay healthy due to strikeouts).

Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies - Chacin, sidelined with a mid-back strain, threw a successful bullpen session on Saturday. If all goes according to plan, he could return to the Rockies' rotation by the first week of May. He will likely only need one rehab start before the Rockies activate him. Prior to being sidelined, Chacin went 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA, 0.892 WHIP, and 16:6 K:BB ratio in 24.2 innings (four starts). (just an FYI as he should be owned in all leagues due to his hot start).

Tyler Chatwood, Rockies -Chatwood was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Wednesday and started in place of Jhoulys Chacin (mid-back strain). He allowed gave up five runs -- four earned -- on nine hits over six innings in a no-decision against Atlanta. Historically, Chatwood has been vulnerable to hard contact from leaving pitches up in the strike zone, a particular disastrous recipe when half of his starts will come at Coors Field. Chatwood earned the appointment to the big leagues by virtue of his standing as the most reliable starter for Colorado Springs, sporting a 1.84 ERA and striking out 17 batters over 14 innings. Chatwood is slated to start Monday against the Dodgers and could make one more start after that in place of Chacin. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Robbie Erlin, Padres -The Padres called up Erlin this week. This comes as a surprise with Erlin struggling a bit in the early going for Triple-A Tucson, pitching to a 4.73 ERA, 1.91 WHIP and 10:7 K:BB in 13.1 innings. History says he's much better than that -- Erlin struck out 80 batters and walked just 16 over 60.2 innings in a shortened 2012, as he missed three months with an elbow strain. For his career in the minors, he has a 2.73 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 10.0 K/9, so there's a lot to like about the young lefty's abilities. Erlin only throws in the low-90s along with a change up and curveball but relies many on his stellar control and mound presence. For now, he is slated to pitch in relief, but it's a pretty good bet that he will end up in the Padres' rotation. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Matt Magill, Dodgers - Magill was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque to start Saturday's game against the Brewers, against whom he allowed allowing two runs on four singles and two walks with seven strikeouts over 6.2 innings. Magill is filling in for Stephen Fife, who is headed to the disabled list with a shoulder injury. The Dodgers have had awful injury luck in the rotation, and Magill will become the ninth player to start a game this season. He struck out 168 batters in 146.1 innings with Double-A Chattanooga last season and has already fanned 23 batters in 19 innings with Triple-A Albuquerque this year. Magill could use more seasoning in the minors and may not quite be big-league ready yet, so it remains to be seen how long his stint in the majors will last with Chris Capuano close to returning and Ted Lilly activated. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Shawn Marcum, Mets - Marcum, sidelined since spring training with nerve inflammation in his neck, threw 52 pitches in five scoreless frames Monday in an outing at extending spring training and then made additional throws in the bullpen in order to reach his expected count of 70 to 75 pitches. He was activated off the disabled list Saturday to start against the Phillies, against whom he allowed three runs over four innings. Marcum got off to a good start last season with a 3.39 ERA and 1.17 WHIP through his first 13 starts, but an elbow injury knocked him out for over two months, and he struggled to find his control the rest of the way. Marcum has finished with an ERA of 3.70 or less in each of the last four seasons he has finished, but he has also topped 200 innings just once and 30 starts twice. He signed a one-year deal worth $4 million plus incentives this offseason with the Mets. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Jonathan Pettibone. Phillies - Pettibone was profiled last week along with Tyler Cloyd and Ethan Martin as possible replacements for John Lannan, who may miss two months with his quadriceps tendon injury, with Pettibone ending up getting the first call. Pettibone threw in an impressive 5.1 innings Monday against the Pirates, allowing two runs while striking out six and started Saturday against the Mets, allowing three runs in five innings to get the win. Although manager Charlie Manuel was reluctant to officially pencil in Pettibone for a rotation spot, if Pettibone can turn in another start similar to his debut, he'll eventually force the manager's hand. Pettitbone's surface numbers at Triple-A last year looked very good, but his walk rate jumped up from 2.08 BB/9IP at Double-A to 4.70 at Triple-A. Pettibone has been closer to a 2.0 BB/9IP over his minor league career, and he just turned 22 years old in the middle of last season, so there is time for him to make adjustments to bring his walk rate back down. He'll need to do that, as he does not generate a lot of strikeouts with his low-90s fastball. Pettibone's best pitch is his change-up and he has been working on adding a cutter to his repertoire. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Covered last week - Ted Lilly, Dodgers (activated and solid in first start. Should stick in LA rotation)

Relief Pitchers:

John Axford, Brewers - Axford could resume his role as closer in Milwaukee, though it sounds like manager Ron Roenicke is not ready to make that change now as Jim Henderson has pitched well since taking over for Axford. Since being removed from the role, Axford had made six straight scoreless appearances, tossing 5.1 innings, before allowing a home run to Andre Ethier in one inning of work Saturday. This resurgence comes after he made an adjustment in his delivery, which has enabled him to regain the velocity on his fastball and better arm slot for his breaking pitches. Henderson filled in as closer briefly last season when Axford was struggling and has nothing to lose the role, so a change may not be forthcoming in the short-term. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (in case he was waived and potential is that he will close again).

Anthony Bass, Padres - Bass, working in middle relief, tossed 3.1 shutout innings Monday, and has a 2.25 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 16 innings out of the bullpen. The Padres' rotation does not look very stable, so he will likely get a chance to start at some point this season. Bass does not miss enough bats or have the elite control needed to get by at this point in his career, so he may be better suited to remain relieving. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Jose Contreras and Sean Marshall - This week's middle reliever call ups/acquisitions or soon to be ones were in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Marshall was just activated and Contreras could be within the next week. Each should provide holds, solid ERA, WHIP and strikeouts, with Marshall a better option than Contreras. Contreras - Mixed: $1; NL: $4; Marshall - Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Kevin Gregg, Cubs - Gregg threw a scoreless inning against the Marlins on Saturday to earn his third save in as many chances. He struck out one over his 13 pitches to earn his second save of the series. Manager Dale Sveum will not label Gregg as his "closer," but it is telling that Gregg pitched the ninth after Carlos Marmol and James Russell both pitched the eighth. The back of the Cubs' bullpen has been in flux for much of April, so Gregg would have some value if he could stabilize it. That said, keep in mind that Kyuji Fujikawa, who is sidelined with a strained forearm, threw from 135 feet this week and will throw 30-35 pitches in a bullpen session Monday. If all goes well, Fujikawa will likely make two rehab appearances before returning to the Cubs by next weekend. In addition, Gregg hadn't closed since 2011 with Baltimore, but stranger things have happened and he definitely has the ninth-inning experience. Mixed: $4; NL: $11.

Kenley Jansen, Dodgers - Brandon League notched the save Friday but gave up a run and has now allowed runs in three consecutive outings and five of his last seven. While manager Don Mattingly continues to send him out for save chances consistently, he'll still have some value, although the ratios will start to climb and the possible change to Jansen will loom even larger. Jansen's strikeout rate wasn't quite on 2011's historic level, but a 13.7 K/9 is still quite impressive. Jansen recorded 25 saves, 99 strikeouts, and checked in with a 2.35 ERA and impressive 0.85 WHIP. He had offseason surgery to correct a heart ailment and should be able to get through a full season this year without a recurrence. He lost his job late last year to League, who signed a three-year, $22.5 million deal with LA this offseason to serve as their closer. Mixed: $4; NL: already owned, but possibly value spike

Tony Watson, Pirates - Watson picked up a sneaky save Thursday, hurling two innings of one-run ball to close out the Phillies in a 6-4 win for his first save since Double-A ball in 2010. He remains behind Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon in the pecking order for saves, though the team rested the two aforementioned relievers Thursday. Watson already has five holds, so he has value in leagues that use that category, and has appeared in half of Pittsburgh's 22 games. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Covered last week - Carlos Marmol, Cubs (still in closer mix in Chicago)

Catchers:

Jeff Mathis, Marlins - Mathis (collarbone) could start a rehab assignment Thursday at High-A Jupiter. Nothing's set in stone, but it sounds like Mathis could head out for a rehab stint by late next week. The 30-year-old catcher suffered a broken collarbone back on Feb. 23, and when he returns, he will back up Rob Brantly. Mixed: No; NL:$0.

Brian McCann, Braves - McCann (shoulder) homered twice and caught six innings during his first rehab game Friday and served as the DH on Saturday. The Braves haven't clearly outlined a timetable for McCann's return but it wouldn't be surprising for him to use up the full 20 days of the rehab stint, especially since he was sidelined by a sore wrist in spring training. McCann finished 2012 with a .230 average and .698 OPS. Despite hitting 20 home runs, it was the worst season of his career. Much of his struggles may be due to playing through the torn labrum in his shoulder that required surgery on October 16. When McCann does return, he could cede some time to Evan Gattis, as well as Gerald Laird, to keep him healthy and productive, which should be the case when he returns. In addition, he will be a free agent after this season, which should serve as further motivation. Mixed: $16; NL: $40

Carlos Ruiz, Phillies - Ruiz, profiled two weeks, gets another mention as his 25-game ban for a positive amphetamine test ends on Sunday and he was activated to face the Mets. He shouldn't have too much of a problem at the plate upon his return. Ruiz put together the best year of his career last season despite being limited by plantar fasciitis for much of August and September. His .325 average, 16 home runs, 68 RBI, and 56 runs scored were all career highs. His .343 BABIP was also a career high and well above his career average of .297. That number will correct itself in 2013, but he still should post solid numbers, especially for a catcher. Mixed: $13; NL: $35 (up bid if believe last year's numbers are the norm).

First Basemen:

Gaby Sanchez, Pirates - Sanchez, who had homered in each of his previous three starts, went 2-for-4 with three RBI against the Phillies on Thursday. Sanchez doesn't play every day, as seen with him not starting Friday and Saturday, but has been productive when his name's been written on the lineup card. He could become an everyday player for Pittsburgh if the team decides to trade Garrett Jones at some point, but that decision is months away and probably won't happen as long as the team is in contention for a playoff spot. Due to that, his value is mainly limited to single leagues and very deep mixed ones. Mixed: $1; NL: $5 (slight spike in NL-only leagues due to productivity).

Logan Morrison, Marlins - Morrison could begin playing in rehab games May 10. He won't be eligible to be activated from the 60-day disabled list until late May, but since Morrison missed all of spring training while recovering from knee surgery, the Marlins will want him to play in the minors for a few weeks to get back into game shape. Morrison, who got off to a good start last year before fading, partially due to his injury, played primarily left field last season, but don't be surprised if he plays more first base this season to ease the strain on his knee. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (early spec bid).

Jordan Pacheco, Rockies - Pacheco is seeing more frequent starts at first base after Todd Helton was placed on the DL on Thursday. Helton won't be eligible to return until May 5, giving Pacheco at least a week to log semi-regular starts at the position. Pacheco has excelled as a bench bat this season, hitting 12-for-38 (.316), but as expected, not generating much power with only one extra-base hit. His below average defensive ability and dearth of power make him best suited as a utility player long term, but for now, he gets a spike in value due to the increase in playing time from his starting role. Mixed: $4 NL: likely owned but gets a spike in value.

Second Base:

Logan Forsythe, Padres - Forsythe, out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, is no longer wearing a protective boot. Forsythe remains a few weeks away from returning to baseball activity, but it's nonetheless a positive sign in his recovery. After he was placed on the 60-day DL on Wednesday, Forsythe won't be eligible to return until late May. Jedd Gyorko is now playing second full time with Chase Headley back at third, but Gyorko has struggled. When Forsythe is ready to return, he could either end up in a platoon role or start if Gyorko is sent down. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Shortstops:

Adeiny Hechavarria, Marlins - Manager Mike Redmond confirmed this week that Hechavarria, out since April 17 with a right elbow contusion, will be ready to return when first eligible on May 2. Hechavarria will play in a couple of rehab games with High-A Jupiter prior to his activation. Hechavarria, who came over to Miami in the blockbuster deal with Toronto, spent time this offseason trying to improve the quality of his contact at the plate in an effort to round out the offensive side of his game after carrying a .280 OBP with the Blue Jays last season. Hechavarria's defense and lack of competition will keep him in the lineup and anything he puts up offensively is a bonus, though he did bat a respectable .312/.363/.424 last year in the minors (albeit in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League). Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers - Ramirez, who was profiled last week, gets another mention as he is inching closer to returning to the Dodgers. Ramirez underwent successful surgery on his torn right thumb ligament on March 22 and began his rehab stint by starting at shortstop and leading off for High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday. He has been hoping to be back in the lineup by April 30, and while is a bit unlikely, he could be back by next weekend at the latest. Han-Ram guaranteed he'd be back before the projected eight-week absence date given, and it looks like he will beat that by a wide margin. After looking like he was on a pace to Cooperstown, Ramirez struggled the past two seasons, though he did go 24-21 with 92 RBI last season, though with a .322 OPS. A healthy and happy Ramirez should post big numbers when he returns. Mixed: $22; NL: $55 (in case he is still available based on original projected return date).

Skip Schumacher, Dodgers - Schumacher could see time at second base if Mark Ellis' strained right injury keeps him sidelined. Don't expect big numbers from him, but at a minimum, he will help your counting stats. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Third Basemen:

Nolan Arenado, Rockies - Arenado was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday, What I wrote in the first column of the year has come true to a certain extent. "Arenado, who struggled last year at Double-A Tulsa before righting the ship late, is just 21 years old and already boasts elite plate discipline and contact skills while markedly improving his defense at third base. He will benefit from starting the year at Triple-A and it wouldn't be surprising to see Arenado take over as the starter at some point and push Chris Nelson to more of a utility role." Arenado put together a .364/.392/.667 line over 18 games at Colorado Springs to force the Rockies hand. Nelson was designated for assignment, so the job should be Arenado's just about every day. Mixed: $11; NL: $27.

Eric Chavez, Diamondbacks - Chavez, who has been seeing a fair amount of playing time lately, has three home runs and four RBI over his last six games and could be in line for even more time should Didi Gregorius miss extra time after being hit in the head during an at-bat Friday. With Aaron Hill (hand) still out, Martin Prado may be needed over at second, which opens up more time at the hot corner for Chavez, though Josh Wilson can also fill in at second. Chavez's fantasy value still isn't all that great, but it will get a slight bump if he starts getting more regular time. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Jermaine Curtis, Cardinals - Curtis, hitting .292 with a home run and 17 RBI in 17 games with Memphis this season, was brought up to take the roster spot vacated by Matt Adams (oblique), who landed on the disabled list. Curtis, tasting major league action for the first time, will provide some depth in the Cardinals infield. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Brandon Inge, Pirates - Inge, activated this past week, could be in line for more playing time at second base thanks to Neil Walker's hand injury. Inge spent a lot of his minor league rehab assignment at second base, a decision now that looks prescient by the Pirates organization. Pittsburgh used the full 20 days of Inge's rehab assignment because he was unable to participate in a full spring training, after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. When Walker, who could miss a week or so after getting spiked and needing stitches, is healthy, Inge will see spot starts for Walker and Pedro Alvarez as well as pinch-hit opportunities. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Aramis Ramirez, Brewers - Ramirez (knee) plans to bypass a minor league rehab assignment, as he gets closer to returning to action. Despite the club's recent hot streak, the Brewers are in dire need of corner infield help with Alex Gonzalez providing less-than-ideal everyday options at either spot, even though and Yuniesky Betancourt has been hot, which seems to be a main impetus for Ramirez to skip the rehab work. Ramirez has already resumed batting practice and has started fielding ground balls and will try running the bases when the Brewers return to Miller Park. He is still less than 100 percent when making quick side-to-side movements, but it's possible that he returns during Milwaukee's home stand this week. (just an FYI, as should be owned in all leagues).

Ryan Wheeler, Rockies - Following Todd Helton's placement on the DL on Thursday, the Rockies called up Wheeler to provide some extra corner infield depth. Wheeler was an offensive force at Triple-A prior to his call-up, driving in 16 runs in 15 games. Last year, Wheeler saw some time as the D-Backs' regular third baseman, but eventually lost the job after Chris Johnson was acquired from the Astros. He was dealt to the Rockies last November for Matt Reynolds. While he doesn't project to play much ahead of Jordan Pacheco and Michael Cuddyer at first base or the recently promoted Nolan Arenado at third, he will likely spell each of them periodically and be sent back down when Helton returns. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals - Zimmerman (left hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment Monday and is expected to return to the Nationals lineup Friday against Pittsburgh. Once Zimmerman returns, it will be interesting to see if Anthony Rendon is optioned back to the minors, although the latter could make his case over the next week or so by showing more life at the plate than he has to this point. (just an FYI as owned in all leagues).

Outfielders:

Chris Denorfia, Padres - Denorfia supplied a two-run double Saturday in San Diego's extra-inning win over San Francisco. On the night, he went 2-for-6 with a run scored. A wrist injury to Cameron Maybin has allowed Denorfia the opportunity to start every day in either right or center field, rather than remain in a platoon with Will Venable in right. Over the last 10 games, Denorfia has recorded at least one hit in eight of them, batting .300 (12-for-40) with one home run, four RBI, five runs scored and one stolen base. There is no clear timetable for Maybin's return, so Denorfia has plenty of opportunity to extend this success. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (value upgrade).

Reed Johnson/Jordan Schafer, Braves - Johnson and Schafer will share right-field duties while Jason Heyward (appendectomy) is out. With Heyward out until May 5 following surgery, both Schafer and Johnson will see a short-term spike in playing time. Johnson is a player who has been relegated to a fourth outfielder role nearly his entire career, but it is a position at which he has excelled. He will see most of his time against lefties, but he shown he can hit righties as well. Schafer's career spiraled downward since he hurt his wrist shortly after he was named Atlanta's Opening Day center fielder in 2009, bottoming out last year with Houston. He returned to Atlanta this off-season, earning a spot on the squad despite an average spring. Schafer will see most of his action against righties, but could cede time to Johnson against them. Johnson - Mixed: $1; NL: $4; Schafer - Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Jason Kubel, Diamondbacks - The Diamondbacks plan to send Kubel (quadriceps) to Triple-A Reno for rehab games Monday and Tuesday. Kubel, out since April 12, was hoping to return to the Diamondbacks' lineup Monday, but manager Kirk Gibson said the 30-year-old will be sent out on a short rehab assignment. If all goes well, it seems likely Kubel's back at some point next week. When he does return, Kubel will likely see most of his time in right but could see some games in left as well. (just an FYI as still should be owned in all formats).

Juan Lagares, Mets - Lagares was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas this week. At the time of his call up, Lagares was hitting .346 with three homers and nine RBI through 78 at-bats with 51s, all of which have come while playing center field. However, he has also played both corner spots. Look for Lagares to play nearly every day. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Xavier Paul, Reds - Paul might finally get playing time, as he may be next in line with Chris Heisey straining his hamstring Saturday. Last year, in 325 at-bats between Triple-A and the majors, Paul hit 11 homers and stole 13 bases while hitting over .300. He has a nice combination of power and speed, and with Ryan Ludwick out for several more months, Robinson is the only one who could steal time from him with Heisey out as Billy Hamilton is not yet ready. The MRI on Heisey will determine how long he will be sidelined and Paul's value. Mixed: $1; NL: $5 (spec bid and up a bit if Heisey misses a few weeks).

Delmon Young, Phillies - Young's (microfracture surgery in right ankle) rehab assignment was transferred to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. Sunday was the eighth day in a rehab schedule that can go no longer than 20 days, unless he has an injury setback. Young bounced back slightly from his 2011 campaign to post one of his better offensive seasons last year. He finished the season hitting .267 with 18 home runs and 74 RBI. His 18 homers marked the second highest output of his career, while the 74 runs driven in was his third-best total. Unfortunately, the same holes remained in Young's game, as he struggled mightily on defense and managed just 20 free passes while striking out 112 times. That said, when Young does return, which will be by May 11, look for him to be the Phillies' starting right fielder and take advantage of friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park. Mixed: $7; NL: $18 (upped bid from two weeks ago as he is close to returning).