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FAAB Factor - NL: Beware the Beard?

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 - 8/4/13

Starting Pitching:

Chad Bettis, Rockies - Perhaps Colorado's top pitching prospect coming into the season - second now behind Jonathan Gray - even after missing all of the 2012 season with a shoulder injury, Bettis was called up this week and given a chance in the Rockies' revolving door known as the team's fifth starter. Though his 3.71 ERA at Double-A Tulsa wasn't particularly gaudy, his 68:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio spoke to his ability to control his pitches and make batters whiff. In addition, his solid 1.5 GB:FB ratio should play well at Coors Field. Bettis had a rough go of things in his MLB debut Thursday, surrendering five runs on six hits and five walks over five innings to take the loss against the Braves. His command and control struggles prevented him from using his best pitch - a changeup, which made him a one-pitch pitcher. With Armando Galarraga (forearm) still unavailable at Triple-A, Collin McHugh optioned off the active roster, Jeff Francis pitching in relief and Drew Pomeranz (biceps)/Roy Oswalt (hamstring) on the DL, Bettis should get at least one more start. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks - It's time for that monthly look at Bradley, who has a 2.06 ERA and 90:44 K:BB ratio through 96 innings at Double-A Mobile. Bradley sparkled in his last start Friday, allowing an unearned run in nine innings for the BayBears. He scattered six hits, walked one and fanned seven. Last month, GM Kevin Towers said the D-Backs would rather promote a youngster than look outside the organization for rotation help. Brandon McCarthy is due off the DL on Sunday with Trevor Cahill possibly back next week. If either of them or Randall Delgado falters, Bradley could get a look over Tyler Skaggs, who recently was sent back down. Bradley has all the tools to be a top-of-the-rotation starter for the D-Backs. He throws a mid-90s fastball along with a devastating curveball and changeup and has proven capable of getting a significant number of his outs on the ground (1.82 GO/AO) and subsequently, keeps the ball in the park (0.45 HR/9). Keep Bradley on your radar because he is a special talent that could make an immediate impact to your fantasy team. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (early speculative bid and go much, much higher in keeper leagues).

Dan Haren, Nationals - Haren threw seven shutout innings against the Brewers on Saturday to earn his sixth win of the season. That outing was his fourth solid to excellent one in the five starts since he missed two weeks with shoulder soreness and returned to action on July 8. In those five starts, Haren has lowered his ERA from 6.15 to 5.14 and notched 32 strikeouts in 30 innings over those five outings. If you were waiting to jump on the bandwagon, do so now before it's too late. Mixed: $11; NL: already owned.

Ethan Martin, Phillies - Martin's performance has varied with Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, but he does have 107 strikeouts in 115.2 innings, and joined the Phillies on a hot streak, having given up just four earned runs over his last 24 innings. He allowed six runs on eight hits Friday in his major-league debut, walking three and striking out six in 4.1 innings of a 6-4 loss to Atlanta. The outing looks to be just a one-time start with Cliff Lee dealing with a sore neck, but if either Jonathan Pettibone or John Lannan struggle in their subsequent outings, Martin, who came over to Philly in the Shane Victorino trade, could get a longer look in the rotation. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Wade Miley, Diamondbacks - Miley righted the ship in June after a disastrous April and May and was dominant in July. He evened his record at 8-8 after picking up the win against the Rays on Wednesday. Miley didn't allow the opposition to score a run and struck out eight over 6.1 innings, upping his mark in the month to 4-1 and lowering his July ERA to 1.59 in six starts. The trade of Ian Kennedy to the Padres makes Miley the Diamondbacks' #2 starter. His keys to continued success may be improving his numbers against lefties (.305 BAA) and reducing his walks (3.14/9). Mixed: $7 (in case he was dumped when he struggled as I did in my auction league); NL: owned.

Zach Miner, Phillies - It's been almost four years since Miner last appeared in the major leagues, but he was called up Friday to provide the Phillies some pitching depth for the time being. The 31-year-old right-hander made 12 starts at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, but for right now, he is pitching in relief, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings Saturday. He may be an option to start down the road in place of Jonathan Pettibone (arm), who landed on the DL, though Ethan Martin, who started Friday in place of Cliff Lee, could be next in line. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Guillermo Moscoco, Giants - Moscoco, who was acquired last week from the Cubs, will move into the Giants' starting rotation Sunday. Barry Zito was officially relieved of his job as starter for San Francisco on Friday, and it will be Moscoso who fills in for Zito on Sunday. The 29-year-old Moscoso was merely average in 17 starts for the Cubs' Triple-A Iowa affiliate this year, posting a 3.93 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, and it's no lock that he'll remain in the rotation beyond Sunday. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Chris Narveson, Brewers - Narveson tossed seven shutout innings for Triple-A Nashville on Thursday, striking out eight. Narveson has now put together quality starts in four of his last six outings in the minors. His season ERA at Triple-A still sits at a rather poor 6.15, but he has shown signs of improvement. With Yovani Gallardo hitting the disabled list and many different arms filling in the rotation, Narveson could be a candidate to return to Milwaukee, especially with Tom Gorzelanny scratched from his start Wednesday. One obstacle with the Brewers being out of contention is that team may prefer to give some of its younger arms experience down the stretch. Mixed: $0; NL: $2 (early injury return bid).

Zeke Spruill, Diamondbacks - Spruill was recalled from Triple-A Reno on Thursday to start against the Rangers. He allowed five runs on three home runs and seven hits in four innings. Spruill posted an ugly 34:24 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 72.1 innings at Reno despite his tidy 3.24 ERA and is likely to be sent down to make room for Brandon McCarthy on Sunday. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Jameson Taillon, Pirates - Taillon will be promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis and is expected to be active Monday. Taillon, a top prospect for the Pirates on the mound, will make the next step after a solid showing at Double-A. He recorded 106 strikeouts in 110.1 innings pitched at Double-A and a 3.67 ERA. Taillon, who has a mid-90s four-seam fastball, two-seamer that has some sink, solid curveball and developing changeup, is close to knocking on the door of PNC Park with a solid performance at Triple-A. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (very early spec bid).

Covered last week - Jon Niese, Mets - Niese, sidelined since June 20 with a partially torn rotator cuff, pitched four scoreless innings for Low-A St. Lucie on Thursday. He is expected to start for Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League on Tuesday, after which he probably will be activated and start for the Mets next week. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (upped early injury return spec bid).

Injury activation/news - Stephen Fife, Dodgers - sidelined with shoulder bursitis since July 9, he could be activated and make a spot start on Sunday, giving the other five starters an additional day of rest. Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (return not yet confirmed); Brandon McCarthy, Diamondbacks - sidelined since June 1 with shoulder fatigue, he made a pair of rehab starts at Triple-A Reno and replaces Tyler Skaggs in the Arizona rotation Sunday. McCarthy had seemed to turn it around, after a slow start, notching four straight quality starts prior to his poor start right before he was sidelined. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Relief Pitchers:

David Aardsma/Latroy Hawkins, Mets - Bobby Parnell is dealing with neck soreness, which has sidelined him the past several games and will keep him out a bit longer. In his stead, manager Terry Collins has first turned to Aardsma to fill the role of closer based on his prior history in the role and his solid work so far this year - 3.18 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 22.2 innings. After Aardsma blew the save chance Friday and gave up the game-winning hit Saturday, manager Terry Collins could look elsewhere, likely to Hawkins, who has given up just four earned runs in 23 innings since June 8, if a save situation arises in the short-term. Aardsma - Mixed: $2; NL: $7; Hawkins - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Michael Blazek/Keith Butler/Scott Downs/Pedro Feliciano/Zach Miner/Pedro Villareal - This week's middle reliever call ups/acquisitions were in St. Louis (2x), Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and Cincinnati. The only one with value is Downs, who in 43 games with the Angels this year, tallied 18 holds with a 1.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 22:11 K:BB ratio in 29.1 innings. Downs, who was acquired from the Angels, will slot into Atlanta's setup role, thus usurping the gig from former Angels' teammate Jordan Walden. All except Downs - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Downs - Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Brian Wilson, Dodgers - Wilson, who pitched just two games last season and has been out all of this year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2012, signed a minor-league deal with the Dodgers. He had been throwing for teams over the last week or so and reportedly had multiple offers to sign before agreeing to terms with LA. Wilson, whose fastball is topping out at 94 mph and cutter has good movement, will begin in the minor leagues to work back up to the speed of game action then he should join the Dodgers' bullpen. He could be a great value to the Dodgers in the playoff race, but likely will not see opportunities for saves with Kenley Jansen locked in as closer. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early spec bid).

Catchers:

Tony Cruz/Rob Johnson, Cardinals - Yadier Molina's sprained right knee showed no structural damage but while he is on the DL, Cruz and Johnson will split catching duties until Molina's return. Cruz, who has been Molina's back-up the past two seasons, may be worth an add for owners in deep two-catcher leagues, but once Molina returns, Cruz will return to mostly pinch-hit duty. Johnson will back up until Molina comes back and could remain even when that happens if St. Louis decides to go with three catchers. Cruz - Mixed: $0; NL: $2; Johnson - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Tuffy Gosewisch/Wil Nieves, Diamondbacks - Gosewisch was promoted to the majors to take Miguel Montero's spot on the roster. Gosewisch has had a rather uninspiring track record over eight seasons in the minor leagues, and this will be his first opportunity in the majors, where he will serve as Nieves' back up. With Montero out with a back injury, Nieves has been seeing additional playing time and making the most of it. Nieves went 2-for-4 Saturday and is 13-for-36 over his last two weeks. Overall, he is 38-for-105 in his 39 games with no home runs and 14 RBI. Gosewisch - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Nieves - Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Tony Sanchez, Pirates -Sanchez, who hit .288 with 42 RBI and 10 home runs for Triple-A Indianapolis, was promoted last Sunday with Michael McKenry dealing with a knee injury. That injury will sideline McKenry for the season, which means that Sanchez projects as the Bucs' backup catcher, unless the team decides to surf Triple-A for someone else. Starting catcher Russell Martin has also battled knee issues the last couple weeks, and there's no guarantee he stays healthy. In other words, there's a chance Sanchez, taken fourth overall in 2009, could find himself behind the plate more than anyone expects the rest of the way. At the very least, he's someone to keep an eye on. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (up if you think he sees more PT than Martin).

First Basemen:

Hunter Morris, Brewers - Morris was 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk in Thursday's game for Triple-A Nashville. Morris, drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of Auburn University, now has 20 home runs on the season, but is hitting .239/.307/.460. Things aren't all bad, though. His 8.6-percent walk rate is a career high, and he's had some bad luck in a career-low .259 BABIP. There's a good chance he sees some time in Milwaukee this year considering he only has Juan Francisco and Yuniesky Betancourt playing ahead of him. Moving forward, Morris has a shot to be the team's first baseman in 2014, as Corey Hart is a free agent. Morris' prospect status took a big jump forward last season as he hit .303 with 28 home runs and 117 RBI to win Southern League MVP honors. More importantly, he raised his OBP from .301 to .357 and made strides defensively by committing just six errors. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early spec bid).

Brock Peterson, Cardinals - Peterson, who was called up two weeks ago to replace Matt Holliday (hamstring, 15-day DL) on the 25-man roster and was sent back down when Holiday returned, was called back up with Shane Robinson landing on the DL. Peterson is having a monster year at Triple-A Memphis, including a .305/.382/.563 line with 23 homers, 67 RBI and a 39:89 BB:K over 357 at-bats. He will see pinch-hit duty for St. Louis. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Brett Pill, Giants - Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Friday that he will play the matchups at first base for now, meaning Pill and Brandon Belt are likely to platoon. It seems Pill has worked himself into a timeshare at first base, after going 7-for-13 in his first three games back with the big club. Just one of Pill's seven hits since his recall have gone for extra bases, but it seems Bochy is still just not especially high on Belt as an everyday player. Pill had floundered in his two trips to the majors this year, hitting just .148 with a homer and three RBI in 27 at-bats with the Giants, but has obviously turned it around early on in this stint. He offer some serious power, and coupled with Belt struggling lately, despite his big game Friday, and Pill's torrid stretch at Triple-A Fresno (1.010 OPS in 68 games), he looks likely to receive significant playing time in the short-term. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Second Base:

Alexi Amarista, Padres - Amarista, who has been used as utility player, could end up a full-time starter in the near-term. Everth Cabrera is likely to be suspended Monday when the Biogenesis rulings finally come down, meaning Amarista may be the main option at shortstop for the Friars with Jedd Gyorko manning second base. That said, Ronny Cedeno, who the Padres signed to a minor-league contract Saturday, could be promoted and see lots of playing time if/when Cabrera is suspended. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Charlie Culberton, Rockies - Culberson was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Monday. Culberson, acquired from the Giants last year for Marco Scutaro, has logged most of his time in the middle infield this season but is blocked by Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu at the major league level. However, in three recent outings before the promotion, he manned the outfield, proving he could manage the position. In 97 games this year, he slashed a steady .310/.338/.524 with 14 homers, 64 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 13 steals. The power-speed combo will now provide some relief with Carlos Gonzalez dealing with a sprained right middle finger. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Scooter Gennett, Brewers - Gennett was called up as the 26th man for Tuesday's doubleheader, and he' is sticking around for the time being, as Yovani Gallardo (hamstring) landing on the 15-day disabled list. Gennett is 10-for-47 (.213 BA) with one home run, four runs, and five RBI for the Brewers this season. He hasn't fared particularly well at Triple-A Nashville, where he owns a .280/.327/.371 batting line over 349 plate appearances this season. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Donnie Murphy, Chicago - The Cubs promoted Murphy on Saturday to take the roster spot of Julio Borbon. Murphy batted .265/.338/.457 with 18 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs and 41 RBI in 89 games with Triple-A Iowa this season.  He will back up both middle infield spots and could see some time at third base. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Shortstops:
 
Joaquin Arias, Giants - Arias may be used in a platoon at shortstop for the remainder of the season. Arias - who just returned from the disabled list July 26 - may see more starts at shortstop when a lefty is on the mound going forward. Brandon Crawford has been the team's everyday shortstop this season, but his struggles against left-handed pitchers (.209/.264/.270) are well-documented. In an effort to spark a slumping lineup, manager Bruce Bochy hinted that Arias may enter a platoon with Crawford. Arias is notoriously a more-effective hitter against southpaws with a .301 career batting average compared to a .257 career mark against righties. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Daniel Descalso, Cardinals - Descalso had a huge night Friday, going 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs in the Cardinals' win against Cincinnati. Matt Carpenter's big year has pushed Descalso into the shadows for most of the season, but Pete Kozma has been struggling, and Descalso played shortstop in most of this one. Descalso started at second base and then moved to shortstop Saturday, going 1for-3. His big game Friday should land him starts in the short-term. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Third Basemen:

Cody Asche, Phillies - The Phillies called up Asche this week from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. When he was called up, it was in anticipation that Michael Young would be traded, accelerating the timeframe for him to assume the role as starter at the hot corner, which was expected to come in 2014. Young is still a member of the Phillies, so Asche will see time at third when Young plays first and he could see some time in the outfield as a way to get his bat in the lineup. Asche had 15 home runs, 68 RBI and 11 stolen bases at Triple-A prior to getting the call. Last year, he hit .324/.369/.481 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 518 at-bats between his two stops in the minors, with 10 of his home runs coming after the promotion to Double-A to shoot up the Phillies prospect list. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (up in keeper leagues and/or if Young is traded before August 31).

Josh Satin/Justin Turner, Mets - Manager Terry Collins said he anticipates David Wright (strained right hamstring) to miss three-to-five weeks. As of now, the plan to replace him is to use Satin and Turner at the position. Satin had been seeing time at first base against lefties, but should play more at third than Turner, who just returned from a strained intercostal muscle last week and started Saturday but profiles more as a utility infielder.  Turner is a better fielder than Satin, so that could tip the balance in his favor at times. In addition, the Mets could promote Wilmer Flores and use him at third or possibly second, where he had played in the minors, and move Daniel Murphy to third. Satin - Mixed: $3; NL: $9; Turner - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Outfielders:

Mike Baxter, Mets - Baxter was promoted to take the injured David Wright's spot on the Mets. Baxter hit .275 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 42 games with Triple-A Las Vegas after being demoted by the Mets in early June. He will back up left and right field. It's possible the Mets may decide to call up Wilmer Flores and give him a run at second or third base making Baxter's stint in the majors a short one. One other option is to have Baxter play left field against right-handers with Eric Young possibly shifting to second base and Daniel Murphy to third. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Roger Bernadina, Nationals - Jayson Werth left Saturday's game in the sixth inning with a mild groin and was replaced in the outfield by Bernadina. Werth already spent a spell on the disabled list this season with a hamstring injury, and if he is sidelined for a spell, even though preliminary word is that the injury isn't serious, Bernadina should log additional playing time. Mixed: No; NL: $3.

Adron Chambers, Cardinals - The Cardinals called up Chambers this week with Shane Robinson landing on the DL. With Robinson out, Chambers provides a bench option capable of handling center field on days where Jon Jay is unavailable. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Chris Coghlan, Marlins - Coghlan, who hasn't played since June 8 due to a right calf nerve irritation and a lower-back injury, is close to participating in more baseball activities. Coghlan, who played infield in college, is taking groundballs at third, as the Marlins' outfield is now manned by Yelich-Marisnick-Stanton, so there is no room for him there. Coghlan, the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year, was off to a solid start, posting a .277/.327/.415 line in 51 games before he was sidelined, so if he shows he can play third, which is an open spot for Miami, he could be the team's starter at the hot corner. Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (early injury return spec bid).

Todd Cunningham, Braves - The Braves called up Cunningham on Tuesday. While devoid of any real power (he's never hit more than four homers in a season in the minors), Cunningham has hit for average at the Triple-A level (.283/.362/.357) while also displaying decent speed. He is up with the big club to provide some depth with Reed Johnson (Achilles') hitting the DL. Even though BJ Upton is back from his injury, Cunningham could hang around, though he likely will get sent down when Jordan Schafer is ready to come back. Mixed: No; NL: $0. 

Roger Kieschnick, Giants -The Giants called up Kieschnick on Tuesday. Kieschnick, a 26-year-old outfielder, offers some left-handed help for a Giants' offense that is reeling at the moment. He batted .273 with 13 home runs and a 102:40 K:BB ratio with Triple-A Fresno this season. The Giants have plenty of options in the outfield, so there is no guarantee that Kieschnick will see everyday at-bats. But considering how little production they have received from that position all season, it wouldn't be surprising to see them give him an extended look, likely in left field over Jeff Francouer. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Cameron Maybin, Padres - Maybin, who injured the PCL in his left knee trying to make a diving catch on June 9, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tucson this week. He was expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks with the injury, and if he returns on about another 7-10 days as expected, he will have missed about two months with the injury. Maybin suffered a right wrist impingement on April 17 that cost him 45 games, and after just recently returning to action, he injured his knee. Maybin has had just 51 at-bats this season, as he has been limited to 14 games. Will Venable and Chris Denorfia have ably stepped in for him in center field. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (upped early spec bid).

Jordan Schafer, Braves - Schafer, recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot, sustained after he fouled a ball of his ankle in late June, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday. The team hasn't outlined a clear plan for Schafer, but a return to the big club early next week seems likely. When he does return, he likely will resume his role as the Braves' fourth outfielder, probably in place of Todd Cunningham. Mixed: $0; NL: $2

Injury news - B.J. Upton, Braves - Out since July 12 with a strained right adductor muscle, was activated off the DL on Saturday after a short rehab stint. He should be the Braves' starting CF, but temper your expectations based on his struggles before he was sidelined. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (in case the combination of poor performance and injury landed him on the waiver wire).