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FAAB Factor - NL: Deadline Trades, September Callups

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 - 9/1/13

As more post-September 1 roster expansion call-ups trickle in, they will be included in the Comments section with updates posted for those that have some value.

Starting Pitching:

Scott Baker, Cubs - Baker, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, made his second rehab start for Low-A Kane County this past Wednesday, allowing one hit in five innings. He threw a bullpen session Friday at Wrigley Field and will start again for Kane County on Monday. After which the Cubs will decide his next step, as he looks to pitch in the majors before year-end. Baker has not pitched in the major leagues in two years, but the 31-year-old posted a 3.14 ERA for the Twins in 134.2 innings in 2011. Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (early injury return spec, to be upped as he gets closer).

Robbie Erlin, Padres - Erlin was called up Wednesday and picked up his second win of the season after allowing just one run on six hits over six innings that evening. He walked two and struck out two against the Diamondbacks. Erlin has been juggled from the minors to the majors a few times this season, and has had mixed results at both levels, mixing excellent starts with very pedestrian and weak ones. His pedestrian K-rate (5.65) coupled with his below average BB-rate (3.14) and HR-rate (1.26) indicate that this may be a pitcher who should be avoided outside of home starts against weak offenses. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Stephen Fife, Dodgers - Fife could be used in spot starts in September in order to give the Dodgers' rotation some rest and to allow manager Don Mattingly to align his playoff rotation. Figure Fife, who has posted a 2.47 ERA in nine starts for LA but a 6.03 ERA for eight outings at Triple-A, gets three starts at best, so he's probably only a streaming option in most formats. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Phillies - Gonzalez officially signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies on Friday. It was reported about a month ago that Gonzalez and the Phillies had worked out a six-year, $50 million deal, but the right-hander ended up settling for far less, likely because of medical concerns. The delay will result in Gonzalez heading to the Florida Instructional League initially and he will not pitch in the majors this year. GM Ruben Amaro said on Friday that Gonzalez projects to be in the starting rotation come 2014. He has been clocked in the 93 to 97 mph range and has a cutter, changeup, slider and splitter that he can throw. Only for keeper leagues.

Johnny Hellweg, Brewers - Hellweg is expected to join the Brewers rotation now that he has made his final start for Triple-A Nashville on Friday, though that might not occur until after Milwaukee's off-days on Sept. 5 and 9. Hellweg struggled mightily during his brief stint with the Brewers earlier this season (10.97 ERA), and his peripherals at Nashville certainly don't scream major-league starter (6.3 K/9, 5.9 BB/9), but the Brewers will reportedly give the 24-year-old an extended audition in the rotation over the final month of the season. It's not like the team has anything to lose, so it will evaluate Hellweg and see if he is a candidate for a rotation spot next season. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

David Holmberg, Diamondbacks - Holmberg, who has thrown 152.1 innings in Double-A Mobile this year, posting a 2.66 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, was called up to start Tuesday against the Padres following the D-Backs marathon loss to Philly last Saturday. He gave up three runs over 3.1 innings and then was sent back down. Holmberg doesn't have the upside of an Archie Bradley but still projects as a solid mid-rotation starter for Arizona. He could be back up in September. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Kris Johnson, Pirates - The Pirates will call up Johnson with the rosters expanding Sunday and have him start against the Cardinals. Johnson limited Arizona to two runs in six innings of relief in his lone major-league outing earlier in August. He holds a 2.35 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 135.2 innings for Triple-A Indy after pitching well in the Dominican League this winter. The Cards are hitting just .236 against lefties. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Charlie Morton, Pirates - As pointed out to me in the comments from last week's blog, Morton has been rolling lately and deserves some column love. Morton has allowed only seven earned runs in his last five starts, a span covering 34.1 frames. He's throwing his fastball harder than ever (93.0 mph) with a high groundball rate - close to 4:1, which would rank first overall with more innings pitched. Morton still struggles against lefties (.315 BAA) but has settled in as Pittsburgh's No. 3 starter. Mixed: $14; NL: should be owned.

Jon Niese, Mets - Niese has been spectacular since returning from the DL on Aug. 11, allowing just six runs in 28 innings (1.93 ERA) while striking out 33 and walking just six. He missed close to eight weeks with a partially torn rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder, but has been ace-like since returning. Niese is now the de-facto top starter in New York with Matt Harvey done for the season with a partially torn UCL. Mixed: $14; NL: should be owned.

Tyler Thornburg, Brewers - Thornburg will start Monday's game against the Pirates for Milwaukee. He owns an impressive 1.99 ERA over 40.2 innings this season, allowing only one earned run over 18 innings in his three starts this season, but his 25:18 K:BB ratio and lousy Triple-A numbers sets off some red flags. He'll take Tom Gorzelanny's spot in the rotation, pushing Gorzelanny into a relief role. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Carlos Torres, Mets - Torres, making his first start since July 28, allowed just one run on four hits while striking out six in 6.2 innings to get the win Thursday against the Phillies. He threw 95 pitches, 62 for strikes, in the win, his third of the season. Torres was starting in place of Matt Harvey, who is out for the rest of the year with a partially torn UCL, and should remain in the rotation for all of September. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Edinson Volquez, Dodgers - The Dodgers claimed Volquez, who was waived by the Padres after posting a 6.01 ERA. For now, he will be used out of the bullpen, but it's possible before year-end he could replace Chris Capuano in the team's rotation or LA could go with a six-man rotation to provide their starters an extra day of rest. If you do decide to grab Volquez, just remember he has hasn't posted an ERA below 4.00 since 2008. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Injury news - Tyler Chatwood, Rockies - Out with right elbow impingement since August 8, he allowed just one run on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 71 pitches over 5.1 innings in a rehab start Tuesday for Triple-A Colorado Springs. He will be activated to start Sunday. (Mixed: $2; NL: $7); Matt Cain, Giants - Out with a forearm contusion after being hit by a Gaby Sanchez line drive on August 22. He expects to be back when eligible on September 7. (just an FYI as should still be owned in all formats); Roy Oswalt, Rockies - On the DL since July 8 with a hamstring injury, he completed a second simulated game Tuesday. Oswalt will start for rookie-level Grand Junction on Tuesday and could 4-5 starts for the Colorado before the end of the season. (Mixed: $1; NL: $4).

Relief Pitchers:
 
Jeremy Affeldt/Anthony Bass/Vic Black/Tim Byrdak/Alberto Cabrera/Zach Duke/Sam Dyson/Kyle Farnsworth/Alfredo Figaro/Sam Freeman/Donovan Hand/Chris Hatcher/Ryan Mattheus/Curtis Partch/Zach Phillips/Stolmy Pimentel/J.C Ramirez/Fernando Salas - This week's middle reliever call ups/acquisitions were in San Francisco, San Diego, New York (2x), Chicago, Cicinnnati, Miami, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Miami, Washington, Miami, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and St. Louis. The only ones to have any value are Black and Pimentel. Black could end up setting up for whoever closes for the Mets and possibly getting some save chances himself. Black, who closed in the minors, has a bit of a funky motion and throws in the 90s, but struggles to repeat his motion and in allowing too many base-on-balls. Pimentel looked good in a starting role at Indianapolis, posting a 3.33 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Although the Pirates have wilted somewhat at the back end of the rotation since the All-Star break, Pimentel is expected to serve as a long reliever for now, but things could change if the current rotation continues to tank. All but Black and Pimentel - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Black/Pimentel - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Jason Grilli, Pirates - Grilli, profiled last week and who has been sidelined since July 22 with a strained right forearm gets another mention as he started a rehab assignment and appears to have a timeframe to return to the Pirates. Grilli tossed 13 pitches in his first rehab assignment Saturday for Double-A Altoona. He will make at least two more rehab appearances -- Monday in Altoona and possibly Wednesday for Triple-A Indianapolis - at which point the Pirates will may activate him. Prior to being sidelined, Grilli had 30 saves, a 2.34 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 66:10 K:BB ratio over 42.1 innings this season. He has been more than ably replaced by Mark Melancon, who could continue to close when Grilli returns, though the expectation is that Grilli will get his job back at some point. Mixed: $6; NL: $17 (upped injury return spec bid, in case he was waived when he was first sidelined. Up further if believe he is closing by the end of the week).

Catchers:

Anthony Recker/Yorvit Torrealba/Chris Robinson - In what likely will be a parade of back up and third catchers promoted when the rosters expand, the Mets beat that clock by promoting Recker when John Buck was dealt to the Pirates. He will see some time behind Travis d'Arnaud and has shown he has some power. Colorado activated Torrealba, who will back up Wilin Rosario, off the 7-day DL this week while Robinson will be the third catcher in San Diego. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Cameron Rupp, Phillies - Rupp, selected in third-round of the 2010 draft out of the University of Texas, is expected to be one several Phillies called up when Triple-A Lehigh Valley's season ends Monday. His play this year has placed him at the top of the team's prospect list at catcher. Rupp got off to a great at Double-A Reading but has declined a bit since he was promoted to Triple-A, but he still has 14 home runs in total between both levels. Carlos Ruiz will be a free agent after the season, so it will be interesting to see if Philly goes with Rupp behind the plate to start the 2014 campaign. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (up in keeper leagues).

Injury activation - Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks - On the DL since July 29 with the back inflammation, which plagued him for a while before he was shut down, was activated Monday after a short rehab stint. He is not immediately starting every day, as he is splitting time with Wil Nieves, but if his bat finally wakes up, he could run with the job in September. Mixed: $4; NL: $11, in case he was waived due to struggles and injury.

First Basemen:

Lucas Duda/Zach Lutz/Josh Satin, Mets - Duda, who was profiled last year after he was called up from minors, gets another mention due to Ike Davis' strained right oblique. Early word is that Davis could miss the remainder of the year, which would create a platoon at first between Duda and Satin. Duda should play against righties while Satin will see his time against lefties as well as get action at third base when Wilmer Flores sits, so Satin also gets a mild upgrade since Davis was seeing some time against southpaws. Lutz was surprisingly promoted even though Triple-A Las Vegas is in the playoffs run and he will see sporadic action at both corners. Duda - Mixed: $2; NL: $7; Lutz - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Satin - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Justin Morneau, Pirates - The Pirates acquired Morneau on Saturday from the Twins for Alex Presley. Morneau's acquisition gives Pittsburgh another left-handed bat who has typically performed better than Garrett Jones against opposing southpaws, Morneau should handle the vast majority of at-bats at first base, leaving Jones to see most of his playing time in left field. It was clear Morneau's time in Minnesota was over after the team wouldn't talk to him about an extension when he entered the final year of his contract. He was having an okay year, as his slash numbers were below last season while his HR, RBI and runs totals were all close to 2012 with a month left to go. Mixed: owned; NL: $65 (and I could see going higher).
 
Second Base:
 
Freddy Galvis/Cesar Hernandez/Michael Martinez/Pete Orr/Henry Rodriguez -- Galvis, Hernandez and Martinez, all of whom spent time with the parent club this year, either were or will be September 1 call-ups for Philadelphia. Galvis could be used to spell both Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley down the stretch, and right now is used as nothing more than a utility infielder as his prospect status has waned. Hernandez has been used in the outfield for Triple-A Lehigh Valley as the Phillies look to make him into a full utility player. Orr was called up this week and will see time at second and third base as will Martinez. Robinson will be used in a utility infielder role for the Reds, seeing time at second, short and third. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Injury activation - Dan Uggla, Braves -Uggla has been out since August 13 after undergoing LASIK eye surgery. He was 2-for-32 with no extra-base hits and 14 strikeouts over the last 10 games before having the operation, and he owned an ugly .186/.307/.389 batting line. Maybe this will help him but I am skeptical, but he returned to action for the Braves on Wednesday after playing a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett. If you held onto him this long, you likely still own him.

Shortstops:
 
Willie Bloomquist, Diamondbacks - Bloomquist, profiled the past two weeks and out since July 6 with two broken bones in his left hand, similar to what Aaron Hill dealt with, gets another mention as he has was activated Wednesday following a short rehab stint in the Arizona League. He started at shortstop that evening and at a minimum, will likely platoon with Didi Gregorious, who has struggled against left-handed pitching. If Bloomquist comes back the way he did after his first disabled list stint this season, he'll see more time, including spelling Aaron Hill at second base. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Ruben Tejada, Mets - The Mets will call up Tejada when Triple-A Las Vegas' playoff run ends now that the rosters have expanded post-September 1. Tejada went 3-for 5 with his first home run Thursday and then followed it up with another one Saturday. He is hitting .405 in his last 10 games, including an eight-game hitting streak. While Omar Quintanilla has done a good job stabilizing the shortstop position, the Mets need to find out if Tejada, who played his way out of the job by June, can be their shortstop of the future, so he will see lots of playing time the final month of the season. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Third Basemen:

Cody Asche, Phillies - Asche, who had been sidelined with a strained right hamstring, was ready to play Saturday, but the Phillies decided to give him an extra day to rest. He is expected to be in the lineup Sunday and the trade of Michael Young to the Dodgers on Saturday further solidifies Asche's hold on the starting third base job for the rest of the season. Last year. Asche 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. This season, he continued to rake in Triple-A, slashing .295/.352/.485 with 15 homers, 68 RBI, 52 runs, and 11 stolen bases in 404 at-bats to earn the promotion at the end of July. Maikel Franco has more upside and possibly a brighter future than Asche, but a strong finish building on how he played the last two weeks before he was hurt, could enable him to solidify his hold on the spot for early-2014. Mixed: $8; NL: $22 (value spike with Young dealt).

Mike Olt, Cubs - Olt, who was dealt to the Cubs in late-July with pitcher Justin Grimm, Low-A pitcher C.J. Edwards and a player to be named later for Matt Garza, has continued his season-long struggles with Triple-A Iowa. Olt, who was the Rangers' No. 2 prospect behind the ballyhooed Jurickson Profar, has put up disappointing numbers for a player of his standing. In 230 at-bats at Triple-A Round Rock in 2013, Olt slashed .213/.317/.422 with 11 home runs, 32 RBI, and 37 runs scored in 230 at-bats. Vision problems sidelined him for a month and also adversely impacted his numbers earlier in the year, but he had been hot recently, prompting some calls to bring him up Texas. The expectation was that Olt would spend some time in the minors and then be promoted, but his continuing inability to hit will drop his prospect status and you have to wonder if he does get called up in September. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (in case he is promoted, up substantially in keeper leagues if you still believe).

Ryan Wheeler, Rockies -Wheeler, who was called up on Monday, August 20 and sent back down this past Wednesday, likely will be promoted when the rosters expand Sunday. Wheeler has done well for himself at the Triple-A level, batting .308 with 29 doubles, 12 home runs and 87 RBI this season. He's had two brief call-ups this season but never really saw much action, which likely will be the case again when he is promoted, as he will back up Todd Helton and Nolan Arenado. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

David Wright, Mets - Wright, who landed on the disabled list on August 3 with a strained right hamstring, headed to St. Lucie to start the next phase of his rehab. Although Wright doesn't believe he is ready for games just yet, he appears confident that he's ahead of schedule in his rehab. At this point, Wright hasn't suffered any setbacks, and says he has been jogging, fielding, and throwing. It remains to be seen whether Wright will embark on a rehab assignment as the next step in his recovery, or if he will skip rehab altogether in favor of rejoining the Mets as a designated hitter. Provided all goes well, Wright should be back with the Mets around mid-September. If available and believe he gets half-a-month of games, go the max.

Injury activation/news - Eric Chavez, Diamondbacks - Out for less than two weeks with knee and hip injuries caused by too much cardio work, completed a short rehab assignment Sunday in the Arizona League and was activated Monday. He should see most of the starts at third with Martin Prado moving from left to the hot corner periodically. (Mixed: $2; NL: should still be owned); Placido Polanco, Marlins - Went on the 7-day concussion list on August 19 and was activated Wednesday. With Miami playing for the future and Ed Lucas having done a solid job lately, look Polanco to be on the short-end of the platoon at the hot corner (Mixed: No; NL: $2) Luis Valbuena, Cubs - Out since Aug. 2 due to a right oblique strain, completed a rehab stint and was activated Sunday. He will see some time at third base. (Mixed: No; NL: $0).

Outfielders:

Mike Baxter/Adrom Chambers/Chris Coghlan/Derrick Robinson- In what likely will be a parade of fourth, fifth and sixth outfielders promoted when the rosters expand, the Mets, Cardinals, Marlins and Reds started the wave. Baxter didn't do much when up in the majors this season, so don't expect much from him in this go-around. Coghlan hit .282/.333/.436 between the two levels while acclimating to a new position in third base. He could see time at the hot corner, in addition to the outfield, over the season's final month. Chambers and Robinson will see minimal time. Baxter/Chambers/Robinson - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Coghlan - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Kyle Blanks, Padres - Blanks, profiled the past three weeks and on the DL since July 12 with Achilles tendinitis, gets another mention as he was activated Saturday after missing 41 games. He'll have ample opportunity for at-bats now that he is healthy and back due to knee injuries to fellow outfielders Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin as well as Yonder Alonso's hand injury. Blanks has not played in a major-league game since July 11, posting a 256 batting average with eight home runs and 34 RBI in 219 at-bats. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (upped bid from last week).

Andrew Brown/Matt den Dekker, Mets - In 37 at-bats in August, Brown batted .378 with a pair of home runs and 10 RBI. With Marlon Byrd traded to Pittsburgh, Brown is in line to get fairly consistent playing time the rest of the way at both corner spots. Den Dekker was called up this past week and made his major-league debut Thursday. He missed the beginning of the year with a broken wrist but still finished the season with an impressive .302/.371/.492 slash line over 202 plate appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas. Den Dekker He is excellent defensively, but there are major questions concerning his bat, given his lack of plate discipline and inability to make contact. He will play some center and right field, shifting to the corner spot when Juan Lagares is in the lineup. Brown - Mixed: $3; NL: $11; den Dekker - Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (Brown more value this year but den Dekker likely has more future value).

Tony Campana, Diamondbacks - It's unclear how long Campana will stick around in the lineup, but he has been seeing more time and been productive lately. He's is 11-for-35 with seven walks on the season, but it seems rather odd that he's getting so much playing time when the Diamondbacks already have three speedy outfielders healthy, each of whom is generally held in higher regard than Campana. Given his level of activity on the basepaths and recent position in the lineup, Campana could be a great source of steals if his playing time stays consistent. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Jose Constanza, Braves - Constanza was called up Saturday to fill a reserve outfield role for the Braves after the struggling Evan Gattis was demoted to Triple-A in a corresponding move. Don't expect Constanza to provide much of an upgrade in production after he batted 4-for-25 (.160) over 14 games earlier this season with the Braves. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Raymond Fuentes, Padres - Fuentes, who came over to San Diego in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, has a disappointing 2012 campaign at Double-A San Antonio and fell off of many prospects' lists. He rebounded with a fury this season; make consistent contact at the plate, combining for a .330 average, six long balls, 43 RBI, 73 runs scored, and 35 stolen bases in 400 at-bats at San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson. That performance garnered him a roster spot with the World Team in the All-Star Futures Game and a call-up to San Diego on Monday. Fuentes has plus speed and good defensive skills, and though he doesn't have a lot of home run power, he is a gap hitter with line drive power. With Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin likely out the rest of the season, Fuentes should see some playing time in San Diego's outfield. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (speed potential).

Billy Hamilton, Reds - Profiled last week, he gets another mention this week, as he will be called up Monday. Hamilton, who has a .256/.308/.344 with 75 steals in 122 games for Triple-A Louisville through Thursday,  has been much better since the All-Star break to raise his profile again. He took a little while to get going, but now that he has adapted to the league and learned the pitchers and their pick-off moves, Hamilton has been running with abandon. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (early spec call up bid, up substantially in keeper leagues).

Angel Pagan, Giants - Pagan, who was profiled the past three weeks, gets another mention; as he was surprisingly activated Friday. Pagan, who had a damaged tendon in his left hamstring and underwent surgery to repair it back on June 25, went 1-for-11 in four rookie-league games and 5-for-18 during his five-game rehab stint with Triple-A Fresno. Now that Pagan, who was hitting.262/.314/.374 with three homers, 24 RBI and 30 runs at the time of his injury, has returned, he should see most of the starts in CF for the Giants, though he may sit one every three days initially. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.

Travis Snider, Pirates - Snider suffered from turf toe for about a month before going on the disabled list on July 28. He was activated from the DL on Sunday, but with Marlon Byrd now in right, Snider will see minimal action there. In 242 at-bats this season, Snider slashed .219/.287/.322 with 23 RBI and three home runs before he sidelined. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Injury news - Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies - CarGo, who finally lande don the 15-day DL with his injured finger on August 7 after trying to play through he injury, begin a rehab assignment Friday and is expected to rejoin the Rockies on Tuesday. He still has some lingering soreness in his finger but believes that he will be able to play through it. He should still be owned in all leagues, if not, go the max; Matt Kemp, Dodgers - Out since July 21 with an ankle injury, went on a three-game rehab assignment starting Thursday. He is expected to return to the Dodgers this week, but the question is where he will play with Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig all playing well and LA on a roll. Mixed: $11; NL: $27, too good to let sit out on waivers but he may very well under produce that bid; Ryan Sweeney, Cubs - Out since late-June with a fractured rib, Sweeney started a rehab assignment at Mesa on Thursday. He was activated Sunday and should see some time in Chicago's outfield. (Mixed: $0; NL: $2).