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FAAB Factor - NL: David Wright Returns

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 9/15/13

This is the penultimate column of the season, with the final one to run next week. Thanks to all who read, provided suggestions and comments during the year. Please provide any further suggestions or comments to the blog or to jan.levine@gmail.com.

Starting Pitching:

Tyler Cloyd, Phillies Cloyd rejoined the Philadelphia rotation Tuesday in place of Ethan Martin, who was an absolute disaster. Cloyd wasn't much better, giving up seven earned runs on nine hits with no walks and four strikeouts in just four innings against the Padres. He has an ugly 32:21 K:BB ratio through 49.1 innings. The aforementioned ratio indicates that he doesn't have swing-and-miss stuff or particularly sharp control. However, Cloyd posted low walk rates throughout his minor league career, and we'd expect to see some correction with a larger sample size. Even if the control comes back, he's already 26 years old and doesn't project as anything more than a fifth starter. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Johnny Cueto, Reds Cueto, on the DL since June 29 with a strained muscle behind his right shoulder, threw 60 pitches during a simulated game Wednesday and reported no issues. Cueto has made some mechanical adjustments since suffering his injury, and manager Dusty Baker was pleased with what he saw from his ace during Wednesday's session. Cueto's next step has not been determined, but expect him to take the next step in his recovery after Wednesday's clean outing. He is an outside candidate to rejoin the rotation if Tony Cingrani is forced to miss time with the back spasms that forced him out of Tuesday's start. Mixed: $15; NL: $35 (up more if believe he is fully healthy).

Brandon Cumpton, Pirates The Pirates called Cumpton back up last Saturday. While Cumpton figures to work in long relief, he could be an option to start for Pittsburgh, as he proved more than capable in a few spot starts earlier this season with a 2.78 ERA in 22.1 innings across four nods. The 24-year-old right-hander has spent the majority of the year at Triple-A Indianapolis, posting a 3.32 ERA and a 6.6 K/9IP over 122 innings. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Sam Dyson, Marlins Dyson is a candidate to start Monday against the Phillies. With Nathan Eovaldi (back) sidelined, the Marlins will likely need another starter early next week. Dyson tossed three scoreless inning of relief against Atlanta on Thursday and will be ready to go Monday, if the team calls his number. He posted a strong 2.67 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 111.1 innings across three minor league levels this season. If given a chance next week, it would be Dyson's first career start in the majors. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Brian Flynn, Marlins Flynn was promoted on September 3 after posting a 2.63 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 147:43 K:BB over 161 innings pitched on 27 starts between Double-A and Triple-A this season. The Marlins acquired Flynn last year as part of the deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers. The 6-foot-7 left-hander, who projects as an eventual No. 3 starter down the road, has made two so-so starts this year but should remain in the rotation with Jose Fernandez shut down for the year. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Freddy Garcia, Braves With the Braves wanting to give left-hander Alex Wood some extra rest, they turned to Garcia to make a spot start Thursday. The 36-year-old Garcia has struggled at the major league level over the past two seasons, but he did shut out the Marlins on three hits over 4.2 innings of relief earlier this month. He made the most of that start, allowing one run on five hits over six innings against the Marlins. With Paul Maholm dealing with a sore elbow, the Braves could keep Garcia in the fifth starter spot the rest of the way and that depth he provides is why Atlanta acquired him from Baltimore at the end of August. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (solely due to team he is on).

David Hale, Braves Hale started Friday against the Padres in place of Paul Maholm (elbow), tossing five shutout innings, allowing four hits while walking one and striking out nine over five innings. This figured to be just a spot start for Hale, since if Maholm is forced to miss additional time, Freddy Garcia seemed likely to fill in as the No. 5 starter. That may have changed, as Hale opened some eyes with his fine outing. Hale, a 6-foot-2 right-hander, performed adequately enough at Triple-A Gwinnett this season (3.22 ERA), but his inability to miss bats (6.0 K/9) may lead to some struggles at the major league level. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Brad Hand, Marlins Hand started Friday against the Mets, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 5.2 innings. He was cruising into the sixth, before surrendering a three-run home run to Lucas Duda on a hanging breaking pitch with two outs. Hand has worked almost exclusively as a starter during his professional career, with mostly lackluster results (3.80 ERA at Triple-A New Orleans). He'll get a chance to start Saturday, but Hand could move to a long relief role afterward. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Aaron Harang, Mets Harang, who was signed by the Mets after the Mariners released him in early-September, was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday. Daisuke Matsuzaka likely saved his job with a solid outing Sunday, so Harang started Thursday, allowing three solo home runs but striking out 10 in six innings. Having Harang start Thursday pushed Jon Niese back to Friday and Matsuzaka to Saturday in one game of the team's double-header against the Marlins. Harang will likely next be used when Zack Wheeler is shut down for the year. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Tanner Roark, Nationals Roark allowed two runs on six hits over six innings Thursday against the Mets. He struck out three and walked one in improving to 6-0 on the year. An impressive effort for Roark on the heels of his terrific first start, in which he allowed just four hits and struck out four in six scoreless frames, but neither start has come against a quality offense. Roark made nine appearances in the bullpen after his promotion before moving into the rotation. On the year, he has allowed 24 hits with seven walks and 27 strikeouts in 34.2 innings. Roark has done nothing but earn himself a rotation spot for the balance of the year. He'll be in strong consideration for next year's rotation too. Mixed: $11; NL: owned.

Relief Pitchers:

Jeremy Affeldt/Greg Burke/Jeurys Familia/Onelki Garcia This week's middle reliever call ups/acquisitions were in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. None except for Familia have major value. Familia will likely chew up the occasional spare inning for the Mets down the stretch, although he could also be asked to make a spot start in the coming weeks, if he builds up his arm strength and the need arises. All except Familia - Mixed: No; NL: $0. Familia Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Mike Dunn, Marlins Dunn tossed a scoreless eighth during the Marlins 5-2 win over the Braves on Wednesday. The lefty reliever has hurled five straight scoreless appearances while dropping his ERA to a cool 2.86 over 63.0 innings pitched with an impressive 69 strikeouts in those frames. He's been even better lately, racking up 17 punchouts with just three walks over his past 10.2 innings. Mixed: $0; NL: $3

Kyle Farnsworth, Pirates - Farnsworth retired the Rangers on 10 pitches Wednesday, recording his first save since September of 2011. The Pirates recalled the righty from Triple-A at the beginning of month to provide depth. After three consecutive scoreless outings and with both Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli getting the day off, Farnsworth came through Wednesday with an impressive showing. The Pirates have already played 13 days in a row and have seven consecutive games to go, making it possible that Farnsworth could find himself in another save situation sometime in the next couple weeks. Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Brandon Kintzler, Brewers Kintzler has continued his success since the start of August, posting a 3.27 ERA in 20 appearances, which would be even better save for two bad outings the past month. He has slid into a high-leverage set-up role for the Brewers with John Axford being traded to the Cardinals and Tom Gorzelanny previously working in the rotation, notching his 23rd hold Thursday. His solid fastball has helped him find consistency in the spot and he may have impressed enough to be considered as the set-up man to closer Jim Henderson for the 2014 season in Milwaukee. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Sean Marshall, Reds Marshall, on the disabled list since May 24 with shoulder tendinitis, threw a 27-pitch bullpen session on Friday. He believes he is ready to be activated now and pitch in a few games before the season ends to prove he should be on the post-season roster. The Reds have used both Manny Parra and Zach Duke, each of whom have been effective, as left-handed setup men for Aroldis Chapman, but a healthy Marshall would strengthen the Reds bullpen. Mixed: No; NL: $0

J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks Putz, who is trying to return from a dislocated right pinkie, could be activated Sunday. Putz, who threw in a simulated game Thursday, looked good in one Saturday and it seems a return is on the horizon for the right-hander. Brad Ziegler figures to hold onto the ninth-inning job, regardless, relegating Putz to set-up duty. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

B.J. Rosenberg, Phillies Rosenberg picked up the first save of his career last Sunday with Jonathan Papelbon unavailable to pitch, working a 1-2-3 ninth. He hasn't allowed a run in 12 games since rejoining the Phillies from Triple-A last month, posting a 11:4 K:BB ratio in 10.2 innings. Rosenberg has a fastball in the upper-90s that he complements with a slider and change-up, and if the Phillies deal Jonathan Papelbon this winter, it's possible they could give Rosenberg a shot at closing.Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Catchers:

Christian Bethancourt, Braves Bethancourt joined the Braves on Monday. With defensive skills -- including an elite arm -- that could push him to the big leagues for good to begin 2014, Bethancourt is getting a taste of Atlanta during the final three weeks of the season as the organization determines whether he might be ready to handle a prominent role by Opening Day if Brian McCann moves on as expected. As one of the youngest players at his level at Double-A Mississippi, Bethancourt hit .277/.305/.436 with 12 homers and 11 steals career-highs in each category - over 90 games (358 at-bats) this season. He needs work on his plate discipline, but at just 21 years old and given his defensive prowess, the Braves will be patient with Bethancourt, so it's possible he starts 2014 at Triple-A Gwinnett. Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (up in keeper leagues).

Jean Boscan/Tuffy Gosewisch Continuing the parade of back up and third catchers promoted due to the rosters expansion, the Cubs called up Boscan to supply depth behind Welington Castillo and Dioner Navarro while Gosewisch will be the third catcher behind Miguel Montero and Wil Nieves in Arizona for the remainder of the season. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

First Basemen:

Matt Adams, Cardinals Adams continues to take advantage of Allen Craig's (foot) injury, going 9-for-34 with four home runs and six RBI since September 4 (through Saturday), including going yard both Wednesday and Thursday. Craig hasn't been placed on the DL, with his foot injury but he still doesn't have an exact return date, so Adams should continue to be a good source of power until that time. In addition, he could be playing his way into a possible starting role in 2014, depending on what St. Louis decides with Carlos Beltran and if Oscar Tavares is deemed ready. Mixed: $45; NL: owned.

Yonder Alonso, Padres Alonso received clearance to play defense and plans to hit in the batting cage this weekend. Manager Bud Black seemed comfortable with the idea of returning Alonso to the field as a late-inning defensive replacement at some point in the Padres' upcoming games, but until the soreness in his wrist goes away entirely, he'll be unable to contribute offensively for the Padres. Alonso previously missed 34 games earlier this season with a fractured metacarpal bone in his hand and wasn't the same player when he returned from the DL in July, hitting .278 with no home runs before aggravating the injury in an Aug. 31 game. He may need a full offseason of rest before the wrist is back to full strength. Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (value is in keeper leagues, since he won't see at-bats down the stretch).

Lucas Duda, Mets Duda, basically handed the first base job when Ike Davis strained his oblique on August 31, finally is showing some signs of life. Duda blasted a monster home run off a hanging curveball from left-hander Brad Hand on Friday and followed that up with a blast in the second game of a double-header Saturday off Jacob Turner. Duda now has 14 home runs, one shy of last year's career-high mark, and the home run off of hand was just the second with a runner on base, the second since he rejoined the Mets from Triple-A Aug. 24, and the third off a left-handed pitcher. He may finally be settling in and should start nearly every day the final two weeks of the season. Mixed: $15; NL: owned.

Tommy Medica, Padres Medica was called up prior to Tuesday's game against the Phillies and made his first start Wednesday against Cliff Lee, going 1-for-4 with a home run. A 14th-round pick by the Padres in 2010, Medica thrived upon his promotion to Double-A San Antonio earlier this season, compiling a .296/.372/.582 slash line with 18 home runs and 57 RBI in 76 games, after missing nearly two months this season with a strained left oblique muscle. Unfortunately, a third of his at-bats came at the DH slot. Of course, DH is not a valid position in the National League, but Medina has been starting at first base, relegating Kyle Blanks to the bench, going 5-for-15 with a double, the aforementioned homer, two RBI, three runs scored and a walk. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Second Base:

Dee Gordon, Dodgers Gordon could be used at second base and/or in the outfield over the final three weeks of the regular season. He played second for 20 games with Triple-A Albuquerque this season but has only been used at shortstop in the majors. If Gordon proves capable at second base, it increases his future value. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Alexander Guerrero, Dodgers The Dodgers signed Guerrero to a $32 million contract; the length of which is between five and seven years. Guerrero is 26 years old and became one of the better players in Cuba by hitting .302 with 102 home runs from 2005-2012 and making several All-Star teams. However, he hasn't played since the end of the 2012 season, during which he batted .290/.402/.576 with 21 home runs in 328 plate appearances. He could be in the majors very quickly, once he gets back to playing and perhaps even be a contender for a starting job in 2014. Guerrero played shortstop in Cuba, but he's expected to move to second base in the majors. If LA chooses not to bring back Mark Ellis and do not sign Robinson Cano, Guerrero could start there next season. In addition, if they decide to keep him at shortstop, Guerrero could start there if the Dodgers shift Hanley Ramirez back to third base. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (value limited to keeper leagues).

Cesar Hernandez, Phillies Hernandez, whose natural position is second base, started his eighth game out of the last Phillies' last nine contests in center field on Saturday. With Chase Utley now locked up through 2015, Philadelphia wanted to find room for Hernandez, so they had him start playing center field at Triple-A Lehigh Valley in July, Hernandez has acquitted himself well, batting .342 in 38 at-bats since his September call up while looking comfortable defensively in the outfield. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Shortstops:

Chris Owings, Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson is using September as a time to "filter" the shortstop position, including seeing what Owings can do. With the Diamondbacks eliminated from the postseason, Owings should see more playing time the last two weeks of the year. Owings slashed a robust .330/.359/.482 at Triple-A Reno this season, with 12 home runs, 81 RBI, 104 runs and 20 stolen bases over 575 plate appearances (125 games). Although he undoubtedly had a fantastic season and appears to have a bright future, Owings' 3.8 percent walk rate for Triple-A Reno is still cause for concern. As shortstop is a significant area of short and long-term need for Arizona, Owings is in the mix to open 2014 as the starter. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.

Nick Punto, Dodgers Hanley Ramirez has an irritated nerve in his back, which is the source of the discomfort in his left leg, and will keep him sidelined until sometime next week. Ramirez spent 15 days on the disabled list in 2011 with a similar problem, so look for LA to be cautious with his return. In his absence, Punto is starting and should continue to do so at shortstop. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Ruben Tejada, Mets The Mets did not immediately promote Tejada when rosters expanded September 1, seemingly to send a message to the 23-year-old regarding his work ethic while also saving a year on when he can become a free agent. He was demoted in July after batting .209 in 50 games with the big club, but he complied a respectable .288/.337/.379 slash line down at Triple-A Las Vegas. While Omar Quintanilla did a good job stabilizing the shortstop position, the Mets are going to find out if Tejada, who finally was called up Tuesday, which will put him a day short of enough service time to be a free agent after the 2016 season, can be their shortstop of the future, so he will start nearly every game the rest of the way. Tejada doesn't offer much in terms of either speed or power, but he has some value in leagues where at-bats alone are particularly important. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Third Basemen:

David Wright, Mets Wright, profiled two weeks ago and who landed on the disabled list on August 3 with a strained right hamstring, is covered again as he may be inching closer to returning to action. He cleared a major hurdle Wednesday, running the bases for the first time since his injury. He ran the bases again Friday while adding more aggressive fielding drills to his workout and took batting practice Saturday. The 30-year-old has been adamant about wanting to return this season, and as long as he avoids a setback with his hamstring, he could be activated as early as Tuesday. This falls in line with the estimated six-week absence for Wright when he was injured. If available and believe he plays the last two weeks, go the max.

Outfielders:

Nick Buss/Alex Castellanos, Dodgers The Dodgers called up Buss and Castellanos on Saturday to serve as reinforcements with Andre Ethier (ankle) banged up. Buss, 26, is being rewarded for his strong season at Triple-A Albuquerque (.303/.363/.525 batting line, 17 homers, 100 RBI and 21 steals) with his first cup of coffee at the major league level. He doesn't figure to see enough playing time to make an impact this season, but if Buss impresses, he could be a bench option for next season. Castellanos provides some right-handed power off the bench over the remainder of the year, after posting a .257/.347/.468 slash line and 19 homers in 105 games at Albuquerque this season. Both - Mixed: No; NL: $0; though Buss has some upside in keeper leagues.

Jason Heyward, Braves Doctors on Monday removed the braces/bands holding Heyward's injured jaw, which was fractured by Mets left-hander Jon Niese's fastball on Aug. 21, in place. Heyward continues to make progress in his recovery, receiving clearance to begin eating more solid foods. He is close to rejoining team workouts and took batting practice Friday. Assuming he has no setbacks, Heyward is skated to play a few games in the Instructional League and resume playing for the Braves just before the regular season ends. Mixed: $25; NL: $50 (in case he was waived due to injury).

Reed Johnson, Braves An Achilles injury had sidelined Johnson since late July, and it was reported just last week that Johnson shut down his daily running program because of lingering soreness. Nevertheless, the Braves welcomed Johnson back Tuesday, but he'll likely be limited to pinch-hit duty for the foreseeable future. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Starling Marte, Pirates Marte, who was on the 15-day DL from August 19 because of a contusion and sprained ligament on the ring finger in his right hand, was activated last Saturday. He was out of the starting lineup for his eighth straight game Saturday since being activated from the DL, as he has solely been used as a pinch runner and served as a late-inning defensive replacement. Manager Clint Hurdle noted that Marte's participation in a simulated game earlier Thursday was the "last piece" in his recovery from the injury. Expect to see him back as the starter in left field at some point in the near-term. Mixed: $25; NL: $65 (in case he was waived due to injury).

Injury news Matt Kemp, Dodgers Out since July 21 with an ankle injury and then sidelined by tightness in his right hamstring, he played in a simulated game this past week. He is expected to return to the Dodgers for the final 10-12 games of the season, 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.

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