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FAAB Factor-NL: Change of Scenery

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 - 4/20/14

Starting Pitching:

Mike Bolsinger, Diamondbacks - With the Diamondbacks rotation slumping early this season, Arizona demoted Trevor Cahill to the bullpen and replacing him in the rotation with Bolsinger. He is not a big-time prospect, put was 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA his first two starts this season after going 7-7 with a 4.72 era, 1.53 ERA and 8.64 K/9 in 101 innings. Bolsinger, who started Saturday at the Dodgers, relieved Josh Collmenter on Monday, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks over three innings in his major-league debut. He cruised the first four innings Saturday, but surrendered three runs in the four and four of the five runs that scored in the fifth were charged to him. Bolsinger may just keeping the spot warm until Arizona promotes Archie Bradley, though they are waiting for Bradley to have better fastball command. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks - Cahill, removed from the Arizona rotation after posting a 9.17 ERA his first four starts, ended up in the bullpen instead of being demoted to the minors. That move has worked out well, as he notched a save Friday and threw three scoreless innings Saturday. Mike Bolsinger, who replaced Cahill in the rotation, was hit hard Saturday, so it's possible Cahill could regain his spot after pitching well in relief. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Tim Cooney/Tyler Lyons/Carlos Martinez, Cardinals - Cooney and Lyons seem to be the best bet to get promoted to start in place of the injured Joe Kelly (hamstring) on Monday while Martinez less likely to move from relieving to starting. Cooney doesn't get the press some of the other young Cardinals' starters get, but he has been impressive nonetheless in the minors. He showed good control - 6.94 K/BB ratio - with a solid 9.53 K/9 rate in 118.1 innings This season, he is 3-0 with a 2.04 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 17:5 K:BB ratio in 17.2 innings over three starts to get consideration for the call up. Lyons lost his battle to break camp with the parent club after struggling a bit in his 12 appearances last year following his promotion. He has pitched well in his three starts at Memphis, posting a 3.32 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 18:5 K:BB ratio. Both Cooney and Lyons are lefties, which is something lacking in the Cardinals' rotation. Martinez, currently in the pen, won't be stretched out unless St. Louis has a long-term need and opening in the rotation. With Kelly likely out only a few starts, that means Martinez probably remains in the pen, but if the absence becomes a lot longer, Martinez likely will get a chance to build up his pitch count and start. Cooney - Mixed: $0; NL: $2; Lyons - Mixed: $1; NL: $4; Martinez - Mixed: $2; NL: owned, if not and think he starts, bid $9.

Mike Fiers, Brewers - Fiers had a rough 2013 campaign, but has started 2014 strong at Triple-A Nashville. He has allowed just one earned run over 12.2 innings in his first two starts, surrendering just eight hits with a 14:1 K:BB ratio. Fiers has made 25 career starts, and if Milwaukee needs a starter, either Fiers or Jimmy Nelson could be next in line. Mixed: No; NL: $2 (spec bid).

Aaron Harang, Braves - All those who thought Harang would be 3-1 with a 0.70 ERA at this point, raise their hands. Just what I figured, nobody. Harang is coming off of tossing seven no-hit innings against the Mets on Friday, tossing 121 pitches. The Braves signed Harang due to a myriad of pitching injuries, after the Indians waived him late in spring training. He has been a godsend for the rotation, but given his history, expect the clock to strike 12 at some time, but enjoy the ride while it lasts. Mixed: $7; NL: owned.

Andrew Heaney, Marlins - Heaney continued his Double-A dominance Tuesday, as he tossed six innings of one-run, one-hit ball to move to 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA and 16 strikeouts against just three walks on the season. Despite that fine start, the Marlins seem to have no intention of promoting him early like they did with Jose Fernandez, meaning he likely won't be up until sometime in June. Heaney mixes a 93 mph heater with a slider and curveball, and once he is up he will be a nice Robin to Fernandez's Batman in Miami. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (very early spec bid).

Casey Kelly, Padres - Kelly, who had Tommy John surgery in March last year, will pitch in an extended spring training game Monday. If he has no setbacks, Kelly should be able to begin a rehab assignment leading him back to the majors. When that does happen, Kelly will likely pitch out of the bullpen, though he could possibly replace Robbie Erlin if he is struggling. Mixed: No; NL: $0 (early spec bid).

Franklin Morales, Rockies - Morales, who was moved to the bullpen after allowing nine runs his first two starts, was re-inserted back into the rotation with Brett Anderson landing on the DL with a broken finger. The Rockies had little choice with Jhoulys Chacin (strained right shoulder) on the disabled list until early May and Eddie Butler/Jonathan Gray not yet ready for prime time, Morales made the most of this second chance, allowing one run on four hits and a walk while striking out five over six innings to defeat the Padres on Thursday. His second stint as a starter may only last as long as Chacin is sidelined, but he gets a mild boost for being back in the rotation. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Tyson Ross, Padres - Ross finished last year on a roll and has carried it forward to this season, getting better in each successive start, capping with his outing Friday. As we wrote in the pre-season outlook, "In 13 nods to complete the year, he threw 10 quality starts, while supplying a spectacular 2.93 ERA and 85:23 K:BB ratio in 80 innings." On Friday Ross threw eight shutout innings to earn his second win of the season, allowing just four hits and a walk to go along with nine strikeouts while topping out at 93mph. This season, he has allowed just six earned runs in his four outings, surrendering, three, two, one and then no runs in those starts. Ross benefits from pitching at Petco Park, in which he has made three of his four starts, though as he showed down the stretch last season, he is not a slouch on the road. Mixed: $11; NL: owned.

Kevin Slowey, Marlins - Brad Hand has been moved to the bullpen with Slowey sliding into the rotation. After posting a 4.38 ERA in 12.1 innings out of the pen, Slowey will make his first start Sunday against Seattle. Tread lightly, as Slowey hasn't posted a sub-4.00 ERA as a starter since 2008 when he pitched for Minnesota, and even then, his ERA was 3.99. The one positive is that his FIP has been solid the past six years, despite a high BABIP, and he is pitching in a decent park in Miami. Slowey may just be a placeholder until Jacob Turner (shoulder) is healthy, which may be at the end of the month, or until Andrew Heaney/Justin Nicolino is ready. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Injury activation/update - Jake Arrieta, Cubs Arrieta, who had tightness in his right shoulder when spring training began and did not pitch in Cactus League games, is close to joining the Cubs. He is scheduled to make his fourth rehab start, this one with High-A Daytona early this week after three with Double-A Tennessee. Arrieta has allowed one earned run on six hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 12.1 innings over those outings and could join the Cubs after his start for Iowa, replacing Carlos Villanueva in the Chicago rotation. Mixed: $1; NL: $4. Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies - Chacin will make his second injury rehab start with High-A Modesto on Saturday. His first rehab start didn't result in great numbers - four runs on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 2.2 innings - but he reported pitched better than that, and more important, is healthy. Chacin, who suffered a right shoulder strain at the beginning of spring training, may only need two more rehab starts before he rejoins the Rockies. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (up slightly as he gets closer to returning). Tyler Chatwood, Rockies- Chatwood, who opened the season on the 15-day DL due to a strained hamstring, was activated and made his first start of the year last Sunday against the Giants. He allowed four runs on six hits and no walks with five strikeouts in a no-decision. Chatwood was even better Friday, allowing one unearned run on two hits and a walk with six strikeouts in a 12-1 win over the Phillies. With Brett Anderson on the DL due to his finger injury and Jhoulys Chacin ramping up his recovery, Chatwood should remain in the rotation for a few turns before a call has to be made. Butler or Gray could shorten that timeframe, but Chatwood is safe for the time being. Mixed: $1; NL: $4. Doug Fister, Nationals - Fister, who had elbow inflammation this spring, appeared to be 100% when he suffered a strained right lat late in spring training hat landed him on the DL. He has progressed from tossing from 60 feet to throwing a pair of bullpen sessions and finally an extended spring training outing Thursday, during which he went two innings. Fister will throw a simulated game Tuesday, and if no setbacks, he likely will move to making a few rehab starts before rejoining the Nationals in mid-May. He is a solid, mid-rotation starter and could see a bump in his K rate now that he is in the NL. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (up slightly as he gets closer to returning). Jamie Garcia, Cardinals - Garcia, recovering from shoulder bursitis, is scheduled to throw 35 pitches in an extended spring training game Saturday. He made just nine starts last season before it was cut short due to a partial tear in his pitching (left) shoulder that required surgery after making just 20 starts in 2012 due to shoulder issues. There is some question as to whether Garcia will be a starter or reliever upon his return and if he can ever regain the form he showed in 2010 and 2011, when he went 26-15 with 288K in 358 innings. Either way, he looks to be on pace to return in May. Mixed: $0; NL: $2 (early spec bid and up if you think he starts).

Relief Pitchers:

Mike Adams/Jeremy Affeldt/Shawn Camp/Xavier Cedeno/Eric Fortunato/Sean Marshall/Daisuke Matsuzaka/Jorge Rondon/Rob Wooten - This week's middle reliever call ups/activations were in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, Cincinnati, New York, St. Louis and Milwaukee. Of the lot, all Adams, Affeldt and Matsuzaka could have value. Adams, Affeldt and Marshall could serve as set-up men and notch holds while Dice-K could see some starts if Bartolo Colon's back or Jenrry Mejia's blister forces either one out. Adams/Affeldt/Marshall - Mixed: $0; NL: $2; Matsuzaka - Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (if he starts); All others - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

David Carpenter/Jordan Walden, Braves - Carpenter notched the save Monday against the Phillies with Craig Kimbrel unavailable due to a sore shoulder while Walden relieved an ineffective Kimbrel to get the last out and save Saturday after Carpenter pitched an ineffective eighth. Kimbrel has said he is fine and was hitting 97mph Saturday, but he had little command after not working for a week. If for some reason the injury sidelines, Carpenter or Walden could be next in line, along with Luis Avilan, who led the Braves in holds last year. Carpenter/Walden - Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (up substantially if Kimbrel is sidelined, though as an owner of him in two leagues, you may hear me scream if that happens).

Kyle Farnsworth, Mets - Jose Valverde took over as the Mets' closer after Bobby Parnell landed on the disabled list. All was well early on, but after five scoreless appearances, he was rocked his last three, including surrendering a three-run home run to Justin Upton on Saturday. That last home-run was the final straw, as manager Terry Collins named Farnsworth his closer Sunday. Farnsworth had held opponents scoreless in seven straight appearances and closed for Tampa in 2011, and with Vic Black still struggling with his control at Triple-A Vegas, it probably makes sense to go with Farnsworth first. If he falters, Gonzalez Germen, Jeurys Familia or Black may be next in line. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Pedro Strop/Blake Parker/Hector Rondon/Justin Grimm, Cubs - Last week, manager Rick Renteria removed Jose Veras from the closer role, but unfortunately he did not name a replacement. Renteria said that Grimm, Parker, Rondon and Pedro Strop all are candidates to close, making the situation clear as mud. Grimm has pitched well, not allowing a run in his first eight appearances until he allowed one in an inning Friday, with a 10:5 K:BB ratio in 7.2 innings, with the walks sticking out like a sore thumb. He has for the most part pitched well in the minors but struggled in the majors, so this stretch may be fools gold, though his velocity is up since moving from starting to relieving last season. Parker pitched well after his promotion last season, posting a 2.72 ERA, 1.165 WHIP and 55:15 K:BB ratio in 46.1 innings. He struggled this spring, earning a demotion, but was solid in three outings in Triple-A Iowa and could be the one to grab long-term, especially since he was a closer in the minors. Rondon has been the team's best reliever this season, posting a 9:4 K:BB ratio while allowing just four his in 7.2 scoreless innings. A Rule 5 pick last year, Rondon spent the year on the Cubs roster, and while his overall numbers weren't great, he had an excellent September and has carried that success into this season. Strop was expected to be the 'closer-in-waiting', but a slow start may cost him that moniker, though he likely will get a chance to fill that role. Grimm - Mixed: $0; NL: $3; Parker - Mixed: $2; NL: $7; Rondon - Mixed: $1; NL: $4; Strop - Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (though likely owned in single-leagues).

Carlos Torres, Mets - Torres, who mainly works in middle and long relief, is relied upon heavily by Mets manager Terry Collins to give NY innings. While Torres won't rack up saves, he could garner the occasional hold while also vulturing wins and adding to your counting stats. Through Thursday, he has an 12:4 K:BB ratio with a 1.86 ERA in 9.2 innings after racking up a 3.89 ERA and 8.4 K/9 in 71.2 innings last season. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Injury activation/update - Jason Motte, Cardinals - Motte is working his way back from Tommy John surgery after missing all of the 2013 season. He saved 42 games in 2012 before suffering the injury last spring and could be back by early-May. When he does return, Trevor Rosenthal looks pretty ensconced at the Cardinals' closer, so Motte could act as a set-up man, notching holds and strikeouts and close if Rosenthal is unavailable or struggles. Mixed: $0; NL: $2 (early spec bid). Brian Wilson, Dodgers - Wilson, who landed on the DL with a nerve irritation in his elbow, was activated Tuesday. He won't grab saves with Kenley Jansen closing but could be a decent source of holds and strikeouts. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Catchers:

Anthony Recker, Mets - Recker, who had the game-winning home run last Saturday in Anaheim, also blasted a bomb Wednesday against Arizona. With Travis d'Arnaud struggling, manager Terry Collins indicated that Recker is likely to see more starts behind the dish. Recker won't hit for a great average but he has shown he has some pop in his bat. That extra PT will likely dry up once/if d'Arnaud gets hot, but take advantage of it for now. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/update - Chris Stewart, Pirates - Stewart missed the start of the year, after undergoing a minor knee procedure in mid-March, but was activated Saturday. He will serve as Russell Martin's backup in Pittsburgh. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

First Basemen:

Ike Davis, Pirates - Davis was dealt to the Pirates for Zack Thornton and a PTBNL. Pittsburgh had been interested in Davis this offseason but felt the price was too high. Davis should get the chance to at minimum platoon with Gaby Sanchez, replacing Travis Ishikawa as the lefty-hitting part of the platoon, and could become the full-time first baseman. In addition, this solidifies Lucas Duda's hold on the role in NY. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Lucas Duda, Mets - Ike Davis was dealt to the Pirates for Zack Thornton and a PTBNL on Friday. This deal solidifies Duda's hold on the first base job, as he will be replaced only against tough lefties by Josh Satin, but should play basically every day. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (upped value).

Garrett Jones, Marlins - Jones was to open the year in a platoon with Jeff Baker as the Marlins' first baseman, but early on, the job has been Jones's, as he started the first 17 games at the position. Jones is batting just .231 but he has a pair of home runs, eight RBI and eight runs scored while hitting in the middle of the Marlins' lineup. Baker will play all over the place for the Marlins, possibly versus lefties at first but also at second, third and possibly left field, leaving first base mainly to Jones, who should continue to be a decent source of power in South Florida, despite his weak BA. Mixed: $4; NL: $11.

Second Base:

Danny Espinosa, Nationals - I profiled Espinosa two weeks, writing that if Ryan Zimmerman's right shoulder injury sidelines him for any length of time, Espinosa figures to be the primary beneficiary. Anthony Rendon would move from second to third opening up the keystone position for Espinosa. Well it wasn't the shoulder that sidelined Zimmerman, but a broken thumb suffered later that week, which will keep him out 4-to-6 weeks. The position shifting I mentioned above has occurred, so Espinosa should play nearly every day while Zimmerman is out, supplemented by Zach Walters. Espinosa is a switch-hitter with power and speed, whose plate discipline has left a lot to be desired. It's unclear if his free swinging approach or injuries (right wrist/left rotator cuff) were the cause of his nightmarish 2013 campaign, but he now gets a decent chance to regain some of his value while Zimmerman is out. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Scooter Gennett, Brewers - Coming into spring training and early this season there was a question if Gennett or Rickie Weeks would be the Brewers' starting second baseman. Well, Weeks is off to a slow start, batting just .130 in 11 games, while Gennett is hitting .295/.340/.364 his first 17 games of the season. Gennett won't hit for much power, but he has shown signs of improving his walk rate while maintaining a solid contact one, and appears to be the starting second baseman. Gennett hits down in the order, so don't expect many runs or RBI, but he is a starter who can provide a decent average and some stolen bases, which has value, especially in single leagues. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Injury activation/update - Mark Ellis, Cardinals - Ellis, signed by the Cardinals this off-season to provide some depth at second base, opened the year on the DL due to tendinitis in his left knee. Kolten Wong used the time that Ellis was out to further solidify his hold on the job, so Ellis, who was activated Tuesday, will likely only see time against left-handed starting pitching. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Shortstops:

Injury activation/update - Rafael Furcal, Marlins - Furcal opened the year on the DL - big surprise - due to a hamstring injury and will use all 20 days of the injury rehab stint. He played his first contest at High-A Jupiter on April 14 and will move to Double-A Jacksonville on Monday before being re-evaluated. Furcal missed all of 2013 recovering from TJS and when he does return, Miami will make sure to give him sufficient rest and maintenance days to keep him fresh. Derek Dietrich has done an excellent job filling in for Furcal showing power with a solid K:BB ratio. Miami could give Dietrich time at third if Casey McGehee slows to make room for Furcal, who will get a chance to start at second. But after a poor 2012 campaign, that leash might be short, especially seeing how well Dietrich has played. Mixed: $1; NL: $4, early spec bid.

Third Basemen:

Freddy Galvis, Phillies - With Cody Asche's struggles to open the year, Galvis has seen more than expected action since coming off the DL last week. Galvis was originally diagnosed with a staph infection that turned out to MRSA, requiring a hospital stint. If Asche continues to struggle, Galvis could continue to see more action, and if Asche wakes, Galvis will resume his role as a utility infielder. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Outfielders:

Corey Dickerson, Rockies - Dickerson, who started the year with the Rockies but was sent down on April 7, was recalled this past Monday. He will provide outfield depth to Colorado, though Charlie Blackmon seems to have grabbed the center field job. Dickerson could see the occasional start but will mainly be used as a pinch-hitter. If Michael Cuddyer's injured hamstring forces him to the DL, Dickerson could platoon with Drew Stubbs in right. Mixed: No; NL: $2 (up if Cuddyer goes on DL).

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mets - Nieuwenhuis was called up with Juan Lagares landing on the DL due a strained hamstring and Chris Young already sidelined with his quad injury. Captain Kirk earned the promotion, as he had hit .310/.341/.500 with two home runs, eight RBI and 10 runs in 42 at-bats. Nieuwenhuis worked on shortening his swing and approach to the plate this spring, which paid immediate dividends. He went 3-for-5 with a HR and three RBI his first game start, receiving another start the next day. With Young back Friday, Nieuwenhuis is now relegated to the bench as a backup outfielder and either he or Andrew Brown will get sent down when Lagares returns in the next week or so. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Drew Stubbs, Rockies - Stubbs started Friday and Saturday in right field with Michael Cuddyer nursing a hamstring injury. Cuddyer does not believe he will need to go on the DL, but if it does happen, Stubbs could see most of the action there. His power/speed combination along with him playing in Coors Field would make him an attractive add, though Corey Dickerson could also see some time there. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (up if Cuddyer goes on DL).

Eric Young, Jr., Mets - Young Jr. got off to a slow start, batting just .105 with a .143 OBA but he raked on the team's recent road trip. Young batted .333 in the nine games, scoring 12 runs while also stealing nine bases in as many chances, upping his BA to .255 and OBA to .344. With Juan Lagares on the DL for another week-plus, Young will play daily in LF and leadoff. When Lagares returns, manager Terry Collins will need to juggle four outfielders for three spots, including EY Jr., Chris Young and Curtis Granderson, though Granderson is pretty much locked into a starting role. Mixed: $11; NL: owned.

Injury activation/update - Cameron Maybin, Padres - Maybin, who ruptured his left biceps tendon on March 2, is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A El Paso. However, his slow start means that he will stay there at least to the end of April.  Maybin played just 14 games last year due to wrist and knee injuries, so fantasy owners are all too used to seeing his name on the injured reserve list. Even when healthy, his best year of recent memory was 2011, when he came to SD, so don't overrate him even when he does return, though he could be a decent source of steals. Mixed: $1; NL: $5 (early spec bid).Carlos Quentin, Padres - Quentin, sidelined with a sore left knee, will head to extended spring training during the Padres' upcoming 10-day road trip, which begins Monday in Milwaukee. Right now, he is limited to taking batting practice on the field and running on an anti-gravity treadmill, but that will change soon. Quentin clearly can hit, but he can't stay on the field, due to his bad knees and last year, bad shoulder. Invest lightly in him, as he would benefit from a deal to the AL where he can DH and that's where he will be used in intra-league games. Mixed: $1; NL: $5 (early spec bid). Cody Ross, Diamondbacks - Ross, recovering from a fracture and dislocation of his right hip, suffered some back stiffness in spring training that pushed his return date back. He is at Triple-A Reno on a rehab assignment that was supposed to last originally until April 10 but his stint was extended by over a week. Ross was activated Friday and likely will see most of his time in right and at DH, with Mark Trumbo in left, with most of his playing time initially coming against lefties, hurting his value. Mixed: $2; NL: $7. Chris Young, Mets - Young missed Opening Day with a quad strain, and after returning for the second game of the season, he aggravated the injury, landing on the DL. He is now healthy and raked on a short Triple-A rehab stint, going 8-for-12 with a pair of home runs, seven runs and five RBI. With Juan Lagares on the DL for another week-plus, Young, activated Friday, will play daily in CF. When Lagares returns, manager Terry Collins will need to juggle four outfielders for three spots, including EY Jr. and Curtis Granderson, though Granderson is pretty much locked into a starting role. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.