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FAAB Factor-NL: No Go For CarGo

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 - 6/8/14

Starting Pitching:

Christian Bergman, Rockies - The Rockies surprised most of us when they decided to promote Bergman, bypassing Jonathan Gray, Tyler Matzek and Franklin Morales to fill the rotation spot vacated by Jordan Lyles (finger). Bergman has steadily advanced up the ladder, making 12 starts for Triple-A Colorado Springs this season, posting a 3.84 ERA and 5.8 K/9 ratio. He'll make his major league debut Monday against the Braves and Gavin Floyd, though there is no lock he sticks over the names mentioned above. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Eddie Butler, Rockies - One of the young guns in the Colorado system got the call Friday, as Butler was promoted to take Franklin Morales' spot in the rotation with Morales moving to the bullpen. Butler shot up the prospect ranks last year after he went 9-5 with a 1.80 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 149 innings. He maintained that status, going 4-4 with a 2.49 ERA, 1.18 ERA and 40:19 K:BB ratio in 68.2 innings over 11 starts at Double-A Tulsa. The low K rate is mildly concerning but he showed in the past that he could strikeout hitters, plus, he has a solid GB/FB ratio, which bodes well for success in Colorado. Butler, a supplemental pick in 2012, has a solid three-pitch arsenal, including a mid-90s fastball, solid changeup and slider that generate swings and misses. With the “Super 2” deadline passing and a need in the rotation, Butler got the call first, but he may soon be joined by the other top-pitching prospect in the Rockies' rotation, Jonathan Gray. However, Butler struggled in his debut, allowing 10 hits, six earned runs and three walks with two strikeouts over 5.1 innings against the Dodgers, putting his rotation spot possibly at risk. Mixed: $4; NL: $11.

Jonathan Gray/Tyler Matzek, Rockies - Colorado had another hole to fill in the rotation after Jordan Lyles broke his non-pitching hand on Wednesday and was placed on the disabled list. With Eddie Butler already replacing Franklin Morales, the Rockies' options would seem to have included Morales, Gray and Matzek. The Rockies could have gone young again, as they did with Butler, putting Matzek and Gray as the likely options, but decided to go with Christian Bergman. There is no guarantee he sticks, so we will profile Gray and Matzek in case either one gets the call in the next week of so. Gray, selected third overall last year, was solid his first 10 starts of the season, posting a 2.79 ERA before allowing eight earned runs in his last start. His success this year builds off how well he pitched after he was drafted last season, when he went 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA and 36:6 K:BB ratio over 24 innings in the California League. Gray has a fastball that that hits the upper-90s to go along with his plus-slider and changeup. Matzek, selected 11th overall in 2009, struggled since getting selected before righting the ship last year. This season, he looked primed to be called up before allowing eight runs in 4.1 innings in his last start, prompting Colorado to call up Eddie Butler. Command and control have been issues for him in the past, as well as a propensity to give up home runs the last two seasons. Matzek has a low-90s fastball but his secondary pitches are still a work-in-progress. That said, Colorado could opt to give Gray some more time to develop and go with Matzek, but Gray has the greater upside. Gray - Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (go higher if he gets promoted); Matzek - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Jeff Locke, Pirates - Locke, who made 30 starts for the Pirates last season, was called up to start Sunday's game and will replace Gerrit Cole, who is dealing with shoulder fatigue and was placed on the disabled list. Locke hasn't pitched well for Triple-A Indianapolis this season, as he carries a 4.14 ERA, 4.62 FIP and 6.66 K/9 through nine starts (50 innings), but will get another chance. Walks plagued him last year in the majors - 84 in 166.1 innings - and have hurt again in the minors, with 22 in 50 innings. However, Locke could get a few turns through the rotation, essentially turning the final spot in the rotation into a competition between he and Brandon Cumpton. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Injury activation/updates:

Chad Billingsley, Dodgers - Billingsley's journey back from Tommy John surgery takes the next step, as he will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday. His progress was interrupted by a bout of elbow tendinitis that sidelined him since early-April but he is getting closer to rejoining LA. When that does happen, because all five starters in the Los Angeles rotation are pitching well, Billingsley will be used as a reliever when he rejoins the team. Mixed: $0; NL: $2 (early spec bid).

Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks - Bradley, who has been out since the end of April with a mild flexor strain in his right elbow, should be able to return by the end of the month. Bradley posted a 5.18 ERA and 43 strikeouts over five starts at Triple-A Reno to begin the season and his poor numbers might have been due to his elbow woes. When he is on, Bradley mixes a plus-plus fastball that sits around 93-94 and can get up to 97 with good, late life with a plus-curveball and in the works changeup. He was able to cut his BB/9 from 5.3 in 2012 to 4.1 last year, so that is still an area needing further improvement. Once he returns to action, Bradley could be up in a month or so, if, and that's a big if, he can stay healthy. Mixed: $1; NL: $4(early spec bid).

Andrew Cashner, Padres - Cashner, who landed on the disabled list on May 17 with soreness and inflammation in his elbow, was activated and started Saturday against the Nationals, prompting his mention in the column again this week. That activation came after he threw a simulated game Monday with no setbacks. Cashner, who was just 2-5 but with a 2.35 ERA and 47:17 K:BB ratio over nine starts and 57.1 innings with 47 strikeouts and 17 walks, has altered the grip on his slider - the pitch that caused the discomfort in his elbow - by moving his fingers on the ball, and so far, so good. The key test will be to see if he has any issues now that he is back pitching in real games. His first one went very well, as he tossed six shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk, while striking out five Saturday Mixed: $6; NL: $17 (upped bid, in case he was waived due to the injury).

Mat Latos, Reds - Latos, profiled last week, gets another mention, as he inches closer to returning to the Reds. He was slated to throw 90-100 pitches in a rehab start Wednesday, but left after 67 due to a cramp in his calf. Due to that mild setback, he will make one more rehab assignment Monday, though he believes he is ready after using all of his pitches - low-90s fastball, slider, curve and changeup - this past Wednesday. He should rejoin the Reds at the end of the week, but whom he replaces is up in the air, though Tony Cingrani could be the odd man out if Alfredo Simon continues to pitch well. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (slightly upped bid, as should be back this week).

Relief Pitchers:

Mike Fiers, Brewers - Fiers has been dominant at Triple-A Nashville, posting a 2.53 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 92:9 K:BB ratio in 67.1 innings over 11 starts. Unfortunately, there is no room in the Brewers' rotation, but he was promoted on Saturday night to fill a long relief role in the bullpen with Tyler Thornburg (elbow) landing on the 15-day disabled list. If a spot starter is needed, Fiers looks to be the next in line. He has a solid 2012 season, during which he posted a 3.74 ERA with 135K in 127.2 innings, Fiers suffered through an injury-plagued and ineffective 2013 campaign but has rebounded this year to earn the promotion. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Adam Ottavino, Rockies - With Rex Brothers flaming out as a set-up man and Latroy Hawkins struggling lately, Ottavino has been the Rockies' best late-inning reliever. He tossed another 1.1 scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.89 to go along with his 1.00 WHIP and 28:4 K:BB ratio in 28 innings pitched. He has allowed runs in two of his last four appearances, but if he rights the ship and pitches well while the aforementioned two continue to struggle, Ottavino could get a look in the ninth inning. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Neil Ramirez, Cubs -Ramirez recorded his first save of the season Thursday with Hector Rondon unavailable and then notched a hold Friday when Rondon blew the save. Ramirez has allowed just one run on six hits in 14 innings with a 23 K:BB. No changing of the guard has occurred yet, though Pedro Strop notched the save Saturday, but Ramirez could get closing consideration. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Ken Giles/Chris Martin/Ethan Martin/Casey Sadler - This week's middle reliever call ups/activations were in Philadelphia, Colorado, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Only Sadler, who posted a 2.66 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 36:9 K:BB ratio in eight starts over 50.2 innings at Triple-A Indianapolis, and is currently working in middle relief has some value. He could get a look-see in the rotation if Jeff Locke struggles and Gerrit Cole is sidelined for a while or if Brandon Cumpton is removed from the rotation. All except for Sadler - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Sadler - Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Injury activation/updates -

J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks - Putz, on the disabled list since May 4 with right forearm tightness, struggled a bit in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Reno on Friday and could remain in the minors a bit longer. He will work on his command at Reno and then maybe in extended spring training before rejoining the parent club, likely in mid-June where he could set up Addison Reed. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Jordan Walden, Braves - Walden, sidelined with a strained right hamstring since May 10, could join the Braves in Colorado on Monday provided his next rehab outing goes well. He struck out three in two-thirds of an inning at Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday. Walden had a good start to the season, posting a 2.92 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP over 12.1 innings before going on the disabled list. Upon his return, he should once again serve as a set up man to Craig Kimbrel, alongside Shae Simmons and the recently slumping David Carpenter. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Catchers:

John Baker/Eli Whiteside - Cubs - Baker and Whiteside will man catcher for the Cubs with Wellington Castillo landing on the 15-day disabled list this past Tuesday with left ribcage inflammation. Baker figures to see the bulk of the playing time while Castillo is out, though neither he nor Whiteside are anything worth writing home about in the batters box. Baker - Mixed: $0; NL: $2; Whiteside - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Mike McKenry, Rockies - McKenry was promoted this week to serve as Wilin Rosario's back up with Jordan Pacheco heading down to the minors. McKenry, who was up for two weeks in early-May, was 4-for-19 with the big club, but hit .313/.370/.494 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 23 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs to earn a second call up. He started Friday and Saturday with Rosario sidelined due to illness, so keep an eye on that situation. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Anthony Recker/Taylor Teagarden, Mets - Travis d'Arnaud was sent down to the minors after the Mets' 5-4 loss to the Giants on Saturday, leaving Recker and Teagarden to man catcher. Recker, who has shown some power in the past and started Saturday, should see most of the action but he strikes out a ton and has a ridiculously low contact rate. Teagarden hit well in the minors, but so does nearly everyone in the PCL, so don't expect much from him in the majors. Recker - Mixed: $1; NL: $4; Teagarden - Mixed: No; NL: $2.

First Basemen:

Justin Bour, Marlins - Miami called up Bour this week to give Garrett Jones a solid backup at first base and Miami a pinch-hitter off the bench. He hit .330/.407/.562 with nine home runs and 36 RBI in 203 at-bats with Triple-A New Orleans this season to earn the call, taking advantage of playing in the PCL. Jones is pretty entrenched at first base, so the best hope for Bour is for him to see time at DH when Miami plays in AL parks. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Injury activation/update:

Brandon Belt, Giants - Belt, on the disabled list since May 9 with a fractured left thumb that required the insertion of two pins, was slated to have the cast removed Friday. He had been limited to taking cuts off a tee with his right hand only, but once the cast is removed, he should be cleared to begin the full rehab process. The expectation is that he'll need two weeks of full rehab, including a minor league rehab stint, before being activated from the disabled list, putting his return somewhere around June 20-23 and moving Mike Morse back to the outfield.

Joey Votto, Reds - Votto, out since May 16 with a strained quad, will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Sunday. That decision was made after a full workout Saturday, during which he took batting practice as well as ran through fielding and baserunning drills. Votto could be back in about a week, though the may keep him at less that 100 percent for the remainder of the season.

Mark Trumbo, Diamondbacks - Trumbo, profiled last week and out since April 23 with a stress fracture to his third metatarsal in his left foot, gets another update mention this week. That mention is due to him hitting on the field for the first time Friday after being limited to swings off a tee. Trumbo hopes to be back the third week of June, but that would require substantial progress and the ability to play in rehab games within the next week or so.

Second Base:

Alexi Amarista/Jace Peterson - Padres - Amarista figures to see most of the work at second base with Jedd Gyorko landing on the disabled list due to plantar fasciitis, supported by Peterson. That said, given Amarista's miserable .196/.268/.277 slash line on the season, Peterson could very well see most of the action at second base. Peterson, a first-round pick in 2011, hit .311/.386/.392 in 18 games with Double-A San Antonio to start the season and earn a late-April promotion. He was sent down to Triple-A El Paso in early-May, but earned a second look, by hitting .330/.441/.560 with two homers, 19 RBI, 20 runs, and three steals in 27 games. Amarista - Mixed: No; NL: $2; Peterson - Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Jeff Baker/Ed Lucas/Donavan Solano, Marlins - Miami sent down Derek Dietrich to work on his defense, leaving second base a three-headed monster. Baker is more of a utility player who can fill in all over. Lucas has been receiving more time lately but is better against southpaws and struggles against righties while Solano, who started and finished last season as the starter, is a solid contact hitter with minimal production but better against righties. That split between Lucas and Solano could continue but each may just be holding the fort until Rafael Furcal is ready. Baker - Mixed: No; NL: $2; Lucas - Mixed: $0; NL: $3; Solano - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Daniel Descalso/Mark Ellis, Cardinals - If Kolten Wong's shoulder injury, which has forced him to miss the past two games, sidelines him any longer, Descalso and Ellis should man the keystone spot. Neither are great options, but Desclaso has multi-position eligibility, a slightly better bat and should play against righties while Ellis has more experience at second base and would hit versus southpaws. Descalso - Mixed: $0; NL: $3; Ellis - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Shortstops:

Ronny Cedeno, Phillies - Cedeno was promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday to give the Phillies some infield depth. He was hitting .286/.327/.367 with one home run and 20 RBIs in 42 games for Lehigh Valley but had been hot lately. In 21 games since May 11, Cedeno had hit .392/.423/.527 and he can fill in at several infield positions for the Phillies. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Didi Gregorius, Diamondbacks - Gregorius was promoted to take the place of Cliff Pennington, who landed on the 15-day disabled list with a partially torn ligament in his left thumb that required surgery and will sideline him for two months. Gregorius, who came over to Arizona last year in a three-way deal with Cleveland and Cincinnati, lost out to Chris Owings this spring to be the starting shortstop, He is the superior defender but lesser hitter and that hot stretch he had after he was promoted last year proved to be an aberration. Gregorius did hit well at Triple-A Reno, batting .310/.389/.447 in 226 at-bats with three home runs and 25 RBI. If he gets hot and Owings, who has been up-and-down with a poor May but had a big game Thursday, slumps, a platoon with Gregorius playing against righties and Owings, lefties, or change, could occur. Until then, Owings is the primary shortstop. The other option is for Gregorius to see time at second base, as he did Saturday. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (up if you think he sees a few starts a week at second base and shortstop).

Jordy Mercer, Pirates - Mercer continued his recent hot streak, going 2-for-5 with his third homer of the season and three RBI against the Brewers on Friday. He is now 11-for-his-last-22 and he has pretty much reclaimed the starting shortstop gig in Pittsburgh. Mercer's season line now sits at .232/.266/.335, which shows you just how bad it was before his hot streak. Ride him while he is hot and be prepared to jump ship as soon as he slows. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (higher bid than a few others only because he is starting).

Miguel Rojas, Dodgers - Rojas, batting .302/.353/.434 with seven steals and four home runs, had his contract purchased by the Dodgers from Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday. He will serve as infield depth but could see a start of two if Dee Gordon is sidelined by his hip injury. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Third Basemen:

Kris Bryant, Cubs - Just like #freepolanco was hot on twitter, how long before we see #freebryant trending? Bryant was slashing .389/.511/.889 over his last 10 games with Double-A Tennessee and was up to .344/.452/.679 with 19 home runs and 51 RBI over 218 at-bats through Friday. That wasn't good enough, as he went 3-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored Saturday. At a minimum, a promotion to Triple-A Iowa should be forthcoming shortly. If Bryant can hit even anything close to what he has done in Double-A, a trip to Chicago and run at the hot corner should be in the card sometime this summer. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (early spec bid, to rise substantially as he gets closer to a possible call up).

Ryan Wheeler, Rockies - Wheeler was called up this week to take the roster spot of Carlos Gonzalez, who landed on the disabled list with left index finger inflammation. In the past, Wheeler struggled in the majors, posting a 234/.278/.335 batting line in 169 career plate appearances, but excelled in the minors, hitting .313/.357/.483 in parts of three seasons at Triple-A. This season, that has not been the case, as he was hitting just .253/.308/.352 with three homers in 50 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs this season, yet got the call up. Wheeler will see some time at third base, but is in danger of having this stint be short if a better candidate for promotion arises. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Injury activation/update:

Aramis Ramirez, Brewers - Ramirez, out since May 11 with a strained left hamstring, went 1-for-4 with a three-run homer in his return to the lineup Wednesday. He completed a short rehab assignment at Low-A Wisconsin, paving the way for his return. He will resume playing third base regularly upon his return, but Carlos Gomez has thrived in the cleanup spot in Ramirez's absence, so it looks like he will hit slightly down in the order, which could mildly, adversely impact his value.

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals - Zimmerman, sidelined since fracturing his right thumb on April 12, completed a short rehab stint at Low-A Potomac and was activated Tuesday. Upon his return, Zimmerman shifted positions and is now mainly a left fielder with Anthony Rendon entrenched at third base. However, if Anthony Rendon's sprained right thumb sidelines him for any length of time, Zimmerman could move back to the hot corner.

Outfielders:

Andrew Brown, Mets - Brown was from Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday and started his first two games after his call up. After seeing just 27 at-bats with the Mets to start the season, Brown was sent down to the minors, where he posted a.359/.446/.732 line with 13 homers and 31 RBI in 36 games. Brown showed last year he has a bit of power, so he could continue to see time in left field while also serving as a righty pinch-hitter. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Matt den Dekker, Mets - Den Decker, profiled last week when he was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Eric Young Jr., who landed on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring, gets another mention as he was called back to replace the injured Juan Lagares (rib cage). Den Decker, who was hitting .269 at Triple-A Las Vegas with four homers and 26 RBI in 171 at-bats this season, is an excellent defensive outfielder but struggles with his plate discipline and contact ratio. He was slated to go back to the minors but never left NY and re-joined the squad when Lagares landed on the DL. Den Dekker has started five of the last six games in center field with Chris Young in the doghouse and will continue to play if he is able to be a spark plug and improve his plate discipline and contact rate. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Corey Dickerson, Rockies - Dickerson has made the most of the playing he has received this year and it looks like he will get a lot more in the short-term. With Carlos Gonzalez (finger) landing on the disabled list, it looks like Dickerson should see most of the action in left field, especially when right-handers are on the mound. Dickerson will bat towards the top of the order, where he should rack up runs, provide a bit of power and speed and post strong averages across the board. Mixed: $27 (if in case for some reason he isn't already owned); NL: owned.

Chone Figgins, Dodgers - Dee Gordon's left Saturday's game with some discomfort in his right hip and was replaced by Figgins, who went 1-for-3 with a steal. If Gordon is sidelined for a bit, Figgins could be in line for decent playing time, at least for a few days, with Alex Guerrero not ready to return after his ear was bit by Miguel Olivo and Justin Turner playing third with Juan Uribe out. That said, Figgins hasn't been relevant since 2010, so temper your bids. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Ender Inciarte/David Peralta, Diamondbacks - We covered both hitters last week in the comments section but wanted to give them column love. Inciarte has tremendous speed and is a solid defensive center fielder but his issue is that you can't steal first base. Peralta, who pitched in the Cardinals' organization, before shifting to the outfield was a surprise promotion from Double-A Mobile. He hit .297 with six homers and two steals in 53 games for Mobile and has already played more than expected for Arizona. If looking forward, Arizona seems willing to play Peralta in left field and Inciarte in center, which hurts Cody Ross' value. Inciarte - Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (mainly due to speed); Peralta - Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Joc Pederson, Dodgers - I profiled Peterson last week and was criticized a bit for the low bid. The rationale for that bid was where would he play with Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, who may return soon from his injury, in LA? That could change, as there is some speculation that despite Kemp and Crawford and Andre Ethier in LA, Pederson could force his way into the lineup, based on his overall numbers, including better performance against southpaws. The Dodgers could opt to promote Pederson and play him in center field and he may get a look if Yasiel Puig's injured hip sidelines him. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (upped spec bid, go higher if think he gets quick call up).

Gregory Polanco, Pirates - It's not a matter of if but when Polanco will be called up. There was speculation this past week that Polanco would be promoted Friday, but now, it looks like it will be sometime this upcoming week. The date may depend on if Polanco and Pitt can reach a long-term accord like Houston and Jonathan Singleton did. The two sides are far apart, and even if a deal isn't reached, Polanco should be up Thursday. Once he is promoted, Jose Tabata and Travis Snider will see their playing time dwindle to a mere trickle for Polanco, who has a mixture of speed and power and has .356/.415/.556 line with seven homers and 15 stolen bases in 239 at-bats through Friday. The full-blown power will be the last to come, but the expectation is that will eventually blossom as he matures. Polanco is a five-tool player, whose presence will give Pittsburgh a tremendous defensive outfield as he plays right field alongside Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. Mixed: $11; NL: $27.

Injury activation/update:

Carl Crawford, Dodgers -Crawford, who sprained his left ankle on May 27, may be able to return to active duty when eligible next Thursday. When Crawford was first injured, it was reported that it was "going to take a while" for him to recover. That appears not to be the case as Crawford has already taken batting practice and full pregame workouts.

Justin Ruggiano, Cubs - Ruggiano, sidelined with a Grade 2 strained left hamstring since April 23, was activated Monday. Hehad a big spring, hitting .300 and has a power-speed combination, but looks to be in a platoon once again in Chicago, sharing time with Junior Lake, Emilio Bonifacio and Nate Schierholtz in the outfield). Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Ryan Sweeney, Cubs - Sweeney, expected to miss 3-to-4 weeks after suffering the hamstring injury May 2, had a setback in mid-May that kept him sidelined. He could begin a rehab assignment with Low-A Kane County this week but will be brought back slowly. When Sweeney does return, he could see time in center field against righties). Mixed: No; NL: $2.