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FAAB Factor-NL: Chase Headley, Relevant Again

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.

Starting Pitching:

Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks – Cahill, who was pulled from the Arizona rotation and the designated for assignment due to his poor pitching, could get another look after the All-Star break. He has made the most of his time at Triple-A Reno following his accepting of his demotion after passing through waivers. Cahill has a 2.59 ERA, 1.29 WHIP along with 25:15 K:BB in 24.1 innings over five starts, while holding batters to a .195 batting average and stellar 1.93 GB:FB ratio. Chase Anderson will have his workload cut a bit in the second half, while Mike Bolsinger is not the answer and Archie Bradley is not yet ready, so Cahill could get a chance to slide back into the rotation. Mixed: $0; NL: $2. (early spec bid)

Kyle Hendricks, Cubs – Hendricks, profiled last week after the trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland opened two spots in the Cubs’ rotation, was promoted and started Thursday. He allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out seven over six innings against the Reds. Hendricks came over from Texas in the Ryan Dempster deal at the 2012 non-waiver trade deadline and has steadily advanced up the ladder. He was the Cubs’ minor-league pitcher of the year last year after going 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA and 128:34 K:BB in 166.1 innings between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. This year. Hendricks was 10-5 with a 3.58 ERA and 93:23 K:BB in 100.2 innings for Iowa. He generates lots of groundballs, which is a big reason for his success, and as seen by his K:BB and K/9 ratios, he has good command and control. Hendricks was sent back down to the minors with Chicago not needing a fifth starter until July 22, but he did well enough Thursday to remain in the mix along with Dan Straily, Dallas Beeler, Chris Rusin, and Tsuyoshi Wada to fill one of the two open spots in the Cubs’ rotation. Mixed: $1; NL: $4. (slightly upped bid)

Paul Maholm, Dodgers – Maholm surprisingly tossed six shutout innings Saturday against the Padres, filling in beautifully for the injured Josh Beckett (hip). This is likely just a spot start for Maholm, who hadn't pitched more than 2.1 innings in an appearance since May 14, as Beckett could possibly return July 22. He benefited from facing a weak San Diego team but six innings is six innings, and if Beckett misses that next start, Maholm could fill in for him again. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Jimmy Nelson, Brewers – I wrote this a month ago, and it has finally proven to be true: “A scuffling Marco Estrada got the dreaded vote of confidence, so it may only be a matter of time before Nelson is called up.” That time is now, as Estrada was moved to the bullpen, paving the way for Nelson to join the Brewers’ rotation for more than just a spot start. All Nelson has done is post a 10-2 record, 1.46 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 9.2 K/9 in 111 innings for Triple-A Nashville. He has a plus fastball and slider, is making progress with his changeup and has improved his control, slicing his walk rate in half in the minors. Nelson’s start didn’t go as expected, as he allowed eight runs – six earned – on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts in just 4.1 inning. Despite the rough outing, I still believe the future is bright for Nelson. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (I could also see going higher)

Vidal Nuno, Diamondbacks – Arizona traded Brandon McCarthy to the Yankees for Nuno, kickstarting their rebuilding mode. Nuno spent most of the first half in the Yankees rotation, posting a less than impressive 5.42 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 60 strikeouts over 78 innings. He made a great first impression in Arizona, tossing seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts Tuesday. He won’t blow hitters away, but has had success in the minors and mixes his pitches well, which is what he will need to do to succeed in the desert. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Tsuyoshi Wada, Cubs – Wada, profiled last week, gets another mention, as it looks like he will stick in the Cubs’ rotation. In his major-league debut Tuesday, Wada held the Reds to one (unearned) run over five innings and was sent back down to the minors Wednesday with the Cubs not needing a fifth starter until after the All-Star break. Wada, who pitched nine years in Japan before signing with the Orioles, never got a chance to pitch in the majors, as he needed Tommy John surgery in April 2012 and then was relegated to the minors. He signed with the Cubs this offseason and went 9-5 with a 2.66 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 105:26 K:BB in 101.2 innings in 17 starts for Triple-A Iowa to earn the promotion. With Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel dealt to Oakland, Wada seemed to show enough Tuesday that he could end up a full-time member of Chicago’s rotation the last two-plus months of the season. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (upped bid from last week)

Injury activation/updates:

Brett Anderson, Rockies – Anderson, who has been profiled the past several weeks, was activated from the disabled list to start Sunday against Minnesota. He came over to the Rockies in December for Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen, but broke his left (pitching) index finger back in mid-April. Anderson was originally expected to return in 4-6 weeks, but was sidelined a bit longer than that, as he just progressed to make the first of his two rehab starts with Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 2. In the second of those outings, Anderson, who made three starts with Colorado before he was hurt, allowed one run over 5.2 innings, throwing 77 pitches, to pave the way for his activation. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Eddie Butler, Rockies – Butler, profiled last week, landed on the disabled list after his first major-league start June 6 due to rotator cuff inflammation in his pitching shoulder. He gets another mention now, as he started a minor-league rehab assignment Saturday at High-A Modesto. He allowed two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two in four innings and is next slated to throw 75-80 pitches for Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 17. After that outing, the Rockies will decide whether he needs a third rehab start or is ready to rejoin the rotation. Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (early spec bid)

Robbie Erlin, Padres – Erlin, who landed on the disabled list May 22 due to a sore left elbow, has started to make some progress towards returning to the Padres. He was cleared to start throwing in mid-June and tossed his first bullpen session last Sunday. Erlin moved his rehab to the Padres' minor league facility in Arizona, where he continues to toss bullpen sessions to build up his arm strength. If he has no setbacks, Erlin will progress to a simulated game and then a rehab assignment. The best-case scenario has Erlin returning to the Padres in about a month. Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (early spec bid)

Dillon Gee, Mets – Gee, profiled last week and out since May 11 with a strained right lat and pushed back after a setback in early-June, gets another mention, as he was activated off the disabled list and started Wednesday against the Braves. He allowed one run on six hits while striking out four in seven-plus innings to get the win. Gee made two rehab starts for both Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League and the Gulf Coast Mets, paving the way for his activation. The righty, who went 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 33:15 K:BB in 52.2 innings in eight starts before he was sidelined, took the rotation spot of Jon Niese (shoulder), who was recently placed on the disabled list. Mixed: $7; NL: $18 (slightly upped return bid now that he is back)

Joe Kelly, Cardinals – Kelly, profiled the past two weeks and sidelined since April 17 with a torn hamstring, was activated off the disabled list to start Friday against the Brewers. He made three rehab starts for Triple-A Memphis, only tossing 10.1 innings, and originally was not supposed to return to the Cardinals' rotation until after the All-Star break. St. Louis decided to call up Kelly and demote the struggling Marco Gonzales to Memphis. Kelly should stick in the rotation at least until Michael Wacha is ready to return, though after allowing six runs on seven hits in three innings Friday, that may not be set in stone. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (slightly upped bid)

Cliff Lee, Phillies – Lee, sidelined with a strained flexor tendon in his pitching elbow since May 19, threw two scoreless innings in his first rehab start, which was rain-shortened, for High-A Clearwater last Sunday. He allowed three runs in four innings in his second start Wednesday and will make one final rehab outing Monday, tossing 75 pitches, before joining the Phillies on July 19 against the Braves. With Philadelphia free falling, Lee could be advertising his wares for various suitors if the Phillies decide to pull the plug. FYI, should be owned in all leagues, but if waived due to injury and absence, pounce now with a big bid.

Francisco Liriano, Pirates – Liriano, out since June 11 with a strained left oblique, is profiled again after making his final rehab start Monday. He went six innings and allowed just three hits while striking out eight over six innings for Triple-A Indianapolis. Liriano was activated and started in the first-half season finale against the Reds and Johnny Cueto, pushing Vance Worley to the bullpen for now. After going 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA last season, Liriano has been a major disappointment this year, going 1-6 with a 4.60 ERA and 1.45 ERA with a 77:36 K:BB in 72.1 innings over 14 starts. It’s possible that Liriano had been pitching through the injury for a while and the time off could restore his fantasy value. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (slightly upped bid, go higher if you believe his poor pitching was injury related)

Jordan Lyles, Rockies – Lyles, out with a fractured left metacarpal suffered while covering the plate June 4, will begin a rehab assignment July 18 at Double-A Tulsa. He has progressed recently from fielding groundballs to throwing live batting practice, showing that he is able to catch balls with his injured hand. Lyles, who was 5-1 with a 3.52 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 12 starts before being sidelined, will make three total rehab starts, with the latter two tentatively scheduled for July 23 and 28, probably at Triple-A Colorado Springs. If that timetable holds, Lyles will return to what could be a very crowded Colorado rotation in early August. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early spec return bid)

Relief Pitchers:

Pedro Baez/Brooks Brown/Carlos Contreras/Zach Rosscup - This week’s middle reliever call-ups/activations were in Los Angeles, Colorado, Cincinnati and Chicago. None have any substantial value. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Catchers:

Tony Cruz/George Kottaras, Cardinals – Cruz was expected to be the Cardinals’ primary catcher with Yadier Molina sidelined for 8-12 weeks following surgery to repair a thumb ligament tear. Cruz is nowhere near the offensive catcher Yadi is, though he is solid defensively and the Cardinals’ rotation is used to throwing to him. However, St. Louis claimed Kottaras off waivers from the Indians on Friday, and he could assume the role as the team’s starting backstop. He has a slightly better bat that Cruz, though that's not saying much. In addition, it wouldn’t be shocking to see St. Louis try to work out a deal for A.J. Pierzynski, who was designated for assignment Wednesday by the Red Sox, or trade for someone who profiles more as a starting catcher. Cruz – Mixed: No; NL: $0; Kottaras – Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Brayan Pena, Reds – Pena, who saw time earlier in the year at first base when Joey Votto was sidelined, gets playing time again there with Votto sidelined with quad soreness. Pena won’t start daily, as Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce will also play first base while Votto is out, but his catcher eligibility enhances his fantasy value. One thing to monitor is that Pena has been dealing with some forearm soreness recently, so check the lineups daily. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Injury activation/updates:

Evan Gattis, Braves – Gattis, sidelined with a bulging disk in his lower back since June 29, was cleared on Thursday to begin some light activity. He was able to take batting practice with Low-A Rome on Friday but there is no set time for him to start a rehab assignment. Gattis is likely a few weeks away from returning, so Atlanta will need to use Christian Bethancourt and Gerald Laird for a while longer. Just an FYI, as he is likely still owned in all leagues

Carlos Ruiz, Phillies –Ruiz, sidelined with a concussion after getting in the head with a pitch on June 26, resumed baseball activities this week after getting cleared following his second imPACT on Monday. He will continue his baseball activities at High-A Clearwater starting on Sunday before starting a rehab stint Friday. Ruiz should be back either Sunday or early the following week and resume his role as the Phillies' starting catcher. Mixed: $5; NL: owned

First Basemen:

Matt Hague, Pirates – Hague was called up to give the Pirates another bat with Starling Marte on the bereavement list. Hague had 13 home runs, 59 RBI and a .263/.360/.453 line at Triple-A Indianapolis, but is just a bench bat in Pittsburgh. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Neftali Soto, Reds – Soto was called up by the Reds to give them another option at first base and bench bat. This is Soto’s second stint with the team this year, as he played 19 games, receiving 28 at-bats, after opening the season with the team. Soto has solid numbers at Triple-A Louisville, batting .333/.371/.496, but he likely won’t see much time even though Joey Votto is sidelined with a quad injury. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Injury activation/update:

Mark Trumbo, Diamondbacks – Trumbo, out since April 23 with a stress fracture to his third metatarsal in his left foot, was activated off the disabled list Friday after a short rehab assignment for Triple-A Reno. He showed he was more than ready to return, by going 11-for-24 with five homers and 12 RBI in seven games. Trumbo provides a power bat behind Paul Goldschmidt and he should start daily in left field, which will shake up the Arizona outfield a bit, costing Ender Inciarte, David Peralta and Geraldo Parra some time. (Just an FYI as still should be owned in all leagues, if not, bid high on him due to the power)

Second Base:

Arismendy Alcantara, Cubs – Alcantara, who was profiled last week, got the call this week when Darwin Barney was placed on paternity leave. Prior to his call up, Alcantara hit .307/.353/.537 with 10 homers and 21 steals in 89 games with Triple-A Iowa, being named a Pacific Coast League All-Star. Alcantara was expected to be sent back down after two games, but his 4-for-5 performance with three RBI Thursday earned him a bit of an extended stay in Chicago. That move has looked wise, as Alcantara is 7-for-18 with two doubles and a triple through his first four games in the majors. The Cubs will need a fifth starter on July 22, so Alcantara could be demoted then with Barney back, but given his offensive potential and how he has played so far, look for Chicago to keep him and find a way to get his bat in the lineup, possibly in center field, where he played Saturday. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (upped bid following promotion and up further if you think he sticks and play daily)

Phil Gosselin, Braves – Gosselin, raking a cool.345/.381/.494 over 88 games this season for Triple-A Gwinnett, was promoted by the Braves on Sunday. There is speculation that Dan Uggla will be waived to make room for Gosselin, who profiles similar to and will battle Tommy La Stella for playing time at the keystone spot. Mixed: No; NL: $2

Kristopher Negron/Ramon Santiago/Skip Schumaker, RedsBrandon Phillips’ torn thumb ligament required surgery, sidelining him for 6-8 weeks. To fill his roster spot, Cincinnati called up Negron, who has had a decent year at Triple-A and will give the Reds a back up option at second and in center field. Santiago can handle the role defensively, but offensively… well, the best I can say is he can handle the spot defensively. Once Schumaker is over his concussion symptoms that landed him on the 7-day DL, he should handle the keystone spot while also possibly seeing some time in center with Billy Hamilton nursing a hamstring injury. Schumaker got off to a slow start, but has been a bit better lately and should benefit from consistent at-bats. Of course, the Reds could look for a second baseman via trade.Negron – Mixed: No; NL: $0; Santiago – Mixed: No; NL: $2; Schumaker – Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/update:

Ehire Adrianza, Giants – Adrianza, who landed on the disabled list on June 23 with a strained right hamstring, was activated Friday. He had started eight of the last nine games before suffering the injury, but joins a crowded SF middle infield. While Adrianza was out, the Giants promoted Joe Panik, to go with Joaquin Arias, and SF welcomed back Marco Scutaro (back) Friday, which will mean either a future demotion or further restriction of playing time for Adrianza. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Emilio Bonifacio, Cubs – Bonifacio, out since June 11 with a strained right oblique, begin a rehab assignment at rookie-level Mesa on Friday. He will slowly move level to level and could possibly be back with the Cubs by the end of the month. In April, Bonifacio was a godsend and beast for Chicago. However, he hit just .214 in May and then .229 in June before he was sidelined. With Arismendy Alcantara up in the majors and Chris Coghlan raking, Bonifacio may find himself on the outside looking in, with a change of scenery needed to see consistent playing time. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early spec return bid).

Marco Scutaro, Giants – Scutaro, profiled here the last two weeks, was sidelined by back problems for nearly the entire first half of the season, but was finally activated off the disabled list Frida after a multi-week rehab assignment. The original plan was for Scutaro to be a bench option if he was able to come back, but with neither Joe Panik nor the recently demoted Brandon Hicks running with the job, the Giants may use Scutaro more than originally expected, and he could end up as their starting second baseman. However, after Scutaro’s debut Saturday, he said his back tightened up, which could change the plan, so monitor his status closely. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (slightly upped bid, assuming he stays healthy)

Shortstops:

Jace Peterson, Padres – The Padres called up Peterson for the third time this season on Saturday after optioning Jesse Hahn down to the minors. Jedd Gyorko is still in the fairly early stages of recovery from plantar fasciitis, while neither Irving Falu nor Brooks Conrad is the answer at second base. Peterson, who has put up solid numbers at Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso, could have a shot to stick around after Hahn returns following the All-Star break. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (go higher if you think he sticks)

Carlos Triunfel, Dodgers – Triunfel was called up for his fourth stint with LA this year due to Esribel Arruebarrena landing on the DL. Triunfel will serve as a reserve infielder, seeing an occasional start at shortstop with Hanley Ramirez sidelined following a cortisone shot in his balky right shoulder. In addition, he could serve as a defensive replacement late in games. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Third Basemen:

Chase Headley, Padres – Headley, who got off to a horrific start and then was sidelined by a herniated disc in his back in mid-June, seems to have regained his stroke at the plate. The turnaround can be attributed to Headley returning to his old grip on his bat, a switch he made after returning from a June 20 epidural injection in his back. Headley went away from his oldgrip after he suffered a fractured left thumb during spring training last year. It took a bit for the muscle memory to kick in, but Headley has hit safely in 10 of 11 games through Saturday, including ending Clayton Kershaw’s 41-inning shutout streak with a sixth-inning home run Thursday. He has been rumored to be on the block, but as long as the disc in his back doesn’t flare up, Headley – a free agent after the year – could be a nice option the second half of the season at the hot corner. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (likely owned, but possibly waived due to nightmarish first half and back woes).

Elian Herrera, Brewers – Herrera was called up Saturday to give the Brewers some depth with Juan Segura on bereavement leave following the tragic passing of his nine-month son. Herrera hit just .235/.241/.284 in 37 prior games with the parent club, but can be used in multiple positions. He will likely be sent back down once Segura rejoins the team. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Injury activation/update:

Justin Turner, Dodgers – Turner, sidelined since June 28 with a strained left hamstring, will began a rehab assignment at High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday. The expectation is that Turner will be able to rejoin the Dodgers on Friday. Turner handled third base more than ably while Juan Uribe was sidelined, but with Uribe now back, look for Turner to resume his role as a utility infielder when he returns. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Outfielders:

Chris Coghlan, Cubs – Coghlan saw his eight-game hitting streak end Wednesday, but notched at least one hit each of the next three games. He has taken advantage of Emilio Bonifacio’s injury to play almost daily in left field. Over the last 33 days, Coghlan is 28-for-95 with three home runs, 11 runs batted in and 18 runs scored, and his numbers are even better over the last two weeks. With Junior Lake struggling and Bonifacio just beginning a rehab assignment, Coghlan should continue to start and bat leadoff for the Cubbies. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (though likely owned in NL-only leagues)

Jaff Decker, Pirates – Decker was called up to give the Pirates another bat with Starling Marte on the bereavement list. Decker had four home runs, 29 RBI and a .266/.371/.414 line at Triple-A Indianapolis, but will back up Josh Harrison while Marte is out. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Donald Lutz, Reds – With Skip Schumaker landing on the 7-day DL with concussion symptoms, Lutz was called up by the Reds to give them another first base, outfield and bench bat. Lutz could see some playing time over the weekend, but likely will head back to Triple-A Indianapolis after the All-Star break. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Michael Martinez, Pirates – Martinez was promoted last Sunday to give the Pirates a backup infielder with Clint Barmes landing on the disabled list due to a groin injury that should sideline him 4-6 weeks. Martinez won’t see much action in Pittsburgh. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Kyle Parker, Rockies – The Rockies called up Parker for his second stint in the majors this week to provide the team with a backup first baseman and outfielder as well as a bench bat. In 83 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs this season, Parker has hit .292/.344.475 with 10 homers, 47 RBI and three steals. Parker, who played quarterback for Clemson, still needs to work on his plate discipline and pitch recognition to improve his walk rate, and may again be in for a short stay now that Carlos Gonzalez is off the disabled list. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Grady Sizemore, Phillies – Sizemore, profiled last week, when it was rumored he could be called up by the Phillies, gets another mention as that became a realty Friday. After an impressive spring training, Sizemore hit just .216/.288/.324 in 185 at-bats for the Red Sox and was released on June 18. The Phillies signed Sizemore less than a week later to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he went 13-for-45 with a double and a home run in 10 games. Sizemore, who can play all three outfield positions, will play four or five days a week, per manager Ryne Sandberg, likely splitting time between center and left with Ben Revere (currently dealing with a foot injury), Tony Gwynn Jr. and Domonic Brown, who has missed the last few games with an illness. The veteran had an out clause in his contract that allowed him to request his release if not in the majors by July 15, which may have driven this call-up. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/update:

Carl Crawford, Dodgers – Crawford, out since May 28 with a sprained left ankle, rejoined the Dodgers on Thursday after a four-game rehab stint with Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday. He looked to be on pace to return earlier, but suffered a setback that slowed his recovery. Prior to being injured, Crawford had been hot, hitting .362 with a .565 slugging percentage in his last 20 games after batting just .194 in April. Despite his return, with Andre Ethier (versus righties), Matt Kemp (daily), Yasiel Puig (daily) and Scott Van Slyke (versus lefties and the team’s best defensive CF) entrenched in the outfield, Crawford was informed by manager Don Mattingly he will be a reserve. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (slightly reduced bid).

Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies – Gonzalez, who had a benign tumor removed from his left index finger on June 10, was activated off the disabled list Friday following a short four-game rehab stint for Triple-A Colorado Springs. During that time in the minors, he went 5-for-13 with a double, a triple and two homers. Gonzalez, who hadn't played right field since 2011, is shifting from left to right, enabling Colorado to use Corey Dickerson almost daily in left, mainly against righties, once his wrist injury is healed. Just an FYI; should be owned in all leagues

A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks – Pollock, who had successful surgery on June 2 to repair a broken hand, was expected to miss 10-12 weeks. He said this week that he is targeting to start his rehab assignment Aug. 1 and hopes to be back with the team Aug. 15. Before going to the DL, Pollockwas batting .316/.366/.554 with six homers and 15 RBI in 52 games as Arizona's starter in center. With Mark Trumbo activated from the DL on Friday and Paul Goldschmidt having another big year, getting Pollock back at the top of the lineup in a month or so should be a boon for the Arizona offense. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (early spec return bid)