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FAAB Factor-NL: Rymer Reason

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 - 8/17/14

Starting Pitching:

Dylan Axelrod, Reds - Homer Bailey's flexor mass creates a hole in the Reds rotation that initially was filled by Axelrod, who was promoted to start Sunday for Cincinnati. Axelrod has posted a respectable 3.06 ERA in five starts since joining Triple-A Louisville in mid-July, but he's posted a 5.36 ERA at the major league level. It may only be a one and done for Axelrod, so don't go crazy bidding on him. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks - Bradley may get a chance to show his wares in the big leagues, as Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said he might go to a six-man rotation in September. Bradley got off to a horrific start, 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 that ultimately landed him on the disabled. 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. Bradley has a 3.47 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 10 starts for Double-A Mobile, though he has just a 40:28 K:BB ratio in 49.1 innings and the team has limited his innings. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Kevin Correia, Dodgers - Correia, acquired from the Twins on August 9, was supposed to make a spot start Monday before moving to the bullpen. He allowed one run on four hits and one walk with five strikeouts in six innings to get the win Monday, but subsequent to that start, LA's plans for him changed. Hyun-Jin Ryu is likely out until September after landing on the DL this week with a strained glute and Correia will now stick in the Dodgers' rotation is his stead, increasing his value from last week. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Mike Fiers, Brewers - Fiers was called up to fill in for Matt Garza (15-day DL, August 4, oblique). He allowed just one run on three hits while walking just one and striking out five in eight innings to earn the win against the Dodgers in that outing. While that start was good, it paled in comparison to what he did Thursday against the Cubs. Fiers tossed six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and one walk while and striking out a career-high 14 batters in the 6-2 victory. He had a 2.55 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 129:17 K:BB ratio over 102.1 innings in17 starts at Triple-A Nashville but had to bide his time until a rotation slot opened. Fiers doesn't overpower hitters, but changes speed and eye level effectively to keep batters off-balance. While Garza's expected to miss more than 15 days, Fiers should get at least a few more starts. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.

Rafael Montero, Mets - Montero was promoted this week to fill the rotation spot of the injured Jacob deGrom (shoulder tendinitis). He earned the call up by having back-to-back stellar efforts at Triple-A Las Vegas. It's been an uneven year for Montero, who has struggled with ineffectiveness and injuries offset by stretches of excellent pitching. Montero allowed just a two-run home run to Bryce Harper in his first five innings Tuesday, but it went south from there, as he surrendered a home run, then a walk followed by another home run to start the sixth inning, after which he was removed. Montero will make at lest one more start but needs to show the command and control he is known for in the minors with more of a disparity between his fastball and changeup to have success at this level. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Jerome Williams, Phillies - The Phillies claimed Williams off waivers from the Rangers last Sunday and immediately inserted him into the rotation Tuesday. He went 2-5 with a 6.71 ERA in 28 games and 57.2 innings this season with Houston and Texas to get waived by both teams. Philly was desperate for a starting pitcher and Williams went 5.1 innings in his debut with them, allowing two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out three batters. Williams will start Monday against Seattle and if he pitches well, he could stick in the Philly rotation. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Injury activation/updates:

Henderson Alvarez, Marlins - Alvarez missed the just minimum 15-days with right shoulder inflammation, returning to action Saturday. He allowed one run on five, walking one and striking out six in beating the Diamondbacks for his ninth win of the season.

Andrew Cashner, Padres - Cashner, on the 15-day DL with right shoulder soreness and who last started on June 19, made his second rehab start Wednesday for Triple-A El Paso. He allowed three runs on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts while throwing 63 pitches in 2.2 innings. Cashner will make a third and final rehab start Monday for El Paso before he is expected to rejoin the Padres' rotation. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.

Gerrit Cole, Pirates - Cole, who landed on the disabled list in June with a strained lat and returned too quickly, only to land back on the DL in early-July, made his third and what should be final rehab start Saturday at Triple-A Indianapolis. He has increased his pitch count in each of his three outings and will rejoin the Pirates' rotation start on Wednesday at home against Atlanta now that Charlie Morton landed on the disabled list with right hip inflammation.

Jacob deGrom, Mets - DeGrom landed on the disabled list, retroactive to August 8, with shoulder tendinitis that popped up after his start August 7. He did not appear overly concerned with the injury, and so far, it looks as if he was right. DeGrom threw off flat ground Saturday and had a 20-pitch bullpen session from the mound Sunday. There is a decent chance he is activated off the DL when eligible and starts August 23 against the Dodgers.

Felix Doubront, Cubs -Doubront, acquired from the Red Sox for a player to be named later and on the 15-day DL with a right calf strain, allowed three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in four innings in his first rehab start for Triple-A Iowa this week. He likely will make one more rehab start and then join the Cubs, where he will either get a chance to start or work out of the bullpen. Doubront had thrown 59.1 innings over 17 games (10 starts) for the Red Sox, going 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Matt Garza, Brewers - Garza played five minutes of catch Friday; the first time he did so since straining his left oblique in a game in St. Louis nearly two weeks ago. He was able to play catch again Saturday and the next step will be determine a plan to get Garza back in the Milwaukee rotation. Garza likely will miss about 10 more days, but with Mike Fiers pitching so well, there is no need to rush him back.

Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks - Hudson, trying to return from a second Tommy John surgery, has made three appearances for Arizona's Rookie League team. The hope is that Hudson will be able to make three-to-six appearances in the big leagues in September. Down the road, the debate is if Hudson can stay as a starter or need to move to the bullpen, but that determination will come once he shows he can make it all the way back to the majors.Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Mets - Matszuaka, on the disabled list since July 26 with elbow inflammation, allowed one run on three hits while striking out three over six innings to pick up the win in his second rehab start; this one for Double-A Binghamton on Saturday. He needed just 69 pitches to get through the six innings, which comes on the heels of 39 pitches and three scoreless frames Monday at High-A St. Lucie. Dicke-K may make one more rehab start before rejoining the Mets, but it remains to be seen if it will be as a starter or reliever, dependent on the status of Jacob deGrom (shoulder tendinitis) and Rafael Montero (pitching effectiveness). Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Michael Wacha, Cardinals - Wacha, out with a stress reaction in his right shoulder since June 17, took the next step in his return from the injury, throwing 30 pitches off a mound Saturday. After several weeks of rest, Wacha resumed throwing on flat ground this month, paving the way for that major step Saturday. Wacha, who is on the 60-day DL, is eligible to and might return to the Cardinals in early-September, though it remains to be seen if that will be as a starter or reliever, following the acquisitions of John Lackey and Justin Masterson. Wacha got off to a great start, but clearly was hurting before he was sidelined, posting a 4.24 ERA in June, but could be back in about a month to help the Cardinals in their playoff push. Mixed: $4; NL: $11.

Relief Pitchers:

Luis Avilan/John Axford/Brooks Brown/Brandon Cumpton/Bradin Hagens/Neil Ramirez - This week's middle reliever call ups/activations were in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Arizona and Chicago. None have any substantial value. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Carlos Martinez, Cardinals - The Cardinals called up Martinez to provide another power arm in the bullpen, sending down Kevin Siegrist. St. Louis sent down Martinez to stretch him out as a starter in the minors after acquiring John Lackey and Justin Masterson at the non-waiver deadline on July 31. He was solid in his two starts, throwing 10.1 innings, but will work out of the bullpen again, where he has had more success in the majors than as a starter. In 38 appearances - seven starts - in the majors, he has a 4.74 ERA over 68.1 innings, but does sport a respectable 8.43 K/9 rate, which bodes well for bullpen usage. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Sergio Romo, Giants - Romo notched his first save Saturday since late-June, retiring the final two hitters to lock down the Giants'6-5 win over the Phillies. Santiago Casilla, who took over for Romo as the team's closer, has allowed runs in three straight games and taken the loss in back-to-back contests. Manager Bruce Bochy might have just given Casilla a night off, but Romo's success Saturday could open the door for him to see more closing chances. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Catchers:

Injury activation/update:

Yadier Molina, Cardinals - Molina, out since July 9 with a torn ligament in his right thumb, caught a bullpen session Thursday. He has to wear the brace on his thumb, but Molina was able to return throws to the pitcher. Molina was to be sidelined eight to 12 weeks but he appears ahead of that schedule, so he might rejoin the squad in mid-to-late September. Molina possibly getting clearance to swing a bat next week, which is a major step forward in his rehab, augments that view. He will need to progress to baseball activities, then BP and maybe rehab games, before he is ready to return. But the news to date has been positive. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

First Basemen:

Jake Goebbert/Tommy Medica, Padres - Goebbert was first called up to be a bench bat when Everth Cabrera landed on the disabled list but now with see more time with Yonder Alonso's placement on the DL with a forearm injury. Medica, who has had a solid August and shown some power when he has played regularly, is expected to serve as the primary option at first base. Goebbert raked at Triple-A El Paso but has yet to see consistent playing time in the majors, which may be why those numbers haven't carried forward. Goebbert - Mixed: No; NL: $2; Medica - Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Second Base:

Jace Peterson, Padres - Peterson was promoted for the fourth time this season due to the injuries to Everth Cabrera and Yonder Alonso (both requiring DL trips), and Yangervis Solarte's strained oblique. He will back up at second, short and third but is not expected to see consistent time at any of them. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Justin Turner, Dodgers - Turner, who has played all over the place in the infield, started at third base Saturday with Juan Uribe landing on the disabled list due to a strained hamstring. He likely will place close to daily at the hot corner, backed up by Miguel Rojas, though there is a possibility Alex Guerrero gets promoted and sees some time there, even though he really is a middle infielder. In addition, Hanley Ramirez may be back this week and could start at third, enabling Rojas to stick at short. Turner qualifies in most leagues at short, 10 games there, with second (12 games) and third (41 games), adding to his value. Mixed: $7; NL: owned.

Injury activation/update:

Derek Dietrich, Marlins - Dietrich, who landed on the DL with a right wrist strain on July 4, began a rehab assignment Saturday. Manager Mike Redmond said Saturday that he expects Dietrich to rejoin the Marlins in September, where he could displace Jordany Valdespin and Donovan Solano as Miami's preferred option at second base. Dietrich has shown he can hit a bit, but his defense is a work-in-progress, which will define how much playing time he gets in the future. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Brandon Phillips, Reds - Phillips, on the disabled list after having surgery July 11 to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Friday. He has rapidly progressed the past two weeks, going from taking ground balls for the first time since having the operation to swinging a bat and now a rehab stint. Phillips might only need the weekend of games to complete that rehab stint and join the Reds, possibly as early as Monday, following an exam by the team's doctors. Mixed: $11; NL: $27.

Shortstops:

Alexei Amarista, Padres - Everth Cabrera landed back on the disabled list with his hamstring injury (so glad I just traded for him in the Rotowire Staff League), paving the way for Amarista to play shortstop almost daily. He's backed up by Yangervis Solarte, Chris Nelson and Jace Peterson. Amarista's .229/.277/.303 line tells you all you need to know about him, but he can chip in some stolen bases, which is his main value. Mixed: No; NL: $3.

Carlos Triunfel, Dodgers - Triunfel was called up Saturday to replace Juan Uribe on the active roster, after Uribe returned to the disabled list with a hamstring strain. Triunfel is a decent defensive shortstop and will likely be a backup to Miguel Rojas while Hanley Ramirez (side) is sidelined. Justin Turner will likely fill in at third and Triunfel's stay only last until Alex Guerrero, who continues to play regularly at Triple-A Albuquerque, is promoted. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Injury activation/update:

Clint Barmes, Pirates - Barmes, out since July 6 with a Grade 3 adductor (groin) sprain that was expected to sideline him for 4-6 weeks, began a minor-league rehab assignment at Double-A Altoona this past week. He will play several games there then move up to Triple-A Indianapolis before making his return to the majors in late-August. Barmes got off to a rough start at the plate, but had been better since the end of April when he was sidelined. Jordy Mercer has done a fine job stepping for Barmes, so there is no guarantee Barmes gets his starting job back when he returns. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers - Ramirez, who is sidelined with a strained right oblique and eligible to come off the disabled list Aug. 24, took groundballs at third base before Saturday's game. Hanley moved from shortstop to third base in 2012 with the Marlins before he was dealt to the Dodgers later that season, but has only played shortstop the last two seasons. Ramirez might play third when he comes to back to the lineup to fill in for Juan Uribe, who landed on the DL with a strained right hamstring, and allow Miguel Rojas to remain at shortstop, where he has been "tremendous" defensively.

Chris Owings, Diamondbacks - Owings, out since June 25 with a strained and slightly dislocated left shoulder, will play for Arizona's Rookie League team this week and join Triple-A Reno on Friday. After sitting for a long while with no progress, Owings took 30-35 swings off a tee last week followed by 30 swings in the cage two days later and a simulated game. Despite that progress, Arizona is being cautious with his recovery and has stated he won't rejoin the team before the rosters expand in September. Of course, that depends on no further setbacks, and now that Owings is no longer altering his swing to compensate for the injury, but swinging normally, signs are positive for his ultimate return. Owings was hitting. 277/.313/.458 over 72 games, with six home runs, before the injury. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Third Basemen:

Eric Campbell, Mets - Campbell, who mainly has been seeing time in left field against lefties, started at third base Sunday. The reason for that change is because David Wright left Saturday's game after a pitch hit him in his the back of his sore left shoulder, which already has needed a cortisone shot. Wright may need more than a day or two off, which would afford Campbell regular playing time during that stretch in place of Wright. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Adam Duvall, Giants - Duvall, who had a pair of short-term call-ups recently, was promoted last Sunday with Brandon Belt landing back on the disabled list due to concussion symptoms. He will serve as a back up at first and third base, likely seeing most of his time against lefties, though did start four straight games until sitting Saturday. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Outfielders:

Carl Crawford, Dodgers - Crawford struggled initially after coming off the disabled list July 11, batting just .155 in 58 at-bats. Those issues are but a faded memory now, as he has been red-hot lately, going 12-for-25 in his last seven games and replacing Andre Ethier as the starter in left field. Crawford should be in the lineup daily the next six weeks of the season. Providing runs and steals along with a solid slash line. Mixed: $11; NL: owned.

Rymer Liriano, Padres - Liriano hit 264/.335/.442 with 14 homers and 17 stolen bases in 92 games at Double-A San Antonio to earn a promotion to Triple-A El Paso. He batted .452/.521/.661 in 13 games at El Paso to get the call to the big leagues. Those stellar numbers come after he missed all of 2013 following Tommy John Surgery, prior to which he was considered a top-60 prospect on most boards. Liriano, as seen by his Double-A numbers this year and prior, brings a power/speed combination to the Padres that is offset a bit by his strikeout numbers, though that has not hindered others promoted this year. He should play daily for San Diego, as he looks to establish himself as a regular in the lineup for the future. Mixed: $14; NL: $40.

Matt Szczur, Cubs - The Cubs called up Szczur on Sunday. Szczur struggles to make consistent contact at the plate, and while he has decent power and speed, he has failed to put all of his tools together. That said, he is a solid defensive center fielder and projects to be a good fourth outfielder in the majors. Szczur gets a chance to prove he can fill that role.Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Travis Snider, Pirates - Snider has been red-hot this past week, going 10-for-26 with three home runs, seven RBI and five runs while starting in place of the injured Andrew McCutchen. Snider was in-and-out of the lineup when McCutchen was first injured, but has made the most of his additional playing time. Cutch may be back this week, but if he needs a few more days, Snider should continue to start for him. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/updates:

Michael Cuddyer, Rockies - Cuddyer, out with a fractured shoulder since June 6, suffered while diving for a groundball while playing third base, was activated off the disabled list Saturday. He began a rehab assignment with rookie-level Grand Junction last Wednesday. Cuddyer played five games at that level before moving to Double-A Tulsa, where he appeared in three games. Once he rejoins the Rockies, look for Cuddyer to play left field. Cuddyer, who is in the final year of the three-year, $31.5 million contract he signed with Colorado in December of 2011, could be dealt before August 31 if he shows he is healthy when he returns. Mixed: $11; NL: $35.

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates - McCutchen sidelined with a broken rib since August 3, which finally resulted in the Pirates placing him on the disabled list a week later, might be back when first eligible. He was able to run the bases and even took batting practice Saturday with no ill-effects. As long as McCutchen suffers no setbacks, he likely will return on August 19 without needing a rehab stint.

A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks - Pollock began a rehab stint with the Diamondbacks' rookie-level affiliate two weeks ago. He progressed to Triple-A Reno, where he played three games before getting he was sidelined due to swellng in his hand resulting from him getting hit by a pitch while he was playing in the Rookie League. Pollock is set to return to action and if he can get in about 10-15 at-bats without incident at Reno over the next few days while showing increased strength in that hand, he could be activated from the DL at some point early next week. Pollock, the team's starting center fielder, was batting .316/.366/.554 with six homers and 15 RBI in 52 games. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.