AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our AL FAAB Factor series.

This is our weekly look at American League free agents. We have two goals for this article:

1. Identify likely free agents and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Estimate how much of your $100 starting free-agent budget you should bid on them.

We've incorporated grids into the FAAB articles, so users can easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The grids, which are sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This serves as a reflection of a player's skills and talent on an A-E scale. Wander Franco would have been an "A" grade player last year – that mark will be reserved for similarly high-impact prospects that could thrive in an everyday role.

As always, if there is a player that was not discussed in the article that you would like to know about, feel free to ask about the player in the comments.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $AL-Only $
Kyle BradishBALSPCNo25
Beau BrieskeDETSPCNoNo3
James KaprielianOAKSPCNo25
Daulton JefferiesOAKSPC111
Jake OdorizziHOUSPC111
Ross StriplingTORSPC111
Michael WachaBOSSPC111
Tyler WellsBALSPD111
Ryan YarbroughTBSPC1

This is our weekly look at American League free agents. We have two goals for this article:

1. Identify likely free agents and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Estimate how much of your $100 starting free-agent budget you should bid on them.

We've incorporated grids into the FAAB articles, so users can easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The grids, which are sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This serves as a reflection of a player's skills and talent on an A-E scale. Wander Franco would have been an "A" grade player last year – that mark will be reserved for similarly high-impact prospects that could thrive in an everyday role.

As always, if there is a player that was not discussed in the article that you would like to know about, feel free to ask about the player in the comments.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $AL-Only $
Kyle BradishBALSPCNo25
Beau BrieskeDETSPCNoNo3
James KaprielianOAKSPCNo25
Daulton JefferiesOAKSPC111
Jake OdorizziHOUSPC111
Ross StriplingTORSPC111
Michael WachaBOSSPC111
Tyler WellsBALSPD111
Ryan YarbroughTBSPC111
Bruce ZimmermannBALSPC111
Jalen BeeksTBRPDNoNo1
Kendall GravemanCHIRPD12Rostered
Clay HolmesNYRPDNoNo3
A.J. PukOAKRPCNoNo2
Ryan ThompsonTBRPD2511
Josh WinderMINRPCNo14
Sam HuffTEXCDNoNo1
Tom MurphySEACDNo14
Luis TorrensSEACC149
Tyler NevinBAL1BCNoNo3
Dylan MooreSEA2BC137
Isaac ParedesTB3BCNoNo1
Emmanuel RiveraKC3BCNoNo1
Franchy CorderoBOSOFCNo37
Kyle GarlickMINOFDNoNo2
Kyle IsbelKCOFB71117
Chas McCormickHOUOFC25Rostered
Edward OlivaresKCOFCNoNo3
Richie PalaciosCLEOFDNoNo1

Starting Pitcher

Kyle Bradish, Orioles: Hey, Baltimore called up a pitching prospect... no, not that one. Bradish was a fourth-round pick in 2018 by the Angels who got flipped the following year for Dylan Bundy, and since then he's improved his velocity and control enough to become a pitcher with some promise. Bradish now sits mid-90s with his fastball, mixing in a sharp slider and decent curve, and he tossed a quality start in his big-league debut against the Red Sox on Friday. His minor-league performance in 2021 suggest some strikeout upside, but the O's would be happy if the 25-year-old righty can just give them consistent innings. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Beau Brieske, Tigers: A 27th-round pick in 2019 – y'know, in that long-ago era when the draft actually went that deep – Brieske had a breakthrough in 2021 that made him Detroit's Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Between High-A and Double-A, the right-hander racked up a 116:23 K:BB in 106.2 innings while serving up only seven homers. His low 90s fastball plays up a bit due to good spin, and he can keep hitters off-balance with three above-average or better breaking pitches plus solid command in the zone. The 24-year-old made his big-league debut last weekend with five good innings at home against the Rockies, but then he did the same thing Saturday on the road against the Dodgers, which is a little more impressive. He probably tops out as a back-of-the-rotation arm, but if he keeps getting results, Brieske could bump Tyler Alexander back to the bullpen. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

James Kaprielian, Athletics: The oft-injured Kaprielian is set to make his season debut Sunday after missing the beginning of 2022 with shoulder issues. His flashed some upside in his first real stint in the majors last season, but the 28-year-old is really someone you'll want to see prove he can stay healthy before you should consider investing heavily. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Other two-start options, Mon-Sun (12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $1)

Daulton Jefferies, Athletics (vs. TB, at MIN)
Jake Odorizzi, Astros (vs. SEA, vs. DET)
Ross Stripling, Blue Jays (vs. NYY, at CLE)
Michael Wacha, Red Sox (vs. LAA, vs. CHW)
Tyler Wells, Orioles (vs. MIN, vs. KC)
Ryan Yarbrough, Rays (at OAK, at SEA)
Bruce Zimmermann, Orioles (vs. MIN, vs. KC)

Relief Pitcher

Jalen Beeks, Rays: If your staff is at a point that you want to consider stocking up on long relievers who can supply good ratios and the occasional win over 90-plus innings this season, Beeks is an appealing target. The southpaw has yet to allow a run in five appearances (9.1 innings) with a 13:3 K:BB, and depending on how Tampa's rotation shakes out this season, he could slide into a valuable bulk reliever role at some point. Even if he doesn't, he's delivering solid deep-league value given his current usage. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Kendall Graveman, White Sox: Liam Hendriks looked healthy in his last outing Saturday, but back issues have a tendency to come and go for a while, so he could end up ceding more save chances as the season wears on. Graveman is the clear next man up, collecting his first save of 2022 on Wednesday and posting a 13:4 K:BB through his first 11.1 innings of the year. Tony LaRussa likes having his bullpen guys in set roles, so while Graveman's value in S+H formats is a lot more secure, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him tease double digits in saves by the end of the year if Hendriks keeps having trouble. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: Rostered

Clay Holmes, Yankees: Holmes, rather than Jonathan Loaisiga or Chad Green, seems to be emerging as the best insurance policy for Aroldis Chapman this season. Holmes already has two saves in addition to a win and six holds, and his 11:2 K:BB through 10.2 innings is sharp. A velocity spike the last couple seasons – he's averaging a career-best 96.2 mph on his fastball so far in 2022 – has made him the latest failed starting pitcher to thrive in a bullpen role, but the real secret to his success this year has been cutting his walk rate in half (9.9 percent last season to 4.8 percent). 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

A.J. Puk, Athletics: Speaking of failed starters thriving in relief, Puk has an 11:2 K:BB through 9.1 innings so far this season, with the second number in that ratio being a lot more surprising than the former. His 5.7 percent walk rate is a huge improvement, and combined with a 31.4 percent strikeout rate, it makes the flame-throwing southpaw look like an entirely viable high-leverage arm. Lou Trivino is just starting to come back from a bout of COVID-19 (and was never that secure in the ninth to begin with) while Dany Jimenez stumbled for the first time this season Saturday, so you can't rule out Puk working his way into the closer mix if he keeps this up. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Ryan Thompson, Rays: I mean, sure, whatever. Thompson got two saves last week, one of the one-out variety, after collecting one in his first 61 appearances for Tampa over the last two years. They could be the last two saves he gets all season, or he could wind up in double digits somehow. You know someone's going to bid on him hoping it's the latter, and your bullpen situation will determine whether that person should be you. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Josh Winder, Twins: The 25-year-old rookie has had a solid start to his big-league career while working in long relief for Minnesota, but Bailey Ober's injury opens the door for Winder to make his first start. The strikeouts haven't shown up yet in the majors, but he did post an 80:13 K:BB through 72 innings in the high minors last year, and his command and control can let his mid-90s fastball and above-average assortment of breaking pitches play up. The most likely scenario is that he floats between the rotation and long relief all year, as the Twins want to keep an eye on his workload after he got shut down last August due to shoulder fatigue, but if he produces as a starter he could hang onto the job ahead of someone like Chris Paddack. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Catcher

Sam Huff, Rangers: Huff still has a vague prospecty aura, but his contact issues have sapped whatever appeal his power may have had. The 24-year-old whiffed 23 times in 63 plate appearances (36.5 percent) at Triple-A before his promotion, and he may not be in the majors for long as he's just filling in while Jonah Heim is on the paternity list. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Tom Murphy, Mariners: Cal Raleigh got sent down to try and build up some confidence at the plate, and while the biggest winner in that scenario is probably Luis Torrens (see below), Murphy will see a playing time bump as well. The 31-year-old has had a great start to the season, slashing .385/.500/.577 in 32 plate appearances, but he also has a middling career .237/.310/.444 line – and this is a guy who started his career with the Rockies. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Luis Torrens, Mariners: Torrens has started three straight games for Seattle, one at DH and two behind the plate, and it seems like the M's are going to give him a long look while Raleigh is back at Triple-A. Torrens hasn't done much yet with his playing time, and his 1:11 BB:K in 26 plate appearances is scary, but the 25-year-old does have some power upside. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team AL: $9

First Base

Tyler Nevin, Orioles: The 24-year-old got called up Friday and immediately started two straight games, one at third base and one at DH, and considering Ramon Urias and Kelvin Gutierrez each have a sub-.500 OPS right now, Nevin could get a long look at the hot corner. Phil's kid was raking at Triple-A Norfolk when he got promoted, and while he doesn't have much prospect pedigree at this point, he was the 38th overall pick in the 2015 Draft by the Rockies. The ceiling here is probably something like Brian Anderson, but that's still useful in deeper formats. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Second Base

Dylan Moore, Mariners: Mitch Haniger's ankle injury is going to open up playing time for somebody, and that somebody could wind up keeping it if Jarred Kelenic can't figure things out before Haniger is back. Moore got the start in right field Saturday, and at the moment there are no other obvious candidates on the roster. Consistent playing time didn't sits well with the 29-year-old last year, even if it did allow him to swipe 21 bags, but he also can't sport a BABIP as low as .229 again (can he?) The steals will make him a popular add, but keep in mind Kyle Lewis is close to beginning a rehab stint and could rejoin the lineup in a couple weeks. Moore's window to establish himself could be a small one. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $7

Third Base

Isaac Paredes, Rays: Picked up from the Tigers in the Austin Meadows trade, Paredes has been on the prospect radar for a while but is still only 23 years old, so it's way too early to write him off as a flop. He controls the strike zone well but hasn't been able to make consistently strong contact yet, so even as an upside stash he's a better fit in OBP formats. Still, the Rays think they can unlock something in him, and seeing him turn into the next Yandy Diaz – or even the version of Diaz with more power some folks were expecting him to become a couple years ago – isn't out of the question. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Emmanuel Rivera, Royals: Adalberto Mondesi's knee injury caused some scrambling on the Kansas City roster, and while the most likely outcome is Whit Merrifield shifting to second base and the Royals filling the open outfield spot with some combination of Kyle Isbel and Edward Olivares, they do have other options. Rivera is one of them – the 25-year-old has little left to prove at Triple-A after posting a .287/.356/.580 line with 22 homers for Omaha in 81 games between last season and this, so they could try to find some at-bats for him too. At the moment, he's little more than an only league stash, but if the Royals start sliding Bobby Witt off third base and giving him reps in the middle infield, Rivera would become a lot more intriguing. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Outfield

Franchy Cordero, Red Sox: Boston appears ready to give up on Bobby Dalbec, and while eventually that'll be great news for those invested in Triston Casas, in the short term it means Cordero will get another chance. The 27-year-old was still striking out too much at Triple-A (28.0 percent) prior to his promotion, but his power-speed potential has always given him some buzz dating back to his Padres days. Cordero seems set to work on the strong side of a platoon with Dalbec at first base while seeing occasional duty at DH or in an outfield corner as well, so the playing time could be there for him to have value in shallower formats, provided he figures out how to hit above the Mendoza Line. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $7

Kyle Garlick, Twins: Garlick's two-homer effort Saturday was spicy, but the 30-year-old has been seeing semi-regular playing time ever since Alex Kirilloff went down, and while he has only four hits in 20 at-bats, three of them have left the yard. He's shown flashes of power in the minors, including 23 homers in 81 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City in the happy fun ball 2019 campaign, and Trevor Larnach isn't doing much to keep Garlick on the shelf. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Kyle Isbel, Royals: The Royals kind of have a terrible recent track record when it comes to handling prospects that aren't, well, Bobby Witt, and the way they've been jerking Isbel around is a prime example. (Don't even get the Edward Olivares truthers started – here's one trying to explain why Olivares should be starting every day). Mondesi's injury might have forced their hand though, and Isbel should at worst be on the strong side of a platoon in right field in the short term. The 25-year-old has some power, some speed, and he shouldn't strike out a ton, so there's definite fantasy appeal here. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team AL: $17

Chas McCormick, Astros: McCormick has pushed his way into a regular role in the Houston outfield, starting seven straight games and hitting leadoff in six of them. His .267/.324/.467 slash line during that week won't set the world on fire, but the role here is the important thing. The 27-year-old also seems to be getting back to the profile that got him to the majors in the first place, making contact with gap power and some decent wheels, rather than being seduced into trying to become a power hitter the way he was last year as a rookie. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: Rostered

Edward Olivares, Royals: It's clear at this point the Royals don't see much in the 26-year-old, no matter what his minor-league numbers look like. Olivares has the power-speed profile fantasy GMs crave, but if he doesn't get the playing time, it doesn't matter much. Even with Mondesi out, Olivares is looking at a short-side platoon role on a team that views Pepe Silvia... err, Michael Taylor as a viable everyday option in center field. I mean, can you really trust them to wise up at this point? 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Richie Palacios, Guardians: Cleveland definitely has a type when it comes to outfielders. Palacios is the latest Guardian to offer a good hit tool with a bit of speed and little power, but he doesn't have Steven Kwan's elite contact skills or Myles Straw's wheels, which probably gives him the ceiling of a bench player. He's got a bit of position flexibility too though, having played 68 games at second base last year in the minors, so in deep formats Palacios could wind up having some value in that role. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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