NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our NL FAAB Factor series.

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.

Bids in general are best guesstimates. With so much uncertainty at least initially, those values may be even greater estimates than usual. The FAAB chart below lets users easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The chart, which is sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This is a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. An "A" grade is reserved for a high-impact prospect stepping into an everyday role.

If you have questions on players, I'm happy to provide my thoughts in the comments.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there including my wife, mom, sister and sisters-in-law!

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Edward CabreraMIASPC/D147 (early spec call up bid)
Austin GomberCOLSPD2711
Chad KuhlCOLSPD147
Nick MartinezSDSPD159
Max MeyerMIASPA/B2711 (early spec call up bid)
Wade MileyCHISPC2711 (same as prior)
David PetersonNYMSPD015
Mike SorokaATLSPB015

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.

Bids in general are best guesstimates. With so much uncertainty at least initially, those values may be even greater estimates than usual. The FAAB chart below lets users easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The chart, which is sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This is a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. An "A" grade is reserved for a high-impact prospect stepping into an everyday role.

If you have questions on players, I'm happy to provide my thoughts in the comments.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there including my wife, mom, sister and sisters-in-law!

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Edward CabreraMIASPC/D147 (early spec call up bid)
Austin GomberCOLSPD2711
Chad KuhlCOLSPD147
Nick MartinezSDSPD159
Max MeyerMIASPA/B2711 (early spec call up bid)
Wade MileyCHISPC2711 (same as prior)
David PetersonNYMSPD015
Mike SorokaATLSPB015 (stash candidate)
Dylan FloroMIARPC3914 (closer spec)
Luis GarciaSDRPD015
Steven WilsonSDRPD015
Ian KennedyAZRPC3914 (upped bid)
Joe MantiplyAZRPD015
Adonis MedinaNYMRPD015
Michael PerezPITCDNoNo4
Rowdy TellezMIL1BC2233Rostered
Luke VoitSD1BC/D2711 (up if a believer, lower if not)
Juan YepezSTL1BC/D81422
Brandon DruryCIN2BD147
Joe DunandMIA2BENoNo5
Tommy La StellaSF2BD147 (early return bid)
Brendan RodgersCOL2BC1122Rostered
Jon BertiMIA3BD159
Maikel FrancoWAS3BD51116
Evan LongoriaSF3BC3914 (slightly upped return bid)
Geraldo PerdomoAZSSD147
Josh RojasAZSSD2711 (slightly upped return bid)
Bryson StottPHISSB/C2711 (in case he starts)
Albert AlmoraCINOFENoNo4
TJ FriedlCINOFENoNo4
Bryan De La CruzMIAOFENoNo4
Michael HarrisATLOFB015 (stash candidate)
Cooper HummelAZOFENoNo5
Travis JankowskiNYMOFDNo07
LaMonte WadeSFOFE2711

STARTING PITCHER

Edward Cabrera, Marlins: Cabrera got a late start to the spring due to visa issues and landed in the minors to start the season. A biceps injury set him back, but he started for Low-A Jupiter on Apr. 27 before moving to Triple-A Jacksonville. Cabrera allowed two runs in four innings and likely will need a few more outings before he's deemed ready for a potential call up. He made seven late-season starts for the Marlins in 2021, and will likely the next man up to step into the big-league rotation if Miami requires another starter, though could be beaten by Max Meyer. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (spec call up bid)

Austin Gomber, Rockies: Gomber, the main return for Colorado in the Nolan Arenado deal – let that sink in for a while – has reeled off three brilliant starts in a row after a rough start. In those three outings, he's posted a 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 20:2 K:BB across 18.2 innings. Gomber made 23 starts in 2021 and produced a 4.53 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 115.1 innings, but his 4.18 xFIP suggests he was slightly unlucky. The slight uptick in K and GB rates along with a higher-than-expected BABIP, the latter of which should drop, bode well for potential future success. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 

Chad Kuhl, Rockies: Raise your hands if you had Kuhl with a 1.82 ERA and 0.84 WHIP through his first five starts of the season. He's benefitted from a .179 BABIP, resulting in a 3.62 FIP suggesting he's been somewhat lucky. But Kuhl did have a 4.44 ERA the last four seasons with Pittsburgh and has been consistently strong in generating groundballs to provide short-term value especially in single and deeper leagues. Just don't expect this magic ride to continue for much longer. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 

Nick Martinez, Padres: Martinez posted a 1.62 ERA in 23 starts in Japan last season, but had been less successful in the Majors registering a 4.77 ERA and 1.45 WHIP across 415.1 career innings. He signed a four-year contract this offseason and earning a rotation spot following a strong spring. Martinez has pitched well in three of his five starts, including his last two. But with MacKenzie Gore excelling, Mike Clevinger back in the fold and Blake Snell (groin) likely returning soon, Martinez's place appears volatile. He's at least giving the team something to think about with an solid two-start stretch where he's only allowed three runs and nine hits over 12 innings. It's possible San Diego uses a six-man rotation for the next few turns. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Max Meyer, Marlins: Meyer is under consideration for a promotion soon. Drafted third overall in 2020, he boasts an elite fastball-slider combination and logged a 2.27 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 130:42 K:BB in 111 innings, with 20 starts last season coming at Double-A and two at Triple-A. Meyer hasn't slowed down in 2022 with a 1.71 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 33:6 K:BB through 26.1 innings over five starts for Triple-A Jacksonville. With Elieser Hernandez's early-season struggles, Meyer could get the nod if Miami decides a change in needed. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (early spec call up bid)

Wade Miley, Cubs: Miley, out with left elbow inflammation, made his first rehab start and went four shutout innings for Triple-A Iowa on May 5. The veteran lefty threw 41 pitches - 28 for strikes - struck out three, gave up two hits and issued no walks in a road outing against St. Paul. Miley will throw a bullpen session in the coming days and the next step is yet to be determined. He started 2021 on fire with a 2.79 ERA and 1.17 WHIP through the first half, but struggled after for the Reds. Miley was claimed off waivers by Chicago and will slot in as the third starter when activated. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (same as prior) 

Mike Minor, Reds: Minor is expected to make a rehab start Tuesday, returning to action after experiencing renewed shoulder soreness following an appearance for Double-A Chattanooga. He began a rehab assignment in mid-April, and after it was paused threw a simulated game with High-A Dayton on Wednesday to clear him to return to minor-league action. It's not yet clear which affiliate Minor will join next week, but he'll likely need to make at least two starts prior to joining the Reds. With an ERA over five the last two seasons and a propensity for giving up the long ball, temper your expectations. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4

David Peterson, Mets: Peterson was the Mets' final cut of spring training, but has been up-and-down several times this season while making four appearances, including three starts. He allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks while striking out six in five innings to notch his first win of the season Tuesday against the Braves. Peterson has posted a 1.89 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 19 innings and will be a strong candidate to step in if the Mets require a spot starter. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Mike Soroka, Braves: Soroka, who last appeared in August 2020 due to multiple tears of his Achilles, hasn't had any setbacks in his recovery process and has recently been doing some mound work. His second surgery was last June, sidelining him likely for another year. Soroka has thrown off a mound approximately five times over the past few weeks and is looking forward to soon being cleared to complete defensive drills, like covering first base and fielding bunts. It's possible he'll be able to return to game action around the All-Star break, but there's still a long way for him to go in his rehab before anyone can pinpoint when that may be. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team-NL: $5 (stash candidate) 

RELIEF PITCHER 

Dylan Floro, Marlins: Floro is inching closer to returning from the shoulder injury that has sidelined him the first month-plus of the season. He's made five minor-league rehab stints, including pitching on back-to-back days. Floro, who came to Miami last offseason, converted 15 of 21 save opportunities with a 2.81 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 62:25 K:BB over 64 innings. He also recorded a career-high 11 holds while tallying six wins to cap off an outstanding season in high-leverage. When active, Floro will compete with Anthony Bender to close for the Marlins. 12-team Mixed: $3, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14 (closer spec) 

Luis Garcia/Steven Wilson, Padres: Garcia has gotten off to a strong start in the Padres bullpen by notching five holds in the nine games he's pitched. He's allowed five runs over 8.2 innings this season, but only two of them have been earned. More promisingly, Garcia has only surrendered five hits to go with a 6:0 K:BB. He posted a 3.24 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 34:8 K:BB across 33.1 innings for the Cardinals in 2021 before inking a two-year, $7 million deal with San Diego in free agency this winter. Garcia has settled into pitching in the sixth and seventh inning, but could receive eighth-inning duty if he keeps pitching well. Wilson, not Robert Suarez, was called on and notched the save with Taylor Rogers unavailable Friday. The 27-year-old rookie has recorded 15 strikeouts compared to five walks in 12 innings with a 3.00 ERA and four holds over 12 appearances. Both - 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Ian Kennedy/Joe Mantiply, Diamondbacks: Kennedy and Mantiply ably filled in closing for Arizona while Mark Melancon was sidelined with COVID-19. Kennedy converted saves in three straight appearances while Mantiply had one save over that stretch. Melancon returned to action this past week and got the save Friday, but allowed four runs in the ninth while blowing the save Saturday. Kennedy, who closed in Texas and Philly last year, clearly is next in line whenever Melancon is sidelined or unavailable, while Mantiply is more likely to fill a middle-relief role due to his lack of strikeouts. Kennedy - 12-team Mixed: $3, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14; Mantiply - 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 

Adonis Medina, Mets: Trevor May will be out for 2-3 months with a stress reaction on the lower portion of his humerus that will shut him down from throwing for at least four weeks. Medina is expected to fill that role after tossing 2.2 scoreless inning to pick up his first major-league win Thursday. His prospect status tumbled since being drafted by the Phillies in 2014, but he could carve out a role as a long reliever/set-up man for New York if he pitches well. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 

CATCHER 

Michael Perez, Pirates: Perez was promoted Saturday to work as depth at catcher after Roberto Perez (hamstring) was placed on the 10-day injured list. He was reassigned to the minors late in spring training and went .294 with a double, three runs and two RBI over eight games at Triple-A Indianapolis to begin the year. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4

FIRST BASE 

Rowdy Tellez, Brewers: Tellez has grabbed a hold of the first base job and looks like he's never giving it back, further evidenced by Keston Hiura getting sent down. He hit.272/.333/.481 with seven home runs, 28 RBI and 22 runs in 174 plate appearances after coming over from Toronto last season. Tellez has been on a heater at that plate at what seems to be unsustainable, but should continue to be a source of power and runs batted in even if he regresses. 12-team Mixed: $22, 15-team Mixed: $33; 12-team NL: Rostered

Luke Voit, Padres: Voit got off to a nightmarish start with San Diego hitting .143 with 17 strikeouts in 54 plate appearances in the majors before injuring his bicep. Out since Apr. 23, he began a rehab stint at Triple-A El Paso on Tuesday. Voit's production there has been even worse going 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts and two walks his first four games. His rehab stint may last longer than the week he was scheduled to remain in the minors and it's fair to be concerned about how productive he will be once activated. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (up if a believer, lower if not) 

Juan Yepez, Cardinals: With Dylan Carlson scuffling and the DH spot not much better, Yepez was promoted this past week after slashing .280/.326/.634 with eight homers in 21 games for Triple-A Memphis. He started three games in right before slotting in as the DH on Saturday. Yepez posted a .971 OPS over 356 plate appearances at Memphis last season to put him at the top of the list for a promotion, aided by his position on the 40-man roster. Look for him to also see time at the corner infield spots and play almost daily for St. Louis, 12-team Mixed: $8, 15-team Mixed: $14; 12-team NL: $22 

SECOND BASE

Brandon Drury, Reds: Drury has been receiving consistent playing time at both second and third base during the first month. That action has been aided by injuries to both Mike Moustakas and Jonathan India, the latter remaining out. Drury is worth a short-term look while Cincy is dealing with injuries, but eventually the team will look to the future and call up a number of youngsters. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Joe Dunand, Marlins: Dunand, best known for being Alex Rodriguez's nephew, was promoted Saturday with Jon Berti (undisclosed) landing on the injured list. Through 14 games for Triple-A Jacksonville this year, he's slashed .255/.368/.426. The 26-year-old rookie slotted into the starting lineup and batted ninth while playing third base in his debut against the Padres while blasting a home run, but likely will head back down when either Berti or Brian Anderson return. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5 

Tommy La Stella, Giants: La Stella, limited throughout spring training while coming back from left Achilles surgery in October, kicked off a rehab stint Tuesday at Triple-A Sacramento. He'll likely need a fairly lengthy assignment given the time missed. When ready to return, La Stella projects to start at second against right-handed pitchers, though Thairo Estrada has filled in nicely at the keystone. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (early spec return bid)

Brendan Rodgers, Rockies: Those who stuck with Rodgers during his early-season struggles are finally being rewarded. He was hitting just .080 on Apr. 26, but he's gone 9-for-24 since with a home run, eight runs driven in and five scored. Rodgers enjoyed a breakthrough campaign last season, and what has been encouraging this year despite the slow start is his drop in groundball rate and rise in flyball rate which bodes well for success, especially at Coors Field. 12-team Mixed: $11, 15-team Mixed: $22; 12-team NL: Rostered 

THIRD BASE

 Jon Berti, Marlins: Berti landed on the IL for undisclosed reasons Saturday, but isn't likely to be sidelined long-term. When he does return, look for him to resume his super-utility role for Miami considering he's already played five positions. Berti's ability to steal bases and contribute a little bit across the board makes him a viable option in deeper leagues if he continues to get regular playing time. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 

Maikel Franco, Nationals: A solid hitter for several years with Philly, Franco had a rough season last year with the Orioles slashing .210/.253/.355 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI before being released in August. Signed by the Nationals this offseason, he's gotten off to a tremendous start having produced five multi-hit performances over the last 12 games and slashing .306/.333/.449 with a homer, four doubles, four RBI and six runs. Franco attributes his early success to losing 25 pounds this offseason, enabling to have better energy and improved quickness at the plate and in the field. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16

Evan Longoria, Giants: Longoria, profiled last week, gets another mention as he began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday. He underwent surgery Mar. 28 to repair a ligament in his right index finger, which was to sideline him 4-to-6 weeks. Longoria began a hitting progression in mid-April and increased his intensity, paving the way for him to start the rehab assignment. Wilmer Flores and Jason Vosler covered the hot corner in Longoria's absence. When he returns, which could be late this week, he should start nearly every day at third. 12-team Mixed: $3, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14 (slightly upped return bid) 

SHORTSTOP 

Geraldo Perdomo, Diamondbacks: Perdomo, who opened the year on the Arizona roster due to the injury to Josh Rojas, remained on the roster following the latter's return. He earned that spot by slashing .290/.353/.419 over his last 10 games following a slow start. A shortstop by trade, Perdomo also made appearances at second and third base in 2022 and will spell Rojas, Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed in the Arizona infield. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team-NL: $7 

Josh Rojas, Diamondbacks: Rojas, profiled last week and sidelined since just before the start of the regular season with a Grade 2 right oblique strain, is profiled again as he completed a two-game rehab stint and was activated Friday. Before being injured, he was set to start on the left side of Arizona's infield, likely at the hot corner. Since then, shortstop Nick Ahmed returned from a shoulder injury and Geraldo Perdomo has been eased in to third base. Rojas should play almost daily in the utility infield role he filled when he first came up in 2019, though won't see time in the outfield. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (slightly upped bid)

Bryson Stott, Phillies: Stott, a first-round pick in 2019, opened the season with the Phillies after a strong spring training. He struggled to a .133/.161/.167 line in 31 plate appearances and was demoted in late April with Alec Bohm raking, but was recalled Saturday with Didi Gregorius (knee) hitting the injured list. As we noted in our update after his call up: "if part of Stott's struggles can be attributed to the fact he was playing irregularly and bouncing around the infield, there's a case to be made that he'll look better this time around if he's given a temporary everyday role at his natural position of shortstop. Whether or not he'll have that role is unclear, however, as manager Joe Girardi may prefer veteran utility man Johan Camargo in that spot". With Philly scuffling, Stott could be given a chance to provide a spark. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (in case he starts)

OUTFIELD

Albert Almora/TJ Friedl, Reds: With Cincy beset by COVID absences, Almora got the call this past week while Friedl has been starting in the outfield. Tyler Naquin is back, but Nick Senzel remains out to allow Almora to stay. Almora missed the first couple weeks of the season with Louisville due to a shoulder injury and has an .852 OPS through 11 games. The defensive-first center fielder is likely headed back to the minors when Senzel returns. Friedl should return to a bench role or land in the minors once the Reds get healthy. Both - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team-NL: $4 

Bryan De La Cruz, Marlins: De La Cruz was sent down Thursday and then recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville on Friday with Brian Anderson (undisclosed) going on the injured list. He's primarily been used as a late-inning replacement, though started four games in center field and one apiece in left and right. De La Cruz will likely see time in center against lefties while up. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team-NL: $4

Michael Harris, Braves: Harris, the Braves' top prospect, has been raking at Double-A Mississippi and is pushing for a promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett slashing .314/.368/.543 with four home runs and 20 runs batted in over 25 games and 114 plate appearances. The third-round pick in 2019 hit .294/.362/.436 with seven home runs, 27 steals (on 31 attempts), an 8.3 BB% and an 18.1 K% in 101 games as a 20-year-old at High-A Rome. Harris will need to show he can handle Triple-A, but could be in Atlanta and start in left field sometime this summer. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team-NL: $5 (stash candidate) 

Cooper Hummel, Diamondbacks: Hummel, who came to Arizona from Milwaukee in the Eduardo Escobar deal last season, broke camp with the D-Backs and has seen slightly more playing time than originally expected. He slashed .311/.432/.546 with 12 home runs, 21 doubles, six triples, 52 RBI and 70 runs scored over a combined 92 games at Triple-A Nashville and Triple-A Reno in 2021. The switch-hitter has already appeared in 24 games while operating in left field and as a DH and pinch-hitter. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team-NL: $5 

Travis Jankowski, Mets: Finding at-bats, and especially steals, in single leagues are especially challenging. Jankowski may not provide you a substantive number of plate appearances, but he does have three steals and will be used as a pinch-runner and late-inning defensive replacement while working at all three outfield spots. Jankowski also likely won't hurt your batting average while providing a solid OBA. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team-NL: $7 

LaMonte Wade, Giants: Wade, profiled last week and on the injured list since late spring due to inflammation and a bone bruise in his left knee, is mentioned again as he completed his rehab stint and was activated Friday. He hit .238/.433/.476 with seven walks, zero strikeouts and one home run in seven rehab games at Triple-A Sacramento. Now back in action, Wade should see substantive playing time in left and right field - and largely against righties due to his struggles versus southpaws. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team-NL: $14 (slightly upped bid from prior)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Levine
Levine covers baseball and hockey for RotoWire. He is responsible for the weekly NL FAAB column for baseball and the Barometer for hockey. In addition to his column writing, he is master of the NHL cheat sheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets and Rangers.
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