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 $
Alex FaedoDETSPCNoNo3
George KirbySEASPA253545
Zach LogueOAKSPDNoNo2
Daniel LynchKCSPB25Rostered
Jake OdorizziHOUSPC25Rostered
Jeffrey SpringsTBSPC137
Tyler WellsBALSPC14Rostered
Josh WinderMINSPB122131
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 $
Alex FaedoDETSPCNoNo3
George KirbySEASPA253545
Zach LogueOAKSPDNoNo2
Daniel LynchKCSPB25Rostered
Jake OdorizziHOUSPC25Rostered
Jeffrey SpringsTBSPC137
Tyler WellsBALSPC14Rostered
Josh WinderMINSPB122131
Ryan YarbroughTBSPC149
Carlos HernandezKCSPC111
Ryan BrasierBOSRPDNoNo2
Matt StrahmBOSRPDNoNo1
MJ MelendezKCCA2511
Cal RaleighSEACCNoNo3
Ryan O'HearnKC1BDNoNo1
Yandy DiazTB3BC37Rostered
Jose MirandaMIN3BB51121
Royce LewisMINSSA71525
Edward OlivaresKCOFC37Rostered
Harold RamirezTBOFCNo14
Zach ReksTEXOFDNoNo2

Starting Pitcher

Alex Faedo, Tigers: At one time considered part of Detroit's next wave of pitching along with Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning, Faedo didn't pitch at all in 2020 or 2021 due to Tommy John surgery and the pandemic, so the Tigers weren't too sure what they were going to get from him this year. A 20:2 K:BB through 15.2 innings between High-A and Triple-A was good enough to get him called up for his big-league debut though, and Faedo gave his squad five solid innings against the Pirates on Wednesday. He wasn't immediately sent back down after that twin bill, so it looks as though the 26-year-old will get a longer look. Faedo mostly sat in the low 90s with his fastball in his debut, down from his pre-surgery heat, but it's worth noting his final pitch was his fastest at 93.9 mph, and he combined it with a solid slider and changeup. There's some back-end rotation upside here and maybe more if his velocity comes all the way back, but there may not be room for him in the majors once Mize and Manning get healthy. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

George Kirby, Mariners: Matt Brash didn't work out, but no worries, Seattle has an even better pitching prospect it can turn to. Kirby was bullying poor Double-A hitters this season with a 32:5 K:BB through 24.2 innings, and the 24-year-old righty got jumped straight to the majors to make his debut Sunday rather than being sent through the PCL crucible. When he was drafted 20th overall in 2019, his best asset was thought to be his control and command, but Kirby now also boasts a fastball that was touching triple digits last year and he combines it with a nasty slider, plus a curve and a changeup. He has legitimate ace upside, and if he looks even halfway decent against the Rays on Sunday, expect a bidding war over him later that night. 12-team Mixed: $25; 15-team Mixed: $35; 12-team AL: $45

Zach Logue, Athletics: You know your rotation is thin when the loss of Cole Irvin leaves a real hole. Fortunately for the A's, they picked up another soft-tossing lefty in the Matt Chapman trade, and Logue put together five solid innings against the Twins in his first big-league start Friday. He doesn't have much of a ceiling, but the 26-year-old put together good numbers at Triple-A Buffalo last year, and Oakland doesn't really have any better options right now. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Daniel Lynch, Royals: Lynch has been on a roll since being crushed in his first start of the season, posting a 1.69 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 13:4 K:BB in 16 innings over his last three outings. Despite being a first-round pick in 2018, the 25-year-old southpaw has never posted dominant numbers in the minors and profiles more as a mid-rotation guy long term, but given the difficulty Kansas City has had developing pitchers in recent years, even that outcome would be a big win for the franchise. Lynch is a guy who could be taking advantage of the new mushball – he got taken deep nine times in 68 innings in his 2021 debut, but if he can do a better job keeping the ball in the park this year, useful ratios could follow. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: Rostered

Jake Odorizzi, Astros: Odorizzi appeared to be in danger of losing his rotation spot when Cristian Javier was moved out of the bullpen, but instead Houston has been deploying a six-man, and the veteran right-hander has rewarded the team's faith with two straight quality starts. Odorizzi doesn't offer much in the way of strikeouts, but if he got cut loose after his brutal beginning to the season, he could provide some useful depth and another streaming option. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: Rostered

Jeffrey Springs, Rays: The 29-year-old southpaw is set to take Josh Fleming's spot in the rotation starting Monday, and he might even work behind an opener, which would be great news for his win potential given that he hasn't yet tossed more than 3.1 innings in an appearance this season. Springs hasn't kept last year's velocity gains, but he has yet allow a homer and has a 14:3 K:BB through 13 relief innings, and he's the kind of pitcher the Rays have made a habit of getting the most out of. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $7

Tyler Wells, Orioles: Wells was originally going to be listed down in the 'Other two-start options' section as he lines up for an enticing two-step this week, at home against the Royals and on the road against the Tigers, but he's pitching just well enough to be worth considering beyond his streaming appeal. The righty was converted from a relief role in spring training and while it took him a few outings to get comfortable, Wells has lasted five innings in each of his last two starts, posting a 2.70 ERA and 8:0 K:BB. He's got mid-rotation upside at best, but that's still got value. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team AL: Rostered

Josh Winder, Twins: I recommended trying to get Winder fairly cheaply last week before he moved into the rotation, but then he tossed six scoreless innings against the Rays on Sunday and probably pushed the bidding up. Well, after another six scoreless frames Thursday, this time against the A's, expect things to get a bit silly if he's still available in your league. The 25-year-old righty has been dominant in those two outings with a 15:1 K:BB, and the arsenal that made him a preseason sleeper has been on full display. Minnesota seems to be thriving in the midst of a youth movement right now, and Winder could end up being a big part of it. 12-team Mixed: $12; 15-team Mixed: $21; 12-team AL: $31 

Ryan Yarbrough, Rays: Yarbrough lasted only 2.1 innings in his season debut Tuesday and got roughed up by the A's, but he could represent a nice buy-low opportunity. The southpaw's 5.11 ERA last season was inflated by a 1.45 HR/9, which is the kind of number that could come way down in 2022 if the current offensive environment continues. Tampa also isn't afraid to use an opener in front of him if necessary, a role in which he thrived a few years ago. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team AL: $9

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

Carlos Hernandez, Royals (at BAL, at COL)

Relief Pitcher

Ryan Brasier / Matt Strahm, Red Sox: So, the Boston bullpen is a mess right now of Philadelphian proportions. Hansel Robles is pitching OK but has gone 1-for-3 in save chances. Jake Diekman is also 1-for-3 on saves but has pitched a lot worse, while Matt Barnes has been an outright disaster. It may not be long before Alex Cora starts looking elsewhere for someone to handle the ninth inning, and the two top candidates in the current bullpen are Brasier and Strahm. Brasier had seven saves in 2019 and at times looked like a possible future closer, but he's had trouble locking down a high-leverage role since, although he has holds in two of his last three appearances and a solid 11:2 K:BB in 10 innings. Strahm was sort of the Padres' version of Garrett Whitlock way back in 2018, giving the team good innings no matter how he was used, but the southpaw's career stagnated after that and he got cut loose in the offseason. He's looked good so far for the Red Sox though, and he has a save and three holds in 12 appearances. These are both pure spec saves plays, but if you have a bench spot to churn, either one could pay off. Brasier – 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2 / Strahm – 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Catcher

MJ Melendez, Royals: A couple hours after I said Melendez probably wouldn't get called up in the comments of last week's article, he got called up. Thanks for making me look bad, Royals. The 23-year-old sat for a couple days before getting two straight starts, one at catcher and one at DH, and going 2-for-6 with a couple singles and a walk, and Kansas City hasn't played since as their games keep getting rained out. Melendez has a ton of upside if he finds his way into a regular role, and for that reason alone he'll attract some bidding attention, but he could also be back in Triple-A in a few weeks when guys like Carlos Santana are off the IL. Despite the appeal of possibly landing a real offensive contributor at a catcher spot, spending big on Melendez could just as easily wind up being wasted dollars in redraft formats. Obviously, in keeper and dynasty leagues where he's available, you can be a lot more aggressive. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Cal Raleigh, Mariners: The 25-year-old got demoted to Triple-A Tacoma a couple Thursdays ago, but Tom Murphy's sore shoulder brought him back up pretty quickly. Raleigh looked good in his seven games for the Rainiers, batting .286 (8-for-28) with two doubles and a homer, and he remains a catcher with a very good defensive reputation and some intriguing upside who hasn't figured out big-league pitching yet. I honestly think he'll wind up having more rest of season value than Melendez, but that doesn't mean you should throw the same kind of bid at him. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

First Base

Ryan O'Hearn, Royals: With Santana out, O'Hearn started two straight games for Kansas City, which is worth noting. He doesn't offer much more than occasional pop and a terrible batting average, but if you're desperate for a live bat, he should see some playing time in the short term. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Third Base

Yandy Diaz, Rays: Tampa has shaken up its roster over the last week or so and Diaz has been one of the big winners, starting six straight games and 12 of the last 13 coming into Sunday. He's slashed .310/.453/.476 over that stretch with two homers, five RBI and eight runs, and his lack of consistent over-the-fence power is less of a concern in a year when almost everyone is struggling to leave the yard. Ji-Man Choi is expected to be back from the IL on Sunday, but if Diaz keeps hitting, he'll have a spot in the lineup whether it's at first base, third base or DH. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Rostered

Jose Miranda, Twins: Don't worry, I got all the Hamilton references out of my system already. Lin-Manuel's cousin has started six straight games since his promotion, and while he's gone just 3-for-22, his 2:1 BB:K and 107.0 mph max EV are strong signs that he's been more unlucky than overmatched. Alex Kirilloff's return to action could cut off most of Miranda's playing time at first base, but Gio Urshela isn't doing much at the hot corner, and with both Byron Buxton and Trevor Larnach currently at less than 100 percent, Kirilloff might be needed in the outfield for a bit. If Miranda gets hot, he will stick around, and he has the upside to make an impact. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team AL: $21 

Shortstop

Royce Lewis, Twins: Miranda wasn't even the biggest name among Minnesota prospects to get called up last week, as Carlos Correa's finger scare prompted the Twins to bring up Lewis, the first overall pick in the 2017 Draft. There's a lot of similarities to Buxton here, both in terms of athleticism that could eventually turn into power and a checkered injury history, but for now Lewis' biggest fantasy asset is his speed as he swiped eight bags in nine attempts over 24 games at Triple-A before his promotion. As with Miranda, if Lewis produces, he's not going anywhere, and while the fact that Correa may not be sidelined as long as initially feared doesn't do him any favors, Lewis could always slide out to center field if Buxton's sore hip end up being something worse. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $15; 12-team AL: $25

Outfield

Edward Olivares, Royals: Kansas City played me for a fool twice last week, as it was Olivares and not Kyle Isbel who's been getting the first crack at a starting spot in an outfield corner. Since Adalberto Mondesi went down, Olivares has started six of eight games and batted .458 (11-for-24) with three doubles, a steal, an RBI and three runs. The overall production is disappointing given all the hits, but the main appeal here is the 26-year-old's speed, and if he keeps getting on base, the steals should come, along with a handful of other counting stats. Of course, if Isbel heats up, the duo could swap places in the pecking order, and it's clear I'm really bad at guessing what the Royals are going to do next, but at the moment Olivares seems like the guy you want. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Rostered

Harold Ramirez, Rays: Ramirez has been the other big winner of the Rays' lineup shuffle. Bouncing between DH, first base and left field, the 27-year-old has started seven of the last 11 games while batting .321 (9-for-28) with three RBI and five runs, albeit without any extra-base hits. His playing time will take a hit with Choi back, however, and you might have already missed the window to get real value out of him. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Zach Reks, Rangers: I refuse to believe "Zach Reks" is a real name. It sounds like an indie wrestler who wanted to turn his ring name into a pun about what he was gonna do to the other guy. The former Dodger farmhand hasn't exactly been wrecking opposition pitchers, but he has seen action in four straight games and hit safely in each, going 4-for-10 with a double and three RBI. His minor-league profile suggests he's got a decent stick, and with Brad Miller struggling and Willie Calhoun out of the picture for now, there could be plenty of playing time available for Reks on the strong side of a platoon. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

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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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