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 free-agent budget you should bid on them.

This year, we're incorporating sortable grids into the FAAB articles, so users can see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

These grids include a very basic "player grade" column. This serves as a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. Carlos Correa would have been an "A" grade player last year -- that mark will be reserved for similar high-impact prospects stepping into an everyday role.

Not seeing a certain player? Check to see if they were mentioned in last week's article. If there is a player not discussed in either article that you would like to know about, feel free to ask about the player in the comments.

PLAYER TEAM POS GRADE $ (12-Team Mixed) $ (15-Team Mixed) $ (AL-Only)
Eduardo Rodriguez BOS SP B 2 5 12
Cody Anderson CLE SP B 2 4 11
Matt Boyd DET SP C No 0 4
Pat Dean MIN SP D No 0 4
Ken Giles HOU RP B 2 5 12
Michael Feliz HOU RP C 0 2 6
Sean Doolittle OAK RP C 0 2 6
Brandon Kintzler MIN RP D No No 2
Fernando Abad MIN RP
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 free-agent budget you should bid on them.

This year, we're incorporating sortable grids into the FAAB articles, so users can see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

These grids include a very basic "player grade" column. This serves as a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. Carlos Correa would have been an "A" grade player last year -- that mark will be reserved for similar high-impact prospects stepping into an everyday role.

Not seeing a certain player? Check to see if they were mentioned in last week's article. If there is a player not discussed in either article that you would like to know about, feel free to ask about the player in the comments.

PLAYER TEAM POS GRADE $ (12-Team Mixed) $ (15-Team Mixed) $ (AL-Only)
Eduardo Rodriguez BOS SP B 2 5 12
Cody Anderson CLE SP B 2 4 11
Matt Boyd DET SP C No 0 4
Pat Dean MIN SP D No 0 4
Ken Giles HOU RP B 2 5 12
Michael Feliz HOU RP C 0 2 6
Sean Doolittle OAK RP C 0 2 6
Brandon Kintzler MIN RP D No No 2
Fernando Abad MIN RP C No No 3
Drew Butera KC C E No No 0
Juan Centeno MIN C E No No 1
Luis Valbuena HOU 1B/3B B 3 6 13
Logan Morrison TB 1B C 2 3 8
Jurickson Profar TEX 2B C 2 4 9
Jed Lowrie OAK 2B B 2 4 10
Whit Merrifield KC 2B C 1 2 7
Kaleb Cowart LAA 2B D No No 0
Taylor Motter TB SS C 1 2 8
Eduardo Escobar MIN SS C 1 2 7
Luis Sardinas SEA SS D No 0 4
Cheslor Cuthbert KC 3B C 0 2 6
Hunter Dozier KC 3B D No 1 5
Mikie Mahtook TB OF C 2 4 9
Brett Eibner KC OF C No No 3
Joey Gallo TEX OF C 3 7 15
Jared Hoying TEX OF C 0 1 4

Starting Pitcher

Eduardo Rodriguez, Red Sox - Rodriguez is poised to return to the Boston rotation this week, replacing Clay Buchholz, with renewed confidence thanks in large part to a new knee brace. The 23-year-old Rodriguez struggled early on during his rehab assignment but finished his time with Pawtucket on a high note, tossing six innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts and no walks. He reached 100 pitches in his final two rehab outings and should not face any restrictions Tuesday against Baltimore in what is expected to be his first of two starts this week (June 5 vs. Toronto). The lefty doesn't miss a ton of bats and thus may not be a big game-changer in mixed leagues, but his ability to control a quality three-pitch arsenal (fastball-slider-changeup) keeps his floor relatively high, plus he should get plenty of run support. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $5; AL-only: $12

Cody Anderson, Indians - Serving as the 26th man and Game 2 starter for Monday's twin bill, Anderson went seven strong innings against the White Sox en route to his first win of the season, allowing one run on five hits while fanning nine. He did not issue a walk. The control has been excellent all year, and the uptick in strikeouts seems sustainable given his dramatic decline in O-Contact% and increase in swinging-strike rate. Anderson was sent back to the minors again after the doubleheader, and those in shallower leagues may just want to monitor him for the time being, but Anderson's stock is on the rise and it shouldn't be long before he gets a chance to build on Monday's outing. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $4; AL-only: $11

Matt Boyd, Tigers - While Boyd needed 94 pitches to get through five innings and gave up a pair of home runs Saturday against Oakland, it was still a successful first big league start of the year for the left-hander. He struck out seven -- four straight to begin the game -- and did not issue a walk. The home runs were somewhat of a harsh reminder of his struggles with the long ball from a year ago, when Boyd served up 17 homers in 57.1 innings at the major league level, although five of those came in just two appearances at Rogers Centre before he moved to Detroit (6.2 innings). His flyball tendencies might make him a liability in hitters' parks, and Jordan Zimmermann (groin) seems to think he'll make his next start, but Boyd's track record of strong peripherals at the upper levels of the minors have him on the AL-only radar. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $0; AL-only: $4

Pat Dean, Twins - Much to the chagrin of those who stacked against him in DFS, Dean limited the Mariners to two runs on four hits while posting an 8:0 K:BB over seven innings Friday, all with an average fastball under 90 mph. It was his second straight quality start, but the strikeouts seem extremely fluky as Dean never posted a strikeout rate over 14 percent at any stop above Low-A. While he does throw strikes, that may prove to be a blessing or a curse in any given start, as many major league hitters will make him pay for spending too much time in the strike zone. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $0; AL-only: $4

Relief Pitcher

Ken Giles, Astros - Closer Luke Gregerson has rebounded from back-to-back blown saves, successfully converting his last three opportunities, but Giles is keeping the seat warm with his recent performance. Giles saw his streak of nine straight scoreless appearances snapped this week, but he eventually nailed down the win for Houston to secure his first save of the year, with Gregerson off for the night. It took him a little while to get the velocity all the way back, which is not unusual for power pitchers, but it's there now, as Giles has hit the high-90s in recent appearances. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $5; AL-only: $12

Michael Feliz, Astros - Feliz has been quietly excellent in a long role for the Astros, posting a 33:4 K:BB in 20 innings, with all four of his walks coming in his 2016 debut. He has 13 strikeouts in his last three appearances (six innings) and it's hard to imagine the 22-year-old will be riding the shuttle any longer. As mentioned above, Ken Giles has reestablished himself as the obvious next man up, but Feliz's strikeout and ratio contributions make him a viable option even in 14- and 15-team mixed leagues. 12-team mixed: $0; 15-team mixed: $2; AL-only: $6

Sean Doolittle, A's - The lefty has been slowly chipping away at his ratios -- with three runs allowed on four hits in 8.2 innings this month, Doolittle's ERA and WHIP are down to 3.26 and 1.09, respectively. He has 13 strikeouts against two walks in May. Meanwhile, Ryan Madson has blown back-to-back save opportunities, with his ERA jumping from 1.02 to 2.66 in the span of three appearances. However, the team has not given any indication that Madson may be on shaky ground, and Doolittle's lefty/righty splits are dramatic, so any talk of Doolittle possibly returning to closing duties seems premature. 12-team mixed: $0; 15-team mixed: $2; AL-only: $6

Brandon Kintzler, Twins - Trevor May pitched his way out of the setup role for the Twins, and it looks like Kintzler will be the main beneficiary. Kintzler has made nine appearances since being called up by the Twins in early May, allowing two runs on 11 hits and one walk over 10 innings. He's been a little lucky with stranding runners, and it's fair to wonder how long Kintzler can get by leaning so heavily on the fastball (87.4%), but the right-hander figures to start racking up holds while working more in high-leverage spots. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: No; AL-only: $2

Fernando Abad, Twins - Manager Paul Molitor said this week that he plans on using Kintzler and Abad more late in games in light of May's recent struggles. As the left-hander, Abad inherently comes with less mixed-league appeal, as he wouldn't seem to have much of a chance at saves, but Abad is arguably the more appealing ratios play in AL-only formats. Of course, some regression is coming for Abad (0.49 ERA), but his strikeout and walk rates, combined with a groundball rate north of 55 percent, support something close to a 2.00 ERA. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: No; AL-only: $3

Catcher

Drew Butera, Royals - Few in AL-only leagues have paid Butera any mind to this point, as he's a glove-first backstop stuck behind the most frequently used catcher in the game. Through two months, Butera's totaled 20 at-bats in eight games. Even if Salvador Perez's injury proves to be more serious than a quad contusion, Butera will be hard-pressed to gain relevance in deeper leagues. He's a .186 career hitter who's never hit more than three home runs in a season. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: No; AL-only: $0

Juan Centeno, Twins - Since collecting multiple hits in three straight games toward the middle of May, Centeno has gone 0-for-13. He's walked just once in 30 plate appearances this season, resulting in a dismal .267 on-base percentage. Kurt Suzuki has an even worse OBP, but that doesn't make Centeno any more appealing. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: No; AL-only: $1

First Base

Luis Valbuena, Astros - Many are clamoring for A.J. Reed, and we may see him within the next month, but Valbuena is heating up with multiple hits in three of his last five games (three home runs in that span). He's trimmed his strikeout rate down this month to just over 21 percent, from 29 percent April, although the walks are down as well. Valbuena's probably not going to be a fixture in your starting lineup long-term, and he could go back to being ice-cold in a hurry, but his eligibility at third and first base helps his case for a roster spot in mixed leagues. 12-team mixed: $3; 15-team mixed: $6; AL-only: $13

Logan Morrison, Rays - Quite frankly, I was ready to write Morrison off as a mixed-league option after a dismal first six weeks of the season, but he's exploded over the past 10 days or so. After posting a 4:25 BB:K in April, Morrison has turned in a 12:11 BB:K in May, and he's chipped in three homers and two stolen bases within the past couple weeks. Of course, Morrison isn't going to play against lefties, and thus the counting stats will continue to suffer, but those in need of corner help can ride him while he's hot and bid adieu once the fun ends. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $3; AL-only: $8

Second Base

Jurickson Profar, Rangers - His return to the major leagues was somewhat forgettable, as Profar went 1-for-5 with a single in a blowout loss to Pittsburgh on Friday. However, the 23-year-old made his presence felt atop the order Saturday, going 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs. It looks like he will continue to lead off in place of Rougned Odor, but once Odor's suspension is up, Profar will likely head back down barring injury to Elvis Andrus at shortstop. If you're bidding on Profar on Sunday night, you can't expect more than four games from him in the short-term, but Profar could always end up in a full-time role with another team later this season. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $4; AL-only: $9

Jed Lowrie, A's - There's nothing sexy about picking up Lowrie, but he's been useful when healthy over the past several years. He's now batting .307 this season, although it's been a rather empty .307 given the absence of any notable power. Lowrie is driving in runs, and that should continue so long as he's batting in the heart of the order, and he's also third-base eligible, but who knows to what degree the power will return. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $4; AL-only: $10

Whit Merrifield, Royals - Batting out of the two-hole once again, Merrifield went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs in Saturday's come-from-behind win, extending his multi-hit streak to five games. It looks like he will continue to play regularly for the time being between second base, third base and left field, and the spot in the batting order should allow Merrifield's speed to be a factor. He stole 32 bases at Triple-A Omaha last season, but he's never reached double-digit home runs, and the 27-year-old will need to start taking some walks to keep his OBP at an acceptable level. 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $2; AL-only: $7

Kaleb Cowart, Angels - The 23-year-old hasn't made a start yet since getting the call to the major leagues, and he may end up back in Salt Lake soon for regular at-bats. Johnny Giavotella is raking this month, so regular time at second base is not an option, and the Angels now have Cliff Pennington back to help at shortstop. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: No; AL-only: $0

Shortstop

Taylor Motter, Rays - His numbers so far in a small sample don't look great, but Motter has been over-exposed early to right-handed pitching (2-for-14). If the Rays are more strict about getting him the platoon advantage, Motter could start to make some noise, as he's flashed an intriguing combination of power and speed in the minors over the past couple seasons. Tim Beckham was optioned to Triple-A Durham this week. 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $2; AL-only: $8

Eduardo Escobar, Twins - Escobar has racked up seven hits in five games since his return from the DL, although just one of those hits has gone for extra bases. He appears primed to continue playing nearly every day against right-handed pitching, but Escobar doesn't have a homer or a steal yet through 32 games. The lack of power is especially concerning as his value last year was driven primarily by the 12 homers in 127 games. 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $2; AL-only: $7

Luis Sardinas, Mariners - After committing two errors Monday, Chris Taylor was swapped out for Sardinas, who got on track at the plate during his short stint at Triple-A Tacoma (13-for-32). He's carried some of that over, going 3-for-10 with a home run in his first three games back, but Ketel Marte (thumb) is already set to begin a rehab assignment early this week, and in the meantime, Sardinas will be stuck at the bottom of the Mariners' batting order. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $0; AL-only: $4

Third Base

Cheslor Cuthbert, Royals - If you're a Salvador Perez owner, you may be inclined to just ignore Cuthbert out of spite after his questionable pursuit of a foul ball Saturday, one Perez clearly had. Cuthbert sort of tripped and fell into Perez's knee and Perez had to be helped off the field. Those without that prejudice in deeper leagues may see a fair amount to like with Cuthbert, as he's been able to hit for a reasonable average and a little power at the Triple-A level, and the opportunity to play regularly appears to be there with Mike Moustakas out for the year. However, Whit Merrifield may steal occasional starts in the short term, and Hunter Dozier will be an option to replace Cuthbert if Cuthbert falters at the plate. 12-team mixed: $0; 15-team mixed: $2; AL-only: $6

Hunter Dozier, Royals - Dozier's walk rate has plummeted since he made the jump to Triple-A Omaha, falling from 12.7 percent with Double-A Northwest Arkansas to 3.8 percent. Regardless, he's still barreling the ball up consistently, and with Moustakas ruled out for the year, Dozier's arrival to the major leagues could be expedited. Cuthbert will get the first look, but Dozier appears to have the makings of a worthwhile stash in 12-team AL-only leagues with 14 active hitters. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $1; AL-only: $5

Outfield

Mikie Mahtook, Rays - With one hit and four strikeouts in 13 at-bats, Mahtook hasn't exactly gotten off on the right foot since his recall. However, Mahtook did show impressive power in 41 games with the big club last year, and he had an OPS over .900 with Triple-A Durham to earn the promotion. Kevin Kiermaier (hand) is out for at least a couple months, and Desmond Jennings really hasn't shown any signs of life, so Mahtook figures to continue seeing fairly regular at-bats. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $4; AL-only: $9

Brett Eibner, Royals - A second-round pick in 2010, he exploded for 10 home runs in 41 games with Triple-A Omaha to open the year, putting him on pace to shatter his previous career high of 19 homers. The Royals decided they needed him with Moustakas hitting the shelf, and while Eibner may be best suited for a platoon role, he could end playing fairly regularly as the DH if Kendrys Morales (finger) ends up on the DL as well. For now, treat Eibner merely as an AL-only consideration. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: No; AL-only: $3

Joey Gallo, Rangers - Well, that was fun while it lasted. Not really, as Gallo logged all of one at-bat during his brief stint at the major league level. The disappointment that comes with the short stay may create an opportunity for some to grab Gallo on the cheap, but be prepared to play the waiting game. As good as Gallo's been at Round Rock this year (1.054 OPS), he missed several weeks recently with a groin injury, and there is not currently a clear path to playing time at the major league level. An injury to Mitch Moreland, Prince Fielder, Ryan Rua, Adrian Beltre or Jared Hoying would create that path, but right now, it's anyone's guess when we'll see him again. 12-team mixed: $3; 15-team mixed: $7; AL-only: $15

Jared Hoying, Rangers - The 27-year-old is occupying the large end of a platoon role with Shin-Soo Choo on the shelf, ceding the starts against lefties to Ryan Rua. He hasn't exactly hit the ground running at the major league level, but Hoying was on a tear with Round Rock before getting the call, slashing .319/.409/.550 with seven homers and 13 steals in 16 attempts. Hoying is stuck in the bottom third of the order against right-handers, but the skills are intriguing enough to make him worth considering in AL-only leagues. 12-team mixed: $0; 15-team mixed: $1; AL-only: $4

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clay Link
Clay Link is the MLB Editor at RotoWire. Clay won the overall championship in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational and finished top 10 in the NFBC Online Championship in 2018. He can be heard on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, MLB Network Radio and twice a week on the RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Podcast during baseball season.
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