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 $
James KaprielianOAKSPC13Rostered
Davis MartinCHISPCNo25
Cody MorrisCLESPB37Rostered
Joey WentzDETSPC2511
Zack GreinkeKCSPC111
Jordan LylesBALSPC111
Joe BarlowTEXRPDNoNo1
Hunter BrownHOURPB12Rostered
Scott EffrossNYRPD2

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 $
James KaprielianOAKSPC13Rostered
Davis MartinCHISPCNo25
Cody MorrisCLESPB37Rostered
Joey WentzDETSPC2511
Zack GreinkeKCSPC111
Jordan LylesBALSPC111
Joe BarlowTEXRPDNoNo1
Hunter BrownHOURPB12Rostered
Scott EffrossNYRPD2511
Tyler GlasnowTBRPB125
Martin MaldonadoHOUCC12Rostered
Reese McGuireBOSCC12Rostered
Oswaldo CabreraNY2BC37Rostered
Miles MastrobuoniTB2BCNoNo3
Livan SotoLASSCNo14
Harrison BaderNYOFC51121
Will BrennanCLEOFC2511
Conner CapelOAKOFDNo14
Nate EatonKCOFC2511
Jarred KelenicSEAOFA71535
Raimel TapiaTOROFC37Rostered
Matt WallnerMINOFCNo25

Starting Pitcher

James Kaprielian, Athletics: The right-hander has looked better since missing the first couple weeks of September due to a cut on his finger, delivering two straight quality starts including seven scoreless frames against Seattle on Wednesday. Kaprielian gets his two remaining starts front-loaded, as he faces the Angels and M's (again) on the road this week, so if you're looking to maximize your win chances he could be a good option to swap in and out of your active roster before plugging someone else in for those final few days next week. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: Rostered

Davis Martin, White Sox: Martin's quietly been solid for Chicago over three September starts, posting a 2.12 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 11:3 K:BB through 17 innings, and with Michael Kopech probably done, the 25-year-old righty figures to close out the year in the rotation. His strikeout upside probably isn't enough to make Martin really interesting in shallow formats, but those last two starts will come in San Diego and at home on the final day of the season against the sagging Twins. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Cody Morris, Guardians: Morris has finally gotten stretched out enough to be considered a "real" starter, and it's resulted in his first big-league win and a 11:3 K:BB through 11 innings over his last two outings. The 25-year-old righty has plus stuff, and if he's healthy he should be a key part of Cleveland's 2023 rotation, but we're still worried about the rest of 2022. Morris gets two home starts to close things out, this week against the Rays (hrm) and then against the Royals (fist pump) two Tuesdays from now. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Rostered

Joey Wentz, Tigers: I wrote up Wentz a couple weeks ago, but the 24-year-old southpaw hasn't slowed down, and now he gets a two-step to close out his season. He's got a 1.10 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 14:4 K:BB through 16.1 innings in September, and he lines up to face the Royals and Twins at home this week. Even with the Tigers' offense behind him, Wentz has won two of his three starts since his promotion, which is also encouraging. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

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

Zack Greinke, Royals (at DET, at CLE)
Jordan Lyles, Orioles (at BOS, at NYY)

Relief Pitcher

Joe Barlow, Rangers: Blister issues have limited Barlow to only two appearances since the All-Star break, but he's back now and figures to have a high-leverage role for Texas over the final handful of games. Jose Leclerc hasn't done anything to lose his grip on the closer gig, but Barlow could get holds in front of Leclerc while posting useful ratios. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Hunter Brown, Astros: Brown was the hot add a few weeks ago when he joined the Houston rotation, but he's now back in the bullpen with Justin Verlander healthy and has probably been dropped in a number of leagues. The 24-year-old righty still has value though, especially if ratios and Ks are more valuable to you than wins. In his first two relief appearances, he's got a 4:1 K:BB over four scoreless innings, and with the Astros already having locked up the AL West crown, he should see regular action in long relief as the team's starters get their workloads cut back ahead of the playoffs. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: Rostered

Scott Effross, Yankees: After missing a month of action due to a sore shoulder, Effross returned from the IL on Saturday and promptly got a save. Clay Holmes hasn't pitched since Thursday and hasn't gotten a save since Sept. 14, so there's still plenty of uncertainty with the Yankees' closer situation. New York has 10 games left, figures to win about six of them, and have recorded saves in just under half their wins, so there might be three saves chances up for grabs. If the category is tight in your league and every save might matter, Effross is definitely worth a look. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Tyler Glasnow, Rays: Here's a Tampa Bay special. Normally the team calls up a top starting prospect to be a high-octane, high-leverage option in the bullpen for the postseason, but this year that role might be filled by Glasnow, who has just about completed his recovery from Tommy John surgery. He's been working multi-inning stints at Triple-A, posting a ridiculous 10:1 K:BB in 4.2 scoreless, no-hit innings over his last two appearances, and he's entirely capable of putting up those kinds of numbers for the Rays over the final days of the season. The current target for his 2022 debut seems to be midweek in Cleveland. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Catcher

Martin Maldonado, Astros: Houston keeps bringing in new catchers, but Maldonado just keeps on being the team's No. 1 guy behind the plate. The 36-year-old has started six of the last nine games, at least in part because he's gone 9-for-21 (.429) with two homers and six RBI. If you're stuck in a streaming catcher cycle, Maldonado's as good an option as any. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: Rostered

Reese McGuire, Red Sox: With Kevin Plawecki gone, McGuire seems to be on the strong side of a platoon with Connor Wong, and he's responded by going 8-for-21 (.381) with three homers and seven RBI in his last seven games since Sept. 13. McGuire doesn't exactly have huge career numbers against RHP, but the platoon split is noticeable, and he only needs to stay hot for another 10 days. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: Rostered

Second Base

Oswaldo Cabrera, Yankees: The 23-year-old rookie has settled in as a regular starter in an outfield corner for the Yankees, and even the return of Harrison Bader has only bumped Cabrera to left field so Aaron Judge can take back over in right. It's easy to see why – Cabrera's slashing .310/.420/.667 over his last 12 games with three doubles, four homers and 13 RBI, and given the offense around him there's no reason to think he can't stay productive down the stretch. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Rostered

Miles Mastrobuoni, Rays: With Brandon Lowe done for the year, there are at-bats available at the keystone in Tampa Bay. Mastrobuoni probably won't take over as the starter – Jonathan Aranda and Isaac Paredes will be in the 2B mix, and to be honest, I'm mainly only writing Mastrobuoni up because he's got such a fun name – but the 26-year-old put up strong numbers at Triple-A this year and has started his MLB career by going 3-for-8, so you never know. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Shortstop

Livan Soto, Angels: I wrote Soto up last week, but since then the rookie's taken over as the starting shortstop while Luis Rengifo slides over to second base. The 22-year-old has three multi-hit performances in his first six MLB starts, and while he won't keep that up for long, he doesn't have to in order to provide fantasy value. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Outfield

Harrison Bader, Yankees: Bader finally came off the IL and made his New York debut Tuesday, going 4-for-14 with a double, a steal and six RBI to begin his Yankees tenure. His defense will keep him in center field, but Bader's capable of contributing with his bat and his legs as well, especially in this lineup. If you've got dollars left and need offense, might as well throw them this way. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team AL: $21

Will Brennan, Guardians: Brennan has started four straight games since his promotion, as the AL Central-leading Guardians are apparently going to go down to the wire trying to figure out their best outfield configuration. The 24-year-old broke out with a .313/.369/.477 line over 129 games in the high minors this year with 13 homers and 20 steals. The latter category is probably where he'll be the biggest contributor – through those first four big-league games, he's gone 4-for-15 with two stolen bases. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Conner Capel, Athletics: It's nice to see the St. Louis to Oakland outfield pipeline is still flowing. Capel doesn't have any kind of prospect profile, but after getting stuck at Triple-A Memphis the last few seasons, he got dropped from the Cardinals' 40-man roster at the beginning of the month and scooped up by the A's. The 25-year-old has started four of five games since making his major-league debut and gone an eye-popping 7-for-14 with a triple, a homer and an encouraging 2:0 BB:K. Capel might only be a fourth outfielder at best in the long run, but the long run isn't our concern here. Staying hot for another 10 days isn't out of the question. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Nate Eaton, Royals: Eaton's making a push for a 2023 starting spot down the stretch. He had a streak of five straight games with a steal beginning a couple Fridays ago, and he's gone 8-for-24 at the plate while starting eight straight contests. The 25-year-old could make an impact for you in a tightly packed SB category. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Jarred Kelenic, Mariners: It looks like Kelenic will get the first chance to replace Julio Rodriguez in the starting lineup as the M's try to hang onto a wild-card spot. He had an 11-game hitting streak going at Triple-A before his latest promotion and has extended it with hits in three straight for Seattle, going 5-for-12 with three doubles and a homer. Has he finally figured things out? If he has, the 23-year-old has more upside than just about any other hitter you can add to your roster for the last full period of the season. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $15; 12-team AL: $35 

Raimel Tapia, Blue Jays: Tapia's seen the biggest bump in playing time among Toronto outfielders with Lourdes Gurriel on the shelf, and over his last 15 games the former Rockie is slashing .292/.333/.458 with a homer, three steals, seven runs and 11 RBI. The Jays don't quote have a playoff spot locked up yet, so they have plenty of incentive to trot out their best lineup every day until they do, and Tapia's a part of it. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Rostered

Matt Wallner, Twins: Wallner got written up last week, but he's started every game since so it's time to re-evaluate. A 2:14 BB:K in nine MLB games is worrisome, but he's got some pop and could run into a homer or two between the whiffs. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

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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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