FAAB Factor - NL: Sifting through the Leftovers

FAAB Factor - NL: Sifting through the Leftovers

This article is part of our NL FAAB Factor series.

Last week's NL FAAB article by Jeff Erickson was very deep because it came prior to the first game of the season and many things, surprisingly, were still unsettled. That is not the case this week and nearly every one of the players covered below are getting increased playing time as a result of injury. I don't have any guarantees as I did in my NL predictions piece when I predicted Jason Grilli leading the Braves in saves this year.

HITTERS

Joaquin Arias, Matt Duffy -Casey McGehee left Saturday's game with a left knee strain during the first inning and was replaced by Arias. The team should know Sunday whether McGehee needs to hit the disabled list, but it would be surprising if he avoided it. In his absence, it would be expected that Arias and Duffy would split the duties in some fashion as neither is an everyday player. If you are the unfortunate McGehee owner or have a hole to fill, it's worth the time to cover the spot. Otherwise, no need to speculate here. Mixed: $0 for both players. NL: $1 for both players.

Alex Guerrero - Saturday night was not alright for corner men on the west coast. Justin Turner was giving Juan Uribe a night off, but Turner was spiked in the hand on a slide into the bag and Uribe's vacation ended a little early. The severity of the injury to Turner's hand is not known at this point, but Guerrero would

Last week's NL FAAB article by Jeff Erickson was very deep because it came prior to the first game of the season and many things, surprisingly, were still unsettled. That is not the case this week and nearly every one of the players covered below are getting increased playing time as a result of injury. I don't have any guarantees as I did in my NL predictions piece when I predicted Jason Grilli leading the Braves in saves this year.

HITTERS

Joaquin Arias, Matt Duffy -Casey McGehee left Saturday's game with a left knee strain during the first inning and was replaced by Arias. The team should know Sunday whether McGehee needs to hit the disabled list, but it would be surprising if he avoided it. In his absence, it would be expected that Arias and Duffy would split the duties in some fashion as neither is an everyday player. If you are the unfortunate McGehee owner or have a hole to fill, it's worth the time to cover the spot. Otherwise, no need to speculate here. Mixed: $0 for both players. NL: $1 for both players.

Alex Guerrero - Saturday night was not alright for corner men on the west coast. Justin Turner was giving Juan Uribe a night off, but Turner was spiked in the hand on a slide into the bag and Uribe's vacation ended a little early. The severity of the injury to Turner's hand is not known at this point, but Guerrero would see a bump in usage as he has had just two plate appearances in the first week of the season. This still feels like a situation where Guerrero will be traded later in the season for a better opportunity, so a grab-and-stash play here early while his usage is suppressed may be a wise move. Mixed: $0. NL: $2.

Dexter Fowler - This is a big name for a FAAB piece, but when I see his ownership in single digits in ESPN leagues, I have to bring him up. This is a player with a career .366 on-base percentage hitting leadoff for a potentially potent lineup as it takes shape (CALL UP KRIS BRYANT!) this summer. If, for any reason, Fowler is on the FAAB pile in your NL league, pounce aggressively. Mixed: $10. NL: $15.

Jeff Francoeur - Don't laugh. Even if perennial disappointment Domonic Brown comes back this week, Francouer still has opportunities. The outfield depth chart includes Darin Ruf, Grady Sizemore, and Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera. Someone has to go when Brown comes back, and the hitless Ruf seems to be the obvious choice as he does have options left. Francouer can be added to a 12-team NL league, but 10-team owners can pass. Mixed: $0. NL: $1.

Yangervis Solarte - Solarte has played both corners for the Padres thus far, but Will Middlebrooks has taken up most of the time at the hot corner as he has twice the plate appearances that Solarte has amassed. That said, Middlebrooks is up to his usual tricks - he hasn't walked yet and has struck out eight times this season. If that trend continues, Solarte is going to carve out more of a role at third. At worst, you have a multi-positional player on your roster to move around. Solarte is a high-contact hitter that can draw a walk and won't hurt you in average while offering a little pop as well. Mixed: $0. NL: $3.

PITCHERS

Jimmy Nelson -
Nelson worked hard on a knuckle-curve all spring and the results were immediately on display Saturday night against a McCutchen-less Pirates lineup. Using the new pitch, Nelson struck out nines and induced 17 swings and misses on the night with his new three-pitch repertoire. Those 17 swings and misses were a career-best. His ownership rate is still in the single digits and as I stated in the NL predictions piece, I'm a big believer in Nelson this season. The new pitch is what he has needed to take that next step we've been waiting for. Like Fowler, if Nelson is on the FAAB pile, bid aggressively. Mixed: $7. NL: $15.

Odrisamer Despaigne - Ian Kennedy had to go to the disabled list, so Despaigne goes from the swing-man role to the rotation. This is a case where an increase in role does not mean an increase in value. Despaigne is a slinger of junk who will spin just about anything up at the plate to get the batter to hit something weakly to a defender. Despite the junk, he did manage to strike out 6.1 batters per nine innings last year with a strong 1.21 WHIP. He has retired all 14 batters he has faced in 2015, but he has struck out just one, so his success is heavily dependent on the tractor beams the San Diego defense has set in their gloves. Worth a flier, but this isn't long-term success. Mixed: $0. NL: $2.

Brandon Maurer - Before A.J. Preller went out and A.J. Preller'd, many were looking at Maurer as a sleeper source of saves in the San Diego bullpen this season. Maurer has wipeout stuff and is split neutral, making him a perfect candidate to do that; it just won't happen any time soon as long as Kimbrel continues to close. That said, Maurer's stuff and skills do not pigeonhole him into a ROOGY role and he could be used in multiple situations in the Padres' pen where vulture wins are possible. Just be aware that the San Diego bullpen is a bit stacked and Maurer was on the Triple-A roster on Opening Day, so there's always the possibility he will get sent back down. Mixed: $0. NL: $2.

Brian Schlitter - Schlitter nearly made the team out of camp, but Justin Grimm's elbow soreness cleared a spot for him during the first week of the season. Schlitter was mostly a low-leverage reliever for the Cubs last year but has added a slutter this offseason. He needs that pitch to give him some more swing and miss in his game, as he does not miss enough bats to be used in high-leverage situations. Mixed: $0. NL: $0.

Cody Martin - The Braves are on fire to start the season, and part of the reason is their no-name bullpen. As @GrantMcauley pointed out on Twitter Saturday night, the Atlanta bullpen has worked 18 innings, has allowed five hits and three walks, has struck out 21, and has not permitted anyone to score. Martin has been part of that early success as he has struck out six of the 10 batters he has faced. Martin's stuff doesn't match those dominant numbers, but he is getting the job done right now. He has been a starter for most of his minor league career, so it wouldn't be much for Martin to hop in and out of the rotation throughout the season as injuries dictate. Mixed: $0. NL: $2.

Chris Heston - Heston is in the rotation while Matt Cain works through his arm issue. He is someone who tries to avoid contact and work the edges of the strike zone with his average stuff. His two-seamer has good movement, but his bread-and-butter pitch is his curveball. It was working well in his outing against Arizona the other night. I still feel he's better in long relief for the team, but even when Cain returns, he could take over for Tim Lincecum if the Giants finally move him to the pen. Mixed: $0. NL: $2.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Collette
Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 1999, and here at Rotowire since 2011. You can hear Jason weekly on many of the Sirius/XM Fantasy channel offerings throughout the season as well as on the Sleeper and the Bust podcast every Sunday. A ten-time FSWA finalist, Jason won the FSWA's Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year award in 2013 and the Baseball Series of the Year award in 2018 for Collette Calls,and was the 2023 AL LABR champion. Jason manages his social media presence at https://linktr.ee/jasoncollette
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