MLB FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

MLB FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our MLB FAAB Factor series.

This FAAB article is in addition to the AL and NL FAAB articles that run Sunday. Bids are based on a $100 FAAB budget. Throughout the season, this column will have two goals:

1. Identify FAAB targets for fantasy managers in leagues with Thursday FAAB.

2. Offer a preview of FAAB targets ahead of Sunday's columns.

Offense has started to pick up recently as the weather gets warmer, but there are still plenty of pitchers who have fantasy value, both as starters and as relievers. Injuries around baseball have opened playing time for some position players, while some consistent starters have been especially hot at the plate recently.

Starting Pitcher

Yusei Kikuchi, Blue Jays: Kikuchi was inconsistent the first month of the season but turned things around during his first three starts in May, a stretch that includes two strong showings against the red-hot Yankees. The southpaw has two quality starts since the beginning of May, and he's posted a 1.56 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in 17.1 innings in his three outings this month. Kikuchi has struggled to put things together early in his major league career but has some fantasy value if he remains somewhat consistent. FAAB: $7

Hunter Greene, Reds: Greene made headlines early in the season due to his ability to consistently throw a blazing fastball, and his 98.4 mph average fastball velocity ranks second among MLB starters. Command has been an issue for the right-hander, as he's issued at least four walks in four

This FAAB article is in addition to the AL and NL FAAB articles that run Sunday. Bids are based on a $100 FAAB budget. Throughout the season, this column will have two goals:

1. Identify FAAB targets for fantasy managers in leagues with Thursday FAAB.

2. Offer a preview of FAAB targets ahead of Sunday's columns.

Offense has started to pick up recently as the weather gets warmer, but there are still plenty of pitchers who have fantasy value, both as starters and as relievers. Injuries around baseball have opened playing time for some position players, while some consistent starters have been especially hot at the plate recently.

Starting Pitcher

Yusei Kikuchi, Blue Jays: Kikuchi was inconsistent the first month of the season but turned things around during his first three starts in May, a stretch that includes two strong showings against the red-hot Yankees. The southpaw has two quality starts since the beginning of May, and he's posted a 1.56 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in 17.1 innings in his three outings this month. Kikuchi has struggled to put things together early in his major league career but has some fantasy value if he remains somewhat consistent. FAAB: $7

Hunter Greene, Reds: Greene made headlines early in the season due to his ability to consistently throw a blazing fastball, and his 98.4 mph average fastball velocity ranks second among MLB starters. Command has been an issue for the right-hander, as he's issued at least four walks in four of his seven starts this year. However, he's limited runs recently with a 2.13 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 12.2 innings in his last two starts. While Greene lost after tossing 7.1 hitless frames Sunday, he has a strong 28.6 percent strikeout rate and has fantasy potential if he continues to limit runs. FAAB: $6

Nick Pivetta, Red Sox: Pivetta gave up at least three runs in four of his first five starts this season but has been much more dominant recently. He's posted three consecutive quality starts,  recording a 0.82 ERA, 20:1 K:BB and 0.50 WHIP in 22 innings. The right-hander most recently threw a complete game against the Astros to earn his second consecutive win. Pivetta has struggled to maintain production over a full season, but he's certainly improved his fantasy value recently. FAAB: $6

Martin Perez, Rangers: Perez had a slow start to the season during his first two starts, but he's now put together five consecutive quality starts and is coming off back-to-back wins. In his last five starts, the 32-year-old has posted a 0.84 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in 32.1 innings. Although his 20.8 percent strikeout rate is the highest of his career, it doesn't jump off the page. However, if he continues to shut opponents down as he has recently, he has plenty of fantasy value. FAAB: $5

Wade Miley, Cubs: Miley missed the first month of the season with an elbow injury, but he bounced back at home while making his Cubs debut during Monday's series opener against the Pirates. He increased his pitch count to 84 and struck out six in seven scoreless innings. The southpaw was effective in Cincinnati last year, accumulating 12 wins with a 3.37 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 28 starts. While Miley doesn't strike out many, his run-limiting abilities have been on display in 2021 and early in 2022. FAAB: $4

Chase Silseth, Angels: There was some uncertainty whether Silseth would make more than a single spot start after being called up last week, but he'll start his second major league game against the Athletics on Friday. The righty had a strong performance against Oakland last Friday with four strikeouts in six scoreless innings to earn the win. While the Angels also have Jhonathan Diaz available to call up if Silseth struggles, the latter will have a chance to remain in the big-league rotation. FAAB: $4

Zach Thompson, Pirates: Thompson reclaimed a starting role in his last two appearances, allowing just three hits and three walks while striking out nine in 11 scoreless innings. Both of those starts came against the Reds, so it's possible he regresses once he faces some tougher competition. He tentatively lines up for a tough test at home against the Cardinals on Friday, but he's at least a decent streaming option in deeper leagues in case he can maintain some production. FAAB: $1

Relief Pitcher

Clay Holmes, Yankees: Holmes' talent hasn't been a question early in 2022, as he's posted a 0.44 ERA and 0.74 WHIP with a 17 percent swinging-strike rate in 20.1 innings over 19 appearances this season. While serving mainly as the setup man for Aroldis Chapman, Holmes has converted all three save chances with four wins and seven holds. Chapman was once among the league's most dominant closers but has shown concerning signs this season. The southpaw has converted all nine save chances but has allowed four runs in 3.1 innings in his last four outings and has a 14.5 percent walk rate this year. Chapman's average fastball velocity is also down to 97.2 percent, which likely contributes to his decreased 24.2 percent strikeout rate. The Yankees have been loyal to Chapman, but he's in the final year of his contract and has been unreliable lately. Holmes has decent fantasy value in his current role, and that value will only grow if he takes on consistent ninth-inning work. FAAB: $8

Alexis Diaz, Reds: Diaz has been effective out of the Reds' bullpen, and he's been rewarded with some high-leverage work recently. He picked up his first career save Tuesday against the Guardians after recently earning a win and a hold. The right-hander has a 0.52 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 17.1 innings in 16 appearances to begin his major league career. Diaz also has a 16.9 percent swinging-strike rate this year. He should remain firmly in the mix for save duties while Lucas Sims is sidelined, and potentially beyond. FAAB: $6

Rowan Wick, Cubs: Although David Robertson returned from the COVID-19 injured list Wednesday, the Cubs' use of Wick in the last week signals that he's the clear choice for save chances if Robertson is unavailable. Wick created some traffic on the basepaths while serving as the interim closer, but he converted all three of his save chances and now has a 1.23 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 14.2 innings. He should return to a setup role now that Robertson is healthy but could still see the occasional save chance. FAAB: $3

Adam Cimber, Blue Jays: Since Jordan Romano has been dealing with a gastrointestinal issue recently, Cimber has had a chance to operate as the Blue Jays' interim closer. Cimber has converted saves in his last two appearances and has now converted three of five save opportunities in 2022. While Romano has been among the top closers in baseball when he's fully healthy, Cimber has proven to be a solid setup man and a top option to step in if Romano is unavailable. FAAB: $2

Catcher

Gary Sanchez, Twins: Sanchez had inconsistent production for the Twins early in the year but is in the midst of a power surge. He's started in the last six games and has slashed .348/.413/.913 with three homers, four doubles, eight RBIs and four runs during that time. The 29-year-old has split time with Ryan Jeffers behind the dish, but Sanchez's strong play should earn him increased at-bats as the designated hitter. Sanchez has a 46.3 percent hard-hit rate while lowering his groundball rate to 29.9 percent. His strikeout rate is fairly high at 29.7 percent, but he should continue to see relatively consistent playing time as long as he maintains his power. FAAB: $4

MJ Melendez, Royals: Melendez had inconsistent playing time early in his stint with the major league club, but he should serve as the Royals' primary catcher while Salvador Perez is on the injured list with a thumb injury. Melendez has started the last three games and has hits in all three. The 23-year-old has also homered in the last two matchups, marking his first two big-league homers after going yard 41 times in the minors last year. If Melendez continues to perform well while serving as the primary catcher, he'll likely be in the mix for increased playing time in the long run. FAAB: $3

First Base

Christian Walker, Diamondbacks: Walker struggled with his batting average early in the season, but he has six multi-hit performances in the last 12 games. During that time, the 31-year-old  batted .341/.438/.634 with three home runs, three doubles, seven RBIs and six runs. Walker hit just 10 home runs in 115 games last year, but he already has nine in 38 games this year. He's been the consistent cleanup hitter for the Diamondbacks and has shown that he still has plenty of power potential. FAAB: $6

Second Base

Brendan Rodgers, Rockies: Rodgers missed two games with a hand injury last week but has recorded hits in six consecutive games since returning to the field. During that time, he's hit .423 with a homer, four doubles, eight RBIs and five runs. Like Walker, Rodgers' batting average has lagged. However, Rodgers has swung a hot bat recently and has the advantage of playing his home games at Coors Field. His 52.4 percent groundball rate ranks fifth among second basemen, but he's shown an increased ability to produce runs recently. FAAB: $5

Third Base

Mike Moustakas, Reds: Moustakas had a slow start to the season but has turned things around since the beginning of May. In 14 appearances this month, the 33-year-old has hit .306 with three home runs, five doubles, 10 runs and eight RBIs. His 25.4 percent hard-hit rate in 2022 leaves something to be desired, but he's certainly hit the ball better since the start of May. Moustakas should maintain consistent playing time for the rebuilding Reds, and he's been a strong source of run production recently. FAAB: $4

Shortstop

Andres Gimenez, Guardians: Gimenez is one of the more consistently rostered players in this week's column, but he warrants some consideration in leagues where he's still available. The 23-year-old started 14 of the last 15 games, hitting .333 with three home runs, six doubles, 14 RBIs, 10 runs and two stolen bases. Gimenez has never been known as a significant source of power, but his 12 extra-base hits in 31 games this year are on pace to eclipse his 15 extra-base hits in 68 games in 2021. The middle infielder is also a decent source of speed, as he swiped 11 bags last year and already has three steals this season. Gimenez hasn't hit higher than sixth in the batting order but has still been a fairly well-rounded contributor for the Guardians this season. FAAB: $6

Brendan Donovan, Cardinals: Donovan has started eight of the last nine games, recording a .594 on-base percentage with a homer, four doubles, seven runs, four RBIs and a stolen base. The 25-year-old has played second base, third base and shortstop while the Cardinals deal with injuries in their infield. However, Donovan likely will have a chance to carve out a fairly consistent role at shortstop since Edmundo Sosa has started slowly. Donovan has performed relatively well early in his major league career and has some fantasy value, particularly in deeper leagues. FAAB: $2

Outfield

Josh Naylor, Guardians: Naylor has missed the last week while on the COVID-19 injured list, but he could return to action Friday. The 24-year-old was swinging a hot bat prior to his absence, as he hit .389 with four homers, two doubles, 17 RBI and six runs over his last 10 games. He has a strong 13 percent strikeout rate and is worth picking up for fantasy managers who may have waited during his IL stint. FAAB: $6

Kole Calhoun, Rangers: Calhoun has four multi-hit performances in his last six games with seven extra-base hits. Over those six matchups, the 34-year-old has hit .500 with four homers, a triple, two doubles, eight RBI and seven runs. Calhoun had a slow start to 2022 but has maintained relatively consistent time and at least presents a decent streaming option while he's swinging a hot bat. FAAB: $5

Tyler Naquin, Reds: Naquin's batting average dropped to .197 on May 8, the first time it had been lower than .200 since the third game of the season. However, he has five multi-hit performances in eight games since and has hit .414 with a homer, a triple, four doubles, seven RBIs, five runs and two stolen bases during that time. After hitting mainly near the top of the order early in the season, the 31-year-old has found more success while hitting lower in the lineup. He homered 19 times during his first year in Cincinnati last season and has produced plenty of runs in the last week. FAAB: $4

Eli White, Rangers: White has started 10 of the last 11 games, hitting just .212 but with five steals. The 27-year-old stole just five bases in 83 games in his first two seasons in the majors but has had the green light to run more often recently. While it's not yet clear whether that trend will continue, White at least presents a streaming option for fantasy teams in deeper leagues that are desperate for speed. FAAB: $2

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Shebilske
Jason joined RotoWire in 2019 as his first position covering fantasy sports. In addition to RotoWire, he writes for Sports Broadcast Journal.
Weekly Hitter Rankings: Guardians of the AL Central
Weekly Hitter Rankings: Guardians of the AL Central
Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Ray Bringing the Heat
Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Ray Bringing the Heat
MLB Best Bets Today: Free MLB Picks and Same Game Parlays for Saturday, June 25
MLB Best Bets Today: Free MLB Picks and Same Game Parlays for Saturday, June 25
DraftKings MLB: Saturday Breakdown
DraftKings MLB: Saturday Breakdown