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.

While widely available closing options have been hard to come by this week, there are a few pitchers who have seen an uptick in saves recently in addition to the abundance of starting pitchers and position players to consider, including several highly-touted prospects.

Starting Pitcher

Tyler Anderson, Dodgers: Anderson struggled against the Phillies on May 12, but he's bounced back by allowing just two runs while striking out 15 in 15 innings over his last two starts. The southpaw has limited the opposition to two or fewer runs in all but one of his eight appearances (six starts) this year, and his 24.1 percent strikeout rate has been the highest of his career. Anderson has been a crucial factor in the Dodgers' banged-up rotation, and he's developed into a strong fantasy option for as long as he can maintain his starting role. FAAB: $6

Roansy Contreras, Pirates: Contreras made three relief appearances for the Pirates in April, but he was sent down to work as a starter at Triple-A Indianapolis. The right-hander rejoined the major league club early this week and struck out five in five scoreless innings against the Rockies on

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.

While widely available closing options have been hard to come by this week, there are a few pitchers who have seen an uptick in saves recently in addition to the abundance of starting pitchers and position players to consider, including several highly-touted prospects.

Starting Pitcher

Tyler Anderson, Dodgers: Anderson struggled against the Phillies on May 12, but he's bounced back by allowing just two runs while striking out 15 in 15 innings over his last two starts. The southpaw has limited the opposition to two or fewer runs in all but one of his eight appearances (six starts) this year, and his 24.1 percent strikeout rate has been the highest of his career. Anderson has been a crucial factor in the Dodgers' banged-up rotation, and he's developed into a strong fantasy option for as long as he can maintain his starting role. FAAB: $6

Roansy Contreras, Pirates: Contreras made three relief appearances for the Pirates in April, but he was sent down to work as a starter at Triple-A Indianapolis. The right-hander rejoined the major league club early this week and struck out five in five scoreless innings against the Rockies on Tuesday. Contreras' success in his first start of the season came at home against a favorable opponent, but he's slated to make at least one more start and should have a chance to earn a consistent spot in the rotation since Bryse Wilson struggled prior to being sent down. FAAB: $6

Johnny Cueto, White Sox: Cueto's contract was selected by the White Sox last week, and he's posted quality starts in his first two outings with his new club. The right-hander has struck out 12 in 12 scoreless innings, and he lines up for a favorable matchup against the Cubs at home this weekend. Cueto had lackluster results during his final three seasons in San Francisco and doesn't have a particularly high-velocity fastball, but he's found success early in his time with the White Sox. FAAB: $5

Aaron Ashby, Brewers: Ashby has worked mainly out of the bullpen early in the season, but he rejoined the rotation Wednesday against the Padres after Freddy Peralta was placed on the injured list with a lat strain. Ashby settled for a no-decision against San Diego on Wednesday, but he threw 91 pitches (59 strikes) while allowing just one unearned run in 5.2 innings. It seems likely that the southpaw will maintain a starting role while Peralta is sidelined, so he's an intriguing fantasy option, at least as a short-term consideration. FAAB: $3

Justin Steele, Cubs: Steele had a strong start to the season but was charged with four consecutive losses between late April and early May. However, the 26-year-old has turned things around recently, giving up two runs (one earned) while striking out 19 in 11 innings in two starts against the Diamondbacks. While Steele was forced to settle for no-decisions in each outing, it was encouraging to see him with a high strikeout rate while limiting run production, albeit against a favorable opponent. The southpaw has another favorable matchup against the Reds on Thursday and has regained some fantasy relevance with his recent production. FAAB: $3

Jeffrey Springs, Rays: The Rays' starting pitchers have dealt with various injuries this year, and Springs took on a rotation role in early May after Josh Fleming was sent down. After finding success as a reliever early in the year, Springs has posted a 1.88 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 14.1 innings in his last three starts. The southpaw has a tough matchup against the Yankees this weekend, but he has a strong 27.0 percent strikeout rate this year and presents a decent fantasy option as long as he remains in the rotation. FAAB: $2

Relief Pitcher

Jhoan Duran, Twins: Duran's talent has drawn plenty of fantasy attention early in the season, but he's split save chances with Emilio Pagan. However, Duran has converted save opportunities in his last two outings, while Pagan was charged with his second blown save of the season during Wednesday's loss to the Tigers. Pagan has now given up two runs in four innings in his last three appearances, while Duran has struck out 12 in 8.2 scoreless innings in his last seven outings. Even if Pagan continues to see some ninth-inning work, Duran seems to be a more preferable option given his recent results. FAAB: $6

Paul Sewald, Mariners: The Mariners have utilized a closer-by-committee approach most of the season, but Sewald has been part of the mix recently. He picked up his first save of the season May 10 and earned another May 23. The right-hander has seen more setup duties early in the season, as he has three holds in 16 appearances this year, but he has a strong 2.81 ERA and 0.63 WHIP in 16 innings. Sewald picked up 11 saves last year and has seemed to pitch his way into high-leverage work once again in 2022. FAAB: $3

Art Warren, Reds: The Reds haven't been a team that's earned many saves early in the season, and it doesn't help matters that they've used a committee-based approach in the ninth inning. Warren has a 5.74 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 15.2 innings in 17 appearances this year, but he's been rewarded with a save and a hold over his last two outings. The right-hander has been much less effective in 2022 than he was last year, but he has a 2.08 ERA over his last eight appearances and at least presents a relief option in deeper leagues. FAAB: $2

Catcher

Adley Rutschman, Orioles: Rutschman is rostered in most leagues already, as it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he'd be called up early in 2022. However, in leagues where he might still be available, he's at least worth including. It's rare to see a catching prospect of Rutschman's skill level come along, and he has strong fantasy potential right away. Although the 24-year-old has just one extra-base hit in his first five major-league games, he has plenty of potential and should be rostered if he isn't already. Similar to Erik Siegrist's Sunday AL FAAB Factor column, I won't include a FAAB recommendation, but don't hesitate to spend plenty of it in leagues where he's still available.

Mitch Garver, Rangers: Garver has been limited to serving as the designated hitter since returning from the injured list, but that hasn't slowed his production at the plate. He's riding a five-game hitting streak and has homered in each of the last three matchups. Over six games since returning, the 31-year-old has hit .273 with three home runs, a double, four runs and four RBIs. Health has been one of Garver's main concerns in recent years, but he has plenty of talent if he can remain on the field. FAAB: $5

William Contreras, Atlanta: Contreras had some trouble finding consistent playing time shortly after his call-up, but he's showcased plenty of power and has started in four of the last five matchups. Over 13 games this year, the 24-year-old has hit .273 with seven homers, 12 runs, 11 RBIs and a stolen base. It seems unlikely that those results are sustainable since he went yard just eight times in 53 games last year, but Contreras has earned more playing time recently and warrants fantasy consideration while he's swinging a hot bat. FAAB: $2

First Base

Luis Arraez, Twins: Arraez has hit near the top of the Twins' talented lineup this season, and he's had little trouble crossing the plate recently. The 25-year-old has five multi-hit performances in the last seven games, and he's hit .481 with two doubles, 10 runs, four RBIs and a stolen base during that time. His multi-position eligibility makes him even more appealing from a fantasy perspective. Arraez has never been a major power threat, but he's hitting .347 this season and should remain a consistent source of runs. FAAB: $8

Frank Schwindel, Cubs: Schwindel had a strong showing in 2021, as he hit .326 with 14 homers, 44 runs and 43 RBIs over 64 games between the Athletics and Cubs. The 29-year-old got off to a slower start at the plate this year, but he's gone 5-for-19 with four homers, six runs and five RBIs in the last five games. Schwindel has been an everyday player for the Cubs the last two weeks, and he's rediscovered his power stroke while reaching base more consistently. FAAB: $5

Second Base

Nolan Gorman, Cardinals: Gorman was included in the discussion section of last week's column, but it's worth including him in this week's column since the Cardinals have followed through on their promise to give him consistent playing time at second base, at least against right-handed pitchers. The team has moved him around the lineup, but he's gone 5-for-17 with two doubles, four runs and an RBI in his first five major-league games. While the 22-year-old has gone hitless with a walk and four strikeouts over his last seven at-bats, better days are likely ahead for the highly touted prospect after he homered 15 times over 34 games at Triple-A Memphis to begin the year. FAAB: $13

Third Base

Patrick Wisdom, Cubs: Wisdom led the Cubs with 28 home runs last year, and he leads the team with 10 long balls over his first 40 games in 2022. The 30-year-old bolstered his lead this week with a stretch of four consecutive games in which he homered. Wisdom's .223 batting average leaves something to be desired, but he has 26 runs and 23 RBI to complement his 10 home runs this year. He has a 43.8 percent hard-hit rate and should continue to provide plenty of power. FAAB: $6

Shortstop

Josh Rojas, Diamondbacks: Rojas failed to go yard in his first 13 games of the season, but he had a three-homer performance against the Cubs last Friday. The 27-year-old started Saturday's game but was removed with a bruised left hand and hasn't played since. In spite of his recent absence, Rojas showed promise in his first 15 games in 2022, as he hit .283 with three homers, 10 runs, seven RBIs and three stolen bases. He's never been a major power threat, but he has fantasy eligibility at multiple positions and is a decent source of ratios, run production and speed. FAAB: $4

Outfield

Max Kepler, Twins: Kepler has hit mainly near the heart of the Twins' order this year, but he's still logged plenty of runs recently. The 27-year-old has crossed the plate in six of the last seven games and has slashed .217/.387/.391 with a home run, a double, eight runs, seven RBIs and a stolen base during that time. Kepler's fantasy value is propped up in leagues that score using on-base percentage given his 13.4 percent walk rate, and he also has six homers, 22 RBIs, 20 runs and two stolen bases in 42 games in 2022. FAAB: $6

Joc Pederson, Giants: After performing well in April, Pederson went through a slump early in May in which he hit just .051 with a homer, four RBIs and two runs in 14 games to begin the month. His lack of production at the plate led to him being dropped in many fantasy leagues. However, Pederson has generated better results recently, going 7-for-14 with four home runs, a double, 10 RBIs and four runs in the last five games. The Giants have been strict about using the 30-year-old in the strong side of a platoon this year, but it's been encouraging to see his recent surge at the plate. FAAB: $5

Enrique Hernandez, Red Sox: Hernandez hasn't reached base consistently early in 2022, but he's maintained an everyday role at the top of Boston's order recently. The 30-year-old has generated some production at the plate in recent weeks, as he's reached base safely in 12 consecutive games while slashing .288/.356/.462 with a homer, six doubles, 10 runs and seven RBIs during that time. Hernandez is hitting just .201 to begin the season, but he has 23 runs and 19 RBIs in 40 games. FAAB: $4

David Peralta, Diamondbacks: Peralta is an outfielder who is widely available in fantasy leagues, and he's displayed decent power early in 2022. He's tallied hits in six of the last seven games while slashing .375/.444/.792 with three home runs, a double, seven RBIs and four runs during that time. The 34-year-old has hit just .233 over 41 games to begin the year, but he's already homered eight times, matching his total from 2021. Peralta has just 20 RBI and 12 runs this year, but he hits plenty of balls in the air, and his early season power surge at least makes him worth considering in deeper fantasy leagues. FAAB: $2

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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.
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