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.

Several big-name prospects finally got the call to the majors over the last week and warrant significant FAAB bids, since they could be in the big leagues for good. In addition to the young stars, there are plenty of veterans who have made an impact recently and present strong fantasy value.

Starting Pitcher

Jon Gray, Rangers: Gray struggled over a stretch of five starts in late May and early June, but he's been much more effective over his last three outings. He posted a 1.45 ERA, 21:4 K:BB and 0.86 WHIP in 18.2 innings over those three starts, picking up wins in his last two appearances. The 30-year-old's average fastball velocity has ticked up to 95.6 mph this year, which has helped contribute to an increased 25.5 percent strikeout rate. Gray has been a reliable fantasy option recently in spite of his struggles earlier in the year. FAAB: $8

Keegan Thompson, Cubs: Thompson's fantasy value declined over the first half of June, as he posted a 13.00 ERA and 2.22 WHIP in nine innings over his first three starts this month. However, he's turned things around recently by recording a 0.75 ERA

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.

Several big-name prospects finally got the call to the majors over the last week and warrant significant FAAB bids, since they could be in the big leagues for good. In addition to the young stars, there are plenty of veterans who have made an impact recently and present strong fantasy value.

Starting Pitcher

Jon Gray, Rangers: Gray struggled over a stretch of five starts in late May and early June, but he's been much more effective over his last three outings. He posted a 1.45 ERA, 21:4 K:BB and 0.86 WHIP in 18.2 innings over those three starts, picking up wins in his last two appearances. The 30-year-old's average fastball velocity has ticked up to 95.6 mph this year, which has helped contribute to an increased 25.5 percent strikeout rate. Gray has been a reliable fantasy option recently in spite of his struggles earlier in the year. FAAB: $8

Keegan Thompson, Cubs: Thompson's fantasy value declined over the first half of June, as he posted a 13.00 ERA and 2.22 WHIP in nine innings over his first three starts this month. However, he's turned things around recently by recording a 0.75 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in 12 innings over his last two starts. The 27-year-old has been largely effective as a starter outside of his early-June struggles and certainly warrants fantasy consideration. FAAB: $7

Tyler Wells, Orioles: Wells has picked up wins in four of his last five outings and has recorded three quality starts during that time. The right-hander posted a 2.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 27 innings over those five starts, and he's allowed over three runs in a start just once this season. Wells had a 29.0 percent strikeout rate while pitching out of the bullpen last year, but that mark has decreased to 15.3 percent over his first 14 starts in 2022. In spite of his decreased strikeout rate, he's been effective at producing wins and strong ratios. FAAB: $5

Merrill Kelly, Diamondbacks: Kelly has displayed some inconsistency recently, as he gave up five runs in six innings against the Reds on June 13. He's been relatively effective otherwise, however, picking up three wins in his four starts since the beginning of the month. Over those four starts, the 33-year-old has posted a 3.00 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 24 innings. Kelly's 9.7 percent swinging-strike rate this year means he's hardly dominating hitters, but he's been productive more often than not since the start of June. FAAB: $4

Relief Pitcher

Brad Hand, Phillies: When interim manager Rob Thomson announced last week that the Phillies would shift to a closer-by-committee approach, Seranthony Dominguez was my preferred fantasy pickup since he's been the more dominant pitcher in most categories this year. However, Hand was called upon for the first two save chances following Thomson's announcement. Dominguez picked up a save June 18 after Hand blew his second save chance, but it seems as though the Phillies prefer to roll with Hand's experience in the ninth inning over Dominguez's recent results. Hand's 23.3 percent strikeout rate in 2022 lags behind Dominguez's 34.3 percent mark, but Hand seems to be the best option for save chances at this point. FAAB: $11

Colin Poche, Rays: Although Poche has given up three runs in 1.2 innings over his last two appearances, he appears to be the Rays' preferred closer at this point. The southpaw has picked up two saves over his last three outings and has filled the role vacated by Andrew Kittredge, who underwent Tommy John surgery. Poche's 20.7 percent strikeout rate is lower than that of most of the elite closers in baseball, but he seems to have the trust of manager Kevin Cash in the ninth inning for now. FAAB: $6

Daniel Hudson, Dodgers: Hudson has been used as a setup man when Craig Kimbrel has been available this year, but Kimbrel has struggled over the last month, posting a 6.30 ERA and 1.90 WHIP in 10 innings over his last 10 appearances. Manager Dave Roberts recently reiterated that Kimbrel is the team's closer, but it's possible that Hudson sees some more save opportunities if Kimbrel's struggles continue. Hudson has been a much more reliable option in recent weeks, as he has a 1.35 ERA and 0.67 WHIP in 13.1 innings over his last 13 appearances. Hudson should help to improve ratios and is a worthwhile stash in case he steps into a closing role at some point. FAAB: $3

John Schreiber, Red Sox: While Tanner Houck has been Boston's primary closer recently, Schreiber picked up his second save of the season Tuesday against the Tigers. His fantasy value outside of leagues that score using Saves + Holds is somewhat limited, but the right-hander has a solid 0.84 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in 21.1 innings. Houck won't be able to travel with the team when the Red Sox face the Blue Jays in Toronto next week, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Schreiber with the majority of save chances during that series. Since Houck is a versatile pitcher, it's also possible that Schreiber will see more consistent save opportunities at some point if the Red Sox choose to use Houck in another capacity. FAAB: $3

Catcher

Jorge Alfaro, Padres: Alfaro has had more consistent playing time behind the dish recently and has responded well, slashing .375/.412/.781 with three homers, four doubles, six runs and six RBI over his last eight games. The 29-year-old has a 32.6 percent strikeout rate this year, which is cause for some concern, but his recent power surge has certainly helped to alleviate those worries. Even if Alfaro loses out on some playing time once his bat cools down, he at least presents a decent short-term fantasy option with some upside. FAAB: $3

First Base

Josh Naylor, Guardians: Another player in the midst of a power surge is Naylor, who has racked up extra-base hits in six of his last seven games. During that time, he's slashed .370/.419/.704 with a homer, six doubles, six RBI, three runs and a stolen base. The 25-year-old has already matched his career high with eight home runs, and his .850 OPS is also the best mark of his career. Naylor has had consistent playing time in 2022 and has been a much more reliable fantasy contributor than he was in past seasons. FAAB: $8

Alex Kirilloff, Twins: While Kirilloff hasn't been able to generate much production at the major-league level early in his career, he was dominant at Triple-A St. Paul earlier in the year, posting a 1.106 OPS with 10 homers, 33 runs and 32 RBI over 35 games with the club. The 24-year-old was called up by Minnesota last week and has gone 5-for-17 with three doubles, five RBI and three runs over his five games since rejoining the major-league club. Kirilloff should maintain relatively consistent playing time at first base while Jorge Polanco is on the injured list, and it's possible that he remains with the major-league club once Polanco returns to action. FAAB: $7

Second Base

Nolan Gorman, Cardinals: Gorman has been used mainly in the strong side of a platoon this season, but he drew his first start against a left-handed pitcher Wednesday after he homered twice during Tuesday's win over Milwaukee. The 22-year-old has moved down in the batting order recently after serving as the team's No. 2 hitter early this month. However, he's been a solid source of run production since moving down in the order, as he's hit .296 with three homers, a double, seven RBI and four runs over the last eight games. FAAB: $6

Josh Harrison, White Sox: Danny Mendick was initially slated to be included in this week's column, but it's not yet clear how long he'll be sidelined due to his knee injury. The White Sox have another productive infielder in Harrison, who should have even more consistent at-bats if Mendick misses time. Harrison has recorded hits in six of the last seven games and has hit .370 with a homer, four runs and four RBI during that time. The 34-year-old doesn't have much power potential but has some fantasy potential due to his strong ratios. FAAB: $4

Third Base

Jonathan Villar, Cubs: Villar has had consistent playing time since returning from a mouth injury, and he's generated some modest production over the last week. The 31-year-old has slashed .280/.357/.480 with two triples, a double, five runs, three RBI and a stolen base over his last eight games. Although Villar has homered just twice over 45 games this year, he's recorded double-digit home runs in each of the last five full seasons while showcasing plenty of speed. It's possible that Villar loses out on some playing time once Nick Madrigal (groin) is cleared to return, but he's been a solid fantasy contributor recently. FAAB: $5

Isaac Paredes, Rays: Paredes has had somewhat inconsistent playing time since joining the Rays in early May, and his .211 batting average leaves something to be desired. However, he's homered four times over the last two games and now has nine home runs over 32 major-league games this year. The 23-year-old has been a utility man in the big leagues this season, and it's possible that he returns to the minors once some of the Rays' position players return to full health, but Paredes at least presents a decent short-term fantasy option in deeper leagues while he's swinging a hot bat. FAAB: $2

Shortstop

Oneil Cruz, Pirates: Cruz is included in the column for a second consecutive week after he was officially recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. The 23-year-old has had plenty of production since getting the call, as he went 3-for-14 with a double, six RBI, three runs and a stolen base over the last three games. Cruz has plenty of big-league potential after he slashed .259/.370/.500 with 14 homers, 51 runs, 42 RBI and 12 stolen bases over 61 Triple-A games across the last two seasons, and he's already produced plenty of runs early in his time with the Pirates. FAAB: $30

Outfield

Riley Greene, Tigers: Greene is another prized prospect who recently made his major-league debut, and he's recorded hits in four of his first five games with the Tigers while going 6-for-16 with four runs, five walks and three strikeouts during that time. The 21-year-old appeared in 55 games at Triple-A Toledo over the last two seasons, slashing .299/.383/.507 with nine homers, 46 runs, 36 RBI and seven stolen bases. While it's possible that Greene faces some growing pains at some point, he should have consistent playing time and has the tools to make a fantasy impact. FAAB: $35

AJ Pollock, White Sox: Pollock has had a knack for reaching base and crossing the plate recently. He has eight multi-hit performances over the last 13 games and has slashed .350/.391/.500 with a homer, a triple, four doubles, 11 runs and 10 RBI during that time. After serving as the team's leadoff man last week, Pollock has moved to the heart of the order over his last four starts. The 34-year-old's four home runs over his first 51 games in 2022 are below the pace he had when he averaged 17.4 home runs per season over the last five years, but he's still been a strong contributor in several areas. FAAB: $8

Anthony Santander, Orioles: Santander was unavailable during the Orioles' road trip to Toronto, but he's been productive since returning to the field. Over his five games since being activated off the restricted list, the 27-year-old has gone 6-for-18 with two homers, three runs and three RBI. Santander's .782 OPS in 2022 would be the second-best mark of his career if the season ended today, and he has 13 home runs in 64 games this year. He's hit consistently in the top half of the Orioles' batting order and has been especially productive recently. FAAB: $7

Jack Suwinski, Pirates: Suwinski has been productive since the start of the week, going 4-for-11 with three homers, a double, seven runs and three RBI over the last four games. The 23-year-old has had consistent at-bats during his rookie season, tallying 11 home runs over 50 games thus far. His production has been somewhat streaky, as displayed by the fact that he hit just .115 with 13 strikeouts over the nine games leading up to his recent hot stretch. In spite of his cold spells, Suwinski has enough bursts of production to warrant some fantasy consideration. FAAB: $4

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