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.

Now that he's in the majors, Vinnie Pasquantino should serve as the Royals' primary first baseman after they traded Carlos Santana. He warrants considerable FAAB bids in spite of his slow start to his major-league career. There are also plenty of more proven big-league contributors who have been especially productive in recent weeks.

Starting Pitcher

Josiah Gray, Nationals: Gray has become more widely-rostered in recent weeks, but he's worth picking up in leagues where he's still available. After showing signs of inconsistency early in the season, the right-hander has been consistently productive over his last five starts, posting a 1.24 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 29 innings during that time. Gray lasted at least six innings in just three of those starts and picked up just two wins across that span, but while he has less potential for wins than some pitchers, he's been a strong contributor in ratios and strikeouts recently. FAAB: $10

Keegan Thompson, Cubs: Thompson has had relatively strong ratios since joining the Cubs' starting rotation, and his strikeout rate has also improved in recent starts. The right-hander has lasted at least six innings in each of his

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.

Now that he's in the majors, Vinnie Pasquantino should serve as the Royals' primary first baseman after they traded Carlos Santana. He warrants considerable FAAB bids in spite of his slow start to his major-league career. There are also plenty of more proven big-league contributors who have been especially productive in recent weeks.

Starting Pitcher

Josiah Gray, Nationals: Gray has become more widely-rostered in recent weeks, but he's worth picking up in leagues where he's still available. After showing signs of inconsistency early in the season, the right-hander has been consistently productive over his last five starts, posting a 1.24 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 29 innings during that time. Gray lasted at least six innings in just three of those starts and picked up just two wins across that span, but while he has less potential for wins than some pitchers, he's been a strong contributor in ratios and strikeouts recently. FAAB: $10

Keegan Thompson, Cubs: Thompson has had relatively strong ratios since joining the Cubs' starting rotation, and his strikeout rate has also improved in recent starts. The right-hander has lasted at least six innings in each of his last three starts, posting a 2.45 ERA, 24:3 K:BB and 0.93 WHIP in 18.1 innings during that time. In spite of the inconsistency that Thompson displayed in early June, he's settled down recently and increased his fantasy value, especially in the strikeout department. FAAB: $7

Dean Kremer, Orioles: Kremer posted a 7.55 ERA over 13 starts in the majors last year, but he's been more effective early in his time with the Orioles in 2022. He gave up five runs (four earned) in 9.1 innings over his first two starts of the season but has tossed 18.2 scoreless frames over his three outings since then. The right-hander's 17.1 percent strikeout rate leaves something to be desired, but he's had strong ratios since returning from his oblique injury. FAAB: $5

Chris Archer, Twins: After a rough finish to May, Archer has settled down in June and has been consistently productive over his last five starts. Over those five outings, he's posted a 1.57 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 23 innings. The right-hander had a strikeout rate above 25 percent in each of the last five seasons, but that mark has dropped to 18.6 percent over the first three months of the 2022 campaign. Despite that lack of strikeouts, Archer has been a solid source for ratios recently. FAAB: $4

Devin Smeltzer, Twins: Smeltzer posted a 6.91 ERA over his first three starts in June but has strung together back-to-back quality starts against the Guardians in which he allowed just one run while striking out 12 in 12 innings. The southpaw struck out a season-high nine batters during his most recent start, but his 15.8 percent strikeout rate still leaves something to be desired. Although he showed some inconsistency early in June, Smeltzer at least presents a decent short-term fantasy option until the Twins' rotation gets healthier. FAAB: $2

Jackson Tetreault, Nationals: Another short-term option who is likely available in deeper leagues is Tetreault, who struggled in his major-league debut but has posted a 0.69 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 13 innings over his last two starts. The right-hander hasn't struck out more than four batters in any outing, but he's picked up wins in his last two starts due to his ability to limit runs. It's possible that the 26-year-old loses his rotation spot once some of the Nationals' starters return to full health, but he's had strong ratios recently. FAAB: $2

Relief Pitcher

Paul Sewald, Mariners: The Mariners' closing situation has been fluid this year, but Sewald has emerged as the team's preferred option for ninth-inning duties over the last week. He's struck out five in 4.1 scoreless innings over his last five outings and has picked up saves in each of his last three appearances. Although Diego Castillo converted all four of his save chances earlier in the season, Sewald leads the Mariners with seven saves and has seemingly reclaimed the closer job. FAAB: $8

A.J. Minter/Will Smith, Atlanta: Atlanta has one of the strongest late-inning tandems in baseball, but Kenley Jansen is currently sidelined with an irregular heartbeat. The team is hopeful that Jansen will be back following a brief IL stint, but for now it's Smith and Minter who have split the first two save chances in Jansen's absence. Smith is the more proven closing option, as he earned 30-plus saves in each of the last two full seasons. He's converted three of six save chances over the first three months of the 2022 campaign but has a 3.30 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 30 innings over 33 appearances. Minter has been the more effective option for ratios and strikeouts, as he has a 1.64 ERA, 44:5 K:BB and 0.79 WHIP in 33 innings over 35 appearances while earning 16 holds. It's worth noting that Minter earned the first save in Jansen's absence, but it's not yet clear whether he'll be the preferred option over the next few weeks. Minter FAAB: $7; Smith FAAB: $6

Lou Trivino, Athletics: Trivino earned 22 saves last season, but Dany Jimenez has served as the Athletics' primary closer over the first few months of this year. However, Trivino has taken on more ninth-inning work recently since Jimenez has been sidelined with a shoulder injury. Jimenez is expected to start throwing soon, but it's not yet clear when he'll be able to return. Trivino has a 7.17 ERA this season but owns a strong 31.1 percent strikeout rate and has tossed 4.2 scoreless innings over his last four appearances. If he pitches well while filling in as Oakland's closer, it's possible he retains the job after Jimenez is cleared to return. FAAB: $4

Hunter Strickland, Reds: The Reds' closing situation has been one of the most fluid in baseball this season, but Strickland has been the team's clear ninth-inning man recently while several other high-leverage options have been sidelined. Alexis Diaz could return as early as this weekend, but it's possible that Strickland continues to see some closing chances since he's struck out five in 4.2 scoreless innings over his last five appearances en route to three saves. Although the right-hander's long-term outlook is somewhat murky, he's worth a flier in deeper leagues for teams desperate for saves. FAAB: $2

Catcher

Christian Vazquez, Red Sox: Vazquez has been Boston's clear primary catcher this season, and he's been especially effective over the last week and a half. The 31-year-old has six multi-hit performances in his last 10 games, slashing .424/.459/.758 with two homers, five doubles, seven runs and seven RBI during that time. That recent run combined with Vazquez's job security make him a strong option at the position. FAAB: $6

Eric Haase, Tigers: Although Haase hasn't had as consistent playing time as Vazquez, the Tigers' backstop has been a strong contributor recently. Over his last eight games, Haase has slashed .296/.321/.667 with three home runs, a double, nine RBI and seven runs. The 29-year-old has a lackluster .215 batting average on the season with a hard-hit rate of just 35.6 percent, but he's a decent short-term catching option who's more widely available than Vazquez. FAAB: $2

First Base

Vinnie Pasquantino, Royals: Pasquantino slashed .280/.372/.576 with 18 homers, 67 RBI, 51 runs and three stolen bases over 69 games at Triple-A Omaha to begin the season, and he finally got the call to the majors this week. The 24-year-old has yet to record his first big-league hit, but the Royals gave him a vote of confidence as their primary first baseman when they traded Carlos Santana to the Mariners. Following a strong performance in the minors, Pasquantino should have plenty of chances to make an impact in Kansas City. FAAB: $22

Nathaniel Lowe, Rangers: Lowe is a more proven player at the major-league level and has had little trouble reaching base recently. He's posted three multi-hit performances over his last eight games and has slashed .310/.394/.552 with two homers, a double, five RBI and four runs during that time. The 26-year-old is the Rangers' everyday first baseman and has been a well-rounded fantasy contributor. FAAB: $7

Alfonso Rivas, Cubs: The Cubs have faced a slew of right-handed pitchers recently, so Rivas has had consistent playing time over the last several weeks. The 25-year-old has been especially productive over the last week, slashing .304/.346/.435 with a homer, nine RBI, four runs and two stolen bases. Although his season-long .225 average and three home runs are somewhat lackluster, the 25-year-old is a worthwhile consideration for deeper fantasy formats. FAAB: $2

Second Base

Isaac Paredes, Rays: Paredes made last week's column following his three-homer game, and he's drawn starts in four of the five matchups since then. Over those five games, the 23-year-old had a pair of three-hit performances and went 7-for-17 with two homers, two doubles and five RBI. Paredes has the ability to play throughout the infield, and he's continued to swing a hot bat over the last week. FAAB: $5

Nico Hoerner, Cubs: Hoerner has been an on-base machine over the last week, as he's in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak in which he's logged five multi-hit performances. During that time, he's slashed .538/.567/.731 with a homer, two doubles, seven RBI and five runs. The 25-year-old doesn't have as much run-producing upside as many other players since the Cubs are in full rebuild mode this year, but he's been a solid contact hitter over the first few months of the season. FAAB: $5

Third Base

Evan Longoria, Giants: Longoria has had his fair share of inconsistent play early this season, but he's swung a hot bat recently. He's crossed the plate in each of his last six games, slashing .474/.560/.947 with three homers, seven runs and six RBI. Although the 36-year-old has battled injuries over the first few months of the year, he seems to be fully healthy and has had a consistent role in the middle of the order over the last few weeks. FAAB: $6

Shortstop

Jorge Mateo, Orioles: Mateo is tied for second in the majors with 19 stolen bases this season. Although he hasn't stolen any bases over the last five games, he's displayed increased power over that stretch, posting a .963 OPS with two homers, a double and five runs. The 27-year-old is hitting just .199 with six homers this season, so it seems unlikely that his recent power and contact abilities will continue. However, even if he regresses to his usual level at the plate, he'll remain a reliable source of steals. FAAB: $5

Diego Castillo, Pirates: Castillo has fallen into a utility role for the Pirates after Oneil Cruz was called up last week, but he's hit for increased power when on the field over the last few weeks. Over his last nine games, the 24-year-old has hit just .200 but has five home runs, eight RBI and six runs. While the Pirates' position players have gotten healthier recently, Castillo has plenty of defensive versatility that should allow him to maintain relatively consistent playing time as long as he continues to swing a hot bat. FAAB: $2

Outfield

Juan Yepez, Cardinals: Yepez has been a strong contributor for the Cardinals since his major-league debut in early May, and he's showcased increased power recently. Over the last five games, the 24-year-old has gone 6-for-18 with three homers, three doubles, six RBI and three runs. Yepez has had consistent playing time in the heart of the Cardinals' lineup and should maintain an everyday role until Tyler O'Neill is cleared to return. FAAB: $7

Andrew McCutchen, Brewers: McCutchen has had regular playing time for the Brewers throughout the year and has recorded hits in six of his last seven games. He's slashed .296/.367/.667 with three homers, a double, seven RBI and five runs over that stretch. The 35-year-old has a season-long .368 slugging percentage that would be the worst of his career if the season ended today, but he's showcased increased power recently. FAAB: $5

Nick Senzel, Reds: Senzel isn't a reliable source of power, but he's made plenty of contact recently, hitting .550 with a double, five runs, four RBI and three stolen bases over his last six games. The 27-year-old has had multi-hit performances four times during that six-game hitting streak and produced a fair number of runs despite hitting eighth in all six contests. The 27-year-old is hitting just .244 with a homer, 22 runs, 12 RBI and five stolen bases this year but has been a solid option for ratios and speed recently. FAAB: $3

Rafael Ortega, Cubs: Ortega's playing time with the Cubs has been somewhat inconsistent this season, but he's started in nine of the last 12 games while having a prominent spot in the lineup. The 31-year-old has been especially productive over his last nine games, slashing .300/.371/.600 with two homers, three doubles, nine RBI, five runs and a stolen base over that stretch. His at-bats will likely decline once Seiya Suzuki and Frank Schwindel are back in action, but he at least presents well-rounded fantasy production on a short-term basis. FAAB: $3

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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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