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.

As June approaches, the fantasy landscape continues to change, and several players available in most leagues are worth considering, both as short-term and long-term options. A few National League relievers have seen increased save chances recently, while the Cubs' rotation will get a boost with Kyle Hendricks making his season debut Thursday against the Mets. As always, subscribers can utilize the Discussion section to ask league-specific questions.

Starting Pitcher

Braxton Garrett, Marlins: Garrett has been relatively effective early in 2023. However, his ERA and WHIP have been significantly impacted by a pair of rough starts to begin the month of May in which he allowed 15 runs in 9.2 innings. He's allowed just one run while striking out 16 in 11.1 innings over two outings since then but has been forced to settle for no-decisions. The southpaw projects to make his next start at Coors Field, a risky environment, but he has a decent strikeout rate and has had decent ratios outside of his pair of poor starts. FAAB: $6

Michael Kopech, White Sox: Kopech struggled during most of his starts in April, but he's had better results this month. Over five

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.

As June approaches, the fantasy landscape continues to change, and several players available in most leagues are worth considering, both as short-term and long-term options. A few National League relievers have seen increased save chances recently, while the Cubs' rotation will get a boost with Kyle Hendricks making his season debut Thursday against the Mets. As always, subscribers can utilize the Discussion section to ask league-specific questions.

Starting Pitcher

Braxton Garrett, Marlins: Garrett has been relatively effective early in 2023. However, his ERA and WHIP have been significantly impacted by a pair of rough starts to begin the month of May in which he allowed 15 runs in 9.2 innings. He's allowed just one run while striking out 16 in 11.1 innings over two outings since then but has been forced to settle for no-decisions. The southpaw projects to make his next start at Coors Field, a risky environment, but he has a decent strikeout rate and has had decent ratios outside of his pair of poor starts. FAAB: $6

Michael Kopech, White Sox: Kopech struggled during most of his starts in April, but he's had better results this month. Over five appearances in May, he's posted a 1.99 ERA, 33:13 K:BB and 0.82 WHIP in 31.2 innings while cruising to a 3-1 record. All three of his quality starts this month have come against lackluster AL Central clubs, but he should continue to see some favorable matchups as the season progresses, even with the league's new scheduling. Even if the right-hander deals with some inconsistency, he's had enough solid performances to warrant fantasy consideration. FAAB: $5

Kyle Hendricks, Cubs: Hendricks sustained a right shoulder strain in July 2022 and has been sidelined since then, but he recently completed a minor-league rehab assignment and will return to the big-league mound Thursday against the Mets. The right-hander is no longer the dominant pitch-to-contact starter he was earlier in his career, but he performed well in his final three rehab starts, posting a 1.69 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 16 innings. Those in deeper leagues could consider Hendricks in case his ratios bounce back compared to the past two seasons. FAAB: $5

Bobby Miller, Dodgers: Miller posted a 5.65 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 14.1 innings over four starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City to begin the year, but he made his major-league debut Tuesday against Atlanta and gave up just one run over five innings to earn the win. The 24-year-old is one of the Dodgers' top prospects and is filling in while Julio Urias is on the injured list with a hamstring issue. Urias hopes to return in early June, but Miller will likely get at least one more turn in the rotation. Miller's FAAB value would be higher if he were set to remain with the big-league club, but he still warrants some consideration for those looking for a short-term starter or for those in deeper leagues. FAAB: $3

Adrian Houser, Brewers: Houser had a delayed start to the season due to a groin injury, and he's hit his stride over his last two starts, tossing 11.1 scoreless innings against the Rays and Astros. While the righty was less effective over his first two starts of the year, it's been impressive to see him hold a pair of solid offenses in check recently. Houser has struck out just 14 batters over 20 innings in 2023, but he's a decent consideration for fantasy managers looking for help with ratios. FAAB: $2

Relief Pitcher

Kyle Finnegan, Nationals: Finnegan had some rough starts early this year that have impacted his ratios, but he's been the Nationals' primary closer and has had solid results since the start of May. Over nine appearances this month, he's converted five of six save chances while posting a 2.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in nine innings. The 31-year-old has a 97.0 mph average fastball velocity but isn't the most effective at forcing swings and misses, and his 42.6 percent groundball rate is the worst of his career. Even if Finnegan has been somewhat lucky to begin the year, he seems to have decent job security in the ninth inning due to Washington's lack of other options. FAAB: $7

Pierce Johnson, Rockies: Johnson has remained Colorado's primary closer over the past several weeks, and he's converted all seven of his save chances over his 10 appearances in May despite posting a 5.59 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in 9.2 innings. Pitchers for the Rockies usually carry some risk since they have to pitch their home games at Coors Field, but Johnson has still picked up plenty of saves, even with Daniel Bard back in action. Fantasy managers who can stomach Johnson's lackluster ratios will likely be rewarded with relatively consistent saves. FAAB: $5

Giovanny Gallegos, Cardinals: Ryan Helsley entered the season as the Cardinals' clear closing option and leads the team with six saves, but Gallegos has also worked his way into some closing situations recently. Over his last six appearances, he's converted all three of his save chances with two holds and has struck out six in 6.2 scoreless innings. Gallegos' 24.0 percent strikeout rate to begin the year is on pace to be the worst of his career, but he's cut down on free passes and has had stellar ratios early in 2023. Even if Helsley continues to see most of the save chances for St. Louis, Gallegos has earned some ninth-inning work. FAAB: $5

Mark Leiter, Cubs: Cubs pitchers have picked up just six saves this season, but Leiter is tied for the team lead with two, most recently tossing a perfect ninth inning against the Mets on Wednesday. The 32-year-old posted a 3.99 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in his return to the majors with the Cubs last year but has been much sharper early in 2023, logging a 1.77 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 20.1 innings while converting both of his save chances and picking up eight holds. Leiter appears to be the favorite for closing duties on the team, especially while Brad Boxberger is out with a forearm injury. FAAB: $4

Kendall Graveman, White Sox: Liam Hendriks is slated to return to action soon after recently beating cancer, and he'll presumably reclaim his role as the White Sox's primary closer before too long. However, fantasy managers looking for short-term saves could find an option in Graveman, who has converted saves in four of his last six outings, striking out four in six scoreless innings during that time. If Hendriks is eased into action upon his return, Graveman could continue to see the occasional save chance, and the White Sox have a favorable weekend series against the Tigers. FAAB: $2

Catcher

Francisco Alvarez, Mets: Alvarez hasn't been an everyday player for the Mets recently, but he's been effective when given playing time. He's started just four of the last seven games but has gone 6-for-13 with three home runs, seven RBI and four runs across that span. Tomas Nido and Omar Narvaez are getting closer to returning from the injured list, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Alvarez maintain some at-bats once the two other catchers are back in action. FAAB: $3

First Base

Spencer Steer, Reds: Steer had a lackluster start to his major-league career last season by hitting .211, but he's been much more effective in 2023, especially over the past week and a half. He's posted four multi-hit performances over his last nine games, slashing .385/.415/.538 with a home run, three doubles, seven runs and seven RBI. The 25-year-old has had an everyday role in the top half of Cincinnati's batting order and has been a solid source for ratios, power and run production early this year. FAAB: $5

Second Base

Adam Frazier, Orioles: Frazier hasn't been a major power threat during his major-league career, but the 31-year-old has racked up four extra-base hits during his current seven-game hitting streak. Across that span, he's hit .407 with two homers, a triple, a double, seven RBI and five runs. The Orioles have been among the hotter teams in baseball over the first two months of the season, giving Frazier ample chances to drive in runs while hitting mainly in the heart of the order. FAAB: $4

Jose Caballero, Mariners: Caballero had a hot start to the season at Triple-A Tacoma before earning his first major-league call-up in mid-April. He drew inconsistent playing time over his first month in the big leagues but has started six of the last seven games. During that time, the 26-year-old has gone 4-for-15 with two home runs, six RBI, four runs and three stolen bases. Caballero appears to have taken over as Seattle's primary second baseman for now and is worth considering for fantasy managers in deeper leagues. FAAB: $2

Third Base

Owen Miller, Brewers: Although Miller has been moved around the batting order over the past several weeks, he's had consistent playing time and has swung a hot bat recently. The 26-year-old has accumulated 10 extra-base hits across the past 12 games, slashing .413/.426/.804 with four home runs, six doubles, nine runs, six RBI and two stolen bases. The 26-year-old is now hitting .346 this season and has been a solid contributor for several counting stats. Even if he continues to shift around the batting order, he'll likely maintain consistent at-bats as long as he has solid ratios. FAAB: $5

Shortstop

Zach Neto, Angels: Neto didn't have much minor-league experience before being called up by the Angels in mid-April, and he experienced some growing pains over his first few weeks in the majors. However, the 22-year-old has turned things around recently, slashing .306/.340/.592 with three homers, five doubles, 10 RBI, nine runs and a steal over the past 15 games. Neto has hit at the bottom of the order recently and could have some more cold spells as the season progresses, but he's been a viable fantasy option in recent weeks. FAAB: $6

Outfield

Michael Conforto, Giants: Conforto struggled early in the season after missing the entire 2022 campaign with a shoulder issue, but he's turned things around at the plate over the past few weeks. Across his last 13 games, he's slashed .320/.364/.720 with six home runs, two doubles, 14 RBI and 10 runs. The 30-year-old is still hitting just .219 this season, but it's been encouraging to see his results improve over the past two weeks. If he can remain relatively effective at the plate, he proved to have well-rounded fantasy value in previous seasons and should continue to have ample playing time in the heart of the Giants' order. FAAB: $8

Bryan De La Cruz, Marlins: De La Cruz had a decent start to the 2023 campaign but has been particularly dominant over the past two weeks. Across his last 12 games, he's slashed .409/.480/.727 with three home runs, five doubles, 10 runs, eight RBI and two stolen bases. The 26-year-old has had somewhat up-and-down results over his first few years in the majors, but his upside has been on full display recently, and he should continue to have opportunities to drive in runs while hitting in the heart of the order. FAAB: $5

Mickey Moniak, Angels: Moniak was called up by the Angels in mid-May, and although he's been in the strong side of a platoon, he's hit at the top of the order and has been effective since joining the major-league club. He's hitting .419 with four home runs, a triple, two doubles, seven runs, seven RBI and two stolen bases over 10 games this year. Although the 25-year-old has mainly been a replacement outfielder after being recalled, the Angels will likely attempt to find him as much playing time as possible as long as he continues to swing a hot bat, and he at least offers short-term fantasy value for those in deeper leagues. FAAB: $3

Matt Vierling, Tigers: Vierling's on-base abilities weren't particularly stellar over the first month and a half of the regular season, but he's in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak in which he's slashed .407/.448/.630 with two home runs, five RBI and four runs. He appears to have benefitted from a change of scenery this year, as most of his counting stats over the first 42 games in 2023 are on pace to surpass the marks he recorded over 117 games with the Phillies last season. The 26-year-old isn't more than a short-term consideration at this point, but he's had regular playing time and has had a solid week at the plate. FAAB: $2

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason
Jason joined RotoWire in 2019. In 2023, he was named the FSWA Player Notes Writer of the Year. In addition to RotoWire, Jason writes for the Sports Broadcast Journal. In 2024, he was dubbed "The Polish Parlay" for his WNBA hot betting streak.
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