NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our NL FAAB Factor series.

This is our weekly look at National League free agents. We have two goals for this article:

1. Identify likely free agents and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
2. Estimate how much of your free-agent budget you should bid on them.

This year, we're incorporating grids into the FAAB articles, so users can easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The grids, which are sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This serves as a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. Carlos Correa would have been an "A" grade player last year -- that mark will be reserved for similar high-impact prospects stepping into an everyday role.

As always, if there is a player that was not discussed in the article that you would like to know about, feel free to ask about the player in the comments.

PLAYER TEAM POS GRADE $ (12-Team Mixed) $ (15-Team Mixed) $ (NL-Only)
Chase Anderson MIL SP E No 2 4
Taylor Jungmann MIL SP D 1 4 7
Matt Cain SF SP D 0 3 5
Jhoulys Chacin ATL SP E No 2 4
Williams Perez ATL SP E No 0 2
Tyler Chatwood COL SP E No 1 4
Adam Conley MIA SP C 2 7 11
Robbie Erlin SD SP E No 2 4
Colin Rea SD SP E No 2 4
This is our weekly look at National League free agents. We have two goals for this article:

1. Identify likely free agents and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
2. Estimate how much of your free-agent budget you should bid on them.

This year, we're incorporating grids into the FAAB articles, so users can easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The grids, which are sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This serves as a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. Carlos Correa would have been an "A" grade player last year -- that mark will be reserved for similar high-impact prospects stepping into an everyday role.

As always, if there is a player that was not discussed in the article that you would like to know about, feel free to ask about the player in the comments.

PLAYER TEAM POS GRADE $ (12-Team Mixed) $ (15-Team Mixed) $ (NL-Only)
Chase Anderson MIL SP E No 2 4
Taylor Jungmann MIL SP D 1 4 7
Matt Cain SF SP D 0 3 5
Jhoulys Chacin ATL SP E No 2 4
Williams Perez ATL SP E No 0 2
Tyler Chatwood COL SP E No 1 4
Adam Conley MIA SP C 2 7 11
Robbie Erlin SD SP E No 2 4
Colin Rea SD SP E No 2 4
Juan Nicasio PIT SP C 3 9 11
Drew Pomeranz SD SP D 2 7 9
Robbie Ray ARI SP D 2 7 9
Tanner Roark WAS SP C 4 11 14
Joe Ross WAS SP D 2 7 9
Dan Straily CIN SP E No 1 2
Ross Stripling LA SP E No 0 1
Vincent Velasquez PHI SP C 3 9 12
John Gant ATL RP E No 1 3
Jim Henderson NYM RP E No 1 3
Jumbo Diaz CIN RP D 1 4 7
J.J. Hoover CIN RP C 3 9 12
Jason Grilli ATL RP B 7 18 22
Arodys Vizcaino ATL RP B 5 14 18
David Hernandez PHI RP C 4 14 18
Dalier Hinojosa Phi RP D 1 4 7
Seung-Hwan Oh STL RP C 2 7 9
Jeremy Jeffress MIL RP C 4 11 14
Jake McGee COL RP C 5 12 18
Hunter Strickland SF RP D 1 4 6
Adam Warren CHI RP C 2 7 9
A.J. Ellis LA C E No 0 2
Tyler Flowers ATL C D No 2 5
Kevin Plawecki NYM C D No 2 5
Matt Adams STL 1B C 3 9 11
John Jaso PIT 1B D 2 7 9
Mark Reynolds COL 1B D 2 7 9
Darin Ruf PHI 1B E 1 5 7
Manny Burriss PHI 2B E No 0 2
Wilmer Flores NYM 2B C 2 7 11
Kelly Johnson ATL 2B D 0 4 7
Tommy La Stella CHI 2B E No 0 2
Jose Peraza CIN 2B D 1 5 9
Cory Spangenberg SD 2B C 3 9 12
Chase Utley LA 2B E No 0 2
Colin Walsh Mil 2B E No 0 2
Nick Ahmed ARI 2B C 2 7 11
Chris Owings ARI 2B/SS D 2 7 11
Jedd Gyorko STL SS B 6 18 22
Brandon Drury ARI 3B E No 2 5
David Freese PIT 3B B 1 4 7
Jake Lamb ARI 3B B 5 14 18
Hector Olivera ATL 3B C 3 9 11
Jabari Blash SD OF D 2 9 11
Socrates Brito ARI OF C 1 4 7
Keon Broxton MIL OF C 1 4 7
Ramon Flores MIL OF C 1 4 7
Kirk Nieuwenhuis MIL OF C 1 4 7
Carl Crawford LAD OF C 2 7 9
Trayce Thompson LAD OF D 1 4 7
Scott Van Slyke LAD OF D 1 4 7
Alejandro De Aza NYM OF E No 1 3
Ivan De Jesus CIN OF E No 1 3
Jeff Francoeur ATL OF D 0 3 7
Jeremy Hazelbaker STL OF E No 1 3
Chris Heisey WAS OF E No 1 3
Travis Jankowski SD OF E No 1 3
Matt Joyce PIT OF E No 1 3
Ryan Raburn COL OF D 0 3 7
Drew Stubbs ATL OF E No 1 3
Rickie Weeks ARI OF E No 1 3
Adam Duvall CIN OF D 0 4 7
Scott Schebler CIN OF C 3 9 12
Tyler Goeddel PHI OF D 2 9 12
Cedric Hunter PHI OF E No 2 4
Jon Jay SD OF C 0 4 7
Angel Pagan SF OF C 3 9 12
Tommy Pham STL OF D 0 4 7
Yasmany Tomas ARI OF C 4 11 15
Michael Taylor WAS OF C 3 9 12

Starting Pitcher

Chase Anderson / Taylor Jungmann, Brewers – Anderson and Jungmann will open the season as Milwaukee's last two starters. Anderson, who came over to Milwaukee in the Jean Segura deal, made 27 average starts for the D-Backs last season. He has struggled this spring but will get a chance to open the season in the rotation. Jungmann is the fourth starter but could get bumped him with Matt Garza dealing with an injury. Other than a rough September, Jungmann more than showed he belonged in the majors last season and looks to build on the success he had his first 16 starts. Anderson – 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $2; NL-only: $4; Jungmann - 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $4; NL-only: $7

Matt Cain, Giants – Cain made 13 nightmarish appearances, 11 of them starts, last season for San Francisco, posting a 5.79 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. His last three seasons have resulted in a consistent drop in his K-rate along with a rise in his HR-rate. Cain, who had a cyst removed from his pitching arm in late February, is reportedly healthy and topping out at 91 mph. He will open the year as the Giants' fifth starter and will need to pitch well to hold off Chris Heston. 12-team mixed: $0; 15-team mixed: $3; NL-only: $5

Jhoulys Chacin / Williams Perez, Braves – Chacin looks to have earned the fifth starter spot in Atlanta but will open the season at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had a solid enough spring to grab that spot and is expected to be called up on April 12 when Atlanta first needs its fifth starter. Chacin resurrected his career last year with Arizona after taking a major step back with Colorado in 2014. He won't get you a ton of strikeouts but makes for a decent back-end starter. Perez will open the season as the fourth starter, but could end up swapping spots with Chacin and become the fifth starter. His first start will come April 10. Chacin - 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $2; NL-only: $4; Perez - 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $0; NL-only: $2

Tyler Chatwood, Rockies – Chatwood is trying to return from his second Tommy John surgery, which sidelined him nearly all of last year. Heading into the last weekend of spring training, Chatwood looks to be in place to break camp with the Rockies as their fourth starter. If he does get the spot, don't expect many strikeouts, as he is an extreme groundball pitcher. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed; NL-only: $4

Adam Conley, Marlins – Conley, who rebounded in 2015 after a poor 2014 season, has been shooting up draft lists thanks to a solid spring and 96 mph fastball. He posted a 2.52 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 18 starts at Triple-A New Orleans and carried that success up to the majors. Conley gets a chance to show he deserves to stick in the Miami rotation. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7; NL-only: $11

Robbie Erlin / Colin Rea, Padres – The fifth starter spot in San Diego is between Erlin and Rea. No decision has been reached but Erlin, because he has a minor-league option remaining, could get sent down even though he has outpitched Rea. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $2; NL-only: $4 to whoever gets the job

Juan Nicasio, Pirates – Nicasio is another example of just how good pitching Ray Searage is. After struggling with his control last season, posting a 1.56 WHIP, Nicasio had a brilliant spring, striking out 24 while walking just five and not allowing a run in 15 official spring training inning. That performance earned Nicasio the fifth starter spot in Pittsburgh, as he beat out Ryan Vogelsong for the job. Nicasio will need to pitch well to hold off Tyler Glasnow and possibly Jameson Taillon as the season rolls on. 12-team mixed: $3; 15-team mixed: $9; NL-only: $11

Drew Pomeranz, Padres – Pomeranz, who has bounced between starting and relieving and who was acquired by San Diego from Oakland this past offseason, will open the season in the Padres' rotation. His strikeout potential coupled with a pitchers park make him an intriguing option, if he can find a way to stay healthy, as he has not started more than 20 games since 2012 in Colorado. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7; NL-only: $9

Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks – Ray entered camp as the favorite for the fifth starter spot and earned the role with a decent enough Performance. He will need to build off his successful enough 2015 campaign, when he had a 3.52 ERA, 1.33 whip and 119K in 127.2 innings, to keep the role as Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley loom. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7; NL-only: $9

Tanner Roark, Nationals – Roark, who first came on the scene in 2013 and exploded into fantasy relevance in 2014, receded a bit last year, as he struggled after he was moved to the bullpen following the Nationals signing Max Scherzer. This season, Roark is moving back to the rotation, slotting in as the Nationals' fourth starter behind Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, and Stephen Strasburg. In order for Roark to be as successful as he was in 2014, he will need to limit the long balls, which should help offset his sharp drop in K-rate from last year. 12-team mixed: $4; 15-team mixed: $11; NL-only: $14

Joe Ross, Nationals – Ross will break camp as the Nationals' fifth starter, though he won't be used in that capacity until April 13. He made 16 appearances (13 starts) last season but struggled with his changeup, resulting in a spike in BAA vs. lefties. For Ross to take the next step and/or be able to hold off Lucas Giolito, he will need to show he can retire southpaws. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7; NL-only: $9

Dan Straily, Reds – Straily, traded to the Padres from Houston on Monday, was released by San Diego and claimed on waivers by Cincinnati. Despite all the moves, Straily could open the season in Reds' rotation due to the myriad of injuries suffered by the team's other starters. Straily, who had a solid 2013 campaign in Oakland, has struggled since and may just be a short-term fill in. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $1; NL-only: $2

Ross Stripling, Dodgers – Stripling beat out Carlos Frias for the right to open the year as LA's fifth starter. He wasn't impressive this spring, allowing three home runs in 11 innings, but he did have 11 K. Stripling is a stopgap until Mike Bolsinger (oblique) is ready to rejoin the team. 12-team mixed: No; NL: $0; NL-only: $1

Vincent Velasquez, Phillies – Velasquez, who came over the Philly from Houston in the Ken Giles deal, earned the fifth starter spot in the Phillies' rotation. He parlayed a strong spring, where he had a 24:7 K:BB ratio and 2.25 ERA in 20 IP into that spot. If Velasquez can continue to limit his walks, he could move up the pecking order and finish the season as the second or third starter behind Aaron Nola. 12-team mixed: $3; NL: $9; NL-only: $12

Relief Pitcher
 
John Gant, Braves and Jim Henderson, Mets - Middle relief roles were earned in every NL town but the majority of those players have little value in leagues. These two players do have some. Gant, acquired last from the Mets, will open the year in the bullpen but could get a shot at starting later this season. Henderson will open the year in middle relief. But his pedigree as a former closer and stuff might move him into more of a high-leverage spot as the season goes on. Gant and Henderson – 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $1; NL-only: $3

Jumbo Diaz / J.J. Hoover, Reds – Stuff-wise, Diaz might deserve to be the Reds' closer but Hoover will get the first chance at replacing Aroldis Chapman. Diaz struck out 70 in 60.1 innings last year but allowed nine home runs. In addition, he struggled this spring. Hoover opened 2014 as the Reds' closer but imploded early and lost the job. While his numbers were better last season, his K-rate fell substantially and he had a .222 BABIP. Neither is a great option, but grab Hoover and stash Diaz if you can. Diaz – 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $4; NL-only: $7; Hoover – 12-team mixed: $3; 15-team mixed: $9; NL-only: $12

Jason Grilli / Arodys Vizcaino, Braves – Right now, your guess may be as good as ours who closes for the Braves. Initially, it looks like Grilli and Vizcaino will split time with Grilli possibly having an edge as Atlanta looks to pump up his value to deal him by the trade deadline. Grilli was brilliant last season before he ruptured his left Achilles after which Vizcaino took over as the team's closer. Jim Johnson could also factor in the mix but for now, give Grilli a slight edge. Grilli – 12-team mixed: $7; 15-team mixed: $18; NL-only: $22; Vizcaino – 12-team mixed: $5; 15-team mixed: $14; NL-only: $18

David Hernandez / Dailer Hinojosa, Phillies – Philly has yet to name a closer though Hernandez may have shifted back to the lead. At one point, Andrew Bailey seemed to have nosed ahead, but he was sent to the minors. Hernandez, who missed all of 2014 after Tommy John surgery, made a successful return to action last June and appears to have regained all the velocity on his fastball. Hinojosa has closer-type stuff but will need to maintain the strides he made late last season in limiting his free passes. Hernandez – 12-team mixed: $4; 15-team mixed: $14; NL-only: $18; Hinojosa – 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $4; NL-only: $7

Seung-Hwan Oh, Cardinals – Oh, who has 357 saves in 11 seasons between Japan and Korea, signed with the Cardinals this offseason. He looks to have made a quick transition to the majors, posting a 1.86 ERA and 0.62 WHIP in 9.2 innings this spring for St. Louis. Oh and Kevin Siegrist will set up Trevor Rosenthal and Oh, due to his closing experience, could be next in line if Rosenthal was injured. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7; NL-only: $9

Jeremy Jeffress, Brewers – Jeffress was locked in a battle with Will Smith to open the season as Milwaukee's closer. Smith's knee injury coupled with Corey Knebel's oblique strain has left Jeffress as the last man standing. That's not to say Jeffress doesn't deserve the role, as he was brilliant as K-Rod's set up man last season, posting a 2.65 ERA and 67 K in 68 innings. 12-team mixed: $4; 15-team mixed: $11; NL-only: $14

Jake McGee, Rockies – McGee was the favorite to open the season as the Colorado closer. That became a lock when Jason Motte landed on the disabled list with a strained shoulder. McGee, when healthy, was excellent for Tampa Bay last season, after a major breakthrough in 2014. He is nasty against righties and lefties, and even though he is a flyball pitcher, his stuff should still play at Coors Field. 12-team mixed: $5; 15-team mixed: $14; NL-only: $18

Hunter Strickland, Giants – Closer speculation is one of the more challenging and sometimes frustrating parts of fantasy baseball. Strickland might have a better skill set than Santiago Casilla, but Casilla, despite a 5.14 ERA this spring, will keep his job. That's little surprise as manager Bruce Bochy is loyal to his veterans. But Casilla, who on the surface had good numbers last year, did show some cracks with a 1.28 WHIP and 84.3% strand rate (eighth among closers). Casilla and Sergio Romo may be 1-2 in the pen, but Strickland, who has a high-90s fastball and made strides with his breaking pitch last year, may be next in line. 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $4; NL-only: $6

Adam Warren, Cubs – Warren was invaluable to the Yankees as a starter and reliever last season. His value can be seen in that the Yankees received Starlin Castro, who will start for the team at second base, in exchange for him. Warren will pitch in relief in the Windy City but may be the first option if a spot starter is needed. He could pitch over 100 innings and get close to a K per with solid ratios. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7; NL-only: $9

Catcher
 
Austin Barnes / Christian Bethancourt / Trevor Brown / Eric Fryer / Chris Herrmann / Tony Wolters – The above have earned backup catcher jobs roles in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, Arizona and Colorado and will mostly see minimal action. Unless desperate for a second catcher, go with $0 bids on all.

A.J. Ellis, Dodgers – Ellis will open the season as the Dodgers' starting catcher with Yasmani Grandal (forearm) on the disabled list. Once Grandal is back, possibly by April 12, Ellis will move to the bench. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $0, NL-only: $2

Tyler Flowers, Braves – Flowers will platoon with A.J. Pierzynski at catcher for Atlanta, starting against lefties. If this arrangement holds, Flowers will end up on the short side of the playing time equation. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $2, NL-only: $5

Kevin Plawecki, Mets – Plawecki will break camp as the Mets' backup catcher. There was talk that the Mets might acquire a backup so that Plawecki could play daily at Triple-A Las Vegas, but the team decided that having Plawecki play anywhere from 1-3 games a week coupled with his solid defense when he is in the lineup was enough of a reason to keep him in the majors. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $2, NL-only: $5

First Base

Matt Adams, Cardinals – Adams may break camp as the Cardinals' primary first baseman. He entered spring training behind Brandon Moss but had a strong enough preseason to regain his starting spot. Adams, who burst on the scene in 2013 but faded slightly in 2014 and then regressed mightily before getting shut down with a quad injury, will play against righties. His inability to hit lefties probably will result in him sitting for Brandon Moss against southpaws. However, keep in mind that Matt Holliday could move to first base, relegated Adams and Moss to spot duty. 12-team mixed: $3; 15-team mixed: $9, NL-only: $11

John Jaso, Pirates – Jaso signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Pirates this offseason. He is currently slotted in as the starting first baseman, despite playing just one game in the majors at that position in the past. Jaso's known for his solid on-base skills, which will result in him leading off against right-handed pitching. He likely will sit against southpaws for David Freese, once Jung-Ho Kang is healthy and back at third base, or Mike Morse. One dark horse candidate is Jason Rogers. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7, NL-only: $9

Mark Reynolds, Rockies – Reynolds, who played last year in St. Louis, signed this offseason with the Rockies. He had a big spring and could steal time early on from Ben Paulsen, especially if he can keep his strikeouts down. Reynolds could prove to be a big fantasy bargain if he receives consistent playing time. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7, NL-only: $9

Darin Ruf, Phillies – Ruf will open the season platooning at first base with Ryan Howard. Ruf, who hit 371/.447/.660 with eight home runs in 97 at-bats against southpaws last season, should play every day when a lefty is on the bump. 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $5, NL-only: $7

Second Base
 
Manny Burriss, Phillies – Burris, who hit .294 with three stolen bases this spring, earned a bench spot on the Phillies. He will see occasional time all over the diamond and in the corner outfield spots. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $0, NL-only: $2

Wilmer Flores, Mets – On the face of it, there appears to be no room at the inn for Flores following the Mets' acquisitions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera. Not so fast, as Flores may play second against southpaws while also backing up David Wright at third and Lucas Duda at first while also seeing occasional action at shortstop. Flores could see 400 at-bats this year, qualifying at several positions, which should lead to double-digit home runs. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7, NL-only: $11

Kelly Johnson, Braves – Johnson, who returned to the Braves this offseason, had a monster spring training, batting 14-for-37. He will back up Jace Peterson at second and Adonis Garcia at third, seeing time at both spots. In addition, he could play left field or first base against certain righties, adding to his swiss army knife type value. 12-team mixed: $0; 15-team mixed: $4, NL-only: $7

Tommy La Stella, Cubs – La Stella will break camp as the Cubs' backup second baseman with Javier Baez (thumb) opening the season on the disabled list. He will fill a utility role in Chicago. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $0, NL-only: $2

Jose Peraza, Reds – Peraza has bounced from LA to Atlanta to Cincy in the past year. He looks to have earned a spot now that Rule 5 pick Jake Cave was placed on waivers. If he keeps the spot, Peraza will see time at second, shortstop and maybe left field. Peraza has tremendous speed and could be a cheap source of steals if he sticks. 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $5, NL-only: $9 (up if you think he earns more paying time)

Cory Spangenberg, Padres – Spangenberg will open the season as the Padres' starting second baseman. He closed 2015 playing all over the place but should have just one spot this season. Spangenberg won't hit for much power but could be a decent source of runs and steals with a good average and OBP, if he can cut down on his strikeouts, which was an issue for him last season. 12-team mixed: $3; 15-team mixed: $9, NL-only: $12

Chase Utley, Dodgers – Utley will open the season as the Dodgers' starting second baseman with Howie Kendrick (calf) on the disabled list. Once Kendrick is back, possibly by April 12, Utley will move to the bench. Enrique Hernandez will start against lefties until Kendrick is back. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $0, NL-only: $2

Colin Walsh, Brewers – Walsh, a Rule 5 pick, will stick with Milwaukee. His solid on-base skills could earn him some playing time. In addition, Walsh might see time against southpaws due to Scooter Gennett's struggles against lefties. However, there is no guarantee Walsh sticks the whole season. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $0, NL-only: $2

Shortstop

Nick Ahmed / Chris Owings, Diamondbacks – The D-Backs acquired Jean Segura this offseason from Milwaukee and he will see most of the playing time at shortstop with occasional action at second base. Owings, the former starter at short who moved to second to make room for Ahmed, will see time at both spots as well as possibly center field. Socrates Brito is getting the first chance at replacing A.J. Pollock, but if he falters or struggles against lefties, Owings is looking as if he is next in line. Ahmed should start at second base though he will have to hold off Owings for playing time. Ahmed and Owings - 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7, NL-only: $11

Jedd Gyorko, Cardinals – Gyorko was originally slated to back up at second, short and third. Jhonny Peralta's thumb injury changed that plan, and now Gyorko will open the season as the Cardinals starting shortstop while Ruben Tejada will factor into the mix when he returns from his hamstring injury. If Gyroko hits as he did this spring or the first half of last season, he will find his way to the bench very quickly, but his power potential gives him value. 12-team mixed: $6; 15-team mixed: $18, NL-only: $25

Third Base

Brandon Drury, Diamondbacks – Drury earned a role off the bench for the D-Backs to begin the season by batting .368 with four home runs and 12 RBI this spring. He should see some time at second and third base as well as possibly the outfield. If Jake Lamb falters, Drury, who hit .303/.344/.412 with 61 RBI and 40 doubles across 130 contests and 524 at-bats across Double-A and Triple-A last year, could get a shot as the starter at the hot corner. 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $2, NL-only: $5

David Freese, Pirates – Freese was one of a seemingly long line of players who were forced to wait to sign deals until after spring training began. He will open the season as the Pirates' starting third baseman with Jung-Ho Kang (knee) sidelined, possibly for all of April. Once Kang returns, Freese, who has only played nine games at first base in his seven-year career, may platoon there along with John Jaso. 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $4, NL-only: $7

Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks – Lamb will open the season as Arizona's starting third baseman. This was pretty much a fait accompli when the spring started, but Lamb earned his spot with a .393/.514/.679 line. Brandon Drury and even Yasmani Tomas still loom, but Lamb is the one to own in Arizona. 12-team mixed: $5; 15-team mixed: $14, NL-only: $18

Hector Olivera, Braves – Olivera, traded to the Braves as part of a three-team, 13-player deal last season, hit .253/.310/.405 with two homers in 24 games for Atlanta in 2015. This spring training, he has transitioned from the hot corner to left field and so far, so good. Olivera has answered some questions by going 24-for-61 (.393 average) with six doubles, 12 RBI and a 2:6 BB:K this spring. With Atlanta rebuilding, there is little reason for the Braves not to run Olivera out there daily and see what he can do. 12-team mixed: $3; 15-team mixed: $9, NL-only: $11

Outfield

Jabari Blash, Padres – Blash, a Rule 5 pick, looks like he will remain with the Padres, breaking camp with the team. He showed big time power at Triple-A Tacoma mixed in with walks and strikeouts, making him a true three-outcome player. Blash could start the season as the Padres' starting left fielder, even if not, he should see solid playing time in San Diego. 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $9; NL-only: $11

Socrates Brito, Diamondbacks – Brito is the beneficiary of A.J. Pollock fracturing his right elbow Friday, as he will open the season as the Diamondbacks' regular center fielder at least against right-handed pitchers. Prior to Pollock getting injured, Brito was battling for a roster spot, but now he gets a chance to start at least against righties, and if he has success against lefties, play every day. If he falters against southpaws, Chris Owings will move from second to center with Brandon Drury replacing Owings at second. 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $4; NL-only: $7

Keon Broxton / Ramon Flores / Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Brewers – Some combination of these three will handle center field, as well as back up Ryan Braun and Domingo Santana. Milwaukee has not named a starter but Flores has seen more action of late. Broxton presents the most speed and is the only righty among the three, so he could play against southpaws. Nieuwenhuis has the most power and experience, but has failed in the past to hold down a regular spot due to his issues with strikeouts. All until a favorite emerges - 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $4; NL-only: $7, though I like Broxton due to his speed potential

Carl Crawford / Trayce Thompson / Scott Van Slyke, DodgersAndre Ethier's leg injury will sideline him 10-14 weeks, opening up left field. Crawford initially looked to be the primary beneficiary with Van Slyke seeing time against southpaws. The thought then shifted to Thompson earning a lion's share of the time but he has struggled this spring. Van Slyke has had the best spring, but he may only see time against lefties in left field or first base, leaving Crawford to start against righties while Thompson may start against lefties in center field with Joc Peterson on the bench. Crawford - 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $7; NL-only: $9; Thompson and Van Slyke - 12-team mixed: $1; 15-team mixed: $4; NL-only: $7, though Thompson could earn a larger role

Alejandro De Aza / Ivan De Jesus / Jeff Francoeur / Jeremy Hazelbaker / Chris Heisey / Travis Jankowski / Matt Joyce / Ryan Raburn / Drew Stubbs / Rickie Weeks – The above have earned fourth or fifth outfielder roles in New York, Cincinnati, Atlanta, St. Louis, Washington, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Atlanta and Arizona. Frenchy will see time against lefties while backing up at all three outfield spots while Stubbs will back up Ender Inciarte in center and could play against some southpaws. Raburn will start against lefties and has some value in the thin air of Coors Field. All save for Francouer and Raburn - 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $1; NL-only: $3; Francouer and Raburn - 12-team mixed: $0; 15-team mixed: $3; NL-only: $7

Adam Duvall / Scott Schebler, Reds – Left field in Cincy initially looks like it will be a platoon between Duvall and Schebler. Duvall should play against lefties and be a decent source of power if he can limit his strikeouts. Schebler will see time against righties and could be a double-double candidate if he too can limit his strikeouts. Go for Schebler first and view Duvall as a fallback option. Duvall - 12-team mixed: $0; 15-team mixed: $4; NL-only: $7; Schebler - 12-team mixed: $3; 15-team mixed: $9; NL-only: $12

Tyler Goeddel / Cedric Hunter, Phillies – Goeddel, like Blash a Rule 5 selection, was originally Tampa Bay property before getting selected by the Phillies. He brings a nice mixture of power and speed and could be a 12 HR-15 SB player in the future. Goeddel's chances of sticking were aided by Aaron Altherr's injury, which will sideline him 4-6 months. He won't start the season as the starting left fielder but will split time initially with Hunter, who hit .283 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases at Triple-A last season, and possibly Manny Burriss, while Cody Asche will join the mix when he returns from his right oblique injury. Goeddel - 12-team mixed: $2; 15-team mixed: $9; NL-only: $11; Hunter - 12-team mixed: No; 15-team mixed: $2; NL-only: $4

Jon Jay, Padres – Jay will open 2016 as the Padres' starting center fielder. That will be his role against righties but it remains to be seen if he will keep the job versus southpaws. Jay is a solid defensive center fielder and could post a decent BA and OBP with some runs but don't expect much more. 12-team mixed: $0; 15-team mixed: $4, NL-only: $7

Angel Pagan, Giants – Pagan opened spring training battling for a full-time role. The demotions of Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson means that Pagan, who has had a big spring, opens the year as the starting left fielder. The acquisition of Denard Span pushes Pagan out of the leadoff role, though he may bat ninth as a type of second leadoff hitter. If Pagan can somehow stays healthy, a full season like what he posted before he was sidelined in 2014 or late last year could be in the offering. 12-team mixed: $3; 15-team mixed: $9; NL-only: $12

Tommy Pham, Cardinals – Pham is currently the Cardinals fourth outfielder but could end up with substantial playing time. Randall Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty are locked into center and right field. Matt Holliday is the starter in left but there are rumors that he could end up at first base, which might open left for Pham. If that happens, his solid defense and improving bat could enable to keep the job. 12-team mixed: $0; 15-team mixed: $4; NL-only: $7

Yasmany Tomas, Diamondbacks – Tomas had a strong enough spring to hold off Pete O'Brien, who was optioned down, and Rickie Weeks, who made the team, to start as the team's left fielder. His hold on the spot may be tenuous as Socrates Brito could see time in left with Chris Owings in center. Tomas will need to show better power and avoid his fade of last season to keep the job. 12-team mixed: $4; 15-team mixed: $11; NL-only: $15

Michael Taylor, Nationals – Like Pham, Taylor is a fourth outfielder, and like Pham, Taylor could earn a lot more playing time. Taylor took advantage of injuries to get 472 at-bats and 511 plate appearances last season, hitting 14 home runs and stealing 16 bases. As of now, the Nationals' starting outfield is set with Jayson Werth in left, Ben Revere in center and Bryce Harper in right. But Werth has been unable to stay healthy, which could open left field up for Taylor, who had a monster spring but will need to do a better job of cutting down his strikeouts and improving his walk rate. 12-team mixed: $3; 15-team mixed: $9; NL-only: $12

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Levine
Levine covers baseball and hockey for RotoWire. He is responsible for the weekly NL FAAB column for baseball and the Barometer for hockey. In addition to his column writing, he is master of the NHL cheat sheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets and Rangers.
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