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 $100 starting free-agent budget you should bid on them.

This year, we are again using 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. Dansby Swanson 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)
Homer Bailey CIN SP D 3 9 4 14
Matt Cain SF SP E No No 4 2
Patrick Corbin AZ SP D 3 9 14
Jose Quintana CHI SP A Owned Owned 85
Jacob Turner WAS SP E No No 4 2
Chad Bettis COL SP D 0 1 5
Vince Velasquez PHI SP D 2 7 11
Jeurys Familia NYM RP B 5 11 18
Arodys
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 $100 starting free-agent budget you should bid on them.

This year, we are again using 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. Dansby Swanson 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)
Homer Bailey CIN SP D 3 9 4 14
Matt Cain SF SP E No No 4 2
Patrick Corbin AZ SP D 3 9 14
Jose Quintana CHI SP A Owned Owned 85
Jacob Turner WAS SP E No No 4 2
Chad Bettis COL SP D 0 1 5
Vince Velasquez PHI SP D 2 7 11
Jeurys Familia NYM RP B 5 11 18
Arodys Vizcaino ATL RP C 1 4 7
Rhys Hoskins PHI 1B B 3 9 14
Cesar Hernandez PHI 2B D 1 4 7
Howie Kendrick PHI 2B D 0 1 4
Neil Walker NYM 2B C 3 9 14
Kolten Wong STL 2B C 5 11 Owned
Freddy Galvis PHI SS D 7 14 Owned
Jose Reyes NYM SS C 8 16 Owned
Amed Rosario NYM SS B 3 9 14
Johan Camargo ATL 3B E 1 4 7
Ronald Acuna ATL OF B 3 7 11
Jabari Blash SD OF D 1 4 7
Matt Szczur SD OF E No 1 4
Starling Marte PIT OF A 55 66 77/owned
Jose Martinez STL OF D 2 7 11
Magneuris Sierra STL OF D 1 4 7
David Dahl COL OF C 3 9 14
Travis Jankowski SD OF D 0 1 4
Danny Santana ATL OF E No No 3

STARTING PITCHER

Homer Bailey, Reds – After two horrific starts following his return from the disabled list, Bailey allowed two runs on 15 hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in 12.2 innings against Colorado and Arizona. As you see by the runners on base, he danced in and out of trouble in those two outings, plus he entered the All-Star break with an 8.31 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, 6.2 K/9 and 6.50 FIP through four starts. But, it appears he has more than regained his velocity and the last two outings must be viewed as positives off the heels of his first two starts, especially when considering the very high BABIP against Bailey. I would still recommend treading cautiously, partially due to his injury history, but he is now worthy of a roster spot as a mid-rotation starter in most formats. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14

Matt Cain, Giants – Johnny Cueto (finger) will only miss two turns in the rotation while on the disabled list. Standing in for him will be Cain, who will move back into the starting rotation after getting demoted to the bullpen to make room for Madison Bumgarner. Cain has a 5.56 ERA and 1.70 WHIP, so he is far from a truly viable option. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2.

Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks – Corbin headed into the All-Star break in solid form, surrendering three runs or fewer in each of his last six starts, striking out 41 in 35 IP over this stretch and sporting a 4.71 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 8.4 K/9 and 4.25 FIP for the season. That 1.53 WHIP, largely due to allowing 125 hits in 101 innings pitched, really stands out and will need to be remediated in the second half to eliminate a recurrence of his earlier struggles. In addition, there is the potential for more due to his BABIP and so-so strand rate. Corbin cannot be fully relied on, but can be spot-started with the potential for more if he continues to pitch like he has recently and those aforementioned rates improve. He got off to a decent start to the second half, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk with six strikeouts in five innings against the Braves on Saturday. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14.

Jose Quintana, Cubs – The Cubs firmly signaled Thursday that they intend to make a run at a second consecutive World Series by acquiring Quintana from the White Sox for Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete.  The large price tag largely was due to Quintana being under club control through the 2020 campaign, as he signed a five-year, $26.5 million extension with the White Sox in March 2014. After not posting an ERA above 3.76 his first five years in the majors, Quintana has scuffled with a 4.49 ERA with only four wins but has struck out 109 and walked 40 in 104.1 innings. Quintana gets a boost from switching leagues, as he no longer will face the DH and also moves into a slightly better pitchers' park with a better lineup around him. Bid aggressively in NL-only leagues. 12-team Mixed: owned; 15-team Mixed: owned; 12-team NL: $85

Jacob Turner, Nationals – Turner likely will be promoted to start Tuesday in place of Joe Ross, who will undergo Tommy John surgery. Washington will need to add Turner, who was designated for assignment and then outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse to its 40-man roster. Turner pitched in relief and saw a few spot starts earlier in the year with middling success, but gets at least one more chance to stick with the big club Tuesday. But look for Washington to look for a more consistent starting option now that Ross is gone for the season. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2

Injury activation/updates:

Chad Bettis, Rockies – Bettis, who fortunately appears to have won his battle with testicular cancer, kicked off his rehab assignment Thursday for Double-A Hartford. He pitched two clean innings, not allowing a hit nor walk, surrendering an unearned run and striking out three batters. He tossed 31 pitches to record his six outs, including 19 for strikes. Bettis advanced from bullpen session to simulated games and now to rehab starts. He had hoped to return before the All-Star break but might make it back before the end of July, though he is expected to need several rehab starts due to the time he has missed. Bettis led the Rockies in innings pitched last year with 186, and had a 14-8 record with a 4.79 ERA. In the second half of the season, Bettis went 7-2 with a 3.17 ERA over 14 starts. Colorado may eventually move German Marquez temporarily to the bullpen while Tyler Chatwood (calf) is expected to land on the disabled list Sunday, enabling Bettis will rejoin the rotation upon his return. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (same early spec return bid)

Vince Velasquez, Phillies – Velasquez, who was placed on the disabled list May 31 with a right flexor strain, made what should be his final rehab start Thursday for High-A Lancaster. He allowed one run on two hits and a walk with five strikeouts in five innings. Thursday's start was the longest of his three-rehab starts and puts him on track to be activated and join the Phillies' rotation July 18. Velasquez, who was 2-5 with a 5.58 ERA and a 53:21 K:BB in 50 innings before hitting the disabled list, slowly progressed from throwing from 90 and 120 feet to bullpen sessions and now rehab starts. The set timeframe depends on him having no setbacks, which hasn't always been the case with Velasquez. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (same early spec return bid).

RELIEF PITCHER
 
Austin Adams/Trevor Gott/Jason Hursh/Kevin Siegrist -
This week's key middle reliever call ups/activations, as well as expected callups, were/will be in Washington, Washington, Atlanta and St. Louis. None have substantial value. All, save for Weaver, - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $0; Weaver - 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Jeurys Familia, Mets – Familia, sidelined after mid-May surgery to remove a blood clot in his armpit area, began his throwing program during this past week in Florida. At the time of the surgery, the hope was Familia could resume throwing in about six weeks and return to "competitive pitching in approximately three to four months." Now that he has been cleared to throw, Familia could return before the end of the year, possibly even by sometime in late August. The flame-throwing righty's ratios fell back a bit the last two years, but he still has the skills to be an elite closer. If he does return, Familia will replace Addison Reed as closer, but the team could opt to be cautious with his return if it fully falls out of the race. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $18 (same early spec bid as prior if waived)

Arodys Vizcaino, Braves – Vizcaino, on the 10-day disabled list since July 4 with a right index finger strain, threw a bullpen session Friday and will toss a second one Sunday. If he comes out of Sunday's session with no issues, he likely will be activated Tuesday and claim his role as the Braves' main setup man. Vizcaino has posted a 2.38 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP, 39:12 K:BB ratio and 15 holds in 34 innings. If Atlanta trades Jim Johnson, Vizcaino is probably next in line to close. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (more if you think he closes)

CATCHER
 

None of note.

FIRST BASE
 
Rhys Hoskins, Phillies –
Tommy Joseph has picked up his game after a very slow start and his overall production is fairly close to his breakthrough 2016 season. If Joseph does regress again, it likely paves the way for the promotion of Hoskins. Hoskins had a monster year at Double-A Reading where he hit .281/.377/.566 with 38 home runs in 498 at-bats. He took advantage of a hitter-friendly park in Reading where he batted .292/.396/.636 with 25 of his 38 home runs. Hoskins has shown that production is no fluke, batting .304/.401/.601 with 18 home runs in 273 at-bats for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season. Most impressive may be his 53:47 K:BB there, continuing his solid eye at the plate that is coupled with a simple but effective swing, which should allow him continued success as he advances. Hoskins has shown in the minors that he can hit lefties and righties, though there are questions regarding whether he will hit enough when he gets to the majors and has to face better off-speed stuff. But so far, he has answered every challenge in the minors. The Phillies will need to move Joseph or Hoskins this offseason, as each aren't suited to play another position. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14 (increased early spec bid, increase again once he is promoted)

SECOND BASE
 
Injury activation/updates:

Cesar Hernandez, Phillies – Hernandez, sidelined since June 9 with a strained oblique, began a rehab assignment with High-A Clearwater on Wednesday and should come off the disabled list sometime during the Phillies' series next week against the Marlins. He started taking swings in a batting cage last week and progressed to a rehab assignment this week. Hernandez, hitting .277/.336/.399 with with six steals and five home runs over 58 games this year, should assume his regular role as the primary second baseman when he is activated. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Howie Kendrick, Phillies – Kendrick, sidelined since June 28 with a mild left hamstring strain, will join the Phillies on Monday to be examined by team athletic trainers and could be cleared to start a rehab assignment. If that happens, Kendrick could come off the disabled list Friday. He had been playing left field before Cesar Hernandez was sidelined as well; resulting in a move to second base. With Hernandez due back shortly and Nick Williams now up and in left field, Kendrick will be a reserve bat. The Phillies are expected to move Kendrick before July 31, as they continue their rebuilding process. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4.

Neil Walker, Mets – Walker, out since June 15 with a partially torn hamstring, is in Florida taking the next step in his rehab. He fielded ground balls at second base last week but Walker is still weeks away from a return but it looks like his recovery is proceeding without incident. Walker, a free agent after the season, had a PRP injection after the injury to stimulate healing and it's possible he is back at the end of the month or in early-August. With the Mets fading from contention, Walker could be moved at the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31 or during the waiver trade deadline in August, though the Mets may still try and sign him to a long-term deal. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14 (early spec return bid, increase as he gets closer)

Kolten Wong, Cardinals – Wong, on the disabled list with a right triceps strain since June 15, was activated from the 10-day disabled list Tuesday. He looked great in four rehab starts with Double-A Springfield, going 6-for-15 with four RBI, and was hitting .450 over his last six games before suffering a triceps strain, but he has been unable to stay healthy. Wong was first sidelined with left elbow soreness May 27, but returned June 9, lasting six games before he suffered the strained triceps. Paul DeJong has done a solid job filling in for Wong, but Wong, who was hitting 301/.393/.444 when he was injured again, should regain his starting second base job now that he is back in St. Louis. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: owned

SHORTSTOP

Freddy Galvis, Phillies – Galvis built off his solid 2015 season by taking a quantum leap forward last year. He hit 20 home runs, stole 17 bases and drove in 67 runs while posting a .724 OPS. Galvis got off to a slow start, but righted the ship his last 30 games, blasting four home runs hit to give him 10 in the first half of the season. In addition, he slugged a career-high .423 heading into the All-Star break. In addition, Galvis has cut his strikeout and improved his walk and contact rates, all of which bode well for continued success in the second half of the season as an underappreciated shortstop option. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $14, 12-team NL: owned

Jose Reyes, Mets – Reyes' hold on a starting job might last only until Amed Rosario is called up, but he has been red-hot lately. He went 2-for-4 with a home run Saturday, his seventh multi-hit performances in his last 12 games. Reyes is now 31-for-105 with six home runs, 13 runs driven in and 15 runs scored in his last 31 contests, increasing his average from way below the Mendoza line to .225 for the season. He qualifies at shortstop and third base and until New York tosses in the towel, Reyes should be in the lineup daily. 12-team Mixed: $8; 15-team Mixed: $16, 12-team NL: owned

Amed Rosario, Mets – Rosario has gotten past his first slump at Triple-A Las Vegas, and now that the Super-2 deadline is well in the rear-view mirror and trade deadline approaches, it may just be two weeks before he is promoted. As of July 12, Rosario was hitting .327/.365/.474 with seven home runs and 16 steals in 375 plate appearances at Las Vegas. The Mets wanted Rosario to work on his plate discipline in the minors, as he has close to a 3:1 K:BB ratio. But he is striking out just 15.5 percent of the time and has an 81 percent contact rate, which bodes well for success at the next level. At a minimum, the Mets could use his plus-plus defense at shortstop with Asdrubal Cabrera's fielding having really fallen off and his bat struggling, New York could promote Rosario to give the team a boost at shortstop. With the team's season cratering a bit and manager Terry Collins looking for some energy, Rosario could provide that, so look for him in New York sometime after Aug. 1. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9, 12-team NL: $14 (increased early spec bid, increase again once he is promoted)

THIRD BASE

Johan Camargo, Braves – Camargo hated the see the All-Star break come, as he went 10-for-16 with four doubles, two walks and two strikeouts over his last five games. When Adonis Garcia went down with a hand injury, Camargo beat out Rio Ruiz to serve as the Braves' primary third baseman. With Freddie Freeman now manning the hot corner as Matt Adams is locked in at first base, Camargo will see minimal action at third base. But look for manager Brian Snitker to continue giving Camargo some playing time at second base and shortstop to keep his hot bat in the lineup. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4, 12-team NL: $7.

OUTFIELD

Ronald Acuna, Braves – Acuna, the Braves' top hitting prospect and one of best prospects in baseball, was promoted this week to Triple-A Gwinnett. He got off to a good start there, going 3-for-5 with a home run Thursday. Acuna has rocketed up the team's minor league ladder this year, starting the season at High-A (.287/.336/.478 in 28 games) and then moving up to Double-A (.318/.368/.507 in 56 games) and now to Triple-A. He had mashed a combined 12 home runs and stolen 32 bases in just over half a season's worth of games at Single-A and Double-A and could be up in the majors within a month. Even if he is not up by then, there is a good chance Acuna will be a September  callup. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7, 12-team NL: $11 (increase once/if he gets promoted)

Jabari Blash/Matt Szczur, Padres – Blash and Szczur will man right field while Hunter Renfroe is on the disabled list with a strained neck. Renfroe was removed from last Saturday's game with a neck injury, and wasn't able to fully recover over the All-Star break, resulting in the placement on the DL. He is expected to be back when first eligible. Szczur may see most of the playing time backed up by Blash, though Blash has the most upside of the two due to his power potential, but he has yet to carry that up to the MLB level. But Blash has started both games with Renfroe out, s for now, he warrants the higher bid. Blash - 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4, 12-team NL: $7; Szczur - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0, 12-team NL: $4.

Starling Marte, Pirates – Marte, covered the last few weeks, is mentioned again as he is toward the end of his minor-league rehab assignment and eligible to return from an 80-game suspension on July 18. He is coming off of a season in which he hit .311 with 47 steals, and has four straight seasons of hitting at least .280 and stealing 30-plus bags. Prior to the suspension, Marte had gotten off to a slow start, batting just .241 with a .658 OPS, as he struggled in his transition to center field. With Marte out, Andrew McCutchen shifted back to CF, filling up the stat sheet lately. Marte, whose power numbers dropped last year, likely will play left field when he comes back, which should help in his transition, though he will have to deal with the PED stigma and McCutchen could be moved before the deadline. 12-team Mixed: $55; 15-team Mixed: $55; 12-team NL: $77/owned (increased bid)

Jose Martinez, Cardinals – Martinez, sent down to Triple-A Louisville last Friday, did a quick U-Turn and heads back to the St. Louis with Randal Grichuk (back) landing on the disabled list. Prior to getting sent down, the rookie outfielder had impressed in his part-time role to the tune of a .280/.321/.464 slash line with five home runs and 17 runs batted in. With Tommy Pham hitting well and playing left field and Dexter Fowler now healthy in center field, Martinez likely will start in right field, as Stephen Piscotty, who was struggling at the plate, landed on the disabled list with a strained groin Saturday. Martinez needs to strike out less to have sustained success in the majors. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11.

Magneuris Sierra, Cardinals – Sierra was called up to replace Stephen Piscotty, who landed on the disabled list with a strained groin Saturday. This is Sierra's third stint in the majors this year, as he was previously up in May and June. Sierra fared fairly well in his first two stints and had been playing well as Double-A Springfield after beginning the year at High-A Palm Beach. He likely will back up Jose Martinez, who replaced Piscotty in right field, St. Louis is thin in the position player department. Sierra is a speed demon with the hit tool and glove to make him a mainstay in the big leagues, who should grow into his power as he matures. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (more in keeper leagues)

Injury activation/updates:

David Dahl, Rockies – Dahl, sidelined all season with a stress reaction in his sixth rib, finally kicked off on a rehab assignment Wednesday, joining High-A Lancaster, and homered Thursday. This moves comes after he hit off a tee last week and felt no discomfort after getting shut down again almost a month ago. Dahl likely will need at least two weeks worth of games to find his batting eye and stroke due to the amount of time he has missed, though there is no specific timetable for his return. Even if he is able to return in the next few weeks, Dahl is not a lock to get more than a handful of starts per week as when everyone is healthy, Ian Desmond is in left, Charlie Blackmon in center and Carlos Gonzalez in right field. In addition, there is also a possibility Dahl could be optioned to the minors, but that seems remote at this time. (Just an FYI as likely still owned in most leagues, but if not, the bids should be $4/9/14.)

Travis Jankowski, Padres – Jankowski, sidelined for since April 20 with a fractured foot, was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment in the Arizona Fall League this past weekend. Before he was sidelined, Jankowski was batting just .160/.263/.180 in 59 plate appearances. Jankowski did steal 30 bases last year and was penciled in as the starting left fielder. He will need several weeks to regain his batting eye and stroke, and even after he is back, it's unclear if he will regain his starting left field job from Jose Pirela. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (early spec return bid)

Danny Santana, Braves – Santana, sidelined since July 6 with a bacterial infection on his leg, started for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday. He should rejoin the Braves on Monday, potentially continuing his role as the team's super-utility player. Santana finished last month batting .302/.362/.512 while mainly serving as a pinch hitter. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $3

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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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