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. Cody Bellinger 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.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Chris ArcherPITSPC9OwnedOwned
Mike FoltynewiczATLSPC51116
Mitch KellerPITSPC/D147
Dinelson LametSDSPC269
Dustin MayLASPC3914
Conner MenezSFSPD015
Hector NoesiMIASPENoNo3
Joe RossWASSPD015
Steven BraultPITSP

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. Cody Bellinger 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.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Chris ArcherPITSPC9OwnedOwned
Mike FoltynewiczATLSPC51116
Mitch KellerPITSPC/D147
Dinelson LametSDSPC269
Dustin MayLASPC3914
Conner MenezSFSPD015
Hector NoesiMIASPENoNo3
Joe RossWASSPD015
Steven BraultPITSPD2711
Johnny CuetoSFSPC015
Rich HillLASPC147
Pablo LopezMIASPD147
Kevin GinkelAZRPENo14
Joe KellyLARPENo25
Pedro StropCHISPD2711
Austin BriceMIARPD147
Victor CaratiniCHICD2711
Jonathan LucroyCHICD147
Francisco MejiaSDCC3610
Curt CasaliCINCENo15
Blake SwihartAZCENo03
Edwin RiosLAD1BENoNo5
Isan DiazMIA2BC/D71422
Luis GuillormeNYM2BENoNo3
Joe PanikNYM2BD159
Ian HappCHI2BC147
Brad MillerPHI2BENoNo3
Ben ZobristCHI2BE147
Jon BertiMIA3BD2711
Deven MarreroMIA3BENoNo3
Evan LongoriaSF3BD511Owned
Asdrubal CabreraWASSSD1511
Gavin LuxLADSSB015
Enrique HernandezLADSSD2711
Chris TaylorLADSSD147
Aaron AltherrNYMOFENoNo2
Juan LagaresNYMOFENoNo4
Aristides AquinoCINOFC51116
Brian AndersonMIAOFD136
Lewis BrinsonMIAOFD2711
J.D. DavisNYMOFB612owned
Corey DickersonPHIOFD51119
Brian O'GradyCINOFENoNo4
Joey RickardSFOFENo15
Brandon NimmoNYMOFC015

STARTING PITCHER 

Chris Archer, Pirates: Archer has long flashed ace potential, but has steadily seen his ERA and WHIP rise over the past four seasons. A pair of outstanding starts last week has him back on the radar, pushing his ownership in mixed leagues to over 50 percent. In those two outings, Archer allowed three earned runs in 12 innings while striking out 15 batters.  His season ERA still sits at an ugly 5.23 with an equally unattractive 1.41 WHIP, but he can always be counted on for strikeouts – he owns a career 9.80 K/9. And if his strong week turns out to be an indication of his end-of-season outlook, the 30-year-old could end up being a difference-maker for fantasy squads down the stretch. 12-team Mixed: $9; 15-team Mixed: owned; 12-team NL: owned

Mike Foltynewicz, Braves: Folty, profiled a month ago, gets another mention as he was called back up to the majors this week. He looked to have his long-awaited coming out party last season by posting a 2.85 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 202:68 K:BB in 183 innings. However, as we noted in our pre-season outlook, advanced metrics showed some probable signs of decline this season, as his .251 BABIP was artificially low according to batted-ball and Statcast data. Foltynewicz didn't just fade but cratered earlier this year, seeing his 27.2 percent strikeout rate fall to 19.2 percent while his ERA spiked to 6.37 and landing in the minors. He righted the ship and improved his command at Triple-A Gwinnett by posting a 2.67 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 31:8 K:BB while not allowing a single home run over six appearances spanning 33.2 innings. Foltynewicz got the call when Kevin Gausman was designated for assignment and picked up the win Tuesday, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks over 5.1 innings while striking out seven in a 12-7 victory over the Twins. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16 (mildly aggressive bid)

Mitch Keller, Pirates – Keller, the Pirates' top pitching prospect, struggled in a trio of starts for the Pirates this season by posting a 10.50 ERA, 2.25 WHIP and 15:6 K:BB in 12 innings. Prior to his June call up, he compiled a 3.10 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 74:25 K:BB through 58 innings with Triple-A Indianapolis. Keller has endured a more difficult time in the minors since his demotion, with a 4.14 ERA in eight starts and allowing one run or less in four of those outings and three or more in the other four. He has incorporated a slider/cutter into his repertoire that previously consisted of a mid-90s fastball and curveball and is in line to join the big-league rotation next week following the recent demotion of Dario Agrazal. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (up in keeper leagues)

Dinelson Lamet, Padres: Lamet was recalled on July 4 after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery and has started six games. The best of those appearances came Tuesday, when he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and earned his first win in a 12-strikeout performance. Lamet flashed outstanding K potential as a rookie in 2017, whiffing 139 batters in 114.1 innings, while racking up 42 strikeouts in only 30 innings this season. His workload is likely to be handled carefully for the remainder of the year, but he could provide value for those in need of strikeouts. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $6; 12-team NL: $9

Dustin May, Dodgers: May, the Dodgers' top pitching prospect, was called up to make his major-league debut last Friday and replaced Ross Stripling (bicep). He took the loss against the Padres on Friday after surrendering four runs - including three earned - on nine hits while striking out three over 5.2 innings. May was provided a second start, giving up one run on five hits and a walk over 5.2 innings while striking out seven Wednesday against the Cardinals. With Stripling not ready, May will get at least one more start and could stick for a while in the LA rotation before moving to the bullpen later in the season. May compiled a 3.74 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 86:20 K:BB in 79.1 innings over 15 starts for Double-A Tulsa, earning a late June promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City. In five starts at that level, May owned a 2.30 ERA with a 24:9 K:BB. Nicknamed Gingergaard by some, May's mid-90s sinking fastball generates a ton of groundballs and is augmented by a developing curveball and cutter and excellent control. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14 (slightly higher than prior, up in keeper leagues)

Conner Menez, Giants: Menez was promoted to make a spot start July 21 against the Mets, replacing Drew Pomeranz in the Giants' rotation. At the time, he had recorded a 3.13 ERA in 95 innings at Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento, striking out an excellent 31.8 percent of opposing batters while walking a respectable 9.3 percent. Menez's ERA at Double-A was more than a run lower than at Triple-A, but he did have a 53:16 K:BB ratio in 35.1 innings at the higher level. He landed back in the minors for two weeks before getting the call back up this week to rejoin the starting rotation. Menez has given up seven earned runs on nine hits with a 10:5 K:BB over his 11 innings with the Giants this season but started Sunday and should remain in the team's rotation. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Hector Noesi, Marlins: Noesi was called up to start Tuesday against the Mets for his first outing in the big leagues since 2015 and gave up five runs on five hits and three walks over five innings. With Pablo Lopez not yet ready to return, Noesi is remaining in the Miami rotation for now and is starting Sunday against the Braves. He could be headed back to the minors after Sunday's start regardless of how he performs in the outing, though a better effort could give him at least one or two more turns until Lopez is ready - especially with Robert Dugger recently returning to Triple-A. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $3

Joe Ross, Nationals: Ross, a nightmare out of the bullpen this season, has excelled since moving into the rotation two starts ago. After posting a 9.85 ERA, 2.11 WHIP, and 25:13 K:BB over 24.2 innings largely out of the bullpen, Ross has only given up one run over 11.1 innings, although his 8:7 K:BB isn't exactly dominant. He's starting as a result of Max Scherzer (back) sidelined. So once Scherzer is ready to go, either Ross or Erick Fedde will move back to the pen or possibly be demoted, depending on who is pitching better. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Injury activations/updates

Steven Brault, Pirates: Brault, sidelined for a month with strained shoulder, returned from the injured list to start Tuesday against the Brewers. He allowed two runs on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts across 5.1 innings in a no-decision. Brault recorded a decent 4.15 ERA through nine starts and six relief appearances prior to the injury, pitching extremely well over his last seven starts with a 2.20 ERA in 41 innings. Barring any setbacks, he should remain in the Pirates' rotation the rest of the season. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

Johnny Cueto, Giants: Cueto is working his way back from August 2018 Tommy John surgery. Prior to going under the knife last year, he had posted a 3.23 ERA in 51 innings, but his fastball had dropped two MPH and his K rate had also declined, resulting in a 4.65 FIP. Cueto made his first rehab start in the Arizona League on Sunday by striking out five over two perfect innings, then tossed another two innings Saturday and hit 92 on the radar gun. He will make several more rehab appearances before possibly rejoining the Giants as a reliever in September and contending for a starting spot next spring. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (early spec return bid)

Rich Hill, Dodgers: Hill, sidelined since Jun. 20 with a strained flexor tendon, played catch from 75 feet Monday. He hopes to resume throwing bullpen sessions before the end of August, which would put him on track to return sometime in September. If all goes well, Hill could give a boost to standard roto league teams in playoff contention. For those with an open roster spot or IL space, you could do worse than stashing Hill and hoping he returns to his previous form. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (same early spec return bid)

Pablo Lopez, Marlins: Lopez, out since May 19 with a posterior shoulder strain, kicked off a rehab stint July 28 with Double-A Jacksonville. Manager Don Mattingly said last week he wants Lopez (shoulder) to build up to 100 pitches in his rehab assignment before the Marlins activate the right-hander from the 10-day injured list. Lopez returned to Miami and threw a bullpen session Friday and it's unclear when he will be activated, as he struggled in his three rehab starts by allowing 12 runs on 13 hits and walking four across just five innings while failing to hit 100 pitches. Hector Noesi has replaced the since-traded Zac Gallen in the Miami rotation and should stick as the Marlins' fifth starter while Lopez is on the comeback trail. Lopez went 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA this season, but he only managed 2-4 with a 6.82 ERA on the road. It all balanced out to a 5-5 record, 4.23 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 76.2 innings. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (early spec return bid)                                    

RELIEF PITCHER

Kevin Ginkel, Diamondbacks: Ginkel was promoted Monday from Triple-A Reno, replacing Zack Godley on the team's roster. He had been working as the closer at Reno, converting 11 of his 12 save chances and shining with a 1.78 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 63:14 K:BB in 35.1 innings. If he is able to carry his minor-league success forward, Ginkel could set up Archie Bradley and notch holds, adding value to those who play in leagues that use that category. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4

Joe Kelly, Dodgers: After a disastrous start to his first campaign with the Dodgers, Kelly has been lights-out since the start of June by compiling a 1.69 ERA and 32:8 K:BB in 21.1 innings during that span. It's hard to conceive of the Dodgers removing Kenley Jansen – who has blown two of his last five save opportunities in the midst of the worst season of his career - from the closer role he has held for the last eight years, but Kelly would likely be first in line to take over in such a scenario.  12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $5

Pedro Strop, Cubs: Craig Kimbrel landed on the injured list Monday with right knee inflammation, though he isn't expected to miss much more than the minimum. Steve Cishek appeared to be a potential replacement, but he landed on the injured list Saturday due to hip inflammation. That leaves the recently activated Strop (neck) as the most likely candidate to act as Chicago's closer. He struggled in the role earlier this season by converting only nine of 15 save opportunities, but has proved one of the most reliable arms out of the Cubs' bullpen for the past six seasons. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11        

Injury activations/updates

Austin Brice, Marlins: Brice, sidelined since July 16 with a right forearm flexor strain, kicked off a rehab stint this past week. Prior to getting hurt, Brice hadn't allowed a run in any of his last 10 appearances, recording a 15:1 K:BB over that stretch. On the year, he's registered a 1.88 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 38:14 K:BB in 38.1 innings of work. It's possible that upon coming back, Brice could get a chance at seeing a handful of save opportunities with the back end of the Marlins' bullpen in a state of flux. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

CATCHER

Victor Caratini/Jonathan Lucroy, Cubs: Willson Contreras will miss the next four weeks with a right hamstring injury suffered Aug. 3 against the Brewers. Caratini looked to be in line to start nearly every day while Contreras was sidelined, but the Cubs signed Jonathan Lucroy on Wednesday after he had been designated for assignment by the Angels. Lucroy posted a .242/.310/.371 slash line with seven home runs and 30 RBI in 74 games with Los Angeles before he was DFA'd. He figures to split time behind the dish with Caratini, though it's unclear how the playing time will be allocated. If targeting one, go for Caratini, even though Lucroy provides much more catching experience. Caratini - 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (same as prior); Lucroy - 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Francisco Mejia, Padres: Mejia is back on the radar following an impressive four-game stretch last week in which he collected 10 hits in 16 at-bats and appeared to seize control of San Diego's starting catcher duties. We have seen flashes of offensive brilliance from him before, like when he hit .348 in Spring Training and .365 in an 18-game minor-league stint over May and June. Although his defensive skills behind the plate need plenty of work, the Padres may opt to keep Mejia in the lineup for as long as he continues to wield a hot bat.  12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $6; 12-team NL: $10

Injury activations/updates

Curt Casali, Reds: Casali, on the injured list since July 18 with a sprained right knee, kicked off a rehab assignment for Triple-A Louisville on Friday. Prior to getting injured, he slashed .253/.337/.420 with six home runs and 24 RBI over 172 plate appearances. Tucker Barnhart, productive at the plate since he came off the IL, will likely split playing time with Casali once the latter is activated. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Blake Swihart, Diamondbacks: Swihart, out since Jun. 1 with a strained right oblique, was activated Wednesday after completing a rehab assignment. He struggled the first few weeks of the season before getting designated for assignment by Boston. Swihart's fortunes didn't improve after coming to Arizona, though he did see playing time in left and right field in addition to behind the plate. As a result, he should resume his role as a spot starter and pinch hitter. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $3

FIRST BASE

Edwin Rios, Dodgers: Rios was promoted in late June for a two-week cup of coffee in the majors. He got off to a slow start to the season at the dish in the Pacific Coast League, but has hit fairly consistently over the course of his minor-league career and earned the call up after impressing with a .321 average with eight homers and a 1.066 OPS in the month of June. Rios will see the occasional start, as he did in his first go-round, but likely will be used mainly as a pinch hitter for the Dodgers. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5

SECOND BASE

Isan Diaz, Marlins: Miami manager Don Mattingly said late last month that Diaz should be in the majors before September. He was certainly correct, as the infielder was promoted to Miami on Monday. Diaz was traded to the Marlins before the 2018 season in the deal that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee. He excelled at Double-A Jacksonville last season, earning a promotion after 83 games to Triple-A New Orleans. Diaz struggled with the Jumbo Shrimp, slashing just .204/.281/.358 in 36 games, but took the next step forward at that level this season by hitting .305/.395/.578 with 26 homers in 102 contests. As we noted in our update when he was promoted: "Scouting reports project Diaz as a future average starter, with competent defense at second base along with above-average contact and average power, though the power he showed this season could suggest that he has the ceiling to be at least an above-average starter." Look for Diaz, who hit a home run in his major-league debut against the Mets, to play second and third base and appear in the lineup almost daily. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $14; 12-team NL: $22

Luis Guillorme/Joe Panik, Mets: Guillorme and Adeiny Hechavarria were in line to see most of the action at second base with Robinson Cano out for the season following a torn hamstring, but Hechavarria was DFA'ed when the Mets signed Joe Panik after San Francisco designated him for assignment this week and passed through waivers. Panik, born in Yonkers, played at St. John's University and served as the starting shortstop for the Red Storm in the first ever game at Citi Field. He should start most games against righties and could sit versus southpaws. Panik brings a solid glove but was hitting just .235 with a career-low .627 OPS before the DFA, as injuries have materially impacted his bat since his All-Star season in 2015 - although he did rebound in 2017, before fading the past two seasons. Perhaps a change of scenery coupled with working with hitting coach Chili Davis will help spark Panik's bat. Guillorme - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $3; Panik - 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Ian Happ, Cubs: Happ spent most of the season in the minors where he struggled to find a rhythm at the plate until suddenly turning things around by hitting .324 in 20 games with Triple-A Iowa in July. He was subsequently called up to the majors where he collected only two hits in his first 21 at-bats. Happ has hit an offensive stride recently by going 8-for-15 with three home runs over a five-game stretch. It remains to be seen whether he'll be able to hit for average for a prolonged period, but he did record 39 combined long balls over his first two major-league seasons and promise to be a decent power source from an infield position. The recent acquisition of Tony Kemp and eventual return of Ben Zobrist do pose a threat to Happ's playing time, but his ability to play all three outfield positions should allow him to continue receiving ample at-bats. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Injury activations/updates

Brad Miller, Phillies: Miller, sidelined since July 24 with a right hip flexor strain, was activated off the injured list Sunday. He could see time at third base behind Scott Kingery, who should see most of the action with Sean Rodriguez also vying for opportunities. Miller could also see some playing time at second base, but don't expect him to receive many at-bats. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $3

Ben Zobrist, Cubs: Zobrist, on MLB's restricted list since May 8 due to his potential divorce, began a rehab assignment with Low-A South Bend last Friday. He rehabbed there through Sunday before moving up to High-A Myrtle Beach on Thursday. Because Zobrist was on the non-suspended restricted list, his rehab can last up to 30 days before activation, so look for him to also see time at Triple-A Iowa - but will need to be reinstated by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the postseason. Prior to going on the restricted list, Zobrist was slashing .241/.343/.253 with one extra-base hit in 99 plate appearances. Last season, the 14-year veteran enjoyed a resurgence by slashing .305/.378/.440 with nine home runs, 58 RBI and 67 runs scored. Chicago acquired Tony Kemp to see time at second base, so Zobrist may resume his utility role when he returns. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

THIRD BASE

Jon Berti/Deven Marrero, Marlins: Berti, profiled last week when he was activated off the injured list after being sidelined since May 19 with a left oblique strain, gets another mention as he may be in line for additional playing time. Neil Walker landed on the 10-day injured list with a jammed right index finger and Miguel Rojas soon followed with a strained right hamstring, opening the door for Berti to start daily at shortstop and hit in the leadoff spot. Prior to being sidelined, Berti slashed .237/.324/.373 in 22 games and he has already stolen four bases since returning. Marrero, called up Wednesday, provides the Marlins with infield depth while Rojas is on the mend. Berti - 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11; Marrero - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $3

Injury activations/updates

Evan Longoria, Giants: Longoria, sidelined since July 14 due to a flare-up of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, rejoined the Giants last Sunday. After struggling mightily early, he had flipped the switch by getting hot at the plate to start July against the Padres, going 7-for-13 with a whopping four homers and nine RBI over the three-game set. He added two more home runs in the next five games before he was sidelined. If Longoria can regain that form after returning, he should continue to start over Pablo Sandoval, who has failed to take advantage of Longoria's recent absence. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: Owned

SHORTSTOP

Asdrubal Cabrera, Nationals: Cabrera, designated for assignment by the Rangers after the July 31 trade deadline passed, signed with the Nationals. He posted a .235/.318/.393 slash line with 12 home runs and four stolen bases in 93 games with the Rangers, but he was given his walking papers with the team looking to the future. Cabrera, who played all 93 of his games with Texas at third base, started at second base Wednesday for the Nationals. He will see time around the infield, including possibly at first base where the team lacks a true backup right now. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $11

Gavin Lux, Dodgers – Lux, profiled a few weeks ago, gets more press as his bat has yet to slow down at Triple-A Albuquerque. Drafted in the first round in 2016, he took a major step forward last season by finishing the season at Double-A Tulsa. Lux started this year at that level but was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City after slashing an impressive .313/.375/.521 with 13 home runs and seven stolen bases in 64 games for the Drillers. He has continued to rake since moving up a level, hitting .452/.537/.841 with nine home runs through Tuesday's games. Lux projects to be the Dodgers' starting second baseman of the future after getting drafted as a shortstop. With Corey Seager and Max Muncy currently manning those spots, there is no reason for LA to start Lux's service clock to sit him on the bench, though he is still worth a stash just in case he is promoted. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (stash bid)

Injury activations/updates

Enrique Hernandez/Chris Taylor, Dodgers: Hernandez, out since late July with a sprained hand, resumed hitting in a batting cage this week. He is expected to travel with the team for the Dodgers' upcoming road trip, which begins Tuesday in Miami, and could be activated soon after. Prior to being sidelined, Hernandez was slashing .238/.309/.438 but had 16 home runs and 52 RBI over 98 games, seeing most of his action at second base over 74 games. Taylor, who suffered a non-displaced fracture on the outside of his forearm when he was hit by a pitch July 14 against the Red Sox, was expected to miss four-to-six weeks. Prior to getting hurt, he had started to heat up at the plate by hitting .312 with four homers in June. Taylor resumed hitting in the cage and could start a rehab assignment in about a week before rejoining the Dodgers. His path to playing time will depend on the injury status of Alex Verdugo and Enrique Hernandez, as well as the looming promotion of Gavin Lux. Hernandez - 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11; Taylor - 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

OUTFIELD

Aaron Altherr/Juan Lagares, Mets: Altherr and Lagares are each in line for an uptick in playing time due to Robinson Cano's torn hamstring. Jeff McNeil became the most logical candidate to shift back to the infield to fill the void, leaving Altherr and Lagares to vie for a spot in the outfield alongside regulars Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis. However, the recent signing of Joe Panik means McNeil should continue to spend most of his time in right field. When McNeil moves back to the infield - possibly against southpaws - Altherr and/or Lagares will play the outfield. If targeting one of the two, Lagares is likely the one to own despite his poor batting average, at least until Dominic Smith's foot has healed and he is activated. Altherr - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2; Lagares - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4

Brian Anderson, Marlins: Anderson has shifted between third base and right field throughout the season and is therefore eligible at both positions in most leagues. He's experienced an up-and-down sophomore campaign, but has recently settled into an offensive groove by going .429 with four home runs in his last eight games. Although Anderson's batting average has dropped 19 points from when he hit .273 last season, he has compensated with greater power by smacking 20 homers in 418 at-bats aver slugging only 11 in 590 at-bats in 2018. The Marlins' offense doesn't strike fear in many opponents, but he provides potential to produce decent counting stats the rest of the way as a hot hitter in the middle of their lineup.  12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team NL: $6

Aristides Aquino, Reds: Aquino, profiled last week when he was promoted to replace Yasiel Puig, gets another mention as he has been serving as the Reds' primary right fielder. He slashed .299/.356/.656 with 28 home runs in 78 games at Triple-A Louisville to earn the call up. Aquino has been raking since his promotion, earning the starting job and relegating lefty hitters Jesse Winker and Josh VanMeter as well as Phillip Ervin to backup duty. His power and home ballpark promise significant value, as does a three-homer performance on Saturday. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16

Lewis Brinson, Marlins: Brinson, having a solid season at Triple-A New Orleans, was promoted Monday. Despite an absurdly low contact rate, he hit .270/.361/.510 with 16 home runs, 56 runs batted in and 16 stolen bases over 81 games to earn the call up. Brinson struggled in his first stints in the majors after hitting .190/.240/.321 in the first 157 career games, so he should start in center or left field nearly every day for the Marlins. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

J.D. Davis, Mets: Injuries to Robinson Cano and Dominic Smith have resulted in a near-everyday role in the outfield for Davis, and he has responded by going .387 with four home runs in August. He's pushed his average to well above .300 for the season while flashing enough power to make him a worthwhile pickup in any format.  12-team Mixed: $4; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: owned

Corey Dickerson, Phillies: Dickerson's bat has remained scorching since coming over from Pittsburgh. Afforded additional playing time due to the absence of Jay Bruce (oblique), Dickerson has already blasted a pair of home runs in a handful of games with his new club. With Bruce put back on the injured list Saturday due to a flexor strain, Dickerson should remain in right field while his bat continues to produce results.  12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $19

Brian O'Grady, Reds: O'Grady was called up this week to receive his first shot in the majors. He slashed .277/.351/.562 with 27 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 100 games for Triple-A Louisville, albeit with a 28.4 percent strikeout rate. O'Grady will see an occasional start in the outfield, but is likely to be mainly deployed as a pinch hitter. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4

Joey Rickard, Giants: The Giants claimed Rickard, designated for assignment by the Orioles, off waivers on Jun. 21. He had struggled earlier in the season in Baltimore, but raked in the minors by slashing .358/.406/.568 with 34 runs scored and 20 RBI for Triple-A Sacramento. Rickard was called up to replace Steven Duggar (shoulder) on the Giants' active roster and will likely serve as the team's fourth outfielder, at least until Alex Dickerson (oblique) returns. For now, look for Austin Slater, Kevin Pillar and Mike Yastrzemski to man the outfield most days with Rickard and Stephen Vogt also factoring in the mix. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Injury activations/updates

Brandon Nimmo, Mets: Nimmo, sidelined since May 21 with a bulging disk in his neck suffered when he crashed into the wall trying to make a catch Apr. 14 against the Braves, was shut down from all baseball activities for a month on Jun. 18. He resumed regular baseball activities a few weeks ago, and there is optimism he might begin a rehab assignment within the next week. If all goes well, Nimmo could be activated later this month and see time at all three outfield spots after suffering through a nightmarish campaign following his breakout last season. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (same early spec return bid)

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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.
Paul Martinez
Paul joined RotoWire in 2019 as a contributor of MLB content. He has since expanded his repertoire to coverage of the NFL and NBA, and he earned a nomination for the FSWA Player Notes Writer of the Year award for 2022. Paul has been playing fantasy sports since the turn of the century and is the first three-sport winner in the esteemed Couch Wars league. He considers Dodger Stadium his second home during baseball season.
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