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 article is part of our NL FAAB Factor series.

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.

Bids in general are best guesstimates. With so much uncertainty this season, those values may be even greater estimates than usual. The FAAB chart below lets users easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The chart, which is 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. An "A" grade is reserved for a high-impact prospect stepping into an everyday role.

If you have questions on players, I'm happy to provide my thoughts in the comments.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Tyler AndersonSFSPENo14
Cole HamelsATLSPD159
Mitch KellerPITSPD4812
Kwang Hyun KimSTLSPC17RosteredRostered
Tyler MahleCINSPC24RosteredRostered
Daniel Ponce de LeonSTLSPD172533
Vince VelasquezPHISPE259
Tejay AntoneCINRPD148
Genesis Cabrera/Ryan Helsley/Alex Reyes/Tyler WebbSTLRPD14

This article is part of our NL FAAB Factor series.

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.

Bids in general are best guesstimates. With so much uncertainty this season, those values may be even greater estimates than usual. The FAAB chart below lets users easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The chart, which is 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. An "A" grade is reserved for a high-impact prospect stepping into an everyday role.

If you have questions on players, I'm happy to provide my thoughts in the comments.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Tyler AndersonSFSPENo14
Cole HamelsATLSPD159
Mitch KellerPITSPD4812
Kwang Hyun KimSTLSPC17RosteredRostered
Tyler MahleCINSPC24RosteredRostered
Daniel Ponce de LeonSTLSPD172533
Vince VelasquezPHISPE259
Tejay AntoneCINRPD148
Genesis Cabrera/Ryan Helsley/Alex Reyes/Tyler WebbSTLRPD148
Stefan CrichtonARZRPD182634
Kyle McGowinWASRPE124
Adrian MorejonSDRPENoNo3
Sam SelmanSFRPENoNo2
Jorge AlfaroMIACD17RosteredRostered
Andrew KnappPHICENoNo1
Jacob NottinghamMILCENoNo3
Jay BrucePHI1BD369
Josh FuentesCOL1BD81624
Jedd GyorkoMIL1BE258
Jake NollWAS1BENoNo0
Jose OsunaPIT1BENoNo0
Scott KingeryPHI2BDNo13
Jurickson ProfarSD2BD60RosteredRostered
Edwin RiosLAD3BD4816
Andres GimenezNYMSSD41018
Miguel RojasMIASSD1530Rostered
Shogo AkiyamaCINOFD2610
Corey DickersonMIAOFD36Rostered
Brian GoodwinCINOFC1020Rostered
Jason MartinPITOFDNoNo0
Mickey MoniakPHIOFDNoNo0
Tyler O'NeillSTLOFD51015
Daulton VarshoARZOFD51015

STARTING PITCHER

Tyler Anderson, Giants: Fantasy managers looking for two-start pitchers during the final week of the season may find themselves set back by a paucity of options, as the reality teams with a playoff spot either out of reach or wrapped up may not want to tax their top arms in a meaningless end-of-season start. Enter Anderson, whose Giants are currently battling for the eighth and final postseason entry in the National League. While the southpaw has been far from effective this season, he does get two starts this week - including one against a Padres' squad who will likely have little to play for by the time Friday's doubleheader kicks off. Anderson's 5.06 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 6.2 K/9 this season are underwhelming overall, but he did throw six scoreless, three-hit innings against Seattle two starts ago.  12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4

Cole Hamels, Braves: Hamels finally made his 2020 debut Wednesday, tossing 3.1 innings and allowing three runs against Baltimore. He was held to 52 pitches in the outing, which does not bode well for his ability to pitch deep into games over the final week of the campaign. He still has two starts lined up as Atlanta seeks to see how he can fit into their playoff rotation, the first of which will come against Miami on Sunday. It would be a stretch to expect the veteran southpaw to post difference-making numbers after spending most of the season on the shelf, but he could tally just enough strikeouts and – supported by a potent Atlanta offense – perhaps pick up a win or two to help put your fantasy squad over the top.   12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Mitch Keller, Pirates: Keller has only one start during the coming week, but it will come against a Cleveland squad ranking near the bottom of the league in runs scored this season. Keller is certain to see a boost in interest after throwing six no-hit innings against St. Louis on Saturday before being pulled to preserve his arm. The fact the right-hander is unlikely to go deep in his final start after spending much of the season on the injured list must be taken into consideration, but Keller remains a talented young arm who offers the ability to dominate the opponent in any given outing.   12-team Mixed: $4; 15-team Mixed: $8; 12-team NL: $12

Kwang Hyun Kim, Cardinals: Kim is unlikely to be on the waiver wire in deep and NL-only leagues, but there is a chance he can still be scooped up in shallower formats. If another savvy competitor hasn't already beat you to him, it makes sense to grab the southpaw immediately. Kim has been dominant as a starter this season, logging a 1.36 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 21:10 K:BB over 33 innings. An early-September stay on the injured list interrupted his momentum slightly, but the 32-year-old returned to throw seven scoreless innings in his first start back. Kim's 3.40 FIP and .193 BABIP on the season suggests a touch of luck, but he remains a strong pickup given the fact his final start will come against a Brewers' squad that ranks in the bottom-10 in runs scored this season.  12-team Mixed: $17; 15-team Mixed: Rostered; 12-team NL: Rostered

Tyler Mahle, Reds: As with Kim, it may be too late to find Mahle on the waiver wire in many formats. However, the right-hander remained available in approximately half of mixed leagues as of Saturday, so it makes sense to perform due diligence in case he is still up for grabs. Through eight starts this season, Mahle has yet to give up more than three earned runs in a single outing, helping him post a solid 3.97 ERA. More impressively, the 25-year-old has registered an outstanding 11.1 K/9 and has collected double-digit strikeouts on two separate occasions. Mahle has only one start this week, but it comes against the aforementioned Milwaukee offense that has struggled to put runs on the board throughout the campaign.   12-team Mixed: $24; 15-team Mixed: Rostered; 12-team NL: Rostered

Daniel Ponce de Leon, Cardinals: Another one-start pitcher this week going up against – you guessed it – the Brewers, Ponce de Leon is able to be a difference-maker for managers willing to roll the dice on him. While his 5.74 ERA and 1.50 WHIP seem unappealing on the surface, the right-hander has turned a corner in his last two starts by giving up a combined four earned runs while striking out 18 over 11 innings. Ponce de Leon's ability to collect strikeouts in bunches is his most tantalizing quality, and it bears mentioning he has improved his control with only three walks over the two impressive starts after issuing 15 free passes over his first 15.2 frames.  12-team Mixed: $17; 15-team Mixed: $25; 12-team NL: $33

Vince Velasquez, Phillies: Velasquez is coming off his best start of the season, allowing one run on two hits over six innings to pick up the win over Toronto on Saturday. That comes on the heels of a nine-strikeout performance two starts before, lending hope the veteran has figured things out in the waning weeks of the campaign. Velasquez's 5.46 ERA on the season isn't pretty, but his FIP sits over a full run lower at 4.39. Perhaps most importantly, he's registered a 12.1 K/9 that would rank as the best mark of his career. Velasquez has likely earned another start given his strong performance Saturday, though he may have a short leash if the Phillies have not pushed ahead of the competition for one of the final playoff spots by mid-week.  12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

RELIEF PITCHER

Tejay Antone, Reds: Antone has been mentioned in this column before, though he was considered a starter at the time. The rookie has since settled into a relief role, but could feasibly earn another start down the stretch. In either capacity, Antone has been solid this season by compiling a 2.56 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 39:16 K:BB over 31.2 innings. He could be a sneaky pickup if the Reds do indeed decide to deploy him as a starter in the final week of the campaign. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $8

Genesis Cabrera/Ryan Helsley/Alex Reyes/Tyler Webb, Cardinals: Guessing who will get the next save chance for St. Louis may well be an exercise in futility. Reyes was initially seen as a candidate after Giovanny Gallegos (groin) was placed on the injured list, but he has been shut out of any opportunities thus far. Instead, Cabrera, Helsley and Webb have each picked up one save with no preference given to any particular reliever. Gallegos may be able to return soon, thus making each name on this list one to pass over. But if you're desperate for saves and have nowhere else to turn, a dart throw may be your best bet. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $8

Stefan Crichton, Diamondbacks: Picking up a reliable closer is typically tough at this point in the season, so Crichton's bid price is driven up by his seeming stranglehold on the ninth-inning role in Arizona. The right-hander has notched four saves since Sep. 11 and has not allowed any hitters to reach base over that stretch. He's also recorded 23 strikeouts over 24.2 innings on the campaign, enough to inspire confidence he can continue succeeding in high-leverage situations. If you're in need of saves, there's unlikely to be a better option than Crichton on the waiver wire. Spend accordingly.  12-team Mixed: $18; 15-team Mixed: $26; 12-team NL: $34

Kyle McGowin, Nationals: McGowin picked up a save against the Rays on Wednesday, striking out the side in a perfect 10th inning after Daniel Hudson blew his fifth opportunity of the campaign. McGowin offers some value in any role given the fact he has racked up 12 strikeouts over 7.1 innings while not yet yielding a run this season, but the clear hope for anyone spending FAAB on him is that a Nationals' team with nothing left to play for will reward him with another save opportunity before the season ends. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $4

Adrian Morejon, Padres: Morejon has started three games this season, but has yet to go more than three innings. His value lies in the opportunity to pick up an occasional win in long relief for a Padres' team set both in its starting rotation and high-leverage bullpen spots. The southpaw has posted solid numbers this season (2.87 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 20:2 K:BB over 15.2 innings), so he can offer some help in NL-only leagues for managers looking to solidify ratios and Ks. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $3

Sam Selman, Giants: Selman was the recipient of a save opportunity Thursday, which he converted despite issuing a walk and hitting a batter. He was then deployed in the seventh inning Saturday and yielded three earned runs while retiring only one batter, dampening the idea he could emerge as go-to closer down the stretch. The Giants remain uncommitted to handing over the ninth-inning job to any particular reliever, so Selman could receive another opportunity though a FAAB bid at this point may best be accompanied by a four-leaf clover. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2

CATCHER

Jorge Alfaro, Marlins: Many managers cut ties with Alfaro when the Marlins were hit with a COVID-19 outbreak at the start of the season. It took some time for the backstop to get things going after making his return, but he has looked excellent since Sep. 8, posting a .367 average along with three home runs, 13 RBI and a stolen base. That sort of production is difficult to find in a catcher, and Alfaro should get plenty of opportunity to play down the stretch with Miami shockingly in the heat of a playoff race.  12-team Mixed: $17; 15-team Mixed: Rostered; 12-team NL: Rostered

Andrew Knapp, Phillies: Knapp has taken the opportunity to step into a starting role due to J.T. Realmuto's hip injury and has performed reasonably well by hitting .250 with five RBI and four walks over seven games. The backstop carries some potential at the plate as long as he starts, but it's uncertain how long that will be the case with Realmuto possibly in line for an early-week return. Knapp is far from the worst offensive catcher in the league, but he should only be kept as long as Realmuto remains out.  12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $1

Jacob Nottingham, Brewers: It could be time to take a look at the Sheriff of…splitting time with Omar Narvaez behind the plate. (Credit for that wordplay goes to my colleague Jan Levine, who has graciously allowed me to take over his column this week.) While Nottingham has started three of the last four games for Milwaukee, it bears mentioning two of those contests came against opposing left-handed starters and the other took place as part of a doubleheader. It is therefore unclear whether Nottingham has taken over a definite starting role or is simply part of a platoon. Regardless, Nottingham deserves consideration based on his recent production, as he has drilled a pair of home runs and collected seven RBI over the three-game stretch. There has always been some power in his bat, so you could do worse if in need of a catcher - even if Nottingham yields some time back to Narvaez over the final week.  12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $3

FIRST BASE

Jay Bruce, Phillies: Bruce returned from the injured list Friday and immediately slotted into the starting lineup, going 1-for-7 with a double over the next two games. The veteran is hitting only .218 this season but has six home runs in 78 at-bats, which is pretty much in line with what is expected of him at this point in his career. Bruce is likely to spend plenty of time at designated hitter but can pad his playing opportunities by filling in part-time at first base for Rhys Hoskins, who may miss the season with an elbow injury. Pick up the slugger and hope for a vintage power surge if you are in need of home runs.   12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $6; 12-team NL: $9

Josh Fuentes, Rockies: Fuentes has seized hold of the first-base job in Colorado with a strong showing since Sept. 11. Over an eight-game span, he has gone 10-for-30 with a home run, two doubles and four RBI. The 27-year-old has displayed decent power at the minor-league level – he hit 17 homers in 402 at-bats at the Triple-A level last season – though the fact the Rockies are on the road over the final week of the campaign somewhat dampens his outlook. Still, Fuentes could be a difference-maker in the final week if he continues to wield a hot stick.  12-team Mixed: $8; 15-team Mixed: $16; 12-team NL: $24

Jedd Gyorko, Brewers: Gyorko has quietly enjoyed a strong season, slashing .284/.369/.580 with eight home runs and 16 RBI. He has taken over an everyday role at first base since Sep. 8, going 12-for-39 with three home runs and seven RBI over 12 games. The Brewers sit on the edge of a playoff spot heading into the final week of the campaign, so they should do everything they can to get their best bats – including Gyorko's – into the lineup. The veteran has hit as many as 30 home runs in an MLB season, so there is some track record to suggest he can continue to be a decent source of power.  12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $8

Jake Noll, Nationals: Noll was called up early last week after Brock Holt was placed on the paternity list. He hasn't gotten much playing time since, going 2-for-6 over three games. However, Noll is a .278 career hitter in the minors and has shown some pop, making him a speculative add in the hope the Nationals will elect to give him more starts over the final week as they are far out of the playoff picture.  12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $0

Jose Osuna, Pirates: Osuna represents another speculative add who could get more playing time over the final week for a team that has no shot at making the playoffs. The 27-year-old struggled mightily before being sent to the team's alternate training site Sep. 2, but was brought back up Thursday and went deep against St. Louis on Saturday. Osuna hit 10 homers in 261 at-bats with the Pirates last season, though he has shown only moderate power in the minors.   12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $0

SECOND BASE

Scott Kingery, Phillies: Kingery was a useful fantasy asset with 19 home runs and 15 stolen bases last season, but has yet to find a groove in 2020 after slashing a paltry .148/.227/.250 without having attempted a single stolen base. He continues to be in the lineup most days, so there's always a chance he can get on a hot streak and get back to being a multi-category contributor.  12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $3

Jurickson Profar, Padres: A slow start to the season soured many fantasy managers on Profar, but it is nonetheless surprising he remains available in over 50 percent of mixed leagues. The 27-year-old has taken off since Aug. 27, slashing .394/.414/.576 with three home runs, 13 RBI and three stolen bases over 20 games. To boot, Profar has spent the latter part of the season in left field, giving him multi-position eligibility after starting the campaign at second base. The return of Tommy Pham may cut down on Profar's playing time somewhat, but he is still worth a priority add for his ability to contribute in multiple categories. 12-team Mixed: $60; 15-team Mixed: Rostered; 12-team NL: Rostered

THIRD BASE

Edwin Rios, Dodgers: Rios is eligible at both first and third base, though Justin Turner's recent battle with a hamstring injury has allowed Rios to play more frequently at the hot corner of late. The 26-year-old boasts undeniable power, as evidenced by the nine long balls he hit in his first 110 big-league at-bats. Interestingly, Rios's average has declined sharply this year to .222 despite the fact he has shaved nearly 15 points off his strikeout rate, with a .209 BABIP providing a logical rationale. His .308 xBA provides a more promising view of his ability to hit for average, and the Dodgers remain high on his ability at the plate. With LA having already wrapped up home-field advantage in the opening round of the postseason, it stands to reason Rios could see a fair amount of playing time in the final week if the team's veterans receive more frequent opportunities to rest.  12-team Mixed: $4; 15-team Mixed: $8; 12-team NL: $16

SHORTSTOP

Andres Gimenez, Mets: Gimenez has taken over the large part of a platoon at shortstop for the Mets, thanks in large part to his contributions at the plate. Though he lacks power, Gimenez has proven to be a valuable fantasy asset by compiling a .275 average and seven stolen bases on the season. His theft attempts have tailed off in September, but the 22-year-old has upped his slash line to .298/.393/.468 this month while scoring 12 runs in 16 games.   12-team Mixed: $4, 15-team Mixed: $10; 12-team NL: $18

Miguel Rojas, Marlins: Given Rojas's extended stretch of superb hitting and multi-category contributions, it comes as a surprise he is rostered in less than 25 percent of mixed leagues. The veteran is slashing .347/.431/.574 through 116 plate appearances and has contributed just enough in the way of power (four home runs) and speed (three steals) to be considered more than just a batting-average booster. His offensive ability is legit and he's displayed his customary contact skills this season with a 12.1 percent strikeout rate while registering a career-best 11.4 percent walk rate. Miami could be challenged for a playoff spot over the final week, so Rojas figures to be in the lineup every day.  12-team Mixed: $15; 15-team Mixed: $30; 12-team NL: Rostered

OUTFIELD

Shogo Akiyama, Reds: Akiyama got off to a tough start in his first major-league season, hitting .196 through the end of August. However, the 32-year-old has looked like a different hitter in September, slashing .333/.492/.378 over 17 games. The turnaround led Cincinnati to move Akiyama back up to the leadoff spot where he is better able to set the table for the heart of the lineup. From a fantasy perspective, his most import tool is his speed with six stolen bases on the campaign - including four this month. There is some concern about Akiyama's playing time with both Nick Senzel and Jesse Winker having recently returned to action, but he remains one of the better waiver-wire options for those in needs of steals. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $6; 12-team NL: $10

Corey Dickerson, Marlins: Dickerson is another Marlin who figures to see plenty of playing time over the final week. His average is down to .251 this season thanks largely to a considerable drop in BABIP, but he has hit a healthy .319 with five multi-hit efforts since Sep. 8. Dickerson does enough in the power department (seven homers) to be rostered in most leagues.  12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $6; 12-team NL: Rostered

Brian Goodwin, Reds: Goodwin remains available in about 75 percent of mixed leagues, though he has shown enough of a power-speed combination to deserve rostering at a higher rate. While his average sits at .219 on the season, he has gone deep six times and swiped five bags. Goodwin has hit only .167 since joining the Reds at the trade deadline, but has notched four stolen bases while receiving regular playing time. He may drain your batting average a bit, but Goodwin remains a worthwhile add for his ability to contribute in multiple categories.  12-team Mixed: $10; 15-team Mixed: $20; 12-team NL: Rostered

Jason Martin, Pirates: Martin was recently recalled from the Pirates' alternate training site. He has yet to log a hit in 11 plate appearances this season, but has demonstrated both power and speed in the minors. The 25-year-old could be worth a look as a multi-category contributor if Pittsburgh decides to give him a longer look in the final week. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $0

Mickey Moniak, Phillies: Moniak is another recent callup who can help in the power and speed departments if provided enough playing time. The former first-overall draft pick hit 11 homers and stole 15 bases in the minors last season, though his 111 strikeouts contributed to a modest .252 batting average. It is probably a reach to expect much from Moniak this season, but sometimes reaches pay off over a small sample size.  12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $0

Tyler O'Neill, Cardinals: O'Neill was mentioned in this column two weeks ago and has continued to be a decent source of power, slugging four home runs and collecting 11 RBI over his past 19 games. He's still hitting only .189 on the season, though the 25-year-old has upped that mark to .217 in September.    12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $10; 12-team NL: $15

Daulton Varsho, Diamondbacks: Another repeat presence in this column, Varsho has played primarily in the outfield this season but is most valuable in leagues that count him as eligible at catcher. The rookie continues to get playing time in Arizona despite hitting only .160 on the campaign. That is likely to scare away many fantasy managers if they are forced to insert him in the outfield, but Varsho's three homers and three stolen bases may be worth the low average if installed in the catcher slot. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $10; 12-team NL: $15

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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