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.

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 at least initially, 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 is 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 $
Graham AshcraftCINSPD147 (same injury return bid)
Bryce ElderATLSPD2711
Braxton GarrettMIASPC51116
MacKenzie GoreWASSPB/C147 (same injury stash and keeper bid)
Luis OrtizPITSPD2711 (upped bid)
Jose AlvaradoPHIRPD2711 (saves spec)
Giovanny GallegosSTLRPC/D16Rostered
Brusdar GraterolLARPC3914 (saves spec)
Chris MartinLARPD2711 (saves spec)
Evan PhillipsLA

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 at least initially, 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 is 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 $
Graham AshcraftCINSPD147 (same injury return bid)
Bryce ElderATLSPD2711
Braxton GarrettMIASPC51116
MacKenzie GoreWASSPB/C147 (same injury stash and keeper bid)
Luis OrtizPITSPD2711 (upped bid)
Jose AlvaradoPHIRPD2711 (saves spec)
Giovanny GallegosSTLRPC/D16Rostered
Brusdar GraterolLARPC3914 (saves spec)
Chris MartinLARPD2711 (saves spec)
Evan PhillipsLARPC/D159 (saves spec)
Reyes MorontaAZRPD51116 (upped bid from prior)
Robert SuarezSDRPD159
Zack CollinsPITCENoNo6
Ford ProctorSFCENo06
Joey MenesesWAS1BC2535Rostered
Juan YepezSTL1BE159
Ji-hwan BaePIT2BD147
Jason VoslerSF3BENoNo6
Ezequiel TovarCOLSSB/C2711 (up in keeper leagues)
Peyton BurdickMIAOFENono4
Alec BurlesonSTLOFC159 (up in keeper leagues)
Sal FrelickMILOFB/C147 (spec call up bid)
Michael HermosilloCHIOFENoNo7
Austin SlaterSFOFD159

STARTING PITCHER

Graham Ashcraft, Reds: Ashcraft, sidelined with biceps soreness since his Aug. 14 start, returned to the Reds' rotation Saturday and gave up four runs on eight hits across four innings. He made a pair of rehab starts allowing two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and a walk over three innings for Double-A Chattanooga, but was hammered at Triple-A Louisville on Monday surrendering eight runs on 11 hits in 2.2 innings. Ashcraft had gotten off to a nice start to the second half with a 2.67 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 24:8 K:BB in 33.2 innings over his last five starts before landing on the IL. He should make two or three more starts for the Reds down the stretch. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (same injury return bid)

Bryce Elder, Braves: Elder was called up for his second start of the month Wednesday. The first was for Jake Odorizzi while this outing came in place of Spencer Strider (oblique). Elder's performance was brilliant again as he allowed just one run in 5.2 innings and only two from 18.2 major-league innings in his last three appearances. Though he's pitched at Triple-A Gwinnett for much of the season, he's proven he can succeed in the majors and should remain in the rotation with Strider landing on the injured list. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

Braxton Garrett, Marlins: Garrett, profiled two weeks ago, gets another mention as he was recalled and should remain in the Miami rotation the balance of the campaign. Demoted last week, he was called up to start Friday against the Nationals after Trevor Rogers (lat) was placed on the 15-day injured list. Garrett tossed six innings of one-run ball, limiting Washington to five hits and no walks with six strikeouts. Prior to that outing, he had made 14 major-league starts this year while posting a 3.68 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 73.1 innings, though his only start in the majors since Aug. 14 was on Sep. 12 where he was immediately sent back down. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16

MacKenzie Gore, Nationals: Gore, out since leaving his Jul. 25 start with a sore left elbow, made his third appearance for Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday. He's steadily progressed in his workload by going from 1.2 to 2.2 and finally four innings last Sunday. Gore will start Monday and go five frames in what should be his last rehab start as manager Dave Martinez recently said the club would like to get his pitch count to approximately 75 pitches before he comes off the IL. He held down a rotation spot for the Padres for the better part of the first half and struck out more than a batter per inning, but a few blowups in June and July inflated his ERA and WHIP to 4.50 and 1.47 before hitting the IL. Gore arrived in Washington as part of the Juan Soto deal and is viewed as a key rotation piece for the future. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team-NL: $7 (same injury stash bid, up in keeper leagues) 

Luis Ortiz, Giants: Ortiz, sent down last Sunday, was recalled to replace JT Brubaker (arm) in the Pirates' rotation. He started Tuesday against the Yankees and gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks while striking out five over five innings. Signed as an international free agent in October 2018, Ortiz made 26 appearances (25 starts) between Double-A and Triple-A with a 4.34 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 138:34 K:BB across 124.1 innings. The right-hander relies on his slider and 99 MPH fastball to retire hitters. Ortiz is set to start Sunday and should remain in the Bucs' rotation down the stretch. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (upped bid)

RELIEF PITCHER

Jose Alvarado, Phillies: Alvarado notched the save Thursday for the Phillies. David Robertson - who was warming up in the ninth that night - and Seranthony Dominguez have both struggled in September, so it's possible Alvarado could get some more save chances moving forward. He's produced a solid season with 19 holds with a 73:24 K:BB in 47.2 innings and 56 games. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (saves spec) 

Giovanny Gallegos, Cardinals: Gallegos recorded his 14th save of the year and first since Aug. 28 with a clean inning Thursday. Ryan Helsley came on in the eighth to face the heart of the Padres' lineup, opening the opportunity for Gallegos to pick up the save. Gallegos hasn't allowed a baserunner in seven of his eight outings this month and is holding batters to a .197 BAA on the season with a 67:13 K:BB from 56.1 innings. Helsley is still the closer, but Gallegos offers value in his role. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $6; 12-team NL: Rostered

Brusdar Graterol/Chris Martin/Evan Phillips, Dodgers: Craig Kimbrel's closer status is murky at best after he let in a run for the third time in four appearances Thursday. If manager Dave Martinez makes a change, Graterol, Martin, and Phillips are at the top of his list to slot into ninth-inning duty. Graterol, who missed over three weeks due to an elbow issue before being activated Thursday, tossed a scoreless inning in his return to action. Despite missing time twice due to injury, he's posted nine holds with a 2.96 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 40:10 K:BB in 45.2 innings. Martin notched the save Tuesday and has only been scored upon once over his last 14 appearances dating back to Aug. 15 while posting a 1.32 ERA, 0.44 WHIP and dazzling 20:0 K:BB through 13.2 innings and picking up a win, a hold and both his saves. Phillips has been brilliant all season with a 1.24 ERA, 0.74 WHIP 68:14 K:BB and 19 holds in 58 innings over 59 appearances. All may be in the mix, though Graterol's stuff and Martin's performances may have a slide edge despite how well Phillips has done. Graterol - 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14; Martin - 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11; Phillips - 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 (overall saves spec) 

Reyes Moronta, Diamondbacks: Moronta, profiled last week, gets another mention as he looks to be the favorite to close the rest of the season for the D-Backs. He sandwiched saves Tuesday and Saturday around a blown save and loss Thursday. This shows that Moronta has moved to the top of the ninth-inning pecking order in Arizona thanks to his solid enough September performance. His chances are also aided by the fact the rest of the team's back end of the pen has been awful. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16 (upped bid from prior)

Robert Suarez, Padres: Suarez, who was one of the top closers in Japan, signed a one-year deal with a player option for 2023 with San Diego last December. He got off to a brutal start and then was sidelined by a knee injury which landed him on the 60-day IL. Suarez has been brilliant since returning to action on Aug. 6 allowing only four runs on 14 hits with a 20:5 K:BB in 17.2 innings. He has been stellar this month while setting up Josh Hader, notching a pair of holds while not giving up a run across seven appearances. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

CATCHER 

Zack Collins, Pirates: Collins, promoted Sep. 13, has started four of the past five games for the Pirates while seeing time at catcher, first base and DH. He hasn't produced much, but does offer some pop in his bat and that makes him worth a spot in two-catcher, NL-only leagues. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $6 

Ford Proctor, Giants: Proctor, traded to Giants from the Rays on Aug. 1, raked in Triple-A after the deal slashing .267/.390/.448 with six home runs and 14 RBI over 34 games in Sacramento. He was promoted Saturday with Luis Gonzalez (back) going on the IL. He started at the keystone and batted eighth, so he could receive solid playing time the rest of the way. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $6

FIRST BASE 

Joey Meneses, Nationals: Meneses continues to rake at the plate for the Nationals. The 10-year minor-leaguer is making the most of his chances having maintained a .324/.359/.571 line with 11 homers and 27 runs batted in across 195 plate appearances. Meneses has shown no signs of slowing down, building off the success he enjoyed in the minors during 2018, 2021 and this year. If you jumped on board when he was promoted early last month, enjoy the ride. 12-team Mixed: $25, 15-team Mixed: $35; 12-team NL: Rostered

Juan Yepez, Cardinals: Yepez was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Monday to replace Nolan Gorman who was optioned down. He hit a pair of home runs and drove in 15 runs over the last 21 days in the minors prior to his call-up. Yepez provides the Cardinals depth at both corner infield positions and the outfield. The 24-year-old rookie blasted a home run Friday and has made four straight starts since being promoted. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

SECOND BASE

Ji-hwan Bae, Pirates: Bae had his contract selected by the Pirates and started at second while batting eighth Friday against the Cubs. He earned the promotion by posting a .291/.364/.432 slash line with eight home runs, 53 RBI, 81 runs and 30 steals in 108 games at Triple-A Indianapolis. Bae could also see time at shortstop and in the outfield down the stretch. He paid immediate dividends during his debut Saturday with a pair of steals and two runs driven in. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

THIRD BASE                                                                                              

Jason Vosler, Giants: Vosler was promoted back to the majors on Wednesday. Most of his playing time has been at Triple-A Sacramento having been sent back down in early August when J.D. Davis joined the team. Vosler slashed .288/.351/.530 with 10 RBI over 74 plate appearances with the parent club earlier this season and will operate as depth at first, second and third base. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $6

SHORTSTOP

Ezequiel Tovar, Rockies: Tovar, profiled last week as a probable call-up candidate before the end of the season, got the nod Thursday with Brendan Rodgers (hamstring) on the 10-day IL. On the injured list since July due to hip and groin issues, Tovar completed his rehab assignment and was sent to Triple-A Albuquerque last Thursday. He slashed .314/.383/.542 with 13 home runs, 47 RBI, 39 runs and 17 stolen bases over 66 games at Double-A Hartford to begin the season before getting hurt. Tovar is one of the Rockies' top prospects and played in five games at Triple-A while going 7-for-21 with a home run and a pair of runs drive in prior to his promotion. He should get solid playing time the remainder of the regular season. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (up in keeper leagues) 

OUTFIELD

Peyton Burdick, Marlins: Burdick was promoted Thursday with Joey Wendle (hamstring) going on injured reserve. Based on the .554 OPS he posted in his first 94 MLB at-bats earlier this season, it may be unrealistic to expect much production from him when in the lineup. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4 

Alec Burleson, Cardinals: Burleson has been seeing an uptick in playing time due to Tyler O'Neill (hamstring) landing on the IL last Saturday and Lars Nootbaar getting more work in center field due to that injury. Since then, Burleson has been filling the strong side of a platoon in the corner outfield with the switch-hitting Dylan Carlson and righty-hitting Ben DeLuzio. After a brilliant 2022 campaign at Triple-A Memphis where he slashed .332/.373/.534 with 20 home runs in 469 plate appearances, Burleson has yet to enjoy much success this season in the majors, though he did homer Friday and gets a short-term bump in value while O'Neill is out. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 (up in keeper leagues)

Sal Frelick, Brewers: Frelick, selected in the first round last season, continues to rake since being promoted to Triple-A Nashville on Aug. 7 going 23-for-60 with four home runs, 14 RBI and four steals over his last 13 games through Sep. 22. He earned that August call-up by impressing at Double-A Biloxi, continuing a trend since being drafted. If Milwaukee is eliminated from playoff contention, they may opt to promote Frelick since bringing him up won't impact his rookie status for next season. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (spec call up bid) 

Michael Hermosillo, Cubs: Hermosillo has seen a spike in playing time with Seiya Suzuki on the paternity and then restricted list. He's started in center field eight times during the Cubs' last nine games. With at-bats and any kind of production precious in NL-only leagues, enjoy the additional appearances while they last. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $7 

Austin Slater, Giants: Slater returned to action Tuesday after missing 14 games with a dislocated left pinkie that he suffered on a stolen-base attempt against the Padres on Aug. 30. Now active, look for him to receive most of his action against left-handed starters - mainly in center field -though he could also start in either corner slot. Slater provides a solid OBA and a bit of speed to the Giants and his fantasy rosters. 12-team Mixed: $1: 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

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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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