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NL FAAB Factor: Two Brewers Starters Worth a Bid

Jan Levine

Levine covers baseball, basketball and hockey for RotoWire. In addition to his column writing, he's the master of the MLB and NHL cheatsheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets.

Starting Pitchers:

Jhoulys Chacin – Chacin tossed eight scoreless innings Saturday against the Dodgers to earn his ninth win of the season. He struck out two and did not issue a walk. Chacin is still available in a lot of leagues, but perhaps this performance will get more people to take notice. He's now sporting a ridiculous 0.95 ERA over his last six starts and has five wins during that span for the red-hot Rockies. Keep in mind, however, that he's been much better away from Coors Field, so approach his home start Friday against the Giants with a bit of caution. Mixed: $15.

Chris Narveson – Narveson gave up one run on six hits and two walks while striking out seven over six innings against the Astros on Monday – his fourth quality start in a row. Over that stretch, Narveson has struck out 30 batters over 26.1 innings, giving him 122K in 149.2 IP. Narveson’s overall numbers are nothing special, but he is on a roll and may be worth a look in the last couple weeks. Mixed: $6.

Felipe Paulino – Paulino, who had been out with right shoulder tendinitis, was activated from the disabled list last week. He pitched an inning in relief Wednesday and will remain in that role for the remainder of the year. Paulino will likely have what the team is referring to as "scheduled relief appearances", where he will pitch on a given day if the situation warrants it, and simply throw in the bullpen if it doesn't. His value in single-season leagues is basically nil, but he has some value in keeper leagues because he will likely be in the Astros rotation next season. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Mark Rogers – We profiled Rogers last week when he was promoted to the bigs, but he deserves another mention this week because he is scheduled to start on Friday against the Marlins. As we wrote last week, shoulder injuries have kept Rogers, a former first-round pick, from reaching his full potential, but he's healthy now. In 112.2 innings at Double-A this season, Rogers had a 3.71 ERA and 1.61 K/BB ratio. Rogers misses bats, as evidenced by his 8.98 K/9 rate, but his 5.58 BB/9 rate is scary stuff, so temper your expectations. Still, his upside is intriguing. Mixed: No; NL: $4.

Jeff Samardzija – Samardzija, who was recalled last week, started Monday against the Cardinals and threw 5.2 shutout innings, allowing six hits and four walks with one strikeout. Samardzija took the rotation spot of Carlos Silva, who was scratched with a strained right elbow. Samardzija had not appeared in a major league game since April and posted a 102:67 K:BB ratio in the minors this season. Despite allowing no runs, his first start did little to resolve the questions surrounding Samardzija, as evidenced by his WHIP and poor K:BB ratio. That said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Samardzija "has a shot at sticking in the Cubs rotation," likely as the fifth starter, in 2011. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Chris Young – Young, who hadn’t pitched in the majors since April due to a right shoulder injury, allowed just one run in four innings Saturday against the Cardinals. It was Young's first start since being activated from the disabled list, so he was limited to 69 pitches. Still, his outing went about as well as anyone could have hoped. He exhibited some rustiness with three walks and a wild pitch that allowed a run to score, but he showed enough that he's probably worth adding in NL-only formats in the hopes that he gets a couple more starts. Just keep in mind Young’s strikeout rate has dropped while his walk rate has the risen since 2007. Also, most of his struggles have come on the road, so be wary if he starts away from Petco Park. Mixed: $4; NL: $13.

Relief Pitchers:

Jared Burton/Joe Martinez/Brett Sinkbeil/P.J. Walters - This week’s cast of middle reliever/end of bullpen fillers are in player alpha order: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Florida and St. Louis. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Evan Meek – Manager John Russell said this past week that the Pirates would give Meek some save chances down the stretch. Heading into the week, Meek had six holds, one save and one blown save since the Pirates traded former closer Octavio Dotel at the end of July. Joel Hanrahan has seen the vast majority of ninth-inning opportunities, but Russell will give Meek a chance to close some games as the Pirates look forward towards 2011. However, in terms of pure stuff and ability as a closer, Hanrahan appears to have an edge. Mixed: $15.


Konrad Schmidt – The Diamondbacks purchased Schmidt's contract from Double-A Mobile on Monday. Schmidt has never played in the majors, but he hit .315/.373/.490 with 11 homers and 65 RBI in 107 Double-A games this season. Schmidt has advanced steadily through the D-Backs system and will serve as Arizona's third catcher for the last couple weeks. He should begin at Triple-A next year. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

First Basemen:

Mark Hamilton/Chris Stewart – Both players were promoted to serve as backups for St. Louis and San Diego, respectively, so don’t expect either to see much time. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Melvin Mora – Mora went 4-for-5 with a grand slam and five RBI in Saturday's win over the Dodgers and is now hitting .365 with two homers and 11 RBI in his last 15 games. Ian Stewart might return late next week and cut into Mora's playing time, but Mora should get regular at-bats for a little while longer. Mora qualifies at first, second, and third and is still available in a vast majority of leagues. Mixed: $3; NL: $11.

Second Basemen:

Daniel Descalso – Descalso, who hit .281/.349/.420 with zero home runs and 71 RBI for Triple-A Memphis, has been promoted to the major league roster. Descalso has a chance to play a role with the Cardinals in 2011, but he won't get much playing time this year. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Jerry Hairston Jr. – Hairston, who missed nearly three weeks with a strained right elbow, was activated off the DL last Sunday. Hairston was originally supposed to only be available to pinch hit for a few days but was able to start at second base Monday. Hairston still cannot make the throw from short, so look for him to see spot starts at second base and pinch hit for the time being. Mixed: No; NL: $3.


Darwin Barney – Barney has impressed the Cubs in his short stint in the majors this season and may be in competition for the starting second base job in 2011. Barney has a .281 batting average, but just a .293 OBP and a .626 OPS; and while he has been hot of late, his the coaches are impressed with him for other reasons. Interim manager Mike Quade admitted as much, saying, "He's going to be a real nice major-league player, and whether it's as an everyday player or a versatile guy, that I don't know. His bat will probably determine that because all the intangibles – the defense and the other stuff you're looking for – he does well…He's impressed me, I know that." With Starlin Castro back, Barney won’t see much time at short, but he could see occasional starts there as well as at second base. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Brian Bocock/Pedro Ciriaco - Bocock was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, while Ciriaco was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, to provide the Phillies and Pirates with some infield depth for the rest of the month. Of the two, Ciriaco, who was acquired from Arizona in the Chris Snyder trade, has a shot at playing a key role in the future. We're still not sold on him as more than a utility player at the big league level, but Ciriaco has the glove to play in the big leagues. Long term, he may wind up behind Chase D'Arnaud on the depth chart, but the Pirates could also move D'Arnaud to second base and use them as a middle-infield tandem going forward. Bocock - Mixed: No; NL: $0. Ciriaco – Mixed: $0; NL: $4.

Tyler Greene – We profiled Greene last week when he was promoted from Triple-A and the expectation was that he would see occasional starts at second, short, and third. That view has taken a sharp turn for the better as Greene started his fifth game at third base Saturday, and played in his ninth game overall at the hot corner. He may get a chance to win a starting role at the position next spring. The Cards are giving Greene a late-season tryout at third, but with 15 games left, it will be a struggle for him to get to the 20 games at the position it takes to qualify there in most leagues next year. Right now it looks like he'll only qualify at shortstop, but his Triple-A numbers – .284/.355/.456 with nine HR, 34 RBI, and 12 SB in 338 at-bats – still make him worth a flier. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Wilson Valdez – Valdez has filled in exceptionally well with Jimmy Rollins sidelined due to a strained right hamstring. Valdez went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI Saturday while playing his usual solid defense at short. Valdez is riding a six-game hitting streak, in which he has 12 hits, and is hitting .368 (14-for-38) in September. Rollins may miss the rest of the season, so Valdez should see quite a bit of playing time over the final weeks. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Third Basemen:

Ian Stewart – Stewart, who has been sidelined since late August with a strained right oblique, will head out on a rehab assignment on Sunday. Stewart will likely play a few games at the Rockies' spring training facility in Arizona. If all goes well, he should be able to return to action mid-to-late next week and resume his starting role at third base. (just an FYI as he should be owned in all formats).


Willie Bloomquist – The Reds acquired Bloomquist from the Royals for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Bloomquist, who was batting .265/.296/.388 with three home runs and 17 RBI in 170 at-bats, should see time at nearly every position for the Reds. Most of his starts will come against left-handed pitching, but he likely won’t see enough at-bats to have much fantasy value. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

John Bowker – We profiled Bowker two weeks ago when Pittsburgh called up him from Triple-A, but his recent play deserves another mention. Bowker went 2-for-4 with a double, homer and two RBI Saturday. Bowker has made five straight starts for the Pirates as he auditions for a role on next year’s squad. Manager John Russell has been pleased with Bowker's showing, and with Lastings Milledge out for the year, it’s likely Bowker continues to see starts down the stretch. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Matt Diaz – Diaz went 0-for-2 Saturday and is 8-for-29 in September, but that isn’t the key story. What is key is Diaz has started five straight games in left field and is getting playing time ahead of the struggling Melky Cabrera (hitting just .226 since Aug. 1). Diaz rarely starts against righties, but he has even started against them recently. Mixed: $5.

Jay Gibbons – Gibbons is seeing the majority of the at-bats in left field with Scott Podsednik likely done for the year with a foot injury. According to the LA papers, Gibbons is in consideration for the starting left field job next year, but keep in mind he has just 59 at-bats this season and had not played in the majors for two years prior to this season. Feel free to use him the rest of this year, but let's see how this winter plays out before talking about 2011. Mixed: $4; NL: $13.

Tony Gwynn, Jr. – Gwynn, who broke a bone in his right wrist and underwent surgery in mid-August, was activated from the disabled list on Monday. His hand has only progressed to the point that Gwynn can help defensively, which will make his fantasy impact minimal. Gwynn could serve as a defensive replacement or pinch runner and could be good for a few steals down the stretch, but that’s it. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Joe Mather – Mather, who hit just .191 in 47 at-bats with the Cardinals earlier this season, was promoted back to the big leagues Saturday. He is unlikely to play much of a role in the remaining days of the season. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Nate McLouth – Just when it looked like he was washed up and left for dead, McLouth has reminded us of late that he once was an All-Star and can still be a viable and productive fantasy outfielder. McLouth doubled and homered Saturday and is now 11-for-35 with seven extra-base hits and 10 RBI since he was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Aug. 31. Prior to August 31, McLouth hit just .168/.265/.279, which caused the Braves to send him to the minors twice. In 2011, Jason Heyward is the only Atlanta outfielder that is locked into a spot, so a strong finish could ease Atlanta’s mind on keeping McLouth and his $6.5 million salary. On a selfish note, as someone who extended him two years ago and has him at $14 in Staff League 1, I would like to be able to get some return on that investment next season. Mixed: $8; NL: $22.