RotoWire Partners

NL FAAB Factor: Impressive Youngsters in Atlanta Bullpen

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.

This is the final article of the season. Thanks to all who read it and/or provided comments during the year. Please fell free to provide and comments or suggestions to or

Starting Pitching:

Brandon Beachy – Beachy, who made an emergency start in place of Jair Jurrjens last week, will slide into Jurrjens’ slot again Sunday against the Nationals. Beachy allowed three runs -- one earned -- over 4.1 innings Monday against the Phillies in his major league debut. Beachy started his career as a reliever, but he was moved into the rotation this year and excelled following the switch. Beachy went 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 148:28 K:BB ratio in 119.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Even if Jurrjens is able to return before the end of the year, Beachy will likely remain in the rotation, likely in place of Mike Minor. Mixed: $5; NL: $17.

Chris Capuano – Capuano continued his fine late-season run, holding the Reds to two runs on four hits while striking out seven over six innings Monday. That outing was Capuano’s third straight quality start, and in throwing 105 pitches, it marked the first time since 2007 that Capuano topped the century mark for pitches in a start. He could stick around with the Brewers and possibly remain in the rotation in 2011. Mixed: $8.

Bud Norris – Just like Capuano, Norris is closing the season on a high note. Norris tossed his third straight quality start Monday, allowing two runs while striking out six over 6.2 innings in a victory over the Nationals. Norris has improved his HR and GB/FB ratios, both of which bode well for future success, while also improving his K/9 ratio. Prior to his poor start Saturday, Norris had very quietly gone 7-1 with a 3.52 ERA in his previous 11 starts. Mixed: $10.

Brandon Webb – Webb, who has missed most of the last two seasons due to shoulder woes, declared himself ready to pitch in an MLB game after throwing 35 pitches during a simulated game Saturday. "I know I'm not 100 percent," he said after the session, but he added that the adrenaline from a real game would propel him a bit. Webb will meet with general manager Kevin Towers Monday, after which we should know whether or not he will appear in 2010. Only those in keeper leagues looking for a possible sleeper should bid. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Relief Pitchers:

Kenley Jansen – Jansen recorded his second career save Friday in a win over Arizona and could see some more save chances down the stretch. Jansen, a converted minor league catcher, has posted a 0.76 ERA, 0.972 WHIP and 34 K in 23.2 innings. Going forward, Jansen will need to do a better job with his control – he has 13 walks – but he has come on faster than anyone could have thought and may eventually be in the closing mix for LA. The save Friday came because Hong-Chih Kuo pitched Thursday and was unavailable, but with Kuo a free agent after the year and Jonathan Broxton regressing mightily, Jansen could get a shot at closing in 2011. Mixed: $3; NL: $11 (though likely unavailable in NL-only leagues).

Craig Kimbrel/Jonny Venters – With Billy Wagner set to retire and Takahashi Saito uncertain to return, Kimbrel and Venters figure to be at the top of the list to close for the Braves in 2011. Kimbrel was dominant at Triple-A Gwinnett, posting a 1.62 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 83 K in 55.2 innings to go along with his 23 saves. He has continued that success in his brief stints in the majors and notched his first save last Sunday to go with his 0.56 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 31 K in 16 innings. The 12 walks are a bit disconcerting but they are more than offset by those other numbers, and he has shown the ability to work around them in his minor league career. Venters has been dominant as well, in this his first season in majors. Venters made two appearances, including one start, at Triple-A Gwinnett before getting promoted to the Braves in April. Venters is 4-3 while posting a 1.18 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 85 K in 78.2 innings and has been a groundball machine with a 3.91 GB/FB ratio. Venters has always had an outstanding fastball, and while he struggled with his control last year (58:42 K:BB ratio in 91.1 innings at Triple-A in 2009), he has improved significantly in that area this season. The Braves still could sign a free agent to close, but with both Kimbrel and Venters around, Atlanta could opt to go young next year and sign some veterans to fill in the middle innings. Kimbrel - Mixed: $6; NL: $17. Venters – Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (bids based on keeper leagues).

Mark Melancon - Melancon carried over his 2008 success into 2009, posting a 3.00 ERA and 51:11 K:BB ratio in 31 Triple-A relief appearances with the Yankees. This year, he wasn’t as good, posting a 3.67 ERA and 1.676 WHIP before getting dealt to the Astros. Melancon made three appearances at Triple-A Round Rock before getting promoted to the Astros, where he has been dominant at times, notching a 2.16 ERA and 1.020 WHIP along with 18 K in 16.2 innings over 18 appearances. The Yankees viewed him as a potential closer down the road because of his temperament and pitching arsenal, highlighted by a sinking fastball that can touch 95 mph and a power curve. With Brandon Lyon and Matt Lindstrom handling the closing duty in Houston, Melancon may not close immediately, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he got a shot at filling that role sometime in 2011. Mixed: $5.


Bryan Anderson/Matt Pagnozzi/Steven Hill – With Yadier Molina shut down for the rest of the season due to a right knee injury, the Cardinals will use a three-headed monster behind the plate down the stretch. Pagnozzi, despite being better defensively than offensively, appears to be Tony LaRussa’s choice to see the majority of action the last week of the year. Hill, who had a brief cup off coffee in August and was called back up this past week, hit .271/.345/.529 in 102 games between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, with 24 homers, 41 walks, and 100 strikeouts in 395 at-bats. He strikes out a lot and probably won't hit for a high average in the majors, but his power is legitimate and is one to keep in mind for the future. Anderson will pick up what playing time is left. Anderson - Mixed: No; NL: $0. Pagnozzi – Mixed: $0; NL: $2. Hill – Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Welington Castillo/Koyie Hill – With Geovany Soto out for the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder this past Monday, Castillo and Hill will split the catching duties the rest of the way. Hill appears to be first in line for playing time for the last week of the year. Castillo - Mixed: No; NL: $0. Hill – Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

First Basemen:


Second Basemen:



Osvaldo Martinez – Martinez went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI in the Marlins' win over the Brewers Saturday. He joined the Marlins' roster September 19 and has become the team's go-to option at shortstop with Hanley Ramirez out. Martinez stole 13 bases and hit 28 doubles with Double-A Jacksonville, and he should continue to start at short with Ramirez on the bench, likely for the rest of the year. Martinez could contend for a utility spot next spring, but for now, use him as a starter with Ramirez sidelined. Mixed: $7; NL: $22.

Jimmy Rollins – Rollins, who has been out since September 8 with tightness in his right hamstring, is expected to return to action Monday. The Phillies want Rollins to get some at-bats before the postseason begins, so he should play in most, if not all, games this week if his hamstring holds up. Just keep in mind, that in 213 at-bats since the All-Star break, Rollins is hitting just .239. Temper your enthusiasm, but if you have him or can get him, at least you should get some production. (bid the max if available as the likelihood is there is no one better out there).

Third Basemen:



Cole Gillespie – Gillespie went 2-for-3 with a three-run home run in the Diamondbacks' win over the Dodgers Saturday. He has started four of the Diamondbacks' last five games with Justin Upton on the shelf. With Upton possibly out for the rest of the year, Gillespie should continue to see plenty of playing time. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Andres Torres – Torres returned as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement Friday after missing just twelve games following an appendectomy on September 12. Torres then was inserted into the starting lineup Saturday and marked his return with a home run, but he did leave the game with discomfort in his late side. Torres has had a surprisingly solid season with 15 home runs, 61 RBI, and 23 stolen bases to go with his .269/.345/.475 line. The one negative has been his 122K in 483 AB, but overall he has given the Giants and his fantasy owners more than they could have expected. If for some reason he was waived when he was sidelined, jump on him given the fact the Giants want him to get as many at-bats as possible before the playoffs. (Go the max if available).

Will Venable – Venable went 2-for-4 with two runs scored batting leadoff Friday in San Diego’s win over the Reds. After being pretty awful for five months, Venable is batting .383/.415/.517 in September. He credits the turnaround to a change he has made at the plate – his elbow is now parallel to the ground, whereas in the past, it was close to his side. For the year, Venable has 12 home runs and 28 stolen bases, and this hot stretch should go a long way toward securing a starting OF spot in 2011. Mixed: $22.