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NL FAAB Factor: Head for the Beach

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.

Happy Father's Day to my dad, father-in-law and all the dads out there. Thanks for all you do. My dad helped instill the love of sports and family and my father-in-law has also taught me so much over the years on how to act and deal with others.

Starting Pitching

Anthony Bass - Bass was called up for a spot start Monday, replacing the injured Aaron Harang, and acquitted himself fairly well, allowing just one run on five hits in five innings against Colorado. After the game, Bass was sent back to Double-A San Antonio, where he where 6-3 with a 3.84 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 60:17 K:BB ratio in 63.1 innings. Bass can hit 94 MPH and has a good curveball/changeup combination and could get a call up later in the year if San Diego needs a starter. Mixed: No; NL: $2 (if already speculating for later in the year).

Brandon Beachy - Beachy, out since mid-May with a strained oblique, gave up one run with eight strikeouts and two walks over five innings in his first rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Gwinnett. He is currently slated to make another start for Gwinnett on June 21, and be activated after that, though there is the possibility that Beachy skips his final rehab start and joins the Braves' rotation in place of the injured Tommy Hanson (shoulder) next week. Prior to being injured, Beachy had just one win in his eight starts, but had pitched well with a 3.45 ERA, 1.083 WHIP and 46:12 K:BB ratio over 44.1 innings. He has the stuff to be a solid 2/3 starter in the majors and could pick right up from where he left off when he returns. Mixed: $7; NL: $19.

Mark DiFelice - The Brewers purchased DiFelice's contract and promoted him to the major leagues. DiFelice, who has started his last three games in Triple-A, is a prime candidate to fill in for injured starter Shaun Marcum should he miss his next turn in the rotation due to his injured left hip flexor. DiFelice has also had success out of the pen in 2008 and '09 with Milwaukee, posting a 3.44 ERA in 70.2 innings. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Randall Delgado - Delgado, who hadn't pitched since June 10, was called up and started in place of the injured Tommy Hanson on Friday against the Rangers, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts in four innings. Delgado was promoted from Double-A Mississippi, where he held a 3.54 ERA and a 64:26 K:BB ratio in 73.1 innings. He mixes a mid-90s fastball along with a curveball and changeup but still has some work to do on his command. Even though he was sent back down Saturday, there is a good chance he could be part of the Braves rotation as early as next season. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Tom Gorzelanny - Gorzelanny, out since late May with left elbow inflammation, is slated to be activated and start Sunday against the Orioles. Gorzelanny made just one rehab start for Triple-A Syracuse, allowing four runs in four innings and 70 pitches Monday. He got off to a tremendous start to the year, but really hit the skids in his three starts prior to landing on the DL. Gorzelanny features a high-80s to 90 mph fastball, slider and changeup, and despite just so-so stuff, he has been racking up strikeouts the past two years and should be a decent 3-4 starter. Mixed: $4; NL: $11

Josh Johnson - Johnson, out since mid-May with shoulder soreness, was transferred this week to the 60-day DL. The Marlins needed room on their 40-man roster for Elih Villanueva, who started the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader. This does bump back the timetable for Johnson's return to action, as he now won't be eligible to be activated until after the All-Star break. At least now we may have a realistic timeframe for the return of Johnson, who admitted after being sidelined that his shoulder had been bothering him "pretty much the whole year" and whose return has been steadily pushed back. Johnson threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Friday and is planning to toss another on Sunday. He will need a few rehab starts, and assuming he has no further setbacks, should return somewhere around July 16-19. (If available, he's worth grabbing now for the major upside).

Wade LeBlanc - LeBlanc was called up from Triple-A Tucson and started Tuesday in Colorado, surrendering three runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. This was the second call-up for LeBlanc, who was promoted and started one game in April, allowing three runs over eight innings in a loss to the Phillies. He's not bad, but he's also not a beast with the strikeout either, and has been susceptible to the home run in the past. LeBlanc might be serviceable as a spot starter, though this is more of a short-term trial for him, because Dustin Moseley (shoulder) and Aaron Harang (foot) may not be out for too long. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Kyle McClellan - McClellan, who missed the minimum 15 days after being placed on the DL with a hip injury, was activated and started Wednesday against Nationals. He lasted just five innings in his return, allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts. Prior to being sidelined, McClellan's strikeout rate hadn't been great (34 in 67.2 innings), but his ratios had at least been useful as he carried a 3.86 ERA and 1.26 WHIP through his first 10 starts. While on the DL, McClellan worked on his delivery to try and lessen the pressure placed on his hip that had caused him to be sidelined. Mixed: $4 (should already be owned in NL-only leagues as he only missed 15 days).

Mike Pelfrey - Pelfrey continued his hot stretch Saturday when he became the first Met to throw a complete game this season in a 6-1 win over the Angels. In his last three starts, Pelfrey's ERA is a dazzling 2.04 and he has thrown a quality start in seven of his last nine outings. After a rough start to the year, he is showing why he was a 15 game winner last year. Mixed: $7

Vance Worley - Worley was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and started Saturday's game against the Mariners, allowing a run on five hits in five innings pitched. Worley, who works in the low-90s with his fastball, also has a solid curveball and a decent changeup and looked good over his three minor league starts after getting sent down in May. He will need to keep things going in the majors to hold off Kyle Kendrick for the fifth starter's role while Joe Blanton is sidelined. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Relief Pitchers

Jonathan Broxton - Broxton, out since early-May with an elbow injury, threw a simulated game on Friday and remains on track to return to the team at the end of June. Broxton struggled mightily earlier in the year and was in danger of losing his closer role. Since his injury, the Dodgers have gone through what feels like a cast of thousands to fill that role, so even though he'll probably set up initially, Broxton could find himself closing pretty quickly once he gets back. Hong-Chih Kuo will try and fill the spot for now. Mixed: $6; NL: $17 (plus go out a buy a case of antacids to take while you watch him pitch).

Aroldis Chapman - Chapman, out with shoulder inflammation for the past month, made his fourth and possibly final appearance for Double-A Carolina on Saturday, throwing two innings with three strikeouts and earning the win. Chapman has regained the missing velocity on his fastball, aided by a healthy shoulder that had been bothering him since the beginning of the year. In addition, Reds pitching coach Bryan Price was able to spot and presumably correct a flaw in Chapman's delivery - he was over-rotating his front shoulder - that has also helped him hit triple digits on his fastball again. Chapman should be back from his rehab assignment by June 21, as Saturday's outing seemed to indicate that his location and velocity is where the Reds would like it to be at this point. Once he does return, Chapman will be used in a set-up role from the bullpen, but should be a good source of strikeouts with a solid ERA and WHIP. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Kenley Jansen/Hong Chih-Kuo - I ran this last week, but with Jansen and Kuo back, I thought it would be beneficial to run it again. Vicente Padilla, who was nearing a return from a forearm injury, is likely out for the season after undergoing surgery to fuse vertebrae in his neck and Jonathan Broxton is still out with his elbow injury until at least late this month, so the LA closer situation is still a mess. Matt Guerrier and Javy Guerra are seeing time in the role but neither are a true closer, however relief - pardon the pun - is on the way. Jansen, out since late-May with right shoulder inflammation, was activated off the disabled list Saturday after making a few appearances for Double-A Chattanooga. Prior to getting hurt, Jansen did notch a save in mid-May, and has only given up runs in two of his last nine appearances. For now, he is slated to move into a set-up role as all signs point to Kuo closing. Kuo, dealing with anxiety disorder, began his rehab stint with High-A Rancho Cucamonga on June 9. He made one more appearance with that club; and then after making two with Triple-A Albuquerque, he will be activated Sunday and slide into the closer spot. Kuo reportedly "wowed" club officials with his velocity and command in bullpen sessions and is not expected to have any restrictions set on his usage. Kuo suffered from anxiety before, and his 11.57 ERA in nine appearances this season shows he may have been struggling with it after returning from a back injury in the beginning of May. That said, Kuo believes he can deal with the illness without it impacting his ability to pitch, which he will need to do well to hold off Jansen and Broxton, when the latter returns to the majors. Jansen - Mixed: $2; NL: $6; Kuo - Mixed: $4; NL: $13.

Mark Melancon - Astros' reliever Brandon Lyon was placed back on the 15-day DL with biceps tendinitis, which is good news for Melancon. Earlier in the month, Melancon had been moved back to a setup role when Lyon came off the DL. Lyon didn't pitched well between injuries and one could have said that Melancon, who has a 1.62 ERA, 1.440 WHIP and 7.83 K/9 ratio, should have remained in the closer. The main issue for Melancon will be getting save opportunities as the Astros have led him to just five saves since May 20. Mixed: $9; NL: $25 (likely still owned, but in case an owner jumped ship when Lyon returned).


A.J. Ellis - Rod Barajas suffered a sprained right ankle Saturday, which could pave the way for Ellis to be called up again. Ellis saw minimal action earlier in the year before he was sent down in late-April, but has been tearing up Triple-A. Ellis is hitting .307 with a .482 OBP, driven by 28 walks in 33 games, at Triple-A Albuquerque. He doesn't have the power of Barajas, but with Dioner Navarro also struggling, Ellis could see the lion's share of playing if Barajas is forced to the DL and he is promoted. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

George Kottaras - The Brewers recalled Kottaras from Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday. The Brewers decided in late April to send Kottaras down and go with Wil Nieves as the backup catcher; but with Nieves going just 7-for-50 at the plate this season and Kottaras hitting .343 with four home runs and 21 RBI in Triple-A, the team decided to make another change. Kottaras will take over Nieves' backup catcher role behind Jonathan Lucroy, but he figures to start any time Randy Wolf is on the mound for the Brewers for those of you in daily leagues. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Michael McKenry - The Pirates acquired McKenry from the Red Sox for cash considerations to fill a spot in what has become an injury house of horrors at catcher. Originally, it looked like McKenry would serve as the lesser part of a catching platoon with Dusty Brown until Jason Jaramillo (elbow) or Ryan Doumit (ankle) return from injury. That now appears not to be the case, as the former Colorado prospect started three straight games and four of Pirates' last five this week, hitting the ball hard in several at-bats while also picking up his first big league hit. Manager Clint Hurdle said he's still looking to upgrade the team behind the plate, so there's no guarantee McKenry hangs around for an extended period, but for now, it looks like he is the starter. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

First Basemen

Mat Gamel - Gamel, who was supposed to be called up to provide another bat for Milwaukee in interleague league, will not be promoted. No reason has been given for that move, but that doesn't mean Gamel has no future value. Gamel has a .931 OPS with 13 home runs at Triple-A Nashville, so he should be up (or traded) at some point this season. In addition, with Prince Fielder likely to leave as a free agent after the season, Gamel, who has had excellent back-to-back season at Nashville after a poor 2009 campaign with major strides in his contact rate, might be first in line to replace him at first base. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (speculative bid especially for 2012).

Paul Goldschmidt - Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers said that the team is more likely to call up its top prospects -- including Goldschmidt -- closer to the All-Star break. All Goldschmidt has done in his career, from college forward, is rake and this year is no different. Goldschmidt's impressive season with Double-A Mobile has continued well into the third month of the 2011 campaign as he's hitting .344/.458/.667 with 21 homers and 59 RBI through 67 games in the pitcher-friendly league. The knocks on Goldschmidt heading into the year were his strikeouts and subpar defense, but he has made solid strides on resolving the former and latter is likely passable. Ultimately, this could mean that Juan Miranda has one month to keep Goldschmidt at bay, as Towers said that it would be unlikely for the D-Backs to call up Goldschmidt and not provide him with regular at-bats. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (purely speculative bid for now and no guarantee he will be up by ASB).

Xavier Nady - Nady has been quietly stealing playing time from Juan Miranda recently, starting five of the last nine games at first base. Why Nady has been getting more time is a bit of a mystery as it's not as if he has been tremendously productive or has a higher OPS than Miranda, but maybe manager Kirk Gibson sees something we don't. Regardless of who plays first now, both players are facing the likely call-up of Paul Goldschmidt around the All-Star break, which could ultimately translate to reserve roles as it's unlikely that the D-Backs will bring him up without the opportunity for everyday at-bats. That said, if looking for what may be a very short-term flier, Nady could see enough time to be productive over the next few weeks. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Second Base

Jason Bourgeois - Bourgeois started in right field Saturday after getting the call to start in center Friday. On Friday, Michael Bourn was just give a day of rest, but Saturday's start came about because Hunter Pence is dealing with a hyperextended right elbow for which he is scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday. If Pence is forced to miss some time, Bourgeois should be the primary beneficiary. Even if Pence is able to play, Bourgeois gets a short-term bump with Houston heading to play in AL parks, which allows them to have Carlos Lee DH and play Bourgeois in the field. Mixed: $4; NL: $11.

Orlando Hudson - Hudson, who's on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain, began his rehab assignment with Single-A Lake Elsinore on Wednesday. The Padres' tentative plan is for Hudson to play through Saturday with the Storm and rejoin the big-league club Sunday in Minnesota. Hudson has missed time with ailments that have forced him to the disabled list both times, so look for manager Bud Black and the Padres to make sure he is as close to full strength when he reports back to San Diego. Prior to getting injured, Hudson was only hitting .217 but had posted a.326 OBA and stolen a surprising 10 bases. Hudson's batting average has fallen each year since 2008, and with a .305 BABIP, even he starts to cut down on his strikeouts, his batting average may not rise that much. The timetable for Hudson's return has likely been moved to late-June as a result, and once he does return, he should slide back in as the starting second baseman. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.


Emilio Bonifacio - Bonifacio, who has played second, third, short, left, right and center this year, should continue to see consistent action going forward with Chris Coghlan demoted Friday. He will platoon in center with DeWayne Wise and also playing elsewhere in the field. Bonifacio has seen a substantial drop in his GB and rise in his LD rate, which helps explain the rise in his ISO and SLG percentages. Bonifacio has been exposed in the past when he sees too much playing time so don't overrate him. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Zack Cozart - Cozart had a big year last season at Triple-A Louisville, blasting 17 HR while driving in 67 runs to go with a .255/.310/.416 line. The one negative was his 107:40 K:BB ratio. This year, after a slow start, Cozart has picked up from where he left off a year ago, with seven homers and 28 RBI in 247 at-bats along with a .328/.371/.514 line. Over his last 10 games, Cozart is hitting .400/.467/.600 with one home run, six RBI and two steals. In addition, Cozart has made strides in his contact rate, upping it from .81 to .86, which has helped him post a 35:16 K:BB ratio, also an increase from last year. Cozart is solid defensively and could get a look when the Reds tire of Paul Janish. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (speculative bid).

Pete Kozma - Kozma, who was up earlier in the year, has been called back up to the majors by St. Louis. Kozma replaced Tyler Greene, who was struggling with the bat this year, taking over his utility infield role. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Third Basemen

Jesus Guzman - Guzman, who was killing the ball at Triple-A Tucson, with a hitting line of .332/.423/.529 along with eight home runs and 57 RBI, was promoted to the Padres roster Friday. He's old (27), but you can't deny his minor league statistics. Guzman, who never was given a fair shake in the majors by San Francisco before they let him go, will be behind Chase Headley at third base, though, so don't expect many starts. That said, he started in left field Friday and went 2-for-4 and could see some action there and at DH in the short-term when SD is in AL parks. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Josh Harrison - Harrison's spot in the lineup strengthened following the Pirates' announcement Saturday that Pedro Alvarez probably won't return until after the All-Star break. Harrison is hitting .286 with little pop and not very much speed, but he figures to start the majority of games at third base for the next three weeks, barring a trade or minor league promotion. Just don't expect that much production from him. Mixed: No; NL: $3.

Jose Lopez - Lopez, who slumped mightily for Seattle after a brilliant 2009 season, was traded to the Rockies in December 2010 for Chaz Roe. Things did not improve much for Lopez in Colorado, as he hit just .208 there and was designated for assignment in late-May, then released in early-June. The Marlins signed him to a minor-league deal and within a week, promoted him to the majors. For now, Lopez will see time at second and third and could theoretically become a regular part of the Marlins' lineup. There is instability at third base until Matt Dominguez is called up, though with Lopez struggles at Triple-A New Orleans, it may be a while before he could take over. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.


Jason Bay - Bay went 2-3 against the Angels on Saturday night including his sixth stolen base of the season. Bay, who got off to a horrific start and seemed to be in danger of being part of a platoon in left, has really caught fire this past week. He is riding a seven game hitting streak, recording two hits in three of his last four games. It is a small sample size, but given how badly Bay has struggled this year, the Mets and his owners will take whatever they can get. If Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Justin Turner continue to get on base ahead of him then Bay could be in line for an RBI explosion. Mixed: $7; NL: $21.

Charlie Blackmon - Blackmon was profiled last week, but his hot start since getting promoted along with a possible change in his place in the lineup warrants another mention. Blackmon is hitting .381 since his call up, with a 3:1 K:BB ratio in 42 at-bats. The one walk is a bit disconcerting but Blackmon has shown a pretty good eye the past two years in the minors, so it shouldn't be that big of a concern. In addition, manager Jim Tracy still sees Blackmon as the Rockies' future table-setter. While that may not happen in the next few days, down the road Blackmon should take over as the Rockies' leadoff hitter, which will further enhance his value. He has shown he has speed - stealing a base in five straight games - now, we will need to see if the power develops. Jump on the bandwagon before it's too late. Mixed: $10; NL: $28.

Andrew Brown - Brown, who was raking at Triple-A Memphis, was called up last Sunday to replace the injured Allen Craig on the Cardinals' roster. With the news that Craig will now miss 3-to-6 weeks, Brown, who had a .351/.449/.625 line with 11 HR and 41 RBI in 168 at-bats, could stick for a while as St. Louis' fifth outfielder. Mixed: $0, NL: $3.

Colin Cowgill - Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers said that the team is more likely to call up its top prospects -- including Cowgill -- closer to the All-Star break. Cowgill has put up good numbers consistently this season with Triple-A Reno including a 1.047 OPS, 12 homers, 44 RBI and 22 steals. This performance comes on the heels of him posting career-best numbers last year at Double-A Mobile, though his numbers were markedly better against righties, which is why some believe he may be best suited to fourth outfield duty. In addition, Cowgill has drawn comparisons to Cody Ross and his combination of power, speed and ability to play all three outfield spots. Gerardo Parra would ultimately be in danger of sliding into the fourth outfielder role if Cowgill is brought up, as Towers said that the team will give its top prospects regular playing time upon bringing them up to the big leagues. Mixed: $3, NL: $9 (purely speculative bid for now and no guarantee he will be up by ASB).

Reed Johnson - Johnson, who was on the DL with a back injury and then was hit in the head during a rehab stint in the minors, was activated off the DL Tuesday. Johnson went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI in his second game back Wednesday and should see the majority of the center field at-bats, supported by Tony Campana, until Marlon Byrd (face) gets back sometime around mid-July. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Nate McLouth - McLouth, who was on the DL with a strained oblique, was profiled two weeks ago, but now that he returned to action, another mention is warranted. McLouth completed a brief rehab stint at Triple-A Gwinnett and was activated Sunday. After playing 46 games in center for the Braves before he was injured, McLouth will be moved to left field to fill in for Martin Prado (staph infection) since Jordan Schafer handled center well while McLouth was out. Once Prado is ready to return to action, whichever player is hotter between McLouth and Schafer will end up staying in center. The other option could be moving Prado to third base if Chipper Jones is banged up, leaving the outfield alignment as it currently stands. Mixed: $3, NL: $9.

Wily Mo Pena - With the D-Backs visiting American League parks next week and needing a DH, Pena is being considered for a roster spot. Pena, who we first profiled a month ago, has not slowed down as he is still mashing at Triple-A Reno with a .362/.439/.734 line, including 21 homers and 62 RBI in 229 at-bats. The plate discipline has been slightly improved over what we're used to seeing from him, but his ability to maintain that against big league pitching may ultimately determine if he's kept around as a bench option after interleague play, assuming the D-Backs even give him a chance next week. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Trayvon Robinson - I profiled Robinson about a month ago and his current play warrants another mention. Robinson has taken huge strides the past two seasons in turning tools into production. The key has been a walk rate that has jumped from seven to 14 percent over a two-year period. After batting .306/.375/.500 in the hitter-friendly California League the year prior, Robinson proved 2009 was no fluke, batting .300/.404/.439 as a 22-year-old in the Double-A Southern League in 2010. That line included nine home runs and 38 stolen bases. This year, Robinson is batting .305/.370/.558 with 14 home runs and 42 RBI in 233 at-bats for Triple-A Albuquerque. Despite the good numbers, Robinson has struck out 73 times with just 23 walks. In addition, he has benefited from an absurdly high BABIP the past two years, including a .390 average this season. That said, with left field in LA a revolving door all year - Jerry Sands, Jay Gibbons, Marcus Thames, Tony Gwynn Jr. - none having done anything to held the job, Robinson could be promoted to man the position as he may be the best leadoff hitter LA currently has. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (speculative bid).

DeWayne Wise - Wise, who was released by the Jays on June 9, was signed to a minor league contract by the Marlins on Wednesday and assigned to Triple-A New Orleans. That minor-league stint didn't last long as he was promoted Friday. Wise will forever be known for saving Mark Buehrle's perfect game, but he doesn't offer much for fantasy owners to get excited about even with the opportunity to help the Marlins in center field following Chris Coghlan's demotion to Triple-A. Wise, who hit .333 with five homers, 21 RBI, eight steals and a .380 OBP in 36 minor-league games, will share time with Emilio Bonifacio in the coming weeks. Mixed: No; NL: $0.