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NL FAAB Factor: Crowded Ship

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:

Casey Coleman - Unless the Cubs' bullpen takes a major hit in the next day or two, Coleman will likely be recalled from Triple-A Iowa to start Wednesday in Houston in Carlos Zambrano's spot. Coleman has posted a 7.23 ERA and 1.94 WHIP in 11 outings - nine starts - in the majors this season but a 3.65 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 54:22 K:BB ratio in 12 starts for Iowa. His inability to strike many batters out and previous struggles in the majors, make him a bit of risky bet. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Frankie de la Cruz - De La Cruz was called up from Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday to take the roster spot of Chris Narveson, who's expected to miss at least three starts. For now, De La Cruz, who ranks fourth in the PCL with a 3.88 ERA a year after returning from Japan, will pitch out of the bullpen as Marco Estrada is starting in Narveson's spot. However, he could slide into the rotation if Estrada struggles in that role. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Randall Delgado - Delgado will be promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett and start in place of the injured Tommy Hanson (elbow) Tuesday. Delgado got a spot start in place of Hanson in June 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 3.84 ERA, 1.383 WHIP and a 100:46 K:BB ratio in 117.1 innings, to Gwinnett in early August. In two starts at Triple-A, he did not allow an earned run and posted a 15:5 K:BB ratio in 13 innings. Delgado mixes a mid-90s fastball along with a curveball and changeup but still has some work to do on his command. Even though he may only be up for a few starts, there is a good chance he could be part of the Braves' rotation as early as next season. Mixed: $1; NL: $5

Marco Estrada - Estrada, who had been working out of the bullpen, started Saturday against the Pirates and tossed five shutout innings, allowing just one hit and no walks with five strikeouts in picking up the win. Estrada posted a 5.18 ERA in four starts earlier this year, but most of the damage came in one game. With Chris Narveson expected to miss another couple of starts, based on Saturday's performance, it should - and likely will be Estrada assuming the fifth spot in the starting rotation going forward. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Jair Jurrjens - Jurrjens, out with a strained right knee, said he's doing better and is on track to return to the rotation August 17. Mike Minor's turn in the rotation would come up on that date, so Jurrjens could seamlessly replace the young left-hander barring a setback during the next few days. Hopefully the time off healed the knee, and the injury could explain Jurrjens' recent struggles, which caused his ERA to rise from 1.87 to 2.63 over his last five starts. (just an FYI as should be owned in all leagues)

Wade LeBlanc - LeBlanc has been a yo-yo between San Diego and Triple-A Tucson all year and with a spate of recent injuries to the Padres' staff, it would appear that will continue. LeBlanc was called up again this past week, and held the Mets to two runs on six hits over six innings Tuesday, but he did not factor into the decision. He struck out five and walked one in a game blown by the bullpen. LeBlanc, who was 9-1 with a 4.30 ERA, 1.280 WHIP and 92 strikeouts in 106.2 innings with a 3.27 FIP for Tucson, remains without a win in 2011, but he should get a few more turns down the final stretch as he stakes his claim for a spot in the 2012 rotation. Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Kevin Millwood - Millwood, who pitched in the minors for the Yankees and Red Sox, signed with the Rockies and started Wednesday against the Reds. He surprisingly turned in a solid Colorado debut, allowing three runs on six hits - three of which went over the fence - and a walk while striking out six in seven innings. Despite not impressing the scouts in the minors, Millwood is expected to remain in the Rockies' rotation for the time being and will start again Monday against the Marlins. Given his performance since 2006 - save for a good year in 2009 - don't overrate him based on the decent first start for Colorado. Mixed: $0; NL: $2

Esmil Rogers - Rogers held the Reds to two runs on eight hits over six innings Tuesday to improve to 6-1 on the year. He struck out six Reds over his 111 pitches, and he has a 16:5 K:BB and three wins since replacing Ubaldo Jimenez on July 30 and subsequently re-joining the rotation. Rogers should stick in the starting five for the foreseeable future, but take note of his drastic home/road splits, as he is much better away from Coors. In addition, his overall K:BB ratio is subpar, but maybe his arm is very fresh from the time he missed with an injury. Mixed: $2; NL: $7

Henry Sosa - Sosa, who came over to Houston from San Francisco in the Jeff Keppinger deal, was called up by the Astros and started Wednesday against the Diamondbacks. Sosa replaced the recently demoted J.A. Happ in the rotation and allowed four runs on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts in six innings. Sosa started the year as a reliever and got bombed in the Giants' system before converting back to starting. The key for him is the development of his off-speed pitches, as right now, he solely has a plus-fastball. Sosa will get another start Monday against the Cubs. Mixed: $0; NL: $2

Arodys Vizcaino - The Braves continued= to utilize their plethora of pitching in the minors, reaching down to call up Vizcaino from Triple-A Gwinnett, who will initially pitch out of the bullpen. Vizcaino, who came over the Braves from the Yankees in the Javier Vazquez deal and missed part of late year with a partially torn ligament in his elbow, was moved from the rotation to the bullpen in July when he was called up to Triple-A in an effort to reduce his workload. He's one of Atlanta's top prospects and had a 3.06 ERA with a 100:28 K:BB ratio in 97 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. With a fastball that can hit the high-90s along with a nasty curveball and developing changeup, he'll be a weapon out of the bullpen in a setup role. If Vizcaino fares well in the majors, he could contend for a spot in the starting rotation along with Julio Teheran, Minor and Delgado, all of whom have pitched this year in Atlanta, as early as next spring. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (much higher in keeper leagues)

Chris Volstad - Volstad was called back up to replace Brad Hand in the Marlins' rotation, and will start Sunday against the Giants. Prior to getting demoted, Volstad had been incredibly hittable with opposing batters taking him deep 16 times in just 111.1 innings, during which he posted a 5.58 ERA and 1.5009 WHIP. He wasn't really any better in Triple-A after his demotion; so don't expect too much from him now that he's back with the big club. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Travis Wood - Wood was called up by the Reds to replace the injured Logan Ondrusek on the roster. For now, it looks like Wood will pitch out of the bullpen, but the team is still high on him and he could factor into the rotation next year. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Relief Pitchers:

Rafael Betancourt/Matt Belisle/Rex Brothers/Matt Lindstrom - With Huston Street nursing a triceps injury that ultimately landed him on the DL, Betancourt picked up the save against the Reds on Tuesday. With Matt Lindstrom also on the DL with a nerve issue, closing in Colorado should be a three-headed monster between Betancourt, Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers with Betancourt having a slight edge. Betancourt has not allowed an earned run in 16 consecutive appearances and has a 3.54 ERA and 58 strikeouts along with just eight walks in 48.1 innings for the year. Brothers hasn't been especially sharp lately, with earned runs allowed in four of his last six outings, but could get the look if a tough lefty needs to be retired. Belisle has allowed 22 runs in 54.1 innings, 16 of which came in five of his 55 games, but he likely is third in the pecking order. If Street is still sidelined and Lindstrom comes back in late August, he could take over as the closer, though Betancourt likely would keep the role if he's pitching well. Betancourt - Mixed: $3; NL: $9; Belisle - Mixed: No; NL: $2; brothers - Mixed: $1; NL: $4


Nick Hundley - Hundley, who missed a month with an elbow ailment and finally underwent surgery on July 8, during which doctors removed bone fragments and cleaned up a bone spur during the arthroscopic procedure, was activated from the disabled list Friday. He returned with a bang, going 3-for-3 with a home run, his fourth of the year. Hundley got off to a strong start to the year but slumped after the first two weeks and was hitting just .222 in 153 at-bats before Friday. Now that he is back, manager Bud Black will likely play Hundley daily, enabling him to stop the Rob Johnson/Kyle Phillips/Luis Martinez rotation. Mixed: $3; NL: $9

Brian McCann - McCann, out since July 26 with a strained oblique, began a minor-league rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday. He was the DH and followed that up by catching five innings without incident Saturday. McCann, who was batting .306 with 18 homers and 55 RBI before being sidelined, was activated and in the starting lineup Sunday. (just an FYI as should be owned in all leagues)

First Basemen:

Brandon Belt - Belt was called up from Triple-A Fresno on Saturday to take the roster spot of Andres Torres, who was placed on the disabled list with a right leg contusion. With Aubrey Huff's struggles, it's possible that Belt could see some time at first base. Otherwise, the disabling of Torres along with injury to Carlos Beltran's right hand means Belt could see some starts in left field, with Aaron Rowand becoming the primary center fielder and Nate Schierholtz shifting to right. It appears as if Belt has little more to learn in Triple-A, where he's slashed .309/.448/.527 (albeit with a friendly .391 BABIP), but every time he gets promoted and it looks like he will play, he for the most part ends up on the bench. In any case, it's not entirely clear what Belt's role will be, but given the Giants' lack of offense and his ability to hit, one would hope that manager Bruce Bochy plugs him in the lineup daily. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (increase or decrease based upon risk tolerance)

Lucas Duda - Duda, who has been starting at first base, will also see time in right field this year for the Mets. With Daniel Murphy now out for the year with his knee injury and Ike Davis likely the same due to the bone bruise in his ankle, Duda has become the primary option at first. However, GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins have resolved to continue using Duda in right field on occasion during the rest of the season, because Duda is much more likely to be situated there than at first base in 2012 with Davis expected back. While Duda has not yet displayed his power, his minor league numbers the past two years show that he should be able to hit some in the majors. Mixed: $5; NL: $14

Jason Giambi - Giambi, on the disabled list since July 27 with strained left quadriceps, was activated Friday. He'll take the roster spot vacated by Huston Street's placement on the disabled list Friday. Giambi, who was hitting .260 with 10 home runs, 24 RBI and 16 runs in 48 games, should reprise his regular reserve role where he'll start once or twice per week down the stretch. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Garret Jones - Jones will get bulk of time at first base for the Pirates while Derrek Lee (fractured wrist) is out 2-to-4 weeks. Jones, who has a .326 BA with three homers, seven RBI and 1.039 OPS in August, might still sit against tough lefties, especially with both Josh Harrison and Steve Pearce on the roster. Mixed: $2; NL: $7

Lyle Overbay - Overbay, who hit .227 (80-for-352) with eight home runs and 37 RBI in 103 games with the Pirates before being unconditionally released on August 9, signed with Arizona on Saturday. The need for Overbay occurred Friday when Xavier Nady was hit by a Dillon Gee pitch, fracturing his left hand, which will sideline him four-to-six weeks. Overbay, who was selected by the D-Backs in the 18th round of the 1999 Draft and played for the team from 2001-03, will see some action backing up Paul Goldschmidt. Mixed: $0; NL: $3

Juan Rivera - Rivera has adapted well to the National League following his release by Toronto and signing by Los Angeles. Since becoming a Dodger, Rivera is 26-for-79 with two homers and 14 RBI while seeing much of his action at first base. Rivera should continue to be a fixture in the starting lineup going forward. Mixed: $12; NL: $35

Second Basemen:

Allen Craig - Craig was activated from the DL and in the starting lineup Wednesday against Milwaukee. He played in 10 games at Triple-A Memphis on a rehab assignment, batting .286 with a .359 OBP and .486 SLG, coming on strong after a slow start. Prior to getting injured, Craig had been seeing time at both corner-outfield spots and a healthy amount of action at second base. The best shot for him to play is if Lance Berkman's injury woes pop up again or if Matt Holliday's back acts up as Ryan Theriot and Skip Schumacher are now sharing second base with Rafael Furcal at short. That said, it would not be shocking for manager Tony La Russa to play Craig at second if the team needs a boost offensively. Mixed: $2; NL: $7

Justin Sellers - The Dodgers called up Sellers, who was hitting .304 with 14 HR and 49 RBI at Triple-A Albuquerque prior to Friday's game to replace the injured Dee Gordon on the roster. Prior to landing in the PCL last season, Sellers, who was released by the Cubs two years ago, failed to show significant upside at the plate. Given the hitter-friendly nature of that league, there's little reason to think he'll maintain the .937 OPS he carried through 89 games with Albuquerque this season at the big league level, but he could see a few starts while Gordon is on the 15-day DL. Mixed: No; NL: $2


Ozzie Martinez - Martinez was recalled by the Marlins on Sunday to add infield depth with Hanley Ramirez and Omar Infante on the disabled list. Keep in mind that Martinez's opportunities may still be limited as Jose Lopez has been recalled by the Marlins as well after an excellent month-plus at Triple-A. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Ruben Tejada - The Mets recalled Tejada last Sunday following the injuries to Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy. This is Tejada's second stint with the Mets this year, with the first yielding a .250/.338/.274 batting line. He has shown a bit more since his promotion, going 7-for-22 with three RBI. Tejada should continue to start at short while Reyes is sidelined, then could shift to second when he returns with the Mets looking forward to 2012. Tejada needs to work on his mental mistakes and fielding on the backhand, which can only be cured by repetition; another reason why he should see consistent action going forward. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Third Basemen:

Josh Harrison - The Pirates recalled Harrison from Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday to replace the injured Derrek Lee on the roster. Harrison hit just .263/.271/.305 earlier this season with the Pirates, but did see consistent playing time in his first stint with the squad. This time, he'll provide depth on the infield but may not play much behind Pedro Alvarez, though with Alvarez continuing to struggle, Harrison could get some starts at the hot corner. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Jose Lopez - The recent slew of injuries to the Marlins' infield has created the need for Lopez to return and he was promoted Sunday. His time in the PCL went very well as Lopez amassed a .400/.430/.688 line with nine homers and 30 RBI over 125 at-bats with New Orleans after getting designated for assignment by the Marlins in early July. However, given how poor he looked with Colorado and Florida in the majors earlier this year, it may be a stretch to expect him to carry that production up from the minors with him. But he could see time initially at second or third with Hanley Ramirez and Omar Infante on the DL, which has caused a shuffle in the infield. Mixed: $0; NL: $3

Casey McGehee - McGehee was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI in Friday's victory against Pittsburgh. Even without including Friday night's game, McGehee had been figuring things out a bit over the last 28 days: a .293 average, .322 on-base percentage, a .463 slugging percentage, three home runs and 17 RBI. This performance is just about in line with his prior seasons with Milwaukee (.291/.346/.477 over two seasons). After an extremely rough first half of the year, McGehee looks to be on his way back to productivity. Mixed: $8; NL: $22 (in case he was waived during his rough first half).

Chris Nelson - Nelson has started four straight games at third base and could remain there following the demotion of Ian Stewart. Nelson has been solid defensively at the hot corner, something that has been an issue for Colorado all year, though he is just for 2-for-16 at the plate over this stretch. Nelson has failed to translate his minor league success this year to the majors, as he is batting just .223/.250/.338 in 130 at-bats for the Rockies, but with the team looking toward 2012, he could continue to see time over Ty Wigginton at third. Mixed: $2; NL: $7


Mike Baxter - Baxter, a Whitestone, Queens native, was called up by the Mets as part of the flurry of moves following injuries to Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy. The 26-year-old outfielder had a productive year for the Padres' Triple-A affiliate last season, batting .301 with 22 stolen bases. Baxter suffered a broken thumb that limited him to 11 games and then was released by San Diego and claimed by New York in late July. He will share time in right field where Scott Hairston and Willie Harris may be headed into a platoon and could see consistent action as the Mets look to 2012. Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Willie Harris - With the recent spate of injuries in New York, Harris has been starting nearly every day. He has been splitting time with Scott Hairston and now Mike Baxter in right field, and with Justin Turner nursing a quad injury and other bumps and bruises; Harris has also seen action at second base. With the Mets 3-10 in their last 13 games and starting to look at 2012, that may change, but for now, Harris is seeing a spike in action. Mixed: $0; NL: $3

Bryan Petersen - Petersen, getting the start in center field Friday after Mike Cameron was a late scratch, went 3-for-3 with a double and followed that up by going 1-for-3 with a walk Saturday. He's been picking up semi-regular at-bats, and is now 7-for-21 over the last eight games. The demotion of Logan Morrison on Saturday could result in Peterson continuing to see regular action even when Cameron returns to the lineup. Mixed: $2; NL: $7

Alex Presley - Presley, out since July 22 with a thumb injury, began a rehab assignment Tuesday for High-A Bradenton and could find himself playing full time whenever he returns. The Pirates moved Jose Tabata from left field to right, as he continues to rehab from a quadriceps injury and that position looks like it will be his spot when he returns Monday. Even though there are no guarantees going forward, this is obviously good news for Presley fantasy owners. On top of that, Andrew McCutchen doesn't look particularly comfortable batting leadoff, making Presley appear to be even more important to the future of the team. Presley has played the past several days at Triple-A Indianapolis, and when does return, he should play left field, forcing Ryan Ludwick, Xavier Paul and Matt Diaz to the bench. Mixed: $6; NL: $17

Jose Tabata - Tabata, out since June 26 with a quadriceps injury, should be recalled Monday from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. He is playing right field for Indianapolis, the spot where Pittsburgh is expected to put him when he returns. Tabata is batting .379 in eight Triple-A games but he has yet to attempt a stolen base. His failure to even attempt a steal has to be somewhat concerning, as it's possible he is fearful of another setback and may not be playing at full speed in the minors. When he does return, which will be determined after Sunday's game, Tabata should play nearly every day, though once Alex Presley returns from his rehab stint, Pittsburgh will have a logjam of outfielders, a situation somewhat eased by Derrek Lee's injury that has allowed Garret Jones to play first base. Mixed: $4; NL: $13

Will Venable - Venable, who had a horrible start to the year and was batting .191 on May 5, has upped his average monthly and is now sitting at .265 for the year. Venable has been especially good in August, batting .400 with a 1.119 OPS, eight runs, three steals and five RBI. Venable sits for Aaron Cunningham against tough lefties, but if he can remain hot at the plate, that situation could change going forward. Don't look for much power from Venable, but his 22-for-25 in stolen-base attempts shows that he should be a solid source of speed. Mixed: $7