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NL FAAB Factor: Stretch Run Blues

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.

National League - FAAB - 9/11/11

Several of this week's callups were profiled last week. Please see that column for information and bid advice on players such as James Darnell, Tim Federowicz, Drew Pomeranz, Anthony Rizzo, Wilin Rosario, Stephen Strasburg and Edinson Volquez. If a player's value has changed from last week, he is profiled again below.

RIP to all those who were tragically killed 10 years ago today, including Victor Wald, beloved son, husband, father and my best friend. May his memory continue to be an inspiration.

Starting Pitchers:

Joe Blanton - Blanton, on the DL since May 16 with an elbow injury, was activated Monday. At one point, there was talk of possible surgery. Fortunately, Blanton avoided that fate. Blanton, who made just one rehab appearance for one inning, was supposed to make another rehab start Monday, but the Phillies decided it was not necessary. Look for him to mainly be used out of the bullpen given that he hasn't seen much action and Vance Worley is excelling as the fifth starter. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

John Ely - The Dodgers recalled Ely on Tuesday. He'll likely get a few spot starts down the stretch, but there isn't much to get excited about here in terms of keeper potential given Ely's mediocre arsenal. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Michael Fiers - The Brewers selected Fiers' contract from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. Fiers posted a 13-3 record in the minors this season, which included a perfect 8-0 record in 10 starts with Nashville. He's not a hard thrower, but he did strike out 132 batters in 126 innings this season. Expect him to serve as a long man for the Brewers down the stretch but he could get a look as the team's fifth starter next spring. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Tommy Hanson - Hanson, out with a slight tear in his rotator cuff since August 7, felt good throwing from 120 feet Monday and is likely a week away from a rehab start. He's targeting a return to make a start or two before the playoffs begin, which is an encouraging sign in terms of being ready for the postseason. Prior to being sidelined, Hanson was having another excellent campaign, and if for some reason he was waived in your league, he is definitely worth a look on the hopes he does get a few starts down the stretch. Mixed: $10; NL: $25.

Jeff Karstens - Karstens, who missed his last two starts due to arm soreness and fatigue, will return to the starting rotation Tuesday against St. Louis. He also will start Sept. 19 against Arizona, after which manager Clint Hurdle will decide whether to remain in a six-man rotation or to return to a five-man rotation and fill gaps with spot starters. Prior to being sidelined, Karstens benefited from a low BABIP, .278, and a strand rate of 78.1 percent, but came back to earth, posting a 7.46 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in August. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Jeff Locke - The Pirates called Locke up Tuesday. He is a 23-year-old lefty with a 90 mph fastball and off-speed pitches - curveball and changeup - decent enough to miss bats. Acquired as part of the package for Nate McLouth in 2009, Locke compiled a 12-5 record with a 3.56 ERA and 1.146 WHIP split between High-A and Double-A in 2010. He also finished with an impressive 8.7 K/9IP and 139:26 K:BB ratio. This year, he compiled a compiling a 4.03 ERA and 114:46 K:BB ratio in 125.0 innings for Double-A Altoona before getting promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis, where he had a 2.22 ERA, 2.85 FIP and 25:9 K:BB ratio over 28.1 innings in five starts. Locke had a decent first start Saturday against Florida and should receive a few more starts this season so that the Pirates can get a better look at their lefty prospect. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Greg Reynolds - Reynolds was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs for Monday's game against the Diamondbacks. Colorado is currently using Reynolds in the bullpen, but he may find himself in the rotation down the stretch. Even if that does happen, given how he has struggled but in the minors and majors, don't spend much on him. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Alex Sanabia - After making it to the majors in 2010, Sanabia was limited to 40.2 minor league innings in 2011 due to an elbow injury. He received a promotion on Tuesday, and while he could see a start or two, it's more likely that he pitches out of the bullpen. Sanabia will pitch in the Arizona Fall League, where he will need to work on his stamina, an area of concern last year, while regaining the tremendous control he rode to a solid 2010 campaign in order to prepare for a crack at the 2012 roster. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Chris Schwinden - Schwinden, who was called up Monday, made his major league debut Thursday by starting one game of a makeup doubleheader against the Braves at Citi Field during which he allowed five runs in five innings. Schwinden ran out of gas late in the year at Triple-A Buffalo, posting a 5.63 ERA in August, then allowing two runs in 4.1 innings at Lehigh Valley in a 72-pitch effort in his final Triple-A outing on Saturday. Overall, Schwinden went 8-8 with a 3.95 ERA and 134 strikeouts over 145.2 innings in 26 starts for the Bisons this season. Down the stretch, he could see another spot start or two, but likely will be used out of the bullpen. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Eric Surkamp - Surkamp was promoted from Double-A Richmond in late August to start against Houston and then was optioned down right after the outing. He was called up against this week, picking up his first career win with a solid outing against the Padres. The 24-year-old Surkamp has been pretty dominant for Richmond this season, with a 10-4 record, 2.02 ERA and 165 strikeouts in 23 appearances. He has an average to above-average fastball that sits in high-80s, but his best pitch is his curveball, though neither pitch has really fooled major league hitters in his first two outings. Surkamp is unlikely to make much of an impact this year, but is worth keeping an eye on for 2013 or 2014. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Relief Pitchers:

Manny Acosta/Josh Stinson - With Bobby Parnell having blown three of his last four save chances - including two in a row - and Jason Isringhausen dealing with a herniated disc in his back, Acosta and Stinson have notched the Mets' last two saves. Acosta blew the save Friday, but picked up the win, and despite giving up a run, he has allowed just five runs in his last 28.1 innings. Overall, his ERA still sits at a solid 3.32 with a 39:11 K:BB ratio. Even if Acosta is not an elite reliever, those numbers could pick up some saves if given a chance. Stinson had an ugly 32:33 K:BB in 61.2 Triple-A innings before getting the call, but he's tossed 6.2 scoreless for the Mets. Eleven of Stinson's relief appearances with Double-A Binghamton this season were two innings or longer, so he is accustomed to working multiple innings, which is how manager Terry Collins used him in his first two outings. Stinson is likely behind Acosta in the pecking order if Parnell continues to struggle, but he has opened some eyes and served as a closer at Double-A Binghamton this year. Acosta - Mixed: $3; NL: $9; Stinson - Mixed: $1; NL: $4


Jordan Pacheco - Pacheco was called up by the Rockies on Tuesday. Pacheco's .278/.343/.377 line would work as a major leaguer, but it's awfully unimpressive in the hitter-boosting parks of the Pacific Coast League, particularly in Colorado Springs. Still, he has a decent minor league history, posting OPS marks above .800 at three different levels (including the Arizona Fall League) in 2010, and also does a good job of working the count and using the whole field. A catcher by trade, Pacheco will get a long look down the stretch, mostly at third base, where he has started several games since his promotion. The Rockies are suffering through a gaping hole at third and if Pacheco can handle the task, he could easily find himself as the opening day starter in 2012. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (up bid if he still has catcher eligibility for remainder of the year)

Hector Sanchez - Sanchez, who was called up for a week in July and in August, gets a third shot at the big leagues after getting promoted the past week. Sanchez tore up High-A San Jose to earn the first callup but likely needs some minor league seasoning at the higher levels. With Buster Posey out, he could see the occasional start behind the plate with Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart handling duties behind the plate. Mixed: $1; NL: $4

First Basemen:

Luis Montanez/Vinny Rottino - Both players likely won't be anything more than a utility player off the bench, so don't expect much in the way of fantasy value (or even at-bats) out of them down the stretch. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Brett Pill - Pill was profiled last week when he was promoted, but the back injury to Aubrey Huff coupled with San Francisco falling out of the race and Pill's hot bat, has enabled him to remain in the lineup. Pill hit .312 with 25 HR and 107 RBI at Triple-A Fresno, but at 27, he was not viewed as a big-time prospect. So far, he is taking advantage of the opportunities he is being given, and as long as he hits, he should remain in the starting lineup. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Jerry Sands - Sands was profiled last week when the expectation was he would see most of his action at first base for Los Angeles to see if he could replace James Loney, allowing the Dodgers to not offer him arbitration. The season-ending, right knee injury to Andre Ethier has opened right field, which is now being manned by Juan Rivera, who has shifted from left, enabling Sands, who hit 29 homers and 88 RBI in 370 at-bats for Triple-A Albuquerque, to see time at the spot. With LA going nowhere, look for Sands to be in the lineup nearly every day even in left or at first base. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Second Basemen:

Tyler Greene/D.J. LeMahieu/Pete Orr/Nick Punto - These players will serve as spot starters and backup infielders in the final month of the season, though Blum could see a bit more action than the others. All except Blum - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Blum - Mixed: $0; NL: $3

Steve Lombardozzi - The Nationals called up Lombardozzi, the son of the former major leaguer by the same name, on Wednesday. He'll add infield depth in September after slashing .310/.354/.408 as a 22-year-old at Triple-A Syracuse this season. Lombardozzi doesn't have a ton of power, but he can steal bases (14-for-19 in 69 games this season) and may have a future as a utility option, backing up both Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond. That said, he almost was dealt to Minnesota in a package for Denard Span; so if he is moved elsewhere or Espinosa is traded, Lombardozzi could get a shot at starting. Mixed: $0; NL: $3

Chris Nelson - Nelson, who saw close to full-time action earlier in the year before Colorado acquired Mark Ellis, was promoted from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday. He was immediately inserted into the lineup, replacing a banged up Troy Tulowitzki and hitting his third career home run. Nelson's value for the rest of this year is very limited, and he won't see much in the way of consistent action unless Tulo or Ellis are out for an extended period. Next year, if the Rockies elect not to bring back Ellis, Nelson could get a look in the spring at filling the second-base spot. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Rickie Weeks - Weeks, who suffered a severely sprained ankle at the end of July and was expected to miss three-to-six weeks, was activated off the DL on Friday. He wasn't expected to be ready for second-base duty until mid-September, but the Brewers put him in the starting lineup Sunday. Barring any setbacks within the next few days, Weeks should be able to play a full nine innings sometime next week. (go the max if available)


Brandon Crawford - Crawford will start at shortstop Sunday and could remain there the last two-plus weeks of the year. Crawford struggled mightily after getting called up from High-A San Jose in May and it didn't get much better for him after he was sent down to Triple-A Fresno on July 31. Don't expect much offensively from him. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Donnie Murphy - Murphy, who initially went on the DL in May and then had a setback that kept him out longer, was finally activated Monday. With Hanley Ramirez done for the year due to his shoulder injury, Murphy could see some action, which was the case the past several games when he started at shortstop. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Andy Parrino - The Padres promoted Parrino to the majors in late August after he hit .315/.393/.511 with 12 home runs and 56 RBI in 88 games between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Since getting promoted, he has seen decent playing time, including starting four of the Padres' last six games. Parrino is seeing most of his action at third, but they've also played him in the outfield and at second. As long as Chase Headley (finger) is on the DL, Parrino could get a lot of action, though James Darnell will also see action at the hot corner. Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Jimmy Rollins - Rollins, out with a Grade 2 right groin strain since August 21, was activated off the disabled list Thursday. Rollins still won't be ready to play until early this week, but he was activated in case the Phillies needed him in an emergency due to Chase Utley's concussion. Rollins fielded grounders Friday and showed a great range of motion as he tested his strained groin, so when he does return, he shouldn't be limited in any way. The Phillies have the division and home field advantage in the NL playoffs, all but locked up, so they can be judicious in how they use Rollins down the stretch. Mixed: $12; NL: $35 (go much higher if you think he gets close to max playing time)

Third Basemen:

Pedro Alvarez - The Pirates recalled Alvarez and started him against the Astros at third base Tuesday. He's had a terribly disappointing 2011, including not faring much better when he was sent down to Triple-A Indianapolis in August, but will get another chance to show what he can do. Alvarez will continue seeing starts against right-handed pitchers, setting up favorable matchups as he platoons with Josh Harrison at third base. Mixed: $5; NL: $14

Matt Dominguez - The Marlins called up Dominguez, their third baseman of the future, Tuesday. Dominguez missed the first month of the season with an elbow injury, and then struggled most of the season before getting hot the past few weeks to earn the callup. Dominguez's glove is way ahead of his bat, but with Florida looking for the future; look for him to play close to every day. In addition, he's also destined for the Arizona Fall League at season's end, which will give him another chance to show he is ready to take over at third base to begin the 2012 campaign. Mixed: $4; NL: $11


Mike Baxter/Corey Brown/Adron Chambers/Valentino Pascucci - These players will mainly be occasional starters or bats off the bench in the final three weeks for their respective teams. Chambers could be a name to keep in mind, as he had a solid Triple-A campaign and could be a cheap source of speed down the stretch and next year, if he makes the parent squad in St. Louis. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Justin Christian - The Giants called up Christian this past week. He put up a .338/.428/.574 line with 10 home runs and 41 RBI in 64 games with Triple-A Fresno. The 31-year-old outfielder has not seen major league action since 2008, when he appeared in 24 games for the Yankees. Christian started three straight games after being promoted, and with San Francisco all but eliminated from the NL West, the Giants could opt to see if could handle center field in 2012. Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Ryan Ludwick - Ludwick, who was on the disabled list with a back injury, was activated when eligible on Sept. 7. He was profiled last week when the expectation was that he would be in and out of the lineup during September, as the team mixes his playing time with that Alex Presley and Jose Tabata and occasionally Andrew McCutchen. He is profiled again this week as the wrist injury to Tabata could sideline him the balance of the year, which has opened right field for Ludwick to start daily. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.