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NL FAAB Factor: Home Stretch

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 Pitching:

Trevor Bauer/Jarrod Parker – The Diamondbacks may call up Bauer and Parker to "experience" a pennant race, though both may just see relief work. Bauer, the third overall pick this year, has struggled since moving up to Double-A Mobile, but much of that may be explained by a .478 BABIP. Parker, who has made it all the way back from Tommy John surgery in October 2009, is 11-8 with a 3.79 ERA and 1.283 WHIP and 112 strikeouts in 130 innings for Mobile. Parker’s fastball is back in the mid-to-high 90s along with his above-average slider and changeup. In terms of upside, Bauer is likely higher than Parker but both could end up in the Arizona rotation in 2012. Bauer - Mixed: $3; NL: $9; Parker – Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (keeper leagues only).

Tommy Hanson – Hanson, who has been out since August 6 with a small rotator cuff tear in his shoulder, had a bullpen session that went well Saturday and he's now scheduled to make a start in the Braves' instructional league. Even though he did not throw off a mound until last Sunday, Hanson remains on pace to return to the Braves and make a start in the final week of the season. If he does make that start, it’s possible that Hanson could pitch in the NLDS, possibly Game 4, which would be a huge boost for Atlanta. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (pure speculation that he is able to pitch before the end of the year)

Kris Medlen – Medlen, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery in August 2010, could pitch in the postseason if he's able to work a game or two in the regular season. He had a setback in June when some scar tissue broke up, and then again in July after he returned, which shut him down to September. Since Medlen has been on the 60-day DL all season, he's qualified to return to the Braves' roster for postseason play, which may happen if he is able to get in some action before the season ends. Medlen would work out of the bullpen, where he has been more effective against lefties in his career, which could be a need for the Braves with George Sherrill nursing a sore left elbow. Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Brett Myers – Myers is 5-13 overall and went nearly three months between wins, but of late, he has been extremely hot. Myers has notched three straight starts with just one run allowed, striking out 17 and walking four in 22.2 innings in those outings. While he may have buried several fantasy teams given his poor year, he might be able to push a few over the top if he remains this hot in his last three outings of the season. Mixed: $5; NL: $14

Brad Peacock – Peacock was profiled for the second time this year two weeks ago when it looked like he would get the call, and he made the most of it, allowing no runs on two hits and three walks over five innings while striking out two against the Mets in his first career start Wednesday. Peacock blossomed in 2010, ripping through High-A with a K/9IP rate north of 10.0 and establishing himself as a very intriguing arm. He continued that rise this year, posting a 3.19 ERA and 48:24 K:BB in 48 innings at Triple-A Syracuse, after tearing through Double-A Harrisburg with a 2.01 ERA and 129:23 K:BB ratio in just 98.2 innings. Peacock has a mid-90s fastball, good curveball and developing changeup, so while he is not Stephen Strasburg, he still has a lot that he brings to the table. Peacock will remain in the rotation the rest of the season as the team tries him out. Mixed: $4; NL: $13.

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.

Relief Pitchers:

Rafael Betancourt – Troy Renck of the Denver Post speculated this past week that Betancourt will enter the offseason as the Rockies' closer. Betancourt has performed well in the closer role while Huston Street recovered from injury, and with one year remaining Street's contract along with a hefty price tag makes him a likely candidate to be traded. Of course, a lot can happen between the end of the 2011 and beginning of 2012 seasons, but Betancourt looks as if he is the probable heir apparent to the position. Mixed: $15 (should already be owned in NL-only and probably mixed leagues)

Brian Wilson – Wilson, who has been sidelined with elbow inflammation since August 15, could return from the disabled list Sunday if he experiences a successful throwing session Saturday. Wilson has progressed from throwing off a mound, then to live batters and then a simulated game without any setbacks in the past two weeks. It is unclear if Wilson will immediately resume the closer's role, but there could be few save opportunities anyway in the season's final week and a half. Mixed: $15; NL: $35.


Nick Hundley – Hundley has hit in 22 of his last 28 games since being activated from the disabled list Aug. 12. Since that return, Hundley is 39-for-96 with an OPS of 1.192, which leads all catchers with at least 50 at-bats since the All-Star break. His rise has been triggered by a .371 BABIP, way above his norm, but that is tempered by his 66 strikeouts in 249 at-bats. While Hundley’s certainly an injury risk, his bat has been way above replacement level all year long, and if he could stay healthy, he could go .275-15-65 next year. Mixed: $12

Erik Kratz/Matt Pagnozzi - These players will serve as spot starters and backup catchers in the final few weeks of the season, benefiting from the post-September 1 roster expansion. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0

Corner Infielders:

Juan Francisco – Francisco, who hit .307 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI in 300 at-bats for Triple-A Louisville, was profiled two weeks ago when he was one of the Reds’ September callups. Much of Francisco's season has been marred by injury, but he has played well since the promotion. Francisco has hit three home runs and recorded 12 RBI over 44 at-bats, while seeing most of the playing time at third base. Ride him down the stretch if you own him. A strong last 10 days could aid him in getting the position next spring, though Scott Rolen is signed for 2012. Mixed: $4; NL: $14.

Bryan LaHair - LaHair, the PCL MVP after posting a .331 average with 38 home runs and 109 RBI for Triple-A Iowa, has made the most of his call up. LaHair blasted his second home run in 30 September at-bats Saturday, and has received somewhat regular playing time at the corner outfield slots. While he probably doesn't figure into the Cubs' long-term plans, he could open some eyes with a strong finish, putting him in line for a job elsewhere next season. Mixed: $3; NL: $9

Middle Infielders:

Thomas Field - Field got a surprise recall this past Sunday with both Mark Ellis and Troy Tulowitzki unavailable to play and Jon Herrera on the DL. Field primarily played second base at Double-A Tulsa, but the Rockies' lack of depth left them scrambling. He hit .271 with 17 home runs in 472 Tulsa at-bats, so he could provide some cheap middle-infield power in deeper formats. Field opened the year projecting to be a Jamey Carroll-like utility infielder, but his second solid in a year in a row could give him a shot at earning the second-base job next year in the spring. Mixed: $2; NL: $7

Hector Gomez - Look for Gomez, who was called up Friday and started Saturday, to get some starts down the stretch, as Troy Tulowitzki has been hampered by injuries and will not be pushed over the last dozen games. Gomez's modest value comes from his potential to put up decent home runs and steals from the shortstop slot, but his feast-or-famine approach at the plate makes him a liability in batting average. Mixed: $1; NL: $5


Domonic Brown – The Phillies recalled Brown from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Saturday. Brown, whose overall numbers with the Phillies were nothing special but was making strides before the team acquired Hunter Pence, hit .261 with three home runs in 41 games for Lehigh Valley this season. With Pence in right and Shane Victorino locked into center, Brown could open 2012 as the starting left fielder, but that is no longer a given based on his struggles and the play of John Mayberry Jr. For now, Brown will give the Phillies another option off the bench this month. Mixed: $0; NL: $2 (go much higher in keeper leagues).

Cole Gillespie – Gillespie will be an extra bat off the bench as Arizona views for the NL West division crown. Mixed: No; NL: $0

J.B. Shuck – With Jason Michaels out for the remainder of the season with a broken finger, Shuck is in line for more playing time the rest of the year. Shuck has a good eye and could be a decent source of batting average with some speed, but don’t expect any power from him. Mixed: $1; NL: $5