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FAAB Factor - NL: Adrian, Beckett, Skaggs

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 - 8/26/12
Starting Pitching:

Fernando Abad - The Astros recalled Abad from Triple-A Oklahoma City and started him against the Mets on Saturday. Abad held the Mets to one run over four innings despite giving up four hits and four walks in his first major-league start after making 81 relief appearances in the big leagues. He was recently shifted to starting from relieving; making three starts in the minors before getting the promotion. Abad has a decent fastball, change up and breaking ball and could remain as the Astros' fifth starter, assuming they don't sign Roger Clemens. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Anthony Bass/Andrew Cashner - Bass, on the disabled list since June 21 with inflammation in his pitching shoulder -- threw two scoreless innings in a rehab stint from Triple-A Tucson on Wednesday. Cashner, on the disabled list since July 4 with a strained right lat muscle, led the way for the two injured pitchers, as he pitched in a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Tucson. He allowed no runs on two hits, no walks, and two strikeouts over two innings, throwing 21 strikes on 30 pitches and said he felt good after the outing. Bass and Cashner will likely need a few more appearances before they rejoin the Padres, which could be shortly after the rosters expand to 40 on September 1. Bass - Mixed: $1; NL: $4; Cashner - Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (early speculative bids)

Josh Beckett - Beckett was part of blockbuster deal between Boston and LA that sent him, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to LA for James Loney, Jerry Sands, Rubby De La Rosa, Ivan DeJesus and Allen Webster. Beckett has had a horrific 2012 campaign, posting a 5.23 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, along with just 10 Quality Starts out of the 21 he has made this year. In addition, his ERA increased almost three-quarters of a run his past three starts. Maybe Beckett just needed a change and he should benefit from the move back to the NL, where he pitched from 2001-2005 in Florida. In addition, he now gets to pitch in a pitcher's park and ironically is reunited with Hanley Ramirez, who was the centerpiece player in the deal that send back from Florida to Boston. All that said, moderate your bid on Beckett, as he still has to prove he has the stuff to consistently get hitters out, which since he is now having his second bad season in the last three. Mixed: owned; NL: $35 (still will go for big money despite his struggles).
Joe Kelly - Kelly will replace Lance Lynn in the Cardinals' rotation for the time being after relieving him and throwing three solid innings Friday. Lynn has really struggled of late, so manager Mike Matheny opted to give him a bit of a mental break an insert Kelly into the rotation. Kelly, who owns a 3.26 ERA, fared well in his 12-outing stint as a starter earlier this season, but was moved to the bullpen following the return of Jaime Garcia. Mixed: $1; NL: $5 (question is how many starts he gets).

Ted Lilly - Lilly, on the disabled list since May 24 with shoulder problems, has been shut down a few times in his rehab. This week, he was slated to throw a pair of bullpen sessions before progressing to make a few rehab starts. If Lilly makes it through those unscathed, he will rejoin LA sometime in September and work out of the bullpen. Mixed: $0; NL: $2 (more in keeper leagues due to starter potential for 2013).

Shaun Marcum - Marcum was activated off the disabled list and started Saturday against the Pirates. He allowed four runs (none earned) over five innings and was the losing pitcher against Pittsburgh. Marcum, who made three minor-league rehab starts in his return from an elbow injury that has sidelined him since June 14, took Randy Wolf's spot in the rotation. Prior to being sidelined, Marcum was is 5-3 on the season with a 3.39 ERA, building off his strong 2011 campaign and alleviating the concerns following his very late season fade. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.

Collin McHugh - McHugh was promoted this week from Triple-A Buffalo and started Thursday in place of Johan Santana, who was placed on the disabled list and shut down for the year with lower back inflammation. All he did was toss seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out nine in his major-league debut Thursday against the Rockies. When McHugh is on, as he was Thursday, he mixes a low-90s fastball with a curveball, cutter, slider and change-up. His reward for that solid start was a demotion back to Buffalo to make room for Jeremy Hefner off the paternity list. Since McHugh is at 150.2 innings and threw 129 innings last season, he was expected to pitch on a regular turn down the stretch in the majors, but he should be a September call up and get a few turns in the Mets' rotation. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (Sept. 1 call up spec bid).

Brooks Raley - Raley, the Cubs 2009 6th round pick, was profiled two weeks ago when he was promoted and made his major league debut. He made two more starts before he was sent back down to the minors. With the Cubs in full-blown evaluation mode, Raley was called back up and started Saturday, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks over five innings against the Rockies. He was good but not great between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa this season. With 22 starts between the two, Raley had a 3.58 ERA, a 1.332 WHIP and a 98:40 K/BB ratio. Overall in his minor league career he has a 3.74 ERA. Raley has a five-pitch arsenal (four- and two-seam fastballs that top out around 90 mph, slider, changeup and curveball) but lacks a true out-pitch. He should see several more starts the last month of the season as Chicago continues looking towards 2013. Mixed: $0; NL: $2

Chris Rusin - Rusin, a fourth-round pick in 2009, hardly lit up the radar at Triple-A Iowa. In 14 starts covering 79 innings there, he had a 4.56 ERA and a 46:26 K:BB ratio. Despite those pedestrian numbers, Rusin was called this week and allowed just one hit and run in his major league debut Tuesday against the Brewers. He also struck four while tossing 76 pitches over five innings. Despite the solid start, Rusin was sent down Saturday for Brooks Raley, but he should be back after September 1 and make a few starts the last month of the season. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Tyler Skaggs - Skaggs became the next of the Diamondbacks' stable of pitching prospects to see the big leagues, following Patrick Corbin and Trevor Bauer. Between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Skaggs went 9-6 with a 2.87 ERA and a 116:37 K:BB ratio in 122 innings of work, including 2.91 ERA, 7.69 K/9 and 2.71 BB/9 in 52.2 innings for Reno. In his MLB debut, Skaggs gave up two runs on three hits in 6.2 innings, walked five, struck out four and picked up the victory Wednesday over the Marlins. When Skaggs is on, he mixes a low-90s fastball with a solid curveball and changeup. Skaggs is expected to remain with the D-Backs as a starter, as they are going with a six-man rotation. In addition, if Joe Saunders, who was placed on waivers, is traded, then Skaggs will pitch on normal rest and see more starts going forward Mixed: $7; NL: $19 (more if guaranteed he starts).

Eric Stults - Stults tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and a walk with four strikeouts against the Diamondbacks on Friday. Since joining the rotation following the release of Kip Wells, Stults is now 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a 13:3 K:BB ratio. The key for this resurgence has been his ability to avoid surrendering home runs, which plagued him in his earlier stint this year as a starter in San Diego. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Jacob Turner - Turner, who was profiled last week when the Marlins were considering using a six-man rotation, gets another mention as he was called up to start one game of this past Wednesday's doubleheader. Turner gave up three earned runs, struck out five and walked none in six innings and will remain in the Miami rotation as the Marlins look to the future. Turner, who came to Miami from Detroit in the Anibal Sanchez deal, went 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 16:12 K:BB ratio in 27.1 innings over five starts with Triple-A New Orleans after pitching well for Triple-A Toledo while with the Tigers. He had made six major league starts over his career with very limited success, including a career 8.28 ERA. Much of that stems from awful control and allowing a number of home runs, including three in two innings against the Angels earlier this month. Still, Turner is just 21 years old and a top-25 prospect. Turner can touch 95 mph with his fastball and also has a very good change-up and breaking ball and could see better success now that he is in the NL. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (upped bid).

Andrew Werner - Werner was promoted and made his major-league debut for the Padres against the Pirates on Wednesday. He allowed two runs on four hits and four walks with two strikeouts over six innings to notch the victory. Werner has moved quickly through the Padres system, reaching the majors in just two pro seasons. He posted a 5.79 ERA in 23.1 Triple-A innings but sported a 3.23 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 103 innings for Double-A San Antonio. Werner usually has good control but has just an average fastball, so his margin for error is minimal. In addition, with Anthony Bass and Andrew Cashner making progress in their respective returns from injury, Werner's window of opportunity may be small. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Relief Pitchers:

Hector Ambriz/Miguel Batista/Brad Boxberger/Robert Carson/Brandon Dickson/Alex Hinshaw/J.J. Hoover/Hisanori Takahashi - This week's batch of middle relief promotions/activations/trade acquisitions took place in Houston, Atlanta, San Diego, New York, St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. All of them will pitch in middle relief for their respective teams. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Phillippe Aumont - Aumont, who was profiled a few weeks ago as a candidate to earn a promotion to the majors when rosters expand in September, gets another mention as his call up came a bit early. Aumont got the call when Jeremy Horst went on paternity leave but is staying with the Phillies even though Horst is back with the squad. Aumont is 3-1 and 15 saves with a 4.26 ERA and a 59:34 K:BB ratio in 44.1 innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Aumont, who is 6-foot-7, has great stuff, but he still needs to work on his command, though his mound presence has improved this year. He could be a candidate for a set-up role later this year and in 2013. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

John Axford - Axford picked up his 19th and 20th saves of the season this past week and appeared to be firmly back in place as the Brewers closer. Axford, who lost his role as the team's closer on July 16 following several meltdowns, told manager Ron Roenicke that he was really to re-assume the role as the team's ninth-inning option. Roenicke pulled Jim Henderson to give Axford a chance on Tuesday, which he made good on and then Axford struck out the side Wednesday to close out the game. However, he imploded on Friday and had to be rescued by Kameron Loe, who was basically the last man standing in the bullpen. Milwaukee likely wants Axford to be the closer next year and he should be first in line to close for the remainder of 2012; assuming no more major meltdowns, which may be a bit of a stretch to assume. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (invest in Tums if you do get him).

Tom Layne - Layne, who was promoted a few weeks ago, gets his name in lights this week. Layne, usually a lefty-specialist, posted a 6.37 ERA and 69 strikeouts this season between the Triple-A and Double-A levels. He has started his major-league career with a bang, notching a clean save this week along with allowing just one hit and a walk with eight strikeouts in 4.1 innings. Dale Thayer has been the closer in the absence of Huston Street, but Layne could get another shot or two, especially if lefties are coming up in the ninth. Mixed: $1; NL: $5

Javier Lopez - Lopez notched two saves and a hold this week. He is little more than a lefty specialist, but as long as a left-handed hitter is the last one up in the ninth, he'll be in the mix for saves. That means a higher than what was proposed two weeks ago when Santiago Casilla lost his hold on the closer role in San Francisco. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.


Wellington Castillo - Since the Cubs' trade of Geovany Soto, Castillo has been functioning as the team's main catcher, forcing Steve Clevenger to the bench. After hitting just .206 before the trade, Castillo has gone 16-for-49 (through Saturday) in the post-Soto era, with eight RBI and three home runs. Ride him while he is hot. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Erik Kratz - Kratz gets an upgrade, as he will now be the Phillies' everyday catcher with Brian Schneider (hamstring) on the disabled list. Kratz and Schneider were platooning behind the plate, but Kratz was seeing the majority of the starts. The Phillies don't expect Carlos Ruiz (foot) back until mid-September, so Kratz, who has displayed surprising power, has an opportunity to accumulate a lot of at-bats over the next couple of weeks. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Steve LeRud - The Phillies called up LeRud on Friday. The 27-year-old catcher has been at the Double-A level for the majority of the past five seasons. LeRud will get a shot in the majors despite hitting just .235/.350/.304 with no homers and seven RBI in 35 games for Double-A Reading this season. He'll provide some depth behind the plate with Brian Schneider (hamstring) hitting the DL. Mixed: No; NL: $0

Dioner Navarro - Navarro was originally called up Tuesday to add depth behind the plate with Devin Mesoraco serving a two-game suspension. The Reds decided to option Mesoraco down to Triple-A Louisville, meaning that Navvarro will serve as Ryan Hanigan's back up. The 28-year-old Navarro hit just .193 in 64 games for the Dodgers last season, but was raking at Louisville and should see some spot starts. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Carlos Ruiz - Ruiz, sidelined with plantar fasciitis in his left foot since August 4, took batting practice on Wednesday and Thursday this past week. He hopes to start running Tuesday, which will be a key test since the injury he has could flare up or have a relapse from running. Ruiz, who was enjoying a career-season, was expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks with the injury, putting him on pace for a possible early-September return. This could still be the case if he is able to run and progress forward without any setbacks. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (early spec bid).
First Basemen:

Lance Berkman - Berkman, who was profiled last week, gets another mention as he began a rehab stint with Triple-A Memphis on Friday. Berkman has been sidelined with soreness in his right knee, which also knee was operated on earlier this year, costing him two months of playing time. Berkman lasted three weeks after coming off the DL before soreness in the knee landed him right back on the DL on August 3. Maybe the rest this time helped, but given the amount of time he has missed as well as issues and setbacks he has had with it, consider me skeptical. In addition, keep in mind that he may retire after the season. Mixed: $8; NL: $22 (early spec bid presuming he is healthy).

Jeff Clement - The Pirates called up Clement on Friday. Clement, who at one point was a big-time catching prospect, has been stuck down at the Triple-A level for the better part of the past seven seasons. This year at Indianapolis, Clement hit .276/.340/.486 with 16 homers and 57 RBI in 112 games. He took Yamaico Navarro's place on the active roster and could see some action against righties at first base. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Adrian Gonzalez - The blockbuster deal between Boston and LA was finalized Saturday, The end result of that deal was that Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto headed to the Dodgers for James Loney, Jerry Sands, Rubby De La Rosa, Ivan DeJesus and Allen Webster. For Boston, the keys were salary relief and the ability to hit reset on what has been a pair of disappointing seasons. Gonzalez had $127 million and six years remaining on his deal, which now becomes the Dodgers' responsibility. He is familiar with the NL West, having played for San Diego, and while his numbers at Chavez Ravine have been less than stellar (.212/.312/.364 with five home runs in 165 AB), he gives LA another potent bat in the middle of their order between Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Gonzalez got off to a horrible start, but has woken up after the All-Star break. He got off to a great start for LA, homering in his first at-bat as a Dodger on Saturday. Mixed: already owned; NL: Max bid
Second Base:

Nick Punto - Punto was traded to LA from Boston as part of the Adrian Gonzalez-Josh Beckett-Carl Crawford blockbuster deal. Punto should fill a utility role with the Dodgers. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Justin Turner - With Daniel Murphy in the throes of a major slump, Tuner saw some playing time this weekend at second base for the Mets. Murphy has a .213/.300/.279 triple-slash line this month, and only two extra-base hits in 61 August at-bats, prompting manager Terry Collins to say that he thought Murphy was “fatigued” and need some time off. Turner, who homered for the first time this season Saturday, likely will return to his bench role but could see some additional at-bats as the Mets try and keep Murphy fresh. Mixed: No; NL: $2
Andrelton Simmons - The Braves expect that Simmons (finger) will need a total of six weeks from the point of his DL trip to recover, a span that includes a potential rehab assignment. That would put Simmons roughly at an Aug. 24 return date; however, he has not yet been cleared to do baseball activities and is limited to physical therapy. Due to that reason and it being close to the roster expansion deadline, the Braves may wait a week, and make someone else possibly playoff-eligible. For now, Paul Janish wlll continue to man shortstop for Atlanta. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (early speculative bid)

Jeff Bianchi - The Brewers recalled Bianchi from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. The Brewers wanted to recall Bianchi earlier in the week, but they had to wait a few days since he had not yet spent 10 days in the minors since he was sent down last. Expect Bianchi to serve as a utility infielder and occasionally spell Jean Segura at shortstop. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Willie Bloomquist/Jake Elmore/John McDonald -With Stephen Drew now in Oakland, shortstop for Arizona may be a three-headed monster. However, for now, it's Elmore's job as Bloomquist is still sidelined with a stiff back and McDonald is nursing a sore elbow. Elmore has a good batting average; eye and some speed, so he may be contribute in several categories for your team. When Bloomquist returns, which may be soon, he should see time at short and third and get a spike in value due to the increased in PT he gets. McDonald will continue to be a utility player, but he too should see a rise in playing time. Elmore - Mixed: $2; NL: $7; Bloomquist - Mixed: $2; NL: $7; McDonald - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Troy Tulowitzki - Tulowitzki, profiled last week, gets another mention this one, as he played five innings at shortstop in his first rehab game with Double-A Tulsa on Friday. Tulo, limited to 47 games due to a left groin injury that required surgery in June, will be eased back into action after not appearing in a game for nearly three months. He'll likely work his way up to nine innings of action at the position before returning to the Rockies in early September. Tulo is trying trying to prove that he is not brittle since injuries have sidelined him for major parts of four of the last five years. Given his ability to get a hot and carry a fantasy team, run, don't walk and grabbed Tulo on the hopes you get a full month from him in September. Mixed: $35; NL: $65 (upped bid since he has begun a rehab stint).

Third Basemen:

Luis Cruz - Cruz has heated up again of late, going 20-for-47 at the plate over his last 13 games. With Jerry Hairston Jr. out for the season, Hanley Ramirez ensconced at shortstop and Juan Uribe plastered to the bench, Cruz, despite the acquisition of Nick Punto, should continue to see most of the playing time at third base for LA. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (upgrade in NL-only leagues).


Charles Blackmon/Andrew Brown - Blackmon and Brown, profiled last week, get another mention this week as each has remained with the Rockies. Last week, Blackmon was called up to replace Carlos Gonzalez, who was on the bereavement list, and Brown joined the Rockies with Michael Cuddyer landing on the DL with his oblique injury. With Eric Young Jr. getting placed on the DL due to his own oblique injury, Blackmon and Brown will contend for the starting spot in left field. Blackmon had a .303/.385/.482 batting line at Triple-A Colorado Springs this season and is a decent prospect, as he showed in a brief stint in the majors before he was injured. Brown has shown some pop in the minors, but struggles to make contact, which will adversely affect his BA but the power should play well at Coors. Blackmon - Mixed: $2; NL: $7; Brown - Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Carl Crawford - Crawford was part of blockbuster deal between Boston and LA that send him, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to LA for James Loney, Jerry Sands, Rubby De La Rosa, Ivan DeJesus and Allen Webster. Crawford signed a seven-year contract with the Red Sox in December of 2010, but he will head to a new home after two less-than-stellar seasons in Boston. Crawford will miss the rest of this season and some of the next while recovering from elbow surgery, but he figures to be the front-runner for the left field job when healthy, unless the Dodgers decide to bring back Shane Victorino this offseason. If he does start in left field, Crawford should bat before Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, which should means lots of runs and fantasy value. Mixed: owned; NL: $22 (bid for keeper leagues only).

David DeJesus - DeJesus has found his power stroke lately, hitting four of his six home runs on the season in his last nine games. In addition, DeJesus does provide excellent doubles power and a high on-base percentage. Overall, what you see is what you get from DeJesus, as he won't wow anyone with his numbers and play, but he is a solid outfielder and sometimes more than that while he is hot. Mixed: $2; NL: upgraded based on recent play.

Lucas Duda - The Mets recalled Duda prior to Sunday's game against the Astros. Duda has played for Triple-A Buffalo since being sent down in late July, and though he has posted just a .723 OPS in 25 games, apparently the Mets are comfortable bringing him back up. He spent part of the time in Buffalo working on a stance that will allow him to spread out a little more and trying to be a bit more compact to the ball, as he was trying to pull everything and hit it 500 feet before he was demoted. Expect Duda to see lots of playing time in left field the rest of the way, even though before he was demoted most of his action came in right. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Carlos Gomez - Gomez further increased his career high for home runs in a single season, hitting his 12th of the year this week. Gomez's previous career high was eight, set in 2011. The increased power hasn't adversely affected his speed, as Gomez has 24 steals in 2012. The former Met and Twin, who ironically has better value than Johan Santana this year, has his seen his name in the lineup card almost every night the past few months. Mixed: $8; NL: upgraded value.

Angel Pagan -Pagan, profiled two weeks ago, continues to rake, earning another mention. He just ended an eight-game hit streak and has upped his average to .292 on the year. Pagan is 34-for-91 since he returned to the leadoff spot August 3. In addition, he now has 69 runs scored and 21 stolen bases, adding to his value. Pagan has been a catalyst for the Giants and looks like he should put up numbers like he did in 2010 for the Mets, rather than the subpar year he had last season in New York. Mixed: $22; NL: (already owned but uptick in value).
Francisco Peguero - Peguero was called up Thursday to take Justin Christian's spot on the active roster after Christian was forced to the 15-day DL with a sprained left wrist. Peguero was batting .272 with 10 triples, five homers and 68 RBI, and had just recently compiled a 22-game hitting streak at Triple-A Fresno. He'll serve as the Giants' fourth outfielder. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Alex Presley - Presley could be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis if Jose Tabata's strained groin lands him on the DL. Pittsburgh is already without Starling Marte and can ill-afford to be down another outfielder, which is why Presley could be promoted. Presley has hit well in the minors but struggled in the majors. Despite that, he may be on the verge of another shot in the bids. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Nate Schierholtz - Schierholtz, sidelined with a broken right big toe, believes he will be able to come off the disabled list when eligible Tuesday. Schierholtz did some running and took batting practice Thursday. He is slated to start a brief rehab assignment Sunday and be back Tuesday. Schierholtz does not expect his injury to fully heal until after the season, but thinks he can play through it. With the Phillies out of contention this year and looking towards the future, if the injury lingers or flares up in September, look for Schierholtz to be shut down. When he does returns, Schierholtz should see consistent playing time but may not be a regular with Pierre/Mayberry/Brown in the outfield. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Jose Tabata - Tabata was profiled last week when it was announced that he would be in the majors no later than as a September call up. That promotion came last Sunday when Starling Marte landed on the DL with a strained oblique. In his short time back in the majors, Tabata has shown enough that Marte may not get his full-time job back when he returns from his injury. That said, Tabata was removed from Saturday's game in the sixth inning due to discomfort in his left groin, which could land him on the DL. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (upgraded bid, assuming he does not land on the DL).

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