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FAAB Factor - NL: For Whom the Bell Tolls

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 - 5/12/13

Happy Mothers' Day to all the mothers, especially to my incredibly tolerant wife, my mother, mother-in-law, sister and sisters-in-law.

Starting Pitching:

Chris Carpenter, Cardinals - Like Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th, Carpenter just refuses to die; in this case, it's his major-league career that seemingly comes back repeatedly from death's door. Although his career looked dead in the water after he suffered a shoulder setback in spring training, it appears Carpenter is now angling on returning to the team in a relief capacity at some point midseason. Carpenter, whose pitching shoulder kept him out most of 2012 and was expected to sideline him for his career, realized he could pitch throwing with his 10-year old son and completed a 70-pitch session Friday. He will throw three more this week and then could be back in the majors. Carpenter will likely be relegated to middle or long relief and doesn't figure to be in the mix for either wins or saves, diminishing his fantasy value. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Tyler Cloyd, Phillies - Cloyd was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace the injured Roy Halladay in the Phillies' rotation. Cloyd was named the MVP of the International League after going 12-1 with a 2.35 ERA for Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season. His success earned him a promotion to the majors late last year, where he joined the Phillies' rotation and made six starts. Cloyd had some mixed results in the majors before being shut down at the end of the year with a tired arm after throwing a career-high 200 innings. He isn't an overpowering pitcher, complementing his mid-to-high 80s fastball with a cutter and changeup to keep hitters off balance. Cloyd was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after his start against the Diamondbacks on Friday, as the Phillies do not need a fifth starter until May 21. He will be eligible to return from Triple-A at that time, and seems a good bet for the opportunity after holding the D-Backs to two runs on two hits over 6.1 innings. John Lannan is expected back from the disabled list at the end of the month and the Phillies will have to decide whether to send Cloyd or Jonathan Pettibone back to the minors at that time. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Johnny Cueto, Reds -Cueto, out with a lat strain since April 13, threw a pair of bullpen sessions this week and is expected to make his next rehab start Tuesday, likely with Low-A Dayton. Following his first rehab start Thursday, during which Cueto threw 50 pitches over three innings, the right-hander appears primed to make another start with Dayton on his regular four-day rest. His last pitch Thursday was clocked at 94 mph, and Cueto said he was able to locate all his pitches. If the Reds decide Cueto's ready after his next rehab start, there's a chance he could be back as soon as May 19, but that date is far from set in stone. Mixed: $7; NL: $19 (bid to rise as he gets closer to returning).

Nathan Eovaldi, Marlins - Eovaldi posted mediocre results, including a 4.15 ERA and 1.47 WHIP over his first 56.1 innings pitched for LA last year, before being shipped to Miami in the Hanley Ramirez trade. Eovaldi showed flashes over the second half with the Marlins, but struggled with his command to the tune of a 44:27 K:BB that accompanied a 4.43 ERA and 1.54 WHIP for his new club. Like Henderson Alvarez, Eovaldi was penciled into the Miami rotation, but he too landed on the DL just before the same with a shoulder injury that was supposed to keep him out a month. That timetable has proven to be light, as Eovaldi just threw off a mound last Sunday and may not be back until mid-June, dependent on how his rehab starts go. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early speculative bid).

Jeanmar Gomez, Pirates - Gomez, who made a spot start Tuesday for the second time in a week, in place of the injured James McDonald, earned another turn in the rotation by tossing five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks with five strikeouts, in the Pirates' victory over the Mariners. Gomez is still not totally stretched out as a starter, but consider him one for the time being while McDonald is out with a sore throwing shoulder. If he can find a way to lower his walks, his strikeout potential makes him somewhat intriguing. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Tom Koehler, Marlins - Koehler will join the Marlins' rotation in place of Wade LeBlanc and start Sunday against the Dodgers. After LeBlanc put up a 6.11 ERA through his first seven starts, the Marlins elected to look in another direction. Koehler will be appointed to the rotation after performing solid duty in long relief, striking out nine batters over 11.1 innings and turning in a 3.18 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Koehler made 28 starts for Triple-A New Orleans, posting a 4.17 ERA and 1.42 WHIP to go along with a 12-11 record, prior to getting work in the Marlins' bullpen in September. He could stick in the rotation until either Nathan Eovaldi or Henderson Alvarez come off the disabled list. Mixed: $1; NL: $4

Roy Oswalt, Rockies -Oswalt pitched three innings in an extended spring training game Friday, giving up four runs (one earned) on five hits. Oswalt's fastball checked in between 90 and 92 miles per hour, which was right about where his fastball sat last season. He'll make another start or two at extended spring training before heading to Double-A Tulsa to get more innings. After getting enough preparatory innings in, Oswalt figures to be a rotation candidate for the big-league club, though his 44.9 percent groundball rate with the Rangers last season may not make him a particularly great starting option in the high elevation of Denver. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early spec bid)

Burch Smith, Padres - Smith, who was called up from Double-A San Antonio to start Saturday against the Rays, allowed six runs on five hits and two walks in just an inning of work. The Padres may have had more experienced options on their roster, but Smith's ridiculous numbers at Double-A through his first six starts (1.15 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 37:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio and .155 BAA) were simply to good to ignore. Smith was able exhibited similarly pristine control in the friendly-hitting confines of the California League, but even a cavernous park like Petco Park, or Tropicana Field, where he pitched Saturday, can prove to be challenging against major league hittersSmith, who replaced the injured Clayton Richard in the Padres rotation, may not get another start, as San Diego could choose to start Tyson Ross, who was just activated off the DL. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Covered last week - Zach Greinke, Dodgers (broken collarbone, made rehab start Friday, expected to join LA rotation and start Wednesday, if available, Mixed: $12; NL: $35), Francisco Liriano, Pirates (broken right arm, activated and started Saturday, allowing one run on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in 5.1 innings in a win over the Mets. Mixed: $7; NL: $18).

Relief Pitchers:

Heath Bell/David Hernandez, Diamondbacks - Bell and Hernandez were profiled last week, but given J.J. Putz's elbow injury this week, they deserve another mention. Bell was a disaster for the Marlins last year, blowing eight save chances and a posting a 5.09 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP, partially due to 29 walks in 63.2 innings. For the year, Bell has a 4.11 ERA, but that number is skewed by him allowing three earned runs in one-third of an inning in his first outing, and when coupled with his 20:3 K:BB in 15.1 innings and 2.87 FIP, you realize just how good he has been. In addition, Bell is getting more swings and misses, plus when you look at a .408 BABIP, you expect his numbers to possibly improve over his current fine totals. After signing a two-year extension with the D-Backs in June, Hernandez turned in the best season of his career with an elite 12.9 K/9 and improved 2.9 BB/9. Hernandez's most effective weapon is a sharp-breaking curveball, but he also throws a mid-90s fastball and an occasional changeup, giving him an arsenal suited to close. This year, after starting the year strong, he allowed runs in four of his last seven appearances. But has four straight scoreless appearances under his belt, including a save Friday with Bell unavailable. Originally, it looked like Bell and Hernandez would share the closer role, but based on usage, Bell appears to have the edge over Hernandez at closer, though Hernandez may have the stuff better suited to closing. Bell - Mixed: $7; NL: $19 (only because Hernandez is there); Hernandez - Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (as a possible closer).

Jose Contreras/Mike Fiers/Justin de Fratus/Will Harris/Tyson Ross - This week's middle reliever call ups/acquisitions were in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Arizona and San Diego. Two on this list have fantasy value. Fiers, who pitched well for Milwaukee last year, will be used out of the bullpen but that could change. With Yovani Gallardo dealing with command and velocity issues and Hiram Burgos not foiling anyone, Fiers could end up in the Milwaukee rotation. Ross is pitching out of the pen in SD, but could get a shot to start again once the Padres no longer have several off-days, which has enabled them to go with just four starters. All except Fiers/Ross - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Fiers/Ross - Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Frank Francisco, Mets - Francisco is currently on a minor-league rehab assignment with High-A St. Lucie, working his way back from off-season elbow surgery. He has not allowed a run during his five-game rehab assignment, striking out six and walking one. Francisco was slated to throw a side session on Saturday, but that was postponed. Assuming that's not due to an issue with his arm, Francisco could be activated shortly off the DL without needing to pitch in the higher levels of the minors. Last year, Francisco had 23 saves but a 5.53 ERA and 1.61 WHIP, partially due to his 21 walks in 42.1 innings. Manager Terry Collins has already confirmed that when Francisco does return, Bobby Parnell will remain the team's closer. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Kevin Gregg, Cubs - Gregg was profiled a few weeks ago when he notched several saves. Now that manager Dale Sveum has officially named Gregg as his "closer," he gets a spike in value. Gregg, who hadn't closed since 2011 with Baltimore, has been phenomenal, posting a 10:4 K:BB ratio, while allowing just three hits in 8.1 scoreless innings. Those numbers eventually will change, as a .182 BABIP is unsustainable, but he has a firm hold on the role, even with the return Kyuji Fujikawa as Carlos Marmol has struggled again and Shawn Camp and James Russell are not viable options. Mixed: $8; NL: $22.

Kenley Jansen, Dodgers - Jansen was profiled three weeks when it looked like his hold on the closer role might be tenuous at best. No change occurred, but as League continues to struggle - a 4:7 K:BB ratio and 5.40 ERA are not recipes for success - word has filtered out that manager Don Mattingly is considering making a change. Jansen's strikeout rate last year wasn't quite on 2011's historic level, but a 13.7 K/9 is still quite impressive. He recorded 25 saves, 99 strikeouts, and checked in with a 2.35 ERA and impressive 0.85 WHIP. Jansen had offseason surgery to correct a heart ailment and should be able to get through a full season this year without a recurrence. He lost his job late last year to League, who signed a three-year, $22.5 million deal with LA this offseason to serve as their closer. This year, Jansen has a 2.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 23:5 K:BB ratio in 18 IP, so it may only be a matter of time before a change is made. Mixed: $5; NL: already owned, but possibly value spike.

Covered last week - Kyuji Fujikawa, Cubs (strained right forearm, activated off DL, will set up Kevin Gregg for the time being but may end up closing in Chicago. Mixed: $4; NL: $11).


Tim Fedorowicz, Dodgers - Federowicz was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday to be the third catcher along with A.J. Ellis and Ramon Hernandez. Federowicz was simply obliterating Triple-A pitching prior to his call-up, batting 26-for-49 (.531) with seven home runs and 20 RBI. Last year, Fedorowicz batted a solid .294/.371/.461 for Triple-A Albuquerque while showing solid defensive skills. He has the ability to be an average offensive catcher given the opportunity He could perhaps log a few starts behind the plate in an attempt to jump-start a dormant Dodgers offense while at a minimum be used as a pinch-hitter, knowing Hernandez is still available to catch. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Mike McKenry, Pirates - McKenry went 2-for-4 with a run and three RBI in Pittsburgh's 11-2 triumph over the Mets on Saturday. McKenry probably doesn't have any significant upside at the plate, but he's off to a fine start this season with a .262 batting average, three homers, and nine RBI in just 42 at-bats. Russell Martin, who is currently day-to-day with a neck injury, is not expected to play Sunday. That means McKenry figures to get another start and he should remain the starter until Martin returns. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Kyle Skipworth, Marlins - Skipworth was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans last Sunday. Austin Kearns was placed on the bereavement list Saturday to attend to a family matter which, combined with Rob Brantly's continued struggles with a cut finger, has opened up a need for depth at catcher. Skipworth won't see much time and the latest he likely gets replaced is when Jeff Mathis returns. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Covered last week - Ryan Hanigan, Reds (oblique, activated off the DL on Friday).

First Basemen:

Logan Morrison, Marlins - Morrison, currently on the 60-day DL rehabbing from offseason knee surgery, started playing in extended spring training games this week. He is first eligible to return on May 30, but a mid-June activation seems more likely. The work was LoMo's first game action since undergoing surgery in September and when he is fit to return to the big club, the path to playing time should be clear. Greg Dobbs is currently manning first base for the Fish, but he is more suited for a bench role. Last year, Morrison hit .310 in April before sputtering through the summer and eventually being forced to the DL with a knee injury that required the September surgery; the same knee that gave him trouble down the stretch in 2011. Mixed: $1; NL: $5 (early spec bid)

Covered last week - Matt Adams, Cardinals (strained oblique, activated off DL)

Second Base:

Derek Dietrich/Nick Green, Marlins - Dietrich, who was acquired by Miami this offseason for Yunel Escobar, was called up this past week. Dietrich recorded an impressive .282/.408/.505 slash line with 13 extra-base hits (four homers) among his 29 base knocks this season to earn the call up. With Donovan Solano (oblique) and Chris Valaika (wrist) currently on the DL, Dietrich could in fact earn a decent amount of plate appearances sharing the load at the keystone with Green. Less than a week after being designated for assignment and deciding to stay with the Marlins, Green was called up due to the aforementioned injuries. If picking one, Dietrich is clearly the way to go, even though he won't play daily. Dietrich - Mixed: $2; NL: $7; Green - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Neil Walker, Pirates - Walker, on the 15-day DL because of a cut on his right hand, will be activated on Monday. That may mean Jordy Mercer gets sent down, but given how well he has hit, Pittsburgh might need to make a different move. (just an FYI, as still should be owned)


None Noted

Third Basemen:

Jedd Gyorko, Padres - That window to acquire a slumping Gyorko has likely passed, but I am adding him in here this week just in case. Gyorko, who did not hit a single homer in his first 96 at-bats of the season, hit three in a 21 at-bat stretch, including one on Monday. The recent production shouldn't be much of a surprise, seeing as Gyorko slashed .328/.380/.588 in 408 plate appearances with Triple-A Tucson last season. He has been hitting either sixth or seventh in the lineup lately, and while that obviously is not ideal for fantasy owners, at least the Padres have solid on-base guys batting in front of Gyorko. The contact and K rates are not what you would hope, but likely his early-season struggles, those two should go by the wayside eventually as well. By the end of the season, it would not be surprising for him to post top-10 production at second base, plus with 12 games at third, he likely qualifies in most leagues there as well. (Just an FYI, as run, don't walk to grab him if out there in your league.)


Charlie Blackmon/Eric Young Jr., Rockies - Blackmon, who was hitting .336/.452/.545 with three homers, 21 RBI and five steals in 31 games, was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday. The Rockies disabled Michael Cuddyer (neck) and brought the 26-year-old Blackmon up to the show. He hits for average while packing some power and speed, while also looking good in his brief major league stints, but Blackmon may be the No. 2 option in right field behind Young for the time being. Young should bring a decent BA and OBA along with a modicum of power, but his best attribute is his speed, so he should be a decent source of SB, even though he has struggled stealing bases this year. Blackmon - Mixed: No; NL: $2; Young - Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (spike in value).

Adam Eaton, Diamondbacks - Eaton, who has been sidelined with a sprained UCL in his left elbow since late in spring training, began a rehab assignment earlier this month. Currently, he is not playing the outfield, but that is expected to change in the near-term. Originally, it was thought he would not be back until late-May, but he may beat that time line by a week, assuming he has no setbacks. When he does return, Eaton should assume the role as starting center fielder and play close to every day, despite Geraldo Parra and A.J. Pollock, who will be sent down when Eaton returns, filling in nicely for him. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (early bid, in case he was waived when he was injured)

Chris Heisey, Reds - Heisey, out with a strained right hamstring since April 29, is expected to begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Pensacola on Sunday. Heisey turned in a measly .173/.195/.293 triple slash line while receiving regular playing time in place of the injured Ryan Ludwick prior to suffering an injury of his own. While Heisey isn't guaranteed a regular role when he returns, at the very least, it would seem he would see regular time against left-handed pitchers given the Reds' lefty-leaning lineup. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Jason Heyward, Braves - Heyward, who underwent an emergency appendectomy on April 22, began a minor-league rehab assignment this past week. Assuming he had no setbacks, Heyward could have been back by early this week against the Diamondbacks. Unfortunately, Heyward had some soreness and did not play Friday for Triple-A Gwinnett, which may delay his return to the Braves. Jordan Schafer and Reed Johnson have done a solid job standing in for Heyward, actually hitting better than Heyward, who was hitting just .121 when he was sidelined, but the Braves will be happy to get their starting right fielder back. (Just an FYI as should still be owned in all leagues.)

Cameron Maybin, Padres - Maybin, sidelined with an impingement to his right wrist since mid-April, is doing work in the outfield and the weight room but manager Bud Black says he's still a week to 10 days from being able to start hitting. There is some speculation that Maybin may end up needing surgery, but that is pure speculation at this point. Assuming that is not the case, Maybin might be ready by late-May, but that looks somewhat unlikely, making early-June a more realistic option. Maybin, who was just 3-for-33 in his 10 games this season, had a so-so 2012, but was better in the second half after making a change in his batting stance, which enabled him to make better contact. Mixed: $3; NL: $11 (early spec bid).

Eury Perez, Nationals - Perez was called-up from Triple-A Syracuse on Friday after news broke that starting right fielder Jayson Werth was heading to the 15-day DL. Perez was hitting .346 with seven stolen bases in 23 games for Syracuse. He is a speedy youngster who swiped three bases in just 11 games with the Nationals last September. Overall, Perez is a career .308 hitter with over 220 steals in seven minor league seasons. If he can stick in a banged-up Nationals lineup, he could be a sneaky player to watch if you are in desperate need for stolen bases. However, his 17:1 K:BB ratio this year in Syracuse shows that he still needs lots of work on his plate discipline. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Ryan Sweeney, Cubs - Sweeney, who was called up from Triple-A Iowa on Monday, started his second game in a row, going 2-for-3 with a double Friday against Washington. Sweeney started in left field against right-hander Jake Westbrook on Wednesday and in center field against lefty Ross Detwiler on Friday, but sat Saturday against Stephen Strasburg. He's not an everyday player yet, but that's more action than Dave Sappelt -- the man he replaced -- was getting. Sweeney, who was hitting hit .337 in 23 games for Iowa with six home runs and 16 RBI, is a lifetime .280 hitter in 1,727 at-bats. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Scott Van Slyke, Dodgers - The Dodgers purchased Van Slyke's contract from Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday. Van Slyke got the team's attention in a big way by delivering a .397/.503/.733 line through 34 games, including nine home runs and 30 RBI. Those numbers build off what he did in the minors the past two seasons - .346/.425/.593 in 2011, .327/.404/.578 last year. Given his first taste of major league pitching last year, Van Slyke hit just .167 in 54 at-bats, seeing time at the outfield corners and at first base. This offseason, he worked on shortening his leg kick and making his swing more compact, which has paid dividends at the plate. Van Slyke could see a few starts while Carl Crawford deals with hamstring tightness. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Christian Yelich, Marlins - Yelich started the year on the disabled list with a sore foot and then got off to a slow start, but he has really picked it up. He is slashing .333/.382/.635 with two home runs, 13 RBI and one steal through 14 games with Double-A Jacksonville. Like Oscar Tavares, Yelich tore it up this spring, and like Taveras, Yelich was reassigned to minor league camp. Yelich, ranked No. 15 in Baseball America's top prospects list, batted a blistering .330/.404/.519 at High-A Jupiter last season. He blasted 12 home runs with 29 doubles and five triples while driving in 48 runs on the year and went 20-for-26 on the basepaths. With few outfielders at the major league level outside of Giancarlo Stanton viewed as long-term assets, though Marcell Ozuna may be changing the Marlins' mind, Yelich was believed to get an opportunity to see time in the big leagues before the end of 2013. That opportunity may come sooner rather than later, as it wouldn't be surprising to see him up in the bigs by mid-June. Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (early speculative bid and go higher in keeper leagues).

Covered last week - Roger Bernandina/Tyler Moore, Nationals (more PT with Werth on DL. Bernandina - Mixed: $0; NL: $3; Moore - Mixed: $1; NL: $4).