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FAAB Factor-NL: Closer Speculation

Jason Collette

Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 1999 at RotoJunkie, Fanball, Baseball Prospectus and now here at RotoWire. He covers the Tampa Bay Rays at You can hear Jason weekly on many of the Sirius/XM Fantasy channel offerings throughout the season as well as on the Towers of Power Baseball Hour Podcast on iTunes. He was selected as the Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year by FSWA in 2013.

National League - FAAB - 4/13/14

Starting Pitching:

Tom Koehler: With Jacob Turner going on the disabled list, Koehler will not have any starts skipped with breaks on the schedule. Koehler has permitted just three extra base hits in 2014 while working the edges of the zone. He doesn't get many swings and misses or strikeouts, but thus far, has done well in limiting damage by not getting himself into trouble. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Juan Nicasio: Something strange is a foot at the gas-n-sip on Blake Street in Denver. Nicasio has a 24% strikeout rate to start the season; his previous high was 21% in 2012. He has permitted just three extra base hits over his first two starts, both of which have been in Coors Field. Not to mention, he has walked just three of the first 50 batters he has faced, a rate he hasn't seen since 2011. This is very interesting. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.

Alfredo Simon: Simon is likely to stay in the rotation longer than expected with the news on Mat Latos lacking clarity as well as good news. Since the start of last season, Simon held batters to a .208 batting average and just a .610 OPS over the course of 1500 pitches. He is especially tough on righties, holding them to a .202/.259/.276 line. Mixed: $1, NL: $3.

Edinson Volquez: Has Ray Searge fixed another one? Volquez has pitched in three games for Pittsburgh and has held batters to a .160/.208/.260 line over 54 plate appearances. What has stood out the most with Volquez thus far is his ability to throw strikes; his 67.8% strike rate is nearly eight percentage points above his previous best. He is not getting many swings and misses and the new approach has resulted in fewer strikeouts, but more strikes to get groundballs and utilize the defense behind him is a good sign. Mixed $1; NL $3.

Josh Collmenter: He has been added to the rotation and Randall Delgado has been yanked from it. Collmenter has had issues commanding his pitches, but has held batters to a .241 average thus far. His strikeout rate is currently at 15%, but he was above 21% each of the past two seasons. Mixed: No; NL: $3.

Relief Pitchers:

Gonzalez Germen: There is not really a clear long-term favorite in Flushing for the closer role. Jose Valverde has it now, but we've all been down that road before. In case you forgot, you were reminded last night when he blew a save against the Angels. Enter Germen. He has faced 26 batters, allowed two doubles, and has struck out eight batters. As far as the eye test goes, he's the one that passes it for me. Speculate here. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Tyler Thornburg: The rookie has looked terrific out of the pen. He has faced 27 batters, struck out 10 of them, and has scattered four singles and a triple. There is no room for him in the rotation, but he came up as a starter in his minor league career. For now, he is flourishing using velocity is short spurts and throwing plenty of strikes. Mixed: No; NL $2.

Adam Ottavino: He has faced 19 batters this season, and has struck out 11 of them without walking any. While LaTroy Hawkins and Rex Brothers are still in front of him, Ottavino still has value and may sneak into the picture if he continues to pitch like this. Mixed: No; NL $2.


Derek Dietrich: Rafael Furcal's return off the disabled list is taking quite a bit of time and Dietrich is making the most of his opportunity. He has two homers and is hitting .313/.500/.750 this season with four walks and six strikeouts. He has a bit of minor league pedigree in terms of hitting with some pop and has played three positions on the infield in his career. The Miami lineup needs to keep his bat around as the other guys with lesser potential cool off. Mixed: No; NL $2.

Zach Walters: Walters was promoted to replace the injured Ryan Zimmerman on the roster. Walters hit 29 homers in Triple-A last season, but also walked just 20 times while striking out 134 times in 521 plate appearances. He has pop, but has little patience and his main role will be to come off the bench and spot start. Mixed: No; NL $1.


Steve Souza: Souza is up to replace Denard Span while he is out on the concussion disabled list. Souza had a very good spring training and was hitting .273/.429/.545 in Triple-A before his recall. It is unknown how long Span will be out. Mixed: No; NL $2.

Tony Gwynn, Jr: Ben Revere has been fighting sore ribs, so an opportunity may open up for Gwynn Jr. He has gotten each start that Revere has missed thus far, but has done nothing in a counting category worth mentioning. He did steal 13 bases last season in part-time duty, so perhaps the extra playing time could help if Revere needs to go to the disabled list. Mixed: No, NL $1.