RotoWire Partners

FAAB Factor-NL: Giants Push the Panik Button

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 - 6/22/14

Starting Pitching:

Mike Bolsinger, Diamondbacks - Bolsinger was promoted to take the rotation spot of Brandon Arroyo, who landed on the DL with a sprained UCL in his pitching elbow. He struggled in his five appearances, four starts, early this year in the majors, posting a 6.08 ERA but had notched a 2.73 ERA and 1.111 WHIP in nine starts at Triple-A Reno to earn another shot. Bolsinger gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out six over 6.1 innings against the Brewers on Tuesday, earning another start Sunday. He should get a few more with Archie Bradley at least a few weeks away. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Anthony DeSclafani, Marlins - DeSclafani, a sixth-round pick by the Blue Jays in the 2011 draft, was promoted from Double-A Jacksonville in mid-May in place of the injured Jose Fernandez. He made two starts for the Marlins, allowing seven earned runs over 11.1 innings and striking out six batters before he was sent back down. With Jacob Turner posting a 6.38 ERA, Miami opted to give DeSclafani another shot, promoting him Monday. He lasted 6.1 innings Tuesday, giving up four earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out five batters against the Cubs and will get another start Sunday versus the Mets. In the minors, DeSclafani posted a 3.66 ERA and a 7.6 K/9 in 21 starts for Double-A Jacksonville over the past two seasons. This year, he struggled a bit at Double-A, but was solid for Triple-A New Orleans after his demotion from Miami to earn another chance. With Andrew Heaney already up and Miami having moved on from Randy Wolf, DeSclafani should get a chance to stick. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Christian Friedrich, Rockies - Friedrich, at one time a big-time Rockies prospect, has seen his status in Colorado dim with his struggles the past several years. Despite that and his 1-8 record and 7.89 ERA through 13 starts with Triple-A Colorado Springs this season, Friedrich was promoted and started Saturday against Milwaukee in place of Juan Nicasio. Friedrich, who gave up nine runs -- four earned -- on seven hits over six innings, looks to be a stopgap until Jon Gray is deemed ready for promotion and/or Eddie Butler returns from his shoulder injury. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Andrew Heaney, Marlins - I profiled Heaney last week when it looked like he might get the call. That promotion finally arrived this week, when he was called up to start Thursday against the Mets. Heaney dominated Double-A, posting a 2.35 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 52 strikeouts and 13 walks in 53.2 innings at Jacksonville, to earn a promotion to Triple-A on May 21. After getting to Triple-A New Orleans, Heaney had three quality outings in his four starts, striking out 27 with just two walks while posting a 2.74 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 23 innings to earn a promotion. Heaney, who has a solid fastball with a plus slider and changeup, allowed just one run in six innings in his MLB debut but was outdueled by Zack Wheeler. Now that he is here, look for Heaney to stick the rest of the way. Mixed: $9; NL: $25 (raised bid following promotion).

Alex Wood, Braves - Wood, sent down to the minors to be stretched out as a starter, returns after two outings to join the Braves rotation Wednesday against Houston to fill the gap left by Gavin Floyd's elbow injury. The expectation was that Wood would make at least one more start for Triple-A Gwinnett, since he only tossed 8.2 innings there, but Gavin Floyd's elbow injury forced the team to change plans. Wood excelled last season when he was moved into Atlanta's rotation, posting a 3-2 with a 3.54 ERA and a 8.7 K/9 in 11 starts with the Braves. If Wood, who opened the year in the rotation before getting moved to the pen in early-May when Floyd came off the DL, can come close to those numbers, Atlanta and his owners would be ecstatic. Mixed: $11; NL: $27.

Injury activation/updates:

Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks - Bradley, who has been out since the end of April with a mild flexor strain in his right elbow, should rejoin Triple-A Reno by the end of the month or beginning of July. He tossed three innings in a rookie-league exhibition Monday, and he is expected to pitch in one more rookie game before moving back to a full-season level. If Bradley can reach Reno based on the targeted timeframe noted above, there is still a chance he reaches the majors this year. Bradley posted a 5.18 ERA and 43 strikeouts over five starts at Triple-A Reno to begin the season and his poor numbers might have been due to his elbow woes. When he is on, Bradley mixes a plus-plus fastball that sits around 93-94 and can get up to 97 with good, late life with a plus-curveball and in the works changeup. He was able to cut his BB/9 from 5.3 in 2012 to 4.1 last year, so that is still an area needing further improvement. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (very early spec bid).

Cliff Lee, Phillies - Lee, sidelined with a strained flexor tendon in his pitching elbow since May 19, threw 30 pitches in his second bullpen session of the week Friday, just three days after tossing 20 in his first session since the injury. Given how weak the NL East is this year, Philly, which has won four games in a row, sits just four games from first place, so getting Lee back would be a huge boost. He still has a ways to go in building up his strength, but Lee believes he could return before the All-Star break if all goes as planned.

Relief Pitchers:

Ryan Butcher/Carlos Contreras/Jose Diaz/Nick Greenwood/Kevin Gregg/Juan Jaime/Wilton Lopez/Matt Stites - This week's middle reliever call ups/activations were in Atlanta, Cincinnati (2x), St. Louis, Miami, Atlanta, Colorado and Colorado. Only Greenwood and Gregg, who could possibly serve as set-up men for their respective teams, has some value. All except for Greenwood and Greeg - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Greenwood and Gregg - Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Mark Melancon/Tony Watson, Pirates - The closer's job in Pittsburgh has changed again, though this time it's ineffectiveness and not injury creating the change. Jason Grilli struggled after coming off the disabled list, especially recently, surrendering six hits and four runs in 2.2 innings before Friday's outing, prompting manager Clint Hurdle to make a swap there and make Melancon the closer again. Melancon, who stood in well for Grilli last season when he was hurt, did the same earlier this year, posting 10 saves and owns a 1.89 ERA and 0.78 WHIP on the season. Hurdle said he expects Grilli to return to the job at some point down the road, but for now Melancon is the man. Watson, who notched a few saves and 22 holds last year, may be in the mix when a left-hander is needed out of the pen, Melancon - Mixed: $11; NL: owned, but if not, bid $27 now that he is closing, at least for the short-term; Watson - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

James Russell, Cubs - Russell has thrown 11.1 straight innings without an earned run - a stretch spanning 14 appearances. He is down in the closer pecking order, but has righted the ship after a poor start and could be used to finish a game when a lefty reliever is needed. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Injury activation/update:

Santiago Casilla, Giants - Casilla, sidelined with a Grade 2 strained hamstring since May 21, was activated Monday and through two scoreless innings Wednesday following a brief rehab stint. He ended upmissing about four weeks, in line with expectations. Casilla is once again serving as Sergio Romo's set up man. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Dan Hudson, Diamondbacks - Hudson, sidelined due to Tommy John surgery in both 2012 and 2013, may begin pitching in Arizona League games this week. This comes on the heels of him throwing 25-30 pitches in a bullpen session last week. No timeframe has been set for the return of Hudson, who will likely pitch as a reliever when he does come back, though there is some thought to seeing if he can withstand starting again given the holes in the Arizona rotation. The early bid is a spec based on him possibly progressing to starting in 2015, but you should increase the bid if you think he starts this year. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.


Travis d'Arnaud, Mets - D'Arnaud has made the most of his trip to minors, raking at Triple-A Las Vegas. He went going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, his sixth home run and three runs batted Thursday, and then went 3-for-4 Friday to up his average to .458 for the 51s. The Mets have indicated they will bring d'Arnaud, who said he needed the mental break as he was over thinking while up with the parent club, back to the team on June 24 or 25. Part of the reason for that timing is that if he is not down 20 days, which would be on June 27, it saves the last of his options for next season. Regardless of the reason, when he is called back up look for him start nearly every day for NY. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (go higher if believe the stint in the minors will kick start his bat in the majors).

Rene Rivera, Padres - Despite a .215 batting average, Rivera has started 35 games at catcher for the Padres, more than Yasmani Grandal. Eventually, San Diego will turn the reigns over to Grandal, but for now, Rivera could have use as a second catcher in NL-only leagues. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Cameron Rupp, Phillies - Rupp was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday to give the Phillies another catcher with Wil Nieves nursing a quad injury. Aaron Altherr was sent down to make room on the roster for Rupp, who has hit just .167/.295/.370 in 34 games with Lehigh Valley this season. If Nieves shows he is healthy and does not need a DL stint, look for Rupp to be sent back down. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Injury activation/update:

Welington Castillo, Cubs - Castillo, out since June 3 with rib cage inflammation, started a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. He will play at Iowa this weekend and then be evaluated for a possible return to the Cubs. Once Castillo is activated, he will be the unquestioned starter again in Chicago. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Wilson Ramos, Nationals - Ramos, on the disabled list with a tight right hamstring, played his first of two rehab games with Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday, going 1-for-3 with a three-run homer. He will then play two games with High-A Potomac, before rejoining the Nationals for Thursday's game in Chicago.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marlins - Saltalamacchia sidelined with a concussion since May 31 when he was struck in the mask by a foul tip off the bat of Justin Upton, was profiled last week. He gets another mention as he was activated and started Thursday after just two rehab games at High-A Jupiter. Saltalamacchia should be in the lineup almost daily for the Marlins. Mixed: $8 (though should be owned); NL: owned.

First Basemen:

Justin Bour, Marlins - Bour was profiled two weeks ago when he was called up to give Garrett Jones a solid backup at first base and Miami a pinch-hitter off the bench. That stint lasted just a few days before he was sent back down. Miami recalled Bour, who hit .330/.404/.580 with 20 doubles, 11 home runs and 41 RBI with Triple-A New Orleans, on Monday to fill a similar role. Jones is pretty entrenched at first base, so the best hope for Bour is for him to see time at DH when Miami plays in AL parks. That said, Jones hasn't had a great June, so if his struggles continue, Bour could carve out some decent playing time. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Jake Goebbert/Tommy Medica, Padres - Goebbert and Medica will split time at first base after Yonder Alonso landed on the disabled list with right wrist tendinitis. Goebbert posted an .843 OPS for Triple-A El Paso in 2014, and has totaled 11 home runs with an .859 OPS over two levels in the minors this season. He can play first base or man the outfield, where he started Saturday while Medica played first. Look for Medica, who made the most of his playing time late in the year last season, to start at first on most nights while Goebbert will see the occasional start there and his time in the outfield will depend on the health of Carlos Quentin and productivity of Cameron Maybin. Medica - Mixed: $2; NL: $7; Goebbert - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/update:

Brandon Belt, Giants - Belt, on the disabled list since May 9 with a fractured left thumb that required the insertion of two pins, had the cast removed June 13. He could begin a rehab assignment in the next week or so following a solid batting practice session Friday. Belt could be back by the end of June if that rehab stint starts before next weekend, but a more likely scenario has him returning by July 4, moving Mike Morse back to the outfield.

Second Base:

Jeff Baker/Derek Dietrich, Marlins - Dietrich opened the year as the starter at second base with Rafael Furcal working his way back from his injuries. Dietrich showed a live bat but his defensive woes, including seven errors, landed him in the minors on June 3. Furcal injured his hamstring Saturday and was placed on the DL, prompting Miami to call Dietrich back up to the majors. The Marlins will have Dietrich, Ed Lucas and Jeff Baker as options at second base, with Dietrich likely to see most of the action, starting against right-handed pitching with Baker starting against lefties, though Lucas could lay instead of Baker. Baker - Mixed: No; NL: $3; Dietrich - Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (up if think he becomes full-time starter).

Mark Ellis, Cardinals - Ellis will assume second base duties for the Cardinals with Kolten Wong landing on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. The expectation is that Wong will be back when 15 days are up, plus given Ellis' poor offensive numbers, evidenced by his .189/.279/.217 line, don't go running out to grab him. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Joe Panik, Giants - Earlier in the week, the Giants were adamant in their view that Panik was not going to be promoted any time soon. How quickly that changed. Panik was promoted Saturday night and should be the starter moving forward for the Giants, with Brandon Hicks taking flyballs in the outfield and Marco Scutaro possibly sidelined forever. Panik has moved quickly up the ladder, progressing from Low-A to Triple-A in just four seasons. He hit .321/.382/.447 with five home runs and 45 RBI over 293 at-bats with Triple-A Fresno this season to earn the promotion. Of course, now I am kicking myself for not retaining him in the RotoWire Staff League after he struggled last season. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Injury activation/update:

Neil Walker, Pirates - Walker, who had an appendectomy on June 9, is likely back this Wednesday. He had four at-bats in a simulated game at High-A Bradenton on Friday and will play there Sunday. Provided he suffers no setbacks, Walker, with a .280/.353/.452 line with 11 home runs and 35 RBI in 62 games, will slide back into his starting role at second base Wednesday.


Ehire Adrianza, Giants - Adrianza started seven of the past eight games at second base with Brandon Hicks ice-cold at the plate recently. Defensively, Adrianza is a major upgrade over Hicks, though his .208 average, zero homers and four RBI in 72 at-bats show what kind of hitter he is. The Giants felt the same way and promoted Joe Panik, making Adrianza a utility player who will fill in at second, short and third. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Didi Gregorius, Diamondbacks - Gregorius has been taking fly balls in center field, and could play that position down the road. Arizona has a deep middle infield, and despite Gregorius's defensive prowess, he has been on the bench behind Chris Owings and Aaron Hill. Didi has already played a game at third and if he can transition to the outfield, given the lack of a definite starter there for Arizona, his value would spike. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (minimal playing time but has upside potential).

Third Basemen:

Injury activation/update:

Nolan Arenado, Rockies - Arenado, who suffered a left mallet finger fracture on May 23, was profiled last week, but gets another mention as X-rays on the finger Friday came back clean. He is expected to hit next week and will see a specialist to get clearance to take batting practice. If received, a minor league rehab assignment likely won't be far off, possibly by the end the week or early the following one. Once that occurs, Arenado likely will be about 7-10 days away from rejoining the Rockies, meaning he might be back by early-July, just before the All-Star break.

Cody Asche, Phillies - Asche, out since May 23 with a hamstring injury and profiled last week, gets another mention, as he was activated off the disabled list Friday following the completion of his rehab assignment that had him play for Low-A Lakewood and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Neither Reid Brignac nor Cesar Hernandez excelled when filling for Asche, while Maikel Franco has struggled the past few weeks, so Asche slides back in to his starting job at the hot corner in Philly. Mixed: $4; NL: $11 (slightly raised bid).

Juan Uribe, Dodgers - Uribe, out since May 21 with a hamstring injury, went 2-for-4 as a designated hitter Thursday for High-A Rancho Cucamonga and played in the field Friday. There is a possibility he could be activated during the Dodgers' upcoming trip to Kansas City, which begins on Monday. When Uribe does come back, it likely means that Justin Turner, who ably filled in for him at the hot corner, to the bench. Mixed: $4; NL: $11.


Ender Inciarte, Diamondbacks - Inciarte was activated off the 7-day concussion DL, where he landed after his head collided with the Jonathan Villar's knee last Thursday. Inciarte passed the concussion tests Friday and rejoined Arizona. His return prompted the demotion of Tony Campana and may set up a platoon again in center field with David Peralta. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Roger Kieschnick, Diamondbacks - Kieschnick was called up from Triple-A Reno on Monday to fill a bench role in Arizona. He started Monday and Tuesday but has been on the bench since due to the crowded outfield in the desert. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mets - Nieuwenhuis was called up this week to make his second stint with the Mets this season. He posted a .857 OPS in 49 games at Triple-A Las Vegas this season and was called up so Matt den Dekker, who was sent down, could get consistent playing time. With Eric Young, Jr. back with the team, Chris Young is seeing most of the work in center while Juan Lagares (ribs) is still out. Once Lagares comes back, Nieuwenhuis is a strong candidate to get sent back down. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Shane Robinson, Cardinals - Robinson was called up to fill the roster spot of Kolten Wong, who landed on the DL with a shoulder injury. Robinson will fill a role he has done many times before, in pinch-hitter and runner off the bench, who will see the occasional start in the outfield. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Scott Van Slyke, Dodgers - Van Slyke has seen a bit more playing time than expected, backing up at all three outfield spots and at first base. Most of that playing time has come against southpaws, where Van Slyke has a .300/.462/.780 line in 50 at-bats. Use him as a plug-and-play option versus lefties. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/update:

Bryce Harper, Nationals - Harper tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb in a headfirst slide on April 25, requiring surgery to repair the injury. He is profiled again this week as took batting practice this week and will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Potomac on Monday. Harper said he had some tenderness in the thumb after BP on Friday, which was expected, but expects to be back on July 2.

Juan Lagares, Mets - Lagares, out since June 1 with a strained right intercostal muscle, played in a simulated game Wednesday and was able to progress to play seven innings in the Gulf Coast League Friday and Saturday. Assuming he has no setbacks, Lagares should play a few games in the minors and the rejoin the Mets, likely before next week. When he does come back, look for Lagares to be in center field nearly every day. Mixed: $7; NL: $18.

Christian Yelich, Marlins - Yelich, sidelined due to a strained lower back, played catch and took dry swings Thursday and believes he will be able to return when first eligible on July 1. There was some speculation that Yelich would move to the two-hole in the order, due to his strong on-base skills and line drive swing. The injury to Rafael Furcal likely means that Yelich will leadoff again when he rejoins the Marlins.