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FAAB Factor - NL: Harper's Return Imminent

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 - 6/29/14

Starting Pitching:

Dallas Beeler, Cubs - Beeler, who had a 4.03 ERA and 6.4 K/9 in 10 starts with Triple-A Iowa, was promoted to make his major-league debut against the Nationals and Gio Gonzalez on Saturday. He acquitted himself well, allowing just one unearned run on four hits and three walks, striking out six over six innings. The belief is that Beeler will be sent down to the minors but he likely will be a consideration for promotion the next time the Cubs need a starter. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Odrisamer Despaigne, Padres - Despaigne, who defected last year from Cuba, where he played eight years, signed with San Diego this May. After making eight starts for Double- and Triple-A, where he posted a 6.03 ERA, 1.85 WHIP with a 41:18 K:BB over 31.1 innings, Despaigne was called up to start Monday against the Giants. He pitched much better than anyone anticipated, allowing no runs while scattering four hits with one strikeout and zero walks over zero innings to get the win and earn another start Sunday against Arizona.Despaigne doesn't blow hitters away, but changes speed well while mixing up his pitches, which include a slider and a curveball. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Yohan Flande, Rockies - Flande was promoted this week from Triple-A Colorado Springs to take the place of Christian Bergman, who has a broken bone in his left hand. With so many pitchers on the disabled list, Flande, who in 14 appearances (13 starts) at Colorado Springs this season, posted a 2-9 record with a 4.42 ERA and 1.514 WHIP in 71.1 total innings, go the call. Flande was passable Wednesday against the Cardinals, allowing four runs on six and one walk while striking out four over five innings. Because the Rockies have so many starters out, Flande could get two starts this week. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Marco Gonzales, Cardinals - Gonzales, selected 19th overall in the 2013 draft out of Gonzaga University, shot up the Cardinals' system to reach the majors. He opened the season at High-A Palm Beach, where he finished 2013, before moving up to Double-A Springfield. Gonzaleswent 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA and 46:10 K:BB ratio over 38.2 innings (seven starts) at Springfield to earn the call up to the St. Louis on Wednesday. His first start didn't go as planned, as he struck out three and walked two while giving up five runs on seven hits over five innings against Colorado. Gonzales, who has a low-90s fastball, curveball, slider and changeup with excellent command, will get at least one more start Tuesday against the Giants. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/updates:

Brett Anderson, Rockies - Anderson, who came over to the Rockies in December for Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen, broke his left (pitching) index finger back in mid-April. He was originally expected to return in 4-6 weeks but just recently progressed to throw his first bullpen session June 13. Anderson has progressed and is scheduled to make his first rehab start Wednesday with Triple-A Colorado Springs. He likely will need several rehab starts before he could rejoin the Rockies, which probably will occur just after the All-Star Game. In three starts this season prior to the injury, Anderson surrendered six earned runs and 16 hits over 15 innings but should regain his starting start when he returns. Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (early return spec bid).

Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks - Bradley, who has been out since the end of April with a mild flexor strain in his right elbow, profiled last week gets another mention this one, as his rehab stint continued. He tossed three innings in a rookie-league exhibition June 16 and then allowed two runs on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts over four innings last Saturday. Bradley moved up to Double-A Mobile, allowing one run on three hits and four walks, while striking out one over four innings Thursday, after which he said he was healthy. He likely will make 1-2 more starts at Mobile before moving up to Reno for a few starts and then up to the big leagues by the latter part of July. 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: $2; NL: $7 (upped early spec bid).

Eddie Butler, Rockies - Butler, who landed on the disabled list after his first major-league start due to rotator cuff inflammation in his pitching shoulder, has increased his throwing program as he works to strengthen his shoulder. He threw at 70 feet Monday, then threw long-toss at 120 feet Wednesday and moved to 150 feet Thursday. Butler will next pitch on flat ground, then the slope of the mound followed by on the mound and culminating in a bullpen session, possibly after the Rockies' road trip wraps up next week. He will then progress to facing live hitters and ultimately a few rehab starts. As you see by that litany of events, Butler will be out for a while, possibly retuning by late-July, but he makes a nice stash candidate.Mixed: $0; NL: $3 (early spec bid).

Dillon Gee, Mets - Gee, out since May 11 with a strained right lat and pushed back after a setback in early-June, finally made a rehab start Tuesday. He threw two scoreless innings against the Gulf Coast League Marlins and will pitch for Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League on Sunday. Gee, who was 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 33:15 K:BB ratio in 52.2 innings in eight starts before he was sidelined, will likely advanced up the ladder, making anywhere from 1-3 more rehab starts before he is able to rejoin the Mets. When he does come back, look for Daisuke Matsuzaka to move back to the bullpen. Mixed: $5; NL: $14 (early spec return bid).

Joe Kelly, Cardinals - Kelly, sidelined since April 17 with a torn hamstring, made his first rehab start Friday, throwing two innings for Triple-A Memphis. He allowed two runs on two hits and three walks while throwing 21 of his 41 pitches for strikes while showing good velocity on his fastball. Kelly will likely need at least two more rehab starts before he's stretched out enough to rejoin the St. Louis rotation that right now is missing Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Cliff Lee, Phillies - Lee, sidelined with a strained flexor tendon in his pitching elbow since May 19, threw a simulated game to three batters Friday. He threw 20 pitches, took a break and then threw 20 more. Lee's next step could be to throw another session in about three days, after which, he will probably make one rehab start before rejoining the Phillies rotation. A week ago Philly was just four games out, but they have lost three in a row and are 3-7 in their last 10, pushing them seven games back. That could pave the way for Lee to be dealt when he comes back.

Francisco Liriano, Pirates - Liriano, out since June 11 with a strained left oblique, threw 30 pitches in his first bullpen session Thursday. He came out of that session unscathed and may throw again over the weekend. Assuming he has no setbacks, Liriano may make a rehab start before coming back to the Pirates, though that has yet to be determined. After going 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA last season, Liriano has been a major disappointment this year, going 1-6 with a 4.60 ERA and 1.45 ERA with a 77:36 K:BB ratio in 72.1 innings over 14 starts. It's possible that Liriano had been pitching through the injury for a while and the time off could restore his fantasy value. Mixed: $2; NL: $7 (if you believe his poor pitching was injury related).

Tyler Lyons, Cardinals - Lyons, out since May 13 with a strained shoulder, made two rehab starts before getting activated and sent down to Triple-A Memphis. In his first start Tuesday, Lyons needed 81 pitches to get through four innings while giving up three runs on five hits and four walks. With Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia on the disabled list and Shelby Miller nursing a bad back, if Lyons can put together a few solid starts, he could get another shot in the Cardinals' rotation. Mixed: No; NL: $2 (early spec bid).

Relief Pitchers:

Jeremy Affedlt/Santiago Casilla/Jean Machi, Giants - Affeldt, Casilla and Machi all could be in the mix for saves in San Francisco due to Sergio Romo's struggles. Romo blew his third save in the last 15 days and his ERA now sits at 5.17 for the year. There are strong rumblings that manager Bruce Bochy will make a change at closer in SF. Affeldt has a stellar 1.33 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with a 23:7 K:BB ratio in 27 innings. He interestingly has been worse against lefties than righties, as he would normally be viewed as a better option against port siders. Casilla was profiled last week after he came off the disabled list but gets another mention due to Romo's struggles. Casilla has been excellent out of the pen from 2010 onward, including this season, where he has a 1.17 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 30.2 innings. Machi pitched great last year when he was first promoted, notching a 2.38 ERA in 53 innings. This season, he has been even better, but he has hit a mild road bump lately. The two runs he allowed Thursday broke a 25.1 inning scoreless streak for Machi and he gave up two more Saturday. Despite that, he still has a 1.36 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. If Bochy makes a change, Casilla could be next in line to get the call to close for the Giants. With Affeldt an option against lefties and Machi next-in-line behind Casilla for broader duty Affeldt - Mixed: $0; NL: $3; Casilla - Mixed: $3; NL: $9 (closer spec bid); Machi - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Sam Dyson/Jorge Rondon/B.J. Rosenberg/Rob Schaill - This week's middle reliever call ups/activations were in Miami, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Colorado. None have any substantial value. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Ernesto Frieri, Pirates - The Pirates and Angels exchanged struggling former closers Friday, swapping Jason Grilli for Frieri. Pittsburgh gets a much younger pitcher, who in controllable salary wise and whose fly-ball tendencies may not harm him as much at PNC Park. Frieri was 0-3 with 11 saves, a 6.39 ERA, allowing 22 runs and eight home runs, with 38 strikeouts in 31 innings. For now, Mark Melancon will remain the closer, but Frieri could get a shot if he falters or has an injury. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Ken Giles, Phillies - Giles' fastball, which hits triple-digits, and slider have impressed manager Ryne Sandberg. He has allowed just one run on two hits with a 12:3 K:BB in seven innings since his promotion, which should earn him use in higher-leverage situations. Giles posted a 1.88 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A in 28.2 innings, striking out 38 to earn the promotion, and as seen above, has carried that success over to the majors. If the Phillies do move on from Jonathan Papelbon, Giles could get a chance to close. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.


Christian Bethancourt - Bethancourt was promoted to the majors Saturday to provide Atlanta a backup catcher to Gerald Laird with Evan Gattis is nursing a sore back. There had been some speculation a few weeks ago that Bethancourt was going to be promoted, pushing Gattis to left field and sending B.J. Upton to the bench. That speculation could prove to be reality when Gattis is healthy enough to return, as Bethancourt is known for his defense and has made significant strides offensively, prompting the possible and roster shake-up. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Koyie Hill/Cameron Rupp, Phillies - Hill was promoted to play catcher for the Phillies alongside Rupp with Carlos Ruiz landing on the 7-day disabled list Friday with concussion symptoms after being hit by a pitch from A.J. Ramos on Thursday. Rupp was called up last week with Wil Nieves dealing with a quad injury, so it's a mess behind the late in Philadelphia. Look for Hill and Rupp, who was hitting just .167/.295/.370 in 34 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley when he was promoted to split time behind the plate until Ruiz returns. Hill - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Rupp - Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Injury activation/update:

Welington Castillo, Cubs - Castillo, out from June 3 with rib cage inflammation, was activated last Sunday after a brief rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs are easing Castillo back into action but eventually, he should play close to daily. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Wilson Ramos, Nationals - Ramos, who was on the disabled list with a tight right hamstring, was activated Thursday after a short rehab stint. Washington did not want to take a chance of Ramos getting hurt again, so they only had him play a handful of games prior to activating him.

First Basemen:

Lucas Duda, Mets - Duda was given a shot this season to be the Mets' first baseman after the team dealt Ike Davis, but he struggled initially. Lately, he has righted the ship and then some. For the 30 days up to and including Friday, Duda had posted a .278/.400/.600 line with six of his 12 home runs and 21 of his 41 RBI on the season. On the downside, Duda has only 38 at-bats and a .158 batting average against lefties. Given how hot Duda has been recently, manager Terry Collins may elect to give Duda time against southpaws, which might allow him to substantially up his counting stats, though it could go the opposite direction based on his career numbers against lefties.Mixed: $18; NL: owned.

Nick Evans, Diamondbacks - Evans, batting .333 with 11 homers and 44 RBI at Triple-A Reno, was called up again this week after passing through waivers unclaimed following last week's designation for assignment. He gives Arizona a back up at first base to Paul Goldschmidt with Eric Chavez on the disabled list. Evans likely will see the occasional game at the corner infield or outfield spots. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Clint Robinson, Dodgers - The Dodgers called up Robinson on Wednesday to serve as infield depth with Jamie Romak heading back to Triple-A Albuquerque. Robinson hit .309/.402/.523 with 14 HR and 56 RBI in 77 games for Albuquerque but will see minimal at-bats for the Dodgers. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

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, began a rehab assignment Thursday at High-A San Jose. The hope was that Belt would return on July 4, but it has been determined that he will need more at-bats than first thought, making that date highly unlikely. Even he does need more time, Belt is still probable to be activated before the All-Star Game, moving Mike Morse back to the outfield.

Second Base:

Irving Falu, Padres - Falu, claimed off waivers from the Brewers on Thursday, was called up by the Padres on Saturday. He will serve as a backup utility infielder in San Diego. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Injury activation/update:

Emilio Bonifacio, Cubs - Bonifacio, out since June 11 with a strained right oblique, is close to going out on a rehab assignment. As written in our recent update on Bonifacio, "he will presumably start with on-field drills, as he has yet to begin baseball activities, and then he'll eventually go out on a rehab assignment." The problem though is where or does he fit when he is ready to return? In April, Bonifacio was a godsend and beast for Chicago. However, he hit just .214 in May and then .229 in June before he was sidelined. In addition, Arismendy Alcantara is close to forcing a promotion from Triple-A Iowa so Bonifacio may find himself on the outside looking in and need a deal elsewhere to see consistent playing time. Mixed: $1; NL: $4 (early spec return bid).

Marco Scutaro, Giants - Scutaro, who has remained sidelined by back problems all season, started an injury rehab assignment Tuesday with the rookie-league Arizona Giants. Scutaro said that a PRP-injection he had earlier this month didn't help much and his back is unlikely to get much better. In addition, he realizes he will be a bench option if he is able to come back, but he wants to give it a shot. The rehab stint can only last 20 games, at which point, Scutaro will either be activated or return to the disabled list due to his back. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.


Jeff Bianchi, Brewers - The Brewers called up Bianchi to give them some infield depth with Jean Segura dealing with leg cramps that forced him from Saturday's game. If Segura misses some time, Bianchi or Elian Herrera would play shortstop. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Andreas Blanco, Phillies - The Phillies called up Blanco on Sunday to give the team some middle infield depth. Blanco hit 241/.314/.285 with six extra-base hits (all doubles) in 45 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, so don't expect much production if he does get any playing time. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Ed Lucas/Donavan Solano, Marlins - With Adeiny Hechavarria landing on the disabled list with a triceps injury, Lucas and Solano, who was promoted this week, have been manning shortstop for Miami, with Derek Dietrich and Jeff Baker handling the bulk of the playing time at second in Rafael Furcal's absence. Lucas has benefitted from Hechavarria's injury to see fairly consistent playing time at short. Solano was sent to the minors just over a week ago but was called back up this week to fill the roster spot created with Hechavarria's injury. Lucas likely will see most of the time at short with Solano serving as a utility player. Lucas - Mixed: $1; NL: $4; Solano - Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Third Basemen:

Eric Campbell/Wilmer Flores, Mets - With David Wright sidelined with a bruised rotator cuff that could land him on the disabled list, Campbell has been starting at third base. As I wrote in the Campbell update late Saturday night, "there is a strong possibility that Wright lands on the disabled list, leaving third to Campbell and likely promoting the promotion of Wilmer Flores. Campbell has mainly seen time at first base against lefties with Lucas Duda sitting but could be in line for extended action at the hot corner." Flores was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas to see time at second and short, but Wright's injury may force New York to call him back up. He first played third last year when Wright was hurt but suffered an ankle injury and never regained his stroke at the plate. Right now, Wright is on anti-inflammatory and rest with the hopes he will avoid the disabled list, so for now, Campbell may just be a stopgap option. Campbell - Mixed: $1; NL: $4; Flores - Mixed: $0; NL: $2 (increase the bid if you think Flores see consistent playing time if he is promoted).

Adam Duvall, Giants - With several players banged up and on the disabled list, the Giants called up Duvall, who was leading the Pacific Coast League with 23 homers and had shown power throughout the minors. Duvall blasted a home run in his debut and could see time at first and third base with Michael Morse moving back to the outfield, Brandon Belt still sidelined due his fractured left thumb and Angel Pagan landing on the disabled list with his back injury. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Injury activation/update:

Nolan Arenado, Rockies - Arenado, who suffered a left mallet finger fracture on May 23, was profiled the past two weeks, but gets another mention as he began a rehab assignment Saturday at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he went 2-for-4 with two RBI and run scored He progressed quickly from playing catch to hitting off a tee to batting practice to game action. Arenado, who was batting .305/.333/.489 with six home runs when he was sidelined, likely will need a week or so of at-bats before he is brought back to the Rockies.

Juan Uribe, Dodgers - Uribe, out since May 21 with a hamstring injury, was activated off the disabled list Thursday. He played several rehab games for High-A Rancho Cucamonga, seeing time at DH and at third base. Manager Don Mattingly started Uribe on Thursday and Friday but was giving him a day off Saturday before Justin Turner left the game with a strained hamstring and Hanley Ramirez only playing two innings. Uribe should be in the lineup at third base nearly every day. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.


Juan C. Perez, Giants - Perez was promoted to make his fourth appearance with the Giants this year with Angel Pagan (back) landing on the disabled list. Perez, just 6-for-38 with the big club so far this season, likely will be sent back down when Pagan is activated. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Injury activation/updates:

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 he began a rehab assignment with High-A Potomac on Monday and advanced to Double-A Harrisburg on Thursday. Harper has been raking, going 5-for-9 with a homer, six RBI, two steals and five walks in four games before hitting three home runs and driving in five Saturday. Manager Matt Williams had wanted Harper to play in back-to-back full games before being activated, meaning he would be back July 2, but Saturday's performance could change Williams' view.

Juan Lagares, Mets - Lagares, out since June 1 with a strained right intercostal muscle and profiled last week, gets another mention as he was activated off the disabled list Thursday. He played a few games in the Gulf Coast League before advancing to Double-A Binghamton. Lagares should play center field almost daily, but with six outfielders for three spots, he could sit slightly more than originally expected. Mixed: $7; NL: $18.

Christian Yelich, Marlins - Yelich, sidelined due to a strained lower back, started a rehab assignment Monday at High-A Jupiter. He advanced to Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday, playing two games and homering there Friday. Yelich was activated Sunday and should once again lead off with Rafael Furcal sidelined. Prior to being sidelined, he posted a 259/.342/.418 line with six homers, 28 RBI, 44 runs and 11 steals in 63 games.