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FAAB Factor-NL: September Speculation

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 - 8/24/14

Starting Pitching:

Dylan Axelrod, Reds - Homer Bailey's flexor mass tendon injury created a hole in the Reds rotation that initially was filled by Axelrod, who was promoted to start last Sunday for Cincinnati. Axelrod posted a respectable 3.06 ERA in five starts after joining Triple-A Louisville in mid-July, but had posted a 5.36 ERA at the major league level. He pitched well in that spot start, allowing two runs in six innings against Colorado, and will be called up to make another start after David Holmberg was bombed in his outing this week. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Brad Hand, Marlins - Hand will start Sunday against the Rockies. The Marlins had to decide between Hand and Brad Penny for the rotation and bumped Penny. Hand likely earned the nod after racking up five quality starts in his past six turns, while posting a 3.79 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 40.1 innings pitched since the All-Star break. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Vidal Nuno, Diamondbacks - The move to the National League has been a boon for Nuno. His overall 4.66 ERA is not impressive, but he has pitched much better in the NL for Arizona, posting a 3.54 ERA in the Senior Circuit. In addition, his WHIP in the NL is a stellar 1.03, aided by a 42:12 K:BB ratio as a Diamondback. The downside is that Nuno is winless in his 10 starts since the trade on July 6, but if he keeps posting quality starts, sooner of later he should break through in the W column. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Jacob Turner, Cubs - Chicago needs a starter for Wednesday's game with Edwin Jackson landing on the disabled list with a lat injury and it looks they are turning to Turner, who pitched two innings in relief during the team's suspended game Thursday. Turner, who opened the season as a starter for Miami but has pitched in relief since the Cubs acquired him on August 8, could possibly give Chicago five innings in a spot-start. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Injury activation/updates:

Christian Bergman, Rockies - Bergman, who broke a bone near his thumb in late-June when he was hit by a line drive during a start, will be activated off the 60-day DL and start Sunday. He made five rehab starts between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he had mixed results. Bergman pitched well enough in the minors - 3.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 5.8 K/9 - to get a promotion but had a 7.20 ERA, allowing 23 hits and five home runs in 15 innings in his three starts before getting injured. However, with several starters out, and Colorado looking towards the future, Bergman could stick in the rotation. Mixed: $0; NL: $2.

Andrew Cashner, Padres - Cashner, on the 15-day DL with right shoulder soreness and who last started on June 19, was activated to start Saturday against the Diamondbacks. He allowed two runs, one each in his the first two innings of the game, on seven hits and two walks while striking out in 88 pitches over five innings. Cashner made three rehab starts, the last one Monday, where he allowed three runs on four hits and a walk while fanning four over five innings for Triple-A El Paso on Monday. Injuries limited Cashner to 12 starts before Saturday, during which he has posted a 2.36 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He was slated to throw 70-90 pitches Saturday, so he nearly maxed out and did not report any issues with the shoulder after the outing. Mixed: $7; NL: $18.

Jacob deGrom, Mets - DeGrom landed on the disabled list, retroactive to August 8, with shoulder tendinitis that popped up after his start August 7. He missed the minimum, as he was activated and started Saturday against the Dodgers, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks while striking out seven in six innings. Prior to getting sidelined, deGrom posted a 2.87 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 94 strikeouts in 100.1 innings, giving the Mets and his fantasy owners much more they could have expected when he was first promoted in May.

Felix Doubront, Cubs - Doubront, acquired from the Red Sox for a player to be named later and on the 15-day DL with a right calf strain, will make third Minor League rehab start on Sunday with Double-A Tennessee. He has alllowed six runs on 12 hits in 10 innings in his first two starts. Doubront will likely be promoted to start one of the Cubs' games on Aug. 30 when they play a day-night doubleheader against the Cardinals. With the rosters expanding two days later, look for him either stay with Chicago after that start or be back on September 1. Doubront had thrown 59.1 innings over 17 games (10 starts) for the Red Sox, going 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Mets - Matszuaka, on the disabled list since July 26 with elbow inflammation, allowed two hits and two walks while striking out seven in five shutout innings in his third and final rehab start, which was for Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League on Thursday. In those three starts, Dice-K allowed one run in 14 innings of work. Matsuzaka has shown he is ready to return and likely will be activated next week, but it remains to be seen who will be sent down to make room for him and what role Matsuzaka will play, though he likely will pitch out of the pen. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Matt Garza, Brewers - Garza, sidelined with a strained left oblique since August 4, should be back with the Brewers in early-September. Mike Fiers has been stellar in his stead, allowing Garza and Milwaukee to be cautious with his return. When Garza is ready to return, it remains to be seen who will be the odd-man out, though Jimmy Nelson might end up in the bullpen with Fiers pitching well.

Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks - Hudson, trying to return from a second Tommy John surgery, tossed his fourth straight scoreless appearance Tuesday for Arizona's Rookie League team. The hope is that Hudson will be able to make three-to-six appearances in the big leagues in September. Down the road, the debate is if Hudson can stay as a starter or need to move to the bullpen, but that determination will come once he shows he can make it all the way back to the majors. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers - Ryu, sidelined since August 14 with a Grade 1-2 glute strain, threw bullpen sessions on Thursday and Friday. While he still needs to progress to pitching at full speed, all signs currently point to Ryu getting activated on August 29 or shortly thereafter.

Michael Wacha, Cardinals - Wacha, out with a stress reaction in his right shoulder since June 17, took another next step in his return from the injury, throwing a 35-pitch bullpen session Monday. He followed that up with another session Wednesday, building towards a short rehab stint prior to rejoining the Cardinals in early-September. It remains to be seen if that will be as a starter or reliever, following the acquisitions of John Lackey and Justin Masterson. Wacha got off to a great start, but clearly was hurting before he was sidelined, posting a 4.24 ERA in June, but could be back in about a month to help the Cardinals in their playoff push. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.

Relief Pitchers:

Daniel Corcino/Gonzalez Germen/Will Harris/Zach Rosscup/Pedro Villareal - This week's middle reliever call ups/activations were in New York, Arizona, Chicago and Cincinnati. None have any substantial value, unless Corcino, who has been so-so the past two seasons in the minors, gets a chance to start. If so, place a small bid on him. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Jeurys Familia, Mets - Familia has done yeoman work out of the Mets' pen this year, posting a 1.97 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with a 56:28 K:BB ratio in 61 innings through Friday. In addition, with Jenrry Mejia nursing hernia and back injuries, Familia has stepped into the role as closer lately, notching three saves in the past two weeks. If the Mets decide to shut down Mejia early to enable him to have the hernia surgery he needs, look for Familia to serve as the team's closer. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.

Pat Neshek, Cardinals - Neshek looks to be next in line for saves in St. Louis whenever Trevor Rosenthal needs a rest or has blown a save and another bullpen arm is needed. Neshek is having a tremendous season, with a miniscule 0.83 ERA and 0.59 WHIP along with a 59:6 K:BB ratio in 54.1 innings. His fastball is up about 1.5 MPH, resulting in a major spike in his K rate, and he has been aided by an insanely low .196 BABIP. It's possible the wheels fall off, but Neshek had a similar season many years ago, so these numbers are not as much of an aberration as first thought. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Kevin Quackenbush, Padres - Quackenbush notched his first career save Wednesday against the Dodgers, filling in for Joaquin Benoit, who is sidelined with a “cranky” shoulder. Benoit is expected back this weekend, but if he is sidelined again, Quackenbush, who has a low-90s fastball and slider with a deceptive delivery, looks to be next in line. Since allowing two runs on June 13, Quackenbush had allowed just three runs on 16 hits and eight walks with 23K in 23.1 innings, but surrendered three runs on Didi Gregorius home run Saturday to take the loss and ruin that hot streak. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.


Matt McBride, Rockies - McBride, who played 31 games for the Rockies in 2012, finally made his way back to the majors, as he was promoted this week. He made an immediate impact, homering in his first game while playing first base in place of Justin Morneau against a lefty. McBride broke his foot while rounding the bases after a home run at Triple-A Colorado Springs in April, which sidelined him for about two months. He is fully healthy now and posted a .305/.345/.487 line with seven home runs in 51 games to earn the call up. Look for McBride to play against some lefties at first while also seeing some time behind the plate and DH and provide some power.Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Russell Martin, Pirates - While much was made of the Yankees signing Brian McCann to a long-term deal this off-season, forgotten was the poor move the team made two years ago in not re-signing Martin and letting him go to Pittsburgh. Martin had 15 home runs and 53 runs batted in with his usual poor batting average but was solid behind the plate last year for the Pirates. This year, while the home runs are down, his .288 batting average is his highest since 2007, plus he has a .410 OBA and .411 SLG with 51 RBI. Martin has hit safely 14 of 16 games in August so far, posting a.317/.421/.492 line with a pair of home runs, 13 RBI and 12 runs. Mixed: $15; NL: owned.

Injury activation/update:

Yadier Molina, Cardinals - Molina, out since July 9 with a torn ligament in his right thumb, took some light swings Wednesday for the first time since the injury. That news comes almost a week after he caught his first bullpen session the prior Thursday. Molina was to be sidelined eight to 12 weeks but he appears ahead of that schedule, so he might rejoin the squad in mid-to-late September. He will need to progress to baseball activities, then BP and maybe rehab games, before he is ready to return. But the news to date has been positive. Mixed: $4; NL: $11.

First Basemen:

John Mayberry, Phillies - Mayberry, out since July 21 with left wrist inflammation, started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. He will play at least six games before getting considered for activation. Even when he does return, with the Phillies looking towards 2015, don't expect Mayberry to get much playing time. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Second Base:

Jedd Gyorko, Padres -Gyorko's season numbers leave a lot to be desired (.202/.259/.338 in 287 at-bats), but he has really flipped the switch since coming off the DL on July 28. Since then, he has hit .291/.358/.488 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 86 at-bats. Gyorko showed power and the ability to drive in runs last year, so this streak is no fluke. Ride him if you have him and try and acquire him if you don't, but check his status first, as he is dealing with a tweaked left hamstring. Mixed: $18; NL: owned.

Joe Panik, Giants - Panik, who looked to have lost his job in late-July, continued his resurgence Friday, going 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. He went 0-for-4 Saturday but is still 27-for-67 with that home run and eight runs batted in during August. Panik 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 a June promotion. Unfortunately, he struggled at the plate, as noted above, but looks to be set for the balance of the season and likely into next year, given his recent hot streak. Mixed: $15; NL: owned.

Logan Watkins, Cubs - Watkins was called up to fill in with Starlin Castro getting placed on the bereavement list. Watkins played 27 games for the Cubs last season and in 316 Triple-A at-bats this year, posted a .256/.329/.364 line with four home runs and 38 RBI. His stint may only last until Castro returns, even if not, he will serve as a backup infielder and won't see much time. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Injury activation/update:

Brandon Phillips, Reds - Phillips, on the disabled list after having surgery July 11 to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, was activated off the disabled list on Monday. He rapidly progressed from taking ground balls to swinging a bat and then a rehab stint. Phillips should be in the lineup daily at second base. Mixed: $18; NL: $45.


Erisbel Arruebarrena, Dodgers - With Hanley Ramirez out with an oblique injury, the Dodgers added some infield depth by calling up Arruebarrena, who was batting 333/.400/.452 in 95 plate appearances at Triple-A Albuquerque. He gives LA a backup infielder that can fill in at short with Ramirez out, though he may be sent down when Hanley returns this week. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Greg Garcia, Cardinals - The Cardinals called up Garcia to fill the opening created when Mark Ellis' landed on the DL with an oblique strain. Garcia was hitting .273/.358/.385 with eight homers in 103 games with Triple-A Memphis this season, but like Kolten Wong, he's a lefty swinger, so he'll likely just back up Wong at second and Jhonny Peralta at short. Mixed: No; NL: $0.

Injury activation/updates:

Clint Barmes, Pirates - Barmes, out since July 6 with a Grade 3 adductor (groin) sprain that was expected to sideline him for 4-6 weeks, moved his rehab assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. He began a minor-league rehab assignment at Double-A Altoona last week and should be ready to return to the majors in late-August. Barmes got off to a rough start at the plate, but had been better since the end of April when he was sidelined. Jordy Mercer has done a fine job stepping in for Barmes, so there is no guarantee Barmes gets his starting job back when he returns. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Everth Cabrera, Padres - Cabrera, sidelined with a hamstring injury for the second time this season, took grounders and hit in a batting cage Thursday, and should be able to light jog Monday. If Cabrera shows he is able to run and doesn't have any setbacks, look for him to progress to a short rehab stint and then rejoin the Padres around when the rosters expand Sept. 1. Prior to being sidelined, Cabrera struggled, hitting just .232 with a poor .272 OBA, but he had shown some signs of life after returning from the first hamstring injury at the end of July. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Chris Owings, Diamondbacks - Owings, out since June 25 with a strained and slightly dislocated left shoulder, began a rehab stint for Arizona's Rookie League team this past Sunday. He played a few games there before joining Triple-A Reno on Friday. Arizona is being cautious with his recovery and has stated Owings won't rejoin the team before the rosters expand in September. Of course, that depends on no further setbacks, and now that Owings is no longer was altering his swing to compensate for the injury, but swinging normally, signs are positive for his ultimate return. Owings was hitting. 277/.313/.458 over 72 games with six home runs before the injury. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers - Ramirez, who is sidelined with a strained right oblique, looks like he will be will be ready to return and come off the disabled list when first eligible on Aug. 24. He took batting practice on consecutive days this week, which is a great sign given that the injury was to his oblique. Hanley moved from shortstop to third base in 2012 with the Marlins before he was dealt to the Dodgers later that season, but has only played shortstop the last two seasons. Ramirez might play some third when he is activated to fill in for Juan Uribe, who landed on the DL with a strained right hamstring, and allow Miguel Rojas to remain at shortstop, where he has been "tremendous" defensively. That said, manager Don Mattingly seems inclined to use Ramirez at short, which would enable Justin Turner to stay at third until Uribe returns.

Third Basemen:

Maikel Franco, Phillies - Franco continued his post Triple-A All-Star Game hot streak with a cycle Saturday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He is hitting .308/.320/.541 with eight home runs since the All-Star break, boosted by going 14-for-41 over his last ten games, raising his overall batting average to .254. Franco should be promoted when the rosters expand on September 1 and see the majority of the action at the hot corner with Philly looking to the future. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Freddy Galvis, Phillies - The Phillies called up Galvis to provide the team some depth in the middle infield; designating Reid Brignac for assignment. Galvis struggled in his stint in the majors earlier this year and then suffered a broken clavicle, costing him two months, but hit well at Triple-A Lehigh Valley since his return from that injury to earn a second shot. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Injury activation/updates:

Juan Uribe, Dodgers - Uribe, sidelined with a tight right hamstring, took batting practice Wednesday and Thursday. He should be back when eligible on August 31. The only question is: will he lose any playing time to Hanley Ramirez at third so Miguel Rojas can remain at short?

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals - Zimmerman threw for first time on Thursday since suffering his Grade 3 strained hamstring almost a month ago. The plan is for Zimmerman to escalate his throwing program and then will need to advance to hitting and running, before we have a true sense if he can come back sometime in September. When/if that happens, it remains to be seen where he will play with Anthony Rendon at third, Asdrubal Cabrera at second, meaning Rendon likely won't shift back there, Adam LaRoche at first and Bryce Harper back in left field. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.


Joc Pederson, Dodgers - Pederson's magical campaign at Triple-A Albuquerque continued Saturday, as his stolen base made him the first 30-30 player in the PCL in 80 years. His overall numbers -.301/.432/.583 with 32 home runs, 73 RBI and 30 steals in 115 games - warranted a promotion a long time ago, but a crowded LA outfield kept him in the minors. Pederson will be called up when the rosters expand, though he may not see much time with the Dodgers in a pennant race. His talent could result in the team moving an outfielder or two this offseason in order to make room next year for him. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Nate Schierholtz, Nationals - Schierholtz, who played just four games with Triple-A Syracuse after he was claimed off waivers from the Cubs, was called up Saturday. He will fill the veteran depth role vacated by Nate McLouth (shoulder), replacing Michael Taylor, who was sent back down to the minors to get consistent at-bats. In 99 games with the Cubs prior to his release, Schierholtz batted just .192/.240/.300 with six homers and 33 RBI, and he likely will see minimal at-bats with Washington. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Travis Snider, Pirates - Snider is starting in place of Gregory Polanco following the return of Andrew McCutchen. Snider is 17-for-37 with three homers and seven RBI in his last 10 games to earn the additional playing time. Eventually he will cool and Polanco, who has been in a horrific slump, will get hot again, but for now Snider seems to be manager Clint Hurdle's choice to man right field. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Drew Stubbs, Rockies - The myriad of injuries to Carlos Gonzalez created an opening for Stubbs to see playing time and he has made the most of that chance. While he still strikes out too much and doesn't walk enough, Stubbs has posted a .300/.341/.505 line with 13 home runs, 38 runs batted in, 15 stolen bases and 50 runs in 307 at-bats. Those numbers are more than Colorado and those who drafted him likely expected, so continue to ride the wave if you own him. Mixed: $27; NL: owned.

Injury/ activation update:

Cameron Maybin, Padres - Maybin recently completed a 25-game suspension for testing positive for amphetamines and was activated when first eligible to return on Aug. 20. Following a solid 2011 campaign, Maybin regressed since then, due to either poor play of injuries, which has been the case this season. Prior to the suspension, Maybin had played just 62 games this season, batting just .247 with one homer, nine runs batted in and 18 runs. With four other full-time outfielders on the San Diego roster -- Seth Smith, Will Venable, Rymer Liriano, and Abraham Almonte -- regular playing time may be difficult for Maybin to come by in the short term. However, since he has two years remaining on the five-year, $25 million deal he signed in March 2012, San Diego would be well-served in seeing if it warrants keeping him or boosting his possible trade value by playing him daily. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.