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NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

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.

This is our weekly look at National League free agents. We have two goals for this article:

1. Identify likely free agents and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
2. Estimate how much of your free-agent budget you should bid on them.

This year, we're incorporating grids into the FAAB articles, so users can easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The grids, which are sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This serves as a reflection of a player’s skills and role on an A-E scale. Carlos Correa would have been an "A" grade player last year -- that mark will be reserved for similar high-impact prospects stepping into an everyday role.

As always, if there is a player that was not discussed in the article that you would like to know about, feel free to ask about the player in the comments.

PLAYER TEAM POS GRADE $ (12-Team Mixed) $ (15-Team Mixed) $ (NL-Only)
Archie Bradley AZ SP D 0 3 6
Rubby De La Rosa AZ SP D 4 8 12
Christian Friedrich SD SP E No No 2
Jeremy Hellickson PHI SP D 4 8 14
Williams Perez ATL SP E No 1 4
Logan Verrett NYM SP E No No 5
Michael Bolsinger LA SP E No No 0
Brandon McCarthy LA SP D 0 1 4
Hyun-Jin Ryu LA SP B 4 9 14
Ryan Buchter SD RP D 1 3 7
Sean Gilmartin NYM RP E No 0 3
Brad Hand SD RP E No No 2
Ross Ohlendorf CIN RP E 0 1 4
Kevin Siegrist STL RP D 3 7 11
Jason Motte COL RP D 0 1 4
Chris Herrmann AZ C D 1 6 11
Tommy Joseph PHI C/1B D 1 4 7
Tom Murphy COL C E 0 1 4
Hector Sanchez SD C E No No 0
Miguel Montero CIN C C Owned 16 Owned
John Jaso PIT 1B C 7 11 Owned
Derek Dietrich MIA 2B C 11 21 Owned
Jose Peraza CIN 2B D 0 2 5
Jose Pirela SD 2B E No No 2
Scooter Gennett MIL 2B D 7 12 Owned
Jose Reyes COL SS C 7 14 23
Dansby Swanson ATL SS B 0 1 4
Jonathan Villar MIL SS C 8 14 Owned
Daniel Descalso COL SS E No No 0
Jhonny Peralta STL SS C 2 7 11
Eric Campbell NYM 3B E No No 2
Cole Figueroa PIT 3B E No No 0
Cody Asche PHI 3B E No 1 4
Gordon Beckham ATL 3B E 1 4 7
Yangervis Solarte SD 3B D 2 7 11
Michael Bourn AZ OF E No No 0
Marcell Ozuna MIA OF B 25 Owned Owned
Melvin Upton Jr. SD OF C 11 19 Owned

Starting Pitcher

Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks – Bradley was called up from Triple-A Reno to make a spot start Monday for Arizona. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits in six innings to pick up the victory. Bradley was sent back down after the outing, but can take with him that this start was a lot better than his first earlier this year, when he allowed five runs in 4.1 innings. He's pitched well in the minors, posting a 2.45 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 34:14 K:BB in 25.2 innings over five starts, and Bradley should be next in line if a starter is needed in Arizona and is worth a stash bid. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team NL: $6

Rubby De La Rosa, Diamondbacks – De La Rosa has excelled since April 23, posting a 2.08 ERA with 26 Ks in 26 innings. In the past, De La Rosa has had hot stretches followed by substantial regression. It remains to be seen if this year will be different, but one positive attribute is that this streak coincides with De La Rosa going away from his cutter and using his slider more. Take a look at that usage moving forward, as it may be an indicator of future success or regression. 12-team Mixed: $4; 15-team Mixed: $8; 12-team NL: $12

Christian Friedrich, Padres – Friedrich made the most of his first start in the majors since July 1, 2014, allowing one run on four hits and six walks with four strikeouts in six innings against the Brewers. A first round pick in 2008 by Colorado, Friedrich has battled injury and ineffectiveness in his career, both in the majors and in the minors. San Diego signed him March 3, and after two starts for High Single-A Lake Elsinore and two more for Triple-A El Paso, Friedrich got the call when Andrew Cashner (hamstring) landed on the DL. With Cashner out and coming off his solid start Friday, Friedrich should get multiple opportunities to show what he can do at the major league level. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2

Jeremy Hellickson, Phillies – The surprising Phillies have been led by their pitching staff, including Hellickson, who allowed two runs (none earned) on four hits and a walk with nine strikeouts in seven innings against the Reds on Friday. He has been up-and-down this year, as he is now 3-2 with a 4.12 ERA, but he has a 46:12 K:BB in 43.2 innings. Hellickson is prone to the gopher ball, allowing nine home runs, and he surrenders a lot of hard contact, but that K-rate helps mitigate some of the damage, which could bode well the rest of the way. 12-team Mixed: $4; 15-team Mixed: $8; 12-team NL: $14

Williams Perez, Braves – Perez made three starts for the Braves earlier this season, posting a 5.11 ERA, and was then sent to the minors to make room for Mike Foltyniewicz. The trade of Jhoulys Chacin to the Angels created an opening in the Atlanta rotation, resulting on Perez getting another shot. He allowed just one run on two hits and no walks with four strikeouts over eight innings Wednesday, to pick up the victory in a 5-1 win over the Phillies. Perez mixes a low-90s fastball with a curveball and changeup and doesn’t overpower or fool hitters, relying on a strong GB ratio to get outs. With Atlanta looking to the future, he could get several starts to show he can stick at this level, as he did last season. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4

Logan Verrett, Mets – Verrett is once again stepping in for an injured Mets starter. Earlier in the season, it was for Jacob deGrom, this time it’s for Steven Matz, who has forearm soreness in his pitching arm. While starting for deGrom, Verrett went 1-0 with 10 strikeouts and no runs allowed in 12 innings in two starts and was spectacular against the Rockies last year when he pitched for Matt Harvey, but on Saturday he allowed seven runs on 10 hits and three walks in just 2.2 innings versus Colorado. Verrett, who made four starts for the Mets last year, showed that he can ably fill the swingman role and could possibly see several more starts before the season is over. However, it’s also possible Sean Gilmartin, who has pitched well at Triple-A Las Vegas with a 2.48 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 34:8 K:BB in six starts and 32.1 innings, could also get a spot start or two. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $5

Injury activation/updates

Michael Bolsinger, Dodgers – Bolsinger, out with an oblique injury, began a minor league rehab assignment Saturday, allowing two runs in four innings against Triple-A Albuquerque. He followed that up by tossing four shutout innings in his second rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Upon completion of a few more rehab starts, he could replace Alex Wood or Ross Stripling in the Dodgers’ rotation or be optioned down to the minors. Last season, Bolsinger posted a 3.62 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 109.1 innings over 21 starts, but faded late with a 7.08 ERA his last five outings. Bolsinger’s hold on that spot, if he gets one, might only last until Hyun-Jin Ryu or Brandon McCarthy is ready. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $0

Brandon McCarthy, Dodgers – McCarthy, working his way his way back from Tommy John surgery last April, threw one inning in a simulated game Saturday. He will have a simulated outing this week and then begin a minor league rehab assignment. At a minimum, he'll likely need 4-5 starts and could stay in the minors for the full 30 days of the rehab. When he is ready to return, McCarthy, whose fastball is at 89 mph, could replace Alex Wood or Ross Stripling in the LA rotation. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (same as prior week)

Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers – Ryu faced live hitters early this week and will throw two innings for High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday as he begins a rehab assignment. He had surgery last May to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder and suffered a small setback earlier this year due to a groin injury. Now that he has recovered from that ailment and is about to pitch in the minors, Ryu could use all 30 days of a rehab assignment, putting him back in LA in early-to-mid June. 12-team Mixed: $4; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14 (early bid, same as last week for now)

Relief Pitcher

Ryan Buchter, Padres – With Fernando Rodney unavailable after saving both games in the Padres’ doubleheader sweep over the Cubs on Wednesday, Buchter was called upon and notched the save. It’s interesting that the left-hander got the call and not Brandon Maurer or Kevin Quackenbush, and an indication of Buchter’s rising status in the Padres' bullpen. Buchter has now allowed just one run on the year with a 0.98 WHIP and 23:10 K:BB in 17 innings after posting a 1.78 ERA with a 10.7 K/9 ratio over 43 total appearances with Triple-A Oklahoma City and Triple-A Iowa last season. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team NL: $7

Sean Gilmartin, Mets - Gilmartin has pitched well at Triple-A Las Vegas, posting a 2.48 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 34:8 K:BB in six starts and 32.1 innings, and was called up this week to give the Mets another arm in the 'pen with Logan Verrett starting for Steven Matz. Gilmartin has thrown five shutout innings in his two major league appearances this year and could also get a spot start or two if the Mets move Verrett back to the bullpen. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $3

Brad Hand, Padres – Hand has been up-and-down this season, but tossed four scoreless innings in relief of Luis Perdomo on Saturday. It’s possible that Hand gets a shot at starting, though he has shown that he is better in a relief role due to his inconsistency and better splits in the bullpen. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2

Ross Ohlendorf, Reds – Ohlendorf looks to be in the closer mix in Cincinnati, as he was used in a ninth inning save situation Wednesday. He was unable to seal the deal and has allowed runs in four of his last five appearances. Ohlendorf does have a 20:4 K:BB in 16.2 innings, showing the strong control he displayed in 2014 which deserted him last year. I still think Tony Cingrani is the odds-on favorite to get saves in Cincinnati. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4

Kevin Siegrist, Cardinals – Siegrist burst on the scene last year, making 81 appearances and notching 28 holds with a 2.17 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 90:34 K:BB in 74.2 innings. He has been even better this season, striking out 21 with a 0.89 WHIP in 14.2 innings. Manager Mike Matheny called on Siegrist to notch the save Friday, after Trevor Rosenthal walked three straight. With Rosenthal sitting on a 1.64 WHIP, Matheny could call Siegrist’s number in the ninth inning more often. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

Injury activation/updates

Jason Motte, Rockies – Motte is recovering from pain in his right shoulder and pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout and a walk in his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday. No timetable has been set for his return, but when he comes back, he should set up Jake McGee. In addition, if McGee falters, Motte (who saved 42 games in 2012) could close for Colorado. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (same as last week)


Chris Herrmann, Diamondbacks – Herrmann has made the most of his recent playing time, driving in seven runs his last three starts. Welington Castillo is still entrenched as the starting catcher, but Herrmann has taken away some of the action behind the plate. Herrmann’s minor league numbers show that he was productive at the plate, though that never carried forward to the majors until this season. So far, he has been a very nice second catcher in only leagues. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $6; 12-team NL: $11

Tommy Joseph, Phillies – Joseph, who missed three months of the 2015 season due to a concussion and struggled after he returned, has been raking at Triple-A. That hot stretch coupled with Darin Ruf’s slump resulted in the Phillies calling up Joseph to split time with Ryan Howard at first base. That’s right, first base, as Joseph moved out from behind the plate last year due to his concussion history. On many sites he is listed as a catcher, so check his eligibility, because if he qualifies there his value spikes a bit. Joseph will play against lefties and could see some time against righties. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (if catcher eligible)

Tom Murphy, Rockies – Murphy was sent down to the minors to begin the season and then was sidelined with a strained left oblique. He recently returned to action and has been raking. With Nick Hundley (oblique) on the DL, Tony Wolters and Dustin Garneau are manning the catcher position for the Rockies, but Murphy could play his way into a callup if he continues to hit. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (early spec bid)

Hector Sanchez, Padres – Sanchez, claimed on waivers from the White Sox, joined the Padres on Friday. His presence gives San Diego three catchers and allows Christian Bethancourt to pinch hit a bit more. Sanchez started Saturday with Derek Norris dealing with a bruised hand. Once Norris is healthy, Sanchez could possibly be placed on waivers again so the Padres can send him to Triple-A El Paso, as Austin Hedges recently underwent surgery to remove a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No 12-team NL: $0

Injury activation/updates

Miguel Montero, Cubs – Montero, out since April 28 due to back tightness, began a rehab assignment this Tuesday at Triple-A Iowa. He needed just a few games there and was activated Saturday, resuming his role as the Cubs starting catcher. 12-team Mixed: owned; 15-team Mixed: $16 (in case not owned); 12-team NL: Owned

First Base

John Jaso, Pirates – Jaso who signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Pirates this offseason, has gotten off to a solid start, batting .288/.355/.430 with three home runs and 12 runs batted in. His history of posting a solid on-base percentage has Jaso batting leadoff, which should result in a strong run total. Jaso sits against southpaws for Sean Rodriguez and David Freese is also in the mix now that Jung-Ho Kang is healthy and back at third base in Pittsburgh. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $11, 15-team NL: Owned

Second Base

Derek Dietrich, Marlins – Dietrich is starting at second base in place of the suspended Dee Gordon and continues to rake at the plate while also leading off. He now has second base eligibility in just about all formats and should remain a nice source of runs and steals with a solid batting average. Once Gordon serves the 80-game suspension, Dietrich should see time at third and in the outfield, retaining a good portion of his value. 12-team Mixed: $11; 15-team Mixed: $21; 12-team NL: Owned

Jose Peraza, Reds – Peraza, who has hit .295 in 30 games for Triple-A Louisville, was called up with Billy Hamilton landing on the bereavement list Friday and out 3-7 days, after which Peraza likely will head back to the minors. In the meantime he could see some starts in center field, along with Tyler Holt, and notch a few steals. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $2, 12-team NL: $5 (up bid if you think he sticks)

Jose Pirela, Padres – Pirela was promoted last Sunday to take the place of the injured Jemile Weeks, who was placed on the DL with a hamstring strain. This is Pirela’s second stint with the Friars, as he had a cup of coffee earlier in the season. Adam Rosales was expected to see most of the action at second base, but Pirela has earned more time than originally thought. He doesn’t bring a lot to the table but could get some counting stats. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2

Injury activation/updates

Scooter Gennett, Brewers – Gennett, out since April 28 with tightness in his right oblique, was activated Thursday following a short rehab assignment. He was off to a red-hot start when he was sidelined and immediately slotted back in to his starting second baseman role, moving Aaron Hill to third, while also batting second. However, keep in mind he will sit against southpaws for either Hill or Hernan Perez. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $12; 12-team NL: Owned


Jose Reyes, Rockies – Commissioner Rob Manfred finally ruled on Jose Reyes’ suspension, giving the shortstop what amounted to 52 games on the sidelines and making him sit through May 31. Trevor Story is fairly entrenched at short for the Rockies and it appears as if Colorado would like nothing better than to deal Reyes and get rid of the headache of having him on the roster. He may need a minor league stint to get into game shape but if he is traded, he could be starting for another team by mid-June, where he would be a nice source of runs and steals. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $14; 12-team NL: $23 (if he gets traded somewhere to start)

Dansby Swanson, Braves – Swanson, the first overall pick in last year’s draft, was traded from Arizona to Atlanta in the Braves’ swindling of the D-Backs in the Shelby Miller deal. He hit .333/.432/.526 with one home run and seven steals with a 15:13 K:BB in 95 plate appearances at High-A Carolina to earn a promotion to Double-A Mississippi. Swanson may end up at short or second, but projects to be a 15-15 player at a minimum with possibly a higher ceiling than that. He probably won't be up in the majors this week, as many felt 2017 was in play. But seeing how the Braves are playing and how quickly he is rising, it’s possible that he is up in Atlanta later this season. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (early spec bid, higher in keeper leagues)

Jonathan Villar, Brewers – Villar entered Saturday’s game with a .381 on base percentage and upped that number by going 3-for-5 with a pair of walks against the Padres. He still strikes out too much but has balanced that by substantially upping his walk rate. Villar has benefited from a very high BABIP, but as long as he continues to walk, he should remain a strong source of runs and stolen bases. Eventually Orlando Arcia will be up to take the shortstop job, but Villar’s solid play affords Milwaukee time to let Arcia mature in the minors. 12-team Mixed: $8; 15-team Mixed: $14; 12-team NL: Owned

Injury activation/updates

Daniel Descalso, Rockies – Descalso, out since mid-March with a small fracture in his left hand, completed a short rehab assignment and rejoined the Rockies on Friday. He will slot in a utility infielder for Colorado. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No, 12-team NL: $0

Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals – Peralta, who underwent surgery on his left thumb on March 10, was cleared Tuesday to start singing a bat and take fielding practice. He'll next hit off a tee and then face live pitching before going out on a rehab assignment in a week of so and, if that plan holds, he might make his season debut at some point in June. Aledmys Diaz has ably replaced Peralta and there are some rumors that Peralta could see time at first, leaving shortstop for Diaz. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (early spec bid, same as last week)

Third Base

Eric Campbell, Mets – Campbell could be in line for more playing time with Wilmer Flores landing on the disabled list due to a hamstring injury,. David Wright is rested periodically while Lucas Duda sits against certain southpaws, affording Campbell time at third and first. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2

Cole Figueroa, Pirates – Figueroa opened the year with the Pirates but was sent down on April 22. He earned another shot by posting an .899 OPS over 13 games at Triple-A Indianapolis. Figueroa gives Pittsburgh a left-handed option of the bench. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $0

Injury activation/updates

Cody Asche, Phillies – Asche, out with an oblique injury that he suffered in late March, finally began swinging a bat this past week. He was able to play in a full nine-inning extended spring training game Thursday and begin a rehab assignment with High-A Clearwater on Friday. He will likely need at least a week in the minors before joining the Phillies. When he is activated, Asche should see some time at third and in left field, where he should provide a little bit of pop. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (early spec bid)

Gordon Beckham, Braves – Beckham, out since mid-April with a strained hamstring, returned to the Braves this Tuesday after a short rehab assignment. He will see most of his action at third base, as Atlanta now has a cast of thousands at second. Beckham has gotten off to a strong start and should be in the lineup daily while he is hot. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Yangervis Solarte, Padres – Solarte, out since April 9 with a strained right hamstring, played a game recently in extended spring straining. He likely will need a minor league rehab assignment before rejoining the Padres, but it’s good that he is making progress. Solarte could be back by the end of this month, resuming his role as the starting third baseman. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11


Michael Bourn, Diamondbacks – Bourn hopes to revive his identify in Arizona, signing a minor-league deal with the D-Backs after parting ways with Toronto. He is at Double-A Mobile and could move up to Triple-A Reno if he hits well. Arizona is short on outfielders, and while it’s a long shot Bourn makes it back to the majors and/or has a useful role, he is in the right place for it to happen. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $0

Marcell Ozuna, Marlins – Marcell has gotten hot sooner rather than later this year, rebounding from his nightmarish 2015 campaign. He extended his hitting streak to 14 games on Saturday, by getting hits in both end of a doubleheader. During the streak Ozuna has gone 25-for-56 to up his average to .313 while scoring 13 runs, hitting four home runs and driving in 10. He endured a demotion to the minors last season but looks like a different player, similar to the one who hit .269 with 23 homers and 85 RBI in 2014. 12-team Mixed: $25; 15-team Mixed: Owned; 12-team NL: Owned

Melvin Upton Jr., Padres – All those who thought Upton would be hitting .282/.366/.460 with five home runs, seven steals, 16 RBI and 16 runs on May 15, raise your hand. Liars, all of you. He flamed out in Atlanta after signing a long-term contract, then came to the Padres in the Craig Kimbrel deal before last season. He resurrected his career slightly in 2015 but has really turned back the clock this season to his Tampa heyday. His BB-rate has risen and K-rate dropped a bit, allowing his talent to shine through. It remains to be seen if this will last all season, but Upton is worth a look. 12-team Mixed: $11; 15-team Mixed: $19; 12-team NL: Owned