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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)
Steven Brault PIT SP E 1 4 7
Trevor Williams PIT SP E No 0 2
Jose De Leon LA SP B 5 9 18
Zach Eflin PHI SP C 9 14 22
Lucas Giolito WAS SP B 10 20 30
Reynaldo Lopez WAS SP C 1 5 9
Mike Mayers STL SP E 0 1 4
Braden Shipley ARI SP D 1 4 7
Jameson Taillon PIT SP B 14 28 40
Brett Anderson LA SP D 0 1 4
Homer Bailey CIN SP C 2 7 11
Matt Cain SF SP E No 0 2
Jarred Cosart MIA SP E No No 2
John Gant ATL SP D No No 2
Zack Greinke ARI SP A Owned Owned Owned
Joe Ross WAS SP D 5 11 18
Tyson Ross SD SP C 0 1 4
Ryan Vogelsong PIT SP E 0 1 4
Kyle Barraclough MIA RP D 0 1 4
Jake Barrett ARI RP E 1 4 7
Grant Dayton LA RP E No 0 2
Koda Glover STL RP E No 1 4
Raisel Iglesias CIN RP C 3 9 14
Mike Montgomery CHI RP D 1 4 7
Tuffy Gosewisch ARI C E No No 2
Tom Murphy COL C D 1 4 7
Francisco Cervelli PIT C D 3 9 14
Lucas Duda NYM 1B C 3 9 14
Ryan Zimmerman WAS 1B C 5 11 22
Dee Gordon MIA 2B A 45 55 75
Ryan Schimpf SD 2B D 6 15 25
Joe Panik SF 2B B Owned 18 Owned
Greg Garcia STL SS E No 1 4
Jedd Gyorko STL SS D 9 18 25
Chris Taylor LA SS E No No 2
Chris Owings ARI SS E 0 1 4
Hernan Perez MIL 3B E 2 7 14
Matt Carpenter STL 3B A Owned Owned Owned
Matt Duffy SF 3B C 3 9 18
Michael Conforto NYM OF B 4 11 22
Mike Freeman ARI OF E No No 2
Jeremy Hazelbaker STL OF E No No 4
Nick Williams PHI OF C 2 7 11
Mac Williamson SF OF D No 1 4
Aaron Altherr PHI OF C 2 7 11
Chris Coghlan CHI OF E No No 2
Dexter Fowler CHI OF B Owned (45) Owned (65) Owned
Gerardo Parra COL OF C 15 25 45
Hunter Pence SF OF B 55 75 Owned
David Peralta ARI OF C 11 22 35
A.J. Pollock LA OF C 9 18 24
Jorge Soler CHI OF D 1 4 7

Starting Pitching:

Steven Brault/Trevor Williams, Pirates – Brault made one start, his major league debut, for the Pirates in which he gave up one earned run in four innings of work to go along with five strikeouts. Following that outing, he was sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis. Brault has continued his fine pitching there, where he has a solid 2.15 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 66:22 K:BB ratio in 50.1 innings pitched. Williams could be the fifth member of Triple-A Indianapolis’ starting pitching staff to pitch in the majors. He doesn’t miss many bats but he pounds the bottom of the strike zone with his mid-90s four-seam fastball, generating tons of groundballs. Tyler Glasnow left his Saturday start while Ryan Vogelsong is expected to replace him. But if he may not yet be ready, and if that’s the case, either Brault or Williams could get the nod. Brault - 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 Williams - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $2.

Jose De Leon, Dodgers – De Leon, profiled last week, gets another mention, as he was brilliant again Wednesday, striking out a season-high 10 batters for the second straight start while allowing four hits over a career-high eight innings. Injuries have limited him to nine starts, but he now has 64 strikeouts along with a 2.49 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 43.1 innings. De Leon’s recent streak has been spurred by attacking hitters with his low-90s fastball and judicious use of plus-plus changeup and slider. He is the second-best pitching prospect for LA, right behind Julio Urias, and chatter has increased that he could be up in the majors in the near-term. DeLeon tossed 114.1 innings last season, striking out 163, and by missing the first month of the year and only tossing 43.1 innings to date, he likely should be able to pitch the entire rest of the 2016 campaign without needing to be shut down. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $18 (upped early spec bid, up more if he gets promoted shortly)

Zach Eflin, Phillies – Eflin, profiled two weeks ago, gets another mention, as he continues to impress, striking out six as part of a complete game, three-hit shutout Friday against the Pirates. He had a debut to forget on June 14, allowing nine runs in 2.2 innings, but has allowed just six runs in his last four starts, lowering his ERA to 3.40 on the season. Elfin has built off the strides he made at Triple-A, where he upped his K/9 by nearly 2.0 while maintaining a BB/9 under 2. He has a mid-90s, two-seam fastball, good slider and improving changeup, which neutralizes lefties, and the overall stuff projects to where he will miss more bats in the future. 12-team Mixed: $9; 15-team Mixed: $14; 12-team NL - $22.

Lucas Giolito, Nationals – Giolito, the #1 pitching prospect in the game, got a mildly surprising call-up to face the Mets in late-June. Mildly because despite his improvement recently, the expectation was that he was to make a few more starts in the minors before receiving a promotion. Giolito, after struggling initially, posted a 3.17 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 72:34 K:BB over 71 innings (14 starts) for Double-A Harrisburg this year. He made two starts, allowing four earned runs in 7.2 innings in the majors before he was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse, where he fared well in his only start there, allowing one run over 6.2 innings. Giolito, who is getting called back up to start Sunday against the Padres, has a mid-90s fastball, 12-to-6 nasty curveball and solid changeup. When he is on, he can be nearly unhittable, though at times, his fastball can be straight. Giolito is taking Reynaldo Lopez’s spot but it remains to be seen if he will stay in the rotation when Joe Ross is ready to return. 12-team Mixed: $10; 15-team Mixed: $20 12-team NL: $30.

Reynaldo Lopez, Nationals – Washington’s pitching pipeline landed on Lopez this week. His MLB debut was a mixed-bag, as he did have a 9:1 K:BB in 4.2 innings, but also allowed six runs on 10 hits to the Dodgers. Lopez’s fastball sat in the 92-95 mph range and he did display a nasty curveball but his command/location needs work. He struck out 100 batters in 76.2 innings for Double-A Harrisburg but only had two starts at Triple-A Syracuse and clearly could use more seasoning. Joe Ross, out since July with shoulder inflammation, could be ready next week and Washington is calling back up Lucas Giolito to start Sunday. Lopez is making at least one more start, after which a decision on his status will be made, depending on if Ross is ready. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 (up in keeper league)

Mike Mayers, Cardinals – Mayers was called up to start Sunday against the Dodgers due to Tyler Lyons pitching out of the bullpen Friday. St. Louis needs a spot-starter, and while the hope/expectation was that Alex Reyes would get the call, it’s Mayers that will make the start. Mayers, the team’s third-round pick in 2013, possesses a low-90s fastball, slider and change up. He has pitched well between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis this season, compiling a 2.62 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 86:36 K:BB ratio in 106.2 innings. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4.

Braden Shipley, Diamondbacks – Zack Greinke’s mild oblique strain has kept him on the disabled list since June 28. Zach Godley originally got the call and then was sent down, but he is now up due to Shelby Miller getting optioned down. Arizona needs another starter Monday with Shipley getting the nod to make the start. Shipley looked ready for a promotion a month ago but he struggled at the time while seeing his K rate drop dramatically. He has righted the ship lately, with two excellent starts in his last three outings. Shipley, selected 15th overall in 2013, now has a 3.70 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 77:22 K/BB ratio in 119.1 innings this season for Triple-A Reno. His drop in K rate also comes with a major improvement in BB rate, so he may be sacrificing strikeouts for better control. Greinke is working his way back, so Shipley may only get a couple more starts, but he has solid long-term upside. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (if keeper league)

Jameson Taillon, Pirates – Taillon, profiled last week as he was poised to make his return to the majors, gets another mention this week. His first start back in Pittsburgh clearly was interesting, as despite taking a 105-mph comebacker off the back of his head, Taillon stayed in the game to allow just one run on five hits and a walk with three strikeouts in six innings. The outing was Taillon’s sixth start, during which he has now posted a 3.44 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 24:5 K:BB ratio in 34 innings. Keep in mind Pittsburgh may look to limit Taillon’s innings, as he has already thrown a combined 95.2 innings after missing 2014 and 2015. Taillon rolled at Triple-A Indianapolis, posting a 2.04 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 61:6 K:BB in 61.2 innings to earn the call up. Look for Taillon, who has added a two-seam fastball to his arsenal that consists of a low-90s four-seam fastball, slow curveball and changeup, to make at least 3-4 starts, after which a decision on how to deploy him will need to be made. 12-team Mixed: $14; 15-team Mixed: $28; 12-team NL: $40.

Injury activation/updates:

Brett Anderson, Dodgers – Anderson, out since Spring Training after undergoing surgery to repair a bulging disc in his back, threw a two-inning simulated game Monday. It's possible he could be ready to return to the Dodgers sometime in mid-August, though he will need to make several rehab starts before joining the team. LA looked as if they had enviable depth in the starting rotation, but with Hyun-Jin Ryu hurt again and both Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood suffering setbacks, there may be room for Anderson. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (early spec bid)

Homer Bailey, Reds – Bailey, after a setback in May and getting eased back into action in June, has made four rehab appearances at Triple-A Louisville in this iteration of his return from Tommy John surgery in May 2015. In his latest start Wednesday, Bailey allowed five runs while throwing 83 pitches in 5.1 innings. He will make at least one more rehab start before the Reds consider activating him from the disabled list, as he had some fatigue during his outing Wednesday. Bailey, whose velocity has peaked at 95 mph, should be in the 90-100 pitch range once ready to return. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (same bid as prior)

Matt Cain, Giants – Cain returned to action Wednesday against the Red Sox after missing a little more than a month with a strained hamstring. Given the way he pitched – five runs allowed in 2.1 innings – maybe he should have stayed sidelined. Cain’s outing is in line with how he has pitched this year, as coming into Wednesday’s start, he was 1-5 with a 5.34 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 57.1 innings, failing to reach the fifth inning in five of 11 starts. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $2.

Jarred Cosart, Marlins – Cosart, who is in the minors and recently has been rehabbing from an oblique injury, will be called up to start Monday in place of Wei-Yin Chin, who will miss the outing due to his own injury. His last four starts haven’t gone particularly well, as Cosart has allowed 13 runs (10 earned) on 22 hits and six walks in 19.2 innings. Cosart’s three starts before he was demoted in late-April were ugly – 7.98 ERA – so don’t expect much. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2.

John Gant, Braves – Gant, on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique injury since June 28, threw a side session Friday without any setbacks, and could begin a rehab assignment in the near future. Prior to being sidelined, Gant posted a 3.38 ERA in his four starts, so he could slot back into the rotation when he returns. No timeframe has been set for his return but he likely will need a handful of rehab starts, putting his activation sometime in mid-August. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2. (early spec bid)

Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks – Greinke, out since June 28 with the oblique injury, threw off a mound Wednesday for the first time since being sidelined. Despite throwing, there still is no timetable for him to head out on a rehab assignment or throw a simulated game. Greinke, who recently signed a six-year, $206 million deal with Arizona, got off to a horrific start, but righted the ship the past several weeks before he was injured. The hope is that Greinke will be back in early-to-mid August return. Just an FYI as should still be owned.

Joe Ross, Nationals – Ross, out since July 3 with shoulder inflammation, threw about 35 pitches during a simulated game at Nationals Park on Tuesday afternoon. He will make a rehab start on Sunday for High-A Hagerstown, after which he could be activated to start next Saturday against the Giants. Ross is 7-4 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 95.1 innings over 16 starts. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $18 (if waived)

Tyson Ross, Padres – Ross, who has made just one start this year and is now sidelined with arm and shoulder injuries, threw from 180 feet Tuesday and could pitch off a mound this week. Presuming he has no ill effects from that session, Ross will likely need a lengthy rehab assignment to build up his pitch count for a return to the majors. It’s possible that this return might not occur until the rosters expand in September. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (very early spec return bid)

Ryan Vogelsong, Pirates – Vogelsong, rehabbing after surgery to repair an orbital fracture after he was hit in the head by a pitch on May 23, looked like he would be a luxury for Pittsburgh when he returns. With Tyler Glasnow leaving Saturday’s with right shoulder fatigue, Vogelsong may become a necessity. Prior to being injured, Vogelsong posted a 3.74 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over 21.2 innings of work. He was pulled from his last rehab start with neck soreness, but if okay, he could be up to start in Glasnow’s spot. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4.

Relief Pitchers:

Kyle Barraclough, Marlins – Barraclough is 6-2 on the year to go along with 18 holds and a tidy 3.03 ERA. He has dominating strikeout ability (14.9 K/9) but that is offset by his struggles with command (6.1 BB/9), though he has been better lately. Fernando Rodney is the main set-up man for A.J. Ramos, but Barraclough has carved out a key role that he should maintain in the Marlins pen. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4.

Jake Barrett, Diamondbacks – Barrett relieved an ineffective Tyler Clippard, and despite allowing a pair of hits to score two inherited runners, he retired two batters to notch the save last Sunday. Barrett does have closing experience in the minors and has pitched fairly well since coming up from Triple-A Reno on April 28, allowing four of the 11 runs he has surrendered in 32.1 innings in one game. He has a solid 33:12 K:BB ratio and could factor into the Arizona closer mix. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7.

Grant Dayton, Dodgers – Dayton was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday. The lefty excelled at Double- and Triple-A, limiting batters to a .165 average, while notching an 85:10 K:BB and posting a 2.44 ERA over 48 total innings. Despite getting sent down Saturday, Dayton is a name to keep in mind for the future. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $2.

Koda Glover, Nationals – Glover, selected in the 8th round of the 2015 draft, climbed the ladder quickly and made his major league debut this week. He earned that promotion by posting a 90:16 K:BB ratio in 75 innings with a 1.5 GB:FB ratio in the minors. Glover has a 98 mph fastball and nasty slider that could make him a future closer candidate. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4.

Raisel Iglesias, Reds – Iglesias, who was out from May 1-June 21 with right shoulder impingement, was moved from starting to relieving to limit the use of his arm. He had excelled since that switch, posting a 21:9 K:BB ratio in 18 innings with just one earned run and seven hits allowed. Iglesias needs to work on limiting his walks and improving his first strike ratio. But he has posted three holds and despite Tony Cingrani’s better pitching of late, it may only be a matter of time before Iglesias gets a shot at closing. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14 (if you think he closes).

Mike Montgomery, Cubs – Chicago was looking for a late-inning reliever and found their man in Montgomery, though they have not yet been ruled out of any Andrew Miller speculation. The Cubs acquired Montgomery in a four-player deal mainly for first base prospect Dan Vogelbach. The turnaround in Montgomery’s numbers are largely attributable to his move from starting to the pen, which has resulted in a spike in his fastball from 90 to 94 mph. He had a 2.34 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 54 strikeouts in 61.2 innings, limiting left-handed hitters to a .164 batting average (11-for-67) while holding all hitters to a .220 average. Montgomery throws a fastball, curveball and changeup and expect him to slot right into a seventh or eighth inning role with the Cubs. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7.
Injury activation/updates:

Tuffy Gosewisch, Diamondbacks – Gosewisch, called up from Triple-A Reno on July 1 with Rickie Weeks on the Bereavement List, stuck around and now will back up Welington Castillo with backup catcher Chris Herrmann (hamstring) hitting the 15-day DL. Prior to his promotion, Gosewisch was hitting .342/.399/.553 with nine home runs and 26 RBI for Reno in 58 games. He will see minimum time behind Castillo. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2.

Tom Murphy, Rockies – Murphy, who had a cup of coffee with the Rockies last year, is raking at Triple-A Albuquerque. He is slashing .296/.320/.640 with 13 homers and a 59:7 K:BB in 186 at-bats in the minors. Nick Hundley has done a solid job in Colorado but his two-year contract expires after the season. Murphy could get a look-see next year but, as seen from the numbers, he has major work to do on improving his horrific strikeout ratio. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7. (early spec bid)

Injury activation/updates:

Francisco Cervelli, Pirates – Cervelli broke the hamate bone in his left hand on June 11, requiring surgery to repair the injury. Following the operation, he wasn't expected to return to "full baseball activities" for 4-6 weeks. Cervelli, who was batting a disappointing.257/.373/.293 with zero home runs and 21 RBI when he was sidelined, completed a short rehab assignment for Triple-A Indianapolis and was activated Tuesday. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9, 15-team NL: $14.

First Basemen:

Injury activation/updates:

Lucas Duda, Mets – Duda, sidelined since May 23 with a stress fracture in his lower back, finally resumed baseball activity, running and playing catch Monday. On Wednesday, Duda was able to take ground balls and dry swings and he took swings off a tee Saturday. Duda was to be sidelined 4-6 weeks, but now will miss more than two and maybe even three months, as he won’t go out on a rehab stint for a few more weeks. James Loney has been more than solid replacing Duda, so the Mets will give him as much times as he needs, though the team does miss Duda’s potential power in the lineup. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9, 15-team NL: $14 (slightly upped early spec return bid)

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals – Zimmerman, out since July 8 with a strained left rib cage, should be activated Tuesday. He went 2-for-4 with a run in his first rehab assignment game for Low-A Potomac on Thursday and played this weekend in the minors to regain his stroke prior to returning to the majors. Zimmerman has struggled the past few years and was hitting just .221/.284/.402 but did have 12 home runs in 74 games when he was sidelined. However, he did slash .311/.372/.652 with 11 home runs in 135 at-bats after he was moved across the diamond from third to first base. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11, 15-team NL: $22 (in case he was waived and believe he has another second half run in him)

Second Basemen:

Dee Gordon, Marlins – Gordon’s 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs ends on July 28. He will complete his 10-game rehab assignment with Triple-A New Orleans just before Thursday and be activated on that date. Once he is back, Gordon should reclaim his spot as the Marlins’ leadoff hitter and starting second baseman. If for some reason he was waived and as long as you don’t believe that his growth last season was solely due to PEDs, go ahead and grab him, as Gordon should be a difference-maker in steals the last two months of the season. 12-team Mixed: $45; 15-team Mixed: $55, 15-team NL: $75.

Ryan Schimpf, Padres – Schimpf, a career minor-leaguer, was profiled when he received his first call-up on June 14 and then again two weeks ago. He hit .355/.432/.729 with 15 homers, 17 doubles and 48 RBI at Triple-A El Paso to earn that promotion. At 5-foot-9, he doesn’t fit the profile of a power hitter, but he does have four straight full seasons of 20-plus homers. Schimpf has carried that power over to the majors, blasting his eighth home run of the season in 83 at-bats Saturday against Max Scherzer. He has just 10 at-bats against lefties, though, due to his struggles against southpaws. Schimpf’s playing time split should remain the case moving forward, but the at-bats against righties should enable him to remain highly productive. 12-team Mixed: $6; 15-team Mixed: $15; 12-team NL: $25.

Injury activation/updates:

Joe Panik, Giants – Panik was hit in the head by a pitch on June 18 but originally passed the concussion protocol. It took 11 days for him to be officially diagnosed with the concussion, which landed him on the disabled list. Panik progressed with his rehab, moving from light physical activity to taking grounders on July 9 and this week completed a 3-4 game rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento. He was expected to rejoin the Giants this weekend, resuming his role as starting second baseman, but that has yet to occur – sparking speculation that he may have suffered a setback. After a rough May, he righted the ship in June prior to being sidelined and will look to pick up from there when he is activated. 12-team Mixed: should be owned; 15-team Mixed: $18, 15-team NL: owned


Greg Garcia/Jedd Gyorko - Cardinals – Garcia and Gyorko, profiled a few weeks ago, get another mention, as their role should increase in the short-term with Jhonny Peralta landing on the DL with a thumb injury. Kolten Wong has replaced Carpenter, leaving third base for Garcia and Gyorko. Garcia posted solid on-base averages the last two seasons in the minors while Gyorko has more power. Look for Garcia to see time against lefties with Gyorko playing versus righties, though Gyorko’s hot July, during which he had hit five of his 12 home runs, 11 RBI and 10 runs scored should keep him in the lineup. Keep in mind Carpenter and Peralta may return to the Cardinals’ lineup before too long. Garcia - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1, 15-team NL: $4; Gyorko - 12-team Mixed: $9; 15-team Mixed: $18, 15-team NL: $25.

Chris Taylor, Dodgers – Taylor, acquired in late-June by L.A. from Seattle for Zack Lee, was called up a week after the trade. He slashed .312/.387/.457 over 247 at-bats with Triple-A Tacoma prior to the trade. Taylor, who has decent speed with little power, saw additional time at shortstop this past week with Corey Seager sidelined via illness, as well as at second base. Once Seager is back, Taylor will resume his role as backup infielder. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2

Injury activation/updates:

Chris Owings, Diamondbacks – Owings, sidelined since June 7 with plantar fasciitis, completed a short rehab stint and was activated Saturday with Nick Ahmed landing on the DL with a right hip impingement. Prior to being sidelined, Owings had just gotten hot at the plate, solidifying his spot in the lineup. With Ahmed out, Owings should start nearly every day at shortstop. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4.

Third Basemen:

Hernan Perez, Brewers – The trade of Aaron Hill has opened up consistent playing time for Perez, who has taken full advantage of the opportunity. He extended his hitting streak to seven with a hit Saturday and since the July 7 trade, is 11-for-32 with a home run, seven RBI and two stolen bases, giving him up 12 on the year. Perez needs to improve his chase along with K and K/BB ratios, but he was better in all regards in the minors, so there is some hope there. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $14.

Injury activation/updates:

Matt Carpenter, Cardinals – Carpenter, out since July 7 with a strained oblique, was cleared for limited baseball activities Friday. He was able to take grounders and throw to first Friday as his first activity. Carpenter is likely a few weeks away from returning, as he will need some form of rehab assignment. Jedd Gyorko and Greg Garcia will continue to fill in for him at third base. FYI as he should still be owned in all leagues.

Matt Duffy, Giants – Duffy, out since June 19 with an Achilles strain, is about a week away from beginning a rehab assignment. Prior to getting injured, Duffy was in the midst of a disappointing campaign, as he was hitting just .253/.313/.358 with four home runs, 21 RBI and eight stolen bases in 70 games. Duffy should be back in early August, resuming his role as the Giants’ starting third baseman. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $18


Michael Conforto, Mets – Conforto, in the midst of a major slump, was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas on June 25 to find his stroke. That worked well, as Conforto hit .344 with three home runs and 15 RBI in 61 at-bats. Conforto was promoted to the Mets on Monday for their series against the Cubs. But where and when he plays is up in the air. Conforto saw his first start in right field Tuesday and before each game, he is working out in center field, where he potentially may move to this season. That’s because the Mets don’t want Yoenis Cespedes to aggravate his quad injury, so they are playing him in left, leaving a hole in center. Juan Lagares will likely play there against lefties but Conforto could start in CF against righties, though he has just started two of the five games since his promotion. 12-team Mixed: $4; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $22 (up bid if you think he sees more time)

Mike Freeman, Diamondbacks – Freeman was promoted last Sunday to fill the void left by utility player Chris Herrmann, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a hamstring ailment. His call up makes sense, as like Hermann, Freeman has played all over, seeing time at all three outfield positions in his minor league career, as well as getting starts at shortstop, first and second base. Freeman, who posted a .798 OPS with 11 steals at Triple-A Reno, should see the occasional start at a variety of positions. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2.

Jeremy Hazelbaker, Cardinals – Hazelbaker, who got off to a great start with the Cardinals in April before slumping and seeing his playing time cut before he was sent down in June, was called back up this week. In 40 at-bats at Triple-A Memphis since being demoted, Hazelbaker hit .325/.438/.475 with one home run and 11 RBI. Hazelbaker will see intermittent playing time since St. Louis already has Matt Holliday, Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, Tommy Pham and Kolten Wong in the outfield. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4.

Nick Williams, Phillies – Williams, who came over to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels deal, may be on the verge of getting promoted. However, he will need to do a better job of hustling and avoid disciplinary-based suspensions for that to occur. Williams hit .303/.352/.515 with 11 doubles and two homers in the June to gain further call up consideration. On the year through Thursday, he is hitting .289/.323/.486 with 25 doubles, nine home runs and 47 RBI. Other aspects that he needs to work on are improving his walk rate and reducing his strikeout rate, each of which he accomplished last year but has regressed in both areas this season. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (early spec call up bid)

Mac Williamson, Giants – Williamson started Saturday against righty Ivan Nova, which is noteworthy as most of his starts came against southpaws. He entered the game with two home runs in his prior eight at-bats. Williamson made the error that led to the tying run but atoned for that miscue and made manager Bruce Bochy a genius for starting him by driving in the run that gave San Francisco the win after homering earlier in the game. Bochy may roll with Williamson, who in the past had hit well in the minors but struggled when promoted, until Hunter Pence returns from his injury. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4

Injury activation/updates:

Aaron Altherr, Phillies – Althierr, sidelined since March 9 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, started his rehab assignment with the Phillies' Gulf Coast League squad on July 8. He hit he hit .375/.565/.625 with a home run and three RBI in six games, resulting in his promotion to High-A Clearwater. Altherr played two games there before moving up to Double-A Reading on Thursday. Following the surgery, Althierr was expected to miss 4-to-6 months. He right now is slightly shy of the five-month mark and likely will need another week or so of rehab games before he rejoins the Phillies at the end of this month of beginning of August. Althierr moved from Double-A to the majors last year, impressing the Phillies in the two months he was up in the bigs and projects to potentially be a 20-20 candidate in the future. His return to the Phillies will cost Cody Asche and Peter Bourjos at-bats. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (upped early spec return bid).

Chris Coghlan, Cubs – Coghlan, out since July 3 with right rib soreness, began a rehab assignment Friday with Double-A Tennessee. Prior to being sidelined, Coghlan was hitting just .155 with five home runs and 14 RBI in 194 at-bats. With the emergence of Willson Contreras, who is seeing time at catcher and left, Coghlan, who has played only left and right field in Chicago, will have a hard time finding consistent playing time when he is activated. Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No, 12-team NL: $2

Dexter Fowler, Cubs – Fowler, out since June 20 with a hamstring injury, kicked off a short rehab stint this week and was activated by the Cubs on Friday. He returned with a bang, homering in his first at-bat of the game. Prior to being sidelined, Fowler hit .290/.398/.483 with seven home runs and 28 RBI. Jason Heyward or Albert Almora have manned center in his absence but Chicago are happy to welcome back their catalyst atop the lineup. Just an FYI, as should be owned in all formats, if not, $45/$65/owned.

Gerardo Parra, Rockies – Parra, sidelined with a high left ankle sprain since June 14, was scheduled to conduct a running workout Thursday. Assuming all goes well, Parra should be able to begin a rehab stint this weekend before returning to the Rockies sometime in late-July or early-August. Parra signed a three-year, $26 million contract with the Rockies in January of 2016 but struggled prior to his injury. But playing half your games in Colorado mean that a hot streak could happen at any time. 12-team Mixed: $15; 15-team Mixed: $25, 12-team NL: $45 (if think that Coors Field results in big second half)

Hunter Pence – Giants – Pence, who underwent surgery on his torn right hamstring June 9, resumed his rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday. He originally began a rehab assignment last Saturday but was sidelined since then after leaving the game due to soreness in that hamstring. This delay has pushed his return date back a week from the original target date of July 25. When injured, Pence was hitting .298 with seven home runs and 36 RBI in 50 games this year. The Giants have mixed-and-matched in right field in his absence and have the best record in major league baseball but will welcome Pence back with open arms. 12-team Mixed: $55; 15-team Mixed: $75, 12-team NL: go max remaining

David Peralta, Diamondbacks – Peralta, placed on the 15-day DL on June 20 after dealing with a lower back sprain, has moved his rehab to Triple-A Reno after spending a few games at Double-A Mobile and in the rookie league. He should rejoin the D-Backs early this week in Milwaukee. This is Peralta’s second stint on the DL, which has resulted in him having just 147 at-bats on the year. Prior to being sidelined again, Peralta was hitting a disappointing .259 with four home runs and 15 RBI and a nightmarish 38:8 K:BB ratio. Peralta, who last year hit .312 (eighth best in the National League) with 17 home runs and 78 RBI, gets a chance to turn around his season when he activated likely sometime late this week. 12-team Mixed: $11; 15-team Mixed: $22, 12-team NL: $35 (if believe he is fully healthy and regains his 2015 form)

A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks – Pollock, profiled a few weeks ago, was expected to miss the year after having surgery in April to repair a fracture to the growth plate on his right elbow, the same place it was fractured in 2010. That looks like it won’t be the case, as Pollock continues to make major strides in his rehab. Pollock first progressed to shagging flyballs, swinging a bat and throwing a bat from 60 feet and this week, he was able to partake in some soft-pitch hitting. He believes he is ready to take live batting practice and feels he is “close to 100 percent” in his recovery from the surgery. Following the operation, it was announced Pollock would miss at least three months, which will be in July, so Pollock resumed baseball activities right in line with that estimate. Pollock could be back in mid-to-late August, possibly making him worth a spot on your bench. 12-team Mixed: $9; 15-team Mixed: $18, 12-team NL: $24 (same early spec return bid)

Jorge Soler, Cubs – Soler, out since June 6 with a strained left hamstring, kicked off a rehab stint Saturday for Double-A Tennessee. Prior to being injured, Soler hit just 223/.322/.377 line in 50 games but he had just gotten hot, batting .310/.444/.552 with two home runs over the last two weeks before he was sidelined. Once Soler does return, look for him to play primarily in left field against left-handed pitching. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4, 12-team NL: $7 (early spec return bid)