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 $100 starting free-agent budget you should bid on them.
This year, we are again using 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. Dansby Swanson
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.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers, including my dad, father-in-law and brothers-in-law.
Zack Godley, Diamondbacks -
Godley continues to pitch well filling in for Shelby Miller
, who is sidelined the rest of the year following Tommy John surgery. He allowed one run on five hits and three walks while striking out eight batters in 5.2 innings Saturday against Philadelphia. Godley has a 2.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 7.9 K/9, and his 3.18 FIP further evidences that those numbers are no fluke. He has benefitted from a ridiculous 4.06 GB:FB ratio and .239 BABIP, resulting in a 3.40 FIP, so you would expect some regression, but that has not been the case. Last season, Godley appeared in 27 games for the Diamondbacks, including nine starts in which he posted a 7.31 ERA, 1.67 WHIP and 34:17 K:BB in 48 innings. His stuff seemed to play much better out of the bullpen, but his strong starts have given him the upper hand for now over Braden Shipley
, at least until the up-and-down Anthony Banda
is ready. 12-team Mixed: $8; 15-team Mixed: $16; 12-team NL: owned
Kenta Maeda, Dodgers -
Maeda, due to his struggles, was moved to the bullpen after his June 4 start. He tossed four innings of one-run ball, striking out six on June 9 and was to remain in the bullpen. Instead, manager Dave Roberts will start Maeda, who has posted 4.95 ERA and 59:17 K:BB through 56.1 innings this year, Sunday. If Maeda pitches well, coupled with Rich Hill
's inability to go deep in games, a swap in the L.A. rotation could be in the cards. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7
Homer Bailey, Reds -
Bailey, limited to just eight starts the last two seasons due to elbow and other arm woes, started Friday for Double-A Pensacola in his return from February elbow surgery. He was to throw four innings and/or 60-65 pitches. Bailey was brilliant Friday, allowing just three hits and a walk over five shutout innings with five strikeouts while tossing 64 pitches, in line with the established plan. He made a second, even better, start there Wednesday, allowing no runs on one hit with six strikeouts in six innings. Bailey will next start for Triple-A Louisville, and may just be 1-2 rehab starts away from rejoining the Reds' rotation before the end of June. Bailey, working his back from surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow, has had setbacks the last two seasons, so tread lightly after each start until he shows that he is really ready to return to action. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (increased spec return bid)
Bartolo Colon, Braves -
Colon, suffering through a nightmarish campaign and on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, will be activated Wednesday and rejoin the rotation without a minor league rehab assignment. Atlanta will temporarily use a six-man rotation, slotting Colon in initially. Colon, who is making $12.5 million this year, his first in Atlanta, is 2-7 with a 7.78 ERA that is the worst among major league starters. If Colon can show anything, look for him to be moved by the July 31, non-waiver, trade deadline. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $3.
Brandon Finnegan, Reds -
Finnegan had an excellent first start, lousy second one and pitched one inning in his third start before getting pulled with a left teres major strain. He pitched 2.1 innings in a scrimmage on Tuesday at extended spring training, using his slider in the outing, a good sign. Finnegan begin a rehab assignment Sunday with Double-A Pensacola, throwing three innings and allowing one run on one hit and one walk with a strikeout, He was to throw three innings and/or 45-50 pitches, and met the first one but needed just 35 pitches, 23 of which were strikes. Assuming no setbacks, like Homer Bailey
, Finnegan could rejoin the Reds’ rotation at the end of this month. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (same early spec return bid as prior week)
Jon Gray, Rockies -
Gray suffered a stress fracture in his left foot in mid-April during the best of his three starts to open the season. The bone scan on his foot in early May showed solid healing and Gray has been working his way back. Gray began his minor-league rehab assignment at High-A Lancaster on Wednesday, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out five over four scoreless innings. He tossed 55 pitches in the outing and will need to get to 80-90 before rejoining the Rockies, which should mean two more rehab starts. 12-team Mixed: $14; 15-team Mixed: $28; 12-team NL: owned (increased early spec return bid)
Vincent Velasquez, Phillies -
Velasquez, who was placed on the disabled list on May 31 with a right flexor strain, threw from 90 feet on Friday and is scheduled for 120 feet on Sunday and a bullpen session on Thursday. Philly will be methodical with Veladquez's return, to make sure he is fully healthy before returning to the majors. If all goes well, it's possible is back with the parent club and starting by late-July, but even that timeframe depends on him having no setbacks. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (early spec return bid)
Taijuan Walker, Diamondbacks -
Walker, sidelined since his May 19 start with a blister, took longer than expected to return to the Arizona rotation. But it was worth the wait, as he allowed one run on six hits and a walk while striking out six over five innings Wednesday in his first start in nearly a month. Prior to the injury, all five of Walker's most recent outings resulted in three or fewer earned runs, which kicked off with 11 K masterpiece against the Padres on April 27. Walker's stuff promises better things, but there likely will be more growing pains before he is ready to make a consistent impact. But his outing Wednesday was a step in the right direction. 12-team Mixed: $16; 15-team Mixed: $25; 12-team NL: owned
Jeurys Familia, Mets -
Familia, sidelined after mid-May surgery to remove a blood clot in his armpit area, visited the doctor Friday in hopes of getting cleared to begin a throwing program. At the time of the surgery, it was announced the hope was Familia could resume throwing in about six weeks and return to "competitive pitching in approximately three to four months." If he's cleared, Familia would slightly beat the announced timeframe, possibly putting him on pace to return before the end of the year. The flame-throwing righty's ratios fell back a bit the last two years, but he's still got the skills to be an elite closer. If he does return, Familia will replace Addison Reed
as closer, but the team could opt to be cautious with his return if it fully falls out of the race. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $18 (early spec bid if waived)
Jarlin Garcia/David Phelps, Marlins - Kyle Barraclough
and A.J. Ramos
have each struggled to a certain extent this year, which has resulted in Garcia and Phelps having more prominent roles in the Miami bullpen. Garcia continues to impress as the only lefty in the Marlins bullpen. He has seven holds in 29 appearances to go along with a 3.68 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 23:4 K:BB in 22 innings. Garcia has worked his way into a setup role, and could be a useful source of holds along with the occasional save in the second half. Phelps recorded another hold Saturday, giving him holds in seven of his last eight appearances, and he appears to have supplanted Barraclough as the preferred right-handed setup option for the Marlins in front of Ramos. The 30-year-old's 3.44 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 36:10 K:BB in 34 innings aren't elite, but if Ramos gets dealt before the trade deadline, Phelps could find himself handling ninth-inning duties over the final couple months. Garcia - 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4; Phelps - 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7
Matt Grace/Jason Hursh/Phil Maton/Rafael Montero/Josh Ravin/Sam Tuivailala -
This week's key middle reliever callups/activations, as well as expected callups, were/will be in Washington, Atlanta, San Diego, New York, Los Angeles and St. Louis. None, save for Maton and Montero, have substantial value. Maton, picked in the 20th round of the 2015 draft, breezed through the minors during his first three years of professional baseball. Over 25.1 innings of relief with Triple-A El Paso this season, Maton posted 13 saves, a 2.84 ERA and gaudy 29.8 strikeout percentage and could end up a late-inning option for the Padres. Montero has nine lives and could make a spot start for New York on Monday. He finally threw strikes in a three-inning, relief stint Thursday. If he somehow can replicate that ability to throw strikes and not nibble, he could serve as a long reliever, bolstering a beleaguered Mets bullpen. All except for Maton and Montero - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $0; Maton - 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (possible closer spec); Montero - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $3.
Jake McGee, Rockies -
McGee has allowed two runs and 13 hits across 20 innings since the start of May. He has a 1.57 ERA and 0.84 WHIP for the season and has earned a hold in six of his last seven appearances. The left-hander has a 10.7 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 and has surprisingly stifled right-handed hitters even better than lefties. McGee is a key piece of the Rockies’ bullpen, notching nine holds, and could see occasional save opportunities if closer Greg Holland
is due for a day of rest. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7
Tyler Flowers, Braves -
Flowers continues to quietly have an extraordinary year behind the plate. The move to Atlanta has more than agreed with Flowers, who shared time last year with A.J. Pierzynski
and is the primary backstop this season. Flowers went 2-for-5 with a solo home run and three runs scored in Saturday, giving him a .333/.435/.473 batting line with five long balls, 21 RBI and 23 runs scored. 12-team Mixed: $8; 15-team Mixed: $16; 12-team NL: owned
Tom Murphy, Rockies -
Murphy, who opened the season on the 10-day disabled list after he fractured his right hand when it made contact with Kris Bryant
's bat on March 11, was finally activated from the disabled list Thursday. He went 12-for-24 with seven RBI over his last five-rehab games for Triple-A, showing he was healthy by making back-to-back starts. It was a slow healing process for Murphy, but he is now finally back with the parent club. Now that Murphy has returned, he will at a minimum platoon with Tony Wolters
, as Ryan Hanigan
was sent down, and likely should end up garnering most of the playing time behind the plate. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $14; 12-team NL: $22.
T.J. Rivera, Mets -
Rivera broke camp with the team thanks to solid spring, continuing his usual pattern of hitting well at all levels. His main issue is a lack of walks, but Rivera consistently puts the ball in play, resulting a high BABIP. Rivera didn't get off to a strong start in limited action, resulting his demotion earlier this year, He was called back April 21 and stuck on the Mets' roster thanks to a variety of injuries but finally was sent back down on June 10 due to minimal at-bats. Rivera was called back up Tuesday due to Asdrubal Cabrera
landing back on the DL with his thumb injury but now is expected to see the bulk of playing time at second base while Neil Walker
(hamstring) is sidelined. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7, 12-team NL: $11.
Paul DeJong, Cardinals -
DeJong was called up in late May when Kolten Wong
landed on the DL with a strained elbow. He acquitted himself nicely, starting 11 consecutive games for the Cardinals while Wong was sidelined but was sent down shortly after Wong returned. DeJong continued to rake down at Triple-A Louisville, where he was hitting .299/.339/.571 with 13 HR and 34 RBI in 48 games. He was called back up with Wong landing on the DL, this time with a right (throwing arm) triceps strain. DeJong shown he can provide some pop and was better defensively than expected but will need to cut back on his strikeouts and improve his plate discipline to have sustained success. Greg Garcia
will also see some time at second base. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4, 12-team NL: $7 (increase if Wong to miss several weeks)
Howie Kendrick, Phillies -
Kendrick, who missed more than a month with an oblique strain, was activated May 29 and had been seeing most of his playing time in left field. Cesar Hernandez
landed on the disabled list with his own oblique injury, opening second base for Kendrick, who is starting at the position. Moving there has opened up additional playing time in the outfield for Michael Saunders
and Daniel Nava
. Kendrick has hit the ground running since his return from the DL, and when Hernandez returns, look for Kendrick to remain in the lineup daily, both at second and in left field. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: owned
Brandon Phillips, Braves -
Phillips has been on fire lately, banging out at least three hits in three of his last four games. That hot streak has upped his season line to .306/.346/.432 with four homers, 22 RBI, 32 runs scored and seven steals in 60 games. That OPS is Phillips' best performance in that category since an .810 mark in 2010. With Atlanta in a rebuilding mode, the Braves might hand the reins to Ozzie Albies
later in the season, making Phillips a prime trade candidate. 12-team Mixed: $8; 15-team Mixed: $14; 12-team NL: owned
Gavin Cecchini/Matt Reynolds, Mets -
Cecchini and Reynolds were promoted this week to provide the Mets some infield depth with Asdrubal Cabrera
(thumb) and Neil Walker
(hamstring) landing on the disabled list. New York will add another arm next week, at which point, one player - likely Cecchini - will be sent down. Jose Reyes
is starting at short, but when #freerosario finally results in Amed Rosario
getting promoted, the player not demoted for the pitcher likely will be sent down as well. Cecchini/Reynolds - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No, 12-team NL: $2
Jordy Mercer, Pirates -
Mercer has been scorching hot, batting .351/.410/.5532 over his last 30 games through Thursday to raise his season batting average to .278. During this stretch, Mercer has hit three home runs while driving in and scoring 14 runs. Mercer did hit 11 home runs last year and 12 in 2014, driving in 59 and 55 those two years, so he has a mild pedigree, especially in NL-only leagues. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7, 12-team NL: owned
Amed Rosario, Mets - Asdrubal Cabrera
's slow-healing thumb injury has increased the calls for the Mets to call up Rosario, but for now, the Mets are resisting. Rosario continues to rake at Triple-A Las Vegas, batting .337/.378/.498 and looks to be ready for that promotion. The Mets want Rosario to work on his plate discipline in the minors, as he has a 3:1 K:BB ratio, and want him to stick when he is promoted. With the team down several players and the air going out of the balloon, New York could promote Rosario to give the team a boost at shortstop. Right now, it's just when not if Rosario joins the parent club, and the team's recent struggles and fanbase needing something to maintain their interest, Rosario could get the nod before the late July or early August timeframe mentioned. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7, 12-team NL: $11 (same early spec bid to be upped once he is promoted)
Johan Camargo/Rio Ruiz/Danny Santana, Braves -
With Adonis Garcia
to miss two months following hand surgery, Ruiz likely will serve as the Braves' primary third baseman. But Johan Camargo
and Danny Santana
could occasionally spell Ruiz, who has struggled throughout his professional career against and will sit when Atlanta faces left-handed pitching. Ruiz has been on the pine lately, mostly due to his 3-for-27 slump at the plate over the last 14 games. But eventually, he will get a chance to be the team's primary option at the hot corner. Camargo - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No, 12-team NL: $2; Ruiz - 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7, 12-team NL: $11; Santana - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1, 12-team NL: $4.
Tommy La Stella, Cubs -
La Stella was called back up to the majors with Ben Zobrist
(wrist) landing on the DL on Friday. The 28-year-old La Stella has appeared in 16 games for the Cubs this season, hitting .304 with a home run and a pair of RBI. In 26 Triple-A games, he owns a paltry .213/.265/.266 slash line. La Stella will see the occasional start at third base while also serving as a pinch-hitter and runner. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No, 12-team NL: $2.
Jose Reyes, Mets -
Injuries to Asdrubal Cabrera
(thumb) and Neil Walker
(hamstring) have created holes at shortstop and second base. T.J. Rivera
is now filling in at second for Walker. With Cabrera out, Reyes is getting another chance at shortstop, though the clarion calls for Amed Rosario
are getting louder and louder. Reyes is still hitting below the Mendoza line and has struggled in June, but is 8-for-24 with a home run and three runs batted in, scored and stolen bases his last eight games. A small sample size, but given his overall struggles, he will take any positive. Rosario will eventually be up, but for now, it's Reyes job until Cabrera returns. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7, 12-team NL: $11.
Martin Prado, Marlins -
Prado, sidelined with a strained right hamstring since May 9, will play his first rehab game Thursday with Jupiter at Port St. Lucie. Don Mattingly said he hopes Prado can return sometime during the Marlins' 10-game homestand, which will begin next Monday. Prado first suffered a Grade 1 right hamstring strain March 15 against Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. He returned to play in 17 games before re-injuring the hamstring. Derek Dietrich
, who has mostly manned third in Prado's absence, will return to a bench role. Prado's value is more real than fantasy life for Miami. That's not to say that he doesn't contribute to fantasy teams but other than a solid AVG and OBA, the counting stats are just average at best compared to others at the position. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11.
Curtis Granderson, Mets -
Granderson is hitting just .212 for the season, but he posted much better numbers lately. From May 3 until the Cubs came into town this week. Granderson hit .280/.391/.542 with five home runs and 16 RBI. Grandy tailed off a bit this week, due to the returns of Yoenis Cespedes
and Michael Conforto
, but did hit his 300th career home run and should still see a decent amount of playing in center field with Juan Lagares
fracturing the IP joint of his left thumb trying to make a catch Thursday. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14.
Brian Goodwin, Nationals -
Goodwin, profiled last week, is splitting time in left field while Jayason Werth is out with Ryan Raburn
and Adam Lind
. But, Goodwin has shown that he is worth (no pun intended) the additional playing time he has been afforded. Goodwin, despite not starting the last two games, is 7-for-19 with three home runs his last seven games and is worth a flyer while Werth is out. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4, 12-team NL: $7.
Daniel Nava/Michael Saunders, Phillies - Cesar Hernandez
landed on the disabled list with an oblique injury, opening second base for Howie Kendrick
, who is starting at the position. Moving there has opened up additional playing time in the outfield for Nava and Saunders. Nava started his fifth straight game Thursday and has seven hits, including a home run, in 22 at-bats over that stretch. He's hit .310 with an .886 OPS and three homers in 84 at-bats overall this season. If he continues to produce, it is possible Nava could be moved to a contender next month as he would provide solid outfield depth for a club headed toward the playoffs. Until then, Saunders will be on the short end of the job share and could lose even more time when Hernandez returns, as Kendrick will play some in left field. Nava - 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7; Saunders - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $2.
Brandon Nimmo, Mets -
This week's fourth and fifth outfielder callups/activations, as well as expected callups, or those potentially to see a slight uptick in playing time was in New York. Nimmo will see the occasional start in center field with Juan Lagares
landing on the disabled list with a fractured IP joint in his left thumb. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $0.
Chris Taylor, Dodgers -
Manager Dave Roberts said this week that Taylor will serve as the primary left fielder while Adrian Gonzalez
(back) is sidelined. Taylor has provided the Dodgers an unexpected offensive boost, batting .299 with a .895 OPS , eight home runs and 31 RBI. Those numbers have been artificially bolstered by a BABIP close to .390, despite a 26.5 percent K rate. Regression will eventually come, but enjoy the ride, at least in the short-term and benefit from his second base and outfield eligibility. 12-team Mixed: $11; 15-team Mixed: $22, 12-team NL: owned
Travis Jankowski, Padres -
Jankowski, on the disabled list with a fractured foot since April 24, was cleared to begin baseball activities Monday. He is still "weeks away" from returning, as it sounds like the speedy outfielder is still in line for slow, cautious rehabilitation program. Jankowski is likely targeting a return sometime during July. But with Franchy Cordero
playing well since his callup in late May, Jankowski might be a fourth outfielder when he does return. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (early spec return bid)
Manuel Margot, Padres -
Margot, sidelined since May 24 with a strained soleus muscle, ran the bases without issue Saturday and will begin a rehab assignment Monday or Tuesday. He has steadily progressed in his baseball activities and likely will need about a week of rehab games before returning. Franchy Cordero
has ably filled in for Margot in center field, but when Margot is ready to return, Cordero could shift to left field with both Travis Jankowski
and Alex Dickerson
still sidelined. Margot got off to a hot start but had tailed off in the last month before the injury and was hitting .259/.305/.389 with four home runs and five steals (on 10 attempts). 12-team Mixed: $11; 15-team Mixed: $22; 12-team NL: $33 (same bid as prior, in case he was waived)
Joc Pederson, Dodgers -
Pederson, on the 7-day concussion disabled list on May 25, finally returned to action June 13 after dealing with several setbacks. He homered for the second straight game Saturday, giving him just four on the season. Pederson likely will never hit for average but should provide power, as evidenced by his 51 home runs over his first two full seasons in the majors. He should start daily in center field against righties, sitting against most southpaws. 12-team Mixed: $14; 15-team Mixed: $28; 12-team NL: $40/owned.
A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks -
Pollock, out since mid-May with a Grade 1 strain of his right groin, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno on Saturday. Manager Torey Lovullo said Pollock might only need 10 to 15 at-bats in the minors before he's ready, but that will depend on how he feels. Pollock ran the bases without restrictions Friday, the first time he's done so since the injury occurred May 14, paving the way for the start of the rehab stint. At one point, the thought was thought Pollock, who was slashing .299/.337/.395 with 11 stolen bases before he was sidelined after playing in just 12 games last year due to elbow and groin injuries, might not need a rehab stint. But the signs now point to Pollock being back before the end of the month. 12-team Mixed: $55 (in case he was waived); 15-team Mixed: owned; 12-team NL: owned