AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our AL FAAB Factor series.

This is our weekly look at American 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.

We've incorporated 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. Shohei Ohtani would have been an "A" grade player last year -- that mark will be reserved for similarly 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.
 

AL FAAB | NL FAAB

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $AL-Only $
Sam GaviglioTORSPENoNo1
Domingo GermanNYSPB3715
Gio GonzalezNYSPCNo14
Jonathan LoaisigaNYSPCNo25
Daniel NorrisDETSPDNoNo1
Brad PeacockHOUSPC511Owned
Martin PerezMINSPD123
Ervin SantanaCHISPC135
Spencer Turnbull

This is our weekly look at American 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.

We've incorporated 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. Shohei Ohtani would have been an "A" grade player last year -- that mark will be reserved for similarly 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.
 

AL FAAB | NL FAAB

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $AL-Only $
Sam GaviglioTORSPENoNo1
Domingo GermanNYSPB3715
Gio GonzalezNYSPCNo14
Jonathan LoaisigaNYSPCNo25
Daniel NorrisDETSPDNoNo1
Brad PeacockHOUSPC511Owned
Martin PerezMINSPD123
Ervin SantanaCHISPC135
Spencer TurnbullDETSPDNo13
Matt BarnesBOSRPD35OwnedOwned
Ryan BrasierBOSRPD11OwnedOwned
Alex ColomeCHIRPD21OwnedOwned
Bud NorrisTORRPE123
Wily PeraltaKCRPE37Owned
Cameron GallagherKCCENoNo1
Nick HundleyOAKCENoNo2
Martin MaldonadoKCCE135
Josh PhegleyOAKCENoNo1
Pedro SeverinoBALCENoNo1
Greg BirdNY1BC137
Ryan O'HearnKC1BD37Owned
Franklin BarretoOAK2BCNo25
Gordon BeckhamDET2BENoNo1
Logan ForsytheTEX2BDNoNo1
Josh HarrisonDET2BD137
Drew JacksonBAL2BENoNo2
Max MoroffCLE2BENoNo2
Eric StametsCLE2BENoNo1
Brandon DruryTOR3BC37Owned
Tim BeckhamSEASSC4919
Richie MartinBALSSENo14
Mark CanhaOAKOFDNo14
Jake CaveMINOFENoNo1
Carlos GonzalezCLEOFD2511
Brian GoodwinKCOFDNo25
Robbie GrossmanOAKOFDNo14
Eloy JimenezCHIOFA75OwnedOwned
Mikie MahtookDETOFENoNo2
Chris OwingsKCOFDNoNo2
Hunter PenceTEXOFDNoNo1

Starting Pitcher

Sam Gaviglio, Blue Jays: The Jays' pitching staff has been hammered by injuries late in camp, perhaps as a byproduct of the whiplash the organization's karma has been subjected to (Vladito not seriously considered for a spot on the Opening Day roster, boo! Increased pay and support for minor leaguers, yay!) While the bullpen has borne the brunt of it, the rotation has an opening too with Ryan Borucki's elbow bothering him. It's not yet clear who will take that spot – Clay Buchholz won't be ready to challenge for it until mid-April or so – but Gaviglio is on the 40-man roster, gave the team occasionally decent innings last season, and has had the best spring of the available options, including a 20:5 K:BB through 17.1 innings. There's not much upside here, but Toronto does start the season with a fairly soft homestand (four games against Detroit, three versus Baltimore) so if your own fantasy staff has been gutted as well or you're doing some hard-core streaming from the jump, he could be worth a look. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Domingo German, Yankees: The Yankees will also be missing a couple of rotation stalwarts to begin the season in Luis Severino and CC Sabathia, opening the door for German to fill one of those slots in the early going. The right-hander sucked up a lot of FAAB dollars last year after he no-hit Cleveland for six innings while striking out nine in early May, but the bottom fell out for him pretty quickly after that and he missed over two months in the second half with elbow trouble. He's looked healthy this spring, though, and that 22:2 K:BB in 15.1 innings he posted in Grapefruit League action is going to set fantasy hearts a-fluttering once again, even though SSDMAT (Spring Stats Don't Mean A Thing) should be tattooed on everyone's brains by now. German has quality stuff, and having the backing of the Yankees' offense doesn't hurt his value either. If you're going to shoot your shot early on a starting pitcher, there are worse targets, as a good start to the campaign could easily see him stick around for the long haul. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: $15
 

Gio Gonzalez, Yankees: Speaking of worse targets... Gonzalez's curve has carried him to a solid career, but the clock may be ticking. His average fastball velocity has dropped below 90 mph, taking his strikeout rate with it – his K/9 was below 8.0 last year for the first time since 2010. Signed by the Yankees less than a week ago, the southpaw was apparently in good enough shape that he could break camp with the club, but as we saw last season with Lance Lynn, abbreviated springs can have snowball effects even on supposedly safe, boring, veteran arms. At this stage of his career, Gonzalez is basically a poor man's Sabathia, which is pretty poor indeed. He might get you some wins with the Yankees, but expecting whiffs or decent ratios might be asking too much. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Jonathan Loaisiga, Yankees: The third option for the Bronx Bombers is Loaisiga, a talented but injury-prone right-hander. The 24-year-old was drafted in 2012, but last year's 79.2 innings across four levels was his biggest workload yet in the pros, which is not exactly the resume of a workhorse. He did get optioned to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes/Barre on Saturday as part of a roster juggle, so he may be ineligible for bidding in some leagues, but the plan seems to be to bring him back six games into the season after Sabathia has served his suspension and can afterwards be placed on IR. Whether Loaisiga is used as a starter or in the bullpen after that may well depend on how German and Gonzalez look in their first outings. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Daniel Norris, Tigers: With Michael Fulmer lost for the season, the Tigers had to light up the Vacancy sign on their rotation again. Perennial breakout candidate Norris is on the short list to fill it, but his 9:6 K:BB in 10.2 spring innings is yet another reminder that he just can't find the strike zone with any consistency, and never has. Grab him if you must – he's left-handed and still only 25, so you just never know when the pieces might fall into place – but at this point in his career it's hard to see things ever working out for him. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Brad Peacock, Astros: Early drafters might have seen Peacock fall through the cracks, as it wasn't clear what his role would be to begin the season. Well, it's clear now. The right-hander outpitched Framber Valdez to seize the fifth starter spot on a World Series contender, but he's got more than just team context going for him. Peacock was actually a legit starting pitching prospect once upon a time with the Nationals, and while he's emerged as a very useful reliever over the last few seasons, he posted a 3.22 ERA and 29.1 percent strikeout rate in 2017 in the rotation. Similar numbers would give him plenty of fantasy value in 2019. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team AL: Owned
 

Martin Perez, Twins: When Perez was coming up through the ranks with the Rangers, I was very loudly and vocally on the No Thank You Please train. There just wasn't anything in his profile, either statistically or, err, scouterly (?), to recommend him, and his fairly miserable career numbers backed up my assessment of him. Even pitching-poor Texas finally gave up on him this offseason. So why is he listed here, now? Heat, baby, heat. Perez showed up in camp with Minnesota suddenly popping 97 mph on the radar gun, not bad for a guy who has consistently averaged in the low 90s throughout his career. That velo didn't exactly translate into dominance this spring, and with the Twins having no need for a fifth starter through the first couple of weeks of the season, he'll open the year in relief. A poor outing or two out of the bullpen will kill whatever mild sleeper buzz he has, but still... 97 mph buys him one last ounce of goodwill in my books. He's the perfect pitcher to stash in formats with deep benches, just in case. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $3
 

Ervin Santana, White Sox: His name never gets brought up as among the biggest losers in the current free-agent environment, but Santana got a raw deal this offseason. Sure, he's 36 years old, but his 2018 campaign got ruined by a weird finger issue, not shoulder or elbow trouble, and before that he'd been a rock-solid mid-rotation guy, delivering ERAs of 4.00 or lower in five straight seasons and eight of the last 10. Ten years ago that would have at least gotten him a nice one-year prove-it contract, but instead he got stuck having to accept a minor-league deal from the White Sox right as camp started. Santana will probably join the big-league roster when they need a fifth starter (April 10), and right now there's really no reason to think he can't give them solid innings. If Eloy Fever has you thinking the Pale Hose might be a sleeper team this year, that would make Santana a very intriguing addition. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $5
 

Spencer Turnbull, Tigers: The other arm in the Tigers' fifth-starter battle, Turnbull has thoroughly outpitched Norris this spring, ringing up an actually-worth-noting 15:2 K:BB over 15 innings. The 26-year-old struggled a bit in his big-league debut last September, but his ERA was BABIP-inflated, and his minor-league resume shows flickers of promise, including a 9.6 K/9 at Double-A in 2018. He's worth a flier in deeper formats. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $3
 

Relief Pitcher

Matt Barnes / Ryan Brasier, Red Sox: These two probably got drafted, even in early-drafting leagues, but if for some reason everyone just assumed Craig Kimbrel was coming back to Boston and didn't dive any deeper into the Red Sox bullpen, it's long past time to scoop them up. Barnes remains the favorite to get first crack at the closer role after fanning 96 batters in 61.2 innings last year, but Brasier is the sentimental choice given his long, strange trip to the majors, and it's not like his numbers were bad in 2018 either. If they both flop, next man up would be, hmm, Heath Hembree? The Yankees bullpen this ain't. Barnes - 12-team Mixed: $35; 15-team Mixed: Owned; 12-team AL: Owned / Brasier - 12-team Mixed: $11; 15-team Mixed: Owned; 12-team AL: Owned

Alex Colome, White Sox: While other teams have closers of the future, the White Sox have trade chips of the future. Here's the list of guys who have gotten multiple saves for the team since they dealt David Robertson in 2017: Joakim Soria, Juan Minaya, Nate Jones, Tyler Clippard, Jace Fry, Hector Santiago, and Luis Avilan. Jones and Fry are the only two left in the Chicago bullpen, and Jones is only still around because he conveniently gets hurt every time they think about trading him. The two latest Rent-a-Ninth options were offseason acquisitions Colome and Kelvin Herrera, but Colome was officially named to the close role this week. Saves is saves so he's worth picking up if he slipped through the cracks in early drafts, but don't expect 30-plus out of him, or him to even be on the White Sox roster in August. If you're thinking two closers ahead, Ian Hamilton might be worth stashing, but he's barely pitched this spring after injuring his shoulder in a car accident. 12-team Mixed: $21; 15-team Mixed: Owned; 12-team AL: Owned
 

Bud Norris, Blue Jays: Norris keeps pitching his way into and out of closer roles, piling up 47 saves over the last two years with the Angels and Cards but not getting invited back by either. The Jays do have a somewhat established ninth-inning option in Ken Giles, but the high-strung righty could always punch something less forgiving than his own face after a bad outing and take himself out of the picture. Norris is best viewed as a holds option for now, but if you have a deep bench and are looking for spec saves plays, he should be on your list. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $3
 

Wily Peralta, Royals: Peralta went a perfect 14-for-14 in save chances after taking over the closer role in Kansas City last year, but the front office was so unimpressed with him that they brought in Brad Boxberger. Early drafters likely assumed that meant Peralta was ticketed for the eighth inning, but not so fast. Boxberger has been brutal in camp (even in the Cactus League, an 11.57 ERA and four walks in 4.2 innings is hard to hand-wave away), so the closer job could be more wide open than was anticipated. Peralta still isn't a great relief arm and has his own issues with wavering control, but if gets the opportunity again he at least has some track record of relative success. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Owned
 

Catcher

Cameron Gallagher, Royals: Salvador Perez's knee injury was arguably the biggest blow of the spring, given how shallow the catching pool is and how impossible it'll be to replace his production if you'd already rostered him. Nonetheless, Gallagher seems in line for at least a slightly larger workload behind new starting backstop Martin Maldonado. Gallagher did manage a .292/.336/.400 line in 73 games at Triple-A Omaha in 2017, if you're looking for at least a sliver of upside. By the way, in late-drafting keeper leagues, don't forget to try and scoop up Perez on the cheap late in the proceedings. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Nick Hundley, Athletics: With Chris Herrmann sidelined until at least May, Hundley will share catching duties with Josh Phegley to begin the campaign. It won't be a straight platoon since they both hit right-handed, but unless one of them gets hot at the plate a timeshare seems like the most likely outcome, since neither one has a particularly stellar defensive rep. Hundley couldn't make an impact at the plate in Coors Field, so don't expect any kind of renaissance. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Martin Maldonado, Royals: The 32-year-old is on his fourth team in four years, but Maldonado is set for a fairly substantial workload in Kansas City, something he should be able to handle given that he's topped 400 plate appearances in each of the last two seasons. Managers love his defensive work and pitch framing, but his .639 career OPS is what it is. Maybe he'll get to double-digit homers again, though. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $5

Josh Phegley, Athletics: Phegley is basically the catching equivalent of a Quad-A player. He made his Triple-A debut in 2011 but hasn't been able to establish himself as a big-league regular, even in a bench role, in the eight years since. His one offensive eruption at Charlotte (.274 with 23 home runs in 2014) was a long time ago, and he hasn't even reached double-digit homers in any season since. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Pedro Severino, Orioles: Claimed off waivers from the Nationals, Severino could stick around as part of a very unstable Orioles catching crew, especially if the front office inexplicably decides to option Chance Sisco back to Triple-A to begin the season. There's no real fantasy upside here, just the possibility of occasional playing time in nice hitter's parks. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

First Base

Greg Bird, Yankees: The Aaron Hicks injury creates a cascade effect that might just save Bird's bacon. He didn't beat out Luke Voit at first base, but with Brett Gardner needed in center field to begin the season, Giancarlo Stanton will move into left field, opening up the DH spot for Bird. He still has yet to prove he's anything more than the next Kevin Maas (this deep cut is dedicated to you long-time Yankees fans), but Bird's lefty swing – or what's left of it after his shoulder woes – still offers some promise given his home stadium. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $7
 

Ryan O'Hearn, Royals: The 25-year-old remains kind of a baffling sleeper to get a read on. Sure, he hit 12 homers in 44 games last year after his callup, but he only had 11 in 100 games for Triple-A Omaha before that, which isn't exactly a hard yard to leave. His spring numbers were just meh for the Cactus League as well. Still, the Royals seem committed to him for at least this season, and he's got no competition for the starting job at first base, so he'll get every chance to clear up which of those HR rates is the more accurate one. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Owned

Second Base

Franklin Barreto, Athletics: It's not yet entirely clear how the infield playing time in Oakland will shake out in the wake of Matt Olson's broken hand, but one of the winners appears to be Barreto, who will see starts at the keystone when Jurickson Profar slides over the first base against LHP. Barreto's prospect status has dimmed considerably over the last few years, which tends to happen when you strike out in more than 40 percent of your big-league plate appearances, but he's still only 23 and the power-speed upside is still there, even if it looks like he'll be more of a poor man's Yoan Moncada than the next Javier Baez. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Gordon Beckham, Tigers: Beckham and his career .669 OPS will break camp as the final player on the Tigers' bench, a role that might have even less usefulness than it would on other rosters given Niko Goodrum's versatility. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Logan Forsythe, Rangers: It wasn't all that long ago that Forsythe was the latest successful reclamation project in Tampa Bay, slugging 37 homers in 2015-16 before getting flipped to the Dodgers. He's managed eight homers in two years since. D'oh. A bench spot with the Rangers doesn't offer many clear paths to playing time, but Profar turned it into real fantasy value last season, and he's in the right home ballpark to find his power stroke again, so the 32-year-old isn't entirely without upside. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Josh Harrison, Tigers: Man, the middle infield situations in the AL Central are weird. Detroit decided to hold a reunion of the Harrison-Jordy Mercer double-play combo that helped Pittsburgh to three straight wild-card berths in 2013-15, which I guess makes sense since they won't need any time to get used to each other. Since Harrison didn't sign until the beginning of camp he might have gone undrafted in leagues with early starts, but there's a reason he sat on the market as long as he did. You can chalk up last year's power decline to the broken hand that cost him more than a month of action, but his second-half hamstring woes don't explain why he wasn't running much in the first half. He's now 31, and especially given the roster around him, an empty batting average might be his ceiling. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $7

Drew Jackson, Orioles: The franchise that once had Cal Ripken as its cornerstone heads into 2019 with two Rule 5 picks competing for the starting shortstop job. That's uhh, not ideal. Jackson appears to be behind in the battle for the gig, but the Dodgers were already using him as a utility player in the minors anyway, so that might be for the best. There's some power-speed potential here, particularly the latter, but he hasn't hit above .260 since Low-A. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Max Moroff, Cleveland: I'm sure Cleveland having an Opening Day double-play combo of Moroff and Eric Stamets was exactly what they envisioned. Klubot might even grimace slightly on the mound if they botch a play. Jason Kipnis' calf injury will likely have him back in action a little sooner than Francisco Lindor's, so things could be back to normal soon enough, but until then Moroff, a former Pirates semi-prospect, might have the slightly more palatable fantasy profile, as well as a better chance of sticking around in a bench role since he's a switch hitter. Seriously, what is it with ex-Pittsburgh middle infielders washing up in the AL Central? I can't wait for Alen Hanson's triumphant (?) return to the south side of Chicago. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Eric Stamets, Cleveland: Stamets hit 15 homers for Triple-A Columbus in 2017, but managed a .596 OPS in a repeat visit last year, so, yeah. He should get some early playing time if you need him, though. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Third Base

Brandon Drury, Blue Jays: Arguably no player in baseball has seen their outlook improve as much this spring as Drury. Heading into camp, he was seen as, at best, the stopgap at the hot corner until Vlad Guerrero Jr. made his big-league debut. Then Vladito strained his oblique, pushing the phenom's debut out by a month or more. Then Drury himself started reminding people that he might have some upside of his own. A few years ago, he was a promising young infielder for the D-backs, but neck issues led to migraines led to vision issues, and 2018 was basically a write-off. He seems healthy now though, with the underlying issues taken care of, and he's hit so well in camp that the Jays are actually giving him a look in the leadoff spot. Drury's been more of a line drive guy than a pure power masher during his time in the bigs, but he's in the right organization to optimize his launch angle – the Jays have been turning the careers of hitters around for years now, dating all the way back to Jose Bautista's breakout and beyond. He's still potentially little more than a replacement level option in deeper leagues until he gets shoved aside by Guerrero in May, but there's also a realistic scenario where Drury's hitting too well to remove from the lineup when the kid gets the call and simply shifts over to second base. That marks him as someone who can pay off big-time with an early FAAB investment. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Owned

Shortstop

Tim Beckham, Mariners: While I was busy getting all emotional over Ichiro Suzuki's retirement, Beckham was busy earning himself big-time FAAB bucks during the M's two-game set in Japan to kick off the season. After winning the starting shortstop job in camp and getting J.P. Crawford bumped down to Triple-A, Beckham went 5-for-7 in the Tokyo Dome with a homer, two RBI and four runs scored. It's not like the 29-year-old hasn't done this before, either. His 2018 in Baltimore was a bit of a bust, but he was plenty productive the year before for the Rays and O's. Like Drury, he's not seen as an exciting young upside pick, but he could hang onto a starting job for the next six months and give you a nice bang for your bucks. 12-team Mixed: $4; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team AL: $19

Richie Martin, Orioles: Somewhat strangely left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft by the A's, Martin was plucked with the first pick and seems headed for a starting job with the O's. He busted out with a .300 average and 25 steals last year at Double-A, but his profile still paints him as a glove-first shortstop, although his defensive profile is excellent and should make life a little easier on the Baltimore pitching staff. Martin is already 24, and while he doesn't offer tremendous fantasy upside, he could prove to be a nice, cheap steals source – particularly if the O's offense starts leaning more on their team speed with the likes of Jonathan Villar and Cedric Mullins to generate runs, rather than the decaying power bats of Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4
 

Outfield

Mark Canha, Athletics: Canha seems set to handle the plurality of starts at first base in Olson's absence, if not the majority. The 30-year-old has shown in the past that he had produce decent enough numbers with extended playing time, but he tends to be extremely streaky – he'll carry a fantasy squad for a week or two with a homer binge, then go ice cold for a month. If you do pick him up, be prepared for that roller coaster. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Jake Cave, Twins: After an occasionally impressive big-league debut in 2018, Cave will break camp with the fourth outfielder role on the Twins. As a left-handed hitter and decent defender, his best path to playing time will come from spelling Byron Buxton against tough RHP, and of course Buxton isn't exactly an iron man, but for now Cave's at-bats should be limited. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Carlos Gonzalez, Cleveland: A late signing by Cleveland to bolster a very shaky outfield, CarGo won't be ready to handle a roster spot by Opening Day, and really there's little reason to think the 33-year-old will make a big impact this season. His numbers have been kept afloat by Coors Field for a while now – his slash line away from home last year was .241/.302/.361, and that was actually a big improvement on his road performance from 2017 – so even when he does finally join the team, playing time in a solid offense will be his biggest selling point. Given his name brand, he's the kind of player you should probably feel secretly relieved you lose out on in your FAAB bidding. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Brian Goodwin, Royals: Despite not hitting much for either the Nats or Royals last year, and following it up with a fairly miserable spring, Goodwin still seems set to enter the season as the starting right fielder in Kansas City, because what have they got to lose really. He does profile as a solid defender, and he has shown occasional pop in the minors, but at 28 years old he's no longer a real prospect, and his window for being a contributor in steals may have already closed. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Robbie Grossman, Athletics: Signed in mid-February to give Oakland some extra depth in the outfield, Grossman seems set to enter the season with a fairly significant role. Dustin Fowler is back in Triple-A, Nick Martini is hurt, and Canha and Chad Pinder are now needed elsewhere on the diamond, leaving left field mostly to the former Twin. Grossman is almost a throwback to the A's Moneyball glory days, as his best asset is ability to draw a walk, but even saying he's the next Scott Hatteberg might be overstating his fantasy potential, even in a consistent starting role. As always with Grossman, bump your bid by an extra buck or two in an OBP league. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Eloy Jimenez, White Sox: I'm listing Eloy here despite the fact I can't imagine he isn't already roster, no matter how shallow a league you're in or how early you drafted, as the plan always seemed to be to call him up in mid-April. Now that the White Sox have locked him up with a long-term deal and made any service-time shenanigans moot, though, he's set to be on the Opening Day roster as the starting left fielder and get a big head start on Guerrero in the AL Rookie of the Year race. Jimenez won't make an impact in steals, but otherwise he offers massive four-category upside right out of the gate. 12-team Mixed: $75; 15-team Mixed: Owned; 12-team AL: Owned

Mikie Mahtook, Tigers: With JaCoby Jones spraining the AC joint in his shoulder late in camp and headed for an injured list stint to begin the season, albeit potentially a brief one, Mahtook could be the Opening Day center fielder for the Tigers. The 29-year-old seems to only be vaguely productive in odd-numbered years, so he could be worth a small bid if you need early depth. Even if Jones' injury is worse than initially feared, though, Goodrum would factor into the CF mix over a longer stretch. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Chris Owings, Royals: Kansas City's outfield is kind of a mess. As mentioned, Goodwin is a huge question mark, Billy Hamilton is still one-dimensional (that dimension being speed in the fantasy world, and defense in the majors), and Alex Gordon is 35 and already battling a calf issue to begin the season. That leaves a lot of paths to playing time for Owings, who quietly slipped east from Arizona over the winter. Mind you, the 27-year-old doesn't have a lot of upside himself, but if he finds his way into steady at-bats he could chip in double-digit steals again. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Hunter Pence, Rangers: A solid spring earned Pence a spot on the Opening Day roster with Texas, and the veteran outfielder could be used as a platoon bat with lefties Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara manning the corner OF spots for the Rangers. The AL West has more than its share of southpaw starters, although most of them are in Seattle, so that's a role that could make useful in deep formats – he posted a .286/.354/.421 line against LHP as recently as 2017. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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