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 talent on an A-E scale. Wander Franco would have been an "A" grade player last year – that mark will be reserved for similarly high-impact prospects that could thrive in 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.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $AL-Only $
Tyler AlexanderDETSPDNoNo3
Eduardo RodriguezDETSPC51121
Jose SuarezLASPC2511
Austin VothBALSPC125
Ryan YarbroughTBSPCNo25
Tucker DavidsonLASPC111
Drew HutchisonDETSPD111
Zach LogueOAKSPD111
Daniel LynchKCSPC1

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 talent on an A-E scale. Wander Franco would have been an "A" grade player last year – that mark will be reserved for similarly high-impact prospects that could thrive in 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.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $AL-Only $
Tyler AlexanderDETSPDNoNo3
Eduardo RodriguezDETSPC51121
Jose SuarezLASPC2511
Austin VothBALSPC125
Ryan YarbroughTBSPCNo25
Tucker DavidsonLASPC111
Drew HutchisonDETSPD111
Zach LogueOAKSPD111
Daniel LynchKCSPC111
Adam OllerOAKSPC111
Cole RagansTEXSPB111
Aaron SanchezMINSPD111
Jason AdamTBRPD12Rostered
Pete FairbanksTBRPD12Rostered
Matt BarnesBOSRPDNo14
Scott EffrossNYRPD137
Jose LeclercTEXRPENoNo1
Jose QuijadaLARPDNo25
Shea LangeliersOAKCCNo14
Carlos PerezCHICDNoNo1
Seby ZavalaCHICDNoNo3
Christian ArroyoBOS2BC12Rostered
Oswaldo CabreraNY2BDNoNo1
Enrique HernandezBOS2BCNoNo3
Mark MathiasTEX2BCNoNo2
Vimael MachinOAK3BDNoNo3
Gunnar HendersonBALSSA125
Franchy CorderoBOSOFCNoNo1
Estevan FlorialNYOFCNoNo3
Sam HaggertySEAOFDNo25
Manuel MargotTBOFC2511
Chas McCormickHOUOFC13Rostered
Harold RamirezTBOFC2511
Rob RefsnyderBOSOFDNoNo1
Kyle StowersBALOFCNoi14

Starting Pitcher

Tyler Alexander, Tigers: The southpaw is probably best known for his improbable appearance in a 2020 doubleheader, when he struck out the first nine batters he faced to set a big-league record for consecutive Ks by a reliever in one game, but Alexander is doing admirable work right now plugging a hole in Detroit's leaky rotation. He's delivered quality starts in two of his last three outings, and since the All-Star break he's posted a 3.60 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 30 innings. That comes with a feeble 12:6 K:BB however, and his lack of dominance drastically limits his fantasy upside, but as long as he's supplying solid ratios in bulk, he's got some utility. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Eduardo Rodriguez, Tigers: Rodriguez will finally return to the big-league rotation Sunday after dazzling in his final rehab start Tuesday, when he struck out 11 hapless Triple-A hitters over six innings. Flashes of brilliance are nothing new for the 29-year-old lefty, who hasn't pitched for Detroit since mid-May due to off-field concerns, but the 4.38 ERA and 1.33 WHIP he held when he left are pretty much spot on his career ratios. Still, he could be the best rotation option to become available the rest of the year. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team AL: $21

Jose Suarez, Angels: Speaking of lefties on a roll since the break, Suarez has been outstanding, ringing up a 1.19 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 21:5 K:BB through 22.2 innings over his last four starts while winning three of them. The 24-year-old has teased putting it all together before, and this might be your last chance to get in the train if he is breaking out. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Austin Voth, Orioles: The 30-year-old right-hander made his big-league debut with the Nationals in 2018 and bounced between the majors and minors for the next four-plus seasons, never looking like anything more than staff filler and a 'break glass in case of emergency' starter. Cut loose by Washington at the end of May, Voth got picked up by Baltimore and allowed to get comfortable in a long relief role. He did, and he's now moved into the rotation, where he's worked at least five innings in four straight starts with a stunning 2.11 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 19:3 K:BB over 21.1 innings. The improvement seems to be a product of the O's having him use his fairly mediocre fastball a little less, and mixing in his cutter a little more. There's really nothing in Voth's profile to suggest he'll keep up his current pace, but even emerging as a reliable back-end rotation piece would be a big step up for him. He's also set up for a two-start week, home against the White Sox and on the road in Houston, so this is as good a time as any to pick him up. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Ryan Yarbrough, Rays: Yarbrough continues to re-discover his 2020 form, grabbing his first win of the year Monday and posting a 3.37 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 22:4 K:BB through five appearances and 21.1 innings since the All-Star break. Tampa Bay has apparently conceded that he best fits as a bulk reliever working behind an opener rather than as a traditional starter, as just one of those five outings saw him work the first inning, but that does improve his chances of collecting more wins down the stretch. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Other two-start options, Mon-Sun (12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $1)

Tucker Davidson, Angels (at TB, at TOR)
Drew Hutchison, Tigers (vs. SF, at TEX)
Zach Logue, Athletics (vs. MIA, vs. NYY)
Daniel Lynch, Royals (vs. CHW, vs. SD)
Adam Oller, Athletics (vs. MIA, vs. NYY)
Cole Ragans, Rangers (at MIN, vs. DET)
Aaron Sanchez, Twins (at HOU, vs. SF)

Relief Pitcher

Jason Adam / Pete Fairbanks, Rays: Chasing saves in the Tampa Bay bullpen is a mug's game. The key to getting value out of their relievers is to view them as sources of Ks and strong ratios, and any saves they happen to get as a bonus. (Obviously, that equation changes in saves+holds formats). Adam hasn't given up an earned run since the All-Star break with a ridiculous 0.35 WHIP and 13:2 K:BB through 11.1 innings since the unofficial second half kicked off, and he has three saves and four holds over those 11 appearances. Fairbanks, meanwhile, is working on a 10-appearance scoreless streak of his own with a 0.72 WHIP and 14:1 K:BB over his last 9.2 innings... and an identical three saves and four holds. Both guys should be rostered in more leagues than they are, and if maintaining your ratios is any sort of priority for you, stashing one or two relievers like this to plug in when you don't have SP options you like could make all the difference in tight categories. Both – 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: Rostered

Matt Barnes, Red Sox: Sure, why not. With Tanner Houck on the shelf, Boston's using a closer committee, and Barnes popped up in it Tuesday by nabbing his first save since late May. It's easy to forget the right-hander had 24 saves just last season, and he has been pitching well since coming off the IL at the beginning of the month with a 1.42 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 7:2 K:BB in 6.1 innings. If Barnes is truly healthy and back in top form again he could seize the job outright, but I'm not sure that's quite true – his fastball topped out at 95.5 mph in Tuesday's save, which is still less than his average from 2021. For now, assume he's still got something to prove and is behind Garrett Whitlock and John Schreiber in the closer pecking order, although if you're scrambling for saves there are worse dart throws. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Scott Effross, Yankees: There are also better ones. Clay Holmes is on the IL and Aroldis Chapman has walked four batters over his last inning of work, spread over two appearances. Effross has only one save so far for the Yanks, and that came back on Aug. 13, but if you have to bank on one of the team's relievers becoming the guy down the stretch, the former Cub seems like he'll be it. He's been solid overall since coming over at the trade deadline with a 3.24 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 8:2 K:BB through 8.1 innings in pinstripes, and while the 28-year-old doesn't have a classic closer arsenal, his sinker/slider combo is plenty effective. (If you're not sold on Effross and are looking for a dark horse saves candidate in this bullpen, well, Zack Britton could be back in September.) 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $7

Jose Leclerc, Rangers: Sure, why not, part two. Jonathan Hernandez is settling in nicely as the Rangers' closer, but Leclerc got the save last Sunday when Hernandez was unavailable and seems to be the next man up. Leclerc has 26 saves in 2018-19, but he'd regressed badly since then. He might be fully healthy again though, and since the All-Star break the 28-year-old righty has a 1.65 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 16:5 K:BB over 16.1 innings. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Jose Quijada, Angels: Last week I said Ryan Tepera was the guy you wanted in the Halos' 'pen, and then Quijada promptly went out and got the team's next save that Sunday. What I didn't realize at the time – and my bad for not doing a deeper dive – was that the southpaw is essentially the new Sean Doolittle. Quijada is throwing his 94.3 mph fastball over 80 percent of the time and pounding the top of the zone with it, and that can be an effective approach when you only have to face a few batters at a time. He hasn't pitched since that save, but that might actually be a good sign. The Angels have only won one game over the last week, and Patrick Sandoval tossed a complete game shutout in it, so if interim manager Phil Nevin views Quijada as his closer, there's simply been no work for him. Of course, Tepera hasn't pitched during that time either, so maybe it's best to view them as co-closers for now. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Catcher

Shea Langeliers, Athletics: Oakland's top catching prospect and a Stephen King muse, Langeliers got called up Tuesday and started four straight games, three of them at DH. The good news? He has three extra-base hits already, including his first career big-league homer. The bad? Those are his only hits, and he has a 0:8 BB:K in 16 plate appearances. Langeliers was posting solid offensive numbers at Triple-A prior to his promotion, but what guys produce at the plate in Vegas tend to stay in Vegas. The 24-year-old is an intriguing keeper stash, but in re-draft he's a very risky add. Of course, if you're not getting much from a catcher spot anyway, Langeliers' upside could make him worth the gamble. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Carlos Perez, White Sox: Yasmani Grandal's disappointing season may have mercifully come to an end Saturday, as he suffered a knee injury that has already landed him on the IL. The severity of the injury won't be known until after further testing is done, but if he is out for the year, Perez has the skills to emerge as the team's starter. The 25-year-old has a very good defensive reputation, developing power, and strong contact skills – he hasn't posted a K rate over 10.8 percent since A-ball. That hasn't really added up to a great offensive season yet though, and maybe it never will, but Perez could also be one of those guys who surprises once they reach the majors despite a lackluster minor-league career. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Seby Zavala, White Sox: Zavala is the next man up at catcher if Grandal's done for the year, but while his .279/.326/.395 slash line in 143 plate appearances looks decent on the surface, it comes with a 9:49 BB:K, and that batting average could tumble quickly with a bigger workload. The 28-year-old does have more power than he's shown in the bigs this season though, and that could be a tradeoff that makes sense for your roster. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Second Base

Christian Arroyo, Red Sox: Trevor Story just started taking batting practice and doesn't appear to be particularly close to returning to action, but that's OK, Arroyo's been on the fire at the plate anyway. He has three hits in three of his last four games coming into Sunday, and he's slashing .397/.429/.548 in 19 games since coming off the IL in late July. The 27-year-old has a .713 career OPS and will cool down eventually, but he could provide a short-term boost to your lineup before Story gets back into the lineup. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: Rostered

Oswaldo Cabrera, Yankees: The 23-year-old wasn't really on the prospect radar when he got called up this week, but Cabrera has started four straight games in a super-utility role since his promotion, seeing action at third base, shortstop and right field. Over 46 games at Triple-A this season he hit .261 with eight homers and 10 steals, so there's a glimmer of offensive upside here, but he could also be the first guy to go to make room for a Giancarlo Stanton when the Yankees get healthier. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Enrique Hernandez, Red Sox: Boston's void in center field has allowed Hernandez to step right back into a starting role since coming off the IL on Tuesday. The veteran utility player has gone 4-for-17 with a double and a homer while starting four of the last five games, but he's also uncharacteristically struck out in half of his 18 plate appearances. The 30-year-old might not have completely shaken off the rust yet, but defensively, the Red Sox don't have any better options in center. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Mark Mathias, Rangers: Texas continues to mix and match at third base, with neither Ezequiel Duran nor Josh Smith seizing their opportunities, so Mathias could be the next guy to get a look. For now, though, he appears to be splitting time at DH with Brad Miller, and not just in a strict platoon as he got the nod against righty Chris Archer on Saturday. Mathias has gone 4-for-9 with a double and a homer over four games since his promotion, after slashing .322/.422/.518 with nine homers and 13 steals over 58 games at Triple-A this season. The Brewers may have gotten a closer in Matt Bush in a deadline deal that slipped under the radar, but the Rangers may have gotten a useful asset in Mathias too. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Third Base

Vimael Machin, Athletics: Machin has crept to the top of the depth chart at the hot corner for Oakland on the strength of a .317/.378/.366 slash line in August. His lack of power or speed is glaring, and collecting hits in a moribund offense doesn't tend to lead to a lot of production, but he could provide a batting average boost if you need one. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Shortstop

Gunnar Henderson, Orioles: Baltimore is teasing a promotion for its top prospect as they fight for a wild-card spot down the stretch. Henderson has seen action at both first base and second base for Triple-A Norfolk in the last week, and while his long-term future is still at shortstop, calling him up to big a super-utility player for the stretch run isn't the worst idea. The 21-year-old has rocketed to the top of prospect rankings with a breakout campaign, and while I think Corbin Carroll has a better chance of making an immediate impact in Arizona (if you're a redraft GM looking to blow your remaining budget on an upside play), Henderson's .300/.418/.546 slash line in the high minors this year with 19 homers and 18 steals in 104 games makes a pretty compelling case he's ready for the next challenge. If you've got a bench spot to churn and are looking for an upside stash, this could be your guy. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Outfield

Franchy Cordero, Red Sox: Eric Hosmer is dealing with back issues, so Cordero will return to the majors to provide some insurance at first base. The 27-year-old increasingly looks like a Quad-A player, as he slashed .370/.426/.674 with four homers in 12 games for Triple-A Worcester during his latest minor-league stint, but there's always a chance something clicks for him in the majors. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Estevan Florial, Yankees: Aaron Hicks has played himself out of a starting job, and Harrison Bader isn't ready to make his Yankees debut yet, so by default Florial is the team's starting center fielder right now. The 24-year-old once had a fair bit of prospect cache and did slash .289/.370/.494 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this year with 14 homers and 31 steals in 88 games, but that came with a bloated 30.4 percent strikeout rate. A 1-for-20 showing with a 1:8 BB:K in this latest go-round in the majors isn't encouraging, either. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Sam Haggerty, Mariners: Haggerty has caught fire in August, slashing .348/.392/.522 through 16 games with two homers and three steals to claim a starting spot in the Seattle outfield. There's no telling how long he might keep up that pace at the plate, but his minor-league numbers at least say his speed is legit. View him as a potential steals source, and if he contributes elsewhere down the stretch, so much the better. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Manuel Margot, Rays: Margot returned to the lineup Saturday and went 1-for-4, and he figures to be a big part of Tampa Bay's starting outfield down the stretch. The club is apparently prioritizing defense over offense once again – Jose Siri remained in center field Saturday while Margot handled right field – but the veteran was having the best offensive season of his career when he got hurt in late June, and he is only 27 years old. Margot picking up where he left off and putting together a big finish to the campaign isn't out of the question. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Chas McCormick, Astros: The 27-year-old is the latest of Houston's mix-and-match center fielders to get hot, as McCormick is slashing .295/.354/.500 over his last 14 games with two homers and 11 RBI. Jake Meyers and Mauricio Dubon aren't offering much competition at the moment, and McCormick should be productive as long as he's getting hits and consistent at-bats in this lineup. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: Rostered

Harold Ramirez, Rays: Ramirez also returned from the IL this week for the Rays, and the 27-year-old has gone 6-for-17 (.353) with a double and a homer while starting four of the last five games, three at DH and one at first base. He's basically a Yandy Diaz clone, making consistent hard contact with some occasional pop, but the difference is Ramirez is actually available in most leagues. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Rob Refsnyder, Red Sox: The 31-year-old journeyman has started only one of four games since coming off the IL on Tuesday, and normally I wouldn't even both listing someone getting that little playing time. Refsnyder went 3-for-4 with two doubles in that start though, and he has a .940 OPS in 115 plate appearances this season. Even so, the key context here isn't his performance but the fact that J.D. Martinez is showing his age – the veteran slugger hasn't homered since July 10, slashing .170/.248/.250 during his 29-game power drought. The Red Sox are still in the wild-card hunt and won't give up on JDM, but if he's been playing through an injury and gets shut down at some point, the door could open for Refsnyder to see a much bigger role down the stretch. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Kyle Stowers, Orioles: Called up this weekend, Stowers has gone 2-for-7 in his first two games back in the majors with two RBI, and the 24-year-old has a fairly clear path to the starting job in right field if he can show something at the plate. He's slashed a decent .264/.357/.527 through 95 games at Triple-A this season with 19 homers, a line which would fit right in with the likes of Ryan Mountcastle and Anthony Santander, but Stowers at least hits left-handed, potentially giving the Orioles lineup a little more balance. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

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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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