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 $
Aaron CivaleCLESPC137
Michael LorenzenLASPCNo25
Davis MartinCHISPDNoNo2
Bailey OberMINSPC2511
Ryan YarbroughTBSPCNo37
Tyler AlexanderDETSPD111
Dylan BundyMINSPC111
Zack GreinkeKCSPC111
Cole RagansTEXSPC1

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 $
Aaron CivaleCLESPC137
Michael LorenzenLASPCNo25
Davis MartinCHISPDNoNo2
Bailey OberMINSPC2511
Ryan YarbroughTBSPCNo37
Tyler AlexanderDETSPD111
Dylan BundyMINSPC111
Zack GreinkeKCSPC111
Cole RagansTEXSPC111
Tyler WellsBALSPC111
Domingo AcevedoOAKRPE3715
Ryan TeperaLARPDNo2Rostered
Connor WongBOSCCNo14
Carlos SantanaSEA1BC25Rostered
Tony KempOAK2BC12Rostered
Dylan MooreSEA2BCNo14
Michael StefanicLA2BDNoNo1
Jordan DiazOAK3BCNo14
Matt DuffyLA3BDNoNo1
Livan SotoLASSCNoNo1
Harrison BaderNYOFC2511
Mark ContrerasMINOFDNoNo1
Mickey MoniakLAOFCNoNo1
Edward OlivaresKCOFCNo25
Matt WallnerMINOFCNoNo2

Starting Pitcher

Aaron Civale, Guardians: Civale is expected to come off the IL on Tuesday and fall right into a two-start week at the White Sox and Rangers, which on the surface makes him an appealing add. He only worked 2.2 innings in his lone rehab outing though, so there are workload concerns for the right-hander. He was pitching well when he went down in late August, posting a 3.43 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 23:5 K:BB through 21 innings over his prior four starts, so he's a calculated gamble but one with some upside. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $7

Michael Lorenzen, Angels: The 30-year-old righty has been entirely decent in two starts since returning to the rotation with a 3.37 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, albeit with only a 8:6 K:BB in 10.2 innings. He's nothing special, but with so little time left on the calendar, stocking your staff with guys on a roll and not worrying about whether it reflects their "real" talent level isn't the worst approach. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Davis Martin, White Sox: With Michael Kopech going down, Martin figures to close out the year in the rotation. He's got little upside due to his lack of strikeouts, but he has a 3.85 FIP in six big-league starts and a matchup against the Tigers this week, so you could probably do worse as staff filler. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Bailey Ober, Twins: Out of action since June 1, Ober finally rejoined the Minnesota rotation Friday and one-hit Cleveland over five scoreless innings. That outing was probably too good for him to be considered a sneaky add any more, but the 27-year-old could still be a good one given his career numbers since making his major-league debut last year. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Ryan Yarbrough, Rays: Ensconced as a bulk reliever and working behind openers once again, Yarbrough has given up only one earned run in 10.2 innings over three appearances in September, snagging one win in the process. That chance of another win or two on a team fighting for a wild-card spot, plus what should be solid ratios, drive the lefty's value as a late-season add. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $7

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

Tyler Alexander, Tigers (at BAL, at CHW)
Dylan Bundy, Twins (at KC, vs. LAA)
Zack Greinke, Royals (vs. MIN, vs. SEA)
Cole Ragans, Rangers (vs. LAA, vs. CLE)
Tyler Wells, Orioles (vs. DET, vs. HOU)

Relief Pitcher

Domingo Acevedo, Athletics: Acevedo has picked up two saves in his last two appearances, and he's the only Oakland reliever to get a save so far in September. A.J. Puk might be fading after making 55 appearances – he's issued eight walks in his last nine games, although he's also struck out 14 – so there's definitely a window here for Acevedo to claim the role for however many leads the A's have to protect the rest of the way. The 28-year-old's stuff isn't anything special, but opportunity is always the most important driver of closer value. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: $15

Ryan Tepera, Angels: Jimmy Herget has blown his last two save chances and hasn't successfully converted one since Aug. 31, so the Angels' closer job could be back up for grabs. Tepera got the save Friday, and while the team has made it pretty clear it prefers the 34-year-old in a setup role, they've tried just about everyone else in the bullpen in the ninth (Aaron Loup, of all people, got the save Saturday) and no one has stuck. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: Rostered

Catcher

Connor Wong, Red Sox: The surprising move to DFA Kevin Plawecki leaves Wong splitting time behind the plate with Reese McGuire, and the former is 5-for-19 (.263) in September with two doubles and a homer. Wong put up strong numbers at Triple-A this year, and the 26-year-old could be Boston's No. 1 in 2023 if they don't make a move over the winter to bring in a bigger name. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

First Base

Carlos Santana, Mariners: If you need a late-season power boost and don't care about your batting average, Santana's worth a look. He's hitting just .189 (7-for-37) in September but has left the yard five times, including two two-homer performances, and with the M's trying to hang onto a wild-card spot (they're five games up on the O's heading into Sunday, even if they're only two spots up in the alphabet) the veteran slugger should have a regular spot in the lineup as long as he's providing some thunder. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: Rostered

Second Base

Tony Kemp, Athletics: The veteran utility guy's been hot to close out the season, slashing .303/.374/.449 over his last 24 games with two homers, three steals, 14 RBI and 20 runs, and the A's have given the 30-year-old Kemp a regular spot in the lineup even though they should probably be auditioning younger options. He flat out should be on more fantasy rosters. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: Rostered

Dylan Moore, Mariners: Moore came off the IL on Saturday just in time for Eugenio Suarez to swap places with him due to a finger injury. The 30-year-old doesn't offer much more than speed and very occasional pop, but he at least could see at-bats down the stretch. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5

Michael Stefanic, Angels: The Halos are down two infielders in David Fletcher and Andrew Velazquez, so there's playing time up for grabs. Stefanic's one of their options, but he's got limited upside outside of his decent hit tool, and even that hasn't shown up in the majors yet. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Third Base

Jordan Diaz, Athletics: A 22-year-old whose best position is DH, Diaz broke out for a .326/.366/.515 slash line with 19 homers in 120 games in the high minors this season, and it's earned him his big-league debut. Oakland has a couple guys who don't have defensive homes with Stephen Vogt, but the team really should be giving that playing time for a prospect like Diaz and not a grizzled vet. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Matt Duffy, Angels: Duffy's taken over as the starting third baseman for the other Los Angeles team, although the news Anthony Rendon might make it back before the end of the year could cut that run short. Duffy's .222/.300/.333 slash line in September also doesn't offer much production, so there's no reason to get too excited here. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Shortstop

Livan Soto, Angels: The other option the Angels have for those middle-infield reps is Soto, who got called up from Double-A on Saturday. The 22-year-old probably isn't ready for the majors, and this is just a cup of coffee to get acclimated, but he's got a bit of speed and is more likely to be part of the team's long-term plans than Stefanic, which gives him some deep-league keeper appeal. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Outfield

Harrison Bader, Yankees: The former Cardinal seems on track to finally make his New York debut Tuesday and see his first game action since late June. He's gone 6-for-16 on his rehab assignment with two doubles and a homer, and his glove should allow him to slot right in as the Yankees' starting center fielder. The 28-year-old has never really put it all together at the plate in the majors, but he was 15-for-17 on steal attempts in St. Louis prior to the trade, and you never know who's going to take advantage of that Yankee Stadium short porch. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Mark Contreras, Twins: Minnesota's back up to five outfielders on the shelf, including the three guys who would otherwise be starting, so Contreras could get some ABs down the stretch. The 27-year-old has slugged 33 homers in 197 games at Triple-A over the last two seasons, but he's also hit .241 with a 29.6 percent strikeout rate, so some low-BA pop is about all your should expect from him if he does get playing time. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Mickey Moniak, Angels: I probably qualify as a Moniak truther, as even in the preseason I had this weird hunch he might start to put a career together after being a total bust so far as the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. Now traded to a Halos team holding open auditions for 2023, the 24-year-old has started six of the last eight games and while he only has five hits in 25 at-bats over that stretch with nine Ks, four of those knocks have gone for extra bases (two doubles, a triple and a homer). He's a total dart throw, both in redraft and as a keeper, but hey, wilder things have happened than Moniak becoming at least useful. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Edward Olivares, Royals: Out since the All-Star break, Olivares returned to action Saturday and got two hits with a double and a walk. Michael Taylor has cooled down and Drew Waters has done little since his promotion, so Olivares could yet carve out a role, and at 26 years old with one more season of team control before he hits arbitration, Kansas City has plenty of incentive to see what he can do if he can stay healthy. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Matt Wallner, Twins: Wallner's only 24 and a better prospect than Contreras, but otherwise everything I said there applies here. Wallner slugged 21 homers in 78 games in the high minors this season, but they came with a 29.7 percent strikeout rate. The big difference is his 17.0 percent walk rate, which suggests he might be a classic Three True Outcomes guy in the majors eventually. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

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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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