NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our NL FAAB Factor series.

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.

Bids in general are best guesstimates. With so much uncertainty at least initially, those values may be even greater estimates than usual. The FAAB chart below lets users easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The chart, which is sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This is a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. An "A" grade is reserved for a high-impact prospect stepping into an everyday role.

If you have questions on players, I'm happy to provide my thoughts in the comments.

Happy Fathers' Day to all the dads out there including my father, father-in-law and brother-in-laws.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Daniel CastanoMIASPE015
Anthony DeSclafaniSFSPD2711 (upped return bid)
Dallas KeuchelAZSPD015 (in case he finds his stuff with Strom)
Caleb KilianCHISPC147 (same bid as prior)
Nick LodoloCINSPB/C2711 (early spec return bid)
Jackson TetreaultWASSPENo05
Keegan ThompsonCHISPD39Rostered
Trevor WilliamsNYM

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.

Bids in general are best guesstimates. With so much uncertainty at least initially, those values may be even greater estimates than usual. The FAAB chart below lets users easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The chart, which is sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This is a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. An "A" grade is reserved for a high-impact prospect stepping into an everyday role.

If you have questions on players, I'm happy to provide my thoughts in the comments.

Happy Fathers' Day to all the dads out there including my father, father-in-law and brother-in-laws.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Daniel CastanoMIASPE015
Anthony DeSclafaniSFSPD2711 (upped return bid)
Dallas KeuchelAZSPD015 (in case he finds his stuff with Strom)
Caleb KilianCHISPC147 (same bid as prior)
Nick LodoloCINSPB/C2711 (early spec return bid)
Jackson TetreaultWASSPENo05
Keegan ThompsonCHISPD39Rostered
Trevor WilliamsNYMSPE147
Alexis DiazCINRPD2711
Hunter StricklandCINRPE159
Art WarrenCINRPD147
Seranthony DominguezPHIRPC2711
Brad HandPHIRPC/D3914 (reversed bid from prior week)
Drew SmithNYMRPC147 (value mainly in leagues that count holds)
Steven WilsonSDRPDNo05
Ivan HerreraSTLCENo05
Andrew KniznerSTLCE017
Brian ServenCOLCD2711
Lewin DiazMIA1BENoNo5
Alfonso RivasCHI1BE017
Eddy AlvarezLA2BENo05
Orlando ArciaATL2BD2711
Phil GosselinATL2BE016
Johan CamargoPHI2BENoNo5
Yairo MunozPHI2BENo06
Donovan SolanoSF2BENo06
J.D. DavisNYM3BD2711
Buddy KennedyAZ3BE016
Kevin NewmanPITSSENoNo5
Liover PegueroPITSSD015 (keeper league stash)
Alan TrejoCOLSSENoNo5
Jonathan DavisMILOFENo16
Corey DickersonSTLOFENo06
Jerar EncarnacionMIAOFENo05
Luis GonzalezSFOFD39Rostered
Zach McKinstryLAOFE159
Tyler NaquinCINOFD2711 (early injury return bid)
Max SchrockCINOFE017
Matt VierlingPHIOFDNo17
LaMonte WadeSFOFD2711 (early injury return bid)

STARTING PITCHER

Daniel Castano, Marlins: Castano, making his first start of the season for the Marlins, allowed five hits and two walks over 6.2 scoreless innings Wednesday. His 4.82 ERA and 1.39 WHIP through 28 innings for Triple-A Jacksonville this season don't inspire long-term confidence. But with Miami down several starters for at least the next few weeks, Castano should be given every chance to remain in the rotation. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Anthony DeSclafani, Giants: DeSclafani, out since Apr. 22 with an ankle injury and on the 60-day IL, made his second rehab start at Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday. After tossing three scoreless innings in his first outing, he allowed four runs – three earned – on five hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 2.2 innings. DeSclafani is eligible to return from the injured list Tuesday and is reportedly a candidate to start that contest despite only throwing 5.2 innings over two rehab appearances. Disco posted a 6.08 ERA and 1.80 WHIP in 13.1 innings over three starts prior to sustaining his ankle injury with a career-best 3.17 ERA while starting 31 games for the Giants last season. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (upped return bid) 

Dallas Keuchel, Diamondbacks: Keuchel allowed four runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out four on 80 pitches for the Diamondbacks' affiliate in the Arizona Complex League on Monday. That was his first outing following him signing a minor-league contract with Arizona after he was designated for assignment and ultimately released by the White Sox in late May. Keuchel posted a career-worst 7.88 ERA and 2.16 WHIP in 32 innings over eight starts with the White Sox to start the season and his agreement with the Diamondbacks reunites him with pitching coach Brent Strom, whom he worked with for five years in Houston. Keuchel will likely need a few more rehab starts before he's ready to join the rotation. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (in case he finds his stuff with Strom)

Caleb Kilian, Cubs: Kilian, profiled last week as a possible stash candidate after he was demoted following his start Saturday, was called back up to toe the rubber Wednesday. He struggled in that start by allowing five runs on five hits and five walks in four innings after surrendering three earned runs on three hits and two walks while striking out six in five innings in his ML debut. Kilian leans on his 93 MPH sinker (touched 97) and his 89 MPH cutter (touched 92 mph) while also mixing in his 95 MPH four-seamer and his curveball to retire hitters. With Marcus Stroman and Wade Miley on IL, he'll need to excel to stick around. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (same bid as prior) 

Nick Lodolo, Reds: Lodolo opened the season in the Reds' rotation, but lasted just three starts before he was sidelined with a lower-back strain. He posted a 5.52 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in 14.2 innings in those three outings. Over 13 starts between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville last season, the 6-foot-6 lefty turned in a 2.31 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 78:11 K:BB across 50.2 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .207 average. Lodolo made his second rehab start Saturday and struck out six in two scoreless innings after tossing two innings in his first this past Monday. He'll likely need one more outing before he's ready to be activated. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (early spec return bid) 

Jackson Tetreault, Nationals: Tetreault was blasted for seven runs on nine hits - including three home runs - over four innings in his MLB debut Tuesday against Atlanta. Despite that poor entrance to the Majors, he'll remain in the Nats' rotation for at least one more turn with Stephen Strasburg (ribs) moving back to the IL and Washington electing to keep Evan Lee (shoulder) in the bullpen for now. A seventh-round pick in 2017, Tetreault compiled a 4.19 ERA and 1.29 WHIP while striking out 52 over 58 innings at Triple-A Rochester this season before being called up. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

Keegan Thompson, Cubs: Thompson rebounded after three straight rough outings to log six scoreless innings Friday and lower his season ERA to 3.27 through 55 frames. After opening the season in the bullpen, he was moved into the starting rotation the second week of May. Thompson's solid numbers are aided by a high strand rate and low BABIP, but he also has lowered his BB rate and that should keep him in the rotation. 12-team Mixed: $3, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: Rostered 

Trevor Williams, Mets: Williams is likely to return to the Mets' rotation with Tylor Megill hitting the IL and out at least a month with a strained right shoulder. Max Scherzer is a few weeks away from returning and so is Jacob deGrom, thus creating a hole in New York's rotation with Megill also sidelined. Williams has made five starts this season out of 12 appearances and likely will make a handful more. Though with off-days Jun. 23, 27 and 30, the Mets could opt to skip the fifth starter spot and have him available in long-relief. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 

RELIEF PITCHER

Alexis Diaz/Hunter Strickland/Art Warren, Reds: With Tony Santillan (back) joining Lucas Sims (back) on the injured list, Diaz and Warren are in line to close for Cincinnati. Both Diaz and Warren have been shaky of late. But if selecting one, aim for Diaz as he's been slightly better. If looking to take a flyer on someone else, pay attention to Strickland as he offers closing experience. Diaz - 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11; Strickland - 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9; Warren - 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Seranthony Dominguez/Brad Hand, Phillies: Profiled last week when Corey Knebel experienced tightness in his shoulder while warming up during Saturday's game against Arizona, Dominguez and Hand are mentioned again as Knebel has been moved out of the closer role despite reportedly being healthy. Dominguez's dominant numbers – 1.80 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 34:7 K:BB in 24 innings - suggest he deserves the first shot at the closer role. But seniority and 127 career saves before Friday's game could grant Hand - who's enjoying a solid year - the opportunity instead. This was the case Friday, as Dominguez notched the hold and Hand the save. Dominguez - 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11; Hand - 12-team Mixed: $3, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14 (reversed bids from prior week) 

Drew Smith, Mets: Smith continues to excel having tossed another scoreless 1.1 innings Saturday, lowering his ERA to 2.10 and WHIP to 0.97 to go along with his 13 holds and 34:11 K:BB in 30 innings. Smith has become one of Edwin Diaz's main setup men while gaining the trust of manager Buck Showalter. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (value mainly in leagues that count holds)

Steven Wilson, Padres: Wilson continues to be a key member of the Padres' bullpen. With Robert Suarez (knee) sidelined, Wilson's role has increased and taken on even more importance. The rookie right-hander has registered four victories, five holds and one save this season while posting a 3.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 24:8 K:B across 24 innings. Wilson is still mainly pitching in middle-relief, but will see some late-inning set up opportunities with Suarez out. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5

CATCHER 

Ivan Herrera/Andrew Knizner, Cardinals: With Yadier Molina (knee) on the injured list, Herrera and Knizner - the latter profiled last week - will cover catcher for the Cardinals. Knizner had seen a small uptick in playing time with Molina scuffling before being sidelined. But Herrera could have a chance to carve out playing time as Knizner has gone just 1-for-22 with a walk and seven strikeouts over his last seven games while failing to take advantage of his opportunity. Herrera - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5; Knizner - 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $7 

Brian Serven, Rockies: Serven, profiled when he was promoted a month ago, gets another mention as he's appeared to pass Elias Diaz on the catching depth chart in Colorado. He earned his first promotion to the majors after turning in a .912 OPS and 16:15 BB:K with five home runs and 11 runs driven in across 96 plate appearances at Triple-A Albuquerque. Serven is slashing .333/.390/.596 with three home runs and nine RBI in his first 18 games with the Rockies. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

FIRST BASE

Lewin Diaz, Marlins: Diaz was promoted Friday with Jesus Aguilar landing on the IL due to COVID. Aguilar and Garrett Cooper had been splitting the first base and designated hitter spots, but Diaz may not be the preferred option at either position. In 169 career MLB plate appearances, he's hit just .193/.231/.391 and likely will be sent back down once Aguilar is healthy. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5

Alfonso Rivas, Cubs: Rivas is back with the Cubs after Frank Schwindel was placed on IL due to a strained lower back. He saw solid playing time when first promoted in May, but lost his hold on the first base job when Schwindel got hot again. Rivas should start most games at first while Schwindel is sidelined. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $7

SECOND BASE 

Eddy Alvarez, Dodgers: Mookie Betts went on the 10-day injured list with a cracked right rib Sunday, which could open the door for Alvarez to receive more playing time. Gavin Lux may cover left field, moving Chris Taylor to right and giving Alvarez additional playing time if Max Muncy shifts back to second base or remains at third with Justin Turner staying at DH. Lots of moves might be needed, but those in single leagues will take at bats wherever they can get them. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

Orlando Arcia/Phil Gosselin, Braves: Ozzie Albies fractured his left foot last week, requiring surgery and placing him on the 60-day IL. Arcia and Gosselin, called up when Albies went down, will try and cover the keystone for Atlanta while Albies is out. The last time Arcia had a regular role in the Majors during 2020, he slashed .260/.317/.416 over 59 games for the Brewers with five home runs and 20 RBI. But he struggled last season and has shown he's better at spot duty than regular action. Gosselin moves into Arcia's utility infield role, but it's possible he earns more time if he hits well. Albies -12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11; Gosselin - 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $6 

Johan Camargo, Phillies: Camargo, out since Jun. 7 due to a strained right knee strain, began a minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday and could rejoin the Phillies on Tuesday. Once active, he'll resume his role as a utility infielder especially with Bryson Stott and Didi Gregorius handling the middle infield spots and Alec Bohm at the hot corner. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5 

Yairo Munoz, Phillies: Munoz was promoted to make his season-debut with the Phillies. He posted a strong .319/.345/.454 slash line in 45 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley before earning the call-up this week, but he doesn't have a path to consistent playing time. Munoz should see the short side of a platoon with Bryson Stott at second while Johan Camargo (knee) is on the IL and start mainly against southpaws. Once Camargo is back, Munoz is likely to head back to the minors. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $6

Donovan Solano, Reds: Solano (hamstring) could return from the 60-day injured list as early as Tuesday against the Dodgers. He began a rehab assignment early this month and is close to rejoining the Reds. Once active, Solano should see time at second and third as well as shortstop. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $6 

THIRD BASE 

J.D. Davis, Mets: Davis is seeing time at first and third base along with DH with his playing time increasing following the demotion of Dominic Smith. Luis Guillorme is also in the mix at the hot corner when Eduardo Escobar sits as he's currently battling vision issues. Davis still struggles to make consistent contact, but may be a decent buy-low candidate as his LD and FB rates are well below his norm. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 

Buddy Kennedy, Diamondbacks: Kennedy was promoted Friday replacing Jake McCarthy on Arizona's active roster. A bat-first prospect, he was hitting .340/.427/.472 with two home runs, three triples and seven doubles while striking out at a 19.3 percent clip and walking 14 percent of the time in his last 39 games at Triple-A Reno. As a righty, it's possible Kennedy will be limited to mostly short-side platoon work versus southpaws - as was the case Friday - with Josh Rojas starting against righties. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $6

SHORTSTOP

Kevin Newman, Pirates: Newman, out since Apr. 26 first with a groin injury and then a hamstring issue, has progressed in his recovery and is on the verge of beginning a rehab assignment. He isn't eligible to return from the 60-day IL until Jun. 26 and may need more than a week's worth of games to be ready to rejoin the Pirates. Once active, Newman likely will regain his starting shortstop spot, but may be keeping the spot warm only until Oneil Cruz is finally promoted. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5 

Liover Peguero, Pirates: Peguero was recalled Friday, jumping straight from Double-A Altoona to replace Tucupita Marcano, who landed on the COVID-19 list. Pittsburgh opted to promote Peguero rather than Oneil Cruz due primarily to his geographical proximity to Pittsburgh rather than his major-league readiness with the Pirates needing a player on  short notice. Peguero stole 14 bases in 54 games for Altoona this season and could make a fantasy impact with his legs if he's given a handful of starts, though his bat may not be ready to make the jump. His .292/.315/.469 slash line is good for a 113 wRC+, but his stint in the majors may last until Marcano or Kevin Newman - who's close to a rehab stint - are ready to return. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (keeper stash candidate)

Alan Trejo, Rockies: Trejo, sent to the minors in early May, rejoined the Rockies' active roster and started at third base Friday. He should operate mainly as depth during his time on the major-league roster after he hit .257 with a homer, six runs and six RBI over 10 games with Colorado earlier in the year. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5

OUTFIELD

Jonathan Davis, Brewers: Davis was promoted Saturday after Lorenzo Cain was designated for assignment. At Triple-A Nashville, he slashed .297/.408/.426 with three homers, 22 runs, 18 RBI and 11 stolen bases to earn the call-up. The 30-year-old made ML appearances for the Blue Jays and Yankees over the last four seasons and should provide outfield depth, especially in center field. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $6

Corey Dickerson, Cardinals: Dickerson, sidelined since exiting a Jun. 4 game against the Cubs with a left calf strain, kicked off a rehab assignment at Triple-A Memphis on Thursday. He had been starting to see more frequent starts as a DH and corner outfielder prior to getting hurt, but will likely have to settle for a lesser role once healthy due to the current depth in St. Louis. Since Dickerson was injured, the Cardinals have returned Tyler O'Neill and Dylan Carlson from the 10-day injured list while Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan have established themselves as everyday players. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $6 

Jerar Encarnacion, Marlins: Encarnacion was promoted Friday with Jesus Sanchez landing on the IL due to COVID. He'll have to hit well to stick around, as he's limited to the outfield corners defensively but does offer an intriguing offensive profile thanks to his raw power. Encarnacion may not quite be ready to make a significant splash at the big-league level, as his .260/.336/.442 line in 26 games for Triple-A Jacksonville this season is good for a merely above-average 106 wRC+ and comes with a 30.2 percent strikeout rate. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5

Luis Gonzalez, Giants: Gonzalez continues to rake at the plate for the Giants slashing .303/.366/.444 with three homers, 22 RBI, 17 runs scored, five stolen bases and 11 doubles across 161 plate appearances through Friday. He's hitting leadoff versus right-handed pitchers while maintaining a near-everyday role in the corner outfield spots - a role he could continue to maintain even when LaMonte Wade returns. 12-team Mixed: $3, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: Rostered 

Zach McKinstry, Dodgers: Mookie Betts ended up on the 10-day injured list with a cracked right rib Sunday and was replaced by McKinstry on the active roster. McKinstry got off to a strong start after his promotion last year before struggling and landing in the minors. He could start against right-handed pitching in right field after slashing. 330/.417/.469 with three home runs in 45 games at Triple-A Albuquerque, though LA has several candidates for the spot. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 

Tyler Naquin, Reds: Naquin, out since May 31, is reportedly "way ahead of schedule" in his recovery from a left quadriceps strain, an injury that had been expected to sideline him for 4-to-6 weeks. No specific timeframe has been given for a return, but he could be back by the end of the month. Once active, Naquin should start almost daily in right field. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (early injury return bid) 

Max Schrock, Reds: Schrock, who injured his left calf late in spring training, was activated from the 60-day IL on Friday. He began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville in late May and hit .282 with a homer, six runs and three RBI over 11 games with the minor-league club. Schrock isn't likely to be the primary option at any given position, but his defensive versatility should allow him to carve out semi-consistent playing time now that he's back to full health. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $7 

Matt Vierling, Phillies: Vierling opened the season as the Phillies' starting center fielder but was demoted after hitting just .170 with two doubles, four RBI, three runs and a stolen base over 23 major-league games. He was recalled and replaced Johan Camargo (knee) after spending nearly a month with Triple-A Lehigh Valley while slashing .271/.347/.459 with two homers, 15 runs, nine RBI and eight stolen bases over 21 games. Vierling is operating as a utility player off the bench and could stick even when Camargo returns and aided his case with a pair of home runs in Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team-NL: $7 

LaMonte Wade, Giants:  Wade, on the IL since late spring due to inflammation and a bone bruise in his left knee, returned to action May 6 before being sidelined again two weeks later due to the same injury. He started a rehab assignment this past weekend that likely should last at least a week and maybe two. Luis Gonzalez and Austin Slater have filled in for Wade in right field. Once back in action, he should see substantive playing time in left and right field - and largely against righties due to his struggles versus southpaws.  12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team-NL: $11 (injury return bid)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Levine
Levine covers baseball and hockey for RotoWire. He is responsible for the weekly NL FAAB column for baseball and the Barometer for hockey. In addition to his column writing, he is master of the NHL cheat sheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets and Rangers.
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