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.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Edward CabreraMIASPD159 (upped spec return bid)
Tommy HenryAZSPE016
Corbin MartinAZSPENoNo4
Jesus LuzardoMIASPC2711 (upped spec return bid)
Dustin MayLASPB2711 (upped early spec return bid)
Wade MileyCHISPC/D147 (early spec return bid)
Mike SorokaATLSPB147 (same early injury return bid)
Jose UrenaCOLSPD017
Evan PhillipsLARPC15

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.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Edward CabreraMIASPD159 (upped spec return bid)
Tommy HenryAZSPE016
Corbin MartinAZSPENoNo4
Jesus LuzardoMIASPC2711 (upped spec return bid)
Dustin MayLASPB2711 (upped early spec return bid)
Wade MileyCHISPC/D147 (early spec return bid)
Mike SorokaATLSPB147 (same early injury return bid)
Jose UrenaCOLSPD017
Evan PhillipsLARPC159
Trevor RosenthalSFRPD015 (early stash bid)
Elias DiazCOLCD2711
Aramis GarciaCINCE016
Mark KolozsvaryCINCENoNo4
Michael PapierskiCINCENoNo4
Yadier MolinaSTLCC/D159 (spec early return bid)
Daniel VogelbachNYM1BD27Rostered
Nick MadrigalCHI2BD026 (early soec return bid)
Jean SeguraPHI2BD147 (early soec return bid)
Mike BrosseauMIL3BDNoNo5
Eguy RosarioSD3BC/D015 (early spec bid)
David VillarSF3BD159
Luke WilliamsMIA3BENoNo5
Paul DeJongSTLSSD015 (spec call up bid)
Greg AllenPITOFD147 (same injury return bid)
Harrison BaderSTLOFD027 (early spec return bid)
JJ BledayMIAOFC/D159
Wil MyersSDOFC2711 (upped spec return bid)
Lars NootbaarSTLOFE016
Austin SlaterSFOFD027
Tyrone TaylorMILOFD159

STARTING PITCHER

Edward Cabrera, Marlins: Cabrera, on the 15-day injured list Jun. 15 with right elbow tendinitis and then delayed in his return due a personal matter, made his second rehab start with Double-A Pensacola on Friday throwing three scoreless innings and 52 pitches while striking out seven and walking one. Cabrera was expected to throw four innings after he covered three perfect frames in his initial outing for Pensacola on Jul. 16, but still got his work in. He likely will need another one-to-two starts prior to rejoining the Marlins, though Cabrera or Jesus Luzardo - also rehabbing from an injury - could join the team with Max Meyer leaving Saturday's start with elbow discomfort. Cabrera made three outings for Miami after his Jun. 1 call up before being sidelined. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 (upped spec return bid)

Tommy Henry/Corbin Martin, Diamondbacks: Dallas Keuchel was designated for assignment this past week by Arizona, creating a spot in the team's starting rotation. Henry, selected 74th overall in 2019 out of the University of Michigan, and Martin, a second-rounder by Houston in 2017 and acquired in the Zack Greinke deal, are the favorites to fill the spot. Henry offers a three-pitch mix and low-90s fastball. His slider and changeup are quality offerings, but the sum of the parts likely equates to a backend starter in the majors. If promoted, Henry would be making his MLB debut. Martin has had cups of coffee in 2019, 2021 and this season and isn't really considered a prospect anymore given his minor-league numbers, but he's coming off back-to-back stellar starts at Triple-A Reno. Henry - 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $6; Martin - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4 

Jesus Luzardo, Marlins: Luzardo, on the injured list since May 15 with a strained left forearm, made his second rehab start with Triple-A Jacksonville on Friday tossing four no-hit innings and 51 pitches while striking out three. His first rehab appearance came Jul. 16 with Single-A Jupiter and covered three innings where he struck out three while allowing one earned run on two hits and no walks. Luzardo will probably need at least one additional rehab start before slotting back into the Miami rotation in early August. But with Max Meyer leaving his start Saturday with elbow discomfort, Luzardo or Edward Cabrera could join the Marlins' rotation. Luzardo had an impressive spring and opened the season in the team's rotation, making six starts before he was injured and gave up four runs in 2.2 innings during that final outing. If he can recapture his early season form, he could slot into the third or fourth rotation slot upon returning. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (upped spec return bid)

Dustin May, Dodgers: May, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2021, made his first rehab start Jul. 16 in the Arizona Fall League. He made his second one on Friday at Triple-A Oklahoma and allowed one run on three hits and three walks while striking out three batters over two innings. May threw 49 pitches and topped out at 99 MPH with the elevated pitch count preventing him from tossing the scheduled three frames. He was to add an inning per outing until he was ready to rejoin the Dodgers, which could come after he goes five. It's unclear if the Dodgers will bring May back as a starter or if they prefer to use him in a multi-inning relief roll to manage his workload coming off surgery, but all signs point to him to joining the rotation and that could happen in early-to-mid August. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (upped early spec return bid)

Wade Miley, Cubs: Miley opened the year on IL due to inflammation in his pitching elbow. After coming back in May, he made three starts before being shut down with a strained left shoulder. Miley returned to action for one appearance before landing back on the IL the next day on Jun. 11. He threw a 32-pitch bullpen session Friday and will need to progress to several rehab outings before rejoining the Cubs, likely in mid-August at the earliest. Miley posted a 2.84 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 12 strikeouts over 19 innings across four starts. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (early sec return bid)

Mike Soroka, Braves: Soroka, who last appeared in a game in Aug. 2020 due to multiple tears of his Achilles, is an unlikely option to return until at least September. (Yes, that sound you heard was me screaming as I have Soroka rostered in three leagues. Fortunately, all are of the keeper variety). He has yet to begin a rehab assignment, which will require multiple appearances and manager Brian Snitker said Friday he doesn't start considering a player's return until they get deeper into their assignments. Soroka hasn't suffered any setbacks in his recovery process and faced live hitters at the team complex but hasn't pitched in any type of game, simulated or other. Atlanta is preparing for him to return from the 60-day injured list as a starting pitcher, though that could change with a projected September return date. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team-NL: $7 (same early spec return bid)

Jose Urena, Rockies: Urena had been solid in his three starts since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Jul. 7 only giving up three earned runs in 18.2 innings as a starter. He looked like the 2017-18 version in Miami rather than the one in the remainder of his career until now. Despite  the return of Antonio Senzatela (shoulder), who started this past Friday, Urena remained in the rotation and allowed six runs - five earned - in 5.1 innings Saturday. It's unclear if he will stick as a starter, though he could replace Austin Gomber or Chad Kuhl. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $7

RELIEF PITCHER

Evan Phillips, Dodgers: Craig Kimbrel is locked in as the Dodgers' closer, but his setup man – Brusdar Graterol – landed on the injured list Jul. 14 with right shoulder inflammation and might be sidelined until the middle of August with Phillips filling his role. Since the start of May, Phillips has allowed only two runs in 28 innings while racking up three wins, a save, 11 holds and a 30:10 K:BB - numbers made worse by his subpar line Thursday. When Kimbrel needs a day off, Phillips will slide into the closer role.  12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 

Trevor Rosenthal, Giants: Rosenthal signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Giants on Thursday, but won't be ready to pitch in the majors for weeks. He dealt with a cramp in his hamstring area following a showcase in early June, which now has put him on IL. Rosenthal hasn't pitched in the majors since 2020 due to shoulder and hip issues, but earned double-digit saves in four of his last five seasons. He could help set up Camilo Doval once he's ready to return. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (early stash bid) 

CATCHER 

Elias Diaz, Rockies: Diaz is making a play for additional starts behind the plate. Stuck in a nearly even split of playing time behind the dish with Brian Serven for much of July, he collected multiple hits in each of his last five starts. During that stretch, Diaz has hit .526 with four RBI and two runs scored across 19 at-bats while Serven is just 1-for-26 this month. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

Aramis Garcia/Mark Kolozsvary/Michael Papierski, Reds: That scream you heard Friday was from me after Tyler Stephenson broke his right clavicle on a Paul Goldschmidt foul ball in the first inning, putting him on the shelf for the second time this season. His absence leaves a huge hole behind the plate and in the lineup for Cincinnati. Garcia (elbow/illness) will likely operate as the primary catcher once healthy, but Papierski and Kolozsvary will be the top two options behind the dish while Stephenson and Garcia are sidelined. If possible, avoid all three entirely. Garcia - 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $6; Kolozsvary/Papierski - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5

Yadier Molina, Cardinals: Molina is scheduled to return from his native Puerto Rico and begin a rehab assignment Monday. He dealt with right knee inflammation the first few months of the season before landing on the injured list in mid-June. The Cardinals has received poor production from the likes of Andrew Knizner, Austin Romine and Ivan Herrera at catcher while its top backstop has been sidelined, which likely means the team will explore free agency or trade market this offseason as Yadi is expected to retire. Molina is expected to be ready to come back on Aug. 2. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 (spec early return bid)

FIRST BASE 

Daniel Vogelbach, Mets: Vogelbach was acquired by New York on Friday from Pittsburgh for Colin Holderman. The Mets have a .692 OPS vs. RHP, 21st in majors, while Vogelbach has produced an .896 vs. RHP. Robinson Cano and Dominic Smith have failed to provide support from the left side, prompting the move to bring in Vogelbach, who has a 2023 option on his contract and should start at DH vs. righties. Giving up Holderman hurts the Mets' bullpen, even with Trevor May close to kicking off a rehab stint, so look for additional moves to bolster that area before the trade deadline. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: Rostered 

SECOND BASE

Nick Madrigal, Cubs: Madrigal has been on the IL most of the season, first with back tightness and recently with a groin issue. After being shut down for two weeks after aggravating his injury in a rehab game, he restarted his assignment Friday for Triple-A Iowa. Madrigal will likely appear in multiple games in Triple-A before rejoining to the big-league roster, potentially at the end of the week. He went crosstown in Chicago this past offseason, coming over for Craig Kimbrel. A hamstring injury cost Madrigal most of last season and he was off to slow start prior to the injuries. With the infield mostly set, he'll likely end up in a utility role upon returning. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team-NL: $6 (early spec call up bid)

Jean Segura, Phillies: Segura, on the shelf since fracturing his right index finger in late May, is making good progress hitting in the cage and fielding grounders. Throwing remains an issue for him, but he hopes to begin a rehab assignment sometime this week and that means an early-to-mid-August return. Prior to getting hurt, Segura was productive by hitting six home runs with six stolen bases, 19 runs drive in and 22 scored with a .731 OPS. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7 (early spec return bid)

THIRD BASE

Mike Brosseau, Brewers: Brosseau is in line for an uptick in playing for the next month. Jace Peterson has been dealing the last three weeks with an injury to his elbow that received a PRP injection Saturday. That likely will sideline him until at least the end of August. In Peterson's absence, Brosseau will back up Luis Urias at the hot corner. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5

Eguy Rosario, Padres: Rosario has shot up the prospect rankings this season. That spike was aided by him slashing .357/.442/.760 - good for a 1.201 OPS - with 11 home runs, five steals and a 20:24 BB:K across his last 33 games for Triple-A El Paso. Rosario has played second, third and shortstop in the minors this year, but he's best suited for third and is blocked there by Manny Machado. San Diego will likely be aggressive once again at the trade deadline with Rosario a prime candidate to be dealt as part of a deal to open up playing time for him. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (early spec bid)

David Villar, Giants: Villar was promoted a little over two weeks ago to fill in for Evan Longoria, who went on the injured list with a strained left oblique. Now he should get the chance to replace Longoria, who'll likely go back on the IL with a strained right hamstring. Villar slashed .284/.409/.633 with 21 home runs, 62 RBI, 53 runs scored and 15 doubles in 66 games for Triple-A Sacramento to earn the original opportunity. Wilmer Flores, Thairo Estrada and Tommy La Stella - when he returns - will also factor into the hot corner mix. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Luke Williams, Marlins: Jazz Chisholm (back) underwent a CT scan that revealed a stress fracture, which is expected to sideline Marlins' star for at least six weeks. Jon Berti and Joey Wendle will likely see most of the playing time at the keystone with Brian Anderson covering the hot corner. But this should also mean a slight uptick in at-bats for Williams, who has played second, short, third and the outfield during his stints in the majors this year. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5

SHORTSTOP

Paul DeJong, Cardinals: DeJong opened the season as St. Louis' starting shortstop thanks to a hot spring. After a month in the majors, he was sent down having slashed just .130/.209/.208 with a career-worst 29.1 percent strikeout rate. DeJong was named the International League Player of the Week and is up to 14 homers and 47 RBI in 46 games with Triple-A Memphis. He's batting .236, but with an .811 OPS and could get a late summer call up and look as backup shortstop and part-time DH. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (spec call up bid) 

OUTFIELD

Greg Allen, Pirates: Allen, on the 60-day injured list all season while recovering from strains of both hamstrings, was activated Friday. He played seven games on a rehab assignment at Single-A Bradenton and Triple-A Indianapolis to pave the way for his return. Allen wasn't in the lineup Friday but started Saturday against Miami and should see semi-consistent playing time difficult to find, at least until once Bryan Reynolds (oblique) is able to return. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (same bid as prior injury return bid)

Harrison Bader, Cardinals: Stop me if you've heard this before: Bader began another rehab assignment. This time, he's been on the injured list since late June due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot and kicked off that assignment at Triple-A Memphis on Friday. Bader came through Friday's game just OK, reporting soreness the next day. He was scratched from Saturday's planned appearance, so he may have even experienced a slight setback. Prior to being sidelined, Bader still wasn't hitting for power, but he did rack up 15 steals while playing a mostly solid defensive center field. As long as he feels good following his rehab games, he may be able to rejoin the Cardinals late this week and regain his role as starting center fielder, though the latest setback could sideline him longer. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7 (early spec return bid)

JJ Bleday, Marlins: Bleday, selected in the first round in 2019, was called up Saturday with Jorge Soler landing on the injured list with back spasms. He earned the promotion by showcasing his power potential at Triple-A Jacksonville slashing .228/.365/.467 with 19 homers, 54 runs, 51 RBI and a steal over 85 games. Bleday still struggles with plate discipline striking out 27 percent of his at-bats this season - a rise over his first two seasons as a professional - but he's improved his walk rate. With Miami building for the future, look for him to log plenty of playing time at least until Soler is ready to come back. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Wil Myers, Padres: Myers, sidelined since early June after being diagnosed with right knee inflammation, had his rehab assignment moved to Triple-A El Paso on Friday and started at first base. He hit .333 (6-for-18) with a pair of homers in five rehab games with Single-A Lake Elsinore, seeing time in center field and as the DH. Myers dealt with the nagging injury throughout the first half of the season, which might have been a factor in his mediocre numbers before being sidelined. He registered a .234/.276/.306 slash line with just one home run, 19 RBI and no stolen base attempts in 32 games prior to his placement on the IL. Myers should return this week and start almost daily in either right or left field, though Nomar Mazara has been solid in right, Jurickson Profar has taken over in left and Esteury Ruiz was recently promoted. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (upped spec return bid)

Lars Nootbaar, Cardinals: Nootbaar did the Memphis-St. Louis bounce again last week. He landed back with the Cardinals after Juan Yepez (forearm) was placed on the injured list to join Harrison Bader. Yepez was diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain, which should keep him out at least another 10-14 days while Bader should return after he completes his rehab stint which started Friday. In the interim, Nootbaar will see additional at-bats as will Corey Dickerson and Albert Pujols, but Nootbaar closed out the first half on a six-game hitting streak and that gives him an edge. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $6 

Austin Slater, Giants: Slater went into the All-Star break starting in five of the Giants' last six games, but benefited from the opposition using three left-handed starting pitchers and was on the bench Thursday facing a righty. With Joc Pederson, Mike Yastrzemski, Luis Gonzalez and LaMonte Wade healthy and available heading into the second half of the season, Slater will remain stuck in a short-side platoon role. But don't sleep on him, especially in DFS when a southpaw in on the hill, as he boasts an .885 OPS vs. lefties and closed the first half red-hot. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7

Tyrone Taylor, Brewers: Taylor, on the 7-day concussion injured list since Jul. 3, began a rehab stint the previous Friday at Triple-A Nashville. After playing two games, he was activated and started in center field this past Friday. Prior to be sidelined, Taylor was .228 with nine home runs and 32 RBI, but only a .258 BABIP. Jonathan Davis has filled in somewhat ably for Taylor at center field. But now that Taylor is activated, look for Davis to shift back to the bench and Taylor to resume his role as the starter while providing a little power and speed. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
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.
MLB Betting Picks Today: Free MLB Picks and Props for Sunday, May 28
MLB Betting Picks Today: Free MLB Picks and Props for Sunday, May 28
MLB DFS Picks: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Sunday May 28
MLB DFS Picks: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Sunday May 28
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Sunday, May 28
MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Sunday, May 28