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.

With rosters expanding from 26 to 28, those players who could see significant playing time or have keeper league value have been profiled. For anyone not covered who you want additional information on, post your request in the comments.

<!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}-->

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Adbert AlzolayCHISPENoNo4
Javier AssadCHISPD2711
Bryce ElderATLSPD147
Hunter GreeneCINSPB15RosteredRostered
Michael GroveLASPC015
Ryan PepiotLASPC159

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.

With rosters expanding from 26 to 28, those players who could see significant playing time or have keeper league value have been profiled. For anyone not covered who you want additional information on, post your request in the comments.

<!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}-->

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Adbert AlzolayCHISPENoNo4
Javier AssadCHISPD2711
Bryce ElderATLSPD147
Hunter GreeneCINSPB15RosteredRostered
Michael GroveLASPC015
Ryan PepiotLASPC159 (stash bid)
Steven MatzSTLSPC015 (reduced spec return bid)
Johan OviedoPITSPE147
Mike SorokaATLSPA/B2711 (upped spec return bid)
Chase De JongPITRPE147 (saves spec)
Nick MartinezSDRPC511Rostered
Tylor MegillNYMRPD014
Blake TreinenLARPC016
Donny SandsPHICENoNo4
Sean BouchardCOL1BD147
Michael TogliaCHI1BD3914
David BoteCHI2BENoNo4
Wilmer DifoAZ2BENoNo4
Alan TrejoCOL2BENoNo4
Eduardo EscobarNYM3BC/D3914
David VillarSF3BENoNo5
Spencer SteerCINSSC2711
Albert AlmoraCINOFENoNo5
Matt BeatySDOFENoNo4
Lewis BrinsonSFOFENoNo4
Bryan De La CruzMIAOFENoNo4
Ben DeLuzioSTLOFENoNo6
Terrance GoreNYMOFENoNo6
Bryce JohnsonSFOFENoNo4
Corbin CarrollAZOFA/B455575
Cal MitchellPITOFD2711
Esteury RuizMILOFD147 (SB potential)
Lane ThomasWASOFC1525Rostered

STARTING PITCHER

Adbert Alzolay, Cubs: Alzolay, sidelined all season with a strained lat, made his third rehab start Thursday. After a solid first two outings, he allowed four runs in just 1.2 innings. Alzolay looked to be just one or two starts away from rejoining the Cubs, but his recent struggles could slightly push back that return date. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4

Javier Assad, Cubs: Assad, profiled last week, gets another mention after nine scoreless innings in his first two big-league starts. Not all was perfect as he allowed 14 baserunners in those nine innings, but he brought success from the minors to the South Side. Over his 36.2 innings at Triple-A Iowa since receiving a promotion from Double-A Tennessee earlier this summer, Assad produced a 2.95 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 37:7 K:BB. He should remain in the injury-impacted rotation the rest of the season. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

Bryce Elder. Braves: Elder was called from Triple-A Gwinnett to start Saturday against the Marlins due to Jake Odorizzi being a late scratch with arm fatigue. He shut out Miami for six innings allowing just two hits while walking two and striking out six. Elder could remain in the rotation if Odorizzi stays sidelined. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Hunter Greene, Reds: Greene, rostered in CBS leagues at slightly below the 65 percent threshold I use for this column and sidelined since Aug. 1 with a strained right shoulder, tossed two scoreless innings while striking out four in his first rehab start Thursday. Prior to being sidelined, he had been dialed in with a 2.70 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 29 strikeouts in 23.1 innings across his last four starts. Greene will start Tuesday at Triple-A Louisville and will likely rejoin the big-league rotation Sep. 11 in Milwaukee or Sep. 12 at home versus the Pirates if all goes well. 12-team Mixed: $15, 15-team Mixed: Rostered; 12-team NL: Rostered 

Michael Grove/Ryan Pepiot, Dodgers: LA welcomed back Clayton Kershaw (back) Thursday, but lost Tony Gonsolin to a strained forearm that now will require an MRI. Pepiot started last Sunday against the Marlins and gave up two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out seven in six innings to earn the win. He was sent down Monday with Grove taking his spot and picking up a no-decision against the Marlins after allowing two earned runs and striking out four in 4.2 innings. The Dodgers may go with five starters, but could opt to go with six to give Julio Urias and Tyler Anderson extra rest. This looks to be the case on Sunday as Pepiot is starting against the Padres. Grove - 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5; Pepiot - 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 (stash bid) 

Steven Matz, Cardinals: Matz (torn left knee MCL) was scheduled to throw two bullpen sessions the past week before potentially advancing to facing hitters. His fastball sat at 89 MPH during a side session last Saturday, so the focus was to increase his velocity. Matz is likely to require a multi-start rehab assignment in the minors before being reinstated from the injured list, so he shouldn't be expected back until the latter part of the month. Originally out since May 22 with left shoulder inflammation, Matz returned to start Jul. 23. That start was cut short as he tore his left MCL. The southpaw made four starts in May prior to hitting the IL logging a 5.95 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 19.2 innings over that span. Matz is expected to return as a reliever, cutting his fantasy value. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (reduced spec return bid) 

Wade Miley, Cubs: Miley, out since Jun. 11 with a strained left shoulder, was placed on the 60-day injured Thursday. This was just a procedural move, as he's been out more than two months and will be activated once deemed ready to return. After suffering a setback following an Aug. 16 rehab start, Miley was shut down for about two weeks but resumed his minor-league assignment Wednesday with High-A South Bend striking out two while allowing two earned runs on five hits and no walks over 3.2 innings. He may need one or two more rehab starts before rejoining the Cubs. Miley posted a 2.84 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 12 strikeouts over 19 innings in his four big league starts this season and his appeared on the IL several times. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (same spec return bid) 

Johan Oviedo, Pirates: Oviedo, acquired from St. Louis in the Jose Quintana trade, made his Pirates debut Friday against the Blue Jays giving up two hits and three walks while striking out four across three scoreless innings while throwing 77 pitches. He was 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA, 26 strikeouts and seven walks in 25.1 innings over 14 games while working largely in relief - save for one start - for the Cardinals prior to the trade. After being acquired, Oviedo was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis to stretch out as a starter. In 11.1 innings over five appearances - including four starts - he produced a 0.79 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with a 13: K:BB with opponents batting .195 against. Oviedo likely will remain in the Pittsburgh rotation the rest of the year. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 

Mike Soroka, Braves: Soroka was reinstated from the 60-day injured list and optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday. He made his third rehab start Saturday allowing four earned runs in 4.2 innings and 75 pitches. Soroka started for Gwinnett on Friday and should pitch for the Braves sometime this season, though it's not clear when that will be. The good news is that he's fully healthy and projects to be part of the Atlanta rotation after his promotion. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team-NL: $11 (same early spec return bid) 

RELIEF PITCHER 

Chase De Jong, Pirates: De Jong notched his first career save on Tuesday. Wil Crowe is still the Pirates' main closer with David Bednar (back) sidelined. But Crowe took the loss Monday and was likely unavailable to give De Jong the opportunity. He's only produced a 46:20 K:BB across 55.1 innings for the season, but has also maintained a 1.95 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (saves spec) 

Nick Martinez, Padres: The Padres closer roulette wheel has landed on Martinez as he racked up four straight saves. Josh Hader has struggled mightily since coming to San Diego for Taylor Rogers, who was the Friars' closer for most of the season before the trade. Martinez has played a versatile role this year with a 3.18 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 82:35 K:BB with eight saves, three holds and a 3-3 record across 93.1 innings through 34 appearances (10 starts). If he continues to pitch well, he should remain in the closer spot, at least until Hader has worked out his issues. And Hader recorded the save with a clean ninth inning Wednesday. 12-team NL: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: Rostered (saves spec) 

Tylor Megill. Mets: Megill, who landed on the injured list in mid-June due to strained right shoulder, struck out the side after entering in relief during his first rehab outing with Double-A Binghamton on Thursday. Since he'll work out of the bullpen once activated, he won't need as long of a rehab assignment as if he were returning as a starter. Megill's long-term appeal remains intact as he's expected to build back up as a starter over the winter. Rostering him is mainly for those in keeper leagues since his value this season will be limited by his role. 12-team $0: No, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 

Blake Treinen, Dodgers: Treinen, on the injured list since Apr. 14 with right shoulder discomfort, was activated Friday. He made seven appearances at Triple-A Oklahoma City posting a 4.50 ERA and 1.50 WHIP with a 9:1 K:BB in six innings. The 34-year-old went 6-5 as the Dodgers' setup man with a 1.99 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and seven saves and filling in as the team's closer when Kenley Jansen was unavailable last season. Treinen will slot back as one of Craig Kimbrel's setup men and could get a chance to close if either Kimbrel or Evan Phillips falter. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $6 

CATCHER 

Donny Sands, Phillies: Sands slashed .308/.413/.428 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season to earn a promotion to the Phillies. He will provide depth behind J.T. Realmuto and Garrett Stubbs. 12-team Mixed: No 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4

FIRST BASE 

Sean Bouchard/Michael Toglia, Rockies: Bouchard and Toglia were both promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday. Bouchard slashed .300/.404/.635 with 20 home runs, 56 runs driven in and 61 scored in 69 games to earn the call-up. Drafted in the ninth round in 2017, he's steadily worked his way up the ladder while hitting well at every stop. Toglia, a first-rounder out of UCLA in 2019, has struggled to make consistent contact since being drafted, but worked his way up to Triple-A and supplied a 1.171 OPS over 17 games with Albuquerque following his Aug. 10 promotion from Double-A Hartford. He crushed 30 home runs over 114 contests between two minor-league levels this season. Bouchard will see most of his action in left field while Toglia - who has lots of swing-and-miss in his profile, but plenty of power in his 6-foot-5 frame - should receive plenty of opportunities at DH and RF while backing up C.J. Cron at first. Bouchard - 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7: Toglia - 12-team Mixed: $3, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14

SECOND BASE

David Bote/Wilmer Difo/Alan Trejo: Depth middle infielders were promoted in Chicago, Arizona and Colorado. Bote rejoined the Cubs as a September call-up after a month-long stint at Triple-A where he slashed .224/.291/.368 across 20 games and will get some game action as a utility player. Difo made 116 appearances in the majors last season for the Pirates, but has spent all of 2022 in the D-Backs' minors. He slashed .269/.311/.398 with seven homers, 43 RBI, 33 runs and four stolen bases over 72 games at Triple-A Reno this year. Trejo spent the last month at Triple-A Albuquerque going .358/.382/.741 with eight home runs, 21 RBI and 14 runs over 20 games after being demoted in early August. All -  12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4 

THIRD BASE

Eduardo Escobar, Mets: Escobar, profiled last week, gets a bump in value with Brett Baty landing on the injured list Monday due a torn UCL in his left thumb. Originally slated to be the short-side platoon while starting against southpaws at third base or utility role backing up at second base or shortstop, he's now the primary third baseman again. Escobar is taking advantage of renewed playing time at third base in September going 2-for-7 with two homers, four RBI and two walks through three contests. 12-team Mixed: $3, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14

David Villar, Giants: Villar is back for another stint by The Bay. The 25-year-old has played in 23 big-league games this season and has a .175/.338/.286 slash line with one homer, seven RBI and eight runs scored. Villar provides depth behind Evan Longoria and Wilmer Flores and can also fill at first and second. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5

SHORTSTOP

Spencer Steer, Reds: Steer, acquired on Aug. 2 in the trade that sent Tyler Mahle to the Twins, was promoted from Triple-A Louisville by the Reds on Thursday. The 24-year-old batted .274 with an .879 OPS, 23 home runs and 75 RBIs in 106 games across Double-A and Triple-A. Steer hit .294 with three homers in 23 games for Louisville following the trade. He's primarily a contact hitter after being taken in the third round in 2019 and worked during the canceled 2020 season to tap into his power, which has been evident the past two seasons. Steer started at third base Friday, but could see time at second and shortstop and will be in the be in the lineup "as much as possible" down the stretch. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

OUTFIELD

Albert Almora, Reds: Almora, out since Aug. 20 with a right shoulder contusion, began what was to be a three-rehab stint at Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday. Whenever activated, the righty-hitting outfielder - who's struggled at the plate - will likely primarily operate as a short-side platoon mate for one of the Reds' two lefty-hitting regulars in the outfield in TJ Friedl and Jake Fraley. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5 

Matt Beaty/Lewis Brinson/Bryan De La Cruz/Ben DeLuzio/Terrance Gore/Bryce Johnson: Depth outfielders were promoted in San Diego, San Francisco, Florida, St. Louis, New York and San Francisco. Beaty spent a good portion of the season on the IL and posted a .364 OPS in in his brief majors stint this year. Brinson, a key part of the Christian Yelich deal, was DFA'd by Miami this past offseason. He signed with Houston and was dealt to SF for cash considerations Thursday. He slashed .296/.354/.571 with 22 home runs, 63 RBI, 61 runs and five stolen bases over 85 games at Triple-A Sugar Land this year. De La Cruz struggled in the majors earlier this year with a .581 OPS before being sent down Aug. 12 to Triple-A Jacksonville. Following the demotion, he posted a .320/.370/.620 slash line over 54 plate appearances to earn the call-up. DeLuzio, selected in the minor-league portion of the 2021 Rule 5 draft, enjoyed a solid campaign for Triple-A Memphis this year with a .782 OPS, nine homers, 60 runs, 49 RBI and 30 stolen bases. That speed could earn him an occasional start and several pinch-running opportunities down the stretch. Gore was promoted to provide a solid defensive and baserunning option off the bench for New York's playoff push. He got into his first game since 2019 on Thursday and did what he did best by stealing a base. Johnson was promoted Saturday. He wasn't particularly impressive at Triple-A, but got the nod to provide the Giants additional depth. All but DeLuzio and Gore - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4; DeLuzio/Gore - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $6 (SB potential) 

Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks: It was announced in mid-August that Carroll would make his major-league debut before the end of the season. That debut came Monday, and he certainly hit the ground running with three hits, five RBI and four runs in his first two games. After missing most of last season due to a shoulder injury in May, Carroll made up for lost time hitting .313/.430/.643 in 58 Double-A games while adding 16 home runs and 20 steals to earn a promotion to Triple-A Reno in early July. He slashed .287/.408/.535 with seven homers, 25 runs, 22 RBI and 11 steals over 33 games at Reno prior to his promotion. The 21-year-old center fielder, who may sit versus some lefties, is one of the top prospects in baseball and has performed like one so far this season prompting Arizona to call him up and start his service clock a season early. 12-team Mixed: $45, 15-team Mixed: $55; 12-team NL: $75

Cal Mitchell, Pirates: Mitchell struggled in his first exposure to the major leagues batting .204 over 44 games before getting sent back down to Triple-A Indianapolis. He excelled at that level and recorded hits in 16 of 17 games following his demotion while slashing .375/.438/.688 with four home runs, two triples, four doubles, 14 RBI, 13 runs and a stolen base. Mitchell had a 24.7 K rate in his 44 MLB contests resulting in a .577 OPS, but has vastly improved that number in the minors to contribute to his success. He should have a chance to earn playing time with the Pirates down the stretch. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

Esteury Ruiz, Brewers: Ruiz, acquired by the Brewers as part of the Josh Hader deal from the Padres, spent the first month with his new organization at the Triple-A level. He slashed .326/.383/.395 with six doubles, 16 runs, five RBI and 10 stolen bases over 22 games at Nashville. Ruiz was promoted Thursday with the rosters expanding to provide additional outfield depth and speed off the bench. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (stolen base potential)

Lane Thomas, Nationals: Thomas looks to be closing 2022 in the same fashion he did in 2021. He's produced six multi-hit efforts in his last 17 games while going 20-for-68 (.294) with five long balls, four doubles, eight RBI and 11 runs scored. Thomas' overall numbers are nothing special, but the 27-year outfielder could be helpful for teams looking for an offensive boost the remainder of the campaign while hoping his hot streak continues. 12-team Mixed: $11, 15-team Mixed: $22; 12-team NL: Rostered

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 Best Ball: Evaluating Hitters on Underdog
MLB Best Ball: Evaluating Hitters on Underdog
Closer Encounters: 2023 Closer Rankings
Closer Encounters: 2023 Closer Rankings
Cleveland Guardians Odds To Make The Playoffs In 2023
Cleveland Guardians Odds To Make The Playoffs In 2023
Collette Calls: 2023 AL Central Bold Predictions
Collette Calls: 2023 AL Central Bold Predictions