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 $
Bailey FalterPHISPD51116
Braxton GarrettMIASPC2711 (injury stash bid)
MacKenzie GoreWASSPB/C147 (injury stash and keeper bid)
Hunter GreeneCINSPB15RosteredRostered same bid as prior)
Steven MatzSTLSPC015 (same spec return bid)
Wade MileyCHISPC/D2711 (same return bid)
Ryne NelsonAZSPD159
Johan OviedoPITSPE147
Mike SorokaATLSPA/B2711 (same spec

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 $
Bailey FalterPHISPD51116
Braxton GarrettMIASPC2711 (injury stash bid)
MacKenzie GoreWASSPB/C147 (injury stash and keeper bid)
Hunter GreeneCINSPB15RosteredRostered same bid as prior)
Steven MatzSTLSPC015 (same spec return bid)
Wade MileyCHISPC/D2711 (same return bid)
Ryne NelsonAZSPD159
Johan OviedoPITSPE147
Mike SorokaATLSPA/B2711 (same spec return bid)
Hayden WesneskiCHISPD159
Seranthony DominguezPHIRPB2535Rostered
Dylan FloroMIARPC51116
Pierce JohnsonSDRPDNo05
Tylor MegillNYMRPD016
Yan GomesCHICD147
Yadier MolinaSTLCC/D2711
Israel PinedaWASCDNo05
Mark VientosNYM1BB/C2711
Zach McKinstryCHI2BD147
Hoy ParkPIT2BENoNo4
Kyle FarmerCIN3BC/D816Rostered
Luis GuillormeNYMSSDNo05
Dalton GuthriePHISSE017
Aristides AquinoCINOFD2711
Alec BurlesonSTLOFC/D147 (up in keeper leagues)
Alex CallWASOFE027
Austin DeanSFOFENo05
Avisail GarciaMIAOFD2711 (up if he stays off injured list)
Stone GarrettAZOFD159
Jorge SolerMIAOFC/D2711

STARTING PITCHER

Bailey Falter, Phillies: Falter has been red-hot for the Phillies. He extended his winning streak to four games on Wednesday, allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out three batters over 5.1 innings. During this run, Falter has posted a 2.66 ERA and 18:2 K:BB over 23.2 innings to help make up for the absence of Zack Wheeler (forearm). He should make two more starts before Wheeler is activated and could remain in the rotation even after his return. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16 (up if think he sticks in rotation)

Braxton Garrett, Marlins: Garrett, thought to be done for the season when he strained his oblique before his Aug. 20 start, may return prior to the end of the year. He made a rehab start for Triple-A Jacksonville on Sep. 7 and gave up one run on one hit while striking out three and tossing 46 pitches over 3.1 innings. The next step will be for Garrett to build up his pitch count, which might allow him to return by the end of the third full week of the month. Prior to being sidelined, he logged a 3.67 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 68.2 innings through 13 MLB starts. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (injury stash bid) 

MacKenzie Gore, Nationals: Gore, out since leaving his Jul. 25 start with a sore left elbow, tossed 37 pitches at 75 percent in two simulated innings at Busch Stadium on Tuesday. He threw a bullpen session Friday and is set to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester. Gore held down a rotation spot for the Padres for the better part of the first half and struck out more than a batter per inning, but a few blowups in June and July inflated his ERA and WHIP to 4.50 and 1.47 before he landed on the IL. He came to Washington as part of the Juan Soto deal and is being viewed as a key rotation piece for the future. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team-NL: $7 (injury stash and keeper bid)

Hunter Greene, Reds: Greene, still rostered in CBS leagues at slightly below the 65% threshold I use for this column and sidelined since Aug. 1 with a strained right shoulder, will continue his rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Louisville. He covered two frames in each of his first two rehab starts there while striking out 10 in those four innings. Prior to being sidelined, Greene had been dialed in with a 2.70 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 29 strikeouts in 23.1 innings across his last four starts. He's expected to rejoin the big-league rotation later this week. 12-team Mixed: $15, 15-team Mixed: Rostered; 12-team NL: Rostered (same bid as prior

Wade Miley, Cubs: Miley, out since Jun. 11 with a strained left shoulder, was activated to start Tuesday. He allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks while striking out six in four innings. After suffering a setback following an Aug. 16 rehab start, Miley was shut down for about two weeks but resumed his minor-league assignment with High-A South Bend and was surprisingly activated after just one rehab start. He posted a 2.84 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 12 strikeouts over 19 innings in his first four big league starts this season while hitting the IL several times. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (same return bid)

Steven Matz, Cardinals: Matz (torn left knee MCL) made his second rehab appearance Friday. He tossed 1.1 scoreless innings on Sep. 6 and allowed no hits while walking three and striking out three for Double-A Springfield. Matz is being stretched out to serve as a multi-inning reliever when activated, which should be in another week or so. 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 landing on the injured list with a 5.95 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 19.2 innings over that span. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (same spec return bid)

Ryne Nelson, Diamondbacks: Nelson, picked by the D-backs in the second round of the 2019 Draft, has produced a 5.43 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 128:47 K:BB in 136 innings across 26 starts at Triple-A Reno. Despite those so-so numbers, some of which was impacted by pitching in the PCL, he was called up Monday. Nelson was brilliant in his MLB debut, pitching seven scoreless innings where he gave up four hits and struck out seven batters without issuing a walk. Arizona looks like it will go with a six-man rotation for at least one more turn, affording Nelson at least an additional start. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team-NL: $9 

Mike Soroka, Braves: Soroka made his third rehab start Friday for Triple-A Gwinnett allowing three earned runs on three hits and a pair of walks while striking out three in four innings. This effort comes after he went 4.2 frames and 75 pitches in his prior outing, which may mean that he'll require another rehab start or two before being promoted. The good news is that Soroka, who last pitched in the majors Aug. 2020, is fully healthy and projects to be part of the Atlanta rotation after being promoted. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team-NL: $11 (same spec return bid) 

Hayden Wesneski, Cubs: Wesneski, one of the primary players acquired from the Yankees in the Scott Effross deal, earned the victory in his major-league debut Tuesday while striking out eight in five scoreless innings and allowing two hits and walking one in 61 pitches. With Justin Steele (back) finding the injured list last week, Wesneski's next appearance could come as a starter. Prior to getting called up, he generated a 3.92 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while striking out 106 across 110.1 innings between Triple-A Iowa and the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Wesneski's numbers at Iowa have not been that impressive, but he only allowed one earned run in 15 innings over his last three starts prior to his current stint. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 

RELIEF PITCHER 

Seranthony Dominguez, Phillies: Dominguez, out since mid-August due to triceps tendinitis, was scheduled to be activated off the IL on Sunday. He made just one rehab appearance at Triple-A- Lehigh Valley, walking two but hitting 98-100 MPH with his fastball. Prior to going down with the injury, Dominguez had maintained a 1.64 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 54:14 K:BB to go with nine saves across 44 frames on the season. David Robertson has struggled since coming to the Phillies, so look for Dominguez to be the primary option to close games. He's profiled this week as he is only 50% rostered in CBS leagues. 12-team Mixed: $25, 15-team Mixed: $35; 12-team NL: Rostered (saves spec)

Dylan Floro, Marlins: Floro appears to have regained the closer role in Miami after notching his fourth save of the season Friday. The right-hander's been effective in the second half with a 2.50 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 19:6 K:BB through 18 innings since the All-Star break with a win, two saves and two holds. With Tanner Scott dealing with continued control issues, Floro – who was slated to begin the season as the team's closer before being sidelined by injury – should continue to see most of the save chances in Miami. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16 

Pierce Johnson, Padres: Johnson, out since mid-April due to an elbow injury, was activated off the 60-day IL Saturday. He recently completed a rehab assignment in which he posted a 1.50 ERA and 0.33 WHIP in six innings over six relief appearances. Johnson could slot into to a role setting up Josh Hader. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

Tylor Megill. Mets: Megill, who hit the IL in mid-June due to strained right shoulder, has made three scoreless rehab appearances of an inning each. He hasn't allowed a hit while striking out seven and walking none. Since Megill will work out of the bullpen once activated, he won't require as long of a rehab assignment as if he were returning as a starter. He likely will need to show he can pitch in back-to-back games and/or multiple innings before he can return. 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 year will be limited by his role. 12-team $0: No, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $6

CATCHER

Yan Gomes, Cubs: Gomes is seeing an uptick in playing time with Willson Contreras (ankle) sidelined and landing on the injured list. P.J. Higgins is still in the mix and Contreras may only miss the minimum. But in the interim, Gomes gets a spike in value. 12-team Mixed: $1 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 

Yadier Molina, Cardinals: Molina has unlocked the Fountain of Youth the past week-and-a-half going 11-for-26 with a pair of home runs and seven runs driven in. His overall numbers pale in comparison to what he recently notched, but maybe he's set to close the season and career on a high note. A Future Hall of Famer, Yadi is still the heart and soul of the Cardinals and is worth a look down the stretch despite his less-than-optimal season-long production. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 

Israel Pineda, Nationals: Pineda was promoted Friday to replace Keibert Ruiz, who will be sidelined the remainder of the season with a testicular contusion suffered Friday. He began the season with High-A Wilmington before earning a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg on Jul. 22 and another to Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 31. Pineda showed some signs of life last year, but put it all together this season with 16 home runs while driving in 71 - both career-highs. Riley Adams and Tres Barrera will likely receive most of the playing time behind the plate, but Pineda should get a handful of starts the final four weeks of the season. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5

FIRST BASE 

Mark Vientos, Mets: "Finally!" is what every Mets fan said who had been clamoring for Vientos' promotion when he finally got the nod Saturday. New York has been struggling at the plate, especially at the DH spot, largely the righty hitters with Darin Ruf not providing much. Vientos hit .283/.361/.524 with 24 home runs and 74 RBI, but struck out in 28.6 percent of his plate appearances and that's been an issue for him during his career. Contact concerns could limit his production, but he's been able to surpass that problem in the minors. Look for Vientos to see most of his playing time against lefties, especially while Starling Marte is on the IL. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 

SECOND BASE 

Zach McKinstry, Cubs: McKinstry is in line for more playing time with Nick Madrigal hitting the 10-day IL due to a strained groin. Madrigal has battled this ailment during his career and could miss more than the 10 days. Chicago has several other players who could factor in the keystone mix, but McKinstry looks prime to handle most of the action. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 

Hoy Park, Pirates: Park was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace Josh VanMeter on the active roster. Though he has experience at three infield spots and all three outfield areas, the 26-year-old's career .202/.293/.348 slash line over 209 plate appearances in the majors makes him unlikely to get an extended look as an everyday player while up with Pittsburgh. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4 

THIRD BASE                                                                                                  

Kyle Farmer, Reds: All Farmer does is continue to produce. He hit his 10th home run of the season on Thursday and set a new career-high in runs batted in on Friday with 64. Farmer's only rostered in 41% of CBS leagues as of Thursday night and sits just seven runs shy of his peak of 60 from last year. To add to his value, he'll qualify at shortstop and third base next season and should see plenty of action once again in the field. 12-team Mixed: $8, 15-team Mixed: $16; 12-team NL: Rostered 

SHORTSTOP 

Luis Guillorme, Mets: Guillorme, out since straining his groin Aug. 14, is close to rejoining the team. Manager Buck Showalter said Friday Guillorme could make his return toward the front end of New York's next home stand, which starts Monday. Once activated, he'll resume as a utility infielder and receive most of his opportunities at second and third base. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5

Dalton Guthrie, Phillies: Guthrie, a 2017 sixth-round pick, made his first trip to the bigs Sunday as a replacement on the active roster for Nick Castellanos (oblique), who was placed on the 10-day injured list. A combination of Guthrie, Nick Maton and Matt Vierling will operate in right field while Castellanos is on the shelf. Guthrie slashed .302/.363/.476 with 10 home runs and 21 stolen bases in 374 plate appearances at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $7

OUTFIELD 

Aristides Aquino, Reds: Winning in fantasy leagues requires a strong base team, but also adding players before or during a hot streak and riding that until the production ends. Aquino's overall numbers leave a lot to be desire as his batting average hovers around the Mendoza Line, though he went 8-for-19 with three homers, seven RBI and four runs in six games heading into Friday. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 

Alec Burleson, Cardinals: Burleson was promoted Wednesday to replace Dylan Carlson (thumb) on the Cardinals' active roster. He received the call-up after slashing .332/.373/.534 with 20 home runs in 469 plate appearances at Triple-A Memphis. Burleson could struggle to find consistent at-bats in the corner outfield behind Lars Nootbaar and Corey Dickerson or at designated hitter behind Albert Pujols and Nolan Gorman. Moreover, Burleson bats from the left side of the plate, so he won't be a candidate to replace Dickerson, Nootbaar or Gorman in the short side of a platoon. Burleson boasts higher value in keeper leagues despite the myriad of bodies in front of him. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (up in keeper leagues) 

Alex Call, Nationals: Call, a third-round pick of the Guardians in 2016, was claimed off waivers by the Nationals in early August. He saw minimal action since his promotion last month, but had a game to remember Thursday going 4-for-5 with his first career home run and double to go with five RBI and two runs scored. That fine effort should earn Call additional playing time down the stretch. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7

Austin Dean, Giants: Dean was promoted and started in left field for the Giants on Friday. Claimed off waivers by SF in November, he played in 104 games for Triple-A Sacramento this year posting an .800 OPS with 16 home runs and 51 RBI. Dean, a right-handed hitter, could operate as a small-side platoon option in the outfield for San Francisco. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

Avisail Garcia, Marlins: Garcia, sidelined since straining his left hamstring on Aug. 2, returned Tuesday against the Phillies. He hit cleanup and started in right field for the Marlins. In the first season of a four-year, $53 million contract he signed with Miami last in November, Garcia struggled mightily before being sidelined posting just a .232/.269/.322 slash line with seven home runs and 30 runs batted in. Part of his issues were a 95:13 K:BB in 342 plate appearances. Despite that poor production, look for Garcia to be in the lineup almost daily the rest of the way. But be aware he left Saturday's game against the Mets with left hamstring discomfort, which could sideline him. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (up if he stays off injured list)

Stone Garrett, Diamondbacks: Garrett is not starting daily, but he's made the most of the playing time he's received. He's off to a torrid start with Arizona with four doubles and three home runs in his first 33 at-bats, good for a 424/424/818 slash line but also a 7:0 K:BB. The D-backs are juggling Corbin Carroll, Jake McCarthy, Daulton Varsho, Alek Thomas and Garrett at the three outfield spots as well as DH. The 26-year old posted a .275/.332/.568 slash line with 28 home runs, 96 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 103 games for Triple-A Reno to earn the promotion. Garrett has major swing and miss issues, but presents an intriguing power/speed combination - though he didn't start the club's next four games after homering Monday. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Jorge Soler, Marlins: Solar, out since Jul. 22 with lower back stiffness, was cleared for full baseball activities this past week. If all goes well, it might not be long before he's ready to head out on a rehab assignment. Prior to being sidelined, Soler – who signed a three-year, $36 million contract with the Marlins in March – was hitting just .207/.295/.400 with 13 home runs in 72 games while failing to duplicate his strong play in the second half of last season with Atlanta. Once activated, he should continue his role as the team's starting left fielder despite his subpar numbers. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

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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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