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 functions as 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 $
Aaron AshbyMILSPD017
Edward CabreraMIASPB51116 (upped bid from prior)
Kwang Hyun KimSTLSPD159 (slightly upped bid)
Sammy LongSFSPENo05
Humberto MejiaAZSPENo05
Ranger SuarezPHISPC/D51116
Carlos EstevezCOLRPD51116
Adam MorganCHIRPE147
Andrew KnappPHICENoNo5
Rafael MarchanPHICENoNo3
Tomas NidoNYMC

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 functions as 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 $
Aaron AshbyMILSPD017
Edward CabreraMIASPB51116 (upped bid from prior)
Kwang Hyun KimSTLSPD159 (slightly upped bid)
Sammy LongSFSPENo05
Humberto MejiaAZSPENo05
Ranger SuarezPHISPC/D51116
Carlos EstevezCOLRPD51116
Adam MorganCHIRPE147
Andrew KnappPHICENoNo5
Rafael MarchanPHICENoNo3
Tomas NidoNYMCENoNo5
Connor JoeCOL1BC/D112233
Brad MillerPHI1BD2711
Michael ChavisPIT2BD51116
Thairo EstradaSF2BENoNo4
Max SchrockCIN2BENoNo4
Rio RuizCOL3BENoNo4
Freddy GalvisPHISSD159 (reduced bid based on role)
Edmundo SosaSTLSSD2711
Cole TuckerPITSSE015
Ian HappCHIOFC112233 (on hopes he stays hot)
Jake McCarthyAZOFE159
Eddie RosarioATLOFDRosteredRostered14
Pablo ReyesPHIOFENoNo4
Alfonso RivasCHIOFENoNo6

STARTING PITCHER

Aaron Ashby, Brewers: Ashby was recalled from Triple-A Nashville last Sunday. He started in the minors and was called up to be used out of the bullpen, but has made a handful of starts this season. Ashby has rebounded from his disastrous debut to hold opponent scoreless in his last eight innings of work while striking out nine and walking one. He's slated to make a spot start Sunday for Freddy Peralta (shoulder), who remains on the injured list and will be out at least one more week. Ashby could remain in Milwaukee as a September callup, but may land back in the minors with rosters only expanding by two. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $7

Edward Cabrera, Marlins: Cabrera dealt with right shoulder discomfort and a back issue last year and was diagnosed with an inflamed nerve in his biceps that resulted in a late start to this season. He slowly moved up the ladder on his rehab stint, advancing from Double-A Pensacola to Triple-A Jacksonville and to the majors for his debut Wednesday where he threw five scoreless innings before allowing a pair of home runs and three runs in 6.1 innings while tossing 50 of his 78 pitches for strikes. Cabrera compiled a 3.68 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 48:19 K:BB across 29.1 innings during his six starts at Triple-A after posting a 2.77 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 26 innings over five starts for Pensacola. He pairs a plus breaking ball with his plus-plus fastball, while his third-pitch changeup is still a bit of a work in progress as is his command. Considered one of Miami's top pitching prospects in the organization, Cabrera should remain in the Marlins' rotation for at least one more turn until Pablo Lopez (shoulder) and Trevor Rogers (personal) are able to return to action. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16 (upped bid from prior)

Dakota Hudson, Cardinals: Hudson's recovery from Tommy John surgery last September took a major step forward Saturday by appearing for the first time since the operation. He was slated to pitch for Low-A Palm Beach and throw in the neighborhood of 30 pitches. A 16-game winner as a rookie, Hudson could advance to the majors sometime in September if he has no setbacks. How he's used if that occurs remains to be seen, but the former 2019 first-rounder would take a major step forward for a possible 2022 rotation spot just by pitching for St. Louis before the end of this season. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (early spec return bid) 

Kwang Hyun Kim, Cardinals: Kim, sidelined since Aug. 8 with left elbow inflammation, was activated Sunday after completing a single appearance rehab assignment at Triple-A Memphis. He entered in relief on Tuesday and allowed no hits and two walks while striking out two across 2.2 innings and 46 pitches against the Tigers. Kim is moving back into the starting rotation, pitching on normal rest Sunday against Pittsburgh after Jack Flaherty (shoulder) was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday. Before being sidelined, Kim logged a 3.36 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 91 innings but struggled his last three starts. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Sammy Long, Giants: Long, recalled from Triple-A Sacramento last Sunday, filled the rotation spot of Anthony DeSclafani (ankle) Tuesday against the Mets giving up three hits and one walk while striking out four across 5.1 innings to earn the win. Over his first eight appearances (four starts) with the big club this season, he had gone 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 31:10 K:BB across 28.1 innings. The start was a bit of an aberration, though he did notch a 3.63 FIP. Despite the effective outing, Long may not have the chance for another turn through the rotation as DeSclafani will start Sunday while Johnny Cueto (elbow) and Kevin Gausman (illness) both returned this week. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

Humberto Mejia, Diamondbacks: Mejia, who limited the Pirates to two runs on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over five innings in his Diamondbacks debut on Monday, made a second start Saturday. That outing wasn't as successful, as he surrendered four runs on eight hits and a walk with three strikeouts in six innings. Mejia posted a 5.93 ERA and 1.59 WHIP at Triple-A Reno prior to his call up and his spot is tenuous at best as Arizona is expected to get Luke Weaver (shoulder) back from the 60-day injured list and Merrill Kelly (illness) back from the COVID-19-related injured list within the next couple of weeks. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

Ranger Suarez, Phillies: Suarez, who was dominant in the bullpen, has been solid since moving into the starting rotation. Since the beginning of August, he's posted a 2.11 ERA over 21 innings -albeit with an 18:11 K:BB. Suarez has been slowly building his pitch count and innings tossed, topping out at 6.2 frames of one-run baseball with seven strikeouts during his last outing. His changeup is his go-to pitch, which has proven to be major weapon for the lefty. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16

RELIEF PITCHER 

Carlos Estevez, Rockies: Estevez – not Daniel Bard - earned the save against the Dodgers on Friday by pitching a scoreless ninth inning where he gave up one hit and struck out three. Bard, who has struggled of late, tossed a scoreless eighth and indicates the Colorado closing situation is undergoing a change. As that is the case, Estevez figures to be first in line for save chances with three of Colorado's non-Bard saves this season. Estevez entered Friday with two saves on the campaign, but his last conversion came way back on May 24 against the Mets. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16

Adam Morgan, Cubs: Morgan, who signed a minor-league deal with Chicago in January after getting released by the Phillies, notched the save against the Rockies in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader with a perfect inning. Codi Heuer - who picked up Chicago's most recent save - pitched in the fifth and sixth frames, suggesting the team isn't locked into a single closer following the trade of Craig Kimbrel to the White Sox. That could bode well for Morgan, who has pitched well in his first campaign with the Cubs with a 2.50 ERA and 22:8 K:BB across 18 innings. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

CATCHER 

Andrew Knapp/Rafael Marchan, Phillies: Manager Joe Girardi said Friday that J.T. Realmuto will see time at first base for the rest of the season with Rhys Hoskins (abdomen) on the injured list. Knapp should be the primary beneficiary while fill-in first baseman Brad Miller figures to see less time. Given Knapp's weak production, you make the decision if he's worth a lineup spot even with more at-bats once he returns from the COVID-19 list. Marchan was called up Friday to cover as depth behind the plate. Knapp - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5; Marchan - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $3

Tomas Nido. Mets: Nido, out after spending 11 days on the IL with a sprained left thumb, was activated and started Friday against the Nationals. While not in the lineup Saturday and ceding the spot to Patrick Mazeika, Nido is likely to operate as New York's primary backstop until James McCann (back) returns soon from the injured list. Like Knapp, Nido's numbers leave a little to be desired. He has a little pop, but don't expect much while he is starting. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5

FIRST BASE 

Connor Joe, Rockies: Joe has made the most of the playing time since Raimel Tapia went on the injured list with a toe injury. In the past 20 contests through Friday, Joe slashed .314/.412/.614 with six home runs, 14 runs scored and 19 RBI. His play has been so impressive that they're considering starting Tapia - who's slated to return Monday - in center field down the stretch to keep Joe in the lineup in left while batting leadoff. Keep in mind that like many Rockies, Joe offers a massive home-road split that is weighted heavily to his Coors Field playing time. 12-team Mixed: $11, 15-team Mixed: $22; 12-team NL: $33 (if not taken)

Brad Miller, Phillies: Miller took on a bench role across the last few games with Rhys Hoskins (groin) back in action, but he's in line to see additional time at first with Hoskins poised to miss the rest of the season due to abdominal surgery. Manager Joe Girardi said Friday J.T. Realmuto will also see time at first base, which will cut into Miller's playing time. Realmuto will also catch, providing Miller additional at-bats at first. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

SECOND BASE

Michael Chavis, Pirates: Chavis, once a highly-touted prospect, was dealt by Boston to Pittsburgh for Austin Davis at the trade deadline. He slashed .246/.316/.536 with five home runs, five doubles, 12 runs, 12 RBI and a stolen base across 17 games at Triple-A Indianapolis to earn the call up. Prior to that promotion, Chavis struck out in 33.6 percent of his plate appearances in his first 168 MLB games while slashing just .234/.291/.413, but did hit 18 homers in 2019. Chavis, drafted in the first round in 2014 by current Pirates general manager Ben Cherington while operating the same role with the Red Sox, has been red-hot since his promotion seeing time at first and second as well as right field. He should be a fixture in the lineup the last month of the season, but monitor his status as he left Saturday's game with right elbow discomfort. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16 (depending on extent of injury) 

Thairo Estrada/Max Schrock, Reds: The Giants and Reds called up depth infielders this week. Estrada was summoned from Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday. He rejoins the club with Donovan Solano (undisclosed) heading to the injured list. The 25-year-old has an .809 OPS in 89 plate appearances this season and should fill a utility infield role while in the majors…The Reds recalled Schrock from Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday as a replacement for Tejay Antone (forearm), who was placed on the 10-day IL. He's been excellent in spot duty for Cincinnati this season with a .945 OPS over 49 plate appearances, but he won't have a clear path to playing time at any position with the Cincinnati lineup at full strength sans left fielder Jesse Winker (rib). Both - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team-NL: $4 

THIRD BASE

Rio Ruiz, Rockies: Ruiz, sent down to the minors in early August after 10 days in the majors, was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday. He hit .269 with a home run, four doubles, nine runs, five RBI and a stolen base across 13 outings during his most recent stint with the minor-league club. Ruiz, who started the year with the Orioles, is covering as infield depth after Alan Trejo was optioned to Albuquerque on Monday. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team-NL: $4 

SHORTSTOP

Freddy Galvis, Phillies: Galvis, acquired from Baltimore at the deadline, was activated Tuesday after a short rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Out with a strained right quad since late-June, the 2006 Philly draftee and a member of the team through 2017 may be activated within the week. Now healthy, Galvis will be an option to spell Didi Gregorius, Jean Segura and Ronald Torreyes in the infield as he'll assume a utility infielder role. He was hitting .249/.306/.414 with nine home runs in 72 games prior to suffering a quadriceps injury. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 (slightly lowered return bid due to role)

Edmundo Sosa, Cardinals: Sosa has been seeing additional time recently in place of Paul DeJong. He started for the sixth time in seven games Saturday, during which he's gone 9-for-9 with seven runs scored, a homer and eight runs driven in that was capped by a 4-for-6 performance with five RBI on Saturday. With DeJong scuffling and Sosa raking, look for the 25-year old - who also qualifies at second - to remain in the lineup at either position. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 

Cole Tucker, Pirates: Tucker, a first-round pick in 2014, was called back up from Triple-A Indianapolis with Gregory Polanco's release. After hitting well after returning from a thumb injury in late-July, Tucker has struggled the past few weeks at Indianapolis. Despite that, manager Derek Shelton said the 24-year-old will likely start in the outfield a couple days a week following Polanco's departure. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 

OUTFIELD

Ian Happ, Cubs: Happ continued his hot hitting Friday going 2-for-5 with a home run and three runs driven in, the second straight time he's posted those totals. Through Friday, Happ is slashing just .201/.303/.381 with 16 homers, 41 RBI, 42 runs scored and two stolen bases through 402 plate appearances. But he's been red-hot over the past 14 going 17-for-47 with five home runs, nine runs scored and 13 RBI. Chicago is looking to the future and is running Happ out there almost daily, so jump on board while he's on a roll. 12-team Mixed: $11; 15-team Mixed: $22; 12-team NL: $33 (hoping he stays hot) 

Jake McCarthy, Diamondbacks: McCarthy, a second-round selection from 2018, received the call to The Show on Friday. The outfielder has moved steadily up the ladder since while clubbing nine homers and stealing 12 bases and hitting .262/.330/.508 across 212 plate appearances with Triple-A Reno to earn the promotion. With Arizona in evaluation mode for the future, it wouldn't be surprising if the multi-tooled McCarthy is given an extended look during the final weeks of the big-league campaign. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Eddie Rosario, Braves: Rosario, sidelined since early July with an abdominal strain, was sent to Atlanta from Cleveland along with cash considerations in exchange for Pablo Sandoval at the trade deadline. Before being sidelined, Rosario slashed .254/.296/.389 with 46 RBI, 29 runs scored and nine stolen bases across 305 plate appearances. The 29-year-old was one of four outfielders Atlanta acquired in July along with Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler. Rosario and Pederson both bat left-handed while Duvall and Soler are both righties, so it's likely the former two find themselves in the lineup against most right-handed pitchers while sitting frequently against southpaws. It's also possible Rosario winds up on the bench against some righties. 12-team Mixed: Rostered: 15-team Mixed: Rostered; 12-team NL: $14

Pablo Reyes/Alfonso Rivas: The Brewers and Cubs called up depth outfielders this week. Reyes was promoted from Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday to make another stint with the parent club. He hit .245 with a home run and nine RBI at Triple-A since being optioned Aug. 2, but was promoted to replace Eduardo Escobar (hamstring) on Milwaukee's active roster...Rivas had his contract selected Saturday with David Bote (ankle) hitting the IL and is set to make his major-league debut. He logged .284/.405/.411 with four homers, 32 RBI and 35 walks across 237 plate appearances with Triple-A Iowa. Acquired from Oakland in a Jan. 2020 trade for Tony Kemp, Rivas will provide first base and corner outfield depth for however long he remains on the major-league roster. Reyes - 12-team Mixed: No: 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4; Rivas - 12-team Mixed: No: 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $6

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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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