AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our AL FAAB Factor series.

This is our weekly look at American League free agents. 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.

We've incorporated grids into the FAAB articles, so users can easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The grids, which are sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This serves as a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. Vladimir Guerrero would have been an "A" grade player last year – that mark will be reserved for similarly high-impact prospects stepping into an everyday role.

As always, if there is a player that was not discussed in the article that you would like to know about, feel free to ask about the player in the comments.

AL FAAB | NL FAAB

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $AL-Only $
Danny DuffyKCSPC37Rostered
Josh FlemingTBSPDNoNo1
Matt HarveyKCSPDNoNo1
Rich HillMINSPC2511
Brad KellerKCSPC37Rostered
Reynaldo LopezCHISPC2511
Triston McKenzieCLESPB254565
Casey MizeDETSPA253555
Nick PivettaBOS

This is our weekly look at American League free agents. 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.

We've incorporated grids into the FAAB articles, so users can easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The grids, which are sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This serves as a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. Vladimir Guerrero would have been an "A" grade player last year – that mark will be reserved for similarly high-impact prospects stepping into an everyday role.

As always, if there is a player that was not discussed in the article that you would like to know about, feel free to ask about the player in the comments.

AL FAAB | NL FAAB

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $AL-Only $
Danny DuffyKCSPC37Rostered
Josh FlemingTBSPDNoNo1
Matt HarveyKCSPDNoNo1
Rich HillMINSPC2511
Brad KellerKCSPC37Rostered
Reynaldo LopezCHISPC2511
Triston McKenzieCLESPB254565
Casey MizeDETSPA253555
Nick PivettaBOSSPDNoNo3
Justus SheffieldSEASPB1125Rostered
Tarik SkubalDETSPB3715
Jose SuarezLASPDNoNo2
Trent ThorntonTORSPCNo14
Matt BarnesBOSRPD152535
Darwinzon HernandezBOSRPCNoNo2
A.J. ColeTORRPDNo14
Rafael DolisTORRPDNo14
Jordan RomanoTORRPC715Rostered
Matt FosterCHIRPDNoNo1
Yoshihisa HiranoSEARPD2511
Michael KingNYRPDNoNo2
Jonathan LoaisigaNYRPCNo14
Nick NelsonNYRPCNo25
Clarke SchmidtNYSPA2511
Miguel YajureNYRPCNoNo1
Alex AvilaMINCDNo14
Anthony BemboomLACENoNo2
Cam GallagherKCCDNoNo3
Meibrys ViloriaKCCDNoNo1
Ryan JeffersMINCBNoNo2
Roberto PerezCLECC817Rostered
Jose TrevinoTEXCDNo14
Jeimer CandelarioDET1BC14Rostered
Taylor JonesHOU1BCNoNo3
Ryan MountcastleBAL1BB51121
Danny SantanaTEX1BC3715
Evan WhiteSEA1BB37Rostered
Sam HaggertySEA2BENoNo1
Pat ValaikaBAL2BDNo14
Isaac ParedesDET3BB2513
Santiago EspinalTORSSDNoNo2
Yadiel RiveraTEXSSENoNo1
Andrelton SimmonsLASSC511Rostered
Greg AllenCLEOFDNoNo2
Braden BishopSEAOFENoNo1
Jorge BonifacioDETOFENoNo1
Jake CaveMINOFDNoNo3
Jake FraleySEAOFCNo37
Luis GonzalezCHIOFENoNo1
LaMonte WadeMINOFENoNo1
Mason WilliamsBALOFDNoNo1

Starting Pitcher

Danny Duffy, Royals: The veteran lefty has been remarkably effective so far, posting a 3.99 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and what would be a career-high 28.3 percent strikeout rate through six starts. Duffy hasn't been feasting on weak opposition either – he's faced the Twins in three straight outings, with his numbers in that stretch being right in line with his performance against the rest of the league. The 31-year-old has battled injuries the last few years and never regained the zip on a fastball that averaged nearly 95 mph back in 2016, but it appears as though he's learning to replace velocity with guile and a broader mix of pitches. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Rostered

Josh Fleming, Rays: The 24-year-old southpaw will make his big-league debut Sunday against the Jays. Fleming made it up to Triple-A last year, and while he struggled to keep the happy fun ball in the yard (six homers in 21 innings for Durham) his numbers at Double-A were a little more palatable. That doesn't necessarily bode well for his chances of impressing in the majors, though, and his stint in Tampa could be short with Charlie Morton nearing a return. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Matt Harvey, Royals: Harvey keeps getting chances from teams desperate for quality innings, and keeps pitching poorly, but the memories of 2014-15 still linger. That guy isn't coming back, though. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Rich Hill, Twins: Hill lasted only 2.2 innings in his return from the IL on Wednesday, but he does line up for a two-start period this week (against CLE and DET) so there's going to be interest if he's on the wire. The southpaw is 40 years old, though, and while it's only 7.2 innings, so far the strikeouts haven't been there in 2020. I'm not saying definitively that he's done – Hill could go out and toss five scoreless innings for a win or something Monday – but between his inability stay healthy and his performance, this is not a guy you want to wreck your FAAB budget over. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Brad Keller, Royals: While Duffy is holding his own in a mid-rotation capacity, Keller is doing his darnedest to look like an emerging ace, tossing three straight scoreless appearances to begin his season. The 25-year-old has also improved his strikeout rate in the early going, but his 15:8 K:BB through 17.2 innings isn't exactly vintage Zack Greinke territory. Keller's pitching over his head, but maybe my not as much as you think, as his 2.98 FIP is still excellent, and even after he regresses he could still have shallow-league value. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Rostered

Reynaldo Lopez, White Sox: Lopez came off the IL for Saturday's start and didn't look half bad over 50 pitches, which is about the most anyone should have expected. In a lot of ways, the 26-year-old is like Nathan Eovaldi – the scouting reports on his raw stuff scream ace, but the actual results just mumble something like, "maybe next year". Given the way the White Sox offense is going this year, though, just delivering consistently not-half-bad starts for the next five weeks could net Lopez a nice haul in wins. Consistency, however, has never been his strong suit. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Triston McKenzie, Cleveland: The 23-year-old beanpole put together a fantastic big-league debut Saturday, fanning 10 Tigers over six innings. "Tigers" is the operative word there, and under normal circumstances you'd like to see him do it again against a real big-league offense before getting too excited. 2020 is not normal circumstances, though. Given everyone's need for pitching, expect bidding to be fierce here even though he isn't guaranteed a spot in the majors the rest of the season, and it's not like McKenzie doesn't have the scouting pedigree to put up big numbers – his fastball, curve and command all grade plus, and it's only been his spindly frame and inability to stay healthy in the minors that have kept him from being one of the game's top pitching prospects. Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac should eventually return from their exile on Lunkhead Island, and Aaron Civale hasn't done anything to warrant being bumped from the rotation, but another strong effort from the kid could encourage Cleveland to deal some of that starting pitching depth for oh, I dunno, let's say a viable big-league outfielder. 12-team Mixed: $25; 15-team Mixed: $45; 12-team AL: $65

Casey Mize, Tigers: Well, I was half-right last week. Instead of Mize and Matt Manning getting the call from Detroit, it was Mize and Tarik Skubal. The former didn't exactly shine in his debut Wednesday, but he did fan seven batters in 4.1 innings against the White Sox to highlight his upside. There was a gap between the perception of Mize as a prospect – first overall pick in 2018, great arsenal, classic power right-hander's frame – and his actual results in the minors, but that doesn't mean I expect him to turn out to be a bum. His future is still extremely bright, even if he has some struggles early on. If you're asking me who I prefer between Mize and McKenzie, in dynasty leagues the easy answer is Mize. In redraft, however, I'd lean towards the guy on a Cleveland team that can get him wins more often. 12-team Mixed: $25; 15-team Mixed: $35; 12-team AL: $55

Nick Pivetta, Red Sox: Congratulations if you had Boston in the "first team to tear it down in a season where almost everybody seems like they have a shot at the playoffs" pool. Dealing Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Phillies has plenty of bullpen implications I'll look at below, but the return the Red Sox got shouldn't be overlooked either. Pivetta is a one-time sleeper darling who never woke up in Philadelphia, but his 188:51 K:BB through 164 innings in 2018 is still tantalizing. Boston desperately needs rotation help, and while Pivetta's been pitching out of the bullpen this season and will need to get stretched out, it's hard to imagine him not slotting into a spot in place of scrubs like Kyle Hart before long. The fresh start in a new organization may not allow the 27-year-old right-hander to blossom, but it won't cost much to gamble on that strikeout potential. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Justus Sheffield, Mariners: Don't look now, but Sheffield has reeled off three straight quality starts, posting a 1.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 16:2 K:BB over 18 innings. The 24-year-old lefty is something like the mirror image of Triston McKenzie as a prospect, in that his stuff is very good but his small frame gives him massive bullpen risk over his career. Sheffield's getting it done right now though, and the upside if he does buck the odds and hold up as a starter is huge. His success this year has also been fueled by his new-found ability to keep the ball in the park – after coughing up 12 homers in only 55 innings at Triple-A Tacoma last year, plus another five jacks in 36 innings for Seattle, Sheffield has yet to allow a home run through 25.2 frames in 2020. Whether you think that's due to improvement on his part or simply luck should determine how big a bid you want to throw his way. 12-team Mixed: $11; 15-team Mixed: $25; 12-team AL: Rostered

Tarik Skubal, Tigers: Skubal made his big-league debut Tuesday but fell flat, lasting only two innings against the White Sox. The Tigers wouldn't have brought him up if he weren't going to be given a long look, so expect the lefty to stick in the rotation even if he struggles. Two years ago, Skubal was an unknown kid in Low-A, but after posting huge strikeout numbers between High-A and Double-A last year he shot up prospect rankings. His stuff is plus but there's a real possibility the 23-year-old doesn't work out as a starter and instead tries to become the next Josh Hader, which wouldn't be the worst things for his dynasty league value. In the short term, though, he'll take his lumps in the rotation and maybe deliver the occasional gem in the right matchup. Despite his pedigree, he's not someone I would chase after too hard in redraft. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: $15

Jose Suarez, Angels: The 22-year-old was awful over 81 innings in his big-league debut last year, but with the Angels scrambling for rotation help, Suarez got another look Thursday and was even worse. He's posted good Triple-A numbers – not an easy thing to do in Salt Lake – but his success was due to command and deception rather than filthy stuff, so it could be tough to replicate in the majors. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Trent Thornton, Blue Jays: Thornton was brought off the IL for Thursday's start, but he got chased so quickly (six runs in two-thirds of an inning) and threw so few pitches that he's getting another chance Sunday. The 26-year-old had his moments as a rookie, and the Jays need another rotation arm with Nate Pearson on the shelf, but Thornton probably profiles best as a swing man or long reliever rather than a mid-rotation arm. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Relief Pitcher

Matt Barnes / Darwinzon Hernandez, Red Sox: With Workman now in Philly, Barnes will get (another) shot at closing for Boston. He's got the stuff to handle the job, but we've been down this road before, and the 30-year-old blew a save chance Saturday after converting one Friday. The problem is much the same at it was last year – if not Barnes, then who? Hernandez, who also has closer-worthy stuff but wavering control and who just rejoined the team from the COVID-19 list, is the most intriguing option from an upside standpoint. Barnes – 12-team Mixed: $15; 15-team Mixed: $25; 12-team AL: $35 / Hernandez – 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

A.J. Cole / Rafael Dolis / Jordan Romano, Blue Jays: The Jays spread the wealth in the bullpen this week, with Cole, Dolis and Romano all getting saves, while current "closer" Anthony Bass hasn't recorded one since Aug. 8. The young flamethrower Romano is the one you want in a keeper league, and maybe even redraft too, while the former two look to be only setup men who happened to be rested at the right time when Bass and Romano weren't. Still, if manager Charlie Montoyo decides to do away with arbitrary distinctions like "closer" and "setup man", either one of Dolis or Cole could find their way into more ninth-inning work. Cole / Dolis – 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4 / Romano – 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $15; 12-team AL: Rostered

Matt Foster, White Sox: Foster's put up interesting numbers so far, riding his 94 mph fastball/changeup combo to a 0.00 ERA and 17:3 K:BB through his first 12.1 big-league innings. He's not seeing high-leverage work yet though, and the White Sox have other young relievers with big arms seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order, so for now Foster should only be viewed as a guy who can bolster your ratios rather than a potential saves or even holds source. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Yoshihisa Hirano, Mariners: The 36-year-old came off the IL this weekend and struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning in his 2020 debut Saturday. Of course, the M's were winning 10-1, so high leverage work it wasn't. Nonetheless, it's a decent sign that Hirano could take over the closer role for Seattle the next time they have a save situation. Taylor Williams hasn't done anything yet to lose the job, though – he's 5-for-5 in save chances and has a 16:4 K:BB in 11 innings – so don't bid on Hirano like he's a lock to contribute in that category. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Michael King / Jonathan Loaisiga / Nick Nelson, Yankees: Last week, I said Clarke Schmidt (see below) would probably get the call if the Yankees had a vacancy in their rotation. Well, now they do with James Paxton back on the shelf, but manager Aaron Boone downplayed the idea that Schmidt would fill it – not because the team's top pitching prospect doesn't look ready (apparently he does), but due to him not being on the 40-man roster yet. It's a valid point I suppose, but also one that's easy to fix by moving any of the team's injured players to the 45-man IL if they really want him in the rotation. In the meantime, the usual suspects got mentioned by Boone as options instead, with Nelson being the newest entry in the group of long relief candidates. He brings 96 mph heat and posted a 107:42 K:BB through 86 innings in the high minors last year, but got rocked by the Phillies in his second big-league appearance, with two scoreless three-inning outings sandwiched around it. The Yankees won't need a fifth starter until Sept. 1, though, so it could be a while before we find out who wins the open spot. Nelson – 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team AL: $5 / Loaisiga – 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4 / King – 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Clarke Schmidt, Yankees: This is now the fourth time in six columns this season I've mentioned Schmidt. C'mon, Yankees, you're making me look dumb here. Just bring him up already. The 24-year-old has the quality stuff, reports from the alternate site are excellent, he's stretched out... are you really going to let a little thing like a 40-man roster spot stand in the way of putting your best possible rotation out there? I will say that the fact that their off days fall in such a way that they don't need a fifth starter again until the day after the trade deadline is very convenient. If they don't add a starter in a deal, I'm putting my marker down on Schmidt getting the call. Even if they do trade for someone... well, J.A. Happ's hold on a rotation spot is tenuous at best. I still believe Schmidt is a worthwhile stash. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $11

Miguel Yajure, Yankees: While we're talking Yankees pitchers, let's slip one more name in here as a sneaky deep keeper or dynasty stash. Yajure got added to the big-league roster Thursday and has yet to make an appearance, so his stay with the club could be a brief one. The 22-year-old righty isn't on most prospect radars after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2017, but he had an excellent campaign last year at High-A and Double-A, and while his scouting profile marks him as one of those "command and control" guys who doesn't have the arsenal to thrive at the highest levels, that actually sells him short. His fastball can creep up to 95-96 mph and has good separation from his plus changeup, and he adds a curve and cutter to give hitters different looks. Yajure is the kind of pitcher who can "overachieve" if you're not paying attention, and while he might never be more than a back-end big-league starter, on a team with the offensive firepower of the Yankees that would still be a fantasy asset. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Catcher

Alex Avila, Twins: With Mitch Garver sidelined, Aliva is expected to take over as the Twins' starting catcher, although it was actually Ryan Jeffers who got the first two starts without Garver. It wasn't a platoon situation either, as the Brewers sent Brandon Woodruff to the mound in one of those games. Even so, Avila's playing time will tick up, and while he's hitting below .200 he has an OBP over .400 thanks to 10 walks, and in this offense, playing time plus walks equals runs, and that means fantasy value for the 33-year-old. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Anthony Bemboom, Angels: With Max Stassi on the IL, Bemboom goes from being a luxury item on the roster to an actual backup backstop to Jason Castro – who, it should be noted, has been battling through a stiff neck. That's an upgrade to Bemboom's playing time outlook, but as both guys hit from the left side of the plate, there isn't even a platoon opportunity here. If Castro goes down too though, the man I will insist on calling "Bing" Bemboom will suddenly have a regular gig. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Cam Gallagher / Meibrys Viloria, Royals: Oh look, another injured starting catcher. Who do these guys think they are, pitchers? Salvador Perez has a funky eye issue called central serous chorioretinopathy in which fluid builds up under his retina. Yuck. While that gets dealt with, Gallagher has been starting for the Royals, with the 23-year-old Viloria backing him up. Neither one offers a whole lot as a hitter, but Gallagher at least has posted decent batting averages at Triple-A and is 5-for-16 so far this year. Gallagher – 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3 / Viloria – 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Ryan Jeffers, Twins: The 23-year-old Jeffers is likely the Twins' catcher of the future, so it makes sense they'd give him a longer look than your typical depth call-up. A second-round pick in 2018, he made it up to Double-A Pensacola last year and slugged 14 homers in 103 games between High-A and Double-A. The organization loves his upside defensively as well as offensively, and he drew raves back from the coaching staff in spring training, which probably helped sell the aggressive promotion when Garver got hurt. Garver likely won't be out for long, but if Jeffers impresses in the majors, it's not inconceivable he steals Avila's backup spot. He's still a better dynasty or keeper stash than redraft option, but he may end up with some 2020 value as well. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Roberto Perez, Cleveland: Perez bucked the trend this week and is a starting catcher who actually came off the IL rather than getting placed on it. If he's been dropped over the last few weeks, he's still the same low-BA, good power option he was at the draft table. 12-team Mixed: $8; 15-team Mixed: $17; 12-team AL: Rostered

Jose Trevino, Rangers: I ragged on Trevino last week as a guy the Rangers didn't even view as a better option than Jeff Mathis, but joke's on me – they do! He's started six of the last eight games, and it probably helps his case that he's hitting .385 with a .654 SLG over that stretch. Trevino isn't that good a hitter, but he doesn't need to be to be a bigger asset at the plate than Mathis. Robinson Chirinos was eligible to return from his ankle injury this weekend but didn't, so his timetable remains unclear. Until he's back, Trevino and his hot streak should probably be rostered. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

First Base

Jeimer Candelario, Tigers: Candelario has found his rhythm at the plate in August, slashing .359/.388/.625 through 17 games with two homers and 10 RBI. Those still aren't great power numbers, and the batting average isn't sustainable given his plate discipline (he's got a 2:14 BB:K on the month), but it's still arguably the best stretch of his career since he made a splash in 2017 after coming over from the Cubs. Now 26 years old, Candelario might have one more chance to prove he can be a part of the Tigers' next contending roster – or at least become a tradable asset as he heads into his arbitration years. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team AL: Rostered

Taylor Jones, Astros: With Yordan Alvarez now lost for the year, there are some at-bats available in Houston. Kyle Tucker's finally won a starting corner outfield spot, which pushes Michael Brantley into the DH mix, and Abraham Toro is still around. Toro's struggling though, while Brantley might profile better as the team's fourth OF at this stage of his career. That leaves the mammoth 6-7 Jones, who slashed .291/.388/.501 with 22 homers in 125 games last year for Triple-A Round Rock, as a potential beneficiary. The Astros have seen a parade of 1B/DH put up good to great numbers at Round Rock in recent years with wildly varying degrees of success in the majors (did you know AJ Reed actually retired back in March?), and Jones also has the "tall right-handed slugger who isn't Aaron Judge" thing working against him, but there's still upside here if he can bash his way into consistent playing time. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Ryan Mountcastle, Orioles: The O's finally realized Chris Davis' contract is a sunk cost and... ha ha, just kidding. Davis had to hit the IL before the club would bring up Mountcastle. Still, the 23-year-old is on the roster now, and he's got enough upside as a hitter to make Davis' health irrelevant, although Baltimore is hedging its bet by using the kid in left field since his promotion. In some ways, Mountcastle reminds me of Trey Mancini – Mancini showed better plate discipline in the minors compared to Mountcastle's better batting averages, but the two of them both seemed to get docked for not having elite upside as prospects more than they were valued as future contributors. There's a place on a fantasy roster for guys who are merely solid, who won't challenge for home run crowns or batting titles but will supply average to above-average production, and that seems likely to be Mountcastle's niche just like it became Mancini's. What it says about the team's developmental system that their best hitting prospects lack a higher ceiling than "pretty good" is best left for another time. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team AL: $21

Danny Santana, Rangers: While the Rangers are still babying Santana defensively due to his arm injury, limiting him to first base or DH since his return, he has been a fixture in the lineup and near the top of the batting order, consistently hitting second or third since coming off the IL. He does have a hit in six of those seven games, and his power stroke is coming back too – over the last three contests he's got a homer and two doubles. Last year's numbers still scream fluke, but as a guy who can steal a base and swat the occasional long ball, Santana still has value, and his lineup spot gives him strong RBI/R potential. even if he doesn't match that .283 batting average again. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: $15

Evan White, Mariners: It's not just Justus Sheffield – the M's young core of players have started to turn things around after a rough start to the year, perhaps thanks to Kyle Lewis leading by example. Over his last seven games, White has launched four of his five homers on the year, slashing .286/.375/.952 with 10 RBI. The 24-year-old is still striking out too much to feel really comfortable that this new level is sustainable, but those are numbers more in line with his second-half performance at Double-A last year, the run that earned him a big-league contract and convinced Seattle he was ready for a bigger challenge. White has probably been cut loose in most leagues, and while picking him up now may mean you just missed his hottest stretch of the season, he's still got the same upside he did back in spring training. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team AL: Rostered

Second Base

Sam Haggerty, Mariners: The 26-year-old isn't really any kind of prospect, having been claimed off waivers from the Mets in the offseason, but Haggerty could see semi-regular playing time in a utility role while Dylan Moore is on the shelf. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Pat Valaika, Orioles: Jose Iglesias' quad injury finally put him on the IL, and Valaika has seized the opportunity at shortstop, homering in three straight games heading into Sunday. Ramon Urias and Andrew Velazquez provide depth for when the 27-year-old slows down, but maybe Valaika will wind up as the next Hanser Alberto and the O's simply have a knack for turning fringe infielders into real contributors. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team AL: $4

Third Base

Isaac Paredes, Tigers: In addition to the two young pitching prospects Detroit brought to the majors this week, they also called up Paredes, their potential third baseman of the future. The 21-year-old has looked a little overmatched, collecting only two hits and striking out seven times in his first five games, but one of those two hits was a grand slam against Cleveland to highlight the power potential he hadn't yet unlocked in the minors. Willi Castro, who doesn't have the same prospect pedigree as Paredes but might be a little readier for the majors, is still on hand in case this early promotion doesn't work out, but for now Paredes figures to be the starter at the hot corner. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team AL: $13

Shortstop

Santiago Espinal, Blue Jays: Manager Charlie Montoyo has decided to give his pitching staff a break and use Espinal as his starting shortstop while Bo Bichette is on the IL, rather than giving too much playing time to veteran utility guys like Brandon Drury or Joe Panik, whose gloves could charitably be described as "stretched" at the six. Espinal is a better real-life player than fantasy asset, as he's a plus defender who does all the little things coaches adore, but a 4-for-12 showing at the plate since Bichette went down isn't too bad. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Yadiel Rivera, Rangers: Called up Thursday to take Elvis Andrus' roster spot, Rivera has yet to see any action for Texas as Isiah Kiner-Falefa, improbably enough, has shifted over to shortstop. Rivera did post solid numbers for Triple-A New Orleans last year in the Marlins' system, but the 28-year-old has a sub-.500 OPS in over 300 career big-league plate appearances, so don't expect too much if he does find his way into the lineup. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Andrelton Simmons, Angels: Given the nature of the season, some fantasy GMs have been more impatient than usual with injured players, so Simmons might be on the wire after being out for almost a month with an ankle injury. The 30-year-old doesn't offer any upside at the plate, but he's a steady contributor and you know what you're probably going to get from him if you need help in the middle infield. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team AL: Rostered

Outfield

Greg Allen, Cleveland: Oscar Mercado and Bradley Zimmer have both been shipped to Cleveland's alternate training site and Delino DeShields is banged up, which leaves the cupboard a little bare for once in the team's outfield. Allen is the best defensive option in center field currently healthy, but as yet that status hasn't turned into much playing time since he was recalled Tuesday. Allen's had his chances in the past and, a 21-steal campaign in 2018 aside, never delivered from either a real-life or a fantasy perspective, so he may be around purely as depth until Cleveland finds a better option. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $2

Braden Bishop, Mariners: The 27-year-old got added to the big-league roster Wednesday and started the next three games, but he went 1-for-9 with six strikeouts and then watched as Jake Fraley also get promoted and immediately inserted into the lineup Saturday. It might be safe to say Bishop's window for productivity may have already closed. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Jorge Bonifacio, Tigers: Called up Wednesday, Bonifacio has alternated starts with Christin Stewart in an outfield corner this week, with neither one really doing anything to seize more playing time. The former Royals prospects hasn't really even done anything noteworthy in the minors since 2016, however, so his chances of suddenly breaking out in Detroit seem very low. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Jake Cave, Twins: Byron Buxton's broken again, so Cave is filling in as the Twins' center fielder. The 27-year-old is capable of hot streaks – he showed that last year both in the majors and at Triple-A – but his cold streaks tend to last a lot longer, so even if you grab him for depth, don't plug him into your active roster until he gives you a reason to. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $3

Jake Fraley, Mariners: A surprise cut at the end of summer camp, Fraley showed the coaching staff enough at the Mariners' alternate training site that he's getting another chance. The 25-year-old struggled in his first taste of the majors last season after posting a combined .298/.365/.545 line with 19 homers and 22 steals through 99 games in the high minors, so the upside is certainly there from a fantasy perspective. With Dylan Moore on the shelf and the likes of Dee Gordon as the biggest obstacles between him and a starting job in an outfield corner, Fraley's worth a gamble. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $3; 12-team AL: $7

Luis Gonzalez, White Sox: The 24-year-old Gonzalez is a marginal prospect, having struggled in his first look at Double-A in 2019, and he'll be at best the fifth outfielder for the White Sox for now. There's a bit of steals potential here if you squint, but not much more. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

LaMonte Wade, Twins: Wade will give the Twins additional outfield depth while Buxton is out, but his best asset is his glove and he offers little upside as a hitter were he to find his way into steady playing time. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

Mason Williams, Orioles: Whatever prospect status Williams had back in his Yankees days is long since gone, but the 29-year-old hit well enough at Triple-A last year to keep hope alive that he might at long last become a useful big-leaguer. The O's swapped out Dwight Smith for him, but it's Mountcastle who's getting the first look as the new starting left fielder, leaving Williams on the bench and likely behind Cedric Mullins when it comes time to cut another depth outfielder loose. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team AL: $1

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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