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 serves 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.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Aaron AshbyMILSPD/ENo05 (stash candidate)
Madison BumgarnerAZSPD2711 early return bid)
Edward CabreraMIASPC2711 (same return bid)
Jake FariaAZSPENo05
Josiah GrayLASPB015 (very early spec bid)
Jorge GuzmanMIASPC015 (very early spec bid)
Jeff HoffmanCINSPENo05
Wade LeBlancSTLSPD159
Tylor MegillNYMSPD159

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 serves 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.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Aaron AshbyMILSPD/ENo05 (stash candidate)
Madison BumgarnerAZSPD2711 early return bid)
Edward CabreraMIASPC2711 (same return bid)
Jake FariaAZSPENo05
Josiah GrayLASPB015 (very early spec bid)
Jorge GuzmanMIASPC015 (very early spec bid)
Jeff HoffmanCINSPENo05
Wade LeBlancSTLSPD159
Tylor MegillNYMSPD159
Ryan WeathersSDSPC147 (up if he remains in the rotation)
Logan WebbSFSPE015 (early spec return bid)
Taylor WidenerAZSPD/E147 (early spec return bid)
J.B. BukauskasAZRPD147
Jake CousinsMILRPD015
Sean DoolittleCINRPE015
Brusdar GraterolLARPC/D015
Heath HembreeCINRPD2711
Drew PomeranzSDRPC159
Ranger SuarezPHIRPD3914
Tres BarreraWASCENoNo4
Taylor GushueCHICENoNo4
Bryan HoladayAZCENoNo4
Tomas NidoNYMCD14Rostered
Elias DiazCOLCD159
Alex JacksonATLCE015
Phillip EvansPIT1BE027
Wilmer DifoPIT2BENoNo5
Thairo Estrada SF2BENoNo5
Alejo LopezCIN2BENoNo5
Andrew YoungAZ2BENoNo5
Nico HoernerCHI2BC511Rostered, if not, 18
Tommy La StellaSF2BE027 (early spec return bid)
J.D. DavisNYM3BC18 (once healthy, power potential)RosteredRostered
Evan LongoriaSF3BC51116 (upped return stash bid)
Joe PanikMIA3BE027
Alcides EscobarWASSSE147
Didi GregoriusPHISSC18RosteredRostered
Harrison BaderSTLOFD2711 (upped return bid)
Jackie BradleyMILOFE27Rostered
Lorenzo CainMILOFD2711
Jaylin DavisSFOFENoNo4
Yadiel HernandezWASOFENoNo4
Pablo ReyesMILOFENoNo4
Nick HeathAZOFE147
Brandon NimmoNYMOFC/D112233 (upped return bid)
Jared OlivaPITOFE027
Gerardo ParraWASOFE027
Andrew StevensonWASOFE027 (early spec return bid)
Jesus SanchezMIAOFC71422 (if not already rostered)

STARTING PITCHER 

Aaron Ashby, Brewers: Ashby, who opened the year in the rotation, moved to the bullpen at Triple-A Nashville to work as a multi-inning reliever in preparation for an eventual call-up and logged a 1.02 ERA, 0.68 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in 17.2 innings over his final three starts. The 23-year-old allowed seven runs (four earned) on four hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning Wednesday against the Cubs and was sent back down Friday. In the minors this year, Ashy has posted a 33 percent strikeout rate and a .217 average against - which didn't help him versus Chicago - but also a 14 percent walk rate, a contributing factor in his poor performance. The Brewers will let Ashby marinate in the minors and stretch him back out in 2022 when he could compete for a spot in the big-league rotation, but he could be back later this year as a reliever. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 (stash bid) 

Madison Bumgarner, Diamondbacks: Bumgarner, who left his Jun. 2 start with shoulder inflammation, threw 34 pitches over two innings in a simulated game Tuesday. He was to throw a 20-pitch bullpen session Friday. If that goes without incident, he'll do either a sim game or start a rehab assignment Monday. Over a six-game stretch between Apr. 18 and May 17, Bumgarner appeared to turn back the clock by posting a 1.32 ERA and 0.59 WHIP across 34 innings. But he allowed at least five earned runs over his next three outings, including the start he left with the injury. Mad Bum, barring a setback, should be back with the D-Backs in late July. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (early return bid)

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 started a rehab assignment three weeks ago with Low-A Jupiter, making two starts of three innings each before advancing to Double-A Pensacola. Cabrera has made three starts there, with his last Wednesday where he allowed three runs (one earned) in five innings and could be ready for a promotion to Triple-A Jacksonville. 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 the top pitching prospects in the organization, Cabrera could get a look in the big leagues at some point after the All-Star break if he's able to string together a few quality outings at Triple-A. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (same return bid)

Jake Faria, Diamondbacks: Faria, making his first start since 2018, allowed one run on three hits with three strikeouts in four innings Monday against St. Louis. After signing with Arizona on Jun. 19, Faria made his first three appearances for the big club out of the bullpen while giving up three runs (two earned) across four innings before getting the start. The solid performance earned Faria, who joined the rotation as a replacement for Corbin Martin, at least one more turn in the rotation with Madison Bumgarner (shoulder) and Taylor Widener (groin) still out. But he allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings Saturday, so it's unclear if he'll remain as a starter or on the active roster. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

Josiah Gray, Dodgers: Gray, the Dodgers' top pitching prospect, made one start at Triple-A Oklahoma City before getting shut down with shoulder impingement. He threw a simulated game last Friday following multiple bullpen sessions. Manager Dave Roberts said Friday that Gray (shoulder) will not be joining the Dodgers' rotation "in the near future" but will be evaluated down the road. Gray - despite just 39.1 innings above A-ball - will see at least a handful of starts in the minors to continue his development before being promoted. If Gray - who has a trio of above-average to plus offerings (fastball, slider, changeup) and athleticism allowing him to command his pitches quite well - is impressive at Triple-A, he should be up late summer and pitch in the bullpen. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (very early spec bid, to be upped as he gets closer to the majors)

Jorge Guzman, Marlins: Guzman, working his way back from elbow inflammation that initially arose during spring training, started a rehab assignment at Triple-A New Orleans on Wednesday, He allowed five hits and four runs – including three earned – in 1.1 innings after tossing approximately five innings in a simulated game the previous Thursday. Guzman will likely stay in Triple-A when the rehab assignment expires, though where he ends up will likely depend on the state of the Miami starting rotation that is currently missing several pitchers. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (very early spec return bid) 

Jeff Hoffman, Reds: Hoffman, out since May 27 with right shoulder soreness, made a third rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Friday while allowing an unearned run on four hits in four innings. That outing length was the same as he second start, but he increased his pitch count slightly. Hoffman will likely need 1-2 more rehab starts before the Reds activate him from the 10-day injured list prior to the All-Star break. Cincinnati has yet to determine Hoffman's role upon returning from the IL, but he would have to settle for bullpen duties if the club opts to keep Vladimir Gutierrez in the rotation. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

Wade LeBlanc, Cardinals: LeBlanc, profiled two weeks ago, gets another mention as he moved into the St. Louis rotation giving one run on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 4.1 innings and 79 pitches. Prior to that outing, he made six appearances out of the bullpen after signing with St. Louis on Jun. 17 surrendering three earned runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and a walk over 6.2 innings. With several starters on the shelf, LeBlanc likely did enough to remain in the rotation for at least one or two more turns and maybe longer if he continues to pitch well as Saturday when he tossed 5.2 scoreless innings. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 

Tylor Megill, Mets: Megill, selected in the eighth round in 2018, made his major-league debut last Wednesday and gave up two runs on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 4.1 innings. In his second outing, he allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out eight across five innings against Atlanta while throwing 4.2 scoreless innings. The 25-year-old posted a 3.77 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 17:5 K:BB over 14.1 innings (three starts) at Triple-A Syracuse after five solid outings at Double-A Binghamton to earn the call up. Megill, a 6'7" right-hander whose fastball sits in the mid-90s, tired as his debut wore on but did enough to stay in the rotation for now despite the return Marcus Stroman (hip) and aided by David Peterson (right side) missing at least one start. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Ryan Weathers, Padres: Weathers was recalled from Triple-A El Paso to start Thursday against Cincinnati, with Dinelson Lamet (forearm) landing on the injured list. In 14 appearances (eight starts) for the Friars, the left-handed Weathers has posted a 2.47 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 34:13 K:BB across 47.1 innings. He allowed two earned runs on five hits and four walks while striking out five across four innings to continue his recent major-league struggles as seen in a 5.29 ERA from his last four outings. Weathers will make at least one more start for San Diego, as Lamet is making progress and could be back in a week or so. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (up if he remains in rotation and more value in keeper leagues)

Logan Webb, Giants: Webb, on the injured list since Jun. 3 with a strained right shoulder, kicked off what should be multiple rehab assignments by throwing 26 pitches over two innings at Triple-A Sacramento allowing one run on one hit and one walk with one strikeout against Las Vegas. His next outing will be a relief appearance that is scheduled to go three innings or 45 pitches, as he builds up towards a possible return later this month. It's unclear if Webb will pitch as a starter or reliever when he rejoins the Giants. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (early spec return bid) 

Taylor Widener, Diamondbacks: Widener, limited to 1.2 innings since Apr. 22 with groin tightness, made his first rehab start Monday where he gave up five runs and two home runs over 2.2 innings for the ACL D-backs. At this point, results matter little as the goal is to get him stretched out to return as a starter. Widener will throw a second rehab start Saturday for High-A Hillsboro and is likely three to four more outings away from rejoining Arizona. Prior to being sidelined, he posted a 2.63 ERA (albeit with a 5.01 FIP due to low-BABIP and high-strand rates) over a 24-inning sample. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (earn spec return bid, upped as he gets closer)

RELIEF PITCHER

J.B. Bukauskas, Diamondbacks: After missing six-plus weeks with a flexor strain, Bukauskas was activated from the 10-day injured list Thursday. The right-hander made two appearances in his rehab assignment before rejoining the active roster. Bukauskas struggled in 11 outings prior to the injury with an 8.31 ERA, 1.85 WHIP and 8:2 K:BB over 8.2 frames, but could see late-inning usage with the team looking to the future, Stefan Crichton in the minors and current closer Joakim Soria on a one-year deal and possible trade candidate. Bukauskas didn't inspire much confidence in his first appearance Friday by allowing four unearned runs on one hit and three walks, but should continue to see action out of the bullpen. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Jake Cousins, Brewers: Cousins, promoted on Jun. 21, has worked his way into a slightly more prominent role in the Milwaukee bullpen. He began the season at Double-A Biloxi and has a 2.55 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 30:5 K:BB across 17.2 innings between two minor-league levels to earn the call up. Cousins has an 11:3 K:BB in his first 5.1 innings while notching a hold in one of four appearances. Milwaukee boasts a deep pen, but Cousins offers a chance to remain as one of the setup options to Josh Hader. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Sean Doolittle, Reds: After a series of poor results while relying heavily on his fastball, Doolittle has started changing his pitch mix while working heavily with pitching coach Derek Johnson. He threw his first slider of the season and his first changeup since 2016 last Sunday, which kicked off a string of three scoreless appearances. As we noted in a recent update: "Over the course of the season, Doolittle had thrown 434 fastballs of his 481 pitches altogether, with an average fastball velocity of 92.8 mph, down from 2019. He'd been getting diminishing returns from that fastball, allowing a 4.55 ERA and 1.66 WHIP over 27.2 innings, falling out of the mix for primary roles in the Reds' bullpen in the process." With his change in pitching pattern - and if those changes stick - Doolittle could work his way back into the mix for a more important role in the Cincy bullpen. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 

Brusdar Graterol, Dodgers: Graterol was promoted Friday to take the roster spot of Trevor Bauer (administrative leave) tossing 1.2 innings against Washington while allowing an unearned run on one hit. He began the season on the COVID-19 injured list before returning in mid-April, but landed back on the IL just 11 days later with forearm tightness. Graterol was sent to Oklahoma City when he was reinstated Jun. 4 and allowed seven earned runs and struck out 11 across 10.1 Triple-A innings. Given that poor performance, he figures to likely begin pitching in lower-leverage innings initially in this stint in the majors, but has the stuff to be a key part of the LA pen. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Heath Hembree, Reds: Hembree looks to be the closer of choice in Cincinnati, having notched saves Friday and Saturday to give him three on the year. Amir Garrett, who pitched the last two days and was likely unavailable, remains in the mix and Lucas Sims (elbow) and Tejay Antone (forearm) could also be back later this month. On the season, Hembree has posted a 5.06 ERA thanks to eight homers allowed in 26.2 innings, but his 45:10 K:BB highlights how dominant he can be when everything is clicking, which was the case his first seven appearances this season. View him as a short-term add, but we have seen arm injuries can sideline players longer than expected, so keep that in mind when bidding. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

Drew Pomeranz, Padres: Pomeranz, out since May 9 with a strained lat, was reinstated from the 10-day injured list Tuesday. He struck out 20 while posting a 1.98 ERA across 13.2 innings before the injury and has produced a pair of holds with scoreless innings in two appearances since returning to action. The southpaw has resumed working in high-leverage situations setting up Mark Melancon, which should be his role moving forward for as long as Melancon is healthy. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9

Ranger Suarez, Phillies: With the Phillies bullpen a tire fire, Suarez has been the most consistent reliever in the bunch, which may not be saying much. But that shouldn't diminish the fine work he has done going 4-2 in 19 appearances with a 0.85 ERA and 0.69 WHIP while logging a 29:8 K:BB over 31.2 innings. With Jose Alvarado scuffling, manager Joe Girardi turned to Suarez on Friday and Saturday. He blew the save and allowed an inherited runner to score, but notched the win Friday and tossed a clean inning for the save Saturday. Suarez could be the primary option late for the Phils, supported by Archie Bradley and Alvarado. 12-team Mixed: $3; 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14 

CATCHER

Tres Barrera/Taylor Gushue/Bryan Holaday/Tomas Nido: Backup catchers were promoted/activated in Washington, Chicago. Arizona and New York. Barrera appeared in 37 games with Triple-A Rochester to begin the season slashing .224/.324/.345 with three home runs, 14 RBI and 11 runs. He was promoted to the major-league roster Saturday and should serve in a depth role at catcher after Alex Avila (calf) was placed on the injured list. Gushue served as a non-roster invitee during camp this spring and will now serve as the Cubs' backup catcher after Jose Lobaton (shoulder) was placed on the 60-day injured list Wednesday. He hit .272 with five home runs and 27 RBI in 36 games with Triple-A Iowa to begin the year and will support Willson Contreras. Holaday signed a minor-league deal with Arizona during the offseason and slashed .263/.315/.579 with seven home runs, 30 RBI, 20 runs and a stolen base in 30 games with Triple-A Reno. He's appeared in 64 major-league games with the Marlins and Orioles across the last two seasons and was promoted Saturday to provide catching depth while Carson Kelly (wrist) remains sidelined. Nido returns from a minimum stay on the IL after appearing in one rehab game at Triple-A Syracuse. The 27-year-old will reclaim backup catching duties from Patrick Mazeika, who was optioned to the minors. Nido was red-hot for a bit before his injury, but James McCann has settled in recently and that may limit playing time. Barrera/Gushue/Holaday - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4; Nido - 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: Rostered 

Elias Diaz, Rockies: Diaz saw his six-game hitting streak and four-game home run streak – the latter a club record - come to an end Saturday. Batting .109 on May 12, he's brought his average up near the Mendoza Line with the recent hot streak. In addition, Diaz's uptick in performance has resulted in Dom Nunez taking a back seat behind the plate. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 

Alex Jackson, Braves: Jackson resumed his rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday. He was on a rehab assignment earlier in the month while recovering from a left hamstring strain, but he suffered an injury to his pinkie finger that forced him to pause his activities. Out since May 2, Jackson was transferred to the 60-day IL last month, but is now eligible to return with the major-league club in the near future. When activated, he could split time with William Contreras and Kevan Smith until Travis d'Arnaud is ready to return. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

FIRST BASE

Phillip Evans, Pirates: Evans has become the de facto starter at first after the Pirates placed Colin Moran on the 10-day injured list Thursday with a fractured left wrist. He was joined there Friday by Erik Gonzalez, so Pittsburgh has very few available or viable options at the position. Evans has done little at the plate this season after a red-hot start, but should be in the lineup almost daily. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7

SECOND BASE

Wilmer Difo/Thairo Estrada/Alejo Lopez/Andrew Young: Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Arizona called up backup middle infielders this week. Difo was designated for assignment by Pittsburgh in early June, but will receive another big-league opportunity after spending the past couple weeks at Triple-A Indianapolis. The 29-year-old will supply some much-needed infield depth with Colin Moran (wrist) recently landing on the injured list and Erik Gonzalez (side) exiting Thursday's game. Difo also slashed .244/.287/.366 with a homer, six RBI and seven runs in 87 plate appearances across the first two-plus months of the season before the demotion. Estrada, who spent five days on the big-league roster earlier in June, was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday to replace Mauricio Dubon on the active roster. The 25-year-old provides infield depth with Evan Longoria (shoulder), Brandon Belt (knee) and Tommy La Stella (hamstring/thumb) on the injured list, but likely will see a short-term boost in at-bats after driving in five runs Friday. Lopez, a 27th-round pick back in 2015, hit a fairly empty .297/.367/.379 in 325 minor-league games prior to this season. He was raking this season slashing 360/.437/.485 in 49 games across the two highest levels of the minors while striking out just 7.9 percent of the time to earn the call up. Lopez will mostly see time at second and third while with Cincinnati, though could be tried at shortstop despite minimal experience there. Young was recalled from Triple-A Reno on Tuesday, marking his third stint with the big club this season. He slashed .206/.357/.588 with four homers and nine RBI in 42 previous at-bats with the big-league club and will once again serve in a utility role. All - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5

Nico Hoerner, Cubs: Hoerner, sidelined since straining his left hamstring on May 25, could return this weekend as he is traveling with the team. Prior to being injured, he slashed 338/.405/.432 with nine RBI and three stolen bases through 21 games and was sent down to the minors before the season started and dealt with a forearm injury. Once Hoerner is officially activated from the injured list, he'll likely reclaim his job as the primary second baseman right away. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: Rostered, if not, $18 

Tommy La Stella, Giants: La Stella, sidelined since early May due to a hamstring strain, suffered a small thumb fracture during a rehab assignment in late June and is in the midst of a two-week shutdown. However, the infielder could resume his rehab stint in mid-July and could be on track to return shortly after the All-Star break as long as he doesn't face any more setbacks. Prior to being sidelined, La Stella had struggled to a .235/.297/.353 line with a home run and five RBI over 25 games this season, but was still an important part of the lineup against righties. When back, he should time at second and third base. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7 (early spec return bid) 

THIRD BASE

J.D. Davis, Mets: Davis, out since May 1 with a sprained left hand, began a rehab assignment Wednesday. It's been starts and stops in terms of a minor-league stint, who prior to getting injured was slashing .379/.410/.679 with a pair of home runs and seven RBI to make up for his still subpar defense at the hot corner. Despite all the work David has done to improve his defense, that side of his game remains a problem. But if he's able to rake at the plate like he was, the Mets will live with those defensive issues and possibly replace him late in games especially with the team's offense struggling. Davis batted .307/.369/.527 with 22 homers in 2019, but posted a .761 OPS last season. Keep in mind the Mets are rumored to be pursuing a third baseman, which should slightly affect your bidding. 12-team Mixed: $18 (once healthy, power potential); 15-team Mixed: Rostered; 12-team-NL: Rostered 

Evan Longoria, Giants: Longoria, on the injured list with a sprained left shoulder since Jun. 6, could return from the injured list around the third week of July - about a week beyond what was originally reported. He resumed baseball activities a little over a week ago and should be activated shortly around the All-Star break. Prior to being sidelined, Longoria had posted a solid .280/.376/.516 slash line with nine home runs, 30 RBI, 28 runs scored and a stolen base as a near-everyday option at third base. Wilmer Flores should continue to receive the bulk of the playing time at the hot corner while Longoria continues to recover, but will cede the role when Longoria returns. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16 (upped return stash bid)

Joe Panik, Marlins: Miami acquired Panik and an unspecified minor-league pitcher from the Blue Jays on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson (foot) and pitcher Adam Cimber. Panik offers the ability to play all four infield spots and gives the Marlins a second utility option alongside Jon Berti - who has underachieved this season - but most of Panik's work is coming at the hot corner until Brian Anderson (shoulder) gets healthy. If Jazz Chisholm's sprained ankle sidelines him, look for Panik to play at second until Chisholm returns. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7

SHORTSTOP 

Alcides Escobar, Nationals: Escobar was acquired by the Nationals from the Royals on Friday to give them shortstop depth while Trea Turner remains sidelined with a finger injury he suffered Wednesday while hitting for the cycle. Escobar played in Japan during the 2020 campaign, but signed a minor-league deal with the Royals in early May. He appeared in 35 games for Triple-A Omaha this year and slashed .274/.311/.452 with five homers, 23 runs, 16 RBI and two stolen bases before being acquired. Escobar started at shortstop on Saturday and should stick around for as long as Turner is out. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 

Didi Gregorius, Phillies: Gregorius is rostered at 59 percent of CBS Sports leagues, just below the 60 percent threshold I have for inclusion in this column. Out since May 12 with CPPD - a form of arthritis caused by calcium crystal deposits that is treatable with anti-inflammatory medication - Didi was activated off the 10-day injured list Friday. The veteran shortstop resumed a rehab assignment at Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Jun. 24 after sitting for nearly two weeks due to the elbow, where he wen 6-for-15 with a double, two RBI and three runs in five rehab games. Gregorius should reclaim the everyday job at shortstop and push Ronald Torreyes back to a bench role having punctuated his return with a home run. 12-team Mixed: $18; 15-team Mixed: Rostered; 12-team NL: Rostered

OUTFIELD 

Harrison Bader, Cardinals:  Bader, on the injured list since late-May with a hairline fracture along his right ribcage, moved his rehab assignment to Triple-A Memphis after three games at Low-A Palm Beach and was activated Thursday. Injuries have limited him to just 22 games this season, but he could get a run at starting due to his defense. Lars Nootbaar was called up last week to replace Lane Thomas, but was sent down leaving Bader in center flanked by Dylan Carlson and Tyler O'Neill (when healthy). 12-team Mixed: $2: 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (slightly upped return bid) 

Jackie Bradley/Lorenzo Cain, Brewers: Bradley, thrust into additional playing time when Lorenzo Cain landed on the injured list at the beginning of June with a strained right hamstring, did little with that opportunity. But he's finally showing signs of life at the plate hitting .268/.380/.439 with five extra-base hits and seven RBI in 50 plate appearances over his last 14 games through Friday. Cain is expected to begin his minor-league rehab assignment – which should last at least two weeks - later this week. That and multiple previous injuries have limited the 35-year-old to 31 games this season. Cain, who hit .223 with three homers and nine RBI in those games, still appears to be on track for a post-All-Star break activation and then Bradley will likely shift back to his role as a fourth outfielder - though that depends on how Cain hits when he returns. Bradley - 12-team Mixed: $2: 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: Rostered; Cain - 12-team Mixed: $2: 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

Jaylin Davis/Yadiel Hernandez/Pablo Reyes: The Giants, Nationals and Brewers activated/called up fifth outfielders this week. Davis, on the 60-day injured list, missed the start of the year with left knee tendinitis, but joined Triple-A Sacramento for a rehab assignment Jun. 10 and slashed .316/.418/.754 with seven home runs, 22 RBI and 16 runs in 14 rehab games. He should serve mainly in a depth role in San Francisco's outfield after Mike Tauchman (knee) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Hernandez, sent down in mid-June, slashed .309/.367/.618 with five home runs, 12 RBI and nine runs in 14 games with Triple-A Rochester. He appeared in 42 games with the major-league club this year and was called up to provide outfield depth going forward after Kyle Schwarber (hamstring) was placed on the injured list. Called up on Monday, Reyes was sent down Wednesday only to head back up when Kolten Wong hit the IL. Reyes should serve in a reserve utility role going forward and see some time in the outfield. All - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4 

Nick Heath, Diamondbacks: Heath, profiled last week when he was recalled by the Diamondbacks, gets another mention as he moves up the center field depth chart after Tim Locastro was dealt to the Yankees and Ketel Marte (hamstring) landed on the injured list. He appeared in 13 games for Arizona earlier in the year and hit .161 with three runs and an RBI. Heath had been more successful with Triple-A Reno slashing .297/.386/.446 with two homers, 14 runs, 11 RBI and seven stolen bases across 18 contests. The 27-year-old should see an uptick in playing time, but Josh Reddick and Pavin Smith will also factor in the mix in center and right. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team $4: No; 12-team NL: $7

Brandon Nimmo, Mets: Nimmo, out since May 1 with a small ligament tear near the base of his left index finger, was activated and in the lineup Saturday and notched three hits. He'll be rested initially and is wearing a hand guard/splint on his left hand under his batting glove and that could impact his power/swing, though he said he felt no pain in the finger even when jammed in pitches in the minors. Originally thought to be dealing with a nerve issue, a second opinion revealed the actual injury. Now activated, Nimmo will sit against certain lefties while providing solid across-the-board production especially in leagues that count OBA. 12-team Mixed: $11; 15-team Mixed: $22; 12-team NL: $33 (upped return bid, based on full health and multi-category assistance)

Jared Oliva, Pirates: Oliva, profiled three weeks ago when he kicked off rehab assignment, was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday and replaced Colin Moran (wrist) after he went on the 10-day injured list. Out since the spring with a strained left oblique, Oliva hit .167/.231/.229 across 52 plate appearances at Triple-A. Speed is his main weapon, but he has the body type, frame and athleticism to add more power as he matures. Left field has been a nightmare for the Pirates almost all season so Oliva could see time there, but he started in right Friday with Gregory Polanco (hip) sidelined. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7

Gerardo Parra/Andrew Stevenson, Nationals: Parra, promoted Jun. 20 when Stevenson landed on the disabled list, is in line for an uptick of playing time in the short-term with Kyle Schwarber (hamstring) on the DL. He should serve as the primary left fielder until Stevenson returns to action, but don't expect much from him at the plate. Stevenson, on the 10-day injured list since Jun. 18 due to an oblique strain, will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Sunday. The 27-year-old is expected to have a short rehab assignment, but the team wanted him to get some live reps before being cleared to rejoin the major-league club. The Nationals have a major hole in left field with the loss of Schwarber, so Stevenson has a shot at fairly regular playing time when activated. Parra - 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7; Stevenson - 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7 

Jesus Sanchez, Marlins: Sanchez is expected to fill an everyday role in left field for the remainder of the season after the Marlins dealt Corey Dickerson (foot) to the Blue Jays. Sanchez's playing time was already well insulated since Dickerson's foot injury was expected to sideline him until after the All-Star break, but the trade only further boosts the rookie's job security. Sanchez still has swing-and-miss issues and will sit against lefties - as he did Friday - but the power upside potential coupled with a clear path to consistent action adds to his value. 12-team Mixed: $7; 15-team Mixed: $14; 12-team NL: $22 (if not already rostered)

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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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