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.

This past week was the first round of September call-ups. Unlike in the past, when rosters expanded to 40, teams can only add two players. I've tried to cover those who I thought were the key promotions. But please let me know in the comments if you'd like me to include bids on others.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Ryan FeltnerCOLSPE015
Tony GonsolinLASPD147 (early spec return bid)
Dakota HudsonSTLSPC/D147 (upped spec return bid)
Josh RogersWASSPE0

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.

This past week was the first round of September call-ups. Unlike in the past, when rosters expanded to 40, teams can only add two players. I've tried to cover those who I thought were the key promotions. But please let me know in the comments if you'd like me to include bids on others.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Ryan FeltnerCOLSPE015
Tony GonsolinLASPD147 (early spec return bid)
Dakota HudsonSTLSPC/D147 (upped spec return bid)
Josh RogersWASSPE015
Antonio SenzatelaCOLSPC511Rostered
Luke WeaverAZSPD2711 (upped return bid)
Carlos EstevezCOLRPD51116 (upped bid from prior)
Julian FernandezCOLRPENo05
Dylan FloroMIARPD3914
Giovanny GallegosSTLRPC51118
Blake TreinenLARPC2711
Rowan WickCHIRPD3914
Luis CampusanoSDCB147 (future stash bid)
Keibert RuizWASCB51116
Joshua FuentesCOL1BENoNo4
Matt VierlingPHI1BENo06
Daniel VogelbachMIL1BENoNo4
Frank SchwindelCHI1BC2233Rostered
Mauricio DubonSF2BDNo16
Alejo LopezCIN2BENoNo4
Zach McKinstryLA2BENoNo4
Andrew YoungAZ2BE147
Jonathan VillarNYM2BC2535Rostered
Isan DiazMIA3BE027
Joe PanikMIA3BENo15
Travis BlankenhornNYM3BENoNo4
Phillip EvansPIT3BENoNo4
Luis GuillormeNYM3BENoNo4
Orlando ArciaATLSSENoNo4
Deven MarreroMIASSENoNo4
Hoy ParkPITSSENo06
Anthony AlfordPITOFD159
Albert AlmoraNYMOFE015
Delino DeShieldsCINOFE015
Stuart FairchildAZOFE147
Khalil LeeNYMOFENoNo4
Michael HermosilloCHIOFD/E159
Kevin PillarNYMOFD3914
Lane ThomasWASOFD71422

STARTING PITCHER

Ryan Feltner, Rockies: Feltner, selected by the Rockies with the 126th overall pick in the 2018 first-year player draft, was called up from Double-A Hartford on Saturday. After going 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA with High-A Spokane to begin the season, he got the bump up and hardly missed a beat with a 2.85 ERA in 72.2 innings at Hartford. Feltner is a candidate to immediately step into the rotation with Austin Gomber (back) done for the season. Ashton Goudeau represents another option, though Ohio State product Feltner is more likely to get the nod. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Tony Gonsolin, Dodgers: Gonsolin, out since Jul. 31 with right shoulder inflammation, threw a simulated game Monday and began a rehab assignment at Low-A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday. He'll need a few rehab appearances before being ready to rejoin the Dodgers, presuming he'll be stretch out to start. If that is the case, look for Gonsolin to be back with LA the third week or so of September and slot into the rotation. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 (early spec return bid)

Dakota Hudson, Cardinals: Hudson's recovery from Tommy John surgery last September took a major step forward last Saturday, as he made his first appearance since the operation. He started for Low-A Palm Beach on Saturday and fired two scoreless innings where he allowed two hits, uncorked a wild pitch and recorded a strikeout. Hudson moved to Double-A Springfield on Thursday and produced 2.2 scoreless innings while giving up two hits and a walk and recording three strikeouts. He's made a remarkably quick recovery from the procedure and may take the hill with Triple-A Memphis for his next turn. Hudson looks to be on track to return from the 60-day injured list by the middle of September to join St. Louis in a bullpen role and contend for a rotation spot in 2022. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (upped spec return bid)

Josh Rogers, Nationals: Rogers was added to the 40-man roster and designated as the 29th man for the twin bill Saturday, starting the second game of the doubleheader against the Mets. Making his first big-league start since 2018, he allowed three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out five over 5.2 innings to notch the win. The lefty packs very little in terms of a strikeout punch with 63 strikeouts in 90.1 innings at Triple-A, but also doesn't hurt himself with walks. Rogers managed a 7-3 record, 3.70 ERA and 1.32 WHIP with Triple-A Rochester after being cut loose by the Orioles at the end of May and could get a few more turns in the Nationals' rotation the remainder of the season. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5

Antonio Senzatela, Rockies: Senzatela continued his recent role Friday giving up three runs on six hits and no walks while fanning three over seven innings. He's registered five straight quality starts posting a 2.45 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 19:5 K:BB across 33 innings. Senzatela's lack of strikeouts limits his fantasy appeal, but he's been mostly reliable by yielding no more than four earned runs in 12 of 13 starts since the start of June. While relying on a Rockies' starter is somewhat dangerous, Senzatela's continued fine work makes him a viable option in nearly all formats. 12-team Mixed: $5; 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: Rostered

Luke Weaver, Diamondbacks: Weaver, on the shelf since mid-May with a strained rotator cuff, was activated from the 60-day injured list to start Wednesday's game against the Padres. He allowed one run on four hits while striking out three over six innings to earn the W. Weaver built up to 73 pitches in his last rehab outing with Triple-A Reno on Aug. 20 before being sidelined due to COVID-19. Arizona opted to activate him rather than have him make another rehab start. Weaver should remain in the D-Backs rotation the rest of the campaign. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (upped return bid) 

RELIEF PITCHER

Carlos Estevez, Rockies: Estevez looks to have settled in and taken over as Colorado's closer, notching saves Friday and Saturday against the Braves. Prior to surrendering a solo homer to Travis d'Arnaud on Saturday, he hadn't allowed an earned run in 14 straight outings dating back to Jul. 31 while registering six holds and two saves over that stretch. Estevez has taken over the role from Daniel Bard, who is now in a setup role. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $18 (upped bid from prior)

Julian Fernandez, Rockies: Fernandez, called up from Triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday, posted a 2.53 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 42:16 K:BB across 42.2 innings at two minor-league levels. After not appearing in affiliated ball since 2017, he's now fully healthy after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018 and is throwing 100 MPH gas. Fernandez will likely pitch in a middle-relief role initially, but could quickly rise in the pecking order if he excels in his initial appearances given the lack of quality options atop the bullpen depth chart. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

Dylan Floro, Marlins: Following the trade of Yimi Garcia, Floro appears to have secured the Marlins' primary closer role. The right-handed reliever has converted each of his past four save chances while only allowing one run over 5.1 innings and racking up a 5:2 K:BB. On the year, Floro has produced seven saves, 11 holds and five blown saves with his usage dependent on Miami keeping the score close late in games. 12-team Mixed: $3, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14

Giovanny Gallegos, Cardinals: Gallegos, who notched the save Wednesday, has been scored upon only once in his last 10 appearances with a 0.87 ERA and 11:2 K:BB through 10.1 innings and three saves to go along with five holds. With that fine performance, he may have moved ahead of the struggling Alex Reyes in the pecking order for saves in the Cards' bullpen. Gallegos has some closer experience having gone 4-for-4 in save opportunities last year and his fastball/slider combination sufficient enough to fill the role. For now, he's the most likely option in the 9th inning until and unless Reyes regains the spot. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $18

Blake Treinen, Dodgers: Treinen continues to impress out of the back-end of the LA bullpen and now sits with a 1.93 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 69:18 K:BB, four saves and 25 holds. The 33-year-old has been extremely active in the second half of August by recording two wins, two saves and three holds since Aug. 16. Kenley Jansen is still ensconced as the Dodgers' closer, but Treinen is next in line and utilized in that role when Jansen is unavailable. 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 

Rowan Wick, Cubs: Wick looks to be the current primary option within a crowded and unsettled Cubs' bullpen. He earned the save Tuesday, blew the save Thursday and rebounded to close out the team's win Friday. Wick has posted a 3.72 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 13:4 K:BB across 9.2 innings this season while adding those aforementioned two saves, blown save and a hold. He first returned to action Aug. 10 after being sidelined since the spring with a strained oblique and could see the majority of the save chances the rest of the way. 12-team Mixed: $3, 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14

CATCHER

Luis Campusano, Padres: Campusano is playing like the Friars' catcher of the future by slashing .295/.365/.541 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI through 81 games with Triple-A El Paso. He struggled during his time with the Padres earlier in the campaign going 3-for-34 with a 28.9 percent strikeout rate. However, Campusano has thrived in his first stint at Triple-A completing a superb August where he slashed .373/.458/.765 with six homers and 13 RBI across 15 contests. He was the California League co-MVP in 2019 and remains firmly embedded as one of the organization's top hitting prospects. Campusano is unlikely to make much of an impact at the big-league level this season with Austin Nola and Victor Caratini holding down catcher duties while the Padres fight for a playoff spot, but could be the team's top backstop. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (future stash bid) 

Keibert Ruiz, Nationals: Ruiz was traded from the Dodgers to the Nationals at the deadline along with Josiah Gray, Gerardo Carrillo and Donovan Casey in exchange for Trea Turner and Max Scherzer. Buried behind Will Smith and Diego Cartaya in Los Angeles, Ruiz is getting his chance to make an impact with the Nationals the final month of the season and should take over as their primary catcher within the next year or two. He hit .310/.379/.624 with 16 home runs and 46 RBI over 235 plate appearances with Triple-A Oklahoma City prior the trade. In August at Triple-A Rochester, Ruiz slashed .308/.365/.577 in 20 games along with 24 hits, six doubles, five home runs, 14 RBIs, seven walks and six strikeouts. 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16 

FIRST BASE 

Joshua Fuentes/Matt Vierling/Daniel Vogelbach: The Rockies, Phillies and Brewers called up/activated depth first baseman this week. Fuentes was called up Saturday after Connor Joe was placed on the 10-day IL with a hamstring strain. The 28-year-old has done little with his 276 plate appearances with Colorado this season, slashing .228/.261/.357 and will serve as depth at each corner infield spot…Vogelbach, out after spending over two months on the shelf with a strained left hamstring, was activated from the 60-day injured list Wednesday. Rowdy Tellez has claimed the starting role at first since joining the Brewers, so Vogelbach may need to prove he can be a productive piece off the bench during the final month of the season...Vierling, who had cups of coffee in June and July, was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and started at first base Tuesday. He'll see time there the last month of the season with Rhys Hoskins (abdomen) on the injured list, though J.T. Realmuto and Brad Miller will garner most of the action at the position. Vierling will also be an option to play the outfield. Fuentes/Vogelbach - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4; Vierling - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $6 

Frank Schwindel, Cubs: Schwindel, profiled two weeks ago, gets another mention as he's been red-hot at the plate homering for the fifth time in sixth games Saturday. During his power surge, he's racked up nine RBI and six runs scored. Schwindel has also slashed .326/.368/.630 with 10 homers, 28 RBI and 22 runs scored through 144 plate appearances. Claimed off waivers by the Cubs from the A's in mid-July, he was promoted Jul. 29 after Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez were dealt. Schwindel went .317/.362/.630 with 16 homers, 42 runs and 41 RBI in 45 games at Triple-A Las Vegas to earn the promotion. 12-team Mixed: $22, 15-team Mixed: $33; 12-team NL: Rostered

SECOND BASE 

Mauricio Dubon, Giants: Dubon was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday, sent down on Friday and called back up Saturday. He had been with the minor-league club since late June slashing .333/.415/.463 with three homers, 29 runs, 22 RBI and nine stolen bases across 46 contests. Dubon will see some time at second along with Thairo Estrada with Wilmer Flores (hamstring) on the 10-day injured list while Tommy La Stella is dealing with a side injury and Donovan Solano out due to COVID-19. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $6

Alejo Lopez/Zach McKinstry/Andrew Young, Diamondbacks: The Reds, Dodgers and Diamondbacks called up/activated depth infielders this week. Lopez, who saw action with the major-league club in June and July, was recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday. The 25-year-old went 6-for-19 with three runs and three strikeouts in 11 games in his first big-league action this year and will serve as infield depth for Cincinnati… McKinstry was the flavor of the month earlier this season, but then suffered an injury and lost his lineup - and then, roster - spot. Sent down in mid-August, he made 10 appearances with Triple-A Albuquerque going .295/.395/.514 with two home runs, a triple, seven runs and five RBI. McKinstry rejoined the Dodgers this week to serve as utility depth, though could see some time in left field with AJ Pollock suffering a Grade 2 strained hamstring Saturday…The Diamondbacks recalled Young, who was raking in the minors, from Triple-A Reno last Sunday. Since then, he's started four games and playing most of the time at second against southpaws - which should be his role moving forward. Lopez/McKinstry - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4; Young - 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Jonathan Villar, Mets: Villar is over his slight slump and has been rolling the past two weeks or so. Including the pair of games Saturday, he's 20-for-44 with eight runs scored, a pair of home runs and six runs driven in while seeing most of his time at third in place of J.D. Davis. Villar also has the benefit of qualifying at second and third as well as shortstop to add to his value. 12-team Mixed: $25: 15-team Mixed: $35; 12-team NL: Rostered 

THIRD BASE

Isan Diaz/Joe Panik, Marlins: Brian Anderson will miss the remainder of the season with a left shoulder subluxation. Filling in for Anderson at the hot corner will be some combination of Diaz and Panik, who was reinstated from the COVID-19 list Wednesday. Neither one represents a stellar option at the spot, but go for Diaz if choosing one based on a bit more upside along with pop in his bat. Diaz - 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team NL: $7; Panik - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 

Travis Blankenhorn/Phillip Evans/Luis Guillorme: The Pirates and Mets (2x) called up/activated depth corner infielders this week. Blankenhorn was promoted Saturday with Brandon Nimmo going to the IL due to a strained right hamstring suffered in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader and will mainly be used as a pinch-hitter. Evans, who hit .208 with five homers, 22 runs, 16 RBI and a steal in 72 big-league games this year, was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday. He'll provide additional depth in Pittsburgh's infield while Michael Chavis (elbow) and Ke'Bryan Hayes (hand) are sidelined…. Guillorme, sidelined for a month with a strained left hamstring, was activated off the 10-day injured list Tuesday. Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor's returns will restrict Guillorme to a bench role despite his impressive .293/.406/.345 slash line in 139 plate appearances. He took the roster spot of Brandon Drury, whom the Mets optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. All - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team-NL: $4

SHORTSTOP 

Orlando Arcia/Deven Marrero: The Braves and Marlins called up depth middle infielders this week. Atlanta recalled Arcia from Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday as a September call-up. He gave the team some extra coverage in the middle while everyday second baseman Ozzie Albies (knee) missed a pair of outings. Ehire Adrianza and Arcia are expected to serve as the primary backups at the keystone for Albies….Just a couple weeks after getting designated for assignment, Marrero was promoted Friday to take the place of Brian Anderson, whose season is likely over due to a shoulder injury. Marrero hit .232/.312/.358 in 49 games at Triple-A Jacksonville and will operate as infield depth for Miami. Both - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team-NL: $4 

Hoy Park, Pirates: Park was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to share playing time at second with Cole Tucker and Wilmer Difo until Michael Chavis (elbow) returns. In addition, Park is playing at third with Ke'Bryan Hayes (hand) sidelined and potentially slated for the IL. Park hit .200 with four doubles, a home run and five RBI his first 18 games after getting dealt to Pittsburgh before getting sent down last month. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team-NL: $6

OUTFIELD 

Anthony Alford, Pirates: Alford has been productive since returning from the back spasms that landing him on the injured list going 10-for-33 with four home runs, seven RBI, five runs scored and three stolen bases. He's seen his prospect status wane, but at 27 is still young enough to earn a full-time role. With Pittsburgh in desperate need of talent, Alford - if he can stay healthy - should be in the starting lineup almost daily the rest of the way. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team-NL: $9 

Albert Almora/Delino DeShields/Stuart Fairchild/Khalil Lee: The Mets recalled Almora and Lee from Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday. New York is using both of its extra spots on the expanded roster on outfielders. The righty-hitting Almora could operate as a short-side platoon mate for one of the three lefty-hitting regulars in the Mets outfield (Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith and Michael Conforto). But with Nimmo sidelined and Smith struggling, Almora could see an uptick in playing time. Lee was sent back down Thursday, but could be recalled based on Nimmo's situation and if Chance Sisco's injuries suffered Friday land him on the IL…. Fairchild was recalled by Arizona from Triple-A Reno on Wednesday. The 38th pick by the Reds in 2017, he was traded along with Josh VanMeter last summer in exchange for a month of Archie Bradley's services and offers solid on-base skills along with decent speed, average-to-plus defense in center field and a plus arm that point to a future role in the majors. Fairchild will cover in a depth role for the D-Backs in this current stint, but could see an uptick of appearances with the team playing out the string…The Reds selected DeShields' contract from Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday. One day after acquiring him from Boston, they added DeShields to their 40-man roster and 28-man active roster to give the team an additional outfield body for the final month. With Jesse Winker (intercostal) still sidelined, the Reds are relying largely on a platoon of Max Schrock and Aristides Aquino to replace him in left field. DeShields is mainly functioning as a late-inning defensive replacement and the team's top pinch-running threat off the bench, but also is seeing some starts in left and center field. Almora/Deshields - 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5; Fairchild - 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7; Lee - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4

Michael Hermosillo, Cubs: Hermosillo, profiled two weeks ago when he was first promoted, gets another mention as he's been somewhat productive since getting called up. He's up to three homers, seven RBI, five runs scored and a pair of doubles through 15 contests. Hermosillo is mostly seeing a short-side platoon role in center field as Rafael Ortega typically starts against right-handed pitching, although he may occasionally spell Jason Heyward or Ian Happ at the corner outfield spots. He earned the promotion after slashing .310/.448/.600 with 10 homers and seven steals in 42 games for Triple-A Iowa. With Chicago looking to the future, Hermosillo is receiving a chance to make his case for a future outfield role. 12-team Mixed: $1: 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 

Kevin Pillar, Mets: Pillar, who has feasted on Washington pitching the last week, should remain in the lineup almost daily while Brandon Nimmo is out with a strained right hamstring. After homering in the second game of the doubleheader Saturday, Pillar has hit 7-for-16 with three homers, two doubles, a steal, six RBI and six runs in four starts against the NL East rivals. He had an extended run earlier in the season and then slumped, but now should get a chance to see consistent playing time in center field while Nimmo is out. 12-team Mixed: $3: 15-team Mixed: $9; 12-team NL: $14 

Lane Thomas, Cardinals: Thomas, traded at the deadline to the Nationals for Jon Lester, has more than made the most of the chances afforded to him in Washington. He has wrested the center field job away from Victor Robles to become a full-time starter going 20-for-62 with a .323/.403/.532 along with a pair of home runs, nine RBI and 10 runs scored. Thomas projects to possibly be a future 20/10 player if he starts, though may be best used to fill a fourth outfielder role. But for now, he's a starter. 12-team Mixed: $7: 15-team Mixed: $14; 12-team NL: $22

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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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