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Image credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to The FAAB Review, the series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Tim McCullough covers the FAAB bidding in the Tout Wars Mixed Draft league, while I cover LABR Mixed and both NL-only and AL-only leagues. LABR uses a $100 FAAB budget with one-dollar minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with zero-dollar minimum bids.

Tout Wars’ free agent deadline is at 8 pm ET on Sunday while LABR’s deadline is Sunday at midnight ET.

All statistics in this article are through Sunday’s games.

LABR Mixed
Brendan McKay $16,
$6, $3, $3, $1 (NYY)
Jason Kipnis $4
Dominic Smith $4
Michael Lorenzen $3
Brett Anderson $2 (@SEA)
Brandon Dixon $2
Chance Sisco $1,
$1
Brandon Workman $1
Travis d’Arnaud $1
J.P. Crawford $1,
$1
Tyler O’Neill $1,
$1
Martin Maldonado $1

 

While “the weekend before the United States’ Independence Day” isn’t a holiday, it sure played like it in most of the expert leagues this weekend. McKay was the only player to garner a contested bid over $1 in LABR Mixed (he is profiled in the Tout Mixed Draft section below). The $1 pickups of Sisco and Crawford are my favorites, as both players could provide an appreciable impact in a 15-team mixed league for the minimum FAAB cost.


LABR NL

Freddy Peralta $11
Fernando Rodney $3

Jose Osuna $3, $1
Despite major league results that were very underwhelming entering 2019, Osuna’s bat was enticing, and over the last few days he showed why, mashing in a three-game series in Houston where he served as the designated hitter. Whether you believe in Osuna or not, the problem is with his defense, particularly on a team where Josh Bell is entrenched at first and that’s the only position Osuna can play passably. The Pirates tried him at the hot corner last year, and it was interesting, to put it politely. Osuna could gain deep mixed relevance with a Bell injury or with a trade to another organization but for now Osuna is stuck on a team where finding playing time will be challenging, unless the Pirates do what they did in 2018 and sacrifice a lot of defense for Osuna’s moderate offense.

Javy Guerra $2
Shaun Anderson $2 (@SD)

Austin Voth $2, $1 (KC)
Voth was a decent pitching prospect who earlier in his career was lost in the shuffle in a Nationals’ system that included Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Nick Pivetta. A polished college arm, Voth was serviceable but didn’t do anything to distinguish himself and as a result didn’t make his major league debut until last season at the age of 26. Voth opened a few eyes with some extra velocity on his fastball in his 2019 debut, but that rate slipped in his most recent start against Detroit. Voth looks a lot like the pitcher many thought he’d be: a serviceable fifth starter at best, a swingman/middle reliever at worst. His matchup against the Royals is a solid streaming opportunity if you’re looking for a cheap arm in anything deeper than 10-team mixed.

Edwin Rios $1
Brad Miller $1,
$1
Greg Garcia $1
Stephen Vogt $1

LABR AL

Jeimer Candelario $11, $7, $3
I have a soft spot for Candelario, the former Cubs prospect who was blocked in Chicago by Kris Bryant and shipped to Detroit in 2017 as part of a package for Alex Avila and Justin Wilson. It has been a mixed bag for Candelario in Detroit, and his struggles in 2019 have been extreme. Demoted to Triple-A by the Tigers in May, Candelario predictably destroyed minor league pitching and clawed his way back to the bigs. He had a strong week, but with very little power to show for it. Even if the Candy Man only hits an empty .260, that’s fine for AL-only teams and the rebuilding Tigers, but the hope if you sink 11 percent of your budget into a hitter is that he’s more than that. Twenty to 25 home runs with a .270-280 average feels like the ceiling, but it also feels like a very generous projection.

Trent Thornton $3 (BOS, BAL)

Colin Poche $2, $1
The most fascinating thing about Poche’s line thus far is his groundball rate. Even in a miniscule sample of 12 1/3 innings, a 12 percent groundball rate seems impossible, like something someone fudged his stat line as part of an extremely nerdy prank. Poche isn’t likely to maintain such a low ground ball rate but he has historically been a flyball pitcher, and in an era when the ball is flying out of the park, I’m wary of this kind of batted ball profile. The Rays unconventional bullpen usage is a blessing and a curse for Poche. He could pick up a few saves, but it’s unlikely he runs with the job in the ninth.

Jeff Mathis $1
Daniel Hudson $1
Luis Cessa $1

Tout Mixed Draft

Carlos Martinez $400, $63, $16
Michael Beller of Sports Illustrated stashed John Gant away at the beginning of May, likely because Gant was 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA, two saves and six holds at that point. Gant was already the closer when Jordan Hicks was unavailable, and the vulture wins were a nice bonus tied to Gant’s use in high leverage situations, which in turn made it likely Gant would close if Hicks was injured. Lo and behold, Hicks tore his UCL and the closer job in St. Louis was up for grabs. Surely, Gant would have gotten the nod to close if the Cardinals weren’t so desperate to get something – anything, really – out of Carlos Martinez. Injuries limited Martinez to 18 starts in 2018 and led to him being used exclusively in relief this season. Martinez stepped up to close five games in September last year, which helped the Cardinals immensely down the stretch to the postseason. If he stays healthy, Martinez could remain the St. Louis closer for the rest of the season. Seth Trachtman of Rotoworld laid out the single largest FAAB expenditure on a closer for the season to date.

Brendan McKay $222, $175, $87, $87, $69, $58, $53, $52, $42 (NYY)

McKay is yet another example of the sheer depth of the Rays organizational pitching depth. He has dominated at both Double-A and Triple-A this season, and he looked sharp in his debut against the Rangers this past week, tossing six shutout innings with three strikeouts and a walk. He earned himself another start but it’s not clear whether he will remain with the Rays after that. He only pitched 88 1/3 innings in 2018, all of them below Double-A. McKay’s lack of experience and the need to limit his total innings this year could mean his visit to the majors is a short one.

Dylan Cease $57 (DET)
Cease is one the top prospects in the White Sox organization and was acquired in the same deal that brought Eloy Jimenez to the Sox in exchange for Jose Quintana. Cease was brilliant last year at Double-A, where he pitched to a 1.72 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP while striking out 39 percent of the batters he faced. He was pitching well at Triple-A this season until recently; in five June appearances, he allowed 16 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings with 12 walks. Yikes! Still, the White Sox believe he’s ready, so they’re going to give him a spot start as part of a double-header on Wednesday. Injuries created this opportunity, so how those injuries play out will likely determine how long Cease remains with the big club. Limiting innings may also play a role here, as the Sox aren’t likely to let him pitch more than 150 or so innings this year after totaling 124 innings in 2018.

Ramel Tapia $55
Tapia has been playing regularly for most of 2019 with mixed results. He batted .295/.336/.571 with five homers, 13 runs scored, and 18 RBI over his first 40 games (22 starts). Over the 39 games since (29 starts), Tapia has slashed just .244/.277/.344 with one homer, 21 runs scored and nine RBI. Tapia’s main upside comes from stolen bases, but he bats in the bottom third of the order frequently and has only stolen three bases in six attempts. He doesn’t hit for enough power or score enough runs to be anything more than bench depth in most fantasy leagues.

Brandon Workman $55
Workman is part of a crowded bullpen committee in Boston where no one has stepped up and seized the closer’s job for any appreciable amount of time. Workman is as good a bet as anyone else in the Red Sox pen to make the job his. At $55, he’s a much more reasonable option than Carlos Martinez. The problem is Workman is a roll of the dice, whereas Martinez already has the job.

Emilio Pagan $27, $18
Pagan is part of the closer committee for the Rays along with Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo, who is currently on the injured list. Alvarado recently returned to the Rays after missing time for a personal matter and closed out his first game since returning but looked rusty while laboring through the inning. Pagan could still see the occasional save chance. For $27, he is this week’s best buy for a shot at saves.

Dominic Smith $27, $8, $1, $0
Smith started getting regular playing time around May 10 due to the parade of injuries in the Mets’ outfield, and since then has hit .326/.404/.652 with eight home runs, 22 runs scored and 10 RBI. He has been hitting sixth or seventh in the Mets’ batting order most of the time, which limits his fantasy upside. He is a cheap option if you’re scrambling for an outfielder in 12-team leagues.

Austin Voth $20, $6 (KC)

Tyler O’Neill $18, $4
O’Neill was hitting .261/.312/.528 at Triple-A but a .342/.405/.658 line in his last 10 games contributed to his promotion on Saturday. O’Neill has a short-term opportunity to start for St. Louis, but this call up could also be a showcase for a trade to another team where there might be more room or opportunity for the 24-year-old masher.

Harold Ramirez $14
While the home runs and steals have been somewhat disappointing, Ramirez has quietly been a solid three-category contributor in deeper formats. His line extrapolated over 162 games would be good for 90 runs, 72 RBI and a .307 batting average. The caveat is that Ramirez’s .378 BABIP is very unlikely to continue and when the average falls the counting stats should slip along with it. Ramirez is fine to play as long as the stick stays hot, but he’s a deep mixed option at best.

Anthony Santander $11
Santander became part of Camden Yards lore when he hit the 100th home run onto Eutaw Street, with his blast on Saturday against Cleveland hurler Zach Plesac. Since his callup in early June, Santander has put up a .279/.337/.477 line with four home runs, 13 runs scored and 13 RBI.

Ivan Nova $7 (DET)

Jose Urquidy $7 (@COL)
Urquidy didn’t reach the high minors until this season and has only tossed 76 2/3 innings at Double-A or above. This won’t stop the Astros from sending Urquidy into the lion’s den that is Coors Field tomorrow night for his major league debut against the Rockies. Urquidy sports an impressive 2.89 ERA in 43 2/3 innings with a 37 percent strikeout rate at Triple-A. He’s a decent speculative add at $7 but faces a tough draw at Coors.

Bo Bichette $7
Bichette is batting .286 but he’s been on a tear of late, hitting .395 with 17 hits in his last 10 games. An injury has delayed his arrival in the majors, and the latest intel suggests it will be another month or so before the Blue Jays add Bichette to an infield that already features Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio. This is a good time to stash Bichette away because his price will only get higher.

Dinelson Lamet $5
Lamet is working his way back after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. There are suggestions that he will be returning to the majors soon and that his stuff is vastly improved with increased velocity. Lamet could return within the next month.

Alex Dickerson $4
Dan Mengden $3,
$2 (MIN, @SEA)
Adam Wainwright $3 (@SEA)
Danny Jansen $3
Chase Anderson $2 (@CIN, @PIT)(
Logan Forsythe $1,
$0
Miguel Rojas $0


Tout Wars AL
Franklin Barreto $52, $32, $7
Recalled by the Athletics yesterday, Barreto could see the lion’s share of playing time at the keystone for Oakland. Or maybe not. We’ve been down this road more than a few times with Barreto, who has been shuttled between Nashville and Oakland frequently. To be fair, Barreto is only 23 years old, and the lack of a sustained opportunity isn’t on Barreto. There is a fair amount of power and speed in the profile and even if the batting average doesn’t hold, Barreto could be a solid 10/10 performer the rest of the way if Oakland decides they’ve had enough of Jurickson Profar’s poor performance.

Logan Forsythe $11, $5
Jose Urquidy $11, $11, $8 (COL)
Glenn Sparkman $6 (@TOR, @WAS)
Sean Reid-Foley $2 (BOS)
Humberto Arteaga $2

Daz Cameron $1
Mike Freeman $1
Tyler Clippard $1,
$0
Ryan Cordell $1
Brian Flynn $0
Blaine Hardy $0
Chris Devenski $0
Isiah Kiner-Falefa $0
Colten Brewer $0
Evan Marshall $0

Tout Wars NL
Fernando Rodney $31
Tommy Edman $20
Alex Young $14
Tommy Hunter $3
Bryse Wilson $1 (PHI)
Andres Munoz $1
Tomas Nido $1
Tayron Guerrero $1
Edwin Rios $1
Brad Miller $1
Yairo Munoz $0
Robert Stephenson $0
Wander Suero $0

Thirteen uncontested bids in Tout NL made for a quiet week. The speculation in the Nationals bullpen (both here and in LABR NL) is intriguing. Doolittle has an affordable team option in 2020, but that could make him an even more enticing trade candidate later this month for a contender if Washington decides to sell. I’m not convinced the Nationals are sellers and I’m not sure Rodney would be the answer, but then no one behind Doolittle in the Nats pen is an obvious choice to close.

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Ross Fortner
7/01
Wowsers...$400 bucks for the privilege of having the Tsunami.