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.
TOUT WARS MIXED
Tyler Beede $68 (Other Bids: $42) (CHC)
Beede has been very effective over his last four starts. He has a 2.00 ERA and a 19:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 27 innings, while opponents are hitting just .186 off him. He was on my short list of pitchers on whom to bid, but with just $96 in the war chest, I decided I couldn’t afford him. I was right.
Andrés Muñoz $37 (Other Bids: $2)
That meager $2 bid is mine. I was hoping Muñoz would slide through to me on the cheap, but apparently the genie is out of the bottle. Muñoz has only made three appearances. However, there has been some speculation that he could inherit the closer job if Kirby Yates is dealt at the deadline.
Mitch Haniger $36
Eric Sogard $28 (Other Bids: $0)
Prior to this season, the last time Eric Sogard reached double digits in home runs was in 2008. This wasn’t in the majors, but rather in High-A ball. As a 22-year-old prospect, Sogard hit 10 home runs and stole 16 bases to go along with a .308/.394/.453 line that didn’t move the needle with the scouts because he was “one of those classic little college infielders without much in the way of tools.” This was Sogard’s blurb in the Baseball Prospectus Annual the following winter, when it was clear that no one believed. It has taken over a decade, but Sogard has finally broken past the mold of scrappy infielder and has become a force to be reckoned with. Sure, some of it is the lively ball, but Sogard himself deserves credit for persevering and proving that even players without much in the way of a ceiling are still elite baseball players who occasionally beat the projection and become much more. In Sogard’s case, it just didn’t happen until he was 33.
Robinson Canó $27
J.D. Davis $21
I was pleasantly surprised to get Davis for $21. He’s batting .353 in the month of July and is playing every day. It also helps that he is eligible at first base, third base and the outfield, which is where I will be slotting him in for Jordan Luplow.
Erick Fedde $17
Fedde hasn’t earned a regular spot in the Nationals’ rotation yet, but he’s pitched well when called upon as a spot starter. If they don’t deal for a starter, Fedde could end up getting the gig.
Rogelio Armenteros $4 (@STL)
Armenteros is the Astros’ current fifth starter. He was terrific in his start on Sunday, limiting the Rangers to one run on two hits with six strikeouts. For a $4 bid there is some nice profit potential if he keeps the job, which makes him worth the gamble. Of course, the Astros are expected to deal for a starter, which could lead to Armenteros returning to the minors.
TOUT WARS AL
Corey Kluber $328 (Other Bids: $69, $17, $13, $0)
Last week, Larry Schechter (Winning Fantasy Baseball) dropped Kluber, so he could reclaim enough FAAB to move to the front of the pack for the July 31 Major League trade deadline. I had $395 of my own FAAB left and was low enough in the FAAB rankings (fifth overall) that I figured I wasn’t getting anyone good from the NL and might as well bid aggressively on Kluber, who is tentatively due back with Cleveland in mid-August. I didn’t think I’d get him, but I was even more surprised that only Doug Dennis of Baseball HQ bid more than $17. There is obviously risk with Kluber, but he’s also a potential game-changer if he returns 100 percent and pitches anywhere close to his ceiling.
Jalen Beeks $69 (Other Bids: $35, $16, $1, $0, $0)
Beeks was sent to the minors at the end of June, partially because he struggled in a couple of outings but mostly because the Rays needed the roster space. He’s back now, and while the punchout rate isn’t anything to write home about, Beeks has been effective. He’s worth using as the Rays non-reliever starter, unless Tampa goes against their historical grain and trades for a frontline starting pitcher at the deadline.
Rogelio Armenteros $66 (Other Bids: $22, $13) (@STL)
With plenty of deception to make up for unimpressive stuff (outside of a strong change-up), Armenteros is a fun pitcher to watch. The problem is these qualities don’t necessarily make him a fun pitcher to have in fantasy. His first start against the Rangers went well, and while I don’t like deception arms, I must concede they can succeed their first time through the league, especially when it’s a pitcher like Armenteros who will throw anything and everything in an attempt to get an out. His matchup in an NL park makes Armenteros a borderline streamer in 12-team mixed.
Leury García has shifted to the outfield for the White Sox, and the team decided to bring Engel back from Triple-A to play center field every day while Cordell and Jon Jay jockey for the rest of the Pale Hose’s outfield at-bats. Engel has always had speed to spare, and he showed a little pop at Triple-A this year, as well. Cordell has less of a fantasy ceiling but has showed more power in the majors this year in a limited sample than expected. Neither one is what you should be targeting, but as AL-only replacements go both are acceptable.
Ryan Borucki $33 (Other Bids: $15) (CLE, TB)
Borucki is a hurler with less-than-overpowering stuff who manages to survive by inducing plenty of ground balls. I liked him better with Toronto’s 2018 defense than I do with Toronto’s 2019 defense, although two home starts against less-than-overpowering offenses make Borucki usable in deep mixed and AL-only this week. The low strikeout rate makes him tough to use in anything outside of only if it isn’t a two-start slate.
Oliver Drake $22
Luis Robert $19
Jake Diekman $17
Humberto Arteaga $12
Iván Nova $9 (MIA, MIN)
Jake Cave $6
Richie Martin $4, $0
Chris Herrmann $2
Óliver Pérez $0
Adrian Sampson $0 (@SEA, @OAK)
Sam Travis $0
Glenn Sparkman $0 (CLE)
Asher Wojciechowski $0 (@LAA)
Guillermo Heredia $0
Ryne Harper $0
TOUT WARS NL
Conner Menez $25 (Other Bids: $14)
Menez was solid in his major-league debut against the Mets yesterday, striking out six in five innings. He also allowed three hits, two walks and two earned runs. Scott Delp profiled Menez last month, identifying the Giants rookie as a young hurler on the rise. Menez’s preseason scouting profile doesn’t accurately reflect where he is now, as he has improved and now looks more like a solid bet to be a No. 4 starter than a backend piece or a future reliever. Menez could toe the rubber against the Padres if the Giants keep him in the majors. Color me intrigued.
César Puello $22 (Other Bids: $10, $0)
I was going to drop this guy in LABR, so I was surprised to see three bids for him in Tout this week. Puello has a limp .190/.299/.207 line since joining the Marlins after the Angels cut him. Yes, he’s getting the reps for the Fish. He’s not doing anything with those reps. Even in NL-only, this is a rough get.
Eric Fedde $15 (Other Bids: $11, $5)
Fedde isn’t currently slated to take another turn in the Nationals rotation, although he’s likely next in line if there’s another injury or rainout. Fedde was solid in a spot start against the Orioles. He’s a capable fifth starter if the Nats need him, although the low strikeout rate makes him kinda meh outside of only.
Stephen Vogt $14 (Other Bids: $1, $0)
Martín Maldonado $13
Matt Beaty $7 (Other Bids: $5, $3, $0)
Drew Smyly $5 (ATL)
Nick Williams $5, $0
Adrian Morejón $1
Ryan Lavarnway $0
Taylor Clarke $0
Justin Wilson $0
Austin Hedges $0
Yadiel Rivera $0
Tommy Edman $4 (Other Bids: $1, $1)
Entering 2019 the scouting profile for Edman was “light hitting infielder with speed who doesn’t have enough defensive versatility to stick.” However, players with this profile sometimes defy the odds and turn into everyday players, and thus far this is what has happened with Edman. I’m skeptical that the power holds, but a 10/15 seasonal pace isn’t out of the question, and if I’m wrong and the power plays thanks to the ball, Edman could be more than that. He’s getting a lot of looks in the Cardinals infield and being in the lead-off slot gives him—and your squad—a runs boost.
Daniel Ponce de Leon $2 (Other Bids: $2) (@PIT, HOU)
It shouldn’t be surprising that a pitcher with an explorer’s surname struggled last week when he faced the Pirates. The cutter that worked so well for Ponce de Leon in his previous start against the Diamondbacks wasn’t nearly as effective, and the fastball isn’t strong enough to rely on without a working secondary pitch. Ponce de Leon gets a two-start week, with a tough matchup against the Astros on the back-end.
José Urquidy $1
Brandon Crawford $1
Alex Dickerson $1, $1
Tyler Beede $1 (Other Bids: $1, $1) (CHC)
Brad Keller $1 (@ATL)
Mike Brosseau $1
Cal Quantrill $1
Anthony Santander $1
Matt Wieters $1
Mike Zunino $1
Mark Canha $1
Andrés Muñoz $1
Adam Haseley $24 (Other Bids: $10, $7, $1, $1)
The Phillies outfield has been a revolving door due to injuries. Haseley has been part of that revolving door himself, suffering a right groin strain in early June while running out a grounder in his first big-league contest. He’s back in the majors thanks to Jay Bruce’s oblique issue, and while the results thus far have been underwhelming, the combination of Haseley’s power and the favorable home park he plays in gives him a chance to cobble together some value over the next few weeks. I do wonder if any of the speed he showed in the minors will coalesce in the big leagues, but Haseley is one of the higher-ceiling prospects you’ll have an opportunity to bid on the rest of the year, regardless of the fantasy outcome.
Mike Yastrzemski $11 (Other Bids: $5, $2, $2, $1, $1, $1)
I was surprised to see Doug Dennis of Baseball HQ drop Yastrzemski without at least trying to trade him for something. I was less surprised to see seven teams bid aggressively on the Giants outfielder. Yaz has been better than I expected he would be the last time I wrote about him in this space, particularly in the home-run department. Yes, a pair of those home runs came in a series at Coors, but Yaz hit two home runs this weekend in Oracle Park. The over-the-fence power doesn’t appear to be a mirage or a product of a favorable venue. In a weak outfield on a team with few prospect options, Yaz should stick the rest of the way for San Francisco.
Nick Anderson $2, $2
With the Major League trade deadline approaching, there is a possibility Marlins closer Sergio Romo is flipped to a contender. Anderson’s peripherals are better than his raw numbers would lead you to you expect, although his 3.29 DRA paints a truer picture than his sub-3.00 FIP. Anderson has tremendous velocity and good stuff overall, but his high fly-ball tendencies give me pause, particularly in games away from Marlins Park. Anderson is a decent bet to close if Romo is moved, so feel free to place a speculative $2-4 bid.
Sam Dyson $2 (Other Bids: $1)
Dyson is in a similar position to Anderson, insofar as he could be the closer in San Francisco if Will Smith is traded. However, the Giants have crawled back into the NL Wild Card race, and it is possible they hold or even buy. It’s also possible Dyson is traded if the Giants go into full sell mode. Dyson is a safer bet than Anderson as a reliever in a deep league, but is a weaker gamble for saves.
Bubba Starling $6 (Other Bids: $1, $1)
I wrote about Starling last week in the Tout Wars section of this article. He got a breather on Saturday, but he looks like the primary centerfielder for the Royals instead of Billy Hamilton going forward. Starling smacked his first major-league dinger against Cleveland yesterday, and he still looks like a decent candidate for 10 home runs and 15 steals across a full season if things break right.
Matt Thaiss $6
A.J. Reed $2 (Other Bids: $1)
I could cut and paste “I wrote about ‘x’ player last week in the Tout Wars section of this article” and save myself a lot of time. I don’t know why LABR is frequently less proactive with their FAAB bids, although some of it has to do with the league’s more rigid roster rules. On Wednesday, Reed hit his first major-league home run since 2016 against the Royals as a pinch hitter. His playing time has been sporadic, although if José Abreu is dealt next week, Reed will likely be the biggest beneficiary. Reed is a desperation power move even if he does get the reps.
Asher Wojciechowski $2 (Other Bids: $1) (@LAA)
Woj was masterful against the Red Sox yesterday, twirling a one-hitter across 7 1/3 innings and striking out 10. Wojciechowski has added a cutter to his arsenal since returning to the majors after a two-year hiatus and has mostly abandoned his change of pace. That doesn’t fully explain a 33 percent strikeout percentage that doesn’t seem sustainable for a pitcher who was picked up off the scrap heap and was last a viable prospect back in 2013. Woj thrived yesterday thanks to more movement on his fastball and a slider he used to attack both sides of the plate. He has a favorable matchup and park when he faces off against the Angels this week and is worth streaming in deep mixed an AL-only.
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