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.
(NOTE: Marcus Stroman was not available for bid in either LABR NL or Tout NL this week.)
Josh VanMeter $3 (Other Bids: $2, $1)
Sent back to the minors in mid-June due to a roster crunch, Van Meter continued to force the issue for the Reds at Triple-A, decimating the ball and annihilating Triple-A pitching. VanMeter homered in three consecutive starts last week, and while I wouldn’t expect him to replicate Christian Yelich’s second half in 2018, Van Meter’s power appears to be legitimate. Plus, the Reds are giving him playing time all over the diamond. His positional flexibility gives VanMeter a little added value in deeper formats.
Asher Wojciechowski $3 (Other Bids: $1, $1) (TOR)
Not much has changed since I wrote Wojciechowski up in the LABR AL-only section of this article last week. He had another strong outing, limiting the Angels to two runs, three hits and a walk and six strikeouts in seven innings. His matchup against Toronto this week makes him usable in 15-team mixed and AL-only. I’d hold off in standard and shallow mixers.
Will Smith $2 (Other Bids: $2, $2, $2, $1, $1)
Nick Anderson $2 (Other Bids: $1)
Yoan López $1
Bubba Starling $1
Mike Tauchman $1
Yairo Muñoz $1
Jaime Barría $1 (DET, @CLE)
Ariel Jurado $1
Andrew Miller $1
Seth Lugo $1
Drew Smyly $6 (Other Bids: $1, $1, $1, $1, $1) (SF, CWS)
Traded by the Cubs to the Rangers this winter, Smyly was a disaster for Texas, posting a horrendous 8.42 ERA before Texas finally cut him in late June. The Brewers quickly signed him to a minor-league deal but released him two-and-a-half weeks later. Smyly may have finally found a home with the Phillies, as his Philadelphia debut against a tough Atlanta lineup was excellent. He gets a nice two-step against the Giants and White Sox, although two starts at CBP aren’t ideal for any pitcher and Smyly’s extreme fly-ball profile could give Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf of Sirius XM a couple of stressful evenings.
Tyler White $5 (Other Bids: $2, $1)
I would have bid $2-3 on White and cut one of my weaker outfielders, if I had more positional flexibility. Instead, Steve Gardner of USA Today grabbed White at $5. White fell off the map this season. His power completely evaporated and in an even odder twist White has been terrible against lefties. The Dodgers are excellent at maximizing platoon differentials and mixing-and-matching with half their lineup, but if White can’t hit southpaws, it won’t matter much.
Yonder Alonso $4 (Other Bids: $1, $1, $1)
Alonso was a weird acquisition for the Rockies, a team that already has Daniel Murphy and his two-year, $24 million contract locked in at first base through at least 2020. Murphy could theoretically play second base, but thus far it appears the two are splitting time at first, with Murphy getting most of the starts. Alonso has been extremely productive thus far in a small sample size, and the Coors bump helps even part timers in mono formats. Unless Murphy gets hurt or is traded, though, Alonso’s value is quite limited.
Yolmer Sánchez $3 (Other Bids: $1, $1)
I love Yolmer (and have rhapsodized about him in the past), but it is difficult to put a happy face on his .246/.302/.325 line. It doesn’t help that his stolen bases, a big part of his AL-only value in the past, have almost completely disappeared. There isn’t anyone on the White Sox bench or at Triple-A who is a threat to Yolmer’s job, and it is unlikely Nick Madrigal gets the call this year. At this late stage you want to do better than Sánchez with your middle infield slot, even in AL-only.
Sergio Romo $3 (Other Bids: $1)
Mike Montgomery $2 (Other Bids: $1) (TOR)
Since acquiring Montgomery from the Cubs earlier this month, the Royals have been stretching him out as a starter, and his most-recent outing was successful in this regard. Monty pitched five innings and allowed one run in a no-decision against Cleveland. Unfortunately, he didn’t strike out a batter, and while the results were solid otherwise, that’s a difficult road to travel in today’s fantasy game. Even in AL-only, I’d pass on Montgomery, as even a non-descript middle reliever has a better chance to get his fantasy teams strikeouts, decent ratios and a random win than Montgomery does.
TOUT WARS MIXED
The FAAB bidding was quite slow last week, so it is hardly surprising there was heavy bidding on quite a few players this week, especially pitchers. As always, there were a few closers available to drain the FAAB coffers, and the never-ending search for a healthy catcher claimed several bids yet again this week. However, the week’s bidding is easily topped by a shocking surprise.
Will Smith $102 (Other Bids: $83, $23, $0)
How in the world was Will Smith sitting on the waiver wire? Ha! I’m sure you were briefly fooled too. That’s not Will Smith, closer for the Giants. It’s Will Smith, rookie catcher for the Dodgers. The $102 bid reflects Smith’s recent promotion to starting catcher, as well as his .304/.405/.813 line over his first 37 PA. He has smashed four homers, driven in 12 runs, scored five and even stolen a base in the 11 games he has played so far. The Dodgers optioned Austin Barnes to the minors, and manager Dave Roberts has handed Smith the keys to a regular job going forward. Smith has hit well in the minors over the last two seasons and really doesn’t have much to prove there anymore. He will struggle to hit better than .250 in the majors, but there is no doubt about his power, which he has already demonstrated. Barnes was spinning his wheels with a .196 batting average, and veteran Russell Martin has looked every bit of his 36 years with a .217 average and just five extra base hits in 174 PA. That leaves Smith in a great position to seize the day and make the job his to keep. At the very least, he is worth a flier in two-catcher NL-only and deeper mixed leagues.
José Urquidy $78 (Other Bids: $63, $47, $23, $22, $0) (@CLE)
Last week, I took a gamble on Astros pitcher Rogelio Armenteros knowing he could be replaced or sent back to the minors at any time. I was hoping for at least one start after my $4 bid won his services, but before he was even officially on my roster, the Astros shipped him back to Triple-A Round Rock.
That opened the door for Urquidy to get a look as Houston’s fifth starter. He made two starts last week, tossing a total of 13 innings, in which he allowed just two earned runs on six hits and two walks with 15 strikeouts. Overall, he has a 4.26 ERA because of one bad start against the Angels, in which he allowed five earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. Urquidy has allowed just three walks and struck out 23 batters in 19 major-league innings, so he clearly has the stuff to keep the job. With the trade deadline looming, the Astros could make a deal for a starter, relegating Urquidy to the bullpen or the minors in the process. It’s another gamble for fantasy managers, but one that may work out better than Armenteros did for me if Urquidy sticks.
Jason Kipnis $71
Eight days ago, Tim McLeod of Prospect 361 replaced Kipnis on his roster with Robinson Canó for $27 FAAB. McLeod was rewarded with the first three home run game of Canó’s career. While Canó may have outdone Kipnis last week, the latter isn’t a fantasy zero in deeper formats, so it makes sense that Charlie Wiegert Real Time Fantasy Sports pounced at the opportunity to add the Cleveland infielder. Kipnis has struggled in 2019, with a .248 average, eight homers, 42 RBI, 35 runs and five stolen bases. It doesn’t appear Cleveland is planning to replace Kipnis anytime soon, but his lack of production greatly diminishes his fantasy value beyond AL-only and deep mixed leagues.
Asher Wojciechowski $58 (Other Bids: $30, $0) (TOR)
It’s hard to argue against a pitcher whose last three starts have featured 23 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings with a pair of wins, a 2.29 ERA, and a .147 batting average against. Wojciechowski did allow three home runs in those starts and has allowed five dingers in a mere 30 innings. This mirrors what he did in Triple-A this season. Wojciechowski had a 3.61 ERA and allowed a total of 19 big flies (ouch!) in 84 2/3 innings in the minors. Proceed with caution, if you take this leap of faith.
Nick Anderson $58 (Other Bids: $23)
Sergio Romo’s trade to the Twins opens the door for Anderson to take over closer duties for the Marlins. Anderson has the strikeout (37 percent) and walk rates (nine percent) that you like to see in a closer, but he is somewhat prone to the long ball at times (one home run per nine innings). Anderson’s 3.34 DRA indicates his 3.95 ERA is a little high but not out of whack with reality. Fifty-eight dollars is a bit high for a pitcher who is far from a lock to get (and keep) the job, so don’t go overboard with your own bids for Anderson.
Ender Inciarte $53
An injury to Nick Markakis opened some playing time for Inciarte, who was believed to be out of a job after spending close to two months on the injured list. Inciarte struggled during the first six weeks of the season, batting just .218/.300/.323 with eight extra-base hits in 140 plate appearances.
Yoan López $40 (Other Bids: $8)
Diamondbacks manager announced yesterday that Greg Holland will be pulled as the team’s closer for the time being, putting López in a position where he could run with the opportunity.
López picked up his first save of the season against the Orioles last week, and with 15 holds to his credit, he has some high-leverage experience that could help him be successful.
Alex Wood $25 (@ATL)
Stephen Vogt $22
Vogt has been a top-10 offensive catcher over the last month, with a .302/.392/.651 line. If he remains healthy, which has been an issue throughout Vogt’s career, he should be a productive hitting catcher for his fantasy managers.
Yoshihisa Hirano $8
Hirano has been used in high-leverage situations in the Diamondbacks bullpen and is a candidate to close along with López. Hirano has five career saves, including one this season, and is a more experienced pitcher than López. That gives him a leg up in my book, and he’d be my pick if I had to choose just one reliever in this bullpen on whom to bid.
Chris Martin $3
I was pleasantly surprised to see Martin slide to me for just $3 at this late stage of the game. Martin will almost certainly be the Rangers closer going forward, although José Leclerc may get to share the role. There are other potential problems with Martin you should know about before you bid. Martin could be traded to a team that doesn’t need him to a close, leaving Leclerc as the Rangers closer. He could also go to a team like the Red Sox, who might put him into a committee with Matt Barnes, Brandon Workman and others.
Carlos Carrasco $0
Scott White of CBS Sports may have made the theft of the season with his $0 bid for Carlos Carrasco. There is no guarantee Carrasco will even pitch again this season, as he battles leukemia, and there is no timetable for his return. Still, if Carrasco comes back in 2019, White could get an enormous late-season boost to his pitching staff.
TOUT WARS AL
Ryan O’Hearn $83 (Other Bids: $35, $21, $14, $0, $0, $0)
I dropped O’Hearn two-and-a-half weeks ago due to a roster crunch, and skepticism about his ability to make it back to the majors. But O’Hearn mashed in the minors to the tune of a .295/.383/.587 line in 149 plate appearances with nine home runs, so the Royals wasted no time in calling him back up. Lucas Duda was released, so O’Hearn should get a clean opportunity to see if what he did at Triple-A can be replicated in the majors. He’s worth a bid in AL-only for the power potential, although keep in mind he was exposed by big-league pitching in his second go round through the league and can’t hit southpaws.
Sergio Romo $72 (Other Bids: $45, $33, $33, $11, $1)
Acquired by the Twins over the weekend, it’s possible Romo closes or splits the saves with Taylor Rogers. It’s also possible Romo moves into a set-up role and Rogers continues to get the bulk of the opportunities in the ninth. It’s also also possible Minnesota isn’t done dealing and Romo winds up in a middle relief role. The best-case scenario is Romo does what Blake Parker was doing and gets 40 percent or so of the saves going forward. It is a decent enough risk by Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf of Sirius XM. My educated guess is Rogers remains the primary closer if the Twins don’t make another deal.
Matt Duffy $72 (Other Bids: $28, $26, $10, $0, $0)
Dropped two weeks ago by Larry Schechter of Winning Fantasy Baseball so he could reclaim some FAAB, Duffy returned from the IL earlier this week and was inserted right into the Rays’ lineup. Duffy is a solid real-life player, but since he doesn’t have a carrying tool, he will need to play regularly down the stretch to maintain his fantasy viability. He has also been hurt a fair amount and has had only two solid seasons since 2015. He’s fine at this price point and is essential if you need regular at-bats.
Jace Peterson $26 (Other Bids: $22, $0, $0)
In March, I was intrigued by Peterson as an AL-only and perhaps even a deep mixed fantasy possibility because he runs like the wind and was on a bad Baltimore team where opportunities seemed plentiful. Unfortunately, Peterson was sent to the minors, and it appeared he was buried there. The O’s finally gave up on Rio Ruiz, and Peterson is getting a shot to start at third base. The speed remains, although Peterson ran far less at Triple-A than he has in previous seasons. His offensive numbers in the minors were terrific, but he is a 29-year-old who was in Triple-A for the fifth time. Peterson could be a solid citizen, but keep your expectations low.
Pedro Payano $22 (Other Bids: $16)
Seen by some as a potential prospect after a strong 2017, a subpar 2018 seemed to close the book on Payano as a future major-league starter. However, the strikeout rate spiked this season in the minors, and Payano was rewarded earlier this month with his major-league debut as a relief fill-in. He returned to the majors last week as a starter, and his two starts were a mixed bag—a strong outing in Seattle followed by a bit of a clunker yesterday against the Athletics. Payano throws a 94 mph fastball with good movement, has a strong change and a decent slider and curve as well. He might not get another start this week, as the Rangers have an off day and could opt to skip his turn, but Payano is worth watching in most formats.
Pedro Severino $18 (Other Bids: $11, $3, $0)
Severino is on the wrong side of the catching platoon with Chance Sisco in Baltimore. This hasn’t stopped Severino from hitting the snot out of the ball, as his 10 home runs in 221 plate appearances have surpassed his previous career-high as a professional. Severino figures to continue splitting the catching duties with Sisco and is a sneaky source of power in two-catcher formats.
Jaime Barría $17 (Other Bids: $12, $0) (DET, @CLE)
Barría had a solid outing against the Dodgers last week, and he has a strong two-step that makes him worth adding in every format if you’re looking for a streamer. Barría’s profile speaks more to a pitch-to-contact arm, but thus far this season, he is generating a decent number of strikeouts. There is considerable blow-up potential here, so if you are protecting your ratios, Barría isn’t an arm you should add.
TOUT WARS NL
Will Smith $194 (Other Bids: $80, $65, $41, $3, $0, $0, $0)
I’m a fan of bidding aggressively on catchers in mono formats, so I love the bid here by Phil Hertz of Baseball HQ. Smith has hit in his previous cups of coffee with the Dodgers, and he forced the issue with a ridiculous batting line at Triple-A. The Dodgers finally gave up the ghost on Austin Barnes and will give Smith most of the reps behind home plate the rest of the way. Smith has power and is in a strong lineup, and there is an outside chance he is a top-10 fantasy backstop the rest of the way. Yes, that’s not saying much, but it is a good reason to consider spending $10-12 if you have a dead spot at catcher (and if you play in NL-only, you probably do).
Adam Duvall $64 (Other Bids: $24, $12, $0)
Multiple injuries in Atlanta created a spot for Duvall, who was a surprise demotion to the minors at the end of spring training. Duvall has prodigious power that comes with a poor batting average, but the rabbit ball and playing time could be a sweet combination if you’re looking to add a big bat down the stretch at a non-premium cost. Austin Riley got a breather last week, playing only once against a lefty. I don’t expect Riley to stay on the bench, so Duvall’s at-bats aren’t guaranteed, but even in a worst-case scenario Duvall will start against southpaws.
Jarlin García $57 (Other Bids: $12)
Romo’s trade to the Twins (see above) led to some inevitable FAAB speculation in Miami’s bullpen, and García is one of the pitchers who could take over in the ninth. García is one of four or five arms who could take over in the ninth for the Marlins, which is part of the challenge when it comes to devising a logical bidding strategy. Bid conservatively on one or two Marlins relievers who are available and hope for the best, while realizing it’s possible no reliever in this pen will get a clear shot at the job.
Michel Báez $21
José Quilada $12 (Other Bids: $1)
Yonder Alonso $10 (Other Bids: $0)
Gavin Lux $2
Jared Hughes $2
Sean Rodriguez $1
Lucas Sims $1
Giovanny Gallegos $1 (Other Bids: $0)
Kyle Crick $0
Jacob Stallings $0 (Other Bids: $0)
Andrew Knizner $0
Tomas Nido $0
Martín Prado $0
Yasmany Tomás $0
Tyler Saladino $0
Tyler White $0
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