Welcome back 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 minimum budget with zero-dollar minimum bids.
Tout Wars’ free-agent deadline is 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, while LABR’s deadline is Sunday at midnight ET. (Based on the timing of this week’s article, any statistics in this article are through Sunday night’s games.)
TOUT WARS NL
Mike Clevinger $734 (Other Bids: $733, $279, $176, $149, $134, $29) (COL, SF)
I’m not sure what I can tell you about Clevinger in this space that you already don’t know. He was an ace in Cleveland and will continue to be an ace in San Diego. He was the most expensive FAAB addition in Tout Wars for good reason, and there wasn’t much strategy here outside of “get the best guy.”
Kevin Pillar $477 (Other Bids: $187, $170, $62, $29, $25, $23, $11)
Pillar’s garnering of the second-highest price tag in Tout NL was a little surprising, but this is about need, both positionally and statistically. Whether Pillar’s defense is still great, or if it is merely average and the Rockies only perceive it as great, doesn’t matter if Pillar is starting for Colorado. The #CoorsBump helps everyone. Pillar is no exception to the rule.
Austin Nola $443 (Other Bids: $279, $187, $176, $134, $105, $23, $11)
The best catcher in baseball hasn’t been J.T. Realmuto or Yasmani Grandal. It has been Nola, who previously had been a minor-league journeyman who was seen by most as organizational depth. Some of Nola’s newfound value is due to his defensive skills, but he also has the highest DRC+ among backstops with at least 80 plate appearances. There’s a healthy debate worth having this offseason about whether Nola can perform anywhere close to this level, but the play in fantasy leagues this past weekend was to bid aggressively if you had a catching hole and hope he keeps this up for another three weeks.
Brian Goodwin $279 (Other Bids: $160, $56, $29, $11)
When the Reds acquired Goodwin at the deadline, it didn’t seem obvious how he would fit into the Reds’ jumbled outfield picture, but he has played almost every day in center. If you had to guess what Goodwin’s statistical profile is without peeking at his actual line, you would probably assume that he was a 20- to 25-steal guy with a little pop. However, Goodwin generally hasn’t run very much, with only 20 steals in 1082 career plate appearances. He’s a useful cog in deep leagues, but the speed has never translated to more than a smattering of stolen bases.
Ke’Bryan Hayes $187 (Other Bids: $88, $56, $39, $11)
There’s little doubt Hayes has a big-league future because of his defense at third base. What is less certain is how his offensive game will shake out. Hayes is a good hitter, but there are too many groundballs in his profile. Even if he can coax a .280 AVG out of his bat, that won’t move the needle much if he only hits 10-15 home runs in a 162-game slate. Hayes is playing regularly at third for the Pirates, so I like the bid in NL-only.
Jace Peterson $150
Todd Frazier $124 (Other Bids: $77, $41, $22, $21, $11)
Frazier has been a useful major-league cog but is years removed from the big-time power hitter that he was during his peak in Cincinnati. For all the justifiable laughter the Mets consistently generate, their offense has been excellent (they are tied for first in the majors in adjusted OPS), which means Frazier could have difficulty finding regular playing time. Perhaps Citi Field and the Mets’ surprisingly good lineup give Frazier a dead-cat bounce over the next three weeks, but I wouldn’t bet my tattered Felix Milan poster on it.
Jazz Chisholm $52
Kevin Ginkel $37 (Other Bids: $23, $23, $2)
Ginkel was acquired in multiple expert leagues because he has the Diamondbacks’ only save since Archie Bradley was traded to the Reds. But Ginkel has been bad, with a 7.20 DRA in 14 1/3 innings, which is the worst DRA among any Diamondback not named Madison Bumgarner (sigh, I know). I’m normally an advocate for grabbing any saves you can, especially in deep leagues, but second-division bullpens have been rough sledding in 2020, particularly during a short season in which managers are inclined to shuffle relievers in and out of roles to prevent too much wear and tear.
Josh Rojas $25 (Other Bids: $11)
Rojas is a sneaky post-hype pickup, a player about whom everyone was perhaps a little too excited in 2019, yet who is completely sneaking under the radar now. I still see too much swing-and-miss in his game, but Rojas is playing almost every day for the rebuilding Diamondbacks and has enough power and speed to provide deep mixed value, if he can cut that strikeout rate down a few ticks.
Cameron Maybin $20 (Other Bids: $11)
Maybin used to be one of those fun players who you grabbed in the middle of a hot streak and hoped for a little power and a lot of speed until the next injury knocked him out of commission. But the speed mostly went away a couple of seasons ago, and now that the Tigers shipped him to the Cubs, the playing time is also gone. Maybin is a depth piece who is a platoon play in NL-only during weeks when Chicago sees a healthy diet of left-handers. This is not one of those weeks.
Victor González $12
Daniel Vogelbach $10
Adbert Alzolay $2 (CIN)
Amir Garrett $2
Brent Suter $2
Jake Woodford $1 (Other Bids: $0)
Wander Suero $0
Jake Marisnick $0
TOUT WARS AL
Jonathan Villar $608 (Other Bids: $527, $413, $380, $256, $119, $99, $89, $5)
Villar was clearly the big prize for AL-only fantasy managers waiting for a significant NL import. Villar’s game is steals; everything else he does is gravy. He had nine steals with the Marlins before they swapped him to Toronto but doesn’t have a steal yet for Toronto. Villar should start running again eventually. My larger concern is that he isn’t leading off and won’t see nearly as many opportunities to steal while he’s batting behind Cavan Biggio and Randal Grichuk. Villar should be fine, and the chance to obtain a half-dozen steals in a three-week span was worth the big bid, but Villar is a volatile player. There’s some risk that he tails off badly.
Robbie Ray $527 (Other Bids: $221, $105, $47) (NYM)
There is so much talent in Ray’s arm, but he has been a complete mess. He had a 7.34 ERA heading into Sunday’s start against the Red Sox, and that went up, as Ray allowed four runs in four innings. If you’re gambling on the lefty at this point, the hope is that he keeps piling up the strikeouts and doesn’t completely torpedo your rate stats. Ray needs to stop walking the park to deliver any sort of effective performance, and the biggest risk with this bid is that the Jays pull the plug or bury Ray in the back of the bullpen.
Edward Olivares $303 (Other Bids: $92, $78)
It’s ex-Padre week at The FAAB Review. Olivares is yet another outfielder for whom the Padres didn’t have room, and the Royals were happy to take a shot on him in exchange for Trevor Rosenthal. Olivares has always been viewed with some skepticism within the scouting community, but all he has done in the minors is perform. The negative nellies might be right and Olivares might wind up as a fourth outfielder, but as long as he is starting for the Royals, he’s worth the risk if you need to swing for the fences in deep mixed and AL-only.
Ty France $204 (Other Bids: $119, $115, $99, $89, $5)
I wasn’t kidding about the Padres. San Diego gave up a lot of talent at the deadline, although I doubt that any of these trades will turn out as badly (or as well) as the Fernando Tatís Jr./James Shields swap. France hit well at Triple-A in 2019, but this didn’t translate to the majors in 201 plate appearances after his promotion. There are concerns that France’s defensive abilities will limit him to a corner-infield slot, and Seattle is committed at the moment to Kyle Seager and Evan White, but the Mariners have used France at second base and my guess is he’ll slot in all over the diamond. The power is worth a gamble, and on a rebuilding team (yes, I know Seattle is creeping up on that final wild card slot), France should play.
Anderson Tejeda $175 (Other Bids: $13)
In what has become a lost season for the Rangers, the team has committed to an in-season youth movement. The big beneficiary of this is Tejeda, who will immediately supplant Elvis Andrus at short (although Andrus did start yesterday). Tejeda has speed and is on a Rangers team that has been aggressive on the basepaths. He offers a little power, as well. Tejeda is very raw and could use more time in the minors, so the downside is a bad batting average and little else.
Josh Naylor $175 (Other Bids: $119, $115, $92, $78)
Naylor was buried in San Diego, but Cleveland will give the defensively-challenged, bat-first Naylor a clean shot at left field the rest of the way. Naylor’s scouting report has always indicated he can hit, but it hasn’t translated to the majors yet. If it does all click for Naylor, expect a good amount of power with a so-so batting average. Naylor has the vibe of a busted prospect but is only 23 years old. Even if he doesn’t produce this year, the potential for long-term value remains.
Ross Stripling $105 (Other Bids: $76)
There’s a lot of talent in Strip’s right arm, and he could certainly be an asset for the Blue Jays and fantasy teams down the stretch, but he sports an ugly 5.68 ERA in 2020. Plus, it’s not clear how Toronto will use him. Stripling isn’t projected to start for Toronto next week, and while he should start for them at least a couple of times during the next two weeks, this could be a waste of a roster spot.
Delino DeShields $99 (Other Bids: $22)
DeShields is relevant in fantasy for one reason and one reason alone: He’s fast and steals bases. Dammit, that’s two reasons. However, DeShields is a six-year veteran who has only cracked more than 450 plate appearances once in his career because he isn’t much of a hitter. The batting eye is decent, which could keep him at the bottom of Cleveland’s lineup, but their outfield is crowded. DeShields could lose time to Oscar Mercado. DeShields is also nursing a shoulder injury.
Phil Ervin $89 (Other Bids: $39)
I’ve always liked Ervin, and he has always been blocked by superior outfielders in Cincinnati. This dilemma has been solved for him, as the Mariners claimed Ervin on waivers Thursday. In truth, there probably isn’t enough power or speed for Ervin to matter much outside of AL-only.
DJ Stewart $78
Yairo Muñoz $76 (Other Bids: $19)
A former A’s prospect, Muñoz is living up to his long-term projection as a utility player years later with the Red Sox. Boston is a good organization with which to be if you’re scrapping for playing time, as the team is starting a major rebuild and is a mess. I like Muñoz the baseball player more than Muñoz the fantasy player, and Muñoz hurt himself on Sunday. There’s not much power or speed, so I’d pass until he’s cleared to play again.
TOUT WARS MIXED DRAFT
Closers, starting pitchers, and power hitters seem to be the toughest things to find on the waiver wire, and this week’s Expert League Report is no exception. Let’s hit it.
Kevin Ginkel $225 (Other Bids: $204, $38, $26, $8, $2, $0)
After the Diamondbacks shipped Archie Bradley off to the Reds, there was plenty of speculation about who would inherit the closer job. Ginkel has not had a good season (6.91 ERA, 2.09 WHIP), but as of September 1 he was coming off a run of eight appearances with just one earned run allowed. However, it is notable that the Diamondbacks lost seven of those eight games. Ginkel just isn’t worth the price. But saves … sigh.
Daniel Bard $204 (Other Bids: $121, $76, $27, $0)
Over his last six appearances, Bard has picked up five saves and a win with nine strikeouts over six innings. He’s allowed just one home run in 18 innings pitched this season with a 23-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Bard’s strikeout rate is a career-high 30.7 percent, and his walk rate is a career-low 6.7 percent. There’s a Comeback of the Year Award lurking in his future if he can keep this up for another few weeks.
Josè Ureña $131 (PHI)
Ureña was one of the casualties of the Marlins’ COVID-19 outbreak, but he was finally activated and made his season debut on Labor Day. Basically, he looked very much like he did last year. He lasted five innings but gave up three runs on four hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts. Ureña has plenty of competition for a spot in the starting rotation and probably isn’t worth adding in most 15-team mixed leagues.
Randy Arozarena $56 (Other Bids: $27, $7, $4)
Arozarena belted his fourth home run in his last four games on Labor Day, but he’s only made three starts since the Rays activated him on August 29. There is an opportunity for Arozarena to hit his way into the lineup, and so far he’s making the most of it. He’s worth adding in all leagues, if you’ve got some room on your bench.
Jason Heyward $50 (Other Bids: $11, $6, $1, $0)
Heyward was removed from Sunday’s game and hospitalized with shortness of breath and light-headedness. Prior to Monday’s game, manager David Ross reported that Heyward was feeling better but still had more testing scheduled. It’s a bit of a surprise to see that he was available, considering he is having his best season in five years as a Cub. He has compiled a .300/.415/.540 line, five home runs, 17 RBI, and 16 runs scored. You may want to wait and see if he’s healthy, though, before running to the waiver wire.
Alex Dickerson $40 (Other Bids: $27, $18, $8, $7, $3)
Dickerson had x-rays on his knee after fouling a ball off it on Monday. He was diagnosed with a contusion and is day-to-day. Dickerson has been one of the Giants’ most valuable hitters with a .269/.347/.538 line, seven home runs, 21 RBI, and 19 runs scored.
Aledmys Díaz $28
Willi Castro $27 (Other Bids: $1)
Castro has replaced injured shortstop Niko Goodrum and is batting .349 with three home runs. He has at least one hit in all but one of 12 games since August 20. Since Goodrum is batting just .186, Castro could slug his way into a permanent spot in the lineup, should the Tigers decide that his offense is worth risking the poor defense he typically provides.
Trevor Rogers $25 (Other Bids: $19, $14, $2) (PHI)
Rogers fanned 10 but didn’t factor into the decision on Sunday. Overall, he has 21 strikeouts across 15 innings pitched with a 3.00 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in three starts.
Rafael Dolis $22 (Other Bids: $8)
Dolis has been one of the Blue Jays’ best bullpen pitchers with a 1.86 ERA. He gets the occasional vulture save, but he allows too many walks to handle the closer’s gig full-time.
Aristides Aquino $12
Aquino is a complete dart-throw pickup because he could duplicate last season’s run, or not. If there’s one thing missing from the Tout Wars Mixed League waiver wire, it’s power hitters. Aquino could go on another historic home-run binge, or he could flame out like he did last September.
Jackie Bradley $3 (Other Bids: $1)
Bradley’s overall offensive numbers aren’t that impressive, but he’s batting .292 with three home runs and a stolen base in September, so far. He’s a free agent once the Red Sox’ terrible season ends.
Justin Dunn $2 (Other Bids: $1) (@ARI)
Deivi García $2 (@TOR)
García is expected to stay in the Yankee’s starting rotation. In two starts, the 21-year-old has a 3.38 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and a 12-to-two strikeout-to-walk ratio in 10 2/3 innings. By the look of things, it appears that he can lock up a permanent spot in the rotation if he continues to perform. The strikeouts that he’ll provide are easily worth a two-dollar bid. Good luck!
Mitch Moreland $38 (Other Bids: $34, $30, $23)
Moreland wasn’t available as a free agent last week in LABR because the stat service that the league uses didn’t add him to the free-agent pool in time. Moreland is 2-for-12 for the Padres since they acquired him from the Red Sox. He obviously isn’t going to hit .167, but he wasn’t going to be a 15- to 20-home-run hitter in 2020 either. Moreland is a solid corner in deep mixed and NL-only.
Shogo Akiyama $15 (Other Bids: $1)
I usually hate overbidding like this, but I needed an outfielder, knew I wasn’t going to be able to afford the superior options above, and also knew that you can’t take the FAAB with you into the following season. Akiyama has stolen four bases; otherwise, his stateside debut has been a disaster, with a miserable .199/.299/.255 slash line and no home runs. If you don’t need the speed, pass. At this point, Akiyama can’t be rostered in mixed.
Kevin Ginkel $12 (Other Bids: $11, $11, $1, $1)
Todd Frazier $8 (Other Bids: $7)
Lewis Brinson $7
Daniel Robertson $6
Vince Velasquez $2 (BOS, @MIA)
Robinson Chirinos $2
Shane Greene $1 (Other Bids: $1)
Victor González $1 (Other Bids: $1)
Daniel Vogelbach $1
Chris Stratton $1
Jonathan Villar $63 (Other Bids: $62, $53, $23, $14, $5)
Ty France $63 (Other Bids: $57, $15, $14, $3, $2)
Josh Naylor $51 (Other Bids: $7, $4, $3)
Edward Olivares $36 (Other Bids: $15, $14, $2)
Yairo Muñoz $26 (Other Bids: $2, $2)
Robbie Ray $24 (Other Bids: $6, $3, $2) (NYM)
Yohan Ramírez $5 (Other Bids: $3, $3, $1)
Ramírez has two saves in the last three games for the Mariners, and while Yoshihisa Hirano is also a contender to close in Seattle, Ramírez has to be viewed as a slight favorite in the ninth. Ramírez throws hard and is the more exciting arm of the pair, but that means nothing if he doesn’t get the ball in the ninth.
Ross Stripling $3 (Other Bids: $3, $2)
Christin Stewart $2 (Other Bids: $2)
Stewart had a fair amount of hype entering 2019 as a power bat for the Tigers, was very disappointing, and fell off most folks’ radar. He is back in the Tigers outfield with Maybin shipped out of town and makes for an intriguing speculative play in AL-only. The power is real if he can harness it, but the swing-and-miss is real, too.
Alex Dickerson $47 (Other Bids: $1)
Yes, I know, Dickerson’s two games against the Rockies in Coors where he went 7-for-11 with three home runs, six runs, and seven RBI make his stat line look better than it should. But Dickerson does have power potential in any ballpark. While he won’t get to play in Coors again, he is a solid add in deep leagues, as long as you make sure it’s not during a week when the Giants face a bunch of southpaws.
Tony Gonsolin $7 (Other Bids: $7, $4, $2, $1) (HOU)
The big winner of the Ross Stripling trade is Gonsolin, who now gets a regular turn in the Dodgers’ rotation. Gonsolin has earned it, too, with stellar numbers and stuff that indicates he’ll continue to shine, even if it isn’t to the tune of a sub-one ERA. Even with all those positives, he gets a tough draw against the Astros and is a borderline play this week in deep mixed.
Greg Holland $4 (Other Bids: $2)
Holland stayed put at the trade deadline, and with Trevor Rosenthal getting shipped out of town, Holland has the inside track for saves in Kansas City. Holland is a second-tier reliever, but the results have been there. Plus, there isn’t much competition for the job, so he’s a worthy add.
Josh Naylor $2
Justin Upton $2 (Other Bids: $1, $1)
I don’t care about real-life contracts very much, but it was eye opening when the Angels put Upton and his $106 million contract into a platoon with Goodwin a couple of weeks ago. The Goodwin trade gives Upton a new lease on life in Anaheim’s outfield, and while Upton’s 2020 numbers are bad, he has quietly turned it around in the last two weeks: a .387/.457/.774 line in his last 35 plate appearances. This is a strong play by Fred Zinkie of Yahoo! to quietly add a player with a strong track record who isn’t quite finished yet.
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