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 MIXED DRAFT
The experts in the Tout Wars Mixed league started stocking up for the stretch run this week. The Touts scooped up some of the few remaining starting pitchers and took fliers on a few hitters who might be getting hot down the stretch. Overall, the competition for players has cooled considerably, a sure sign that the season is winding down.
Josh Rojas $147
Rojas has taken on a utility role for the Diamondbacks, playing second base, shortstop, left field, and designated hitter. Arizona moved him to the top third of the batting order when Ketel Marte landed on the injury list, and he has responded with six hits in his last 20 at-bats and eight runs scored. He will continue to play regularly and could be a cheap source of runs if he continues to hit first or second in the lineup.
Cedric Mullins $139 (Other Bids: $16, $15)
Mullins has batted .296/.337/.420 and played every day since he was recalled by the Orioles in mid-August. However, he has just one hit in his last 16 at-bats after beginning the month with a six-game hitting streak. In fact, almost all his hits came during that streak and another six-game run in mid-August with little else in-between. Only pick him up if you’re willing to bet on another hot streak.
Brady Singer $38 (Other Bids: $5) (@DET)
Singer twirled eight innings of one-hit ball against Cleveland in his last outing with eight strikeouts. Unfortunately, that outing came after a run of six starts in which he allowed 21 earned runs in 30 1/3 innings (6.23 ERA). While Singer has been a decent source of strikeouts (44 K in 48 1/3 IP), he has also been a decent source of home runs with eight allowed so far.
Scott Barlow $32
If you have no faith in Greg Holland, then Barlow would be the most logical “next man up” for the Royals, given his two saves to go along with four holds. However, since September 1, Barlow has allowed seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings (14.54 ERA). Josh Staumont would be a better choice if you want to speculate in the Royals’ bullpen.
Mike Minor $32 (@SEA)
Shogo Akiyama $32 (Other Bids: $18, $3)
It has taken awhile, but after batting just .196 through August 31, Akiyama has since put together a .313/.450/.375 line with four stolen bases in five attempts. He’s also batting atop the lineup again, so he could be a valuable source of runs and stolen bases down the stretch.
Luis García $31
The Astros rookie has pitched well in his first 9 1/3 innings (one start) so far, with just one earned run allowed on two hits (one homer) and six strikeouts. García has also allowed five walks, but that’s not unexpected, as he had command issues in the minors. Plus, this is his first experience above High-A ball. García isn’t currently scheduled to make a start this week, but he could get a start or two before the season ends, especially if the Astros decide to rest some of their other starters prior to the beginning of the playoffs.
Ryan Jeffers $21 (Other Bids: $5)
Both the injury to Mitch Garver and the uninspiring bat of Alex Avila have led the Twins to turn to Jeffers as their regular catcher, mainly because of his bat. Jeffers has put up a .300/.391/.525 line with three homers in his first 46 plate appearances. His 14 strikeouts to date are indicative of the swing-and-miss in his game, so he may have a tough time maintaining his current average. With just a couple of weeks to go, however, it may not matter.
Jared Walsh $16 (Other Bids: $11)
Aníbal Sánchez $15 (@TB, @MIA)
Sánchez is sporting a 6.81 ERA with a 1.75 WHIP and just 30 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings pitched. He has coughed up nine home runs and has just one start in which he has allowed fewer than three earned runs. Sánchez is no more than a desperation play at this point.
Taylor Clarke $15 (Other Bids: $3)
Since moving into the starting rotation, Clarke has pitched beyond the fourth inning in two of his four starts with a 4.50 ERA and 18 strikeouts (one per inning). While the strikeouts have been there, the innings and wins have not, and Clarke won’t do your ratios much good either. Proceed with caution if you pick him up.
Edward Olivares $15 (Other Bids: $5)
The change of scenery has done wonders for Olivares. Since the Royals acquired him from the Padres, Olivares is batting .342/.350/.579 in 40 plate appearances. Since he typically bats sixth or seventh in the order, Olivares will have a limited impact on counting stats. However, he is not a bad choice in deeper mixed leagues.
Hunter Harvey $14
Harvey is part of the Orioles’ closer committee but has yet to record a save this season and picked up a pair of losses over the weekend. There may not be many save chances for Harvey, so you may want to look elsewhere.
Willie Calhoun $11
Calhoun is expected back from a hamstring injury this week. He didn’t hit much before the injury, and I wouldn’t expect much better going forward. There was plenty of speculation earlier in the season that Calhoun was having trouble adjusting after the brutal beaning that he experienced in the spring. Rostering him now is a gamble.
Kole Calhoun $11
At his peak on August 14, Calhoun was batting .254/.351/.537 with five home runs. Since then, he is batting .148/.308/.346 with four home runs. In other words, Calhoun has plenty of power but problems making contact. Sort of sounds like last season … and the season before that … and so on.
Kris Bubic $11 (@MIL)
Bubic’s tale is one of two vastly different seasons. Over his first five starts, Bubic only made it beyond the fourth inning twice and put up an ERA of 5.96 with four home runs allowed in 22 2/3 innings. In his last three starts, Bubic hasn’t pitched fewer than five innings, and he’s allowed just five earned runs (2.60 ERA). Overall, Bubic has 37 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched. If he can continue this stretch of solid pitching, he’ll be a decent play over the next two weeks.
Stefan Crichton $6
It appears that the Kevin Ginkel experiment is all but over in Arizona, as Crichton successfully notched the save in his first opportunity. Crichton has a 2.91 ERA, but I am leery of the nine walks that he has allowed in just 21 2/3 innings. Taylor Clarke might have been a better choice to close, but the Diamondbacks want him stretched out as a starter.
TOUT WARS AL
Mike Minor $253 (Other Bids: $85, $56) (@SEA)
On paper, Minor’s matchup later tonight against the Mariners looks great. They haven’t hit lefties well, the venue is pitcher-friendly, and Minor has been relatively successful this year against Seattle, with four earned runs allowed in 10 innings. In practice, it is tough to recommend Minor in any format unless you are desperate and must gamble for wins and strikeouts. In a normal season, I’d bet on the Athletics working through Minor’s issues and turning him into a serviceable starter. In a shortened year, I am not confident that it will happen.
Daz Cameron $180
Jared Walsh $163 (Other Bids: $77, $41, $7, $2, $0)
Walsh is on fire. He has four home runs in his last five games. Some of this is because he played two games at Coors, but he also hit two home runs in Texas, a pitcher-favorable venue. Walsh has always possessed significant power potential, and while he might settle in on the good side of a 1B/DH platoon in the long term, right now he is playing regularly at first with Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols splitting time at DH. It might not last, but I’d grab Walsh and see if he can prolong the magic.
Bryan Garcia $56 (Other Bids: $27)
Another week, another new closer in Detroit. Garcia was a college draftee in 2016, who was on the fast track to the majors before losing all of 2018 to Tommy John surgery. He has decent stuff, but nothing really pops. The extremely low strikeout rate doesn’t support long-term success in a high-leverage role. Grab Garcia in AL-only and hope that he gets the rest of Detroit’s saves in the last two weeks. In mixed, though, you can walk on by.
Vimael Machin $32 (Other Bids: $2)
A former Cubs prospect, Machin was selected by the Phillies in December’s Rule 5 Draft and then immediately sold to the Athletics. Unlike many Rule 5 selections, Machin wasn’t a raw talent who a team hoped to bench and stash but an older player (26) who was potentially useful to a major-league squad here and now. Machin’s value in fantasy is limited. There is a chance that Machin could provide some batting average, but even in AL-only his positional flexibility will only take you so far.
Sam Huff $10
Sherten Apostel $3
Seth Brown $3
Christian Arroyo $2
Jordan Luplow $1
Taylor Ward $0
John Curtiss $0
J.B. Wendelken $0
TOUT WARS NL
Tommy Pham $102
Josh Fuentes $77 (Other Bids: $52, $41, $24, $1, $0)
Fuentes has pushed his way into the first-base job in Colorado, starting in the team’s last four games. The back of the napkin scouting report for Fuentes was “plus power but plenty of contact issues.” Fuentes is hitting .317 but with a strikeout rate near 30 percent and a .429 BABIP that he isn’t likely to maintain. If you’re buying Fuentes this week, it is mostly due to the schedule, as the Rockies get six games at home. Although it’s a tough slate against the A’s and Dodgers, any hitter getting starts at Coors is an instant add in deep mixed and NL-only.
Pavin Smith $42 (Other Bids: $16, $1)
Pavin Smith is the name of a butler in a wry, socially conscious British comedy, not the name of a major-league baseball player. Smith has excellent bat-to-ball skills but not enough power to survive in the modern version of the game, unless he can consistently hit .300 or higher. Smith is the latest 1B/OF to get a shot on a Diamondbacks team that has been looking for offense wherever they can find it.
Tyrone Taylor $24 (Other Bids: $1, $0)
Taylor’s stat line looks great, but nearly all those stats are from the Brewers’ 19-0 laugher against the Tigers last week. Taylor is a late bloomer due to a swing change that he made in the minors a couple of years ago but still looks like a bench/platoon bat long term.
Jacob Nottingham $16
Andrew Knapp $5
Rangel Ravelo $5 (Other Bids: $1, $0)
Stefan Crichton $5 (Other Bids: $2)
Braxton Garrett $2
Yimi García $2
Nick Vincent $2
Tyler Stephenson $1
Lane Thomas $1 (Other Bids: $1)
Isan Díaz $1
Shogo Akiyama $18
DJ Stewart $17 (Other Bids: $5, $1)
Stewart was riding a hot streak last week, with six home runs in a six-game span. The 26-year-old outfielder was a good hitter who was defensively challenged when he was a prospect, but the sweet swing didn’t translate to results in the majors. Stewart subsequently fell off everyone’s radar. The hot streak brings him into the foreground again, and while he won’t continue on this torrid pace, it is possible that he is a late bloomer who could be a productive major-league regular.
Jared Walsh $7 (Other Bids: $5)
Josh Fuentes $6
Bobby Dalbec $5
Rafael Dolis $2 (Other Bids: $2)
Before 2020, Dolis hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. Dolis had spent the last four years in Japan, closing for the Hanshin Tigers, saving 96 games with a 2.49 ERA and a 27 percent strikeout rate. While pitching for Hanshin, Dolis developed a nasty splitter to compliment his mid-90s fastball. The strong results in Japan have translated to the majors, and Dolis has moved to the front of the line for saves in Toronto. While there is some risk that a healthy Ken Giles reemerges as the closer in the last two weeks, Dolis is a worthwhile gamble at this price.
Tim Locastro $8 (Other Bids: $4, $4)
It is difficult to keep track of all the roster shuffling on the Diamondbacks, so you may have missed that Locastro established himself as Arizona’s starting center fielder after the Starling Marte trade. Locastro’s game is speed, speed, and more speed. He doesn’t offer much else but is a perfect 25-for-25 in his major-league career in stolen bases. If you are looking for a player who might go on a stolen-base streak in the last two weeks, Locastro is one of your better gambles.
Andrew Velazquez $24
Jared Walsh $18 (Other Bids: $4, $4, $1)
Khris Davis $10 (Other Bids: $1)
There are different methods of gauging when a player has reached the end of the line. For me, seeing someone like Davis in the AL-only section of a FAAB fantasy column is a reliable barometer that he could be finished. Davis played through an injury in 2019, which was a reasonable excuse for his performance dip last year, but he isn’t hitting this season either. We now have over 600 plate appearances of data across two years that speak to a subpar batter. Davis isn’t ancient, so some additional reps might do the trick, but the A’s aren’t playing him regularly, which diminishes the odds of a well-timed hot streak turning Davis’ season around.
Daz Cameron $6
Matt Wisler $6
Bryan Garcia $5 (Other Bids: $2)
Sherten Apostel $4
Nick Heath $4
Christian Arroyo $3
Jaime Barria $2 (TEX)
Keegan Akin $1 (ATL)
Eli White $1
Vimael Machin $1
Ljay Newsome $1 (SF)
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