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.
TOUT WARS MIXED DRAFT
Week Five was another banner week for waiver bids in the Tout Wars Mixed League with 32 players awarded. This week features a slew of prospect promotions, including several starting pitchers who could help those fantasy managers who were willing to spend for them.
Emilio Pagán $265 (Other Bids: $37, $1)
The price paid for Pagán is a bit baffling, given that he has blown four saves and is sporting a 6.23 ERA and 1.31 WHIP, even after converting his last two save chances with just one walk in two innings. Pagán’s strikeout rate of 19 percent is roughly half what it was last season, and his walk and home-run rates are extremely high. Meanwhile, Cal Quantrill looms as a potential better option for the Padres and might be a much less expensive FAAB target.
Triston McKenzie $245 (Other Bids: $131, $117, $78, $22, $4) (@STL)
After the dazzling debut that Triston McKenzie made over the weekend, it appears that Cleveland will keep him around for at least one more start. McKenzie efficiently dispatched the upstart Tigers with six innings of two-hit ball (including one home run). He struck out 10 with just one walk. There are a lot of moving parts in Cleveland with the trade deadline looming and both Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac sitting at the team’s alternate site. If either or both are traded, McKenzie could remain in the starting rotation.
Sixto Sánchez $129 (Other Bids: $112, $88, $79, $37, $22)
The centerpiece of the trade that sent J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies, Sánchez featured an electric fastball in his debut that averaged 99 mph and touched 100 several times. He gave the Marlins five solid innings with four strikeouts on Saturday against the Nationals. All indications are that the Marlins will keep him in the starting rotation, despite the expected return of Sandy Alcántara this coming week.
Joey Bart $117 (Other Bids: $35, $18, $1)
The highly anticipated arrival of Bart finally came last week, despite the Giants’ stated desire to give him more developmental time in the minors. He has played in four consecutive games, including three starts, and had a hit in each to begin the season batting .333/.467/.583. Keep in mind that home runs are tough to come by at Oracle Park, which may limit his power numbers. Nonetheless, Bart looks like a beast in the making.
Tarik Skubal $88 (MIN)
Skubal needed 69 pitches to get through 2 1/3 innings, during which he struck out five with one walk after allowing a home run to Cesar Hernández to begin the game. The Tigers will limit Skubal’s pitch counts and bring him along slowly, which could limit his fantasy value outside of AL-only leagues. Skubal should provide plenty of strikeouts, but inefficient pitch counts and inexperience above Double-A could lead to damaging ratios and few wins, if any.
Raimel Tapia $87 (Other Bids: $80, $64, $10)
Tapia has started in left field in seven of his last eight games and batted .321/.457/.393 with a pair of stolen bases. Prior to that stretch, he was used in both left and right field and as the designated hitter. It appears that he is thriving with a steadier role at one position. He has yet to hit a home run, but he could be a good source of steals if he can keep up his OBP.
Justin Upton $76
This one is a bit of head-scratcher, as Upton has seemingly ceded left-field duties to Brian Goodwin. However, with Jo Adell scuffling, Goodwin could shift to right field and Upton might get another shot. Still, you should be able to get Upton for much less in most leagues.
Matt Barnes $75 (Other Bids: $58, $1)
Since the Red Sox traded closer Brandon Workman to the Phillies, it appears that Barnes will get the first shot at the ninth inning. Barnes has walked nine batters in 11 innings, and he blew a save chance over the weekend after notching his first save last Friday. The Red Sox could go to a committee approach, so don’t invest in Barnes too heavily if you are trying to stretch your FAAB dollars.
Jake McGee $73
Mitch Moreland $70 (Other Bids: $3)
Moreland is platooning at first base to maximize his advantage against right-handers, and it has paid off handsomely. He is batting .340/.444/.792 and has slugged seven home runs with 18 RBI in 63 plate appearances. Unfortunately, his role is unlikely to change regardless of what the Red Sox do at the trade deadline. Still, Moreland has the better half of the platoon, so he could be worth adding in mixed leagues, especially in those with daily moves.
Brett Anderson $62 (Other Bids: $12, $0) (CIN, PIT)
Anderson has been solid, if unspectacular, much like he was last year for Oakland, where he put up a 3.89 ERA and 1.31 WHIP with 90 strikeouts over 176 innings. He won’t give you many strikeouts, and he has gone six innings just once in four starts to date, which basically makes him a streamer against weaker teams. Sort of like this week.
Cedric Mullins $58
Mullins was recalled from the Orioles’ alternate training site to split time in center field with Andrew Velazquez. Since his return, he has batted .379/.400/.517 over 31 plate appearances. He won’t keep this up, but there could be some value in deeper leagues.
Cristian Pache $37
Atlanta added Pache to their active roster after Nick Markakis tested positive for COVID-19. Pache will primarily be used as a defensive replacement late in games until Ronald Acuña, Jr., returns, which could be in the next few days. There is no value to be mined here.
Sam Hilliard $35
Hilliard was a popular late-round draft pick in fantasy drafts but until recently was spending most of his time on the Rockies’ bench. He has played regularly over the past week and could be heating up with more time in the lineup. He is worth the investment in mixed leagues, if he is available.
Nomar Mazara $24 (Other Bids: $1)
Mazara has yet to hit a home run in 60 plate appearances and is batting an anemic .245/.333/.302 for the season. However, he has gone 9-for-28 over his past seven games and could be warming up. He is nothing more than a flier at this point.
Miguel Rojas $19
Austin Hedges $17 (Other Bids: $3)
Jordan Romano $12
Chance Sisco $9 (Other Bids: $0)
Eric Sogard $6
Jeremy Jeffress $4
Luis García $4 (Other Bids: $2)
Roman Quinn $3
Steven Brault $2 (@CWS, @MIL)
Martín Pérez $1 (WAS)
Danny Mendick $1
Josh Reddick $1
Scott Barlow $1
Chaz Roe $0
Matt Shoemaker $0
Daniel Bard $0
Jacob Stallings $0
TOUT WARS AL
Triston McKenzie $378 (Other Bids: $275, $234, $76, $70, $57, $53, $52) (@STL)
McKenzie was terrific in his major-league debut on Saturday against the Tigers, allowing one earned run in six innings with two hits, a walk, and 10 strikeouts. The wiry right-hander did not pitch in 2019 due to lat and pectoral strains, and his debut was his first in-game action since 2018. McKenzie’s stuff is great. The only concerns are that he doesn’t really have a third offering and that durability will always be an issue (he looks like a strong gust of wind could knock him over). But in the short sprint to the finish line in 2020, a pitcher like McKenzie makes for an excellent gamble.
Sam Haggerty $350 (Other Bids: $200, $87, $52, $31)
I had the right idea with a $200 bid for Haggerty but was blown out of the water by Larry Schechter of Winning Fantasy Baseball. Haggerty homered yesterday, but his game is speed, which makes him appealing in the speed-starved environment of 2020. He had two steals in 21 plate appearances last week, and even if he only steals four or five bags the rest of the way, it could make a difference. The only challenge for Haggerty is that he is projected as more of a bench bat than a regular. He could get the bat knocked out of his hands. It’s a risk, but one that Schechter was willing to take.
Isaac Paredes $183 (Other Bids: $167, $145, $136, $127)
It was somewhat surprising that the 21-year-old Tigers prospect got the call, but Detroit hasn’t shied away from being somewhat aggressive with their prospects. Paredes’ floor and ceiling aren’t too far apart. He is a relatively safe player, thanks to decent bat-to-ball skills and a good batting eye, but his ceiling is a reliable third baseman, not a future superstar. Paredes could boast a .275 AVG with 20-25 home runs if everything breaks right, which would put him in the top half of big-league third basemen. In the short term he is an AL-only play, with a chance to be more than that in 2021 and beyond.
Luis Cessa $99
Scott Heineman $96 (Other Bids: $0)
Heineman is yet another speedy AL-only regular without much of a hit tool. He is also 27 years old, so what you see at this point is what you get. Heineman is worth the gamble, if you need the speed (I have these words etched into my memory this week). However, even on a thin Rangers team, I have little faith that the bat will keep him employed for long.
José Cisnero $50 (Other Bids: $23)
Tigers closer Jose Jiménez couldn’t finish it out yesterday, so Cisnero stepped in and picked up his first save of the year. One bad outing shouldn’t spell doom for Jiménez, but he could be traded before the trade deadline. If that happens, Cisnero could be the closer the rest of the way for Detroit.
Andrew Velazquez $48 (Other Bids: $0)
Like Haggarty, Velazquez has speed and a couple of steals on the season. Unlike Haggerty, Velazquez projects as more of a backup than a starter and would need injuries or a lot of luck to find his way into more playing time. I thought about him as a steals play, but I decided that I couldn’t take the hit in the non-SB categories.
Jorge Bonifacio $48
Tommy Milone $47 (Other Bids: $36) (@TB, @TOR)
Don’t be fooled by the higher strikeout rate. Milone has been his tossing his usual mix of slop up there, averaging in the mid-80s with his fastball and throwing nothing but junk at opposing hitters. He gets a decent two-start week in two road games and can be streamed everywhere. I just wouldn’t count on the strikeouts staying over a batter per inning.
José Trevino $37 (Other Bids: $0)
Trevino is a glove-first catcher, an organizational soldier who could be a steady backup for the next five years for nearly any organization. He has been pressed into regular duty because Robinson Chirinos is hurt.
John Curtiss $25 (Other Bids: $15, $14)
The extra “s” is for saves. At least it was on Sunday, when Curtiss locked down his first major-league save in a Rays win against the Blue Jays. With Nick Anderson on the IL, Curtiss could be the closer in Tampa. He could also be just a face in the crowd with no set role who wanders from the ninth inning to the fifth on any given day, a lonely drifter in a bullpen that is a lonely road for a young reliever—and where the hell is this joke even going, can I bail out now? I don’t know much about Curtiss, but he has picked up the obligatory Rays-reliever velocity bump, seeing his fastball jump from 92 to 94 mph. Bidding two to three percent of your budget is OK for a low-level bet on saves.
Cam Gallagher $24 (Other Bids: $0)
With Salvador Pérez on the IL due to fluid buildup under his retina, Gallagher gets a chance to play semi-regularly for the Royals. He is a light-hitting catcher who is slightly more palatable in OBP leagues but still a fringy option.
Ryan Jeffers $23
Peter Fairbanks $14
Julian Merryweather $13
Ildemaro Vargas $11
Beau Taylor $9 (Other Bids: $0)
Andre Scrubb $9
Joely Rodríguez $7
Dan Altavilla $3
T.J. McFarland $2
Aaron Loup $2
Zack Godley $2 (WAS)
Mike Freeman $0
Phil Maton $0
Santiago Espinal $0 (Other Bids: $0)
Braden Bishop $0
TOUT WARS NL
Brandon Workman $734 (Other Bids: $455, $321, $317, $143, $127, $117, $75, $32)
Workman was a no-brainer bid in NL-only. He appears to be the closer for the Phillies after Philadelphia acquired him from the Red Sox over the weekend. Workman did blow his first save of the year, but he probably has some job security because of the trade. The right-hander is a high-strikeout closer whose questionable command keeps him from being a frontline option. Your bid is completely contingent on how much you need saves in a mono league. Workman shouldn’t be available in mixed.
Sixto Sánchez $285 (Other Bids: $262, $164, $65, $57, $47, $14)
There’s a weird negativity surrounding Sánchez’s outlook. He is only 22 years old, reaches the upper 90s on the gun with regularity, and has solid secondary offerings that are major-league pitches. However, as much as I still believe that Sánchez can be a future stud, the scouting concerns are more than fair when it comes to his 2020 outlook. You could see the limitations in his debut against the Nationals. For example, Yan Gomes went yard on a 99-mph heater, showing that Sánchez won’t be able to get by on velocity alone. The righty will survive this year in the majors, but unless his pitch mix and movement change quickly, the ceiling isn’t as high as you’d think … and this is coming from someone who is enamored with Sánchez.
Jesús Sánchez $105 (Other Bids: $47, $12)
The “other” Sánchez in Florida, Jesús is a toolsy outfielder who hasn’t yet lived up to his modest hype, particularly in the power department. Sánchez is only 22 years old, but the Marlins have a subpar track record with developmental prospects like him. A few hundred minor-league at-bats would have helped. He is a decent enough gamble, but I’d leave him to NL-only unless you’re desperate in mixed.
Matt Beaty $63 (Other Bids: $17, $11, $2)
Beaty is getting some playing time in Los Angeles, thanks to the fact that the team is employing a thin three-hitter bench. He’s a solid batter but doesn’t do anything particularly well. Beaty is NL-only material who figures to play against lefties in favor of Joc Pederson.
Elieser Hernández $20 (Other Bids: $9, $4, $4, $2, $1, $1) (@NYM)
I was a Hernández skeptic, but it is difficult to argue with the results thus far. His 33 percent strikeout rate jumps off the page. The challenge with properly valuing Hernández is that his fly-ball rate also jumps off the page, and it is impossible to survive with such an extreme G/F rate unless you are an elite arm. Hernández isn’t, so this is a high-wire act that could work over a small 60-game season sample … but it probably won’t.
Ryan Mountcastle $7 (Other Bids: $4)
Since his call-up on Friday, Mountcastle has slotted in as the starting left fielder for Baltimore. Mountcastle has the potential to be a good hitter, but the knock on him as a minor leaguer was that he could be impatient at the plate and had stretches when he swung at everything. This profile plays better in fantasy than in real life, unless you’re in an OBP league, as a .270-.280 AVG and a .310 OBP works in most leagues when there is power attached to the profile.
Brad Miller $6
Brad Keller $6 (Other Bids: $6, $1 (@STL, @CHW)
Keller has started 2020 with 17 2/3 scoreless innings. He only has 15 strikeouts (there was a time when I’d be impressed by a 7.6 K/9, but that time has passed), and you don’t need a data scientist to tell you that Keller won’t put up a 0.00 ERA all season. He’s worth starting in all formats in a two-start week against the Cardinals and White Sox.
Richard Rodríguez $6 (Other Bids: $3, $2, $2, $1)
Keone Kela is nursing a forearm injury, and Rodríguez picked up a save on Saturday in Kela’s absence. The Pirates say that they’re “not concerned” about Kela’s injury, but I am concerned. In deep leagues where I have Kela, I’m stashing Rodríguez as a low-end fallback. He has pitched well this season, and the Pirates bullpen is thin enough that they don’t have many other viable replacements.
Miguel Rojas $6
Danny Duffy $5 (Other Bids: $2) (@STL)
Duffy hasn’t pitched quite as well as his teammate Keller, but the lefty has been solid. He has compiled a 3.99 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 34 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. Duffy is a serviceable back-end starting pitcher in deep mixed and has a favorable match-up on the slate in St. Louis this week.
Dakota Hudson $4 (KC)
Jeimer Candelario $3
Blake Taylor $3
Tarik Skubal $3 (MIN)
Yusei Kikuchi $3 (@SD)
Cedric Mullins $3 (Other Bids: $3)
Carlos Estévez $2
Austin Hedges $2
Buck Farmer $2
José Martínez $1
Austin Barnes $1
Tim Lopes $1
Dexter Fowler $1
Devin Williams $1
David Bote $1
Alex Young $1 (COL)
Rougned Odor $1
Tanner Roark $1 (@TB, BAL)
Tyler Anderson $1 (@ARI)
Tommy Milone $1 (@TB, @TOR)
Kurt Suzuki $1
Tejay Antone $1
Cedric Mullins $11 (Other Bids: $10, $7, $3, $1)
“Last year’s bust is this year’s bargain.” If there were fantasy-baseball fortune cookies, this would be a popular aphorism. Mullins won the Orioles center-field job in spring training in 2019 and then had 74 awful plate appearances before being banished to the minors. It took a few injuries for Mullins to find his way back to regular reps in 2020, but he is making the most of the opportunity. Mullins’ ceiling is a 15-home-run, 20-steal hitter in a full season. While I’m not confident in his long-term outlook, the opportunity that he now has makes him an automatic add in AL-only and someone to consider in deep mixed.
Myles Straw $4 (Other Bids: $4)
Straw is a throwback to the sort of player who sat on the back end of a seven-hitter bench, whose sole purpose was to pinch run and steal bases. I wish the game had more players like Straw, but even with the expansion of major-league rosters to 28 players, teams are still using short benches and ridiculously deep bullpens. Although Straw is a one-dimensional player, that dimension is speed, and Straw already has five steals in 50 plate appearances. He won’t do much else for your team, but in this condensed season if you have the need and can afford to take the categorical hit elsewhere, add this Straw to your drink.
Taylor Jones $3
José Trevino $3 (Other Bids: $1)
Jorge Bonifacio $2
Aaron Slegers $1
Nick Margevicius $1 (@LAA)
Phillips Valdéz $1
Darwinzon Hernández $1
Ildemaro Vargas $1
Kevin Plawecki $1
Cam Gallagher $1
Brandon Workman $67 (Other Bids: $43, $41, $35, $32, $27, $22, $20, $8, $1)
Roman Quinn $23 (Other Bids: $2)
Jay Bruce’s quad injury gives Quinn more run in the outfield, particularly since the Phillies have been reluctant to overextend Scott Kingery. Quinn’s game is speed, but he doesn’t get on base quite enough to make him a big-time fantasy threat in stolen bases, even in NL-only. He has a sub-.300 OPS in 179 plate appearances in 2019-2020 combined, and that’s not going to cut it.
Trevor Cahill $22 (Other Bids: $5) (@ARI)
It feels like Cahill should be somewhere between the ages of 38-42, but he’s only 32. He has been in the majors since 2009 and is a throwback to the sort of low-strikeout pitcher that we used to see in baseball before velocity, home runs, and strikeouts all ruled the roost. Cahill is striking out batters this year, but some of this is because he is slowly being stretched out and only has 11 innings in three starts. Despite the positive early results, Cahill is a grab bag. It feels like anything is possible. He’s a fifth starter in NL-only.
Jesús Sánchez $20 (Other Bids: $6, $4, $1)
Jake Arrieta $16 (Other Bids: $4, $2) (@WAS, ATL)
Arrieta is a capable back-end arm but hasn’t been anything close to the ace that he was with the Cubs. He has moved away from his curve in favor of a cutter, but the results are mostly the same. The two-step makes him worth using in NL-only and deep mixed, but in leagues like LABR, where you can’t reserve Arrieta for the rougher weeks, he’s a tough sell at more than a buck or two.
Luis García $7 (Other Bids: $6, $2)
García was called up to fill in for the injured Starlin Castro and has a .357 AVG, thanks to a .450 BABIP. There isn’t much power or speed in the profile, so García will need to continue his Tony Gwynn impersonation to keep providing fantasy value. He will sit against most lefties, so monitor Washington’s schedule carefully before putting García into your lineup (the Nationals are scheduled to face five righties and two lefties this week).
Adrian Morejón $5 (@COL)
Mark Mathias $3
Logan Forsythe $2
Steven Brault $2 (@CHW, @MIL)
Jace Peterson $2
Tejay Antone $1
Robbie Erlin $1 (@PHI)
Andrew Knapp $1 (Other Bids: $1)
Blake Parker $1
Ian Miller $1
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