Welcome to the third FAABwire series for the 2012 season. This article will cover the top pickups of the week and how much FAAB (Free agent acquisition budget) you should spend. The FAABwire series is mostly catered to twelve and fifteen team mixed league formats. Each week I will mostly focus on players that are owned in under thirty-four percent of CBS leagues. FAAB bids are of course very specific to individual leagues, so I will give you ballpark bids of what it should take to acquire each player based on a one thousand dollar budget. Throughout the week, feel free to tweet players at me that I can discuss is the column. @MarkusPotter
Nolan Reimold, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (56% owned) (FAAB $350)
Even though Reimold does not fall under the thirty-four percent ownership mark, I will briefly discuss, as he has still fallen under the radar in some twelve team leagues. The Baltimore outfielder had a stretch of four straight games with a home run. This power is very much for real as he hit thirteen home runs in just 267 at bats last year. Reimold has been on many sleeper lists for the past three years, and it looks like he may finally have a chance to break out. The Orioles seem committed to giving him full time at bats, and thus far he is making the most of it. If he is owned in your league there is still a buying opportunity as people remain skeptical. I wrote about Reimold in the pre season:
Chris Davis, 1B/3B, Baltimore Orioles (34% owned) (FAAB: $275)
Here is another post-hype prospect that has all but been forgotten about. The power upside is off the chart, but the issue with Davis has been his horrible contact rate and plate patience. Quietly he is off to a great start and must be picked up in all formats. In a small sample size, the twenty-six year old has shown improvements in his contact rate and batting eye, hitting .333 while slugging .511. With only thirty four percent ownership, drop what you are doing and check his availability.
Gerrardo Parra, OF, Arizona Diamond Backs (Owned 5%) (FAAB: $80)
With Chris Young heading to the DL, Parra will be the everyday center fielder for the snakes. Parra is in that category "one of the best fourth out fielders in the game". With a full season of 600 at bats, Parra has the upside of hitting .290, stealing forty bags and hitting ten balls out of the park. He is a must add in a fifteen team league and could have some moderate value in twelve team leagues if you are hurting in the out field
Francisco Cordero, RP, Toronto Blue Jays (Owned 16%) (FAAB $100)
With Sergio Santos hitting the disabled List, Francisco Cordero will be the guy in the ninth.
Cordero’s underlying skills have taken a significant drop. Fastball velocity down and his strikeout rate all but plummeted. He was able to drop his walk rate but he did that with a unsustainable .218 BABIP which cannot sustain his low ERA. Cordero has the job, but it could be ugly. Invest with caution.
Jorge De La Rosa, SP, Colorado Rockies (12% owned) (FAAB: $1)
In the last four years, De La Rosa has had an elite strike out rate hovering around nine strike outs per nine. He was in the midst of a breakout year before he went under the knife last season. Control was never the lefties forte so this aspect may take some patience to reacquire, but he looks to be ahead of schedule and poised for a June return. Out of any pitcher that I have recommended stashing on your bench, De La Rosa is at the top my list. This is a pitcher that could have an impact in all formats as soon as June.
Stephen Drew, SS, Arizona Diamond Backs (46% owned) (FAAB: $1)
In most leagues, Drew is owned, but I was surprised to see that he was a free agent in one of my leagues with very smart players and several dare I say "experts"! When healthy, Drew has the upside of being a top ten short stop. Please double check and make sure he is owned. I am only recommending a dollar bid as there has not been much news to put him on the radar. Once he hits a home run during rehab game, his price will be though the roof.
Liam Hendricks, SP, Minnesota Twins (6% owned) (FAAB: $40)
Hendricks is a former top prospects for the Twins who crushed Double-A with a 2.70 ERA and 81:18 K:BB ratio in 90 innings. At triple A, he had good control with a 30:3 K:BB ratio in 49.1 innings. This is a pitcher who pounds the strike zone and induces a healthy amount of ground balls. This week against the fear inducing Texas Rangers, Hendriks gave up one run over six innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Hendricks is not not a strike out guy, but could be a solid back of the rotation type starter.
Matt Thornton, RP, Chicago White Sox (25% owned) (FAAB: $50)
The White Sox do not seem ready to hand the ball to Addison Reed in the ninth and Hector Santiago is not setting the world on fire giving up a few to many home runs. The Chicago bullpen could be a fluid situation for the time being. Thornton has been dropped in many leagues which is a mistake. I would not be surprised to see Thornton in the ninth. Stash him and monitor this potentially volatile situation.
Matt Carpenter, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals (9% owned) (FAAB$ $95)
Carpenter does not offer much power, but his batting eye is elite, with an 84:68 BB:K ratio in Triple-A. He also has a career .417 On base percentage in the minors. With Berman going to the disabled list, Carpenter will starting at first base. Even after Berkman's return, Carpenter is a player that could find at bats through out the year. St Louis has a history of developing non elite prospects, and Carpenter could be another example. In the small sample size of thirty one at bats, he is hitting .290 with eleven RBI. If you have a whole to fill at the hot corner, Carpenter could be an admirable fill in.
A.J. Burnett, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (27% owned) (FAAB: $65)
In the pre season, Burnett had a new found appeal switching to the National League. He was then derailed by an orbital bone fracture in his eye after being hit by a bitch while attempting a bunt. Burnett still has an excellent strike out and ground ball rate. If the thirty four home runs that he gave up in Yankee stadium become twenty, there is upside here. Burnett dominated the Cardinals in a surprise start last night. Burnett should be added in all fifteen team leagues, and monitored in twelve team leagues.
Eduardo Nunez 2B/3B/SS, New York Yankees (20% owned) (FAAB$ $90)
Playing time has now opened up for Nunez with Brett Gardner hitting the disabled list. Ibanez and Jones will now be spending more time in left field, allowing the old infielders to DH, giving Nunez added playing time. Nunez has a .273 batting average over 408 plate appearances in the big leagues went 22-for-28 in stolen base attempts last year. Joe Girardi loves the twenty-four year and should find at bats all year. Nunez should be usable in fifteen team leagues, and an injury fill in for twelve team leagues.
Marlon Byrd, OF, Boston Redsox (12% owned) (FAAB: 50$)
Looks like the Red Sox are seeking reinforcements in the out field. The deal has not been confirmed, but all indications are that the Cubs are sending the thirty-four your old to Boston. Byrd is a .278 career hitter with 81 homers and 438 RBIs in 3735 at bats. Byrd's best season was with the Rangers in 2009, when he hit .283 with 20 homers and 89 RBIs. If given a full season of at bats, I would expect a .275 average, fifteen home runs and five stolen bases. The veteran has been mired in a three for forty three slump to begin the year, but slow start does not concern me at all. Invest in all fifteen team leagues as a serviceable fifth outfielder.