Welcome to the fifth 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
David Robertson has been a successful reliever from the moment he stared pitching for the Yankees in 2007. His dominance is elite, striking out an average thirteen batters per nine innings in his major league career. With an ERA near just north of 2.00 and a Whip around 1.22, the twenty-seven year old has the stuff to be the best closer in the game. The only question that remains is how the Yankees will use their arms to close out games. The tides are changing and managers are not always using the best pitchers in the ninth inning, as recently illustrated by the Rays and Nationals. Brian Cashman gave the smallest hint that Roberston would be used in the ninth, however this remains a fluid situation until we see how the bullpen is used. He came into Friday's game with a four run lead and struck out the side. If any team in baseball values the closer, it is the Yankees. Rafael Soriano still has a shot to close out games, but until further notice make the investment in Robertson.
Rafael Soriano, RP, New York Yankees (FAAB: $100)
The major chink in the former closer's armor has been the tendency to give up the free pass to first base. Joe Girardi said Thursday that Soriano is a candidate for the closer role in light of the Mariano Rivera injury. As a fly ball pitcher, Yankees stadium is not the best park for success, but overall he has a solid skill set to succeed as the closer. Robertson is favored to take over closing duties, but Soriano should be owned until the roles have been solidified.
Huston Street has been diagnosed with a right lat injury, and headed for the disabled list. Early reports are that the injury is not serious, but in the interim put your money on Cashner. Both pitchers have warts as Casher gives up too many walks, and Gregerson has given up too many hits. All indications show that Cashner will be first in line.
The Miami bullpen has been a roller-coaster ride this past week. Guillen has mixed and matched save opportunities this week between the two righties. Bell is out of the closer gig and now Cishek will be given the chance in the ninth. Mujica has the slightly superior skill set, but Cishek has been the better pitcher so far this year. It appears that Cishek is currently the favorite of Ozzie Guillen, but this bullpen is very much in flux. Prospect Chris Hatcher is also getting the call up, whom Baseball America tabbed as the closer of the future. He remains a dark-dark horse candidate moving forward.
Wigginton is on a hot streak of late hitting .289/.360/.408 with two home runs, ten RBI through his first seventy six plate appearances. He has reached base fourteen out of his last fifteen games. The thirty-four year old should be starting every day at first base until Howard returns, and even then should find at bats. He has twenty-five home run pop with everyday at bats, and provides value as a replacement third-basemen or fifth outfielder.
Reddick has a hot bat of late batting .274 with four home runs, three stolen bases, nine RBI, thirteen runs scored, through twenty-six games this season. He just ended a seven-game hitting streak and is playing everyday in the heart of the A's lineup. This is not a player that will blow you away in any single category, but can offer value as your fourth or fifth outfielder. In the pre-season there were grumbling of a possibility of a platoon, but so far he is hitting lefties with authority.
At Triple-A, Middlebrooks was mashing, hitting .333/.380/.677 with nine home runs, twenty-seven RBI and a 1.057 OPS over his first 100 plate appearances. The highly touted prospect is only a short-term replacement until Youkilis returns, but this twenty-three year old is "major league ready", according to many prominent scouts. With Sandoval, Gamel, Zimmerman and Youkilis on the DL, he is a promising stopgap option in twelve team leagues.
Until De La Rosa crosses the thirty-four percent ownership mark, he will continue to appear in the FAABwire as he could maker in most formats when he returns from the DL in June. 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 should be stashed on your bench, De La Rosa should be at the top of your list.
Dyson has done nothing but hit since being called up on April 27th. Mitch Maier has been nothing more then depth on the bench, and with Cain on the DL fot at least another month, the twenty-seven year old is getting the majority of starts in center field. If Dyson can continue to get on base, he should be a cheap source of stolen bases. 27-year-old has demonstrated a solid track record for the art of the theft in the minor leagues, swiping fifty bags in only 363 at bats in 2011. If you need outfield help, the speedster is a decent fill in while Cain is on the DL.