2023 MLB Week Eight FAAB Insights

Which players should you spend your FAAB budget on?

I have twins that turn four in less than a month, a boy and a girl. This weekend is a huge dad moment for me — the kids have their very first T-ball game on Saturday morning. It’s going to be chaos. Cartwheels in the outfield, playing in the dirt, roaring like a T-Rex while running around the bases, but I couldn’t be more excited.

I was laying out the blueprint for this article on Thursday evening after I got home from work. I was focused in, looking through transactions, checking rosters and injury news of every team just trying to assemble a solid list of FAAB pickups for this week. The twins stopped me.

“Dad, do you want to go outside and play catch with us?”

I melted.

The computer went away for the night and I and the kids stayed outside throwing the ball (I won’t call it playing catch because I’m not sure either of them actually caught the ball once) until it was time to get ready for bed. Totally worth it.

I’m trying to make the point that this is a long season. Odds are if you’re taking the time to read an article like this on a website like this, you’re pretty heavily invested — whether it be time, money or both — in fantasy baseball. Regardless of how large your investment in fantasy baseball is, you should be making time for other things you enjoy. If this article can help you expedite your FAAB process, reduce the amount of time you spend pouring through fantasy baseball websites, and allow you to do something else you love or something else that’s important to you for a few extra minutes each week then I’ve accomplished my mission.

On to the baseball stuff.

Every team in the league plays at least six games this week, while nearly half the league is playing a full seven-game slate. Saddle up, friends!




Investment Rating System




Bryan De La Cruz ($$$): Finally. We’re seeing De La Cruz make more consistent, harder contact and his batting average production are increasing as a result. After batting .252 through the month of April with just seven extra-base hits in 91 at-bats, De La Cruz has .346 with six extra-base hits, including a pair of home runs in just 52 at-bats in the month of May entering the weekend slate. He has hit his way into an everyday spot in the Marlins’ lineup and with all the injury issues that the Marlins are working through, should stay there for the foreseeable future.

Leody Taveras ($$$): Since returning from injury, Taveras has become the everyday center fielder for the Texas Rangers, and has flourished in the role. Still, only 50-60% owned in 12-team leagues, Taveras has proven acumen for speed with five stolen bases, four in his last two weeks, and a .298 batting average. Though fantasy managers would like to see slightly better plate discipline to increase his walk rate and OBP, Taveras is a fine pickup for speed-strapped teams in shallower leagues.

Mauricio Dubón ($$): How is this man still not 100% owned? He’s a contact machine at the top of the Astros lineup, batting in front of Bregman, Yordan, Abreu, and Tucker. Eligible in the outfield and at middle infield positions, Dubon could almost single-handedly win managers their runs categories. Even after Jose Altuve returns, Dubon should still see time in the outfield ahead of Corey Julks and Jake Meyers, though he may move down the lineup.

Mickey Moniak ($$): You could stick just about anybody in a lineup ahead of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani and have them succeed. With a .400 batting average and .438 OBP, Moniak has scored five runs in five games played. He has also swiped a couple of bags and popped off a couple of home runs. Only about 75% rostered in 15-team leagues, Moniak could be a solid fourth or fifth outfielder for hitting-needy fantasy managers.

Óscar Mercado ($): Now a Cardinal, he was called up to St. Louis after Dylan Carlson was placed on the IL. Once upon a time, Mercado was a highly sought-after fantasy commodity. In his St. Louis debut, he recorded a multi-hit game and swiped two bases in a flashback to what we thought he would be in his debut season in 2019. Is it sustainable? Yet to be seen, but Mercado is a nice little upside pickup if you’re struggling in the outfield.

Corey Dickerson ($): Dickerson announced his return from the injury list with a 432-foot home run in his first at-bat on Wednesday against the Marlins. He has power potential but hasn’t stayed healthy enough to display it since 2017 when he hit 27 home runs for the Tampa Bay Rays. Fantasy managers could do worse, especially with matchups against the Royals’ right-handed pitching this coming weekend.



Isaac Paredes ($$$): He’s mashing. And if he’s still on your waiver wire, he won’t be after this weekend. The injury to Yandy Diaz has ensured Paredes’ playing time this past week. Despite tough upcoming matchups against Toronto and the Dodgers this week, Paredes is a must-add as he continues to garner regular playing time.

Jake Burger ($$$): One of the few bright spots on the South Side so far this season, Burger has been a Whopper of a bat in the Chicago lineup. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. Jake the Rake leads the league with a .723 slugging percentage, clearly outshining fellow White Sox slugger Andrew Vaughn as the team’s top power bat. If Burger is still available on the waiver wire, he shouldn’t be. He’s performing like an above-average power bat with career numbers in hard contact rate (31.5%) and barrel rate (23.6%) while reducing his strikeout rate slightly from last season as well. With no stolen base attempts so far this season, Burger might not get you any combo meals… sorry, did it again… but the power is legit.

Orlando Arcia ($$): Back in the lineup after a brief injury stint, Arcia is making his case for the Braves to leave Vaughn Grissom in Gwinnett and roll with the veteran shortstop instead. With a 37.8% hard contact rate, Arcia ranks seventh in the major leagues and has a .342 batting average to complement it. Batting ninth in the Atlanta order, he gets to hit in front of Acuna, Olson and Riley. Not a bad spot for a guy with a .405 OBP.

Kyle Farmer ($$): Entering the weekend, Farmer had recorded at least one hit in seven-consecutive starts, recording a .322 batting average (10-for-31) over that span with two home runs, six runs scored and seven RBI. He’s getting everyday playing time at third base and the Twins lineup has been hot of late. Ride the hot hand.

Mark Vientos ($): The Mets called up Vientos to replace Luis Guillorme, and he immediately made them look intelligent by homering in his first game in the big leagues. Named the #85 prospect in Chris Clegg’s preseason article, Vientos is probably only up in the big leagues for a little while considering the Mets now have three third basemen on the roster (though it looks like they might stick Baty in the outfield. If he sticks around, his bat plays. But it’s not a guarantee he stays in Flushing.


Owen Miller ($): Miller has earned what appears to be an everyday slot in the Brewers’ lineup after recording a hit in 10 straight games to begin the month of May. Regression should be coming for him eventually, but as long as he continues to outperform his metrics, he makes a fine middle infield pickup.

Pablo Reyes ($): Acquired by the Red Sox from the Athletics, Reyes looks excited to be playing baseball anywhere but Oakland. With Kike Hernandez returning from injury, he’ll have to outplay Enmanuel Valdez for at-bats at the bottom of the Red Sox order, but it’s doable.

Matt McLain ($): Called up by the Reds this week, McLain is making his Mc-Claim at the starting shortstop gig in Cincinnati. McLain notched hits in each of his first two career games, but that won’t be enough for fantasy managers to forgive him for blocking the meteoric rise of Elly De La Cruz. If you can forgive McLain for standing in the way of destiny, he could be worthy of a pickup, especially with the Reds playing four games at home next week.

Nick Allen ($): Having just watched Pablo Reyes get traded away, Nick Allen is doing his best to play his way out of Oakland as well. Allen is only batting .210, but he’s 9-for-23 in his last six games entering the weekend. The metrics are not good. The results are okay, I guess? If you’re desperate, Allen is receiving consistent at-bats, and that’s about the best endorsement I’ve got.



Matt Thaiss ($): If I didn’t know any better, I would say that Matt Thaiss keeps voodoo dolls of every other catcher in the Angels’ organizational depth chart in his locker, and any time someone challenges his playing time he pokes the corresponding doll, causing an IL stint for his fellow catcher. Logan O’Hoppe, Max Stassi and most recently Chad Wallach have each suffered an injury already this season, clearing a path for Thaiss to take the majority of at-bats at catcher for the Angels. Now with Wallach back from an injury, Thaiss is getting reps at first base as well. In two-catcher leagues, anyone with a pulse and an opportunity is worth a roster spot. Thaiss has both.

Andrew Knizner ($): Knizner has just three hits in his last 15 at-bats entering Thursday’s series opener with the Dodgers, but two of those hits have been home runs. Until Willson Contreras is cleared to go back behind the plate once again, Knizner appears to be in line for significantly more at-bats than backup (third-string?) Tres Barrera.

Joey Bart ($): I guess fantasy owners that are desperate can roster Bart and feel okay about it in deep two-catcher leagues. That whole concept of pulse and opportunity applies here as well.

Gary Sánchez ($): Remember that guy at your draft who did absolutely no prep work whatsoever and took Gary Sánchez? You and your well-prepared league mates probably had a good laugh, didn’t you? Well, WHO’S LAUGHING NOW? Sanchez joined the Mets prior to their weekend series in Coors Field. At his best, Sanchez batted .232 but blasted 34 home runs in just about 450 plate appearances. He’s a great novelty pickup, but probably not much more than that.




Starting Pitchers

Matthew Liberatore ($$$$): If the Cardinals want to turn their season around, they need Liberatore to be a catalyst for that and come out every fifth day with fire. So far, so good. He tossed five shutout innings against Milwaukee in his debut on Wednesday and the Cardinals earned a 3-0 victory. With six strikeouts and six baserunners on three hits and three walks, Liberatore made winning look relatively easy. The Cardinals are one of just three teams in the league with a positive run differential (+9) and a losing record entering the weekend. Good, consistent pitching could turn this team around quick. Liberatore will look to provide that.

Taj Bradley ($$$$): We saw it earlier this season, Bradley is the real deal. If his fantasy owner made the short-sighted move of dropping him when he was demoted earlier this season, jump on him. He’s the kind of talent that could make a serious difference the rest of the season in wins, strikeouts, and ratios. Ignore the minor league numbers.

Lance Lynn ($$$): Has Lance Lynn hit your league’s waiver wire because his manager was sick and tired of a 7.00+ ERA in his lineup? Well, if I want to keep my job here at Pitcher List, I think I’m contractually obligated to tell you to pick him up otherwise Nick will have me removed. After allowing at least four runs in six of his first eight starts, Lynn settled into a seven-inning, seven-strikeout performance against the Guardians, allowing three runs (one earned) last time out. With a top-40 mark in strikeout rate (26.6%), CSW (30.4%) and swinging strike rate (13.7%), Lynn is missing enough bats that his performance should continue to level out, making him a great buy-low candidate or even a waiver wire steal if he was dropped previously.

Michael Wacha ($$$): In three starts in the month of May, Wacha has allowed just one earned run in 19.0 innings pitched, earning wins in two of his three outings. One of the most consistent arms in the National League at the moment, if Wacha is available it’s past time to grab him.


Michael Lorenzen ($$): The Tigers are becoming what we wanted the Pirates to be. And a large reason for that has been the quality of their starting pitching. Lorenzen has looked like a fringe ace, allowing just two earned runs over 20 innings in his last three starts combined. Though he’s only posted an 18.6% strikeout rate, Lorenzen is generating a ton of ground balls (50.5%) even with reduced usage of his sinker. With his next four projected starts coming at Kansas City, against the Chicago White Sox, at the Chicago White Sox and against the Diamondbacks, Lorenzen could be useful for at least a couple of weeks.

Tarik Skubal ($): On his way back from flexor tendon surgery, Skubal joined the Tigers on their most recent road trip. Though he will be on a rehab assignment for at least a couple of weeks and then Still Ill for quite sometime after that, Skubal could be worth a stash in the deepest of leagues, especially those who believe that the young pitcher could return to pre-injury form. His final 17.0 innings pitched in 2022 went by without allowing an earned run.

Jackson Kowar ($): Called up from AAA Omaha on Tuesday, Kowar had not seen game action by the time this section was completed on Friday afternoon. Once upon a time, he was a top-100 prospect. But he’s been roughed up in each of his cameo appearances at the major league level. Maybe the third time’s a charm?

Kyle Hendricks ($): Hendricks has had a lengthy recovery from a capsular tear in his shoulder, but appears ready to join the Cubs after his latest rehab start. He may be best suited for quality start or innings-pitched leagues, where he can eat innings and won’t have to be relied upon for strikeouts as much. Though we’ve seen his changeup (which he throws 31% of the time) reach above 20.0% swinging strike rates in the past, my expectations are low.



Relief Pitchers

Wandy Peralta ($$): Odds are at least one of your league mates blew a lot of FAAB on Michael King last week, but it was Peralta who received and converted three of the Yankees’ next five save chances while King earned just one save. It appears that Aaron Boone is utilizing a closer-by-committee approach now that Clay Holmes has lost control of the role, but the Yankees win enough that it may be worth rolling the dice on Peralta in hopes that he wins the job outright over King and Ron Marinaccio.

Hector Neris ($$): Is anybody convinced that Ryan Pressly is fully healthy? After throwing just 18 pitches on Sunday, Pressly was nowhere to be found on Monday in the Astros’ 6-4 victory over the Cubs. Instead, it was Neris who converted the save opportunity with a clean ninth, including two strikeouts. Might as well throw a dart on a solid reliever that appears to be part of a closer committee on one of the best teams in the league, right?

Chris Martin ($): A speculative add for saves with Kenley Jansen struggling and John Schreiber hurt, Martin has been consistent in his first year in Boston, which is more than the Red Sox can say for most of their relievers over the past few years. Though he hasn’t recorded a save yet this season, Martin could get a chance in the near future with Jansen battling with pitch clock issues and Schreiber on the IL.



Justin Topa ($): Until Andres Munoz gets back from the IL, Topa may just be the Mariners’ second in line for saves behind Paul Sewald. He’s earned one save and eight holds in 18 appearances this year and has recently been working later innings and higher leverage situations. Sewald is pretty firmly entrenched as the closer and Munoz will be back eventually, but he could sneak a save here or there before then.

Joe Barlow ($): Recalled from the minors this week, Barlow has the closer experience and could be thrown into high-leverage situations right away. It’s not like anyone in the Rangers’ bullpen has run away with the closer role yet this season, though Will Smith is doing his best.

Caleb Ferguson ($): Ferguson has been one of the Dodgers’ most consistent relievers since joining the club in 2018. With a 10.47 K/9 and 2.20 BB/9, Ferguson has posted a 1.10 xERA so far this season and converted his first save opportunity of the year on Saturday. He’s certainly done his part to gain the trust of the Dodgers’ brass, but even if he doesn’t get any more save opportunities, he can still improve ratios for fantasy managers on the cheap.


Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Brett Ford

Born and raised in #Birdland. Some days you win, Some days you lose, Some days it rains.

One response to “2023 MLB Week Eight FAAB Insights”

  1. Daniel Bailey says:

    Dubon is not 100% owned because he is a two (one if anything other than an AVG league) category contributor that no longer has a role with Altuve’s return. He hasn’t played in a game since Tuesday.

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