2023 MLB Week Three FAAB Insights

Which players should you spend your FAAB budget on?

It’s the third weekend of FAAB, which means that in all likelihood the “Honeymoon Period” is over. Fantasy managers are no longer enamored with the teams they drafted and are actively looking to replace underperforming pieces of their squad.

Players continue to suffer injuries, missing varying lengths of time. Major league ballclubs are finally beginning to call up some highly-anticipated prospects (thank you, Atlanta). Even some bullpen roles are beginning to settle. Make sure to keep up with the latest player performances and fantasy implications by following all of Pitcher List’s daily articles.

On to the schedule for this week, where 12 teams are scheduled to play seven games while the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals each play just five. The Rockies host Pittsburgh for a three-game series to begin the week while Cincinnati hosts Tampa Bay for a three-game series beginning on Monday. As a reminder, Boston hosts the Angels on Monday morning at 11:10 A.M. Check your leagues to see how that affects lineup deadlines.




Investment Rating System




Josh Lowe ($$$$): If Josh Lowe is not 100% owned, then someone, somewhere is slacking. Through 10 games, Lowe has three home runs and a stolen base with a .333 average and a .727 slugging percentage. Despite the small sample size, the numbers seem largely sustainable. Striking out at just a 16.7% clip, Lowe has posted a .288 xAVG and .403 xWOBA, indicating that perhaps the improvements could stick this season. Batting in the middle of the Rays lineup, Lowe has ample opportunity to contribute in all five categories and looks like a potential game-changer for fantasy managers so far.

Brent Rooker ($$): For fantasy managers who aren’t sure who Brent Rooker is or where he came from, check out Seth Klusmire’s Batter’s Box entry from earlier this week. Rooker exploded four home runs and 10 RBI in just a three-game stretch entering the weekend and has nearly single-handedly propelled the Oakland lineup. Rooker will likely continue to receive at-bats in the middle of the Oakland lineup, receiving consistent playing time for the first time in his career. Time will tell if he can make an impact for fantasy managers, but for now, he makes an interesting power add.


Leody Taveras ($$): Taveras came back from a season-opening IL stint and immediately stepped into the Rangers’ everyday lineup. Entering Saturday’s games, Taveras has yet to attempt a stolen base, but the expectation is that he will take off running whenever he gets the chance. A streaming option for speed in the outfield, he should receive nearly everyday at-bats moving forward.

Alec Burleson ($$): Burleson’s accumulation stats have not been the best, but his quality of contact has been outstanding. With a hard contact rate of 42.9% and an Ideal-Plate-Appearance rate of 38.1%, Burleson ranks among the top 20 hitters in each category. Though Lars Nootbaar has returned from the injured list, his presence in the Cardinals’ lineup will likely take away from Dylan Carlson’s playing time much more than Burleson.

Sam Hilliard ($$): Somewhere, Kevin Hasting is celebrating. In the month of April, Hilliard has batted .348 with a 1.073 OPS, with a home run and a pair of stolen bases. Despite batting at the bottom of the Atlanta order, Hilliard could potentially contribute in all five categories in deep leagues as the Braves’ strong side platoon in center field but may be moved back into a reserve role when Michael Harris returns.


Bryan De La Cruz ($): De La Cruz has carried a hot bat recently, recording back-to-back three-hit games on Thursday and Friday to raise his season batting average to .308. He’s still not registering as much hard contact as fantasy managers would want (22.7%, 239th among qualified hitters), but he’s putting the ball in play and driving in runs for the Marlins.

Akil Baddoo ($): The Akil Baddoo Experiment continues for the Tigers, who have called up the outfielder for yet another chance. Baddoo popped off for 13 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 2021 but didn’t live up to the hype that followed last season. The ceiling is there, but the floor has bottom-out potential as well. With Detroit scheduled to face mostly right-handed starters next week, Baddoo could potentially be useful as a streamer.

Nick Senzel ($): Finally back from the IL, Senzel made his 2023 debut on Thursday and has been in center field each day since. The fantasy community is ready to be hurt again.



Vaughn Grissom (2B – $$$$): Check your waiver wire! Grissom was called up by the Braves after Orlando Arcia landed on the IL this week. Grissom has shown excellent offensive abilities in his short time in the majors, but his defense remains questionable. If he can do enough with his bat to justify his defensive shortcomings Grissom could stay in the majors even after Arcia’s return in a few weeks, becoming a true difference-maker for fantasy teams. Eligible at second base (but playing shortstop for the Braves so far this season), Grissom will likely garner some extremely high bids if he wasn’t stashed after the draft. A 20-25% bid might be enough to land him in some leagues, but there’s no guarantee that will be enough.

Adam Frazier (2B – $$$): Frazier has featured in all 15 games that the Orioles have played, hitting a respectable .256 clip while striking out just 6.8% of the time. Frazier is potentially in for some positive regression, with a .320 xAVG and 31.8% hard-contact rate. If nothing else, he’ll get everyday at-bats in a Baltimore lineup that has put up a lot of runs.


Zach Neto (2B – $$): Neto was called up by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before Saturday’s contest, and will likely slot in at second base for the major league club. Never having played above AA before this, the former first-round pick will look to fill the middle infield for the Angels and likely bat near the bottom of the lineup. In the offseason, Neto was tabbed the 88th-ranked dynasty prospect by the Pitcher List dynasty team and grades out with a good hit tool and decent speed. Neto projects as a slightly-better version of David Fletcher (who was optioned to AAA Salt Lake City in a corresponding roster move).

Edouard Julien (2B – $$): Julien was called up for the Twins and blasted off a home run in his second career start. Julien dazzled in the World Baseball Classic, generating a lot of buzz around the Twins’ camp, but Minnesota elected to begin the year with Nick Gordon at second base. With several Twins’ starters likely to return from the IL in short order, it’s unclear how long Julien will stay in the big leagues. His ceiling is high, but he may not be up long enough to be worth a large bid.


Mauricio Dubón (2B – $): It appears that Dubon has beaten out David Hensley for the everyday second base position in Houston during Jose Altuve’s absence. Dubon has made exemplary contact, with just a 2.4% strikeout rate, resulting in a .350 batting average to begin the year. Slugging a meager .425, Dubon won’t contribute to power numbers, but he will help with batting average and runs scored if he continues getting on base at the bottom of the dangerous Astros’ lineup.

Franchy Cordero (1B – $): When the Yankees signed Cordero prior to the beginning of the season, it seemed inconsequential. The Cuban left-hander has proven that wrong, reinforcing that literally any left-handed bat can succeed in the Yankees’ lineup with their short porch in right field. With four home runs and 11 RBI in just nine games entering the weekend, Cordero has raked against right-handed pitching. The problem is that this week, the Yankees are projected to face three lefties, rendering Cordero much less useful. Most useful in daily transaction leagues, Cordero is a solid streaming option any time the Yankees face a right-handed starter.


Alex Kirilloff (1B – $): Kirilloff is scheduled to return from a prolonged stay on the injured list in the near future, having begun a rehab assignment at the Low-A level. For fantasy managers who still believe in Kirilloff, he can likely be had for a relatively cheap bid. Past wrist injuries have limited him in each of the past two years and fantasy managers will have to wait and see if there will be lingering issues. Once a highly-touted prospect, Kirilloff is potentially a low-risk, high-reward pickup.

Nick Maton (3B – $): In each of the Tigers’ last three games against right-handed starters, Maton has batted in the top third of the order, leading off twice. Maton has homered in three of his last five games, tapping into more power than he’s ever shown prior. With an outstanding plate approach and strike zone awareness, Maton has registered a 16.4% walk rate, making him ideal for OBP leagues.



Cristian Bethancourt (C – $): Despite splitting time as the Rays’ catcher, Bethancourt makes a decent streaming option at Catcher. The better offensive performer of the Rays’ two backstops, Bethancourt is slugging .538 with a 37.9% hard-contact rate.

Kyle Higashioka (C- $): Higashioka homered on Saturday afternoon against the Twins and is splitting time with Jose Trevino as the Yankees’ backstop. Even with just three games a week, Higashioka could be a viable streaming start in two-catcher leagues.

Yainer Diaz (UT – $): Diaz continues to struggle at the plate to begin the season, but he will likely gain catcher eligibility in the coming weeks. As soon as he does he becomes a viable streamer in two-catcher leagues. With 60-grade raw power, if Diaz’s bat ever heats up it could produce a lot of solid power numbers for patient fantasy managers.




Starting Pitchers

Taj Bradley ($$$): Another Tampa Bay pitching prospect. We’ve seen so many come up through the ranks of the Rays’ development system and thrive. We’ll see if Bradley is next. For a full breakdown of his debut performance against the Red Sox, there’s nothing more thorough than Jake Crumpler’s article from earlier this week. From a fantasy standpoint, Bradley should be in line for starts at Cincinnati, home against the White Sox, and then at the White Sox, placing him in decent matchups despite the negative park factors in Cincy and Chicago. It’s tough to say if Bradley is in the MLB to stay or if he’ll be replaced by Eflin when he returns, but the injury to Springs earlier in the week should help his staying power as well. He’s worth a healthy 8-10% bid this week.

Kris Bubic ($$$): Bubic has been incredibly good so far this season, hitting numbers across the board that he has never reached before. Through two starts, Bubic has posted a 30.2% K-rate, a 20.1% swinging strike rate, and a 57.1% ground ball rate, all career bests. With a start against Atlanta over the weekend, and then consecutive trips to face the Angels and Diamondbacks on the road, Bubic will be tested but he’s already posted a quality start against a tough Blue Jays’ lineup. Fantasy managers should not be afraid of matchups assuming that he continues to pitch with increased command and velocity.


Brad Keller ($$): Brad Keller must have been sipping on Bubic’s Secret Stuff, because he looked just as good as his teammate though the metrics don’t necessarily support his success. Through three starts, Keller has posted a 2.12 ERA, buoyed by a .238 BABIP, but his xERA reads 4.18 with a 4.21 xFIP. Tread lightly if you do decide to scoop Keller.

Brandon Pfaadt ($$): The Diamondbacks can’t continue to trot Madison Bumgarner out to the mound every five days, can they? For every inning that Bumgarner struts back out to the mound, a fantasy manager screams into the abyss, “PFAAAAAAAAADT.” At least that’s what it sounds like. With 17 strikeouts in 13.1 innings pitched so far at AAA, Pfaadt should absolutely be joining the big-league club sooner than later. It’s just a matter of time at this point, and if there’s room on the bench he makes a fine stash.

Michael Soroka ($$): Soroka continues to build in AAA Gwinnett, pitching four innings of one-run ball in his latest outing. If he’s still on the waiver wire, he’s worth an add and stash. The hope is that Soroka makes his 2023 debut for Atlanta before the end of April, but it may depend on the performance of the Braves’ young arms in the rotation. If Bryce Elder and Kyle Wright perform well enough to stick, it may delay Soroka’s return.


Hunter Gaddis ($$): A streaming option solely based on matchups, Gaddis is scheduled for a two-start week at Detroit and against Miami (though Saturday’s rain delay could potentially shift that). Keep an eye on his status as a two-start pitcher before Sunday night’s FAAB deadline.

Alex Wood ($): Don’t do it. But he has a 1.17 ERA. Don’t. Do. It. Regression is coming, and soon.

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Alex Cobb ($): Ah, the Alex from San Francisco that might actually hold some fantasy value. Cobb remains one of the top ground ball pitchers in the league, posting a 61.7% ground ball rate. That alone gives him enough fantasy value to justify a look as a streamer, even if three of his next four starts are against strong offenses (LAD, @MIA, NYM, @SDP).

Kyle Muller ($): Muller is an oil well of untapped potential, moving through his first three starts with a 5.52 ERA but an extremely interesting 3.47 xERA. Muller ranks 13th among qualified pitchers with a 62.5% ground ball rate but isn’t missing enough bats (8.7% SwStr rate). If he could generate more swings and misses, he could be a sneaky streaming option this season.


Relief Pitchers

José Alvarado ($$$): Alvarado has been downright nasty.

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Alvarado leads the league with a 69.6% strikeout rate and ranks ninth among qualifying pitchers with a 24.3% swinging strike rate. MAKE HIM THE CLOSER IN PHILADELPHIA! Entering Saturday’s game, Alvarado has yet to enter the game in a save situation but hopefully the Phillies will change that. He’s clearly the best arm in their bullpen right now, and frankly, it’s not close. Available in nearly half of 12-team leagues, Alvarado should be snatched up immediately. Even in a non-closing role, the ratios are too good to pass on.

Aroldis Chapman ($$): Out of nowhere, Chapman seems to have regained most of his lost velocity and looks like the reliever we saw for several years in New York. In five innings of work this season, Chapman has allowed just one hit and rung up nine strikeouts while recording one save. Though he likely will remain in a setup role for now, Kansas City could deal the aging reliever anytime between now and the deadline. Grab him for ratios and strikeouts now and hope that he gets dealt somewhere and gets named the closer.


José Quijada ($$): Who leads the Angels in saves so far this season? It’s not Carlos Estevez, it’s Quijada! Quijada tossed a scoreless ninth on Wednesday (a day after pitching a scoreless eighth) for his second save of the season. It appears that the Angels may be operating with a closer-by-committee, with Quijada serving in a late-inning role. He’s a fine speculative add for saves.

Nick Anderson ($): Nick Anderson got a save! On Monday night, Anderson was used in the eighth inning for a hold before A.J. Minter gave up two runs in the ninth for a blown save. The following night, Anderson was called on in the ninth for his first save opportunity of the year, facing the minimum of three batters while ringing up one strikeout. Minter still appears to be the defined closer, but Anderson looks to be next in line (at least until Raisel Iglesias returns).

Ian Hamilton ($): For deeper leagues, Hamilton could be an option for strikeouts and ratios out of the Yankees bullpen. Hamilton has recorded 15 strikeouts over 8.2 innings pitched so far this season, allowing just two earned runs. Serving as New York’s long reliever, Hamilton could sneak a win while bolstering both ERA and WHIP and also keeping up a 40.5% K-rate.

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.

2 responses to “2023 MLB Week Three FAAB Insights”

  1. Mike Honcho says:

    FAAB Priority on the following OFs…
    Wiemer, Larnach, Taveras, Rooker, Senzel

    Single catcher 12-teamer…
    F.Alvarez, G.Moreno, d’Arnaud, K.Ruiz

  2. JM says:

    Forget using any FAAB on Bubic. Left forearm strain. Not a good sign. Likely pitched with it for at least part of the game.

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