2024 MLB Week Four FAAB Insights

Which players should you spend your FAAB budget on?

In a lot of scenarios, there’s a huge difference between what you want and what you need. Fantasy baseball is no different, especially when it comes to FAAB. For every single one of my fantasy teams, what I want is to grab a big-name difference-making prospect that’s fun to watch and could crush the competition in five hitting categories. Or the hot-ticket pitching prospect that got called up for a spot start and could ring up a 10.0 K/9 if things fall just right. But is that what each of my teams need? Typically, the answer is no. And at this point of the season, that shift is starting to take place as our teams take shape. The first three weeks of the season, we could kind of get away with bidding on players we WANT, but it’s about this time of the year where we should start to bid on what we NEED. So instead of grabbing those hot name prospects, maybe it’s better to grab a veteran reliever to improve your pitching ratios, or the Mauricio Dubón type of player who will contribute some counting stats without hurting you too badly in any single category. It’s time we begin to shift away from the fun, trendy names we want and start shifting toward the boring, but productive players we need to win our leagues, or at the very least improve our standing a month into the season.

In this column, we’re focusing on players who are between 20-25% rostered in most 12-team leagues and/or 25-50% rostered in 15-teamers. Every league is different, so we won’t be labeling player bids with any sort of recommended dollar amount but instead will use a four-tier investment rating system, ranging from a minimal spend to a potential difference-maker (or LEAGUE-WINNER, if you will).


Investment Rating System


Ten teams are scheduled for a full seven-game slate for the final week in April. The best of the bunch is the San Diego Padres who play a four-game series in Coors Field as part of their seven. The Houston Astros play just five games, but two of them come against the Rockies in Mexico City where we saw the Padres and Giants put up a combined 37 runs in just two games. Needless to say, Mexico City is a hitter’s haven and should be treated as such.








Jonatan Clase ($$$): Speed and pop switch hitter that has come through the Mariners farm system relatively quickly to make his MLB debut at the ripe age of 21. Off to a tough start from the plate in his first series, Clase should still impact teams with stolen bases, runs scored and RBI once he reduces the strikeout rate.

Jesse Winker ($$$): Winker seems like he’s back. Batting in the top third of the Washington batting order, Winker is in position to accumulate counting stats, including home runs and – somewhat surprisingly – stolen bases as well. He might not reach his 2021 numbers (.305 with 24 home runs), but he’s certainly worthy of a roster spot in 15-team leagues.

Andy Pages ($$): Pages has more of a power profile than Clase, with 57 home runs in 2021 and 2022 combined in the minors. In the thick of one of the best lineups in the MLB, Pages will have ample opportunity to pick up runs and RBI, but he’ll have to drive the ball like he did in the minors to make it worthwhile for fantasy managers.

Joey Loperfido ($$): Loperfido has a jaw-dropping 10 home runs in 16 games at AAA so far this season. He might force the Astros’ hand to bring him up to the major league level sooner rather than later. He went for 25 home runs and 27 stolen bases across three minor-league levels last season, so there’s a lot of hype surrounding him. With José Abreu, Chas McCormick, and Jake Meyers each having a tough time at the plate to begin the year, the Astros could call on Loperfido to inject some major pop into a lineup suddenly lacking depth. This is a speculative add, but one that could pay major dividends if you have the stash-space and we get the timing right.

Tommy Pham ($$): Pham signed a one-year deal with the White Sox and could join the major league ballclub (that feels like a very loose use of the term) shortly. Pham went for 16 home runs and 22 stolen bases last season and could contribute in several categories again in a lineup where he should have ample opportunity.

Austin Martin  ($): A former fifth-overall pick, Marting was called up by the Twins and settled into the outfield rotation, playing in four of their last seven games entering the weekend. Once upon a time, he was touted as a can’t-miss prospect, now he’s more of a run-of-the-mill utility guy.




Junior Caminero (3B – $$$$): He’s not in the MLB yet, but when he comes up he’s going to go for a crazy amount of FAAB. The next big-name prospect on the cusp of the Major leagues, Caminero will likely make a big splash in FAAB when he does get the call (if he’s even on the waiver wire at all). With two home runs and a stolen base in just his first five AAA games this season, and three corner infielders on the major league roster flirting with the Mendoza Line, the Rays could make the call rather quickly. You’ll want to have Caminero before then.

Michael Massey (2B – $$): Reinstated from the IL in time for Friday’s game, Massey will likely get at-bats as the everyday second baseman in Kansas City. Despite a low batting average, he flashed some decent power (15 HR) and solid plate discipline (16.3% K-BB) and could stand to improve upon a .261 BABIP a season ago.

Patrick Wisdom (3B – $$): Fresh off the IL and into the Cubs’ lineup for two straight, it seems like Chicago just can’t get enough Wisdom. In 1,200 plate appearances across the last three seasons, Wisdom has 76 home runs (but hasn’t hit better than .231), so he has power but at the expense of batting average. He’s started in right field in both of his appearances so he may gain outfield eligibility rather quickly, making him even more appealing. He’s unowned nearly everywhere and is a great source of cheap power.

Jose Miranda (3B – $): Is this the year that we finally get some consistent production from Jose Miranda? He only played 40 games in the MLB last season and will hope to live up to the hype he came up with in 2022. The metrics are there, and with the Twins on the receiving end of some bad injury luck, so is the opportunity. It will likely be difficult for managers jilted last season to take the plunge again … there’s a “Hamilton” joke about ‘preferring disgrace to danger’ in there somewhere, but it feels like we’re way past that at this point.

Lamonte Wade Jr. (1B – $): A boring veteran who is hitting well to begin the season. He’ll likely be a platoon bat for the Giants, but with additional OF eligibility, he could benefit squads that need a boring boost to batting average and counting stats.




Miguel Amaya ($): Appears to have passed Yan Gomes as the primary catcher in Chicago, having caught four of the last five games. In two-catcher leagues, he might be worth rostering for a lion’s share of plate appearances.

Riley Adams ($): Viable for a roster spot in two-catcher leagues for one more week while Keibert Ruiz is on the IL.




Starting Pitchers


José Buttó ($$$): I think Butto has done enough to deserve a solid FAAB bid at this point of the season. He’s posted back-to-back excellent starts, including a six-inning shutout against the upstart Kansas City Royals. With 15 strikeouts over 12 innings pitched, Butto has recorded a 27% swinging strike rate on his changeup, including a 48.1% O-Swing rate on the pitch. He’s getting guys to chase it and they’re not touching it. His results against the Dodgers on Saturday will likely dictate his pricing in FAAB quite a bit, pay attention to that box score.

Yariel Rodríguez ($$): Please develop some longevity! Yariel has been very good in two starts so far, with only two earned runs allowed and 13 strikeouts in a combined 7.2 innings pitched. If we ever see Yariel work up to 100 pitches, he should be in good shape to contribute with wins and strikeouts and MAYBE even quality starts at some point down the line.

Javier Assad ($$): Three really good starts against three offenses that are middling at best and another on Saturday against Miami haven’t thrilled me so far. The metrics indicate that regression is on the horizon and with Boston on the docket for the coming week, we’ll see if Assad can continue his dominance against middling lineups. At some point, the Cubs will play a good offense. If Assad shows out in games against top-10 lineups, I’ll jump more on board. For now, my interest is tepid.

Mitchell Parker ($$): This could be the perfect storm for Parker. He pitched really well against the Dodgers, posting a five-inning victory against one of the best lineups in baseball. He’ll go against the Astros on Sunday, which could potentially keep his price down if he doesn’t repeat his same outstanding performance, and then gets to pitch in Miami next week. Parker carried a 10.5 or better K/9 over the past two years in the minors, so he has a decent ceiling. It’s just capped because he’s a Washington National.

Michael Lorenzen ($$): Lorenzen earned a victory despite walking five batters in five innings. Control was an issue for Lorenzen for much of his career, with three straight years from 2020-2022 with a 10.7% or higher walk rate. If he reins in the command and can hover around a 30.0% CSW, he should continue to be effective for the Rangers.

Landon Knack ($$): Knack appears to be a short-term fix for the Dodgers’ rotation, but he matches up with the Nationals on Wednesday. Anyone who throws five innings for the Dodgers has a pretty high win potential. Knack is good enough to warrant a bid this week (and gets a two-step the week after if he sticks in the rotation).

Keaton Winn ($): Winn was a great streaming option this past week in his start against the Marlins and he’ll be a two-start pitcher this week, squaring up against the Mets and the Pirates. He’s likely at the peak of his value right now after that Miami start. Only grab him on FAAB if you intend to start him for this two-step.


Relief Pitchers


Kirby Yates ($$$): I tried to tell you last week, but I probably should have been more aggressive. Yates is the closer in Texas, pitching the ninth for one of the best squads in the American League. He turned in two saves and a win in his last three outings and should be rostered in all leagues moving forward.

Ryne Stanek ($$): Another guy I was on last week, but at least I was more convinced that he was indeed the closer. It’s not quite as talented of a team as Texas, but the situation for Stanek is still pretty solid. He seems pretty solidly fixed into the ninth-inning role and should be added by teams in need of saves.

Reed Garrett ($): He’s potentially the best ratios guy still available on your league’s waiver wire. As of Saturday afternoon, Garrett has yet to allow an earned run in 9.2 innings pitched and vultured wins in each of his last two appearances. The Mets will likely be in a lot of close games this season and Garrett will be in the thick of middle relief for most of the season. Give him a go and hope his string of great pitching continues.

Brett Ford

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

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