2024 MLB Week Nine FAAB Insights

Which players should you spend your FAAB budget on?

It’s the official start of summer, Memorial Day Weekend! Congratulations on making it through another grueling winter. Go outside, mow the lawn, tend the garden… but don’t forget the sunscreen! In baseball terms, Memorial Day Weekend serves as a landmark for MLB teams and fantasy teams alike, we’re through over 50 games – that’s nearly one-third of the season – and most teams have creating defined roles for most of their players, with sample sizes being large enough to be actionable for fantasy managers.

So how do we find that information, sort through the noise and make educated fantasy baseball decisions based on the data that we have from our 50-game sample size? Well, for one, we can scroll through the amazing articles that all of the Pitcher List contributors are putting together on an every day basis. There’s a whole lot of people that are extremely intelligent and extremely invested in fantasy baseball that are sharing their thoughts and opinions on Pitcher List. Take advantage of the excellent content and leverage it to make great fantasy baseball decisions to help your teams get better and contend for a title.

As a reminder, 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


A total of 10 teams are scheduled for seven games to open the week with the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals each slated to play every day. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers each only play five games, with days off on Monday and Thursday.








Jesse Winker ($$): He’s starting to snap out of a slump that has lasted a good long time, and when he does fantasy managers won’t want to miss out. Winker has proven to be one of the streakiest hitters in the MLB. Through 16 games, Winker was batting .373 with a 1.108 OPS but in the month of May, Winker is hitting just .150 with a .632 OPS. The Nationals could face six right-handed starters next week, giving Winker a chance to get back to the All-Star caliber baseball he was playing the first two weeks of the year.

Heliot Ramos ($$): Ramos has become the everyday left-fielder for the San Francisco Giants, and has been a decent accumulator in the middle of that offense. With two home runs and a stolen base to go along with three runs and seven RBI in his last 12 games, Ramos could be helpful in deeper leagues with five outfield slots.

Jake Bauers ($$): Milwaukee will likely face four right-handed starters next week, meaning Bauers should get a decent shot at playing at least four games, likely more than that. Bauers has supplied decent power and some speed potential in the middle of what has been a very productive Milwaukee lineup. He’s a sneaky add with 1B and CI eligiblity in addition to his outfield spot.

Jonatan Clase ($): We’ve seen this guy once already, so we know that the speed is definitely there. But can he get on base? Better yet, can he stay on the major league roster? All questions that should be at least considered when setting your FAAB bid.

Hunter Renfroe ($): A power bat that has been improving over his last 10 games, Renfroe isn’t squaring up the ball the way fantasy managers would like. However, his expected batting average is 40 points higher than his real batting average, so there’s room for positive regression here.

Kevin Pillar ($): For perhaps the first time in his career, Pillar is fantasy relevant. Over his last 12 games entering this weekend, Pillar recorded four home runs, 12 runs, 17 RBI, and four stolen bases. It’s a ridiculous run that’s probably unsustainable, but if he’s going to continue to receive regular playing time he might be worth a shot in deep leagues.




Royce Lewis (3B – $$$$): It’s highly unlikely that he’s on the waiver wire, but if Lewis’ manager got impatient during his injury he may be on the waiver wire. Now is the perfect time to scoop him since he was just sent to St. Paul for a rehab assignment.

Dylan Moore (2B – $$$): Remember the COVID-shortened season when Dylan Moore was arguably the best hitter on the Mariners’ roster?

2020 159 .255 26 17 8 12
2024 149 .242 18 19 6 8

Well, after two seasons of being downright forgettable, Moore has seemingly figured out how to be a good hitter again and is recording stats on a similar clip as he did in 2020. Most notably, Moore has dropped his strikeout rate by more than 10.0%, leading to a tremendous increase in offensive production. Eligible at both middle infield positions and in the outfield, he’s available in 25-30% of 15-team leagues. That’s 25-30% too many.

Miguel Vargas ($$): As much as I love the plate skills and potential of Miguel Vargas, this feels so similar to what the Orioles have done with Heston Kjerstad – call up an incredibly talented player that everyone around the organization is very excited about, and then don’t play him. Vargas has gotten only a handful of at-bats since his call-up. Maybe that changes over the weekend before the waiver run, but managers should evaluate his opportunity for playing time alongside his skill and potential and bid accordingly.

Jorge Mateo ($$): Batting at the bottom of one of the best lineups in baseball, Mateo has had plenty of opportunity to accumulate speed and hitting stats.

Joey Wendle ($): If there’s anywhere that Joey Wendle could be fantasy relevant for a week or two, it’s probably in the Atlanta lineup. The Braves activated Wendle this week and might thrust him into the lineup at third base with Austin Riley still missing time.




Yasmani Grandal ($): One of the worst catchers in all of baseball last season has worked his way back into consistent playing time in Pittsburgh this year. His bat has looked better so far this season than last, but then again he couldn’t have possibly been worse last season. Looks like whatever groin injury he sustained isn’t going to cost him an IL trip either.

Willie Calhoun (UT – $$): Calhoun is batting in the top half of the Angels lineup on a consistent basis, providing some left-handed pop to an otherwise boring lineup (outside of Luis Rengifo). With outstanding plate metrics (first among all qualified MLB hitters with a 42.0% ideal plate appearance rate, sixth in MLB with a 39.5% hard contact rate), Calhoun might even improve upon his .295 batting average and one home run over his next 100 plate appearances.

Ben Rortvedt ($): Rortvedt is the better catcher in Tampa Bay, and he’s getting at least half of the playing time behind the plate. Stats aren’t great, but in a deep two-catcher league he deserves a roster spot.




Starting Pitchers


Ben Brown ($$$): Ben Brown was really good against the Braves this week and showed that he has the chops to compete with some of the best lineups in the MLB. The curveball is absolutely filthy and will continue to generate swings and misses at a near-elite clip. Now if he could just build up his pitch count so he can actually get through six (or even five) innings, we’d be in great shape.

Hunter Brown ($$): It’s a long season. It’s possible that we look back on Hunter Brown’s April when he allowed 25 earned runs in 19.0 innings pitched and laugh. In four May starts, Brown has a 3.98 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. His WHIP is still grossly high and he’s allowing too many home runs, but the pitching performances are getting better. If he continues to improve, getting him on the waiver wire now could be an absolute steal.

Kris Bubic ($): If your league is deep enough and you’ve got the bench spot to stash a sleeper, consider using it on Kris Bubic. Bubic looked to have turned a corner in 2023 before going down with elbow issues and undergoing Tommy John surgery. Now he’s waiting in the wings of the Royals’ farm system on a rehab assignment. The Royals’ pitching staff is so deep that he doesn’t have an opening yet, which is crazy to say… he should get his shot soon enough.

Cole Irvin ($): Irvin is headed back to the Baltimore rotation after injuries to John Means and Dean Kremer. His pitching performance has been solid so far, and moving back into rotation means he’s getting a great chance to generate wins. If he can continue to dazzle with a 2.90 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, that’s just a bonus.

Matt Waldron ($): He’s a knuckleballer and he faces the Miami Marlins. It’s extremely difficult to predict the outcome of his starts, but against one of the worst offenses in the league, I like my chances enough to potentially stream him this week.


Relief Pitchers


Luis Garcia [LAA] ($$): With the Angels’ Carlos Estévez proving to be as volatile as we all thought he was, Garcia has gotten two saves in two chances over the past week. There’s nothing here to say that he’s taken over the Angels’ closer role, but if nothing else he’s hot on Estevez’s heels. Be cognizant that Matt Moore also exists in this bullpen though he’s not at the same level he was a season ago. Garcia seems like he is the next guy up in LA, but I’m not sure he’s inherited the entire role just yet.

Garrett Cleavinger ($): Looking for saves from a single Tampa Bay Rays reliever is a fool’s errand. But it would make sense to roster their most effective arm out of the bullpen, right? Cleavinger has been that guy over the past few weeks, allowing just three hits and no earned runs over his last nine innings pitched. He got one save over that stretch, and if he continues to pitch lights out like this, maybe he’ll get more chances.

David Robertson ($): He’s not going to get save opportunities. Let’s make that clear now. But he will absolutely help with ratios and strikeouts, as well as holds (for leagues in which those apply). He’s one of the best middle relievers in the game right now and if Reid Garrett is going to be rostered in nearly 100% of leagues, there’s no reason Robertson shouldn’t be too.

Brett Ford

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

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