2024 MLB Week Three FAAB Insights

Which players should you spend your FAAB budget on?

I tried to explain fantasy baseball to my twin four-year-olds this week. It’s hard enough to get them to sit still long enough to watch a full inning of baseball, let alone listen to me pontificate on the intricacies of rotisserie and points leagues and head-to-head categories leagues, so I tried to keep it simple.

“So you basically try to pick the players on different MLB teams that you think are going to do well, and you put them on your team,” I explained. “But sometimes you have to pick the guys that nobody else thinks will do well and hope for the best.” My son was confused as to why I wouldn’t just take the best player from every team and call it a day. Don’t we all wish it was that easy?

I was just about to get into the differences between FIP and xFIP when the twins started putting their rain boots on. They were splashing in puddles outside before I got to the good part. I’ll have to explain it some other time.

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


Each team is scheduled for at least six games this week, while the Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers are all scheduled for a full seven-game slate. The Colorado Rockies host the Seattle Mariners for three games in Coors Field, raising Seattle hitters’ value this week as well. Let’s dig in!







Colton Cowser ($$$$): They call him the Milkman in Baltimore, and after a rough stretch in his 2023 MLB cup of coffee, Cowser’s cream is starting to rise, if you will. Cowser started all three games that the Orioles played in Boston this week, overshadowing the debut of Jackson Holliday with six hits, including a two-homer game on Thursday, and 10 RBI. He added another longball on Friday night and has looked like a completely different player from last season at the plate. It appears he’s ascended past Austin Hays on the Orioles’ outfield depth chart and should start to see much more regular at-bats going forward. This breakout feels a lot like what we saw out of Gunnar Henderson last season. It’ll be expensive, but he could be the first team-changing add of the year.

Dominic Canzone ($$): The Mariners head to Coors Field where they’ll face at least two right-handed starters. Canzone has been a mainstay in the Mariners’ lineup against righties and has enough raw power to hit it out of any park. Behind a mile above sea level will certainly help though.

Kyle Isbel ($$): Let’s do a quick chart comparison using Pitcher List’s player profiles…

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Player A has a slightly lower strikeout rate but that may be his only redeeming quality when compared with Player B. Player A went for 20-30% of teams remaining budgets in the first week of FAAB. Player B is still available in more than half of NFBC leagues. Player A is Victor Scott II. Player B is Kyle Isbel.

Luke Raley ($): After a breakout 2023 campaign in Tampa, Raley has been downright bad for the Mariners. He and the Mariners head to Coors Field for a three-game series. It could be just what the doctor ordered to see Raley snap out of his funk.

Jurickson Profar ($): He finally barreled a couple of baseballs this past week. Profar has some pop in his bat, but the real surprise this season has been his .327 batting average. Granted, he likely won’t sustain a .431 BABIP, but he’s worth a roster spot unless he cools off.

Edward Olivares ($): Another hot bat in the Pirates’ lineup. I have a sneaking suspicion this team is going to be severely under-rostered across the board for much of the season. Pittsburgh is good!

Alec Burleson ($): Just because Lars Nootbaar is back in action doesn’t mean the Cardinals will abandon Alec Burleson altogether. Burleson has been a solid fill-in near the middle of the order and should continue to see fairly regular at-bats as the team’s fourth outfielder.

Ryan O’Hearn ($): Lost in the hype of Jackson Holliday’s promotion and Colton Cowser’s breakout is O’Hearn continuing his career-high production in Baltimore. Picking up where he left off last season, O’Hearn has carried a .280 average and good contact metrics. He should continue to get RBI opportunities in the middle of a potent Baltimore lineup.



Jared Triolo (3B – $$$): In 200 plate appearances last season, Triolo batted almost .300 with three home runs and six stolen bases. Extrapolate that (yes, I know, it’s a dirty word) over a full season and you’ve got Spencer Steer numbers with a better batting average to boot. He’s reduced his strikeout rate by nearly 10 percentage points, making him even more appealing this season. I kind of want him on every team I manage.

Joey Ortiz (2B, 3B – $$): Ortiz is heating up and has worked his way ahead of Oliver Dunn on the Brewers’ infield depth chart. Batting 8-for-20 over a two-week span will do that to a guy. One of the centerpieces of the Corbin Burnes trade, Ortiz promises some pop and a good hit tool and should be seeing more regular at-bats as he distances himself from Dunn going forward.

Gavin Sheets (1B, OF – $$): I know, I know, the White Sox are awful. But I really like what Gavin Sheets has done so far this season. He’s batting .333 with a pair of home runs, but more importantly, his strikeout rate is at a career-low 18.2% and his walk rate has nearly doubled from a year ago to 15.2%. Combine that with a 90.2% zone contact rate and you have a power bat that has an outstanding command of the strike zone. His positional flexibility is an added bonus.

Nick Ahmed (SS – $): Totally on brand for the Giants to scoop up an aging infielder and make them somewhat fantasy-relevant. Batting .280 with a handful of counting stats so far this season, Ahmed could serve as a stopgap for teams in need of middle infield help.

Trey Lipscomb (3B – $): Lipscomb is slowly becoming a weird replication of Victor Robles, except at third base. Lipscomb contact metrics are garbage, but he’s getting on base – and when he does, he’s running wild. With four stolen bases, including three this week alone, Lipscomb might be a hot name on the FAAB lists, but don’t overspend. Carrying just a .249 wOBA, Lipscomb’s bat really doesn’t move the needle.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa (3B, OF – $): There are a lot of people out there (Yankee fans) that would rather take a polar plunge into the Hudson River than roster IKF, but the well-traveled utility man has carved out some playing time in Toronto. He’s making the most of the opportunity with a .400 BABIP and career-high 3.8% barrel rate.

Jared Walsh (1B – $): After a hot start, Walsh appears to be cooling slightly and he couldn’t have picked a worse time. The Rangers are getting healthier by the day and Walsh will be competing for at-bats with more and more competent big-leaguers moving forward. He’s a solid corner infielder as long as he’s getting at-bats, but that might not last much longer.




Joey Bart ($): Pittsburgh went out of their way to acquire Bart so that Henry Davis wouldn’t have to play behind the plate so often, meaning Bart should get decent playing time. We’ve already discussed how good the Pirates’ lineup has been so far this season, so might as well grab a cheap piece from it here as well.

Riley Adams ($): If Keibert Ruiz misses time, Adams could step into full-time at-bats on the short term. He might be worth a stream this week for those desperate for a second catcher.




Starting Pitchers

Cody Bradford ($$$): Bradford was one of the most-acquired players in all FAAB leagues last week but is still available in a decent amount of places. He’s looked really good in each of his last two outings and should have earned his chance to stay in the rotation, even with the looming return of Michael Lorenzen from injury. Scheduled for a two-start week (at Detroit and at Atlanta), he is definitely an option this week as well.

Tyler Anderson ($$$): It wasn’t long ago that Anderson was an All-Star. In 2022, he won 15 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers and posted a 2.57 ERA over 178.2 innings pitched. He might be getting back to that level again in 2024, especially looking at the way he’s pitched so far. Anderson has seemed to prioritize getting his fastball up in the zone, throwing his changeup low to his arm side (fading away from righties) and having his cutter (which looks slurve-ish) break away from lefties. His command seems to have returned this season after averaging 4.1 BB/9 a year ago (more than double his 2022 rate), he’s back down to 1.9 BB/9 so far this season. The strikeout numbers are pretty pedestrian, but if he can continue hitting spots and inducing weak contact, he’s worth a roster spot.

Paul Blackburn ($$$): Paul Blackburn’s changeup is filthy and he’s going to ride that pitch until he can’t anymore. He’s nearly doubled his usage of the pitch and is locating it arm-side, primarily low and away to left-handed hitters. He has a 23.5% swinging strike rate on the pitch, so needless to say – IT’S WORKING. He plays for a bad team (for now), but he’s been downright fantastic so far this season.

Martín Pérez ($$): The success doesn’t feel sustainable. There hasn’t been any real change in his approach from a year ago when he posted a 4.45 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, but here we are three starts into the season and Perez has a 1.89 ERA with a win and 15 strikeouts. The peripheral numbers are nearly the same across the board, aside from HR/9 which has been reduced significantly so far in this season’s small sample. Use him while he’s hot, I guess, but have a short leash.

Michael Lorenzen ($): He’s a bench stash for me, mostly because he’s shown stretches of really good pitching in recent history and will have one of the best offenses in baseball backing him. Be wary of his first start back and try to avoid any lingering STILL ILL stat lines. It sounds like Bruce Bochy may run with a six-man rotation in Texas so be aware of that as well.


Relief Pitchers


Chad Green ($$): Green appears to be the ninth-inning man in Toronto, at least for the time being. He’s earned two saves and a win over his last four outings and even earned a four-out save on Tuesday. Erik Swanson and Jordan Romano are both on their way back. For those who are lacking in saves so far this season, he may not be Mr. Right, but he’s Mr. Right Now. EDIT: On Saturday, Green was used in the eighth against the heart of the Rockies’ order before Yimi Garcia earned the save in the ninth.

Ryne Stanek ($$): Looks like it just might be a closer-by-committee situation in Seattle, with Stanek splitting ninth-inning duties with draft season prize Andrés Muñoz. Stanek could provide cheap saves for a team that should be competing for an AL West crown this season.

Jeff Hoffman ($$): Hoffman has appeared in the ninth inning in each of his last three outings, earning two wins and a save this week. If anybody is going to assume the role of closer in Philadelphia, Hoffman might be the guy. The Phillies have proven for about three straight years that they don’t trust Seranthony Domínguez in the ninth, and for whatever reason refuse to use José Alvarado as a traditional closer, so here we are. Maybe they stick with Hoffman.

Justin Slaten ($): Slaten has looked like the guy who should be closing games for Boston, but he has yet to be used in that role. With Kenley Jansen hurt (but not injured) and some uncertainty surrounding his future in Boston, Slaten is worth a speculative add. He owns a 29.2% strikeout rate, a 31.0%, and PLV metrics LOVE his stuff. If the Red Sox are competitive this season, Slaten will be part of the reason why.

Kirby Yates ($): Speaking of Kirby Yates, he might be the best bet to get save opportunities in Texas moving forward. It appears that the Rangers will likely abandon the idea of José Leclerc closing games after his most recent blowup (he pitched the sixth inning on Friday). David Robertson would be the guy that most expect, but it appears that Bruce Bochy finds him most effective in a fireman role, coming into the highest-leverage situations regardless of inning. That leaves Yates as the default option. He hasn’t been in a traditional closer role since 2019, but that year he saved 41 games for the San Diego Padres.

Matt Moore ($): A speculative add for future saves and a great piece for saves + holds leagues, Moore is a Carlos Estévez hangnail away from being the Angels’ closer. Of course, we never wish for any injuries but if Estevez were to miss any time, Moore would step into the closer role (and might not give it back).

Brett Ford

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

2 responses to “2024 MLB Week Three FAAB Insights”

  1. Micah says:

    I assume you like Triolo over Oswaldo ROS? (OPS league)

  2. Babbo B says:

    Not sure I get the Triolo-Steer comparison – their numbers last season on a per-600 PA basis:

    Steer 2023 – 21 HR, 14 SB, .271
    Triolo 2023 -9 HR, 17 SB, .298

    Seems like pretty different players, Steer has decidedly more power (and is off to a much better start overall this season).

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