MLB Week 2 FAAB Insights

Taking a conservatively aggressive approach to adding players via FAAB

Welcome back to our third FAAB period of the season for most leagues! It seems a bit crazy that we’re making these moves after only ten days and as few as five games played for a couple of teams; but injuries, playing time, and the circus that is the save category necessitate the churning of our rosters as we enter just the second full week of the season.




As usual, we’ll begin by discussing a few of the injuries that may have the most impact on our rosters. It’s obviously a big blow anytime we lose the production of a first-round or top-salaried superstar, and those with Fernando Tatis Jr. on their rosters in weekly leagues have already had six days of zero production from their shortstop position with his injury occurring on Monday evening. We know we can’t replace a guy like Tatis; but fortunately, in 70% of Yahoo leagues, his direct replacement is available in Ha-Seong Kim. Most projections have Kim on a full-season pace of 20 HR and 15 SB with a batting average in the .240-.260 range.

Again, we’re not replacing Tatis’s production with anyone; however, the prospect of accumulating counting stats in each category with a batting average that won’t hurt us too much may be a bit comforting. There are a couple of issues. First, with the increase in playing time, fantasy managers that have lost Tatis for at least a few weeks are not the only ones interested in Kim — that will drive the FAAB bids up this evening. Also, he has been hitting in the bottom third of the Padres lineup which may limit his SB attempts when a pitcher is at the plate.

In deeper leagues, and for those that miss out or are not willing to bid what it will take to roster Kim, Nick Ahmed was activated from the IL on Saturday and is only rostered in 39% of the 15-team TGFBI leagues. Old and boring, Ahmed seems to always be there on the wire when we need him. His steady-but-not-sexy mid-teens home runs, handful of stolen bases, and 60 runs and RBI can keep our teams afloat as we wait for Tatis’s return. Personally, I’m bidding 8%-10% of my FAAB budget on Kim if he’s available, letting those that bid triple digits in $1,000 FAAB leagues have him, and hopefully nabbing Ahmed for 4%-5% as a backup plan. In leagues where Ahmed may be the top option, I’m willing to double that with smaller supplemental bids on Brandon Crawford and Anderson Tejeda.

Ketel Marte will miss an undetermined amount of time (he was scheduled to have an MRI on Friday morning) with what appeared to be a pretty significant hamstring injury. While qualifying as a second baseman for fantasy purposes, Marte had been playing centerfield for the Diamondbacks and will be replaced by the speedster Tim Locastro (66% TGFBI, 3% Yahoo). In 154 career MLB games over the past five seasons, Locastro is a perfect 28 for 28 in his SB attempts and is off to a nice start hitting .276 with a home run and two SB in his first 31 PA. He’ll be highly sought after in the leagues he’s available as he will continue to lead off and steal bases during Marte’s absence. The concern is how long will Marte be out, and what will Locastro’s role be when Marte returns? I’m willing to spend 12%-15% of my budget in leagues that I’m deficient in speed, but that may not be enough.

Yet another 15-team universally rostered middle infielder to hit the IL this week was Kolten Wong. He was off to a slow start, going just two for 19 to begin the season, but was still sitting atop the Brewers’ lineup, and I’m confident he’ll be back in that spot and begin producing upon his return in 10 days or so. In the meantime, I’m looking to Jed Lowrie to hold down my second base or middle infield spot for a week or two. He won’t steal any bags, but he’s another old guy to the rescue who’s off to a nice start in a nice lineup. He’s only rostered in 12% of TGFBI leagues and 2% of Yahoo leagues, and we should be able to acquire his services for not much above a minimum bid this evening.

Cody Bellinger was placed on the IL on Friday after being spiked in the calf earlier in the week, and while he is expected back by next weekend, Zach McKinstry (not rostered in TGFBI, 4% Yahoo) has been the playing time beneficiary for the Dodgers. Unfortunately, he’s still UT-only eligible for another week, but that will keep his FAAB price down this evening, and he could very well be OF eligible by next week and continue to see fairly steady playing time if his nice start continues. He had 19 homers and 8 steals in 479 PA at AA and AAA in 2019 with batting averages that support his .281 average in his 35 career plate appearances with the big club. A minimum bid may be all it takes due to that UT-only designation.


Hot Starts


As I often say after talking about injuries and their ramifications on our fantasy rosters, enough negativity! Let’s mention at least a couple of players off to nice starts that may be upgrades to our rosters due to their performances at the plate. I’ve never been a huge fan of Travis Shaw (19% TGFBI, 3% Yahoo), but what he’s done in the middle of the Brewers lineup that hasn’t done much around him is undeniable. A home run and seven RBI in his first 24 plate appearances will keep him at least on the large side of a platoon, and with the injuries the Brewers have suffered, possibly more steady playing time. Six home games this week, all tentatively vs right-handed starters, make Shaw very attractive in the short term. The platoon possibility should mean a 2%-4% bid is viable for those in need of corner infield help.

I mentioned Akil Baddoo (32% TGFBI, 46% Yahoo) last week as a guy that may play his way into more PA, and while that has been the case with his amazing week (.313 BA with 2 HR, 7 RBI, and a SB), he is still sitting vs lefties. The Tigers are projected to face three right-handed starters in Houston and two in Oakland in the seven games they play this week, so I expect to see Baddoo in the lineup for at least those five games. As with Shaw, I’m hopeful the platoon concerns keep his FAAB bids tempered this week and 5% may be sufficient.

As the 58% roster percentage in Yahoo leagues (many with daily pick-ups) vs the 5% in TGFBI suggests, Tyler Naquin will be extremely popular in weekly FAAB leagues this evening. Hitting five HR and driving in 14 runs in the first eight games of the season will do that. I could be completely wrong. Naquin may have made a tangible change upon arriving in Cincinnati that supports his hot start, but I’m not spending the triple digits in $1,000 FAAB leagues I believe it will take to roster a 30-year-old with 36 HR in 1,055 career PA. The .275 career BA is very nice, and I can see a really nice 20+ HR with a few chip-in SB season, but I’m not prepared to compete with the bids I’m anticipating. I will throw 5%-7% out there and possibly get lucky in a spot or two.


Pitching Help


Once again, we’re only 10 days into the 2021 season, so it’s important to not overreact to what we’ve seen in a start or two, and with 41 pitchers recording a save already, the closer carousel is even crazier than we may have expected!

Throughout the offseason, I advocated for drafting Wade Miley (5% TGFBI, 6% Yahoo) with the intent of starting him this past week vs the Pirates and Diamondbacks. Well, the two-start week was delayed one scoring period, and Miley is set to face the Giants in San Francisco and the struggling Cleveland lineup in Cincinnati this week. The mention of Miley makes many fantasy players cringe due to 21 earned runs in 11 1/3 September 2019 innings, but in his previous 236 2/3 IP in 2018 and 2019 he had 18 wins with a 3.42 ERA in 44 appearances. He was injured most of 2020, finished the season with two one-inning scoreless appearances, and threw six scoreless innings with only 2 H and 1 BB vs the Pirates last week. Yes, it was the Pirates, but that will mean few are interested in his two starts this week, and he can be rostered for a minimum bid in many instances.

Tejay Antone (95% TGFBI, 18% Yahoo) was a popular name during draft season as many were hopeful he’d crack the Reds’ rotation. Groin and hip issues set him back a bit during spring training, but he avoided a trip to the IL and had two nice innings with three strikeouts vs the Diamondbacks on Friday. I anticipate the Reds will continue to use Antone in multi-inning relief appearances, stretch him out, and he’ll enter the rotation sooner than many may believe. He can be valuable in the meantime as well with nice ratios, strikeouts, and possibly vulturing a win or two. Now is the time to roster him if you have a spot available as the price will skyrocket if/when it’s announced that he’s entering the starting rotation.

As fantasy managers continuously react to every save recorded it is very beneficial to keep an eye on who is sent to the wire each week in our leagues. Archie Bradley (76% TGFBI, 44% Yahoo) is one reliever it appears some have given up on, but I believe may still end up as the primary closer in Philadelphia despite giving up a run in his past two appearances. Nick Wittgren (50% TGFBI, 25% Yahoo) is another that was all the talk a couple of weeks ago, and I’m not convinced he won’t lead his team in saves this season. Once again, if you have a spot available, as we have seen the past two weeks, the FAAB prices of guys like this will explode if they receive just one save opportunity. The time to roster them is now for not much more than a minimum bid. It’s ok to be wrong on these guys, but only takes being right once to drastically improve our teams.


Still Conservative?


I’m still not going crazy with my FAAB budgets. Have I mentioned we’re only 10 days and a handful of games in? While I am making inexpensive speculative moves, I’m not making large bids yet in most leagues. Tim McLeod (@RunTMcP361) joined Adam Howe (@EightyGrade) and myself on this morning’s episode of On the Wire (@OnTheWirePod), and it was interesting to me that he refers to this strategy as aggressive, not in terms of the dollar amounts of his FAAB bids, but in terms of looking ahead and taking chances knowing that many of them won’t work out. I am 100% in agreement with the strategy regardless of how it’s referred to. Conservatively aggressive?

As always, good luck tonight, and most of all enjoy the games!


Photo from Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Kevin Hasting

Kevin is a life-long KC Royals fan who resides with his amazing wife and daughter in Keaau, HI. He has been playing fantasy baseball for over 20 years, cohosts the On the Wire weekly FAAB podcast with Adam Howe on the PitcherList Podcast Network, and was the 2020 TGFBI overall champion.

2 responses to “MLB Week 2 FAAB Insights”

  1. Don says:

    Great work! Loved the pod today as well. I’m looking to replace Ketel in a H2H categories league. I’m debating between Jazz, Eduardo Escobar, Jorge Polanco. I like Polanco this week, but long term I’m thinking it’s between Jazz and Escobar. Not sure how long this run will last for Escobar tho

    • Kevin Hasting says:

      Thank you, Don! I agree with Jazz or Escobar long term and lean Escobar. I believe we’re seeing that the offseason notion to not give 2020 much credence is playing out, and Escobar’s ’17 – ’19 production supports what he’s doing and the BA should improve. Thanks again for checking out the article and pod!

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