April 19, 2014

Fantasy Baseball: Scouting the Waiver Wire — Week 2

It’s another week and the draft season is over. It’s always sad when drafts come to an end. Now, you are at the mercy of injuries and performance. No more eternal optimism. This week (and every week), we will look at waiver wire additions for the coming week. As always, these players will be a mix of shallow and deep league players. You may see me reiterate some players from the draft previews as we’ve only got a few games under our belt so far. Oh, and David Robertson went for $25 in my AL-only keeper league. Yep, auctions are the best.

American League Waiver Wire

Catcher

Ryan Doumit is only owned in 16% of Yahoo! leagues. His path to playing time isn’t quite as clear as it was two weeks ago, but I’d still rather have him on my AL team than J.P. Arencibia who is owned in 80% in Yahoo! because of Arencibia’s batting average risk.

Corner infielder

Justin Smoak is the definition of a post-hype superstar. It looks like he is going to hit cleanup for the Seattle Mariners. He has the pedigree and is coming off a tough year both personally (the death of his father) and professional (injuries). I’d prefer him to Justin Morneau because of the uncertainty surround Morneau’s injury history.

And also from the Mariners I present Chone Figgins. Yes, I know he broke your heart last year and ruined your team. He’s back to hitting leadoff for the Mariners and I promise you (or your money back) that he won’t hit .188 again this year. I can see Figgins hitting .250 and getting back to 30 SBs this year.

Middle infielder

Sean Rodriguez looks like he may get first crack at the starting shortstop jobs for the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s got great power for a middle infielder and if his competition is Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson. I like his chances. He won’t be a full time player most likely, but his positional flexibility gives him a chance to rack up at bats even when he’s not playing shortstop.

Outfield

I know he struck out three times on Friday night, but Lorenzo Cain is going to be valuable this year. He’s currently batting second for the Kansas City Royals between Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer. Cain is only owned in 45% of Yahoo! leagues. I’d rather have him than Matt Joyce.

Further down the list is Eric Thames owned in just 8% of Yahoo! leagues. He plays in a great hitter’s park in a great lineup. He’s got 20 HR potential and I’d rather have him than Ben Revere (who isn’t starting) or Vernon Wells.

Starting Pitcher

See below with regard to Scott Baker, but Liam Hendriks looks like he will have a rotation spot for the near future with the Minnesota Twins. His home park is quite friendly to pitchers even if he won’t win too many games. Take a flier on Hendricks.

The Kansas City Royals have two back-end of the rotation starters in Danny Duffy and Luis Mendoza who could offer some help in deeper leagues. Mendoza was terrific in the spring and this career minor leaguer seems to be building off of his Pitcher of the Year award in the PCL from last year. Duffy is a highly regarded prospect who struggled in the majors last year. He also looked good in the spring (though he was a bit uneven).

Matt Harrison pitches for arguably the best team in the major leagues in the Texas Rangers. However, he’s only owned in 29% of leagues. He could bump into 15 wins again this year and be league average in other categories.

Relief Pitcher

Joel Peralta looks like the pitcher to own in the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen while Kyle Farnsworth is out. He’s had some success as a closer, but Joe Maddon is anything but traditional in the way he manages.  The Tampa Bay Rays won today with Jeff Keppinger as the DH hitting cleanup.

Go out and grab Mark Melancon if an impatient owner has dropped him. His role hasn’t change in the last week (he’s still the setup guy with a chance for saves in the Boston Red Sox pen). Alfredo Aceves doesn’t have a track record as a closer whereas Melancon does.

Hector Santiago is the closer for the Chicago White Sox. If he’s still on you waiver wire, grab him immediately. Oh, and don’t forget, there is no such thing as a relief pitching prospect (see Reed, Addison) and don’t pay for saves in your draft.

National League Waiver Wire

Catcher

If an injury should arise, do not forget about Carlos Ruiz. He plays in a hitter’s park in a solid lineup and is just one season removed from hitting .300. I might even be happier to have Ruiz (owned in 14% of Yahoo! leagues) then Geovany Soto (70% ownership) even if it is an even numbered year.

Corner infielder

Brandon Belt made the San Francisco Giants. If by some way he is still out on the waiver wire (52% owned in Yahoo!) go out and grab him and hope that Bruce Bochy keeps playing him. He has all of the skills (and qualifies in the outfield as well) that Aubrey Huff and Brett Pill do not. Sadly, Bochy likes Huff a great deal.

Middle infielder

With Andres Torres’ injury, Ruben Tejada moves to the leadoff spot for the New York Mets. It may only be a two to four week audition, but Tejada is in line to pick up more runs and potentially a couple of more SBs than was expected.

Outfield

There are not a lot of options owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! leagues. One of the more interesting names is Alex Presley (owned in 13% of leagues). He’s got a great combination of speed and power and the Pittsburgh Pirates will likely give him a long trial. I’d rather have him than a player like Jason Bay.

Starting Pitcher

Mike Minor is owned in 46% of leagues, but he owns a 10.0 K/9 ratio in his minor league career. He’s likely locked in for at least the first half of the year with Julio Teheran’s struggles in the spring and Arodys Vizcaino’s injury.

Chris Capuano is old and boring. We fantasy players want young and sexy. He struck out 168 batters in 186 innings. Grab him now and dump some of your potential starters.

Relief Pitcher

The backup for Joel Hanrahan in the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen is not Evan Meek as was expected. Jason Grilli has been named as the 8th inning man and is a pickup in leagues with holds and speculative saves target should Hanrahan falter.

Rafael Betancourt got the save on Friday night, but gave up a hit and a walk. It’s time to put him on watch and the player to nab now when he is undervalued is Rex Brothers. He came on in the 8th inning and struck out two in one inning of work on just 11 pitches. Brothers has a career 11.8 K/9 rate.

The Chicago Cubs bullpen blew up again on Saturday against the Washington Nationals. Both Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol contributed to the Cubs demise. With both Wood and Marmol struggling early in the season, where can we speculate on saves should the Cubs look past those two for a closer? The first place to look is Rafael Dolis. He had 17 saves last year at AA, but had a below optimal K/9 rate of 5.9. The other option on the 40-man roster could be Scott Maine. He was the AAA closer last year and has K/9 rates which are more in line with closers. He had 12 saves last year at AAA and struck out 72 batters in 51 and 1/3 innings.

From way downtown

If you are looking for a long shot to take over as the Boston Red Sox closer, look no further than Junichi Taizawa. Tazawa worked his way back from Tommy John surgery last year and across four levels he had a 9.5 K/9 IP ratio. He started his year off well at AAA with 2 innings and 4 Ks.

Nevermore

If you placed the over/under on MLB innings for Scott Baker this year at 1, I will take the under. Baker will not pitch a single inning in the majors this year. He spent the better part of the last two months of the 2011 season on the DL with elbow issues. He started this year on the DL and left his firs rehab start after one inning. I foresee surgery (likely Tommy John) and him being out for the year. Cut bait on Baker if you have him stashed. He has no value this year.

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] you recall from my Week 2 waiver wire column, I talked about two potential off the radar closer possibilities. This week, both Junichi Tazawa [...]

%d bloggers like this: