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The Waiver Wire: Brian Roberts

Posted on 13 June 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Anyone who has played fantasy baseball for any length of time surely remembers back to when Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles was not only an elite fantasy baseball second baseman but an elite baseball player. Injuries have wiped out most of his 2010 and 2011 seasons as well as the beginning of his 2012 season. But he’s back. And now is the time to scoop him up an any format where the waiver wire is as shallow as the kiddie pool at your local swimming hole.

From 2004 through 2009, Roberts averaged 152 games played, 175 hits, 46 doubles, 4 triples, 12 home runs, 62 RBI, 101 runs and 35 stolen bases with a .290/.365/.438 slash line. Over the last two season, he’s totaled only 98 games played with 100 hits  with a less than stellar slash line of .254/.321/.366 but was not far off his 162 game averages when healthy (see links).

In his first game of the 2012 season, Roberts was 3-for-4 with three singles and a sacrifice fly. Not a bad start for a guy who’s been out of the majors for nearly 13 months. He’s only owned in 1% of ESPN leagues, 9% of Yahoo! leagues and 32% of CBS leagues. I recommend those of us in very deep, mixed leagues or those of you in shallow AL-only leagues take a chance Roberts still has a lot left in his tank and plenty to prove to the fans of Baltimore caught up in the midst of an exciting season. I know I’ll be rooting for a guy who’s always played the game the only way he knows how…hard! Now just stay healthy, Brian.

Here are some other fantasy baseball players worth a look who may still be available on your league’s waiver wire:

OF Michael Saunders, Seattle Mariners: Over the last 15 days (12 games), Saunders has been on an absolute tear. He’s gone 21-for-50 (.420/.453/.660/1.113) with six doubles, two home runs, six RBI, nine runs scored and two stolen bases, making him the 15th-ranked player over this span according to ESPN’s Player Rater tool. His ownership numbers have risen to 41.5% in ESPN leagues, 24% in Yahoo! leagues and 40% in CBS leagues.

OF Ben Revere, Minnesota Twins: If you’re outfield could use a little spark of speed, Revere deserves a look. Since May 26th (13 games), he’s hitting a cool .400 (22-for-55) with 10 runs scored and seven stolen bases. He’s only owned in 10.9% of ESPN leagues, 10% of Yahoo! leagues and 25% of CBS leagues.

RP Tom Wilhelmsen, Seattle Mariners: Wilhelmsen has gone 3-for-3 in save opportunities since replacing Brandon League as the team’s closer. All closers in all formats should be owned. He’s 41.2% owned in ESPN leagues, 30% in Yahoo! leagues and 34% in CBS leagues.

SP Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox: Over his last four starts (including 6/12/12), Buchholz has gone at least seven innings with 6+ strikeouts, 2 or less walks and 2 or less runs allowed and a 3-0 record. If he’s sitting on your league’s waiver wire, grab him now because he looks like he’s figured out what was wrong earlier in the season and corrected it. He’s owned in 66.5% of ESPN leagues, 54% of Yahoo! leagues but a whopping 86% of CBS leagues.

1B Brett Wallace, Houston Astros: Since his call up, Wallace has hit safely in all seven games played with a .400/7/2/4/0 5×5 line with a 1.260 OPS. Could this be the Wallace we’ve all been waiting to show up in the majors? Owners in very deep, mixed leagues or NL-only ones should be paying attention. He’s only 1.8% owned in ESPN leagues, 3% of Yahoo! leagues and 10% of CBS leagues.

SS Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres: Since starting his season 0-for-17, Cabrera has gone 20-for-59 (.339 BA) with seven doubles, two home runs, six RBI, eight runs scored, seven walks and 5-for-5 in stolen bases. Owned in just 1.4% of ESPN leagues, 3% of Yahoo! leagues and 12% of CBS, he could provide your roster with a little boost while he’s hot.

Note: All statistics are accurate through games played as of 6/11/2012 unless otherwise noted.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @DJAubain and our site @FullSpectrumBB as well as “liking” us on Facebook to help spread the word about all the great content our baseball writers are producing each day. Feel free to share some thoughts about this article in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you.

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The Waiver Wire: Matt Adams

Posted on 22 May 2012 by Daniel Aubain

The biggest beneficiary of the injuries to the St. Louis Cardinals sluggers Lance Berkman, Allen Craig and Jon Jay should be rookie first baseman Matt Adams. With Berkman out for 6-8 weeks (if not longer) and Craig out at least a couple more weeks, Adams’ time to shine has to be now or else he won’t be sticking around through the summer months.

Adams was tearing it up at AAA Memphis with a .340 batting average and a .603 slugging percentage with 10 doubles and nine home runs in 37 games. Add in his 54 home runs and 189 RBI over his previous two seasons at A/AA and you’re looking at a player who could have a serious impart for the Cardinals at the major league level. Had Berkman not been injured, we probably wouldn’t have seen Adams in the majors until a September call up or until 2013.

Shallow league owners probably have time to wait and see if Adams produces immediately (2-for-8; 1 Run in 2 games) or not but those of us in deeper mixed leagues or NL-only ones have to pounce immediately. He’s only owned in 3.5% of ESPN leagues (surely that is on the rise as I type this artilce), 14% of Yahoo! leagues and 48% of CBS leagues (already that high?).

Here are some other fantasy baseball players worth a look who may still be available on your league’s waiver wire:

1B/OF Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres: Since April 25th, Alonso has gone 30-for-84 (.357 BA) with 11 doubles and a home run. He’s not going to bring you the power numbers you’d want from your first base position but could be a nice option at a CI, IF or DH/UTL in mid-sized mixed leagues. He’s only owned in 36.1% of ESPN leagues, 26% of Yahoo! leagues and 56% of CBS leagues.

OF Gregor Blanco, San Francisco Giants: In the month of May, Blanco has earned 14 games started and hasn’t disappointed. He’s gone 17-for-54 (.315 BA) with 13 walks (.448 OBP), three stolen bases and 14 runs scored with the majority of those at bats coming from the leadoff position. If you’re hurting for outfield help, give Blanco a look. He’s only owned in 20% of ESPN leagues, 8% of Yahoo! leagues and 16% of CBS leagues.

RP Brian Fuentes, Oakland Athletics: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…Fuentes is a closer, again! Over his last six appearances, he’s recorded a win and three saves (in three chances) with six strikeouts in seven innings. Saves are saves and all closers should be owned in all formats. He’s owned in 40.1% of ESPN leagues, 41% of Yahoo! leagues and 45% of CBS leagues.

SP Derek Lowe, Cleveland Indians:  In nine starts this season, Lowe has compiled a 6-2 record with eight quality starts, allowing two runs or less in seven starts. Unfortunately, he’s only struck out 15 batters in 58.2 innings pitched (2.3 K/9, UGH!). A career 5.9 K/9 isn’t great but I can’t imagine he’s now a 2.3 K/9 pitcher. I’d look to use him as a streaming option in shallow leagues but it may be time to consider owning him if you’re desperate for starting pitching. He’s owned in 44.8% of ESPN leagues, 32% of  Yahoo! leagues and 54% of CBS leagues.

C  J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays: In 14 games in the month of May, Arencibia has gone 17-for-52 (.327 BA) with six home runs, 16 RBI and 12 runs scored while slugging .731. Over the last 30 days, he’s the second-ranked catcher on ESPN’s Player Rater tool. His ownership numbers are a little confusing to me. Why is he only owned in 37.5% of ESPN leagues but 66% of Yahoo! leagues and 77% of CBS leagues. Odd. Grab him if he’s available especially while he’s hot.

And down on the farm:

1B Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs:  Rizzo is tearing it up at AAA Iowa. In 41 games, he’s produced a 5×5 fantasy line of .346/27/14/39/2 and would probably be in the majors if not for the hot start of Brian LaHair. The Cubs are vowing to be patient but it’s only a matter of time before they find a way to dump Alfonso Soriano and move LaHair to the outfield. If you have room on your roster and are willing to be patient, very deep mixed league and NL-only owners may need to make a bold move sooner than later. He’s virtually unowned in all formats (except maybe dynasty/keeper leagues.

Be aware, these recommendations are for mostly owners who are in the deeper mixed leagues or NL-only types. Shallow league owners have the luxury of picking up nearly all-star caliber players off waivers, so they may have no interest or need to look as deep as those of us who prefer more challenging formats. Two of my Twitter buddies, Mike Gianella (@MikeGianella) and Chris McBrien (@cmcbrien), recently discussed the different perspectives of the Vernon Wells injury.

I’d love to hear how you are dealing with all the injuries that seem to be hitting baseball these days as well as all the changes taking place with team closers. Are you a “never pay for saves” person and laughing at those who invested early while you grab saves wherever and whenever you can get them? Feel free to use the comments section below and follow me on Twitter @DJAubain to continue this discussion and anything baseball-related.

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The Waiver Wire: Andy Dirks

Posted on 16 May 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Detroit Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks has been on fire since being inserted into the lineup as a regular on April 26th and time may be running out to pick him up in any quality fantasy baseball league worth participating in this season.

Over the span of 15 games (13 games started), Dirks has gone 19-for-49 (.388 BA) with four doubles, a triple, three home runs, nine RBI and 10 runs scored. Toss in a .455 OBP and a .694 SLG and you got the makings of a player who deserves to be owned in more than just 56.9% of ESPN leagues, 28% of Yahoo! leagues and 41% of CBS leagues. He’s settling in quite nicely to the number two hole in the batting order of a high-powered offense, so don’t hesitate. Check your league’s waiver wire and make the necessary adjustments to get him into your lineup. But hurry.  Over the last seven days, Dirks has been the most added player in ESPN leagues, going from a minuscule 0.3% owned to his current 56.9% (+56.6% change).

Here are some other fantasy baseball players worth a look who may still be available on your league’s waiver wire:

3B Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners: Seager is now the Mariners’ third baseman and not disappointing. He’s racked up a 5×5 fantasy line of .284/13/4/21/3 in 31 games and needs to be owned in more than 54% of ESPN leagues and 50% of Yahoo! leagues.

RP Dale Thayer, San Diego Padres: Need saves (don’t we all?)? Thayer seems to be the closer du jour in San Diego. He’s gone 3-for-3 with four strikeouts in three innings of work and looks to be a safe “add” at this point. His ownership numbers are rising quickly, so don’t wait much longer if your team’s relievers are dropping like flies. He’s owned in just 36.6% of ESPN leagues, 31% of Yahoo! leagues and 29% of CBS leagues.

SP Carlos Zambrano, Miami Marlins: I can’t believe I am about to recommend picking up Zambrano off waivers. I’ve sworn to myself so many times not to own players I can’t stand watching on TV but his numbers are hard to ignore. Other than wins (just a 1-2 record), he’s giving fantasy owners what they need. In 48 innings, he’s struck out 39 (7.31 K/9) with a 1.88 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. In seven starts, he’s compiled six quality starts. Owned in just 54.9% of ESPN leagues and 52% of Yahoo! leagues, it’s time to take a serious look at adding Zambrano to your fantasy pitching stuff.

C Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers: What’s not to love about a catcher putting up a 5×5 fantasy line of .323/8/2/16/0? ESPN’s Player Rater Tool ranks him as the 13th-best catcher this season. He’d make a great backup in single-catcher leagues to fill in on days your primary catcher is rested to not miss out on statistic scoring opportunities. He’s only owned in just 17.7% of ESPN leagues, 31% of Yahoo! leagues and 56% of CBS leagues, take a look at him if you’re struggling at the catcher position.

RP Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays: If you are still looking for saves, Janssen deserves a look on a short-term basis. He’s 2-for-2 in save opportunities but, overall, he’s only walked one batter (0.89 WHIP) while striking out 13 in 12.1 innings pitched (9,49 K/9). Act now since he’s currently only owned in 29.9% of ESPN leagues, 30% of Yahoo! leagues and 34% of CBS leagues.

Shallow league players probably have many more options than those of us playing in deeper leagues. Imagine the scarcity of playing in a league-only league. Wow. I’d love to hear what your league’s waiver wire is looking like this far into the season and how you are surviving all the injuries and closer changes taking place. Feel free to use the comments section below or contact me on Twitter @DJAubain.

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Line of the Day: Bryce Harper

Posted on 29 April 2012 by Daniel Aubain

April 28, 2012: Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals made his long-awaited major league debut, going 1-for-3 with a double and a sacrifice fly RBI in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 10 innings. He also made an impressive laser-beam throw to the plate that would have gunned down a base runner had Wilson Ramos not dropped the ball.

Line: 3 AB | 0 R | 1 H | 1 RBI; 2B | SF

My fantasy perspective: Harper was a guy I avoided in my drafts this offseason because 1) only one league so far was a keeper and he was protected; 2) I wasn’t willing to use a draft pick as high as teams were grabbing him; and 3) I truly didn’t think he’d be called up this soon in the season to make an impact on my fantasy roster.

I watched his debut on the MLB Network last night and I have to say I was impressed with his composure and am disappointed I didn’t grab him in at least one league. Oh well. So what now? Does he stay on the major league roster once players like Mike Morse and Ryan Zimmerman come back from injury? Is Rick Ankiel the odd man out and either Harper or Jayson Werth move to center field? Is Harper simply up for good and the team will deal with any ups and downs he goes through this season?

With all of these (and more) question marks surrounding Harper’s fantasy value, it’s hard to say what’s in store. But know this, fantasy baseball owners will be watching carefully. As an fantasy owner of Harper, what are your fantasy expectations for 2012 now that he’s made it to the major leagues already?

Agree with my pick? Disagree? Check out ESPN’s formula for determining the best daily performances and nominate your own Line of the Day player using the comments section below and/or hitting me up on Twitter @DJAubain.

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Line of the Day: Lance Lynn

Posted on 26 April 2012 by Daniel Aubain

April 25, 2012: Lance Lynn pitched eight strong innings, allowing six hits, two walks and an earned run while striking out seven as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 5-1. Lynn increased his record to 4-0 on the season.

Line: 8 IP | 6 H | 1 ER | 2 BB | 7 K; W (4-0) | QS

My fantasy perspective: Lynn continued his surprising season in the Cardinals’ rotation, increasing his record to 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. He’s only allowed 16 hits in 27 innings pitched while holding opponents to a .176 BAA (Batting Average Against) with 24 strikeouts (8.00 K/9) and a 4.00 K/BB ratio.

His latest gem put him atop ESPN’s Player Rater tool as the top starting pitcher in the game. It may not last long, but fantasy owners who grabbed him off waivers (since he was virtually undrafted in all formats) aren’t complaining.

Agree with my pick? Disagree? Check out ESPN’s formula for determining the best daily performances and nominate your own Line of the Day player using the comments section below and/or hitting me up on Twitter @DJAubain.

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