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JonJay

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The Waiver Wire: Jon Jay

Posted on 21 August 2012 by Daniel Aubain

As we head into the final weeks of the fantasy baseball season, staying active on the waiver wire could be the difference between finishing the season in the money spots or being just another also-ran. If you’re in a head-to-head league, your playoffs may have already started this week. And it’s very possible some of your fellow owners are already focusing on fantasy football (what’s that?). This edition of The Waiver Wire will point out the names of some players making an impact right now and who are available in a majority of ESPN, Yahoo! and/or CBS leagues. Feel free to send me a slice of your winnings. I accept PayPal.

Outfielder Jon Jay of the St. Louis Cardinals came out of the gates on fire this season, going 22-for-55 (.400 BA) in 15 April games with two doubles, two home runs, eight RBI, seven runs and a .986 OPS for a virtually undrafted player (ESPN ADP: ~260.0; Y! ADP 244.3; CBS ADP 268.02).

May, June and July were less favorable to Jay as he dealt with right shoulder issues which landed him on the DL for 36 games from mid-May to late-June. In 45 games played over those three months, Jay hit just .247 with no home runs and a .305 slugging percentage.  Fantasy baseball owners who felt smart for grabbing him in April bailed in droves as his fantasy numbers continued to fade.

The dog days of August have been anything but that for Jay as he’s heating up as the temperature continues to rise. In 17 games, he’s produced a robust 5×5 line of .365/10/2/8/3 and should be owned in all formats. As of now, he’s only owned in 47.4% of ESPN leagues, 25% of Yahoo! leagues and 37% of CBS leagues. The Cardinals are only two games back in the NL Wild Card race and you can expect Jay to be a fixture at the top of the lineup going forward.

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

SS Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels – Aybar returned from a recent stint on the DL on August 6th and has gone 20-for-50 (.400 BA) with a double, a triple, three home runs, seven RBI, 11 runs scored and four stolen bases in 13 games since. His ownership numbers are a bit high (58.3% ESPN; 41% Y!; 62% CBS) to be available on the waiver wire in any league worth a damn but make no assumptions. The Angels are only 4.5 games out of the AL Wild Card race and Aybar should get the majority of the starts at shortstop.

1B Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants – Belt is finally seeing regular playing time and making the most of it. Since July 25th, when his average was at a season low .229, he’s hitting .378 with seven RBI, 11 runs scored and three stolen bases but lacks a single home run. If you don’t have a need for home runs, Belt could be a nice pick up as a corner infielder, infielder, utility or DH player (depending on your league’s depth) for the stretch run. Could a playoff run be enough to wake his power stroke up? I’m willing to take a chance on that. He’s only owned in 16.8% of ESPN leagues, 19% of Y! leagues and 29% of CBS leagues.

OF David Murphy, Texas RangersSince July 20th, Murphy is hitting .368 (35-for-95) with 12 doubles, two home runs, 14 RBI, 13 runs scored and a .971 OPS. He should continue to see the majority of starts in left field as long as his bat stays hot. With relatively low ownership numbers (13.3% ESPN; 13% Y!; 45% CBS), Murphy could provide some nice offensive numbers for a team looking to add some outfield depth.

OF Anthony Gose, Toronto Blue Jays – I’ll admit, my fantasy baseball credibility may be shot for recommending a player who’s hitting .203 in 74 at bats since his July 17th debut but there is a method to my madness. Over his last 13 games (10 GS), Gose is hitting .235 with eight stolen bases and just one caught stealing. If your team needs stolen bases and can absorb the hit against your team’s overall batting average, he may be the short-term fix you’re looking for. Owned in just 2.1% of ESPN leagues, 2% of Y! leagues and 11% of CBS leagues, Gose is proving to be a one-dimensional player (speed!). Be sure to check out our own T.J. McDonald‘s assessment of Gose’s future in the big leagues.

SP Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals – In his first game back from a lengthy stint on the DL due to a shoulder injury, Garcia pitched eight innings of five-hit ball, walking none and striking out 10 batters. I’d say he’s healthy and ready to contribute to the Cardinals run at the playoffs. He’s owned in 42.8% of ESPN leagues, 50% of Y! leagues and 74% of CBS leagues. Act now if he happens to be available on waivers. He won’t be there much longer.

RP Dale Thayer, San Diego Padres – If there is a save to be had for the Padres, one can assume Thayer will get the first crack at it. Huston Street is eligible to come off the DL on August 26th, so any pickup of Thayer should be considered a very short-term solution unless your league utilizes Holds, too. He’s owned in 34.8% of ESPN leagues, 22% of Y! leagues and 19% of CBS leagues.

Other than Thayer and Gose, all of the other players I suggested you give serious attention to picking up off waivers are on teams involved in the playoff race. These teams are going to stay committed to the players who’ve proven they can handle the stress and strain of a playoff race. As teams begin dropping out of the playoff race and start calling up players from the minors in September, a whole new batch of waiver wire options should start appearing as those teams begin preparing for 2013. Did someone say “keepers”?

Be sure to leave a comment about which players you’re targeting for your playoff run or race to the finish line in rotisserie formats. Are you targeting specific players for specific categories? PS, you should be! Connect with me on Twitter @DJAubain to continue talking all things baseball (mostly) as the 2012 fantasy baseball season winds down. Good luck!

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chris_carter_oak

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Better Late Than Never: Chris Carter, Oakland Athletics

Posted on 14 August 2012 by T.J. McDonald

In Better Late Than Never, I will be profiling 25 year old Oakland A’s post-hype prospect Chris Carter. In this profile I will give you some background on his career in the minors, his past struggles in the majors and his surprising emergence this year at the major league level as well as my recommendation, fantasy-wise, for the rest of the season in yearly and dynasty/keeper leagues. Unlike another famous Cris Carter, where all he did was catch touchdowns, all this Chris Carter does  is hit home runs.

Chris Carter is a 25 year old first basemen for the Oakland Athletics.  He was drafted in the 15th round of the 2005 MLB draft by the Chicago White Sox. During the 2007 offseason Carter was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Carlos Quentin.  Two weeks after he was traded to Arizona, Carter was traded to the Oakland Athletics as part of the package to bring Dan Haren to Arizona.

In four previous stints with the A’s prior to this season, Carter was a major disappointment. Once considered the club’s top prospect, he struggled mightily. In 2010, he hit .186 with 3 Hrs and had 21 strikeouts in 24 major league games.  Then, in  2011, his performance was even worse, hitting just .136 with 0 Hrs and 20 strikeouts in 15 major league games.

However, the tools and talent have always been there. In 2009, he seemed destined to become an impact power hitter. He produced 28 hrs and 115 rbis in 544 at-bats in season, splitting time at both the double-A and triple-A levels and also appeared in the Future Game. In 2010, he produced  31 Hrs and a .258 avg with 94 RBIs in AAA.

While prior to this season, he had never been able put it all together at the major league level, the talent was evident at the minor league level. In his last four minor league seasons, he was good for 122 home runs and 399 RBI.  While putting up good numbers in the minors, he had fallen off most “top prospect lists” and many insiders were beginning to label him a Quad-A player (a Quad-A player is a player is one who has enough talent to dominate in Triple A but continually fails in the Majors). Was this who  Carter was destined to become?

Enter 2012. It now seems he has arrived. The now post-hype prospect has hit . 272 with 10 HRs, 22 RBIs and only 33KS in 103 ABs this season.  While he could still work on lowering his strikeout numbers some, it’s a major improvement from his high K-rate in much less ABs in his short stints in the majors in ’10 and ’11.  Plus, the power is definitely there. His 10 Hrs in only 103 ABS in a pitcher-friendly park is nothing to scoff at. Finally receiving consistent playing time, it looks like the late-blooming  25 year old Chris Carter may have finally arrived.

Now for his fantasy value. Chris Carter is only owned in 5% of Yahoo!, 7% of ESPN and 33% of CBS leagues. While I know his past struggles had him off most fantasy owners radar early in the season, why the reluctance to roster him now, gamers? He has hit 10 HRs in 103 ABs. That’s virtually one home run for every 10 ABs. And with just 28 total hits, 35.7% of them have been home runs.

In comparison, a very disappointing Eric Hosmer has 10 HRs in 408 ABs and is 68% owned in Yahoo leagues. That’s a 63% ownership difference between Hosmer and Carter. I know a lot of ownership levels are based on name alone but if we could all get past what we thought Carter was and see what he is doing and becoming,  he’d be a very valuable pick up and commodity for anyone needing power in general, specifically at the first base position. I understand your trepidation, gamers. I really do. I was leery of picking him up myself but needless to say I finally did and have been reaping the benefits ever since. Now is the time to pick him up. Under 10% owned in Yahoo and ESPN is criminally low.

It has come to the point where he’s in my lineup over guys like Brandon Belt and Yonder Alonso, both with a slightly higher ownership percentages. The one and only thing going forward to keep a close eye on is playing time.  He has played on a regular basis during the month of August and it looks as if the A’s management now realizes they have finally found their first baseman of the future.

I recommend a Chris Carter pick up in all leagues right now and even recommend him as a borderline keeper. If he is fully endorsed as the A’s starting first baseman heading into next spring (which I do expect to happen), I’d then give my full endorsement on keeping him. Keep a very close eye on this situation next spring.

In summary, it looks like Carter is reaching his full potential this year and, with his low ownership numbers, is out there for the taking in all leagues. While it may have taken him longer than most highly-rated prospects to finally become a fantasy factor, like they say, “It’s better late than never”.

Will you be picking up Chris Carter or have you already? Do you feel he is finally for real and here to stay or are you still not buying into him? Let me know in the comments and as always follow me on Twitter @FantasyzrTJ for all your fantasy baseball needs.

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DomonicBrown

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Welcome (Back) to the Bigs, Kid: Domonic Brown

Posted on 02 August 2012 by T.J. McDonald

Tuesday, the day of the MLB trade deadline, the Philadelphia Phillies traded CF Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers fo reliever Josh Lindblom and Double-A pitcher Ethan Martin. In a separate deal also Tuesday, the Phillies then sent RF Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for RF Nate Schierholtz, Double-A catcher Tommy Joseph and Class A pitcher Seth Rosin. After the trade dusts cleared the Phillies were left with two vacant starting outfield spots, leading to the call up Tuesday of a once heralded and once-top five prospect in all of baseball, Domonic Brown. Making this his third stint in the majors, I will now go on to profile this post hype prospect and his potential value for yearly and keeper/dynasty fantasy leagues.

Domonic Brown is a 24 year old right fielder drafted in the 20th round of the 2006 Major league draft out of Redan High School in Stone Mountain Georgia. Following the draft he planned to attend the University of Miami to play wide receiver on the football team but the the Phillies offered him a $200,000 signing bonus to choose baseball instead, which he ultimately did.  He was ranked as the 48th best prospect by Baseball America in 2009, #15 in 2010 and #4 in 2011.  Baseball America also had him ranked as the Phillies best prospect in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He initially made his major league debut on July 28th 2010 and had another stint in the majors in 2011. In 280 major league ABs he has not met expectations with a career line of .236 with 7 HRs and 32 RBIs.  However in 1989 minor ABs he hit a solid .296 with 58 HR, 106 SBs and a .343 OBP%. He has added left field and center field to his resume and Charlie Manuel said he could see time at all three outfield positions. The initial plan was to have him in the lineup Tuesday night, but a delayed flight out of Syracuse meant he did not arrive until game time. He ended up pinch-hitting, knocking a single up the middle in the eighth inning to improve his batting average to 1.000. He was in the starting lineup Wednesday batting 6th and playing left field. He went 0 for 4.

Now as for his fantasy value, I know a lot of yearly and even some keeper/dynasty league owners may have given up on this once heralded prospect.  However post sleepers come along more frequently than most think. A recent example being Alex Gordon and with Brown only being 24 he has the potential to be the next one. In yearly leagues he is a somewhat a debatable add due to his past disappointing performance at the major league level. However depending on your roster strength and teams needs, he could be a valuable piece to your team for the rest of the season. If you are looking for an outfielder with good speed potential and a high OBP% he is your guy. Due to the open spots left in the Phillies outfield by the departures of Pence and Victorino, Brown should get very solid playing time for the rest of the season. The Phillies will want to know if he is the player they thought they were getting when they drafted him in ’06 and if he fits into their long term plans.  This will lead to him being an everyday player and a possibly a valuable waiver wire add for the stretch run in yearly leagues.

Now for keeper and dynasty leagues, he is a must add.  While he has under performed in the past he will be given every chance to succeed this time around as the Phillies seem to be on the verge of rebuild mode. With everyday playing time and 5 or so weeks left in the fantasy year before playoffs start.  What better time to add Brown let him boost your teams OBP% and steal numbers as well as audition for a potential keeper spot on your team. He is only rostered in 4% of yahoo, 1% of ESPN &  19% of CBS leagues.  While he is still widely available in all leagues strike while the iron is hot. If he goes on a tear in the next week or two his availability will no longer be so widespread.

Will you be picking up Domonic Brown? I did. Or has this once top prospect bright future dimmed to much for your liking?  Let me know in the comments and, as always, follow me on Twitter @FantasyzrTJ for all your fantasy baseball needs.

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travis_snider

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The Waiver Wire: Travis Snider

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Daniel Aubain

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline has come and gone with the usually flurry of deals as some teams prepared to make a final push to lock up a playoff spot while others made deals with an eye to the future. This is the same strategy you should be using over the final two months of your fantasy baseball season, too, especially if you are in a dynasty, keeper or a league which utilizes some sort of minor league system.

Many of the deadline trades made have changed the immediate fortunes of some players and increased their fantasy baseball value. Below, I’ll take a look at a handful of those players whose value has positively been changed due to a deadline deal being made.

Outfielder Travis Snider is a player the Toronto Blue Jays organization, their fans and fantasy baseball owners have been waiting since 2008 to burst on the scene and live up to the dreaded “hype” and “potential” of a player who recently had many thinking would only amount to nothing more than a Quad-A player.

After a relatively average Spring Training landed him back in AAA Las Vegas to start the 2012 season, fantasy owners may have finally written him off as a bust. He was called up to the Blue Jays July 20th for what, in hindsight, was a showcasing of his talents to move him prior to the trade deadline. Snider responded with a .250 batting average with three home runs and eight RBI in 10 games and found himself shipped off to the Pittsburgh Pirates for SP/RP Brad Lincoln.

Snider was immediately inserted into the starting lineup in right field and, in two games, has batted second and fifth, so far. He’s gone 3-for-9 with three runs scored, a walk and two strikeouts and should be a vital part of the Pirates’ offense down the playoff stretch. Not convinced? His 162-game averages for standard 5×5 scoring leagues would be .248/73/21/75/11 with 37 doubles.

He’s only owned in 8.6% of ESPN leagues, 6% of Yahoo! leagues and 23% of CBS leagues and should be a nice addition to your fantasy outfield as you make a run towards fantasy gold.

Here are some other players whose fantasy baseball value was positively impacted by a trade deadline deal:

RP Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals: Jonathan Broxton was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, opening up the closer’s role for Holland to inherit. He’s sporting a healthy 12.71 K/9 ratio but a troubling 1.56 WHIP. If there are saves to be had for the Royals, it looks like Holland will be guy earning the opportunities. (27.1% ESPN; 34% Y!; 33% CBS)

3B Chris Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks: In three games since his trade from the Houston Astros, Johnson is 6-for-11 (.545 BA) with a double, two home runs and  seven RBI. The D’Backs are surging and Johnson is thriving with his new team. If you’re still looking around for an Alex Rodriguez replacement, look no further. (22.4% ESPN; 24% Y!; 51% CBS)

OF Nate Schierholtz, Philadelphia Phillies: Schierholtz has been the odd man out in San Francisco for some time now and may finally get a chance to play regularly to prove his worth. He’s off to a good start, too. Batting second between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, Schierholtz went 2-for-5 in his debut with a home run. (0.6% ESPN; 2% Y!; 4% CBS)

OF Denard Span, Minnesota Twins: Span was rumored to be on the move to the Reds right up to the 4PM EST deadline but wound up staying put. All he did was hit .361 (35-for-97) in July with 13 RBI, 13 Runs and four stolen bases (three caught stealings, UGH!). He’s also in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak. Do you think the Reds made a mistake not making this trade? (36.4% ESPN; 20% Y!; 53% CBS)

 2B/SS Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants: The Giants acquired Scutaro to fill the hole left by injured third baseman Pablo Sandoval and he’s hit in all five games since the trade and creeping toward gaining third base eligibility. He could be a valuable player to fill multiple positions down the wire. If your league has a max/min games played rule, be sure not to leave any games unused. (65.6% ESPN; 28% Y!; 71% CBS)

OF Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies: This may be time to “put up or shut up” for Brown because with Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence being dealt, there’s no time like the present to show if he’ll be part of the future with the Phillies. He made a pinch hit appearance in his debut and singled but followed that up with an 0-for-4 performance. Deep and NL-only leaguers are the only ones who should be diving in this early. (0.8% ESPN; 4% Y!; 19% CBS)

How did trade deadline deals affect your fantasy teams, especially those of you in league-only types of ultra-deep keeper/dynasty leagues? I’d love to hear what players you’re targeting as we start winding down the fantasy baseball season. Does your head-to-head league have a playoff system in place? If so, what week do they begin? Feel free to leave a comment and/or hit me up on Twitter @DJAubain.

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starling_marte

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The Waiver Wire: The Starling Marte and Matt Harvey Edition

Posted on 27 July 2012 by Daniel Aubain

The dog days of summer are upon us and your fantasy baseball teams may be dragging a bit, too. What better way to add a spark to your lineup than combing through your league’s waiver wire looking for players who can help you make a run at a title while your fellow owners get all jazzed for the beginning of football season (that’s still a thing?). Stay active and pay attention to trades, call ups and players being designated for assignment (the dreaded DFA) to find opportunities to liven up your roster. Even if you are out of the running for a league title, now may be the time to target a keeper for the 2013 season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are making a run at the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades and there’s no time like the present to call up their highly-touted outfield prospect Starling Marte. Marte was called up Thursday, immediately penciled in to start his first major league game in left field and inserted into the leadoff spot in the lineup. All Marte did was hit the first pitch he saw for a home run and finished Thurday night’s game 2-for-4 with a caught stealing.

In 99 games at AAA Indianapolis this season, Marte had 21 doubles, 13 triples, 12 home runs and 21 stolen bases. YES, PLEASE! My friend Mike Gianella (@MikeGianella) pointed out on his blog, Roto Think Tank, that Marte “could be worth blowing most or all of your remaining FAAB depending on your needs”.

I expect these numbers to change by time this article goes live but he’s currently owned in just 3.6% of ESPN leagues, 15% of Yahoo! leagues and a whopping 35% of CBS leagues. He was already gone in two of the five leagues I’m participating in this season (which made me realize I’m in three crappy leagues). Don’t wait to make a bid or use a waiver wire pick up for Marte much longer because he’ll probably be gone very, very soon.

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

 SP Matt Harvey, New York Mets: Harvey made his debut on Thursday night, too, and was equally as impressive as Marte. In 5.1 innings, he allowed just three hits, no runs, walked three and struck out 11 Diamondbacks. He threw 106 pitches (65 strikes) and also uncorked two wild pitches. He’s only owned in 5.5% of ESPN leagues, 1% of Yahoo! leagues but a hearty 38% of CBS leagues. For a complete breakdown of Harvey’s minor league history and major league potential, check out Full Spectrum Baseball’s own T.J. McDonald’s article from yesterday.

SS Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies: The Rockies may have found a temporary replacement for the injured Troy Tulowitzki who can actually provide some level of offensive production. In 12 games since his call up, he’s hit .356 (16-for-45) with five doubles, two triples and a home run. He’s also had six runs, six RBI and three stolen bases. He should be in the mix for the second base job once (if) Tulo is healthy. Owned in 29.5% of ESPN leagues, just 9% of Yahoo! leagues and 38% of CBS leagues, I wouldn’t wait much longer to decide if you should pick him up.

OF Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals: Werth is about a week away from returning to the Nationals and could be a nice addition to your roster in deeper mixed leagues or NL-only ones. Talk is he’ll split time in center field and right field at first, so don’t give up too much for him yet. In 98 at bats before the injury, he had a 5×5 line of .276/10/3/12/3. He’s owned in 41.2% of ESPN leagues, 52% of Yahoo! leagues and 72% of CBS leagues.

OF Justin Ruggiano, Miami Marlins: When Omar Infante was traded to the Detroit Tigers, the Marlins decided to move Emilio Bonifacio to second base and all but guaranteed Ruggiano a spot in the outfield for the rest of the season. And why not? All he’s done so far in 2012 with his 137 plate appearances is put up a slash line of .367 /.430/.683 with seven home runs and seven stolen bases. If you’re in need of a low-risk power/speed guy, Ruggiano is worth a look. He’s owned in 45.1% of ESPN leagues, 25% of Yahoo! leagues and 29% of CBS leagues.

SP A.J. Griffin, Oakland Athletics: Griffin has made the first six starts of his career in 2012 and pitched exactly six innings in each of those games and recorded a quality start in all six, too. In those 36 innings, he’s allowed just 27 hits and eight walks while striking out 29. He has a 2.25 ERA (3.56 FIP; 3.92 xFIP) with a 0.97 while batters are hitting just .205 against him. Owned in just 13.2% of ESPN leagues, 13% of Yahoo! leagues and 49% of CBS leagues, he’s definitely worth streaming while continuing to perform.

How much did Marte and/or Harvey go for in your FAAB league(s)? How are league-only owners dealing with trade deadline moves in which players change leagues? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter @DJAubain for daily fantasy baseball nuggets, news and links. I’m always available to discuss anything and everything related to the game of baseball.

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