StrategyApril 22, 2009

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Wednesday’s Wide World of Waivers: Bag Some Bartlett

By Chris Routledge

It’s the third week of the baseball season already, so the rash of initial post-draft moves that many leagues are subject to should be well and truly over. The hot starters from the first week are in the process of being sifted into one of two piles: the flash-in-a-pans (a la Chris Shelton, 2007) and those who should contribute all year (such as Carlos Quentin, 2008).

In last week’s edition, Tom recommended the quartet of Randy Winn, Paul Maholm, Aaron Hill, and Chris Duncan. Winn’s cooled off somewhat, but I must concede that the other three have proven to be astute choices and certainly will have helped those who picked them up to no end. At time of writing, although their ownership has increased, they are all still available in over half of Yahoo leagues, so it’s worth checking yours to see if one of these gems is just waiting to find his way onto your roster. You could also check out the availability of a couple of my Week 1 picks, Jason Kubel and Cody Ross, who have been heating up nicely in the last few days!

Failing that, here’s a few new suggestions for Week 3 of Wednesday’s Wide World of Waivers:

(A reminder that the qualifying mark for Standard Mixed Leagues is between 20% and 50% ownership in Yahoo, whilst deeper leagues are 20% and under ownership).

Standard Mixed Leagues

Jason Bartlett, SS, TB

Owned %429049

Week 2 Stats6234.500

Bartlett is owned in many more ESPN leagues than Yahoo or CBS, largely because the ESPN standard roster includes a middle infield spot. But his start to 2009 suggests that he should be far more widely owned in Yahoo leagues than he is. He’s hitting for a great average, stealing bases, and even showing some unexpected power! Add to that his regular start in a potent Rays lineup, and you have a shortstop who is producing far more than “bigger” names at this shallow position. Guys like Miguel Tejada and Mike Aviles – owned in over 70% of Yahoo leagues – are struggling to perform. Don’t expect Bartlett’s power to continue, but whilst he is on this hot streak, he’ll do far more good to your fantasy team than the aforementioned duo.

J.D. Drew, OF, Bos

Owned %413776

Week 2 Stats736.360

Ironically, J.D. is the healthier of the Drew brothers at this moment in time and is also producing a lot more at the plate. Three HRs in the second week of the baseball season are testimony to what he can do when healthy — and staying healthy has always been the problem. As an outfielder who will play (and hit) in the potent Red Sox offense most days, he is a fine choice as a third outfielder or utility guy for your fantasy team. How long will he stay healthy? Who can tell? Just enjoy the production while it lasts!

AL-Only Leagues

Julio Lugo, SS, Bos

Owned %127

Season StatsNone to date

During spring training, one of the position battles that people were keeping an eye on was the one between Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie over the starting shortstop job for the Red Sox. When Lugo underwent knee surgery in March, everything seemed settled in Lowrie’s favor, until Lowrie himself went down with a wrist problem. He is now expected to be out for at least three weeks, leaving the way clear for Lugo to have an extended run with the job – possibly as soon as this weekend. Early signs are that Lugo’s running ability is unaffected by the surgery, and that’s where most of his value lies. With his “competition” at shortstop consisting of Nick Green, chances are excellent that he will be a regular starter at least until Lowrie is back, and in an AL-only league, you could do a lot worse at SS than the starter for the Red Sox.

NL-Only Leagues

Mike Hampton, SP, Hou

Owned %8229

Season Stats1111352.451.18

Here’s a blast from the past for you! Not many people can remember the last time Mike Hampton was fantasy-relevant, but this just may be the year when he comes back onto the radar. He has certainly got off to a good start so far, with 13 strikeouts in 11 innings, to go with healthy ERA and WHIP numbers. Now, eight of those strikeouts came against the Pirates, so we must temper any expectations this early into the season. I write this before Monday’s game against the far better Reds’ offense; if he did well in that matchup, it’s an encouraging sign that he could also help your NL-only team. (Editor’s note: 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5/1 K/BB ratio). He may also prove to be a useful pitch-or-ditch guy in mixed leagues as well. Ride the good starts as long as his health holds out!

And so we end another week of the WWWW column. It’ll be Tom holding down the fort again next week; I’ll be back in a fortnight. Until then, keep watching those waivers! E-mail with questions or comments for me, Tom, or the rest of the Cafe writing staff.

Chris Routledge is one of a growing number of Brits infiltrating the Cafe, and is beginning to have trouble coming up with something original to put in this section of the article each time. Catch up with him in the Cafe under the username chris8.
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