StrategyAugust 17, 2011


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Wide World of Waivers: Picking Up Aces

By R.J. White

Our top two starting pitcher pickups of last week have continued to roll. Jeff Niemann is now just barely out of our eligibility requirement for this article, but even at 51 percent owned, he’s worth checking on. He just picked up a complete game win in Boston, allowing two runs and one walk while piling up 10 strikeouts. It was his fourth win in as many starts, and he’s now 7-0 since starting the year 1-4. Niemann’s post-ASB numbers are Cy-worthy: 4-0, 1.81 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 45 Ks, 9 BBs in 44.2 innings over six starts. He’s struck out double digits in half of those starts. Obviously, he needs to be owned wherever available.

Starting Pitcher

1. Cory Luebke, SD
2. Erik Bedard, BOS
3. Brandon McCarthy, OAK
4. Jake Peavy, CWS
5. Randy Wolf, MIL
6. Javier Vazquez, FLA
7. Brett Cecil, TOR
8. Edwin Jackson, STL
9. Josh Collmenter, ARI
10. Bud Norris, HOU

Our other top pick of last week is still available in over 60 percent of Yahoo leagues, and his Tuesday night win over the Mets brought his ERA down to 2.99 and his WHIP to 0.99. He’s now had three excellent starts after a brief implosion at the turn of the month.

Relief Pitcher

1. Javy Guerra, LAD
2. Mark Melancon, HOU
3. Bobby Parnell, NYM
4. Frank Francisco, TOR
5. Rafael Betancourt, COL

Guerra and Melancon keep the top two spots this week, and as Bobby Parnell is likely to close for the Mets for the remainder of the year, he takes No. 3. The last two spots are filled with for-now closers Frank Francisco and Rafael Betancourt, filling in for injured counterparts.

First Base

1. Mike Carp, SEA
2. Jesus Guzman, SD
3. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR
4. Casey Kotchman, TB
5. Kyle Blanks, SD

Carp has shot to the top of the must-add list with a 16-game hitting streak that includes four dingers. He’s posted six multi-hit efforts during the streak and now sports a .331 average with six HRs in 136 at-bats. Initially used partially as a fill-in for the injured Justin Smoak, Carp should be locked into the Mariner lineup long-term. God knows they need players that can hit.

Second Base

1. Brett Lawrie, TOR
2. Jason Kipnis, CLE
3. Dustin Ackley, SEA
4. Jemile Weeks, OAK
5. Aaron Hill, TOR

Lawrie brought a lot of hype with him to the majors, and he’s more than lived up to expectations thus far. In the middle of a five-game hitting streak, the rookie is hitting .385 with three HRs in his first 39 at-bats. Keeper league and dynasty owners take note — Lawrie is a lock for the top 10 at his position next year. Kipnis is also picking up keeper momentum, with six HRs in 69 at-bats. A 5-for-5 day boosted his average this week; expect it to continue to slide back down to the .250 range. Mono-leaguers should look at Johnny Giavotella and Jose Altuve.

Third Base

1. Brett Lawrie, TOR
2. David Freese, STL
3. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR
4. Chipper Jones, ATL
5. Ty Wigginton, COL

With his upside, I’ve elevated Lawrie to the No. 1 spot at 3B as well. Nothing wrong with the two guys behind him, though. Freese is still hitting at a .326 clip this year, making him plenty useful even if his power is marginal. Encarnacion’s season-long average has risen consistently each month. By the time the season’s up, he may be a .300 hitter with power.

Shortstop

1. Yuniesky Betancourt, MIL
2. Jason Bartlett, SD
3. Alex Gonzalez, ATL
4. Marco Scutaro, BOS
5. Cliff Pennington, OAK

We won’t change much from last week at the SS position. If speed is on your wish list, Bartlett is a nice pickup, though he only has one swipe in August. Pennington was a nice unheralded steals commodity last season, but he’s slowed down this year. Still, he gets hot in spurts. Scutaro is hitting way better than Jed Lowrie, so we’ll keep the former here and boot the latter.

Catcher

1. J.p. Arencibia, TOR
2. Chris Iannetta, COL
3. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL
4. Ryan Doumit, PIT
5. Yorvit Torrealba, TEX

Arencibia’s average is a downer, but there aren’t many catchers hitting 20 HRs out there, and Arencibia needs just one to reach that mark. Jarrod Saltalamacchia topped our catcher list last week, and I wanted to move him down but the guys at two through five are doing too well to be knocked off the list right now. Torrealba is hitting .408 over the last two weeks, which is enough to get the nod over John Buck, who has three HRs since August 8. The gap between he and Arencibia really isn’t that big.

Outfield

1. Mike Carp, SEA
2. Juan Pierre, CHW
3. Angel Pagan, NYM
4. Josh Willingham, OAK
5. Delmon Young, DET

Carp, along with a nice power stroke, has 11 RBIs in his last seven games. The Mariners scoring runs?!? I guess Chone Figgins is the poster child for “addition by subtraction.” Pierre is getting on base at a high rate, stealing bags, and even hit his second homer of the season on Tuesday, equaling his total from his last four seasons combined. Hideki Matsui has slowed down and drops from our list, but Josh Willingham is still smacking HRs regularly. Delmon Young has went into “F You” mode against the Twins, picking up two two-hit games in his first appearances with the Tigers. Deep league owners can get some run out of Padres Wil Venable and Kyle Blanks.

 
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and Razzball and has previously written for FanHouse. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
 
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