StrategyAugust 10, 2011

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Wide World of Waivers: J-Gon?

By R.J. White

This week’s installment of Wide World of Waivers features a Padre first baseman hitting like Adrian Gonzalez, a must-own Toronto rookie, the best third baseman nobody wants and three (possibly three and a half) closers. We’ve also got deep league pickups every step of the way as we go position by position through the waiver wire.

First Base

1. Derrek Lee, PIT
2. Jesus Guzman, SD
3. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR
4. Eric Hosmer, KC
5. Casey Kotchman, TB

Derrek Lee has a .296/.342/.620 line since the break, with five HRs in his first 71 at-bats. Clearly, he has value .. Fangraphs had it right — who is Jesus Guzman? Apparently, a guy with unsustainable rates. Still, he’s hitting the cover off the ball like You-Know-Who used to; better ride him while he’s hot .. EE has much more value at 3B, but he can help you at 1B in a pinch as well. Don’t sleep on his post-ASB .346 average either .. Hosmer hasn’t flashed much power, but he is hitting for a good average .. Average is essentially most of Kotchman’s game, but at .341 for the season the relatively low power may be worth a roster spot.

Bonus deep leaguer: Lucas Duda, who will get plenty of at-bats with Daniel Murphy out for the season and is hitting .345 with three HRs after the break.

Second Base

1. Brett Lawrie, TOR
2. Dustin Ackley, SEA
3. Ty Wigginton, COL
4. Jason Kipnis, CLE
5. Jemile Weeks, OAK

If uber-prospect Lawrie is available in your league, run to the wire and grab him. Looking good in the early going .. Ackley has cooled down a little, but he’s still worth owning and available in half of Yahoo leagues .. Wigginton isn’t flashing his customary power, but he’s making up for it with a high batting average .. Kipnis went homer-crazy for a week; we’ll see if he can keep it up .. Weeks has a good average and plus-speed, two more positive qualities than some other 2Bs that remain owned in more leagues.

Bonus deep leaguer: Johnny Giavotella, who has gotten off to a fast start in the majors and should see the majority of time at 2B for Kansas City.

Third Base

1. David Freese, STL
2. Brett Lawrie, TOR
3. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR
4. Ty Wigginton, COL
5. Alberto Callaspo, LAA

Freese is hitting .322 with seven HRs in less than 200 at-bats; why exactly is he eligible for this list? Go get him .. Lawrie doesn’t quite qualify for 3B, but it’ll happen momentarily. Keep that in mind if you have a solid 2B but are hurting at 3B .. Encarnacion and Wigginton were covered earlier, and I’d clearly put EE over Wiggy right now .. Callaspo is far behind the pack but does contribute a quality batting average.

Bonus deep leaguer: Greg Dobbs, who isn’t a sexy name but does have a .301 average and five HRs this season.


1. Yuniesky Betancourt, MIL
2. Jason Bartlett, SD
3. Alex Gonzalez, ATL
4. Marco Scutaro, BOS
5. Jed Lowrie, BOS

Betancourt refuses to slow down, with hits in 18 of 19 games before Tuesday’s 0-for-4 .. Bartlett has also been hot over the last month, with 27 hits in 84 at-bats since the break, and he still running (22 SBs on the year) .. Gonzalez is doing his best Uggla impression, with hits in his last 10 games and HRs in two of his last three .. Scutaro and Lowrie should be combined into one fantasy player called Boston SS at this point. You’re probably better off avoiding both.

Bonus deep leaguer: Edgar Renteria, who has a couple of HRs in August and is playing every day after the Cozart injury.


1. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, BOS
2. Chris Iannetta, COL
3. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL
4. Ryan Doumit, PIT
5. Yorvit Torrealba, TEX

Salty isn’t used to topping lists for good reasons, but he’s swinging a nice power bat right now, with five HRs in 58 at-bats since the break .. Iannetta went 7-for-9 to shoot his average up, then followed up with two 0-fers. His power still helps you .. Lucroy isn’t going to hurt you anywhere in fantasy, which is a huge complement at C .. Doumit is back and hitting well .. Torrealba is killing it average-wise.

Bonus deep leaguer: Jesus Montero, who sounds like he’ll be up sooner rather than later to take Jorge Posada’s lineup spot.


1. Cameron Maybin, SD
2. Hideki Matsui, OAK
3. Dexter Fowler, COL
4. Josh Willingham, OAK
5. Jason Bay, NYM

Maybin is 35-for-106 with 15 steals with the break; think that kind of speed could help your squad? .. While you were busy blinking, Matsui hit .451 with five HRs in 82 at-bats since the break before Tuesday’s 0-fer. Let’s ride the hot bat .. Fowler is locked into the two-hole, hitting for a high average, scoring runs and stealing bases .. Willingham continues to mash, hitting HRs in three of his last five games .. Bay is hitting .400 with three HRs in seven August games already.

Bonus deep leaguer: Rick Ankiel, who is another August warrior, with four HRs already this month as part of an 11-for-35 run.

Starting Pitcher

1. Jeff Niemann, TB
2. Cory Luebke, SD
3. Brandon McCarthy, OAK
4. Ivan Nova, NYY
5. Brett Cecil, TOR

Niemann just turned in an average start, but that makes two mediocre or worse performances and seven gems since returning in mid-June. Gotta love eight Ks or more in three of last four .. Luebke shook off two poor starts to throw a gem in his last start (7 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K) .. McCarthy has 74 Ks and 16 BBs in 108.2 innings; pitching in Oakland, he’s woefully under-owned .. Nova is back on the map with a 10-K, no-walk, one-run game against the White Sox. By the way, he’s 10-4 .. Cecil managed to dominate the Rangers in home-and-away starts at the end of July. That’s impressive.

Bonus deep leaguer: Luke Hochevar, who has posted three straight gems, with 20 Ks, four walks and four runs allowed in 21.1 innings.

Bonus bonus deep league: Kevin Slowey, who will make his first MLB start of the year this week with Scott Baker on the DL.

Relief Pitcher

1. Javy Guerra, LAD
2. Mark Melancon, HOU
3. Aroldis Chapman, CIN
4. Jason Isringhausen, NYM
5. Mike Adams, TEX

You can’t often find three closers available in a majority of leagues this late in the year. Guerra has been stellar over the last month, with 10 Ks and seven saves in 8.1 innings .. Melancon has five saves and a 1.14 WHIP since the break .. Chapman ain’t getting saves, but he has 21 Ks in 12.1 innings post-ASB .. Isringhausen was shaky in his first two August appearances, but grabbed a win and a save in back-to-back games this week .. Adams is going to get the occasional save in Texas, with the chance for more eventually.

Bonus deep leaguer: Alfredo Aceves, who has four wins, a 0.93 WHIP and a 12:3 K:BB ratio in 18.1 innings since the All-Star break.

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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