StrategyMay 18, 2011


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Wide World of Waivers: Pena Power

By R.J. White

Instead of one long summary of one good waiver pickup, let’s keep the column honest and see how last week’s picks are doing. Featured first baseman Mark Trumbo has just two hits over the past week, but as he’s likely locked in to a starting gig for the rest of the season with the Kendrys Morales injury, he’s still a quality pickup for power needs. Catcher Chris Iannetta started his series against the Padres off slowly last week, but he now has three hits in his last two games.

2B/3B Alberto Callaspo saw his eight-game hitting streak come to an end last night; he had posted five multi-hit efforts in six games before the oh-fer. Third baseman Chris Johnson has a modest four-game hitting streak going, with RBIs in his last three games. Shortstop Erick Aybar has remained on fire and even smacked two HRs in the past week. Mitch Moreland hasn’t played quite as much as expected, and the Rangers outfield could be getting its two stars back very soon.

Pitcher Homer Bailey managed a skin-of-his-teeth quality start with three earned runs in six innings against the Cubs, though he did enough to secure a win, his third in three starts. Reliever Vicente Padilla had a rough time in his last outing (two earned runs allowed with only two outs recorded), then watched Matt Guerrier pick up his first save of the season last night. The two men could join Kenley Jansen to make an excellent closing committee, which is not what fantasy owners would like to hear.

Catcher

Ramon Hernandez, CIN (28%). Talk about unstoppable. Hernandez is currently on an 11-game hitting streak that includes going 10-for-19 with four HRs in his last six games. I don’t have to tell you he can’t keep this up, but he’s worth riding while scorching hot. Only Victor Martinez is hitting better at the catcher position over the last two weeks.

Also: Chris Iannetta (29%), Ryan Doumit (16%), Jonathan Lucroy (13%).

First Base

Carlos Pena, CHC (49%). After suffering through a year and a few weeks of mediocrity from Pena in a dynasty league, I finally cut him loose. He was hitting .159 at the end of April with no homers on the season. After yesterday’s bomb, he already has five HRs in May, going 15-for-45 for the month thus far. Considering he only had ten hits in all of April, I’d say that’s a huge step up. Is Pena finally getting his groove back?

Also: Mitch Moreland (36%), Mark Trumbo (18%), Matt LaPorta (15%), Eric Hinske (3%).

Second Base

Justin Turner, NYM (2%). Who? Considering Turner entered the 2011 season with only four major-league hits to his credit — spread out over two seasons, no less — it’s understandable that he’s still a fantasy nobody. Do note that he’s recorded seven hits, including two doubles and a home run, in his last four games, and that he’s expected to see regular playing time with David Wright on the DL. Mono-leaguers should be all over this guy.

Also: Darwin Barney (48%), Alberto Callaspo (31%).

Third Base

Scott Rolen, CIN (37%). Fresh off the DL, Rolen has come back to Cincinnati on fire, collecting 10 hits in 20 at-bats over the course of five games to raise his average to .288. Rolen showed last year that he’s still capable of posting a 20-HR season, so he’s far from a scrap heap player at a weak fantasy position. The ownership rating is going to continue to climb as people realize how well Rolen is hitting.

Also: Callaspo, Chase Headley (16%), Matt Downs (0%).

Shortstop

J.J. Hardy, BAL (14%). Like Rolen, Hardy has been locked in since rejoining his team. The Baltimore shortstop is 10-for-28 with two HRs since his return on May 10, and he’s also done a great job at taking walks (three BBs) while not striking out (two Ks) in that span. He should be owned in all monoleagues, and another couple days of hot hitting will close the window of opportunity for mixed leaguers.

Also: Barney, Jason Bartlett (8%), Cliff Pennington (4%).

Outfield

Michael Brantley, CLE (28%). Another Grady Sizemore Trip to the DLTM has thrust Brantley back into the leadoff role, where he’s thrived this season, going 30-for-90 with three HRs and two SBs. He clearly has the ability to help in all five standard fantasy categories, making him an asset and an absolute must-own commodity while hitting leadoff.

Also: Andres Torres (34%), Cameron Maybin (30%), Seth Smith (15%), Laynce Nix (5%).

Starting Pitcher

Jake Arrieta, BAL (23%). While Arrieta may not have been as highly regarded as some of Baltimore’s other young arms (i.e., Chris Tillman), he sure is performing like an ace. Throw out an ugly eight-run bomb in his second start of the season, and the Baltimore pitcher has allowed just 15 earned runs in 48 innings, good for a 2.81 ERA. Now add his 5-1 record and a K:BB rate over 2.0 with an excellent strikeout rate, and you have the rare great, under-owned young fantasy pitcher.

Also: Scott Baker (33%), Joel Pineiro (20%), Ryan Vogelsong (14%), Tyson Ross (7%)

Relief Pitcher

Fernando Salas, STL (30%). The ever-changing makeup of the St. Louis bullpen has changed once again, with Salas stepping into the closer role that he’s kinda sorta had for the last month or so. He’s picked up a win and a save in his last two appearances, and both were 1-2-3 outings. With a 1.02 ERA and 0.79 WHIP, Salas should have the ninth-inning locked down for at worst another three or four days, hopefully longer. Pick him up and cross your fingers.

Also: Vicente Padilla (39%), Mark Melancon (36%), Mike Adams (25%), Kenley Jansen (9%), Matt Guerrier (3%).

 
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel 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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