StrategyApril 27, 2011


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Wide World of Waivers: Diamondback in the Rough?

By R.J. White

Ryan Roberts has refused to cool down after his hot start, and he’s had an OPS over 1.000 for most of the season. He has a .333 average with five HRs and three SBs this season and a 10:10 K:BB ratio to boot. Is this 3B/OF-eligible player this season’s Jose Bautista?

I’d emphatically respond, “No.” He hasn’t shown this type of power potential at any point of his career, and certainly hasn’t done anything near Bautista’s foreshadowing power run at the end of 2009. Roberts should also see a playing-time squeeze once he returns to normal levels. While I’d be ready to bail whenever he cools off, there’s nothing wrong with riding him until that happens. Just be forewarned that the best has likely already come and gone, so if you can sell high on him to a true believer, I would think long and hard about doing so.

Also at 3B: Wilson Betemit (14 percent), Casey Blake (12 percent), Mike Aviles (49 percent).

Catcher

Yorvit Torrealba, TEX (3 percent owned). In what kind of fair and just world do the Rangers trade for Mike Napoli and only give him half the amount of at-bats that Torrealba receives, despite Napoli’s .303 average and 1.283 OPS? Honestly, it doesn’t matter to owners looking for catcher adds, as long as it keeps happening for the good of Torrealba, who is slugging better than he ever has in his career and who pushed his average up to .292 with a 3-for-3 day Tuesday. The actual Rangers’ starting catcher should be owned in all two-catcher leagues.

Also: Yadier Molina (20 percent), A.J. Pierzynski (15 percent).

First Base

Brett Wallace, HOU (19 percent). MLB front offices played a game of musical chairs with Wallace over the past two years, and it looks like the Astros may be the big winner. After striking out 50 times while walking just eight times in 2010 over the course of 144 at-bats, Wallace has just as many walks this season in his first 71 ABs, and he’s only struck out 14 times. The improvement has led to a .324/.400/.451 line through Monday as well as a 3-for-4 day Tuesday. He has decent power potential as well, hitting over 20 HRs per 500 at-bats in the minors. However, I’d roll with the first guy below over Wallace if I had the chance.

Also: Freddie Freeman (32 percent), Justin Smoak (17 percent).

Second Base

Ryan Raburn, DET (48 percent). The Tigers have been shuffling Raburn between second base and left field, and the constant moving has seemed to help his bat. He sported a six-game hitting streak heading into Tuesday’s three-K letdown and hit home runs in back-to-back games last week while adding eight RBIs over a three-game span. Raburn headlines a strong crop of second basemen available in a majority of Yahoo leagues, with the injured Juan Uribe and the sometimes starting Mike Aviles also checking in at just under 50 percent owned.

Also: Darwin Barney (19 percent), Daniel Murphy (2 percent).

Shortstop

Ryan Theriot, STL (33 percent). Theriot hasn’t hit over .300 since 2008, but he’s posted a .311 average thus far leading off for the Cardinals. If he can keep his on-base percentage up he should score a massive amount of runs for the Cardinals while chipping in his fifth straight 20-steal campaign, making him a great three-category fantasy player at a discount price.

Also: Barney, Uribe, Aviles, Cliff Pennington (5 percent).

Outfield

Coco Crisp, OAK (45 percent). The A’s have a very weak lineup (as usual), and leadoff hitter Crisp has actually been their best bat to date. He’s turned up the production over the last few days, posting three straight three-hit games from Saturday to Monday to loft his average up to a deceptively strong .281. Where fantasy owners can feel save knowing Crisp will contribute is in the stolen bases category, as he ripped off one SB per 10 ABs in 2010 and remains close to that pace this season. Unfortunately the perennially banged up Crisp had to leave Tuesday’s game early, so make sure he gets a clean bill-of-health before adding him to your roster.

Also: Roberts, Chris Coghlan (30 percent), Cameron Maybin (20 percent), Michael Morse (10 percent).

Starting Pitcher

John Lackey (44 percent). The former ace seemed to take offense to being skipped in the rotation and dropped in many fantasy leagues across the rotosphere, and he’s run off two great starts since the snub. After posting six one-run innings in Oakland, Lackey dominated his former team in Los Angeles, throwing eight shutout innings in his last start while adding six strikeouts and one walk. If he’s turned a corner, he could be a quality fantasy starter that contributes a bunch of wins to fantasy teams once Boston hits its stride.

Also: Kyle McClellan (42 percent), Anibal Sanchez (35 percent), Randy Wolf (32 percent), Scott Baker (28 percent), Brandon McCarthy (24 percent), Brandon Beachy (24 percent), Bud Norris (12 percent).

Relief Pitcher

Sergio Santos, CWS (29 percent). Former Wide World picks Mitchell Boggs, Kyle Farnsworth and Jordan Walden have all graduated to more-owned-than-not territory, and Santos is likely to be next. He’s pitched 11 scoreless innings to open the year while racking up 14 Ks. Ozzie Guillen gave him the chance to protect Phillip Humber’s gem against the Yankees on Monday, and the righty did not disappoint, recording four outs (one K) while allowing two hits for his second professional saves. He came in again on Tuesday with men on first and second in the ninth and retired Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano to earn quite a second save. A high walk rate (Santos’ is about 4.5 per nine innings over his career) isn’t necessarily a death knell for potential closers — think Carlos Marmol — so look for Guillen to stick with Santos as long as he’s effective.

Also: Jon Rauch (49 percent), Johnny Venters (49 percent), Darren Oliver (19 percent), Mike Adams (17 percent).

 
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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