StrategyJune 29, 2011

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Wide World of Waivers: Saving the Best for First

By R.J. White

You’ll notice a running trend when looking down at our lists this week; there are some saves to be had in free agency. For a commodity that forces fantasy owners to draft or bid on even the most terrible closers in the game, saves sure are forgotten pretty quickly. Three of the following tiers are headlined by current closers, while a fourth includes a player at the top that should be an elite closer after this year’s trading deadline. If you need saves (and really, can you ever have enough?), scan our lists and check your wire for some matches.

41-50% Owned

1. Mark Melancon, RP, HOU
2. Carlos Carrasco, SP, CLE
3. Seth Smith, OF, COL
4. John Danks, SP, CWS
5. Logan Morrison, OF, FLA
6. Vernon Wells, OF, LAA
7. Justin Smoak, 1B, SEA
8. Jason Bay, OF, NYM
9. Angel Pagan, OF, NYM
10. Eric Hosmer, 1B, KC

Movers: J.J. Hardy topped the list last week, but he’s continued raking and finds himself owned in over 60 percent of leagues. Another dominant Tim Stauffer start puts him out of our reach. Jake Peavy is healthy and therefore gone in over half of Yahoo’s leagues. Coco Crisp now has 23 SBs and a new home in many leagues, leaving him ineligible for this list.

New Faces: Seth Smith and Carlos Carrasco leapfrog over the 30% level after headlining our 20% list last week. They should continue to climb. John Danks had been on a nice run before hitting the DL, and he definitely deserves add-and-stash status. Logan Morrison had a .320/.406/.574 line heading into June. Now he’s the owner of a .264/.348/.458 line. He’ll snap out of it eventually. Eric Hosmer hit five HRs in May and has none so far in June, dropping his OPS over 100 points in this month. The shine has obviously worn off.

31-40% Owned

1. Mike Adams, RP, SD
2. Randy Wolf, SP, MIL
3. David Freese, 3B, STL
4. Dustin Ackley, 2B/OF, SEA
5. Travis Hafner, UT, CLE
6. Jonathon Niese, SP, NYM
7. Jorge Posada, C, NYY
8. Mark Trumbo, 1B, LAA
9. Scott Rolen, 3B, CIN
10. Joe Nathan, RP, MIN

Movers: Corey Patterson has tanked recently, leaving him owned in only 25 percent of leagues after appearing on last week’s 30% list. Rauch is still in this range, but Frank Francisco is picking up save opportunities, so we’ve booted Rauch from our list. Also gone is one-trick pony Austin Jackson and the volatile (to put it nicely) Edinson Volquez.

New Faces: David Freese was activated from the DL this week and rejoined a Cardinals team Tuesday beset on all sides by injuries. He went 2-for-4 in his first game back, raising his average this season to .364 in 91 at-bats. Jorge Posada is a quality bat eligible at catcher that plays DH most days. That’s gotta be good for something. Mark Trumbo has been pretty consistent with his power, hitting 13 HRs thus far. Joe Nathan is looking strong and could eventually move back into the closer role at some point.

21-30% Owned

1. Antonio Bastardo, RP, PHI
2. Alcides Escobar, SS, KC
3. Jemile Weeks, 2B, OAK
4. Chase Headley, 3B, SD
5. Alexi Casilla, 2B/SS, MIN
6. Jeff Karstens, SP, PIT
7. A.J. Pierzynski, C, CHW
8. Chris Iannetta, C, COL
9. Carl Pavano, SP, MIN
10. Koji Uehara, RP, BAL

Movers: An insane week of offense jumped Ty Wigginton from the 20% level to being ineligible for the column at all. Charlie Blackmon suffered a big fall in ownership after he stopped running wild. Hong-Chih Kuo is back, and Jon Broxton is out longer than expected. Still, Kuo has to earn the closer role,and fantasy owners’ good graces. John Lackey just can’t consistently make good things happen, so he falls.

New Faces: Antonio Bastardo inherits the Phillies’ closer role as Ryan Madson hits the DL. Jemile Weeks rises as he’s continued to run atop the Oakland lineup. A.J. Pierzynski and Chris Iannetta are solid catchers that aren’t quite good enough for one-catcher league and owned in all two-catcher leagues. Jeff Karstens also sees a rise in ownership, though no one expects the good times to roll continuously. Koji Uehara is serviceable as a setup guy and could potentially excel if the mediocre Kevin Gregg should fall by the wayside.

11-20% Owned

1. Jonny Gomes, OF, CIN
2. Mike Leake, SP, CIN
3. Freddy Garcia, SP, NYY
4. Chris Capuano, SP, NYM
5. Roger Bernadina, OF, WAS
6. R.A. Dickey, SP, NYM
7. Doug Fister, SP, SEA
8. Jason Vargas, SP, SEA
9. Nyjer Morgan, OF, MIL
10. Dee Gordon, SS, LAD

Movers: Chris Capuano rises a level after his six shutout innings, seven Ks and no walks against the A’s. Roger Bernadina had a nice run but has slowed down in the past week. Doug Fister and Jason Vargas are essentially the same guy, but Fister has been a bit better lately, which is why he rose a level over the past week.

New Faces: Jonny Gomes has hit a hot streak, with three homers in his last six games. Freddy Garcia should have been included last week, and I’m proud to have picked him up in one league. Jason Vargas and R.A. Dickey can be erratic, but the knuckleballer has been solid since mid-May. Starters and speedsters obviously dominate this level — if you need SBs, you’re in the right place.

6-10% Owned

1. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, CLE
2. Cory Luebke, SP/RP, SD
3. Jon Jay, OF, STL
4. Casey Kotchman, 1B, TB
5. Mike Pelfrey, SP, NYM
6. Desmond Jennings, OF, TB
7. Garrett Jones, 1B/OF, PIT
8. Danny Valencia, 3B, MIN
9. Paul Maholm, SP, PIT
10. Al Alburquerque, RP, DET

Movers: Garrett Jones “falls” based on how we segmented the list this week — he’s still at 10% ownership. There’s a chance Cory Luebke is a keeper as a starter; he’s certainly in the right park for success. I’ve added him in one league, and you should too.

New Faces: Lonnie Chisenhall had a great 2-for-4 performance in his first game and followed it up with another hit on Tuesday. He’s a solid option at a scarce position. Anyone notice Casey Kotchman hitting in the .330s? I sure didn’t. I think we all feel a Desmond Jennings call up could come at any time. Al Alburquerque has a great name and outstanding numbers in recent weeks.

1-5% Owned

1. Javy Guerra, RP, LAD
2. Chris Getz, 2B, KC
3. Kenley Jansen, RP, LAD
4. Scott Sizemore, 2B/3B, OAK
5. Livan Hernandez, SP, WAS
6. Rich Harden, SP, OAK
7. Mat Gamel, 3B, MIL
8. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS, MIL
9. Jason Giambi, 1B, COL
10. Wilton Lopez, RP, HOU

New Faces: Chris Getz has a five-game hit streak and six steals in June, including two last night. I just traded for him in the TradeBashers AL-only league for that speed. Javy Guerra is the nominal closer, but Kenley Jansen has been excellent in four June appearances. Livan Hernandez has good enough ratios and a solid strikeout rate. He’s a decent pitching fill-in if needed. Rich Harden should make his 2011 debut this weekend. Mat Gamel can be useful while the Brewers are in AL parks — he was 2-for-4 last night. Yuniesky Betancourt has been swinging the bat well and just picked up his first two steals of the season. Jason Giambi is one of the better part-time players around. I think Melancon is safe, but Wilton Lopez could eventually earn a shot if the rookie closer falls apart.

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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