StrategyMay 1, 2012

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Wide World of Waivers: Bryce and Trout Long Gone

By R.J. White

Two of the bigger names in baseball may have caused a waiver frenzy in your league this weekend as Bryce Harper and Mike Trout were called up to the majors to inject a little life into their respective offenses. However, Harper is owned in 75 percent of Y! leagues, while Trout is up over 50 percent. Since we scour the wire for good players that are owned in no more than 33 percent of leagues, we won’t tab them pickups in this week’s Wide World of Waivers. That ship has already sailed. Who did make the cut?

First Base

W4Bryan LaHairCHC8/19.421623055
W4Chris DavisBAL7/18.389637033

LaHair closed out his explosive April in style, going 2-for-4 with a HR on Monday to leave him with a .390 average and five longballs as we head into May. He’s obviously caught enough attention that he’s owned more often than not, which takes him out the scope of our article. After all, we’re looking for some good pickups — gotta target guys that have a good chance at being available, right? That describes Davis, but just barely (our cutoff is at 33 percent, like always) thanks to the five-game hitting streak he posted last week to go along with three dingers. He’s hitting .310 as of May 1 with four HRs and 12 RBI. The 3B-eligible Davis has a pretty good shot at 20-plus HRs and could scrape 30 if things break right; that’s worth an average that’s expected to be far below .300 at the end of the year. We took Ty Wigginton over Davis last week at 3B; yeah, sorry about that.

1B of the Week: Chris Davis, BAL

Second Base

W4Eduardo NunezNYY0/7.00020316
W4Marco ScutaroCOL8/27.296600114

We had Jose Altuve locked in as our 2B heading into last week, but switched to Nunez for Week 4. All Altuve did was collect 13 hits and produce like a top-five fantasy option. Unlike the situation with Davis/Wigginton (see below), our other 2B option didn’t do so hot, failing to record a hit in seven at bats. He’s still hitting .312 on the season and even showed his versatility by playing OF on Monday, but if you need immediate production at 2B then it’s time to find someone else. Despite a slow start to the season, Scutaro has scored 14 runs in 20 games hitting atop the potent Rockie lineup. There are signs he’s getting it going: a seven-game hitting streak that ended this weekend, a 4-for-5 day on Friday and a 2-for-4 day Monday. He surprisingly had three SBs in April, so he may wind up being a hidden source of speed this season.

2B of the Week: Marco Scutaro, COL


W4Alex GonzalezMIL6/20.300312015
W4Jed LowrieHOU9/25.360425011

Gonzalez has sen his ownership numbers nearly double this week after a nice run, but he still is only hitting .254 this season. Don’t expect more than that, but do expect consistent homer totals that most shortstops can’t touch. If you need a power shortstop, he’s still your main guy. However, I’m willing to sacrifice some of that power and pick up Jed Lowrie instead. The former Red Sock is killing it in the top third of the lineup, hitting .306 with eight walks in the two-hole and collecting five hits in nine at-bats while hitting third. In five of his last seven games, Lowrie has picked up two hits. He offers quite the power and average upside, especially if he’s as willing to take walks during the rest of the season as he was in April.

SS of the Week: Jed Lowrie, HOU

Third Base

W4Ty WiggintonPHI7/20.350412014
W4Alex LiddiSEA7/23.30432314

We apologized in the 1B section for going with Wigginton over Davis this week, but that’s only because Davis has been on fire. Wigginton certainly hasn’t done much wrong, hitting .350 in Week 4. Along with a 2-for-4 Monday, Wigginton is hitting .322 heading into May. Surprisingly, he has just two HRs, but you have to figure those are coming. For those looking a little deeper with Davis and Wigginton off the board, Alex Liddi has shown some promise this season. A strong week has him pushing for more playing time, and the team is reportedly looking to get him playing time anywhere they can, in the infield or outfield. He mashed 30 HRs in Triple-A last year (and another three in limited ABs with Seattle), so there’s definitely some upside to be had if he’s playing every day. We’ll still get Wiggy with it for another week, but keep a close eye on the Mariner.

3B of the Week: Ty Wigginton, PHI


W4Nick HundleySD5/18.27810207
W4Carlos RuizPHI7/17.412425023

Hundley has been merely decent this season, showing an outburst of fantasy value with the occasional home run or 4-for-4 day. But Ruiz finishes April with a .312 average and three homers. He’s consistently proven to be a good contributor to the average category, and though we’re working with a small sample size of one month, he may be adding a little bit of power to his game. Of the 14 catcher-eligible players that hit at least 15 HRs last year, just three hit over .270. Ruiz seems virtually certain to post at least that average, and that level power is just over the horizon.

C of the Week: Carlos Ruiz, PHI


W4Luke ScottTB5/19.263323037
W4Tony CampanaCHC8/19.421600610
W4Eric ThamesTOR9/21.42932205

I didn’t bother to include Lorenzo Cain above, as his rehab has been delayed by a setback. While we’ll certainly keep him in mind, we’re going to change gears and look at players that are actually playing. Luke Scott has climbed just a little bit out of our range, so we’re looking for two new players. Assuming you didn’t leap in headfirst on Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, the best pickup of the week looks to be Cubs centerfielder Tony Campana. He’s a threat to steal whenever he reaches first base, as is evidenced by the seven SBs he has to his credit in his first 27 at-bats this season. He’s posted a .370 average as well and seems to be a fixture at the top of the lineup. On the other side we have Thames, who smacked a couple homers last week while collecting enough hits to finish April with a .308 average. Striking out just four times in his last eight games, Thames has a chance to keep that average up if he keeps swinging at the right pitches.

OFs of the Week: Tony Campana, CHC and Eric Thames, TOR

Starting Pitcher

W4Philip HumberCHW5.0016.202.203532
W4A.J. BurnettPIT6.003.001.503827
W4Drew SmylyDET6.011.500.672715
W4Anthony BassSD8.002.250.750812

After a quick date with destiny, Humber turned back into a frog in his next outing, giving up nine earned runs in five innings of work against Boston. Burnett did a fine job against Atlanta; he now has 15 Ks in 13 innings through his first two starts, which came against two of the better offenses in the National League. I’m still investing in him heading into May, but let’s find another SP to take Humber’s spot.

Smyly has started four games this year, one each against the Rays, Royals, Rangers and Yankees. He’s given up just a single run in each of those games, with one being unearned. If that’s not enough, he’s racked up 22 Ks in his 22 innings versus just eight walks. Did just happen to catch the Rays, Rangers and Yankees on bad nights? I’d say he’s done quite enough to have owners in all leagues investing in his long-term potential.

Bass obviously deserves attention when he pitches at home in Petco Park, but he’s been more than just a spot-starter in fantasy this season. Since joining the rotation, Bass has posted a 27/10 K/BB ratio over 23 innings in four starts. His start in San Francisco last week was brilliant, though he ended up saddled with the tough-luck loss (you have to expect a lot of those as a Padre pitcher). Could he be Cory Luebke 2.0? It’s quite possible.

SPs of the Week: A.J. Burnett, PIT and Drew Smyly, DET

Relief Pitcher

W4Jon RauchNYM2.1011.571.71209
W4Steve CishekMIA1.000.001.0114

Rauch had a bit of a meltdown in Colorado over the weekend, though he also collected his third win of the year last week. The two walks he gave up on Sunday were just his second and third of the year. Scott Downs would obviously be your best add if your leaguemates were quick to the draw when he supplanted Jordan Walden as the Angels closer. However, he’s out of our reach, so we’re speculate on saves with Cishek. Heath Bell has looked awful this year, blowing three of his five save opportunities. He tacked another two runs on the board in a non-save situation Monday, giving him 10.80 ERA and 2.70 WHIP for April. When an established guy like Bell puts up a month that ugly, you start thinking he might be dealing with an injury. It wouldn’t shock anyone to see him on the DL soon after allowing five walks over his last two games while not striking out anyone. Cishek has nine Ks in 9.1 innings while giving up just one run this year.

RP of the Week: Steve Cishek, MIA

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse and Razzball. 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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