StrategyMay 9, 2012

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Wide World of Waivers: Cash Out on Cashner?

By R.J. White

We tabled our normal Waivers column to bring you an emergency Bottom of the 9th on Monday. With tables turning in closer spots around the league, owners worldwide found themselves burning FA budget and waiver claims on several different RPs. One of those guys was Andrew Cashner, the supposed closer in San Diego, but it looks like he was a one-and-done candidate. Read on to find out the Padre you need to grab before it’s too late, as well as other players owned in a third of Y! leagues or less.

First Base

W5Chris DavisBAL7/28.250613064
W5Mitch MorelandTEX8/19.421412022

You certainly have no reason to dump Davis at this point, but hot performance this year has him out of our range of players available in most leagues. Moreland hits in a great lineup and has really heated up, hitting .400 in the two weeks prior to Tuesday’s 0-for-5. His .314 BABIP is high but not unreasonably so. He’s shown improvements in pitch selection, swinging more at pitches in the zone and less at pitches that are out of the zone. It hasn’t translated into more contact (yet), but maybe he’s hitting the balls better, if not more frequently. Could the 26-year-old be getting it?

1B of the Week: Mitch Moreland, TEX

Second Base

W5Marco ScutaroCOL7/24.292400015
W5Robert AndinoBAL6/23.261214429

Scutaro’s hitting the ball well and scoring a healthy number of runs (18 in 26 games) atop the Rockie lineup, but his power has been nonexistent (zero HRs) and he has just a single RBI on the entire year. There aren’t many 2b-eligible players on the wire, though one of them may be Red Sox killer Robert Andino. The Orioles second baseman hit his second HR of the year Sunday against Boston, then repeated the feat Monday against the Rangers. A 2-for-4 performance Tuesday brought his average up to .314 on the year. A .380 BABIP says that’s destined to drop, but you may as well use the tri-eligible player while he’s hot.

2B of the Week: Robert Andino, BAL


W5Jed LowrieHOU10/21.476626051
W5Alcides EscobarKC3/17.176100229

Lowrie was killer in Weeks 4 and 5, collecting 19 hits in 46 at-bats while homering four times, scoring ten times and driving in 11. It’s no wonder he’s owned in more leagues than not at this point. Escobar hasn’t hit very well recently, and his average currently sits at .265. What he does do is get you steals — he already has seven this year, meaning a 30-SB season seems likely if he stays healthy, while a 40-SB season isn’t out of the question. It would certainly help if he started drawing walks, as he has just two in 107 plate appearances this season.

SS of the Week: Alcides Escobar, KC

Third Base

W5Ty WiggintonPHI5/21.238302019
W5Wilson BetemitBAL5/14.35730302

Wigginton comes off a week where he struck out 10 times, giving back a lot of the goodwill he had gained with fantasy owners. We would have loved to recommend Will Middlebrooks as a replacement this week, but his blazing start already has him owned in too many leagues for consideration here. Betemit has hit three homers over his last ten games while bringing his average up to .250, and it should rise a little more (as opposed to Chris Johnson, another hot hitter despite his 30/3 K/BB ratio). The Orioles are one of the surprise stories of the year, and Betemit has contributed many ways; although all five of his Week 5 hits were singles, he drew five walks during the week to get on base in over half his plate appearances. That’s the kind of thing to keep you in the lineup even if hits aren’t falling.

3B of the Week: Wilson Betemit, BAL


W5Carlos RuizPHI8/24.3334211057
W5A.J. EllisLAD4/15.26721306

Last week’s catcher of the week Carlos Ruiz has continued mashing, as his numbers above can attest. With a .319 average and five HRs this season, it’s unlikely he’ll even be eligible for this column for the rest of the year. If we need a catcher this week, we’ll pick up A.J. Ellis, an OBP machine that’s now walked 19 times in 24 games this season while only striking out 17 times. He should keep a good average and the majority of the playing time in L.A. all year, which makes him an ideal second catcher for your fantasy lineups.

C of the Week: A.J. Ellis, LAD


W5Tony CampanaCHC3/17.176101111
W5Eric ThamesTOR4/24.16720104
W5Josh ReddickOAK6/24.250525120

Campana slowed down considerably last week after getting on base just six times in six games. He’ll come back around, and he’s still hitting .333 on the season. I’m sticking with him for his speed. Thames, however, completely disappeared after a big Week 4 performance and deserves to be dropped. We’re replacing him with Reddick, who has been on a nice little homer binge, hitting his sixth on Tuesday night. With three steals this year as well, Reddick could help you in both key counting categories in fantasy leagues.

OFs of the Week: Tony Campana, CHC and Josh Reddick, OAK

Starting Pitcher

W5A.J. BurnettPIT2.2040.454.871215
W5Drew SmylyDET6.003.001.170734
W5Carlos ZambranoMIA7.000.001.143533
W5James McDonaldPIT14.022.571.2141713

Burnett was incredibly awful last week in St. Louis, giving up 12 runs in less than three innings of work. He did his best to make it up to us on Tuesday, striking out 10 Nationals in eight innings of work while allowing just two runs in a no decision. A 27/7 K/BB ratio in 23.2 innings this year suggests he’s been great this year if you can get past that one horrific performance. Smyly had another good game despite surrendering more than one earned run for the first time all year; he gave up two while striking out seven and walking nobody. He’s just out of our range to be tabbed again, but I’d certainly keep using him.

I’ll admit that I thought Zambrano was finished as a fantasy weapon, but with a 1.98 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 32 Ks in 41 innings, he’s certainly proving me wrong. He pitched a complete game shutout this week against the Astros, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out nine. Let’s see how he does against the Mets in his second start of the week. McDonald has 25 strikeouts against seven walks in his last three starts and 21 innings. All three were quality starts, and he’s yet to allow more than three runs in a game this year. He’s worth a look in deeper leagues at the very least for that.

SPs of the Week: A.J. Burnett, PIT and Carlos Zambrano, MIA

Relief Pitcher

W5Steve CishekMIA5.000.001.002638
W5Dale ThayerSD3.000.000.33025

Heath Bell has been terrible this year, earning himself a break from the closer role. Cishek, our RP pickup last week, has been designated to fill the role for now, even though he didn’t get the chance at the first post-Bell save this weekend (a three-inning appearance on Friday earned him some rest). He did pick up two wins in his two appearances last week, giving him wins in three straight games. Now he’ll try to pile up saves for us. He’s out of range for a recommendation, but another closer is sitting in free agency for us. Andrew Cashner was expected to pick up saves with Huston Street on the DL, but Dale Thayer has nabbed the first two opportunities and converted each. In his save Tuesday, Cashner pitched the eighth inning. While Thayer wasn’t perfect (he gave up three hits), he did get the job done. Grab him before the competition does.

RP of the Week: Dale Thayer, SD

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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