StrategyMay 22, 2012


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Wide World of Waivers: Bass Fishing

By R.J. White

An injury to the Big Puma is giving us a shot at picking up a hot prospect at first base. Also, Petco spits out another potentially elite starting pitcher, Dayan hits hot like fire and the Angels may have a new closer in this week’s Wide World of Waivers.

First Base

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W7John MayberryPHI7/24.29220105
W7Matt AdamsSTL2/4.500100014

Mayberry followed up Week 6’s seven-hit effort with another seven-hit week, but it came with no homers, eight strikeouts and just two walks. He still has plenty of work to do. With Gaby Sanchez and Adam Lind getting demoted to the farm and Ike Davis still terrible, plenty of fantasy owners are looking for a first baseman, and Mayberry isn’t the type to bring owners running. Matt Adams, however … He’s a highly regarded prospect who hit .300 with over 30 HRs in the minors last year. He had nine HRs with an even better average in the minors before his call up. There’s a chance he could be the St. Louis starting first baseman for the rest of the year (and maybe even longer), depending on Lance Berkman’s injury. As you can see, plenty of teams are going for a ride already, and if he hits well this week, he’ll disappear from all waiver wires quickly.

1B of the Week: Matt Adams, STL

Second Base

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W7Danny EspinosaWAS5/24.208212030
W7Freddy GalvisPHI10/28.357425229

Espinosa was shrugtacular in Week 7, hitting a homer but otherwise not doing a whole lot. Freddy Galvis had a hot week after doing virtually nothing in the first six weeks of note. He entered last week with 22 hits in 102 at-bats but picked up 10 during last week’s seven-game schedule, including a couple HRs. However, he’s not a long-term option with Chase Utley potentially coming back at some point in June. It’s safe to say Week 7 will be Galvis’s best this year. I’m sticking with Espinosa and hoping for another double-double week in HRs and SBs.

2B of the Week: Danny Espinosa, WAS

Shortstop

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W7Alcides EscobarKC8/27.296402036
W7Sean RodriguezTB8/24.333424014

Escobar has seen his ownership numbers rise despite a mediocre week, and he’s now ineligible for our little waiver team. We can’t recommend Erick Aybar because of his 41 percent ownership status, but I will note he picked it up with the bat last week (.333 with three SBs). As for a shortstop who is eligible for the column, let’s go with Sean Rodriguez. He’s been filling in at third base for Evan Longoria, and he finally got hot last week, hitting .333 and collecting two HRs. Brian Dozier is another intriguing name in deeper leagues.

SS of the Week: Sean Rodriguez, TB

Third Base

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W7Wilson BetemitBAL5/29.17241104
W7Pedro AlvarezPIT3/22.136001021

Betemit had another slow week for us, though he did pick up a home run. There aren’t many solid options available at the third base position, but rather than stick with Betemit, let’s go with a guy that has a little more power potential: Pedro Alvarez. He ripped five homers in the span of nine games between April and May but has been horrendous, collecting just five hits in 15 games from May 5 to May 20. He picked up a double on Monday, and while that’s no reason to run out and grab him, he’s certainly worth a look if your team needs some power, as he could have another monster run at the drop of a hat.

3B of the Week: Pedro Alvarez, PIT

Catcher

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W7A.J. EllisLAD8/24.333304024
W7Rod BarajasPIT8/17.47143503

The A.J. Ellis disrespect tour continues; while he keeps on picking up plenty of hits week after week, fantasy owners just aren’t flocking to his .321 average. Their loss. Rod Barajas has hit four HRs in a nine-game stretch, reminding us of another Pirate mentioned above, but he’s not a long-term option at all. When he stops hitting homers, Ellis will continue to be an OBP machine. This one is easy.

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

Outfielder

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W7Andy DirksDET7/28.250712039
W7Raul IbanezNYY6/22.273326049
W7Peter BourjosLAA2/8.250000029
W7Dayan ViciedoCHW12/27.4445410020

Dirks has pocketed plenty of runs hitting in one of the best spots in baseball, No. 2 ahead of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. The roto community has identified this upside and moved accordingly. People are moving faster on Ibanez, who now has six HRs over the past two weeks. That means we’ll have to find two more outfielders. Peter Bourjos certainly doesn’t have the statline to back up a recommendation, but remember that he hit .271 with 12 HRs and 22 SBs last season. He should find a lot more playing time with Vernon Wells out. Dayan Viciedo hit four HRs over a six-game span last week, making him a top-five fantasy guy over the entire week for the AL-only owners that were stuck playing him. He’s not going to keep it up by any means, but he’s definitely earned a hat-tip from us if nothing else. Expect his stay on our waiver team short and (hopefully) sweet.

OFs of the Week: Peter Bourjos, LAA and Dayan Vicideo, CHW

Starting Pitcher

WeekPlayerTMIPWERAWHIPBBKY!%
W7A.J. BurnettPIT6.0 3.001.673217
W7James McDonaldPIT5.214.760.8811160
W7Anthony BassSD14.011.931.0041328
W7Felipe PaulinoKC6.210.001.20286

Owners jumped all over McDonald since our last article, and he’s now available in only four out of ten leagues. What’s the craze about? Eleven of his 17 outs in Week 7 were punchouts, giving him a 50/16 K/BB ratio in 50.1 innings this year with a 2.68 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Teammate Burnett wasn’t quite as good in his start at Detroit, but he still has an extremely positive 33/10 K/BB ratio in 37.2 innings this year.

Bass looks like he could be this year’s Cory Luebke, a reliever-turned-starter who dominates while pitching half his games in the league’s best pitcher’s park. He now has a 51/18 K/BB ratio this year and surrendered just four earned runs over his last three starts. It’s not just the Petco effect, as he has a 2.57 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 22/4 K/BB ratio away from home. Felipe Paulino has given up no runs in three of his four starts this year, with two of those performances coming against the Yankees, of all teams. His 1.42 ERA is going to get him snapped up in a lot of leagues, but I’m not quite convinced he’s the next fantasy ace. Every dominant performance puts me closer to changing my mind though.

SPs of the Week: A.J. Burnett, PIT and Anthony Bass, SD

Relief Pitcher

WeekPlayerTMIPSVERAWHIPBBKY!%
W7Dale ThayerSD3.020.001.000345
W7Ernesto FrieriLAA2.100.000.862522

Fantasy owners are understandably having problems keeping up with the whirlwind of closer changes that happen on a weekly basis, which is why Thayer, while ineligible to appear on our team for a third straight week, is still available in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues. Casey Janssen, another guy we featured last week, is just out of our grasp, so we turn to a guy with electric stuff and a shot at closing in Ernesto Frieri. In fact, he was all set to close out Sunday’s win for the Angels, but a barrage of ninth-inning runs took away what could have been the first save of the season. As the bullpen’s only reliable lefty, Scott Downs just makes more sense as a setup guy being deployed in favorable matchups. That should give Frieri a good shot at running away with the job. He hasn’t given up a hit since May 2 or a run since April 30, and he now has 32 Ks in 18.1 innings before Monday’s action. It’s only a matter of time till he’s racking up saves for your team.

RP of the Week: Ernesto Frieri, LAA

 
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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