StrategyMay 29, 2012

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Wide World of Waivers: Welcome Back, Kottaras

By R.J. White

Welcome to our weekly Wide World of Waivers section. We’ll pit returning waiver additions Matt Adams and A.J. Burnett against new competitors while finding replacements for graduating players that are finding themselves owned in more and more leagues, like A.J. Ellis, Ernesto Frieri and Dayan Viciedo. To the infield!

First Base

W8Matt AdamsSTL8/25.320212019
W8Justin SmoakSEA6/23.261227111

Adams put together a great first full week, hitting four doubles and a homer while also walking twice. At this point, it seems likely he’ll still play the majority of the time at first when Allen Craig returns from the DL. We’re sticking with him over Justin Smoak, who’s hit four homers in the last three weeks and seven all year. He has a whopping 42/9 K/BB ratio; don’t expect that .218 average to climb anytime soon.

1B of the Week: Matt Adams, STL

Second Base

W8Danny EspinosaWAS5/20.250413232
W8Gordon BeckhamCHW8/26.30861108

Espinosa had a nice little week, but notice that he only picked up five hits to go along with his nice counting numbers. He’s going to struggle all year with average, mixing in plenty of 0-for-3s and 0-for-4s into his days with homers and steals. But you have to like the fact that he has two doubles and at least one homer in each of his last three weeks. Enjoy the power. Gordon Beckham hasn’t been fantasy relevant in standard leagues since his rookie season, but he may finally be rediscovering that 2009 magic. He has a solid 9/6 K/BB ratio in his last three weeks, three homers in the last two weeks and five homers in the last four weeks. If you can’t get Espinosa, Beckham represents nice upside.

2B of the Week: Danny Espinosa, WAS


W8Sean RodriguezTB4/20.200213015
W8Zack CozartCIN9/30.300423027

Rodriguez managed to hit his third homer in the last two weeks, but that’s all for his Week 8 production. If we’re going to jump ship on S-Rod, Cozart looks like the clear guy to pick up after his .300, two-HR week. However, .300 weeks aren’t going to be the norm when you have a 44/11 K/BB ratio. I’m going to keep Rodriguez and hope he continues to hit homers. If you’re looking deeper, check out Joaquin Arias, who has a regular gig filling in for Pablo Sandoval at third base. He hit .345 last week with two SBs and even managed a home run.

SS of the Week: Sean Rodriguez, TB

Third Base

W8Pedro AlvarezPIT5/20.200216017
W8Jordan PachecoCOL9/25.36030102

Alvarez has somehow managed to pick up a hit in six straight games, including a homer Sunday. He still has a nasty 54/12 K/BB ratio after pathetic performances in Weeks 6 and 7, but maybe he’s on the verge of another tear. Pacheco has now hit over .300 in each of his last two weeks while playing every day. He had himself a nice Memorial Day doubleheader, going 3-for-10 with a triple and three RBI. He’ll certainly have to look over his shoulder for the eventual promotion of Nolan Arenado, but I’d feel comfortable plugging him and his .289 average in for now.

3B of the Week: Jordan Pacheco, COL


W8A.J. EllisLAD4/14.286424037
W8George KottarasMIL1/8.12520002

It’s about time. Ellis is finally up over our 33 percent cutoff line after hitting a couple homers. He’s now the proud owner of a .315/.431/.508 line, and he should continue to get picked up in most leagues, saving us from talking about him again after today. This week’s catcher suggestion hit three homers in his first 11 at-bats of the season, but he has just four hits over the last five weeks while playing sparingly. However, George Kottaras is now set to take over starter duties with Jonathan Lucroy out for a month. He should be picked up in most two-catcher leagues over the next few days, especially since, like Ellis, he’s demonstrated an elite ability to take a walk. Despite his .217 average, he owns a .439 OBP, adding 19 walks to his 10 hits this year.

C of the Week: George Kottaras, MIL


W8Dayan ViciedoCHW9/24.3756310050
W8Peter BourjosLAA3/14.214200027
W8Colby RasmusTOR9/27.333524232
W8Denard SpanMIN11/28.393512221

Viciedo’s second consecutive 10-RBI week has him owned in half of Yahoo’s leagues right now. Well, that and the seven homers he’s hit over the last two weeks. Despite the prodigious power, I’d be looking to sell high immediately. A 35/4 K/BB ratio screams that his 21-for-51 hot streak is a mirage, not a sign of things to come. Bourjos was expected to play more with Vernon Wells out, but it took Torii Hunter’s placement on the restricted list to get him some at-bats. Hunter is expected back Tuesday, so figure Bourjos goes back to being a fourth OF. That means we need two replacements for this week.

Rasmus has been a disappointment seemingly forever, but he turned in an outstanding week, hitting two homers, four doubles and one triple while also stealing two bases. He hit second in the order the last three games, resulting in two homers and six hits total in 15 at-bats. If he sticks in front of Jose Bautista, he could finally deliver on his potential. Span is now hitting .306 as the Twins’ leadoff hitter while stealing six bases this year. He put together four straight multi-hit games Thursday through Sunday, one of which included his first homer of the year. He’s plenty capable of keeping his average high, so don’t be afraid to take the leap.

OFs of the Week: Colby Rasmus, TOR and Denard Span, MIN

Starting Pitcher

W8A.J. BurnettPIT5.110.001.502618
W8Anthony BassSD5.1010.132.063426
W8Felix DoubrontBOS6.003.001.002919
W8J.A. HappHOU12.112.191.464165

Burnett continued his quality pitching this week, shutting out the Cubs for 5.1 innings. Take out his 12-run monstrosity on May 2 and you have a guy that has a 1.79 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 37/11 K/BB ratio over six starts. You’d take that, right? So why is he still available in 82 percent of Y! leagues after posting four straight excellent starts? Bass gave up six runs in a start last week for the second time this season, but like Burnett, he’s been awesome in the rest of his starts. As you know, he remains a must-use when pitching in Petco.

Doubront kicked off a two-start week with another good performance Monday, striking out six in six innings while allowing two runs and picking up his fifth win of the season. He has 59 Ks in 56 innings, and his 24 walks are palatable in the face of that dominance. He’s made quick work of the Indians, Rays, Orioles and Tigers in his last four starts and should continue to be a solid contributor to fantasy teams. Even if he regresses a little, how can you not love that K rate? Happ has put a lot of people on base over his last three starts, but he’s only given up a total of three runs in those games. His latest was a 10-K effort that put him on a strikeout-per-inning pace. It’s always worth trying to make room for 9.0 K/9 starters on your team.

SPs of the Week: A.J. Burnett, PIT and Felix Doubront, BOS

Relief Pitcher

W8Ernesto FrieriLAA4.120.000.693940
W8Tom WilhelmsenSEA3.009.001.33198

Frieri’s working as the co-closer for the Angels with lefty Scott Downs, and he still hasn’t given up a run since L.A. traded for him. Impressively, 23 of his 33 outs with the Angels have been Ks, bringing his K/9 rate to 16.3 this year! He’s an extremely valuable piece in leagues with innings limits, as he’s essentially providing two Ks per inning right now without giving up any runs. Alas, he’s unavailable to continue on our team. The Mariners say they’re going with a committee to replaced the deposed Brandon League, but Tom Wilhelmsen figures to be the guy who emerges. He has seven holds this year and has been a key eighth-inning contributor, striking out 30 batters in 24.1 innings this season. Some have suggested Steve Delabar could be a factor for Seattle, but he took the loss Monday while recording just one out in the sixth inning of a 1-1 game. That doesn’t scream “Closer!” to me.

RP of the Week: Tom Wilhelmsen, SEA

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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