StrategyJune 5, 2012


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Wide World of Waivers: The Week That Could’ve Been

By R.J. White

In this week’s Wide World of Waivers, we’ll rue the choices we didn’t make last week, going back to a few of the players we regrettably left in the waiver pool this week and determine whether we should say, “Better late than never.”

First Base

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W9Matt AdamsSTL3/17.176203016
W9Justin SmoakSEA8/23.348738032

While Adams cooled off in Week 9, Smoak had a three-game run where he picked up seven hits, three of them homers. Is he built to last? He’s not much better than his .238 average suggests, but he does have some power up his sleeve, especially when he’s not hitting at home. With Adams getting less playing time over the last few days as Allen Craig gets some time at first, we should feel fine dumping Adams for any solid starter, including Smoak, for now.

1B of the Week: Justin Smoak, SEA

Second Base

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W9Danny EspinosaWAS4/14.286301130
W9Gordon BeckhamCHW9/29.310538022

Espinosa didn’t see a lot of work this week, first getting most of Tuesday off (save for a pinch-hit walk) and then seeing Friday’s game rained out. He was solid, but Beckham was better. His 10-game hitting streak includes a 4-for-4 game against the Indians and a two-game stretch last week that saw him hit three homers, two off Felix Hernandez. Like Espinosa, he doesn’t have much batting average upside long-term, but he’s clearly hitting for more power right now, so we’ll grab him (a week too late).

2B of the Week: Gordon Beckham, CHW

Shortstop

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W9Sean RodriguezTB2/15.133201013
W9Marco ScuatroCOL8/25.320517219

Rodriguez hasn’t shown anything worth keeping him on our roster, so we’re actively looking for a good wire shortstop. How about Scutaro? The Rockies have been playing him at short with Try Tulowitzki on the DL. Hitting second, Scutaro has benefited from the scorching play of Carlos Gonzalez, leading to a big week for him at the plate. Having only struck out 15 times in just over 200 at-bats this year, Scutaro should continue to see his batting average rise from its current .257 level.

SS of the Week: Marco Scutaro, COL

Third Base

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W9Jordan PachecoCOL9/27.33340725
W9Lonnie ChisenhallCLE6/18.33332326

Finally, a guy we took last week trumped the guy we threw to the wolves (Pedro Alvarez). Pacheco rattled off a six-game hitting streak while stealing his first two bases of the season last week, but his inability to take a walk is going to preclude him from hitting .300 all year. Chisenhall was a highly regarded fantasy prospect last year who didn’t live up to his billing. Though he was expected to be the team’s starter at the hot corner at the beginning of this year, the Indians sent him to the minors to work on his hitting. Despite a poor K/BB ratio in Triple-A, Chisenhall managed to hit .324 with four HRs, ultimately leading to a call-up last week. He’s started out hot and is worth a pickup for those hurting at the position.

3B of the Week: Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE

Catcher

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W9George KottarasMIL1/6.16700002
W9Wilin RosarioCOL7/22.318727212

So much for that. Kottaras has been sidelined with a sore hamstring, which has prevented him from inheriting the starting role in Milwaukee after Jonathan Lucroy’s injury. Rosario is a highly-regarded catching prospect, one of the five best in baseball, that’s finally getting a shot at regular playing time with Ramon Hernandez on the DL. He’s certainly responded well this week, and his home run Monday takes his season total up to nine. The league leaders in HRs at the catcher position have 10, and Rosario is one of four catchers tied for third in that metric. With a 31/5 K/BB ratio, his average figures to be a hindrance, but he could be this year’s J.P. Arencibia if the team sticks with him as the starter on most days.

C of the Week: Wilin Rosario, COL

Outfielder

WeekPlayerTMH/ABAVGRHRRBISBY!%
W9Colby RasmusTOR5/22.227312034
W9Denard SpanMIN5/23.217300122
W9Delmon YoungDET10/29.345224027
W9Quintin BerryDET9/30.300502310

Rasmus is now owned in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues, taking him over our 33-percent cutoff point for this column. Which is perfectly fine with me, as his slow week has me ready to cash out, no matter what his ownership number looks like. We also opted for Span last week, and he clunked along with a slow week, but one that featured more walks than strikeouts, keeping his OBP high at .360. He seems like a guy we should stick with a while longer.

To replace Rasmus, we’re looking at a couple guys. Delmon Young had a couple HRs and a couple three-hit games, but he’s still well behind where fantasy owners expected him hitting behind Detroit’s dynamic duo. He seems to be heating up, but a different Tiger draws my eye. Berry has excelled at the top of the lineup, going 17-for-51 in his first 12 games despite striking out 17 times. He sports a .393 OBP and six SBs during that stretch, numbers that would put him among the league’s elite if he could maintain them over a full season. He had 19 SBs in 159 Triple-A at-bats before joining the big-league club, so we should expect the speed to keep up as long as he’s in the lineup.

OFs of the Week: Denard Span, MIN and Quintin Berry, DET

Starting Pitcher

WeekPlayerTMIPWERAWHIPBBKY!%
W9A.J. BurnettPIT7.010.000.572332
W9Felix DoubrontBOS12.122.921.0521343
W9Felipe PaulinoKC6.010.001.003532
W9Trevor BauerARI0.000.000.000014

Burnett posted his second straight scoreless outing last week while also picking up a win in his third straight decision. He’s given up a total of eight earned runs in seven starts this year, excluding the awful start that featured 12 earned runs. He’s the owner of a tidy 3.0 K/BB ratio and a quality 7.6 K/9 ratio on the year. While he remains eligible for our column, we’re sticking with him. Doubront went 2-for-2 in the wins and quality starts departments last week, and he’s now 6-2 on the year while striking out more than a batter per inning. We’d stick with him if we had him, but at 43 percent owned, we’ll have to bid farewell to him for our Waivers team. That means we’re auditioning two new pitchers this week.

Paulino has been excellent since joining the Royals in Week 5, throwing up a 1.70 ERA in six starts to go with a 1.22 WHIP and a 39/15 K/BB ratio in 37 innings. After walking five guys in his first three starts, he doubled that and doled out 10 free passes in his last three starts. How long can he keep up his elite ratios while posting a high walk rate? Let’s go with a guy that possesses a lot more upside, even though you have to keep him on your bench for now. Trevor Bauer has decimated minor-league hitting this year, posting a 9-1 record while striking out 91 batters in 73.1 innings and keeping his ERA under 2.00 this year. CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler tweeted he’d be called up soon, and this is an elite pitching prospect you want to grab as early as right now.

SPs of the Week: A.J. Burnett, PIT and Trevor Bauer, ARI

Relief Pitcher

WeekPlayerTMIPSVERAWHIPBBKY!%
W9Tom WilhelmsenSEA4.000.000.50048
W9James RussellCHC3.112.691.501416

The Mariners haven’t been providing convential save opportunities lately, and that’s led to two saves from Hisashi Iwakuma, one a three-inning, three-run appearance in a 21-8 final and another in the 12th inning of a game after Wilhelmsen pitched three brilliant innings in the ninth, 10th and 11th. It could have been a save opportunity for the supposed M’s closer, but the White Sox managed to push a run across in the eighth and tie the game up. Wilhelmsen still came out for the ninth and went three innings, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out four.

Russell is a short-term closer that actually does have a save to his credit in Week 9, and for that alone, he deserves our consideration. He probably would have been our pick before Monday, but Wilhelmsen came into a pressure situation in the eighth and delivered. With men on second and third, Wilhelmsen got Albert Pujols to ground into a fielder’s choice, with the runner being thrown out at home. He then struck out Mark Trumbo to end the inning and breezed through the ninth for his first save.

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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