This week’s selection of waiver-wire talent includes a former top prospect swinging a hot bat for the Astros, a super-utility fantasy player with power, a power-hitting Yankee catcher and more.
Smoak has run into a dry spell over the past week and has us looking for a better 1B option. While his stay in the majors may be short and sweet, Brett Wallace has been on fire since taking over first with Carlos Lee on the DL. Wallace is 10-for-25 in his seven games, with two homers, three doubles and three walks to his credit. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Astros can get creative with the lineup and keep Wallace in there once Lee’s activated, but at the very least, Wallace is worth using for this week.
1B of the Week: Brett Wallace, HOU
A 3-for-5 day against the Astros saved what was shaping up as a terrible week for Beckham. Week 9 happened to feature several great performances from 2B-eligible free agents, and the most intriguing name of the bunch is Plouffe. The Twin has homers in two of his last three games and five of his last ten as well. He’s also thrown three straight two-hit performances on the board heading into this week. Eligible at 2B, 3B, SS and OF, Plouffe is well worth using while the Twins continue to run him out there every day.
2B of the Week: Trevor Plouffe, MIN
Scutaro has been a batting eye champ this year, but oddly he had four Ks and no walks last week. It turns out it didn’t matter as he was able to bat .333 while hitting his third homer of the year and stealing his sixth base. Theriot has latched on to a starting job in San Francisco by hitting .375 with three walks and just two strikeouts in 40 at-bats this month. After not stealing a base in 74 at-bats between April and May, he has four in the last seven games. That speed is nice, but there’s always the possibility that one cold stretch could take him out of the lineup, and he actually went 1-for-12 over the weekend despite the good week-long stats.
SS of the Week: Marco Scutaro, COL
After a 3-for-4 performance in his fourth game since being called up by the Indians on June 1, Chisenhall has only managed to pick up two hits in his last 21 at-bats. He’s in danger of losing regular playing time to Jose Lopez as a result. Frazier has picked up hits in seven of his last eight games, bringing his average up to .275 on the year. His average seems destined to drop, but with seven HRs in 109 at-bats, the Reds third baseman is roughly on a 35-HR pace in a 500 at-bat season. That kind of power plays in fantasy leagues regardless of average.
3B of the Week: Todd Frazier, CIN
Although Rosario has posted back-to-back hitless games after snapping a nine-game hitting streak, he still remains a quality power option at catcher with nine HRs in 120 at-bats. Martin had a disappointing .187/.333/.333 line heading into June, with a .667 OPS to his credit. He’s now at .216/.348/.432 with a .781 OPS after smacking four HRs over the past week. It seems his luck is finally turning for the better — he had a .189 BABIP in April and a .222 BABIP in May — so grab him now before it’s too late.
C of the Week: Russell Martin, NYY
Span had a rough week, posting three 0-for-4 games before missing a few days with flu-like symptoms, but he did manage a 2-for-5 game after coming back Saturday. Berry is headed to the bench with Austin Jackson back from the DL, despite Berry’s solid .290/.372/.406 line. He may see a few more starts this week with Brennan Boesch hobbling around on a bad ankle, but with Berry’s playing time in flux, we’ll look for a new OF pickup.
With Span struggling, Revere has picked up the slack for the Twins. He’s upped his stolen base rate with nine swipes in 101 at-bats this season after stealing 34 bases in 450 at-bats last year. The most impressive part of Revere’s game may be his strikeout rate, as he’s only fanned six times this season. If he keeps putting the ball in play, his speed should keep his average pretty high all year. Aoki put together back-to-back three-hit games on Wednesday and Thursday, with the latter featuring two solo shots. He then stole a base in three straight games over the weekend. He’s now hitting .300 on the year.
OFs of the Week: Ben Revere, MIN and Norichika Aoki, MIL
Burnett wasn’t flawless last week, but he did give us two wins while striking out 14 in 12.1 innings. Enough people have caught on to his dominance this year that we can’t recommend him as an add anymore in this column, but if he’s still available in your league, you definitely need to make room for him. Bauer remains on the farm but is seeing his ownership numbers rise as people anticipate his inevitable call-up. He pitched seven shutout innings for Reno on Friday, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out 11. We’re hanging on to him here, so we need just one replacement for Burnett’s spot.
Liriano was great in his first two starts after rejoining the rotation, but he gave up four runs to the Cubs in his most recent start. Those runs came on just four hits, but he also surrendered three walks, his seventh game with three walks or more this year. He has the strikeout rate to be an excellent fantasy starter if he can just curb the wildness a little like he had in his previous two starts. Hughes has surrendered at least one home run in each of his 12 starts this year, but the only runs he’s given up in two June starts have been off three solo bombs. He has a 63/18 K/BB ratio in 2012, suggesting he could be in for a nice run if he can just keep the ball in the park.
SPs of the Week: Phil Hughes, NYY and Trevor Bauer, ARI
You certainly don’t get much better than one hit and no walks allowed while picking up three saves in a week. Despite that, it seems like time is running out on Wilhelmsen has the Mariners’ closer, as Eric Wedge has said Brandon League will regain the closing gig soon. However, League remains a logical candidate to be traded over the next two months, so long-term save chasers may want to hang on to Wilhelmsen even after he returns to the eighth inning. Those interested in more immediate saves should take a look at Cook, as the A’s have said they’re moving to a closer-by-committee approach. Cook is far and away the most talented of the committee, and as we’ve seen in the past (Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, etc), high skills eventually win out most of the time. Cook’s allowed just seven hits in 26 innings this year, and if he hadn’t given up 15 walks, he may already have the job. Any improvement in walk rate could be the final step to him gaining the closer job full-time.
RP of the Week: Ryan Cook, OAK
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.
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!