MLB Waiver Wire

by Jason Hoffmann on July 23, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


Welcome to this week's Waiver Wire, your one-stop shop for all things fantasy. Are you looking for an elite stolen base threat? We've got two of them on the shelves that won't cost you much at all. If you need a starting pitcher, we've got four options this week. Choose the accessories that best fit your tastes - strikeout help, ERA/WHIP help, or (gasp!) strikeout and ERA/WHIP help! In the closer aisle (not to be confused with the closeout aisle), we have a pitcher that was a stopper before and is oh-so-close to getting the role back. All this, plus a few options at other positions, will be provided to you in this week's column.

Catchers

Yorvit Torrealba, Colorado Rockies - For those of you that don't own an elite fantasy catcher and are constantly searching for the 'hot hand', let us introduce you to the position's current hot hitter. Since June 25, spanning 52 at-bats, Torrealba is batting .385 with 12 runs scored, two homers and seven RBI. He'll continue to see the bulk of the catching duties for now because Chris Iannetta, the team's other catcher, is hitless in his last 23 at-bats. Torrealba was available in 97 percent of leagues polled and is worth a pickup - for a short-term lineup boost or, possibly, for the rest of the season.

First Basemen

Ryan Garko, Cleveland Indians - If you charted Garko's fantasy stock, it would best resemble the ups and downs of a rollercoaster. It was sky-high as late as June 1, when he was batting .346 with seven homers and 21 RBI, but it plummeted after a putrid month of June (.192 BA, two homers in 74 at-bats). But Garko's value has been climbing again since June 30, thanks to a 15-game hitting streak during which he is hitting .471 with eight doubles, three homers and 10 RBI. Garko was available in 96 percent of leagues polled and can benefit any lineup with his recent hot stretch, but don't be afraid to bench him if a June-like swoon follows.

Second Basemen

Mike Fontenot, Chicago Cubs - Now that shortstop Cesar Izturis has been dealt to Pittsburgh, owners looking for a second baseman can safely look Fontenot's way. The trade means that Ryan Theriot will take over the starting role at shortstop, which gives Fontenot a shot at plenty of time at second base. Fontenot's .331 average can help any fantasy lineup, and he can add a little pop (three homers, 18 RBI) and some speed (five stolen bases) as well plenty of run-scoring chances in the potent Cubs' lineup. Fontenot was available in over 96 percent of leagues polled.

Outfielders

Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers - Kemp may not have a full-time slot in the Dodgers' lineup yet, but he's putting up big-time fantasy numbers nonetheless. He's batting .374 with six homers and 23 RBI on the season, including a .352 average with five home runs and 15 RBI in 54 July at-bats. If you're not bothered by a few DNPs or games with just one at-bat, Kemp could provide you with better power numbers than you'd get from several full-timers. Kemp was available in 99 percent of leagues polled.

Corey Patterson, Baltimore Orioles - We'll start our double-shot of speedsters with Patterson, who was available in 82 percent of leagues polled. Patterson struggled for the first two-plus months, reaching a low point on June 17 when his average fell to .205. His fantasy value has been soaring since, as Patterson is batting .370 with 18 runs, three homers and 12 stolen bases in his last 29 games. Though Patterson's career .257 average suggests he'll likely fall off from his current pace, he should still get fantasy owners a dozen (or more) stolen bases and the potential for six or more homers, as well.

Scott Podsednik, Chicago White Sox - Podsednik is our second highlighted speed demon this week. He hasn't done much on the field this year because, well, he hasn't been on the field much. Injuries have limited Podsednik to only 19 games, during which he is batting .261 with four stolen bases. Podsednik won't be nearly the power threat that Patterson is, but he's much more aggressive on the bases and could approach 20 steals over the last two months. Since his latest injury was to his ribcage and had nothing to do with his legs, Podsednik could literally start running out of the gates and pile up steals shortly after he's activated. He was owned in only 18 percent of leagues polled.

Starting Pitchers

Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies - Jimenez was available in virtually every league polled, but he may be of use to owners in desperate need of strikeout help. Jimenez fanned 89 batters in 103 innings at Triple-A Colorado Springs this year, and he entered the season averaging exactly one strikeout per inning over his minor league career. Jimenez fanned five in his first start, a five-inning outing at Washington, and should remain in the Rockies' rotation with former starter Taylor Buchholz moving to the bullpen. But if you're looking to add Jimenez, be wary of the rest of his numbers - he had a 5.85 ERA and 1.67 WHIP at Colorado Springs this year, and half of his starts will come at Coors Field.

Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals - Once the news came out that starter Chris Carpenter (elbow) would face Tommy John surgery, the Cardinals suddenly needed to find a new ace for their rotation. Wainwright has fit the part of late, with three wins, a 1.29 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in three July starts. Stretching back to the end of April, Wainwright is 8-5 with a 3.15 ERA and has allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of his last 14 starts. He's not an elite strikeout pitcher, with a 5.49 K/9 IP average on the year, but he'll still help you in the other fantasy categories. Wainwright was owned in only 16 percent of leagues polled.

Matt Garza, Minnesota Twins - Last Sunday, Garza did something that he hadn't done in his 15 innings with the Twins - allow an earned run. Garza allowed three earned runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings that day, but even with the rough outing he still has an exceptional 1.33 ERA and 1.18 WHIP with Minnesota. Garza fanned 95 hitters in 92 innings at Triple-A Rochester this year and should be a solid fantasy option in that category, but he has had control issues in the past that could hurt owners in the ERA/WHIP areas if they crop up again. So far, his control has been decent with the Twins (seven walks in 20 2/3 IP). Garza was available in 98 percent of leagues polled.

Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers - With Ben Sheets (finger) on the disabled list again, Gallardo found himself back in the Brewers' rotation last week. He threw six shutout innings to earn the win in his last start, giving him a 2-1 record with a 2.34 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings. Gallardo was sent to the pen when Chris Capuano came back a couple weeks ago in an attempt to limit his innings, but the 21-year-old's performance thus far may force the Brewers to alter that plan. Gallardo was owned in only 17 percent of leagues polled and should be added in all formats, because his value to owners could skyrocket if his stay in the rotation becomes permanent.

Relief Pitchers

Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals - Unlike most players on this list, Soria is already owned by a fair number of fantasy owners - he was available in only 52 percent of leagues polled. That's because Soria has been solid overall for the Royals this year (2.34 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 51 K in 42 1/3 IP), and also because he has had some success saving games with Kansas City (10 saves in 13 chances). Soria's fantasy value could be set to explode because he may reclaim the Royals' closing duties soon - rumors are swirling that current Royals closer Octavio Dotel could to be dealt to a contender. With the July 31 trade deadline approaching quickly, your time to pick up Soria may be running out. 

Manny Delcarmen, Boston Red Sox - Since joining the Red Sox in mid-June, Delcarmen has played a huge role in stabilizing their bullpen. Delcarmen has been scored on in only two of his 15 appearances thus far, and he owns a 1.69 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with as many strikeouts (16) as innings pitched. Delcarmen may not see any save opportunities this season, but he'll still help fantasy owners looking to protect their ERA/WHIP categories with a strikeout boost, as well. Delcarmen was available in over 99 percent of leagues polled.

Bench Stashers

The following list is composed of players that have been dropped on a lot of waiver wires lately and that you should consider picking up. These players may not help you right away, but they have track records or specialties that can help you down the road.

Adrian Beltre, 3B, Seattle Mariners - Percent Available: 28

Jason Bay, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates - Percent Available: 1

Chris Capuano, SP, Milwaukee Brewers - Percent Available: 64

Johnny Damon, OF, New York Yankees - Percent Available: 15

Tom Gordon, RP, Philadelphia Phillies - Percent Available: 40

Rich Harden, SP, Oakland Athletics - Percent Available: 42

Bill Hall, OF, Milwaukee Brewers - Percent Available: 41

Rich Hill, SP, Chicago Cubs - Percent Available: 15

Randy Johnson, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks - Percent Available: 32

Ian Kinsler, 2B, Texas Rangers - Percent Available: 44

Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco Giants - Percent Available: 35

Nick Markakis, OF, Baltimore Orioles - Percent Available: 42

Brett Myers, RP, Philadelphia Phillies - Percent Available: 12

Oliver Perez, SP, New York Mets - Percent Available: 27

Scott Rolen, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals - Percent Available: 66

Richie Sexson, 1B, Seattle Mariners - Percent Available: 53

Willy Taveras, OF, Colorado Rockies - Percent Available: 40

Mark Teahen, OF/3B, Kansas City Royals - Percent Available: 60

Frank Thomas, DH, Toronto Blue Jays - Percent Available: 73

Delmon Young, OF, Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Percent Available: 40

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About Jason Hoffmann

A lifelong Wisconsin resident, Jason Hoffmann has seen plenty of good (Green Bay Packers) and bad (Milwaukee Brewers) in sports. Armed with a statistics degree from UW-Madison, Hoffmann prides himself in finding important trends that cannot be seen by simply scanning box scores. Hoffmann has been involved in competitive fantasy baseball and basketball since 1999 and a KFFL contributor since 2004.

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