Fantasy Baseball 2012: Top 10 Waiver-Wire Pickups in Roto Leagues
The following slideshow touts the top 10 waiver-wire pickups right now, recognizing the best free agents from the majority of 12-team roto leagues.
For the most part, this list rewards players who have fostered productive starts (or finishes) to the 2012 season.
The lone exception for our final waiver-wire countdown: An introduction to one of baseball's most heralded phenoms.
Enjoy the show!
10. (3B) Matt Dominguez, Houston Astros
Skinny: A one-time gem within the Marlins farm system, Matt Dominguez has performed well with the Astros in recent weeks, racking up four homers, 12 RBI and a .290 batting average in 69 major league at-bats.
And given the decimated state of the Houston depth chart, Dominguez should be primed for another 14 or 15 starts before the season wraps.
Bottom line: In 12- or 14-team leagues, Dominguez would be a decent corner-infield option, especially for those seeking cheap power.
9. (SP) Andrew Werner, San Diego Padres
Skinny: Of his last five starts, his only outings in the majors this season, Andrew Werner has surrendered two or less runs four times.
And since Aug. 28, Werner boasts per-outing averages of 6.5 strikeouts and 1.25 walks.
8. (2B) Darwin Barney, Chicago Cubs
Skinny: At this point of the fantasy season, pennant-hungry owners care more about production than name-brand association.
That makes Darwin Barney the perfect acquisition for mid-September.
He's currently riding a 13-game hit streak and boasts a .391 average with nine runs in the last 15 days.
7. (1B/OF) Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres
Skinny: Yonder Alonso has produced modest stats in his first season with the Padres, rolling for eight homers, 56 RBI, 44 runs and a .276 batting average.
But the overall numbers don't tell the whole story with Alonso, a dual-position asset in fantasy.
Since Sept. 3, Alonso has been hitting at a .325 clip. In the last seven days, the smooth-swinging hitter boasts a .444 batting average, with one homer and seven RBI.
6. (OF) Nate McLouth, Baltimore Orioles
Skinny: It may surprise some people to see Nate McLouth playing a pivotal role on a pennant-contending ballclub.
It may surprise others to see McLouth even claiming a spot on a major league roster.
Either way, McLouth has forged a substantial turnaround with the Orioles (after getting dumped by the Pirates), tallying four homers, 15 RBI, 26 runs and a .348 on-base percentage in 41 games.
Of equal importance, McLouth has been on fire in recent weeks. Since Sept. 3, he has two homers, 11 runs and a .328 batting average.
5. (SP) Zach Britton, Baltimore Orioles
Skinny: When discussing Zach Britton, I'll conveniently ignore his last two outings (10 runs allowed) and focus the merits of his preceding four starts.
From Aug. 18 to Sept. 4, spanning 28.2 innings, Britton had the following numbers: 4-0, 0.96 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 31/7 K-BB ratio.
Granted, it's a small sample size. But it's substantial enough for the 24-year-old Britton to garner top-60 consideration (among starting pitchers) heading into spring training.
4. (SP) Ervin Santana, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Skinny: Apparently, it's not too late for Ervin Santana to leave an indelible mark on the 2012 season.
Forget about the 5.08 ERA, the eight wins or measly 121 strikeouts (compared to his 214 from 2008).
Of his last six starts, Santana has surrendered two or less runs five times. And in that span, he boasts a 3-2 record, 2.70 ERA and 34/12 K-BB ratio.
For good measure, Santana is also a viable threat for eight, nine or 10 strikeouts in any of his remaining starts.
3. (SP) Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles
Skinny: Only skipper Buck Showalter and Orioles management know the short-term plan for phenom Dylan Bundy.
But from a pure talent standpoint, no member of this countdown—and only select pitchers in the major leagues—can relate to Bundy's three-level dominance in the minors this season: 9-3, 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 119/28 K-BB ratio.
Oh, by the way, Bundy doesn't turn 20 until November. Youthful bias aside, he's seemingly on track to be a full-fledged member of the Baltimore rotation in 2013.
2. (2B) Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox
Skinny: There are many stages to Gordon Beckham's fantasy game—some good, some bad.
But right now, only the following numbers matter over the next two weeks:
Since Aug. 20, Beckham has five homers, 16 RBI, 13 runs and a .325 batting average.
And in the last 15 days, the White Sox second baseman has three homers and a .324 batting average.
1. (SP) Derek Holland, Texas Rangers
Skinny: Of his last seven starts, spanning 48.1 innings, Derek Holland has allowed three or less runs six times.
And in that span, he's a perfect 7-for-7 in giving up fewer than three walks per outing.
The enigmatic southpaw, who has no fear of performing Harry Caray impressions while working as a TV weatherman, is also averaging 6.6 strikeouts since Aug. 11.
Bottom line: Despite a shaky start to a once-promising fantasy season, Holland (3-0 since mid-August) has acquitted himself nicely in the latter months...so much that he could be a top-50 starting pitcher in 2013.