Fantasy Baseball 2013 Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for Week 3
After last week's pitcher-heavy top 10 waiver pickups, the bats have battled back to balance things out this time around, with power being a common trait among them.
That doesn't mean that arms are underrepresented, though. In fact, the top two spots belong to a pair of right-handed starters.
Some players mentioned last time, including Kelvin Herrera, Clay Buchholz, Paul Maholm, Jose Fernandez and Jim Henderson, remain quality pickups, so be sure to consider them if they're still out there in free agency. In the interest of keeping the names fresh, though, let's avoid any repeats, mmmkay?
Before we get to the top 10, here are a few players owned in more than 75 percent of ESPN leagues* who weren't on last week's list and are worthy waiver-wire additions if available in your league:
Justin Masterson, RHP, Cleveland Indians (97.8 percent owned): Complete game shutout last time out brought his totals to one run on 10 hits allowed with a 20:8 K:BB in 22 innings.
John Buck, C, New York Mets (96.7 percent owned): NL RBI leader with 19 also hit homers in four straight games last week.
Mark Reynolds, 1B, Cleveland Indians (81.8 percent owned): Grand slam Saturday was already the fifth bomb for this streaky slugger.
*All ownership percentages come from ESPN fantasy baseball, and only players who are available in at least 25 percent of ESPN leagues were eligible to be considered.
1. Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (73.7 Percent Owned)
Shelby Miller's first start was only so-so, but his second outing was a thing of beauty.
The 22-year-old absolutely shut down a reeling Brewers offense, allowing just one hit while striking out eight over seven scoreless frames.
A big, hard-throwing right-hander who is one of baseball's top pitching prospects, Miller won the fifth starter's job out of spring and is a legitimate National League Rookie of the Year candidate.
Pitching for a good team in a pitcher's park and possessing swing-and-miss stuff (11.1 career K/9), Miller can contribute in wins, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts.
While there will be occasional speed bumps along the way for Miller, more outings similar to his last one should become the norm.
2. Andrew Bailey, RHP, Boston Red Sox (13.1 Percent Owned)
What was initially a purely speculative suggested add for saves-hunting owners has now become a must-add in most formats for just about all owners.
Joel Hanrahan, the new Red Sox closer, has had a rough go of it in his first season in Boston so far, allowing six runs on six hits and five walks in 4.2 innings. Even worse? Hanrahan is dealing with a right hamstring injury that's expected to keep him out of action for at least a few days.
Andrew Bailey has proved he can do the ninth-inning thing before and, for once, he looks like the healthy option. With no runs allowed on just one hit and two walks against seven strikeouts in 4.1 innings this year, Bailey will close games for Boston until Hanrahan comes back.
It's possible, though, that Bailey could pitch well enough to hang onto the job, or at least a share of it, even when Hanrahan returns.
3. Ervin Santana, RHP, Kansas City Royals (33.9 Percent Owned)
Ervin Santana is fantasy's fickle monster.
The 30-year-old righty has been great at times (see: 2008, 2010, 2011) and awful at others (see: 2007, 2009, 2012).
Santana is the kind of starter that owners often don't feel comfortable adding (much less putting in the starting lineup) until it's too late, but the good news is you can pick him up now and keep him on your bench for a turn or two to see which version will show up in 2013.
So far, he's been tantalizingly great in his first three starts (2.45 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 7.8 K/9), but keep close tabs on his home run-to-fly ball ratio; whenever it's been north of 10.0 percent, it usually spells trouble. After an MLB-worst 18.9 percent last year (39 homers), Santana is at 16.0 percent in his first season for the Royals after giving up his fourth long ball Sunday.
In other words, pick him up but tread carefully by avoiding him at homer-happy ballparks.
4. Chris Carter, 1B, Houston Astros (11.5 Percent Owned)
Chris Carter could be the cheapest 30-homer hitter you acquire this season.
Available in nearly 90 percent of leagues, the Astros slugger has hit four homers in his past five games. He's also guaranteed to get regular at-bats even though he might strike out close to 200 times and hit below .250, because, well, Houston has some problems.
Another bonus? Carter has been playing primarily left field, so he'll soon be eligible at both first base and outfield.
Hey, every little bit helps.
5. Evan Gattis, C, Atlanta Braves (62.0 Percent Owned)
After a three-homer week, including one off of Stephen Strasburg (see video), Evan Gattis has taken advantage of an opportunity that presented itself with Brian McCann's offseason shoulder surgery by becoming the Braves starting catcher. For now.
While Gattis' defensive chops have been a topic of debate among evaluators and his role on the Braves will be somewhat in flux once McCann is ready to return sometime near the end of April, it's hard not to root for a 26-year-old rookie with a journey that took him away from baseball for several years before he found his way back.
It's also hard not to pick him up right now if the backstop you drafted isn't hitting (ahem, Matt Wieters) or if you play in a two-catcher format. As long as Gattis hits, he'll stick, and he could split his time as a backup at catcher, left field and first base.
6. Bud Norris, RHP, Houston Astros (15.0 Percent Owned)
Why would you want an Astros pitcher, right?
Well, for one thing, Bud Norris is actually not terrible, especially if you're searching for some strikeout help (8.8 career K/9). For another? He's probably not going to be an Astros pitcher by midseason.
Look, Houston's front office is rebuilding the club, like, from scratch, so anyone who's of any value as a trade chip is as good as gone. Norris is 28 years old and has shown flashes—a 1.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP so far in 2013—so there's a good chance he could be in for a career year, particularly if he can escape Houston for a contending club.
7. Matt Adams, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals (8.2 Percent Owned)
Matt Adams is trying to bash his way into the Cardinals lineup.
The 24-year-old rookie smacked his third homer in his last three games Sunday, and he's hitting .611 overall (11-for-18).
Trouble is there's no easy way to fit Adams in on a regular basis without an injury to one of the big bats ahead of him on the depth chart. Then again, Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig haven't exactly been bastions of health, so it's worth grabbing Adams now and seeing how things play out.
Worse comes to worse, you can always pick up one of those voodoo dolls from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
8. Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (50.3 Percent Owned)
To pick up Starling Marte is to take a chance on raw tools transforming into fantasy production.
The 24-year-old outfielder hasn't been lacking in either so far in his first full year in the majors, as he's hitting .347 with two steals and launched his first homer Sunday. Plus, he's been hitting out of the leadoff spot, so he's also scored nine runs.
Yes, like Hansel, Marte is so hot right now, but he's bound to be streaky and could fall victim to some lengthy slumps, given his propensity to swing at most everything (just 10 walks in his first 229 big league plate appearances).
Still, Marte has the goods to reach double-digits in homers and 20-plus steals. And maybe even use that square jawline pictured above to rack up a few blue steels.
9. Jean Segura, SS, Milwaukee Brewers (70.7 Percent Owned)
A former top prospect in the Angels system, Jean Segura's fantasy value comes mostly from his position.
While the 23-year-old has the speed to swipe 20-30 bases, he's not likely to contribute much else outside of a passable batting average and perhaps some runs scored if he can work his way toward the top of the lineup.
Given the dearth of starter-worthy shortstops, though, Segura isn't a bad guy to gamble on, especially if he can stay hot—he's currently hitting well over his head with a .417 average—once the likes of Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart are back to full health.
Just beware that Segura has had some injury issues himself and has reached the 250-at-bat plateau only twice since turning pro in 2007.
10. James Russell, LHP, Chicago Cubs (7.0 Percent Owned)
Another week, another Cubs closer to add to the top pickups list.
After Kyuji Fujikawa took over the job from Carlos Marmol and became one of last week's biggest waiver-wire gets, the Japanese import went and rewarded those who snatched him up with a trip to the DL for a forearm strain.
Manager Dale Sveum, bless his heart, already has said that Marmol will not get his old gig back; instead, the Cubs will use a closer-by-committee for the time being.
That committee, though, could be down to one after righty Shawn Camp had a complete meltdown Sunday against the Giants.
Russell, 27, doesn't fit the typical closer mold as both a lefty and a finesse pitcher (88.6 mph fastball, per FanGraphs), but by virtue of not allowing a run in his first four innings this year, he's also the best Cubs reliever at the moment.
Only if you're desperate, though, please.
Chad Billingsley, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (16.8 percent owned): First start back from injury went well (five hits, one earned run in six innings), and Dodgers need him to step up without Greinke.
Chris Young, OF, Oakland Athletics (3.2 percent owned): His power-speed combo will get some more run while Yoenis Cespedes is on the DL and Coco Crisp is battling injury, too.
Tony Cingrani, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (0.3 percent owned): Rookie southpaw is leading minors with 26 K's in 14.1 innings at Triple-A and could get call to start for Cincy if Johnny Cueto (triceps) can't. Keeper leaguers should apply now.
Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Minnesota Twins (0.0 percent owned): High-average, solid power lefty bat (.316/.374/.540 career) will eventually make mark, but for now, this 21-year-old is likely just a temporary roster Band-Aid. More of a second-half or 2014 play but great keeper option.