|April 26th, 2009 JunkyardJake.Com
Chris Duncan, St. Louis Cardinals, OF,1B
While it's true that Tony LaRussa's somewhat capricious lineup strategy defies any reasonable explanation on most days, Chris Duncan has most frequently been penciled in as the left-fielder batting from the #4 spot, so it's surprising to see that he is available in a fair amount of leagues.
Granted, Duncan does have a history of fickle performance. Probably a good example of his unpredictable range of batting competence can be observed by comparing his August 2006 output, when he hit .361 with 9 HRs, with his calamitous month of August 2007, when he hit .191 with one HR.
However, until Duncan gets benched, goes into a slump, starts smoking hemp and hanging out with jazz musicians or you see a Tony LaRussa lineup that has Fred Bird in left field, and Adam Wainwright at 2nd base, he is certainly useful for fantasy purposes.
Available in 38% of all CBSSportsline leagues.
Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates, SP
Yes, you have been burned before by various members of the Pittsburgh Pirates suspect pitching staff in the recent past, in some cases (i.e. Zach Duke for the past three years), you've not only been proverbially burned, but scornfully mocked, ostracized and scoffed at by friends, strangers and town folk alike.
So why would you want to subject yourself to more abuse by considering Ross Ohlendorf for your fantasy roster? Well, good point, but there are some encouraging signs that new pitching coach Joe Kerrigan has helped to return the Pirates staff back to respectability. Believe it or not, after getting swatted around like a pinata last year (5.08 ERA, .286 BAA), Pirate pitchers actually boast the best ERA in the league (3.07 ERA, .242 BAA) over the first couple weeks of 2009.
Ohlendorf was considered a top prospect in the Yankees system, and seems to have responded well to Kerrigan's mentoring so far. As seen in his last 7 shutout innings outing versus Florida, when he can throw his sinking 90-92 fastball for strikes, he can be very effective.
Available in 83% of all CBSSportsline leagues.
Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay Rays, SS
Last October with America in the throes of a cataclysmic economic crisis, paralyzed with political uncertainty and struggling to endure the untimely release of yet another Queen Latifah movie, not to mention 'High School Musical 3: Senior Year', our nation sorely needed a hero, and Jason Bartlett stepped up to the challenge. That's right, Bartlett succeeded in stealing the first base of the 2008 World Series, and according to the terms of Taco Bell's most dim-witted promotion yet, 'Steal a Base, Steal a Taco', won a free taco for the entire country.
While this accomplishment alone should make you want to check your waiver wire for Bartlett, also note that he is off to a torrid start in the new 2009 season, with 5 SBs in 15 games a .352 BA, and even 2 uncharacteristic HRs. If we enter the realm of 'complete silliness with extrapolated numbers' for a second, assuming that Bartlett can make it through a 162 game season, he is on pace to steal about 40 bases and hit 21 HRs (his career high is 5 HRs, so that ain't going to happen, but fun to imagine anyway).
Available in 37% of all CBSSportsline leagues.
Glen Perkins, Minnesota Twins, SP
Pitching in front of the powder-puff Minnesota Twins offense, with a fastball that typically sits around 89 MPH, you could say that Glen Perkins is not the most exciting waiver wire alternative. In fact, you can almost picture the native Minnesotan riding around in a Toyota Prius, drinking a vitamin water and listening to the Dave Matthews Band. Nonetheless, sometimes bland is useful when it comes to fantasy pitchers, and if Perkins can keep on pitching exactly 8 innings a game, with an average 4 Ks, 1.50 ERA and 0.83 Whip like he has over his first three starts, who cares if his methodical fastball/slider/changeup repertoire causes drowsiness.
Speaking of Perkins pitch selection, it's interesting to note that he has almost completely abandoned his curveball, and now throws his slider about 3 times as often as he did last year. It seems like this adjustment has helped him entice hitters into a swinging at bad pitches more often in 2009. Compared to a 23% rate last year, hitters have been swinging at pitches outside the strikezone about 38% time for Perkins this year.
Available in 40% of all CBSSportsline leagues.
Other Players To Consider:
Jason Kubel,Minnesota Twins,OF
Available in 37% of all CBSSportsline leagues.
John Baker,Florida Marlins,C
Available in 42% of all CBSSportsline leagues.
Jordan Zimmermann,Washington Nationals,SP
Available in 36% of all CBSSportsline leagues.
Ian Stewart,Colorado Rockies,3B,OF
Available in 39% of all CBSSportsline leagues.
Phil Hughes,NY Yankees,SP
Available in 75% of all CBSSportsline leagues.