Fantasy Baseball 2013 Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for Week 7
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A new week, another batch of waiver-wire adds, just the way you like 'em—hot and fresh out of the oven.
Some players mentioned last time, including Michael Saunders, Phil Hughes, Jeremy Guthrie and Jose Fernandez, are already owned in most leagues by now but remain quality pickups if still available. In the interest of keeping the names new, though, let's avoid any repeats.
All ownership percentages come from ESPN fantasy baseball. Players owned in more than 51 percent of leagues were not considered.
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Andy Pettitte, LHP, Yankees (48.1 Percent Owned): The veteran no longer gets much fantasy love, but Pettitte is still pretty consistent—aside from that surprising disaster against the Astros, of all teams, at the end of April. With his next outing due to come against the Mariners, hopefully he'll avoid a similar fate against another light-hitting squad.
Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, Indians (3.8 Percent Owned): Don't look now, but Jimenez has given up just three earned runs on 10 hits over 17.2 innings, and most importantly, a 20:6 K:BB ratio. Understandable if you don't trust him, but don't overlook either.
Ryan Doumit, C/OF, Twins (16.3 Percent Owned): Doumit's season stats still don't look pretty, especially that .222 BA, but he's hit all three of his homers, driven in seven of his 15 RBI and scored seven of his 15 runs in his past six games. If you need a hot catcher-eligible hitter, you could do worse.
John Lackey, RHP, Red Sox (7.9 Percent Owned): Leaving his first start of 2013 early because of a strained biceps after missing all of 2012 with TJ surgery, Lackey has been all but forgotten about by fantasy owners, despite a 2.82 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 9.7 K/9.
Scott Kazmir, LHP, Indians (9.0 Percent Owned): It's been an incredibly long road back for Kazmir (pictured), but the southpaw has regained his fastball (now back in the low-90s) and has been strong each of his past three outings, culminating in Thursday's win over the hot-hitting A's in which he whiffed 10 and allowed just one earned run over six frames.
Jose Veras, RHP, Astros (40.3 Percent Owned): Veras started off poorly, which is why his ERA is still an unsightly 4.50, but that 1.14 WHIP is fine, he's struck out 16 in 14 innings and yes, the Astros can offer the occasional save opp, as Veras' four saves prove.
Koji Uehara, RHP, Red Sox (13.8 Percent Owned): Without both Andrew Bailey (on the DL) and Joel Hanrahan (out for season), the Sox are expected to turn to Junichi Tazawa to close for now, but Uehara could sneak into the mix. Even if he doesn't, his 2.45 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 12.3 K/9 make him worth rostering.
David Hernandez, RHP, Diamondbacks (14.9 Percent Owned): Similar to Uehara, Hernandez is behind Heath Bell in the pecking order while J.J. Putz is on the shelf, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Hernandez get the next save chance in the desert after Bell blew the save Sunday.
Will Venable, OF, Padres (5.8 Percent Owned): Often ignored because he doesn't play every day, Venable is more valuable in deep leagues or NL-only formats, but he's tallied three homers and four swipes over his past nine games. A 15-homer, 25-steal campaign is certainly possible.
Scott Feldman, RHP, Cubs (24.1 Percent Owned): Admittedly, it feels a little icky to recommend Feldman, but the veteran has been pretty great over his past five: 1.60 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 29:10 K:BB over 33.2 IP. Don't expect it to last, but consider him if you need a spot starter.
Roberto Hernandez, RHP, Rays (9.1 Percent Owned): The Artist Formerly Known As Fausto owns a 4.43 ERA, but after his third quality start—and second win—of the season Sunday against the Padres, Hernandez has a 1.24 WHIP and a surprising 8.6 K/9. Looks like another Rays reclamation project success.
Hector Santiago, LHP, White Sox (3.9 Percent Owned): You may remember Santiago from his failure to hang onto the closer role as a rookie last year, but what you might not have realized is the 25-year-old is actually a pretty good starter. After a successful four-start stint last September, Santiago has looked strong his past two turns since rejoining the rotation after Gavin Floyd went down for the year.
Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners (0.0 Percent Owned): At some point, the lack of production from Seattle shortstops—Brendan Ryan and Robert Andino have combined to post a triple-slash of .112/.194/.112—has to lead to a change. Franklin, a 22-year-old switch-hitter, is hitting .349 with four homers, 16 RBI, five steals and a 16:23 K:BB at Triple-A. Memo to Mariners management: Please, stop subjecting us to this madness. Sincerely, baseball.
10. Francisco Liriano, LHP, Pirates (6.6 Percent Owned)
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Finally back from an offseason injury to his non-throwing arm, Francisco Liriano made his initial start of the 2013 season on Saturday, and it went well enough to make him an intriguing fantasy option again.
On the heels of an impressive rehab assignment, the southpaw tossed only 5.1 innings and did allow eight baserunners, but he held the Mets to only one run and whiffed nine.
It will be interesting to see how Liriano, who's now a member of the National League for the first time in his career, fares against lineups that aren't as deep as they are in the Junior Circuit. If he can take advantage of some of the weaker hitters in the final third of batting orders (including the opposing pitcher), he may be able to maintain the 9.1 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 career rates and perhaps be a little less hittable.
The 29-year-old southpaw is maddening to own, but if you like to take risks, you should probably add him.
9. Neil Walker, 2B, Pirates (40.8 Percent Owned)
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Like his Pirates teammate on the previous slide, Neil Walker is returning from injury and will be activated Monday after being out since April 27.
Walker, who had a gash on his finger that required six stitches, wasn't hitting much—well, besides the DL—early this season, with a triple-slash line of .253/.352/.342, but his strikeout-to-walk rate was in good shape, so once he gets himself back up to speed, he should again be a borderline top 10 fantasy second baseman.
Still just 27, the switch-hitting Walker is capable of hitting .270-.280 with 15 homers, 70-plus runs and RBI and approaching double digits in stolen bases.
8. Matt Garza, RHP, Cubs (26.3 Percent Owned)
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Spot the trend yet? Another injury returnee.
Matt Garza hasn't pitched in quite a while, so you and your fellow leaguemates may have forgotten about him. In fact, the last time the 29-year-old right-hander was on a big league mound when it counted was last July 21, after which he was shut down due to elbow issues. This spring, he strained his left lat muscle, which has caused him to miss the first six weeks of 2013.
While there's certainly reason to be skeptical of Garza's health, he's pitched very well in his year-and-a-half as a Cub, with a 3.52 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 8.7 K/9. He's capable of being a mid-rotation starter in fantasy, so if you need something more than a weekly streaming option, grab him before he actually returns.
7. Zach McAllister, RHP, Indians (15.7 Percent Owned)
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Zach McAllister is the kind of guy who grows on you.
At 6'6", 240, he's a big right-hander but not one with overpowering stuff. Rather, McAllister has a low-to-mid-90s heater and good control, as his 2.8 BB/9 indicates. Sure, the 6.8 K/9 could be better, but he did whiff 7.9 per nine a year ago in his first real MLB action.
Plus, McAllister's 2.68 ERA and 1.21 WHIP both help those categories, and backed by a much-improved Indians offense, he could win 10-12 more games the rest of the way.
Just be wary of his home run rate, as he surrendered 19 in 125.1 innings in 2012, but has allowed just five in 43.2 so far this season.
6. Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals (26.3 Percent Owned)
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For fantasy purposes, Jon Jay might be the opposite of the next guy on this list.
There's not a ton of upside here—Jay is what he is at this point. But when he's going well, the 28-year-old lefty hitter is a fairly safe fourth or fifth fantasy outfielder, given that he'll hit for a high average (.297 career), has at least a little pop (10 homers isn't out of the question, since he's got three already) and is able to swipe a base now and again (19 in 2012).
Aside from the batting-average boost, Jay's biggest boon could come in the always-underrated category of runs scored, as he hits in the potent Cardinals lineup and occasionally sees time in the leadoff or No. 2 spot. With 21 runs, Jay is on pace for more than 90.
And as alluded to above, Jay is going well right now, hitting .452 (14-for-31) over his past nine games.
5. Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins (13.3 Percent Owned)
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This is the guy for owners who want to gamble on upside.
A consensus top-100 prospect in baseball, Oswaldo Arcia is a 22-year-old lefty hitter with gap pop that is turning into over-the-fence power. While he might have been rushed to the bigs a bit quickly due to the lack of depth in the Twins outfield, Arcia has more than held his own, hitting .301 with three homers, four doubles and a triple, to go along with 12 RBI in his first 20 games.
He's going to have to make some adjustments, because Arcia won't survive on a 27 percent strikeout rate against just a five percent walk rate, but the precocious rookie will eventually be a dangerous hitter—and maybe sooner than everyone expected.
4. Justin Ruggiano, OF, Marlins (21.1 Percent Owned)
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So much for that early season nonsense when the Marlins tried to put Justin Ruggiano in a center field platoon with Chris Coghlan.
Ruggiano, 31, certainly has his flaws—that 26 percent K rate since the start of 2012 chief among them—but he's been productive, with 20 homers and 19 steals in just over 400 at-bats since landing a regular role in Miami midway through last season.
Rooge might not hit much north of the .230 he's currently batting, but a 20-20 season is within his sights. As long as the Marlins don't try to dust off Coghlan again.
3. Brett Anderson, LHP, Athletics (30.8 Percent Owned)
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This wasn't what we were expecting, but should it have been?
After all, while Brett Anderson's sporting a ghastly 6.21 ERA and 1.62 WHIP, he's also on the DL for at least the 108th time in his five-year career. This time, it's an ankle injury, and while that might not be the cause for his yucky numbers, it certainly hasn't helped.
The good news, though, is that nothing seems to be wrong with his arm, and as long as we didn't just jinx him by writing that, Anderson, still just 25, has the stuff and ability to be a strong fantasy starter.
There's a good chance he's available in your league—a combination of poor performance and another injury will frustrate most any owner—and the southpaw is expected to return Friday after making a rehab start over the weekend.
2. Mitch Moreland, 1B, Rangers (24.9 Percent Owned)
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Mitch Moreland does this every year, doesn't he?
The 27-year-old teases fantasy owners because he shows good power, hits in a strong lineup and plays half his games in a hitter-friendly park. And yet, his own club doesn't seem that invested in giving him a full-time job.
To wit, Moreland didn't even manage 800 at-bats across 2011 and 2012, and yet he did hit 31 homers and drove in and scored 101.
The problem, of course, is the lefty-swinging Moreland struggles versus left-handers (.246/.306/.362 career), but he's been just fine against southpaws to start 2013 (.291/.344/.473), which may indicate some growth as a hitter. And while it's still a small sample size, he does have almost as many plate appearances versus lefties (61) as he does righties (78), so the Rangers seem to be giving him more of a shot.
Also? Moreland has been hot of late. Since his average plummeted to .157 on April 20, he's slashing .382/.427/.671 with eight doubles, four homers, 10 RBI and 10 runs.
1. Travis Wood, LHP, Cubs (49.3 Percent Owned)
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Let's try this again.
We rec'd Travis Wood as a pickup back in late April, and while his ownership percentage has increased since then, the 26-year-old left-hander is still out there in too many leagues.
Wood has now gone 7-for-7 in quality starts, including a gem against the mighty Cardinals his last time out, with just five hits and one run against eight strikeouts over 6.2 innings in getting his third win of the season.
There's no way he'll maintain a 2.33 ERA and 0.92 WHIP—not with a .202 BABIP that's bound to jump—but, well...dude's got a 2.33 ERA and 0.92 WHIP! What else do you want?