Fantasy Baseball 2013 Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for Week 10
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 Jarrod Parker, Rex Brothers and Kevin Gausman, are already owned in many 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.
Vinnie Pestano, RHP, Indians (34.2 Percent Owned)
Unlike the past two seasons, Pestano hasn't been particularly good this year (5.14 ERA, 1.36 WHIP), but he's the interim closer while Chris Perez is out, so if you need saves, you know what to do. Just keep an eye on Joe Smith and Cody Allen, too.
Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers (29.4 Percent Owned)
Coming off quite a weekend in Philly where he hit three homers and drove in eight, Lucroy brought his season numbers to a very respectable .259 average to go with six home runs and 25 RBI. If you like to shuffle catchers, he's the hot hand.
Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (36.1 Percent Owned) (pictured)
The 24-year-old is due to return from a back strain on June 8, and even though it hasn't all been pretty (.201 BA), Middlebrooks does have the ability to hit 20 homers from here on out, especially playing in Fenway and batting in a strong surrounding lineup.
Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B, Yankees (49.7 Percent Owned)
Don't expect any miracles, but Youkilis should be able to provide some fairly steady production now that he's back from a monthlong stay on the disabled list. At least until his next trip to that same destination, that is.
Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals (0.3 Percent Owned)
You've heard about Danny Espinosa's attempt to play through a fractured wrist, yes? You'll also be hearing more about the fact that the Nats just promoted top prospect Rendon to Triple-A, where he'll play both third and second base. It may not be long before we see Rendon handling the keystone in D.C.
Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners (15.4 Percent Owned)
Having taken over at second base for the demoted Dustin Ackley, the 22-year-old switch-hitting Franklin, a solid prospect who had a .912 OPS at Triple-A, belted a pair of homers Thursday. Once he plays enough games at second, he'll gain that hard-to-get 2B/SS eligibility.
Jorge De La Rosa, LHP, Rockies (44.4 Percent Owned)
Once a quality fantasy play for his high-K potential, JDLR won for the seventh time Sunday and is proving he's finally recovered from TJ surgery—and that he can thrive (3.10 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) despite a strikeout rate that's no longer fantasy-friendly (5.6 K/9).
Jason Castro, C, Astros (35.2 Percent Owned)
Castro was the Astros catcher of the future a few years ago, but thanks to some initial struggles and major injuries to his knee and foot, it's taken a lot longer for the future to become the present. Now 25, Castro has been all-around solid with a .282 average, 24 runs, seven homers and 17 RBI.
Chris Archer, RHP, Rays (1.7 Percent Owned)
After an impressive debut in 2012 (4.60 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 11.0 K/9), the 24-year-old is getting another shot because the Rays rotation is suddenly short on arms. While his first outing of this year on Saturday wasn't great, Archer is a quality prospect with big-time whiff potential.
Hector Ambriz, RHP, Astros (0.0 Percent Owned)
The 29-year-old isn't any great shakes (4.68 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) but did sneak in a pair of clean saves last week when Jose Veras was unavailable. If anything should happen to Veras, we now have an idea who could get the save opps in Houston—all 10 or so that remain.
10. Josh Reddick, OF, Athletics (29.4 Percent Owned)
Josh Reddick has looked lost at the plate this year (.165 BA), and the fact that he's coming back from a wrist injury that could continue to affect his hitting and sap some of his power isn't all that promising, either.
But this is a 26-year-old lefty bat who smacked 32 homers and 29 doubles in his first full season a year ago, while also stealing 11 bases to boot, so if you're scouring the waiver wire for a power play, Reddick is a good gamble.
Just realize that the .242 average from a year ago could be as good as it gets in that category.
9. Zack Wheeler, RHP, Mets (3.4 Percent Owned)
If you want to get on the Zack Wheeler ride—that is, if he's not owned already in your league—you'll have to do so sooner rather than later.
Wheeler is a lanky 23-year-old with a big fastball, a great curve and the potential to make a major impact in strikeouts. While he was once thought of as a better prospect than Matt Harvey, it seems impossible that Wheeler will have the same success Harvey did in his first run through the majors last year.
But he could come close, so Wheeler is worth picking up now or burning a high-priority waiver claim on.
Now that he's over a recent bout with shoulder soreness, the latest speculation is that Wheeler, who has a 3.86 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and more than a K per inning in the hitter-friendly PCL, could be up in a week, two at the most.
8. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Diamondbacks (0.9 Percent Owned)
Tyler Skaggs, arguably the top left-handed pitching prospect in the sport, was only so-so in his first taste last year (5.83 ERA, 1.47 WHIP), but his spot start in place of Ian Kennedy last week went much, much better: W, 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 9:3 K:BB.
Now that Brandon McCarthy is making fast friends with the DL again, the 21-year-old Skaggs is expected to take a turn in a tough matchup on the road against the Cardinals on Tuesday and should get a few more.
Given his pedigree and stuff, including a low-90s fastball and an out-pitch curveball, it wouldn't be shocking to see Skaggs make it hard for the D-backs to send him down even once McCarthy gets healthy.
Oh, and if you're worried about his Triple-A stats (5.23 ERA, 1.37 WHIP), don't be—pitching in the PCL can make even the best prospects' stats look silly.
7. Jayson Werth, OF, Nationals (45.7 Percent Owned)
A hamstring injury took about two weeks longer to heal than expected, but Jayson Werth is ready to get back to the Nationals on Tuesday.
He's not going to recapture his glory days of 2008-10, but the 34-year-old is still capable of posting double digits in both home runs and steals over the rest of the season, while also scoring runs because of his high OBP (.361 career).
Even though the Nats offense has been disappointing so far and now will be without Bryce Harper for a bit, Werth can be a third or fourth outfielder for fantasy purposes.
6. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, Indians (15.8 Percent Owned)
Have you seen what Ubaldo Jimenez has been doing lately?
While the veteran's season stats (4.83 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) probably don't knock your socks off, here are his numbers from April 29 on: 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.5.
Socks? Knocked off.
After the past two years, there are obvious reasons to be cautious and apprehensive here, as Jimenez is still prone to getting battered, including a mid-May outing in which the Tigers notched seven hits and six runs in four innings.
But Jimenez, 29, still regularly hits the mid-90s, and his ability to rack up strikeouts shouldn't be ignored.
5. Luke Gregerson, RHP, Padres (21.4 Percent Owned)
If you do a Google Maps search for "Huston Street," the location that comes up is "disabled list."
OK, not really, but it should.
Street's on the shelf—again—with a cranky left calf—again—so longtime setup man Luke Gregerson will handle closing duties.
Manager Bud Black mentioned Dale Thayer would be in the mix too, but Gregerson is the guy you want for his great stats (1.05 ERA, 0.66 WHIP) and the chance at a few saves while Street is out.
The 29-year-old's first opportunity on Saturday was somewhat clunky, but in the end he got the job done.
If Street, who's been rumored as a trade candidate for a while, is ever actually healthy enough to be moved, Gregerson could get the job full time.
4. John Lackey, RHP, Red Sox (41.6 Percent Owned)
Coming into 2013, it seemed everybody had given up on John Lackey following an awful first two years in Boston and subsequent TJ surgery.
Apparently, everyone's still given up on the 34-year-old. Either that, or not many have realized he's sporting a tidy 2.96 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 45 strikeouts in 45.2 innings.
Since returning from an early-season arm injury, Lackey's been good or great every time out except once.
If that's not enough to make you at least consider adding him, well, then we give up, too.
3. Josh Johnson, RHP, Blue Jays (36.2 Percent Owned)
This one's the high-risk/high-reward pick of the bunch, folks.
Having missed six weeks with a strained right triceps, Josh Johnson is set to be activated in time to start Tuesday against the Giants.
Look, he wasn't any good before going on the DL (6.86 ERA, 1.88 WHIP), and the injury-prone 29-year-old could always go back on in short order, but Johnson also has some serious upside and needs to turn his season around before he reaches free agency.
If you don't have the stomach for it, we understand, but if he gets hot and you miss out, don't blame us.
2. Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves (48.4 Percent Owned)
After that huge spring got fantasy owners everywhere all excited, it didn't take long for Julio Teheran to kill their buzz.
The 22-year-old gave up 13 earned runs in his first 16 innings of 2013.
Well, he's given up the same number of earned runs in his last 47 innings over the seven starts since. That's a 2.49 ERA, in case you were wondering (and didn't have a calculator handy).
Teheran may not be a strikeout artist (just 6.3 K/9), but he's not a complete negative in the category and did whiff nine Nats his last time out. Plus, his walk rate is near-elite (1.9 BB/9), which helps mitigate the fact that he's been a bit hittable (70 in 63 innings).
It's not at all uncommon for former top prospects like Teheran to take a while to figure things out in the majors, and if that's what's happening here, you should let him do the figuring out on your (and not somebody else's) roster.
1. Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers (6.3 Percent Owned)
Ah, the sexy call-up gets the top billing.
One of the most exciting prospects in the game since landing a $42 million contract out of Cuba last year and going crazy during spring training, Yasiel Puig has been promoted to the majors and will make his debut Monday against the Padres.
The 22-year-old righty hitter is an impressive blend of size, power and speed. At 6'3" and 245 pounds, Puig had tallied eight homers and 13 steals while slashing .313/.383/.599 at Double-A. Better yet, after not walking once in spring—while going 30-for-58 (.517), mind you—Puig has shown more discipline in the minors with a nine percent walk rate.
The Dodgers outfield is a mess at the moment, as both Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp (on the DL) are dealing with hamstring trouble, and Andre Ethier is still struggling with the stick.
Amid high expectations, the Dodgers rank third-worst in the majors in homers (just 38) and remain at the bottom of the NL West.
In other words, something needed to be done, and that something is Puig.
As exciting as his all-around game is, it wouldn't be surprising to see Puig struggle to adjust at first, especially if the approach isn't maintained in the bigs, but the potential for a legitimate fantasy impact makes the rookie the No. 1 pickup of the week.