Fantasy Baseball 2013 Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for Week 15
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 A.J. Griffin, Tony Cingrani, Rajai Davis, Trevor Plouffe and Juan Francisco, 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.
Jeremy Hefner, RHP, Mets (20.7 Percent Owned)
All the 27-year-old has done in his past nine starts is go 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a 7.9 K/9. Once an NL-only play, Hefner has become spot-starter material.
Felix Doubront, LHP, Red Sox (4.7 Percent Owned)
Doubront, 25, doesn't always do it pretty, but he gets his whiffs (8.5 K/9) and has allowed more than two earned runs only twice in his past 10 outings—and those were three earned runs both times.
Gordon Beckham, 2B, White Sox (9.6 Percent Owned)
In his 30 starts since missing most of April and all of May with a broken hamate bone, the 26-year-old Beckham (pictured) is hitting .345/.373/.451. You can use him at second base or middle infield while he's hot.
Darin Ruf, 1B/OF, Phillies (0.3 Percent Owned)
As a 25-year-old in Double-A last year (read: fringe prospect), Ruf bashed 38 homers to lead the minors—then hit three more in a September cup of joe with the Phils. He only had seven at Triple-A so far this year, but with Ryan Howard out, the recently-called-up Ruf will get some action at first.
Grant Green, 2B/SS, Athletics (0.6 Percent Owned)
The A's first-rounder in 2009 has hit every step of the way in the minors (.305/.353/.468 career) and reportedly is close to getting called up for his debut, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. There may be sneaky middle infield value here for AL-only formats or deeper mixed leagues.
10. Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals (3.4 Percent Owned)—Trade Bait
Matt Adams hit his way through the minors, and he's proving he can do the same at the big league level, too.
The 24-year-old lefty slugger isn't a starter for the Cardinals—he's blocked at first base by Allen Craig—but between Craig's shifting to the outfield on occasion and St. Louis' trips to American League parks (where they use the designated hitter), Adams gets his share of at-bats.
On the club's recent eight-game swing through Houston, Oakland and Los Angeles, Adams started six times and mashed two more homers, bringing his season total to seven. He's also hitting .319.
While that kind of production won't knock your socks off, there is this: Adams is prime trade bait for a World Series contender and could be sent to a team where he'd be the starting first baseman. That sure would make him a heck of a lot more interesting.
You could wait until that happens—or you could get ahead of the game by adding Adams now.
9. Mike Morse, OF, Mariners (41.5 Percent Owned)
Hey, remember when Mike Morse got off to that great start, hitting six homers in his first nine games this year?
Yeah, it's been a while.
The 31-year-old, who dealt with a finger injury earlier in the season, has missed the past two weeks with a quad injury, but he's expected to return soon, perhaps even before the All-Star break.
Like Adams, Morse is also a trade candidate, which could help free him from cavernous Safeco Field, but even if he stays in Seattle, he has the potential to hit 10-15 homers in the second half.
If you need power, add liberally.
8. Eric Young, OF, Mets (6.3 Percent Owned)
Speaking of adding liberally, Eric Young Jr. has been doing that to his stolen-base total in recent games.
While his dad was an All-Star (back in 1996) and former stolen-base champ (with 53 that same year), Junior has been a utilityman in his five-year career.
Recently acquired by the Mets, Young is playing much more regularly in New York than he did in Colorado, and he's getting more of a chance to show off the wheels that Papa passed down. Young has a steal in four straight games, giving him five in 18 games with the Mets.
The average won't stay up at the .300 he's hitting with New York, and he won't hit (m)any homers, but his legs are hot right now, so he's your weekly speed-need pickup.
7. Michael Pineda, RHP, Yankees (5.6 Percent Owned)
Does the guy in the video look familiar?
Back in 2011, Michael Pineda, then just 22, had a dynamite rookie campaign with the Mariners, notching nine wins, a 3.74 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and a 9.1 K/9 rate over 171 innings.
It's been a rough go, though, ever since Pineda was traded to the Yanks for Jesus Montero two offseasons ago, as the big righty missed all of 2012 with a shoulder injury.
Well, the 24-year-old is Pineda making his way back—he's already had five rehab starts in the minors, where he's hitting the mid-90s with his heater and has whiffed 22 in 22.1 frames with a 2.82 ERA—but he'll have to wait just a bit longer.
The Yanks activated Pineda off the DL but kept him at Triple-A for now, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. That's where he'll stay until something in New York's rotation gives.
Given injury issues with David Phelps and the possibility of a trade with Phil Hughes, though, it might not take long for Pineda to make his (very) long-awaited Yankees debut.
6. Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres (7.7 Percent Owned)
Carlos Quentin is known, it seems, for two things: Getting hurt and hurting Zack Greinke.
Quentin, you'll remember, didn't like getting plunked by the Dodgers right-hander early in the season, so he charged the mound and wound up doing damage to Greinke's left shoulder. For that, Quentin earned an eight-game suspension.
Surprisingly, that's been the injury-prone 30-year-old's longest inactive stint this season.
What you probably don't realize, though, is what Quentin has done over the past two months. Since May 10, the slugger is triple-slashing .324/.409/.554 with eight homers, 10 doubles and 24 RBI in 42 games.
Quentin has always been productive when healthy, and so far this year, that "when healthy" part hasn't really been an issue.
5. Jacob Turner, RHP, Marlins (23.6 Percent Owned)
We hit on Jacob Turner in the Just Missed section a few weeks ago, but he's deserving of a longer write-up, given the way he's pitched this year.
Since getting called up from Triple-A at the end of May, (after not making the Marlins' rotation because of a poor spring training), the 22-year-old former top prospect with the Tigers has been making up for lost time.
In his seven starts, Turner owns a 2.30 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, which makes him rosterable in most formats. The wins will be few and far between because of his team, and the strikeout rate (5.7 K/9) won't be anything special—he whiffed 7.0 per nine in his minor league career—but there's pedigree and, so far, production, here.
In fact, Turner has now made 14 starts with Miami since being traded 12 months ago, Turner owns a 2.81 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. There's always the risk of the blow-up outing for a young pitcher on a bad club, but Turner has looked good to this point.
4. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Diamondbacks (1.5 Percent Owned)
Ah, another promising young arm.
Tyler Skaggs has been, shall we say, inconsistent in his brief big league career, but the 21-year-old was a better prospect than the guy on the previous slide, and he's got a bit more fantasy potential, too.
Skaggs has made four starts this year with the D-backs, two of which were clunkers. The other two? Well, they were, shall we say, intriguing: a six-inning, nine-strikeout outing against the Rangers back on May 27 and an eight-inning, nine-strikeout gem against the Rockies last week (see video).
Both times, Skaggs gave up nary a run.
With Arizona's rotation falling apart, Skaggs could be just the spark needed to help the club try to hold off the rest of the NL West.
Again, there's downside here—Skaggs has allowed 10 homers in 54 innings between 2012 and 2013—but the upside is worth gambling on.
3. Ricky Nolasco, RHP, Dodgers (7.7 Percent Owned)
If Skaggs is your higher-reward but higher-risk play, then Ricky Nolasco is your safe, consistent arm.
Finally out of Miami after last week's trade to the Dodgers, Nolasco merits consideration for your rotation.
The 30-year-old is having his best season since his fantastic 2008, as his peripherals (7.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9) are finally lining up better with his ERA, which stands at a respectable 3.85.
The fact that Nolasco is now off the Marlins should add to his fantasy value, as his new home park is as favorable to pitchers as his former home—and he could actually, you know, win some games with the streaking Dodgers.
2. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees (13.0 Percent Owned)
Hey, he's gotta go somewhere, right?
Alex Rodriguez might be dead to some fantasy owners for his declining stats and recent injury issues—not to mention that whole ongoing performance-enhancing drug scandal—but there's still a chance that the guy with 647 career homers is going to make himself relevant—you know, on the field—at some point in the near future.
Recovering from offseason hip surgery that's kept him out all year long, A-Rod is on his rehab assignment in the minors. While he's just 1-for-9 in four A-ball games through Sunday, Rodriguez has said he's hoping to make it back by July 22 in Texas against the Rangers, which is the Yankees' second series after the All-Star break.
He still could have a setback in his recovery—heck, he could be suspended—but there are worse players to take a shot on. After all, Rodriguez did hit .272 with 18 homers and 57 RBI in three-quarters of a season last year.
Even with everything against him, including his age—he'll be 38 later this month—A-Rod may not be finished quite yet.
1. Logan Morrison, 1B/OF, Marlins (19.4 Percent Owned)
Logan Morrison has been in consideration for this feature every week since returning from a prolonged DL stint to start the season a month ago.
Every time, he's fallen just short. Until now.
The lefty hitter takes the top spot because he's a one-time top prospect who's still only 25 years old—and because he appears to be healthy for the first time since 2011.
That year, Morrison smashed 23 homers and 25 doubles while driving in 72 runs, as he started to show the power that always seemed to be waiting to be unlocked from his 6'3", 245-pound frame.
But knee problems, including multiple surgeries, have stalled Morrison's development and his career over the past two years.
In his 20 games this season, though, he's slashing .314/.392/.600 and has been especially hot over his past 10—.343 with six extra-base hits, including three homers.
It may have taken longer than expected, but Morrison finally could be turning into the player he was supposed to be a couple years ago.
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