This article originally appeared on Fantasyfootballmaniaxs.com.
It has been an exciting past week in baseball, to say the least. We have seen the bust of Manny Ramirez, as the Los Angeles star will be suspended for 50 games. Also, Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankees’ lineup and knocked a three-run bomb against the Birds of Baltimore.
All things aside, though, it’s time to get back to business. Week Six is here, and we are now adding another ten names to your head. Below is the Week Six Waiver Wire. Let’s see who I have in store this time around.
Brendan Harris (2B) (MIN)- With the recent struggle of former starting second baseman Alexi Casilla, the Twins made the decision to send him down to Triple-A on Wednesday. This gives backup infielder Brendan Harris the opportunity to succeed.
Thus far, Harris has hit for a .308 average, with one homerun, four RBI, and eight runs scored in 52 at-bats. Some fantasy owners may be wondering about Brendan’s playing time for now. I say don’t worry about it. CBS Sports believes that Harris could be a .280-15-80-80 player, given a full-season’s worth of plate appearances.
This shouldn’t be a problem, for backup Matt Tolbert was just recalled from the farm in order to replace Casilla, meaning that Harris has an edge over his competition. Look for Harris to be a steady second baseman over the next few weeks. The best part about him: He should come cheap.
He should be available in most fantasy formats, and picking him up and placing him on your bench can’t hurt. If you’re in need of an injury reserve guy or even a starter, look for Harris. He should fit nicely on any fantasy squad.
Casey Kotchman (1B) (ATL)- After being traded from the Angels to the Braves last season in the Mark Teixeira deal, Kotchman had to assume the role as Atlanta’s new first baseman. He would finish with a career-high 14 home runs in ‘08, and he appears to be back for more in ‘09.
He is currently hitting for a .313 average, with one homer, six RBI, and nine runs scored. Kotchman always seems to make contact; however, he can be streaky, so watch him.
The key for him will be specific matchups. Braves’ manager Bobby Cox hasn’t been starting him lately against southpaws, but he said this was due to an attempt to try to get some hot right handed hitters into the lineup.
Other than this, Kotchman should make a fine fantasy first baseman in any format. He should fit well on any bench, and if the time comes, Kotchman is a reliable starter while he’s hitting well. For the time being, he seems like a solid fantasy option.
Brian Barden (3B) (STL)- Like the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup really needed to add more “pop”. To go along with Pujols, Duncan, Ludwick, Molina, and Rasmus, the Red Birds added a new weapon to their arsenal.
With starting third baseman Troy Glaus hitting the 15-day disabled list, rookie Brian Barden was added to the roster. I don’t think he’ll be leaving anytime soon. He is hitting for a .306 average, with three homers, seven RBI, and eight runs scored.
There are a few things to remember with this youngster. First, he has power in his bat, so he should be a solid starter in any 5X5 format. Second, he has an immense amount of protection in the Cardinals’ lineup.
Whenever you have all the hitters named above batting around you, I’m sure that you are bound to see a few meatballs. Lastly, he is the starter, so we should see an abundance of at-bats over the next week or two.
If I were you, I would monitor his progress over the next seven days. If he’s still hitting like a monster, grab him. He could be a serious sleeper for the remainder of the season.
Matt LaPorta (1B) (CLE)- Once considered an elite prospect in the Brewers’ organization, he was dealt to the Cleveland Indians in the CC Sabathia deal. Now he’s ready to make an impact with the Tribe.
In only his second big league game, LaPorta recorded his first hit his career. This hit, though, went a little farther than usual. It was a two-run homer over the left-field seats, something that we should be seeing plenty more of over time. Although he is hitting only .154 on the year, the potential is still there.
This kid could become the next big power hitter in Cleveland, and he couldn’t have arrived at a better time with the steady decline of designated hitter Travis Hafner. In order to make the most out of LaPorta, a fantasy owner can only do one thing: Be patient. If you want him now, grab him.
Next, wait for him to get on a hot streak, then start him and watch the magic happen. Before long, he could become one of the better young power hitters in the game. For all we know, he could end up competing with Matt Wieters for AL Rookie of the Year (at least we think).
Colby Rasmus (CF) (STL)- With Rick Ankiel being placed on the 15-day disabled list after that horrific slam into the outfield wall, Colby Rasmus has been called on to take his spot.
Formerly making an appearance on my “2009’s Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Impact Rookies” list, we all know the potential that Rasmus possesses. So far this season, he is hitting for a .257 average, with one homer, six RBI, 16 runs scored, and a stolen base.
Rasmus should see plenty more plate appearances over the next two weeks, giving him the opportunity to shine with his bat. Also, like Barden, Rasmus will receive unbelievable protection in that St. Louis lineup.
As a fantasy owner, I’m always looking for an outfielder to put on my bench until I need him. Rasmus is that outfielder. Pick him up and use him as an injury reserve-type of player. He may prove useful at some point over the next few weeks.
Juan Pierre (LF) (LAD)- If you haven’t heard about the whole Manny Ramirez situation, then you have apparently been sitting in the corner of a dark room curled up in a ball. This headline has been all over every channel since the story broke, and the impact of it is incredible.
So now the Dodgers are left without their starting left fielder. Now the question is: Who will take his place? That, my friends, is the job of Juan Pierre.
Pierre is currently hitting for a .371 average, with three RBI, five runs scored, and two stolen bases. So now you may be wondering: Is he even still available? The answer is yes, but only if you hurry. According to Yahoo! Sports, he is owned in 21 percent of fantasy leagues, a 14 percent jump from last week.
This number will only grow as the days pass. Pierre will be getting plenty of playing time while Manny serves his suspension. He has never been one to hit for power; however, his contact and stolen base potential surely make up for it. Be hasty! He may be gone before you know it.
Franklin Gutierrez (CF) (SEA)- The starting center fielder in Seattle has finally gotten on a hot streak. Gutierrez is hitting for a .287 average, with three homers, 13 RBI, and 14 runs scored. He appears to be on a tear at the moment, an encouraging sign for fantasy owners in need of a reserve outfielder.
The thing with Gutierrez is simple: He’s only owned in five percent of Yahoo! Leagues. To put it simply, no one has him, and he’s heating up fast. Franklin could make a solid starter down the road, and we may be seeing the first signs now.
I say grab him and keep him on your bench until you need him. He could prove to be one of your more effective outfielders by season’s end.
Scott Feldman (SP) (TEX)- Since entering the Texas rotation, Feldman has been solid. In 16-2/3 innings, he has allowed only six earned runs and has recorded a 3.25 ERA. Overall, he is 2-0 with a 5.79 ERA, striking out 14 and walking eight. Feldman’s move to the starting five appears to have given him new life, as he now producing at an incredible rate.
His value continues to improve, as he is now a Two-Start pitcher for Week Six, facing the Angels in his next start. As a fantasy owner, monitor his progress over the next week. If he continues to find success, grab him. Otherwise, avoid him. He seems to have some upside, so just make sure to keep an eye on him.
LaTroy Hawkins (RP) (HOU)- With closer Jose Valverde being placed on the disabled list due to a calf injury, veteran LaTroy Hawkins will have to fill in. So far, so good. He currently has recorded four saves and has a 2.63 ERA, proving to many that he can hold his own in the ninth. Now, the question is this: How many save opportunities will he get?
Looking at the situation as a whole, the Astros’ offense is capable of scoring runs, but the main problem will be the rotation. With ace Roy Oswalt hurt and Wandy Rodriguez being the only other viable option, it appears as though save chances will be few.
Thus far, though, Hawkins has had several opportunities, so this may not be as big of an issue as it seems.
If you play in a 5X5 format, then Hawkins should be useful for as long as he’s the closer. Once Valverde comes back in early June, Hawkins will most probably move back to the setup role. For now, take advantage of his success.
Shairon Martis (SP) (WSH)- Another young starter has emerged out of the Nationals’ farm system. First, it was Zimmerman, now Martis (Just imagine when they sign Steven Strasburg with the first overall pick in the upcoming draft.
If only they could have signed Aaron Crow from last year). Martis is now 3-0 after throwing a complete game gem against the high-powered St. Louis Cardinals, showing many fans that this kid could be the real deal.
His ERA is about average for a youngster (4.60), but the one thing that concerns me is his walk total. He has walked eleven batters compared to thirteen strikeouts, something that could eventually hurt him down the road if it continues. Another issue is the team he plays on.
The Nats don’t have much of anything, offense or bullpen, so wins may be hard to come by. Other than that, it’s all good. The guy seems like he has solid upside, so I would monitor his progress over the next week.