Fantasy Baseball 2013 Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for Week 18
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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 Rex Brothers, Brad Ziegler, Christian Yelich, Jorge De La Rosa, Wei-Yin Chen and Brandon Beachy—are already owned in many leagues by now, but they 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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Edwin Jackson, RHP, Cubs (21.9 Percent Owned)
Over the past six weeks, Jackson's ERA (3.42) has looked much more like his FIP for the season (3.55), so don't get stuck on that actual 4.89 ERA.
Justin Maxwell, OF, Astros (1.4 Percent Owned)
Preseason sleeper with 20-20 potential missed almost two months with injury early on, but Maxwell finally hit his second homer over the weekend and has stolen two bases in his past six games, so don't forget about him entirely.
Henry Urrutia, OF, Orioles (1.0 Percent Owned)
A 26-year-old rookie, Urrutia (pictured) has a nice lefty swing for contact and extra-base power, and he looks to be in line for regular action as the DH in a potent Orioles' lineup. Just don't expect him to break out quite like that last Cuban phenom.
A.J. Ramos, RHP, Marlins (0.3 Percent Owned)—hot and closer?
If the Marlins wind up trading closer Steve Cishek, Ramos should be the guy stepping into the role, considering he compiled 83 saves—and a 2.26 ERA and 12.3 K/9—in four years in the minors and hasn't allowed an earned run over his past 18.2 innings.
Taylor Jordan, RHP, Nationals (1.3 Percent Owned)
The 24-year-old has shown good control in both the minors (2.1 BB/9) and in his first 35 innings in the majors (1.3), and he had his best start yet on Sunday: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 7:1 K:BB.
Jake Marisnick, OF, Marlins (0.6 Percent Owned)
Finishing up with a fourth straight rookie, Marisnick rates the highest of this quartet in prospect rankings, but he's also easily the most raw at 22, as his 2-for-22 showing in his first week proves. He does have 20-20 potential in the future, though, so keep an eye out if he gets hot.
10. Jonathan Villar, SS, Astros (2.4 Percent Owned)
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Our rookie roll continues, as teams clearly are saying it's time to see what some of their promising, young talent can do.
Jonathan Villar is still working on translating some of his many tools into actual game skills, especially the ability to make contact, but he does enough of everything else that he's worth giving a whirl in fantasy.
In his first shot at Triple-A this year, the 22-year-old had eight homers and 31 steals—his fourth straight season with 30-plus swipes—and managed a .277 average despite striking out 24 percent of the time.
Villar already has tallied three doubles and four steals in his first seven games since getting called up by the 'Stros, so if you need some speed—and a plug-in at shortstop—he can help.
9. Jarred Cosart, RHP, Astros (9.4 Percent Owned)
Our second straight Astro, Jarred Cosart hasn't yet matched his performance from that dynamite major league debut earlier in July (check that video), but the 23-year-old rookie does have plenty of potential.
While he's never quite managed to strike out hitters at a rate to match his electric fastball (7.8 K/9 in his minor league career), Cosart has always been fairly successful at keeping his ERA down (3.58 career), and he did whiff a batter per inning at Triple-A this year.
In other words, don't ignore him simply because he's struck out only seven through his first 21 big league innings—because those 21 innings also encompass three consecutive quality starts to kick of his MLB career.
His ERA isn't going to stay under 1.00—or probably even under 3.50—going forward, but Cosart is an intriguing add.
8. Wade Miley, LHP, Diamondbacks (44.4 Percent Owned)
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Maybe Wade Miley is available in as many leagues as he is because he's not enjoying quite the same level of success as he had in his rookie season.
Still, the 26-year-old has been plenty good this year, especially after getting through a tumultuous May in which he surrendered 28 earned runs in 34.1 innings (7.34 ERA).
Since June 1, a stretch that accounts for his past 10 outings, Miley owns a 2.46 ERA. Sure, that doesn't totally match up with his 1.34 WHIP over that time, but it's hard to get too worked up when the guy has thrown seven quality starts and was one out away from an eighth, because he only went 5.2 frames on July 1.
7. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Padres (7.4 Percent Owned)
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After missing all of June and the first two weeks of July, Yonder Alonso became a forgotten man in fantasy.
While he wasn't setting the world on fire when he was healthy, the 26-year-old was on pace for a career campaign before going down, and he's starting to pick it up again.
Over his past 10, he's 14-for-38 with nine RBI and has driven his average back up to a robust .287. He won't offer prototypical first-base power, but Alonso could hit around .300 from here on out.
6. Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees (40.9 Percent Owned)
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This is probably either too high or too low to rank Derek Jeter, but really, who knows what he's going to do now that he's back healthy. For now.
For all the optimism that comes along with the fact that Jeter homered on the very first pitch he saw in his return from a quad ailment, owners should remember that this is a 39-year-old shortstop coming off two injuries that have cost him all but two games so far this season.
Still, if we've learned anything over the years, it should be that you can never count Jeter out, especially after he batted .316 and led the majors with 216 hits just last year.
So go ahead, pick him up and find out if "Captain Clutch" has another miracle or three left in him to help your club down the stretch.
5. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Rockies (23.4 Percent Owned)
What in the name of Coors Field is going on with Tyler Chatwood?
Still only 23, this one-time prospect with the Los Angeles Angels has been proving that Rockies pitchers can be useful in fantasy. (OK, to be fair, so have rotationmates Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa this year.)
After his gem on Friday in which he allowed just six hits and two runs over seven innings while—wait for it—walking none and striking out 11, Chatwood has run his season stats to 7-3, 2.48 ERA, 1.30 WHIP.
Still, he's not a big strikeout guy (6.4 K/9) and remains a spot starter to be used on the road, where he has a 1.23 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP—compared to 3.47 and 1.56 at Coors—so even if his last outing was at home, you might want to deploy carefully if you pick him up.
4. Randall Delgado, RHP, Diamondbacks (1.9 Percent Owned)
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Like Chatwood, Randall Delgado is a former prospect who came up through another organization and had the best start of his still-young major league career on Friday.
The 23-year-old tossed his first-ever complete-game shutout against the San Diego Padres, allowing just three hits and a walk while whiffing three.
In his eight starts this season, Delgado sports a cozy 2.61 ERA and a respectable 1.24 WHIP.
If he's sacrificing a little bit of strikeout potential (6.4 K/9 this year compared to 7.4 last year) for better control (1.7 BB/9 compared to 4.1), it seems to be working so far. Don't buy in fully just yet, but if you want to see if this continues, he makes for a solid pickup.
3. Felix Doubront, LHP, Red Sox (16.3 Percent Owned)
Felix Doubront teased fantasy owners as a rookie last year because of his strikeout numbers, but he's starting to put it together in 2013.
While whiffing more than a batter per inning in 2012, the 25-year-old also had an ERA of 4.86 and a WHIP of 1.45, making him hard to own—and even harder to start.
This time around, though, Doubront's ERA is a much nicer 3.78 to go with a slightly improved 1.38 WHIP. And he's still striking out 8.3 per nine.
Doubront hasn't had a truly icky outing since early May, and over his past 13 starts—10 of which have been quality—he's accrued a 2.71 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.
Coming together nicely, indeed.
2. Nate Schierholtz, OF, Cubs (26.8 Percent Owned)
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We covered Nate Schierholtz in this column at the very beginning of July, so consider this the bookend of recommendations.
After an injury-related lull mid-month, Schierholtz came back with a vengeance over his past nine games, going 10-for-28 (.357) with three homers and nine RBI.
Now that the Cubs have traded Alfonso Soriano, Schierholtz could be in line for some extra action, which could be both good and bad: While he'll have more opportunities to collect counting stats, the lefty hitter could also be exposed a bit if Chicago uses him more against southpaws.
But considering he's already surpassed his career highs in doubles (23), homers (14) and RBI (43)—and has a fine .278 average—we're betting on more of the former than the latter.
1. Scott Kazmir, LHP, Indians (8.8 Percent Owned)
No, it's not 2007. But yes, Scott Kazmir is fantasy relevant again.
While it's been a while since owners could count on the still-only-29-year-old, Kazmir is proving that he's anything but washed up after the Indians took a flyer on him over the winter.
After not pitching in the majors at all in 2012, the southpaw who once possessed a high-90s heater is back to throwing in the low- to mid-90s (see video for proof) and showing he can once again get big league hitters out.
On the season, Kazmir's ERA sits at 3.96 with a 1.26 WHIP, and here's the key stat—his K/9 is a very strong 8.1.
He's still prone to the occasional blowup, but since that June 15 outing in which he lasted only 2.2 innings and gave up five earned runs, Kazmir has made seven starts and gone 3-0 with a 1.60 ERA and allowed only 35 baserunners over 45 frames (0.78 WHIP).
We won't recommend that you pretend "Umbrella" is still playing on a loop or that Transformers is selling out theaters everywhere, but we will suggest you can turn back the clock when it comes to Kazmir.