Fantasy Baseball 2013 Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for Week 25
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A new week, another batch of waiver-wire additions, just the way you like 'em: hot and fresh out the oven.
Some players mentioned last week—including Matt Adams, Andrew Cashner, Scott Feldman and Wilson Ramos—are already owned in many leagues by now, but they remain quality pickups if they are still available.
In the interest of keeping the names new, though, let's avoid any repeats. Here are the top-10 waiver-wire pickups for Week 25 of the 2013 MLB season.
*All ownership percentages come from ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Players owned in more than 51 percent of leagues were not considered.
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Angel Pagan, OF, Giants (42.0 Percent Owned)
Ian Kennedy, RHP, Padres (34.4 Percent Owned)—pictured
Juan Uribe, 3B, Dodgers (4.0 Percent Owned)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox (10.9 Percent Owned)
Corey Kluber, RHP, Indians (10.6 Percent Owned)
Garrett Richards, RHP, Angels (1.9 Percent Owned)
Tanner Roark, RHP, Nationals (13.6 Percent Owned)
Ryan Raburn, 2B/OF, Indians (12.2 Percent Owned)
James Paxton, LHP, Mariners (0.8 Percent Owned)
Danny Valencia, 3B, Orioles (2.7 Percent Owned)
10. Johnny Cueto, RHP, Reds (46.8 Percent Owned)
Johnny Cueto hasn't pitched since June 28 and has only made nine starts the entire season due to a nagging lat injury, but he's going to step back onto the mound Monday, reports C. Trent Rosencrans of The Cincinnati Enquirer.
While the 27-year-old's pitch count will be limited to the point where he may struggle to pitch more than five innings, he's certainly an intriguing pickup this week—in part because he'll face the pitiful Astros on Monday and in part because he's been a No. 2 starting pitcher in past years who could throw one or two quality outings down the stretch.
He's more of a stash-and-see the first time out in shallow leagues, but in 14-team leagues or NL-only play, Cueto is worth a shot if your rotation options are limited.
9. Rick Porcello, RHP, Tigers (11.3 Percent Owned)
In some ways, Rick Porcello has had his best season yet. In other ways, he's had his most maddening one to this point in his career. That has been par for the course for the 24-year-old, who has long been a fantasy tease due to his perennial upside that never seems to arrive.
While Porcello sports a not-so-hot 4.56 ERA, he does have a decent 1.31 WHIP and 6.7 K/9—both of which are career-bests.
More good news: After dominating the White Sox—admittedly, not that difficult of a task these days—his last time out with a complete game, one-run effort, Porcello gets to take on the meek Mariners on Monday.
If you're willing to gamble on an arm that always has a fairly high blow-up factor but also has the ability to pay off based on the matchup, this is your man.
8. Jeff Locke, LHP, Pirates (43.6 Percent Owned)
The Pirates, who likely will be fighting for the NL Central crown down to the final few days of the season, need everyone to be at the top of their game over the final two weeks. That includes Jeff Locke, who was only an All-Star after a dynamite first-half performance in which he went 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.
Second-half Locke? That guy hasn't been anywhere near as good: 2-3, 5.26 ERA, 1.80 WHIP.
So why is he being recommended here? Well, for one, since being given a break at the end of August—in the form of a demotion to Double-A—Locke has returned with a so-so outing on the road against the Cardinals (5 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4:4 K:BB) and a solid one at home against the Cubs (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 5:1 K:BB).
Furthermore, the 25-year-old southpaw is lined up for another home starts against the lowly Padres on Tuesday.
There's plenty of risk here, but the Pirates—and fantasy owners—might get another first-half-Locke performance.
7. Josh Fields, RHP, Astros (17.2 Percent Owned)
Josh Fields has not had a pretty season, but he's in position to help fantasy owners for the final 13 games of the Astros' season.
Despite an ugly 5.73 ERA on the year, Fields has notched a save in each of his last three outings dating to Sept. 5, which brings his season total to five. If the Astros—and fantasy owners—are lucky, there might be two or three more performances where that came from. And if that's going to get it done for you, then you almost have to add him.
Or perhaps you should add him purely as a defensive play to block another owner from gaining ground in saves. Because, really, it's hard to blame someone for not wanting to use a rookie with an ERA near 6.00.
6. Scooter Gennett, 2B, Brewers (34.3 Percent Owned)
While Scooter Gennett was probably upset to see August end after he led the entire sport with a .423 batting average, September hasn't exactly been a sorry month for the rookie.
The 23-year-old has maintained his starting job as the Brewers' second baseman, all while hitting a just-fine .300/.333/.475 with four doubles, a homer and a steal in 11 starts.
The production has been rather surprising, considering that Gennett is expected to be more of a utility-man type, but he's pushing for a 2014 starting job with Milwaukee and may yet prove capable of being a second-division starter.
5. Kole Calhoun, OF, Angels (50.9 Percent Owned)
Over the past month or so, Kole Calhoun has played like anything but the rookie he is. The 25-year-old lefty hitter is batting .349/.394/.590 with four home runs and 20 RBI over his past 25 games.
That stretch has brought his season slash line to a very strong .297/.361/.503 to go with a very respectable seven homers and 27 RBI in 45 games.
With injury-prone Peter Bourjos out for the season, Calhoun is getting everyday playing time in the Angels' outfield and he's shown he can be a useful fourth outfielder in most leagues.
4. Jonathan Villar, SS, Astros (47.0 Percent Owned)
After the speedy Jonathan Villar was off to the races to begin his major league career, the 22-year-old's production at the dish and on the bases slowed considerably in mid-to-late August.
Since September started, though, Villar has caught fire again, and he's hitting .339 with 10 runs and six steals in 14 games. Heck, he even hit his first career home run over the past week.
While the faster Billy Hamilton of the Reds is being added by owners seeking swipes, Villar is actually getting the playing time to make more of a dent in the category—as well as a few others, too.
3. Adam Lind, 1B, Blue Jays (28.1 Percent Owned)
After a torrid stretch from May through June in which he hit .348 with 11 homers and 30 RBI, Adam Lind reverted back to, well, being Adam Lind.
From July through August, the 30-year-old hit just .224 with only five four-baggers and 14 RBI.
This month, though, Lind has looked more like the former version of himself than the latter, as he's practically managed to tie his July-August power production in just 10 starts, with five home runs and 11 RBI.
He's also hitting .263 (10-for-38) in September, so don't get carried away, but Lind could do some damage if he stays hot.
2. Dan Straily, RHP, Athletics (12.8 Percent Owned)
Dan Straily has had his share of ups and downs this season, which is to be expected of a 24-year-old rookie. However, he's been more up than down of late, though.
Over his past four turns, Straily has gone 4-0 while compiling a 1.90 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 7.2 K/9.
The Athletics are pulling away from the Rangers in the AL West and gearing up for October, and if Straily wants to crack Oakland's postseason rotation, he is going to have to keep throwing well.
He'll try to continue doing just that when he faces the Angels at home—where he has a 3.82 ERA and 1.16 WHIP—on Wednesday.
1. Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants (50.6 Percent Owned)
It's no secret that Brandon Belt's career hasn't quite gone according to plan so far, but the former top prospect has shown some serious signs of figuring things out this season, especially recently.
The 25-year-old has improved his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in each of his three seasons so far, meaning his .288/.361/.481 triple-slash line is a career-high. The lefty-swinging Belt also has surpassed his previous bests by hitting 34 doubles, smacking 16 homers, driving in 62 runs and scoring 73 runs.
Belt has really come on strong since July, too, hitting .317 with 15 doubles, eight home runs, 28 RBI and 39 runs in 57 starts. All of this was punctuated by a career-night on Saturday, when he went 5-for-6 with six RBI, four runs and a homer.
In the event Belt has remained overlooked in your league, please rectify that situation.