Scouring The Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire

Grant Correspondent IAugust 24, 2009

NEW YORK - AUGUST 19:  Matt Diaz #23 of the Atlanta Braves connects for a second inning two run single against the New York Mets on August 19, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I was driving down the main drag in town yesterday with my brother when I glanced over and noticed a new supermarket being built.  To my amazement my brother told me ground was broken on this massive structure two months ago.

I must have passed the construction site 100 times but never paid attention to the change.

In fantasy baseball it is also easy to continue on a single path, especially this late in the season, without taking a look around.

As rotisserie formats wind down and head to head playoffs lurk in the near future, it is now more important than ever to be aware of our fantasy surroundings.

Below is a quick list of players making a splash in waiver wire pools.


Matt Diaz—OF—Atlanta Braves

With Nate McLouth on the DL and Ryan Church battling chronic back problems, Matt Diaz has played exceptionally well in his new role as an everyday outfielder.

After a dismal 2008 campaign (.244 BA, 2 HR) which was plagued with a nagging knee injury, it was understood in spring training this year that Diaz would be on the Braves bench.

But Diaz has slowly rebounded throughout the summer.  His plate appearances have increased every month since May despite the revolving door situation which has been the Atlanta outfield.

So far this month, Diaz is batting an unbelievable .375 with five home runs and 13 RBIs.  In his past 10 games he has 14 hits, including a 4-for-4 effort on Sunday where Diaz was just a long ball shy of the cycle.

While stellar play such as this is helping the Braves stick around in the Wild Card race, Diaz cannot remain on fire for the rest of the year (.372 BABIP).  But continue to use Diaz while he is hot.  For as the great Blood, Sweat, and Tears once sang, "Catch a painted pony on the spinning wheel ride."


Ryan Roberts—2B/3B/OF—Arizona Diamondbacks

Going 4-for-5 with two runs scored yesterday, it is easy to see how Roberts snaked his way into the everyday Diamondbacks lineup.

Blistering in the batter's box during the month of August to a tune of a .358 BA, Roberts can be a late season fantasy asset for any team.  He is eligible at second and third base as well as the outfield.


John Smoltz—SP/RP—St. Louis Cardinals

Smotlz was lights out for the Cardinals on Sunday producing a fantasy line of: 5.0 IP, 3 hits, 0 BB, 0 ER, 9K.  Although the performance came thanks to an offensively challenged Padres squad in a very tosser friendly PETCO park, John did strike out seven batters in a row.

Smoltz is joining a St. Louis pitching staff which boasts the third lowest team ERA in the Majors with a 3.69 mark.


Anibel Sanchez—SP—Florida Marlins

Sanchez came back from his second DL tour of 2009 in style last week against the Braves.  Compiling seven whiffs in six innings, Sanchez did not allow a hit until the fifth frame.

Although a stiff breeze could land Anibel back on the disabled list, it must be remembered that Sanchez threw a no hitter in 2006.

With his next start slated for Wednesday versus the limping Mets, Sanchez warrants some attention in deep leagues and NL only formats.


Matt LaPorta—OF—Cleveland Indians

Since being recalled from the minors last week, LaPorta has collected a hit in every game he has played.  In that time span Matt has a .333 BA with four runs.

As the Indians are out of playoff contention, skipper Eric Wedge has promised to give LaPorta regular playing time, splitting his time between first base and the outfield.

Hopefully Matt garners enough games at both to be multi-position eligible next year.


Tim Hudson—SP—Atlanta Braves

Recently Hudson recorded his first win in a minor league rehabilitation stint after undergoing Tommy John surgery.  In the win Hudson threw six quality innings allowing three earned runs while striking out five.

However, with only one more scheduled start in the minors before he is expected to rejoin the Braves, it is unclear what role Tim will have with Atlanta in September.

The Braves could move a current starter into a role of relief, or employ a six man rotation.  Also, it has been whispered Hudson could become a member of the bullpen for the first time in his distinguished career. 

No matter what scenario Atlanta chooses, not many teams have the luxury of bringing up an 146 career game winner to bolster its pitching staff.