As the new kid on the block, pun intended, I thought this would make for a good first piece. Fantasy baseball, and baseball in general, is one of the things I love most in this life. The 2009 season is winding down, especially fantasy-wise, and I thought this article might help make or break a few teams out there.
Pitching is important, both in real life and in fantasy. Like all baseball teams, your fantasy squad can live or die by the arm, especially in head-to-head points leagues. But have no fear; there is help out there, even in the place you would least expect it.
That's right—there are guys on your league's waiver wire that can bolster your fantasy team. With the trade deadline having passed in most leagues, where else are you gonna find help?
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and if you are desperate, you might give these guys a go. Here are five waiver wire prospects to consider for this week, and possibly beyond.
1) Bronson Arroyo, Reds
He is red-hot, giving up only one earned run over his last 17 innings. Two games ago he threw a complete game shutout versus the Nationals. I know what you're thinking, but the Nats had actually been one of the hottest teams around at the time.
In his last outing, Bronson went eight strong innings against the Giants, giving up one earned run. The kicker was that he faced off against Barry Zito, who held the Reds in check for six innings and whose bullpen finished off the job.
Sure, Arroyo got the L, but it's hard to say these kinds of outings wouldn't help your fantasy squad. To make things even better, he starts twice this coming week.
Luckily for you, he is owned in only 21.5 percent of ESPN leagues at the moment. Arroyo warrants a try in all formats at this point, especially if you have guys like Mark Buehrle who are killing your staff with their recent struggles.
2) Randy Wells, Cubs
Who does No. 2 work for? Unfortunately it's the Cubs, who have been struggling badly lately. But Wells has been doing his part, so why not take advantage of it?
Apart from one little hiccup against red-hot Colorado, Wells has been solid over the past month. His win-loss record isn't great, but his stats are pretty dang good, especially for someone on most leagues' waiver wires.
He tossed 6.2 strong innings against the Dodgers on Friday but was done in by two unearned runs. Again, not his fault. Despite the unfortunate loss, coupled with the hiccup against the Rockies, Wells has won five of his last seven starts.
His ERA is 2.84, and his WHIP is 1.20 for the season, yet he is only owned in 35.6 percent of ESPN leagues. He gets the Nationals on Thursday, which makes him a great add in my book. Hot or not, it's ultimately still the Nats.
The Cubs desperately need wins at this point. A young pitcher, and the increased urgency of his teammates, equals fantasy success for you. Give him a shot.
3) John Smoltz, Cardinals
Smoltz was mediocre at best in his recent stint with the Red Sox, and I can't really blame them for letting him go. The truth is, maybe they pulled the plug a little too soon. But as they say, hindsight is always 20-20.
Johnny boy probably had Theo Epstein checking his vision on Sunday. Smoltz fanned nine Padres in five shutout innings. He struck out seven in a row at one point, which was both a personal best and a Cardinal record.
Okay, it was against the Padres, I totally agree. But what happens if he goes out and does it again in his next start? Do you think he will still be sitting on your waiver wire then? I would think not, as owners will probably be scrambling to pick him up.
Personally, I would rather pick the guy up and watch him fail then sit back, pass him up, and watch him do well for some other lucky owner. It could backfire, but it could also be the move that pushes your team right into the postseason and gives you a shot at the coveted prize that is fantasy sport glory.
He is owned in only 12.4 percent of ESPN leagues as of now, but expect that number to go up here in the coming week, especially if he does well next time out.
Hey, the move to St. Louis rejuvenated Matt Holliday, so who's to say it won't work for the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer? Make your move now before it's too late.
4) Scott Feldman, Rangers
The Rangers are having a great year. Quietly, so is Scott Feldman.
He picked up his 13th win of the season on Sunday, throwing seven shutout innings against the Rays. He struck out 11 Tampa hitters on the way. Oh yeah, and he looked a lot better than David Price, who is currently not on the waiver wire in many leagues.
Tired of trotting Price out there? Why not try Feldman? There are some Price lovers out there who are gonna boo me for this one, but in reality it wouldn't be a bad move at all, especially if you are still in contention in your league.
Sure, Price might be good someday, but the truth is if you aren't planning on keeping him in your league, it might be time to cut him loose.
The Rangers open up a series with the Yankees on Tuesday, which means that Feldman will dodge that bullet and not have to face the red-hot evil empire. If all goes as planned, he should face the Twins this coming weekend, which isn't a bad matchup at all.
Feldman is owned in only 13.6 percent of ESPN leagues. So, if you're looking for pitching help, it's right in front of your eyes. Take a chance that this youngster isn't a fluke. He's been great since the All-Star break and has a great offense behind him, so it's really not that big of a risk in my opinion.
5) Brett Anderson, A's
Anderson got lit up by the White Sox on Aug. 14, but apart from that outing, he has been surprisingly solid over the past month or so. He also suffered the loss against the Yankees on Aug. 19 but didn't pitch badly at all in that game. He limited the Yankees to six hits and three earned runs over seven innings.
Before those two outings, Anderson had pitched extremely well and did so against some of the powerhouses of the American league.
He faces the Mariners on Tuesday, and I love that matchup for him. Seattle has faded, and I look for Anderson to build off of that solid performance against the Yankees.
He is owned in only 7.6 percent of ESPN leagues and warrants consideration as a spot starter this week if you are in need of strikeouts and wins.
That concludes this week's version of Waiver Wire Rotation. Tune in next week for more prospects to help your team find its way into the postseason. I hope this information allows you to taste fantasy glory. Good luck to all.
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