While “punting” categories can be successful in Head-to-Head leagues, what are the rest of us rotisserie guys supposed to do? Finding a player who can bring you fortune in one category can help pay the bills at the end of the season. Stolen bases can be found just about anywhere on the waiver wire, but finding saves can be like winning the out-of-state lottery.
First up, let’s take a look at some base stealers who could score you some easy points during the second half, followed by some relievers who could find you some cheap saves and have in their possession high strikeout totals.
Nyjer Morgan - OF, WSH (35% owned) - Despite having an on-base percentage (OBP) of just .313 this season, Morgan is currently second in the NL with 21 swipes. Now, certainly reaching base is an issue for Morgan and the rest of the Nationals lineup, but when he does reach he’s a lock for a stolen base or two.
Juan Pierre - OF, CWS (41% owned) - After slumping in April and May, in which Pierre had a combined OBP of .304, one thing stayed steady —his stolen base numbers (19). For the season, Juan leads all of baseball with 32 steals. And with the White Sox playing red-hot right now, Pierre is a steady figure atop the lineup. Since June 24 th , Pierre is hitting at a .333 clip with an OBP of .415. Sound like a guy who could steal his way into your heart during the second half?
Andres Torres - OF, SF (20% owned) - This switch-hitting speedster has found a nice home atop the Giants’ lineup during the past month. He missed a few games with a groin injury, but seems to be healthy again.
Torres has 17 swipes this season and is hitting over .300 during the month of July so far. Certainly not a “power” guy, Torres already has 4 homers this month. He may be done in the home run department this month, but his steals and runs scored categories should continue to see production.
Speedsters to Monitor
Corey Patterson - OF, BAL (11% owned) - Can Felix Pie stay healthy the rest of the year?
Fred Lewis - OF, TOR (5% owned) - A nice AL only option, but is usually omitted from the lineup against left-handed pitching)
Chris Perez - RP, CLE (23% owned) - With fellow Tribe reliever Kerry Wood hitting the DL this weekend, Perez becomes the number one closer on the depth chart. Now we’re still talking about the Indians here, so save chances may be few and far between, but that’s why this is called cheap thrills.
The strikeout per nine-inning ratio (K/9) for Perez is way down this season (4.7 K/9) compared to his 10.7 K/9 ratio from last season. Either way, your waiver wire is probably scarce with closers, so pick him up if you can.
Mike Gonzalez - RP, BAL (20% owned) - Gonzo hasn’t been able to find much luck this season, pitching in only two innings, acquiring zero saves, and posting a WHIP of 4.50 before hitting disabled list. On the bright side, he did have three strikeouts in those two innings. He’s still on rehab assignment, but it appears he could be back sometime within the next week or two.
Now, along with Perez of the Indians, the Orioles find their closers few save opportunities. The rehab assignments have been somewhat encouraging if you are looking at Gonzalez on the waiver wire, as he’s posted 10.8 K/9 ratio and has only walked two batters in 11 2/3 innings.
The other good sign is that his velocity is in the 92-94 MPH range, which has been an issue all season long.
The Orioles certainly won’t give Gonzo the ninth-inning spot right away when he returns because of Alfredo Simon’s limited success, but you don’t pay a guy $12 million over two years to be a setup man (unless you are the Houston Astros).
Juan Gutierrez - RP, ARI (2% owned) - The Arizona bullpen is a disaster and who can blame interim manager, Kirk Gibson, for keeping the closer role an open audition. Chad Qualls has been a disaster and the Aaron Heilman experiment lasted for a few days, so who or what’s next?
Come on down, Mr. Gutierrez.
In two games prior to the All Star break, he’s pitched two innings, while allowing zero hits and walks, and has struck out one batter. The K/9 ratio sits right at 7.5 for the season, but Gutierrez has a lively fastball and slide-piece that could see his strikeout numbers increase as we march down the homestretch.
Another reliever from Arizona who should be on your radar if things continue to be a downward spiral in Arizona is rookie Sam Demel (1% owned). Demel has pitched 12 innings this season, while striking out 11 and walking just two.
Relievers to Monitor
Brandon League - RP, SEA (2% owned)
Manny Corpas - RP & Franklin Morales - RP, COL (17 % and 3% owned) - Morales is at Triple-A right now working on his mechanics, but has allowed one earned run, walked six, and struck out four batters in six innings.
Written by Reggie Yinger exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Reggie Yinger is a programmer in the IT field and also writes for Baseball Press.com. He previously worked for a Minor League Baseball team and hopes to return to baseball full-time in some fashion. You can follow him on Twitter @sacksjacked .