This article will examine this week's 15 best fantasy waiver wire pickups.
The players named in this article are all considered "waiver wire pickups" because at the time this article was written, they were all under 50 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy baseball.
This means that most of these players will hopefully be available in your fantasy baseball league.
The players I have selected for this list will be divided into three separate groups. The first will be "Top Buys," the second will be "Strong Buys," and the last group will be "Worth A Look."
So, without further ado, let us commence...
PLEASE NOTE: This article was finished Saturday night and some ownership numbers have likely gone up, therefore the % owned may not be totally accurate as I haven't had the chance to update them.
Sam Fuld was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays this offseason in the deal that saw Matt Garza become a Cub. Fuld had an impressive spring training with the Rays and was given a spot on the big club to begin the season.
So far, Sam Fuld has been a godsend for the surprisingly awful Tampa Bay Rays. Fuld is currently hitting an excellent .347, with a home run, five runs batted in, seven runs scored, and a ridiculous seven stolen bases.
Sam Fuld has proven that he has tremendous fantasy value with both his bat and his wheels, and is certainly worthy of being on your team.
He is currently 48 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues and should continue to produce so long as he continues to receive consistent playing time.
David Freese had a breakout season last year as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals and has continued to impress this season.
So far this year, Freese is hitting a ridiculous .360, with two home runs, nine runs batted in, and has scored eight runs. Perhaps the only knock on Freese has been the fact that he has only walked three times, but has struck out 14 times.
As I am writing this, David Freese is 49 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues, and it is likely that he will surpass the 50 percent mark within the next day or two.
Freese has a solid bat and is hitting in what has been one of the most productive lineups in baseball this season. He would be an excellent addition to any fantasy team.
Jeremy Guthrie has been one of the Baltimore Orioles' most consistent pitchers for the last few years.
This year, Guthrie has been even better and has finally received some run support, not that he has needed it.
In a few starts this season, Guthrie is 1-1 with a decent 3.32 ERA (was 0.64 at time article was written) and nine strikeouts. His performances have been one of the main reasons for the Orioles success early on this season.
Jeremy is 43 percent owned as I write this and he is being swept up very quickly by fantasy baseball owners. Guthrie has always been a decent fantasy baseball option and now that the Orioles are winning, his value has spiked significantly.
If you need starting pitching, Guthrie is a solid option and should be added immediately.
Michael Pineda was one of the Seattle Mariners' top pitching prospects entering the 2011 MLB season.
Pineda was given the opportunity to prove himself in the rotation this year and so far, he has not disappointed. Michael has posted a 2-1 record with a 2.33 ERA, with 16 strikeouts; absolutely sensational numbers for a rookie pitcher.
Michael possesses an electric arm that is rivaled by very few other young pitchers. Pineda has shown excellent poise this season and is only 48 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues.
Michael has far too much talent for fantasy players to allow him to go unowned. I absolutely recommend picking him up as soon as possible, if he is not already gone.
Before the season, it was widely expected that Alexi Ogando would be the setup man for closer Neftali Feliz, a role he thrived in last year.
Instead, the Texas Rangers inserted him into the starting rotation due to injuries and for some reason, many fantasy owners decided to drop Ogando upon this announcement.
So far this season, Ogando has been phenomenal, posting a 2-1 record with an ERA of 2.33 and nine strikeouts.
Alexi has a power arm and will likely remain in the rotation even when other starters return. He is currently 47 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues and won't be around for much longer.
Playing for a championship caliber Rangers team, Ogando will rack up the wins if he continues to pitch well, giving him a ton of fantasy value.
Orlando Hudson has always been a very consistent player, wherever he has played.
The O-Dog, as he is still affectionately known as by Toronto fans, has posted solid numbers so far this season. He is currently hitting .300, with four runs batted in, eight walks, and is among the league leaders in stolen bases with six. Terrific numbers for a guy most people seem to forget about each year.
Orlando is currently only 14 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues so there is no real rush. However, I strongly recommend you add him to your roster, if not just to stash him away on your bench in case of injury to one of your starters.
The O-Dog can provide fantasy teams with a solid average, a good OBP, as well as good stolen base numbers.
Marlon Byrd has been one of the more consistent Chicago Cubs hitters for the past couple years.
This year has been no exception, as the outfielder is hitting a decent .292 with four runs batted in, and has scored a decent 10 runs.
As it stands, Byrd is currently 41 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues, and it is like likely that that number will increase. The reason Byrd is not owned more in most leagues is because his power hasn't really shown much this year.
However, there is no need to worry, as he is a brilliant hitter who will soon start driving in runs and hitting some homers. When that begins to happen, he will be quickly swept up by smart fantasy owners and it will be impossible to add him.
So, I recommend that you add him if you have room for him on your team.
Jonny Gomes has always possessed a lot of power, but has never appealed to fantasy owners because of his low average and the fact that he strikes out a ton.
This year though, Gomes has continued to hit for power while actually maintaining a respectable average and not striking out as much.
So far, Gomes is hitting a decent .261 with six home runs, 14 runs batted in, and a very impressive 15 walks.
Jonny is currently 38 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues and that number is soon to rise following tonight's two home run, three runs batted in performance.
Jonny is useful for any fantasy team with his walks, power and production. I strongly urge you to pick up Gomes while you still have the chance.
Brandon League has always had an electric arm, but because of injuries and inconsistencies, he has never fully come into his own.
So far this season, however, League has looked excellent, as he has converted three save opportunities for the Seattle Mariners and after last night's performance, his ERA has gone from zero to 4.76.
He has also struck out three batters in three and two-thirds innings and has maintained a WHIP of 0.27.
Brandon League is currently 50% owned in Yahoo! fantasy leagues and because of that, you have to scoop him up quickly or he will be gone.
League has no real competition for the closer's role until David Aardsma returns, and even then, Brandon will likely retain his role.
Kyle Farnsworth has really returned to form this season with the Tampa Bay Rays. So far this year, Kyle has one win, three saves, five strikeouts, and has posted a sensational ERA of 1.69.
Farnsworth kind of became closer by default after nobody else in the Tampa Bay bullpen seemed capable of saving a game. Kyle has been phenomenal out of the bullpen so far and will likely be the closer for the remainder of the season, barring injury.
Farnsworth is currently 46 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues and will likely not be available in your league for much longer, so it would be wise to add him.
David Murphy has been the Texas Rangers' fourth outfielder this year, but will likely take on a larger role now that Josh Hamilton is injured.
So far this season, Murphy has hit a solid .321, with a home run, four runs batted in, and four stolen bases. Excellent numbers for someone who has received relatively choppy and inconsistent playing time as the fourth outfielder.
As I said previously, Murphy should receive more time on the field with Hamilton gone and by all indications Murphy should be able to produce on a high level.
At 40 percent owned, I recommend picking Murphy up soon especially if you need outfield help as for the next six weeks or so he should put up nice numbers.
Jonathan Herrera is a very talented young player who has really come into this own this year.
So far this season, Herrera has hit a ridiculous .400 with one home run, three runs batted in, 10 walks vs. only two strikeouts, and has stolen four bases. Solid all-around numbers for a player most people don't really know.
Herrera's numbers are so good that it is almost impossible to ignore this, even though it is a relatively small sample.
Jonathan figures to receive significant playing time with the struggles of Jose Lopez, and in a productive Rockies lineup would be a true steal.
Herrera is only 24 percent owned so you don't necessarily have to add him right now, but keep an eye on him because he will soon start going fast.
Wilson Betemit is one of my favorite players in baseball and I am pleased to see how well he has hit this season.
So far, Betemit has posted an excellent .387 average with the Royals as well as hitting one home run, driving in eight runs, scoring seven runs, and even stealing two bases. As it stands, Betemit is only 5% owned so there is still plenty of time to monitor Betemit to see if he can keep this up.
One thing to note is how good the Royals have been so far this season and if they continue this pace, Betemit may have a lot of RBI chances.
In addition to this, Betemit is a very versatile player who could add to his fantasy eligibility throughout the season at different positions. Either way, monitor Betemit, as I believe he is going to have a sensational season.
Wilson Valdez has done a phenomenal job filling in for the injured second baseman Chase Utley this season.
So far, Valdez has posted a strong .351 average as well as driving in five runs, scoring eight runs, and has stolen a base. Not exactly mind boggling numbers, but definitely solid all-around numbers.
Valdez possesses some value with his position eligibility as he plays both second base and shortstop. Valdez is currently only 7 percent in Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues and that likely won't increase too much.
If you are desperate for depth or a starter at second or short, I believe Wilson would be an excellent pickup.
Although, when Chase Utley returns, he will be virtually worthless and will get zero playing time barring injury, so I recommend you suck his fantasy value dry before it's too late.
Jamey Carroll has probably been one of the Los Angeles Dodgers' most valuable players so far this season.
As it stands, Carroll is hitting a very solid .347, with two runs batted in, five runs scored, and two stolen bases. Solid numbers for someone who has been a utility man for the better part of his career.
Carroll's numbers are very impressive, but his true fantasy value comes from the fact that he is fantasy eligible at second base, third base, shortstop, and in the outfield.
Jamey is 9 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues and it would be wise for you to stash him on your bench as someone who could fill in when one of your starters goes down.
If you are reluctant to pick him up because he has never been this good, that is fine, but I recommend you monitor him.