2011 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Matt Guerrier, Brett Lawrie and More
If you are a regular reader of Waiver Flavor, then you know that I've been stomping for everyone to pick up Domonic Brown pretty much all season long, so if you waited until now and missed out on this five-tool player, you only have yourself to blame.
Furthermore, don't be surprised when Anthony Rizzo comes up this week or next week and you miss out on him because you are too stubborn to strike when the iron is hot. Timing is everything in fantasy baseball, and if you have been late to the party pretty much all season long, then let's get you back on track with this week's waiver wire pickups.
Whatever you do, though, don't get cute and wait around for these players. If you need help at third base and you don't go out and get either Chris Johnson for now or Brett Lawrie for the rest of the season, then you probably don't have what it takes to win championships at the real competitive levels of fantasy baseball.
For those of you with the brains and the balls to take the chances and make the aggressive moves necessary to compete, follow me to this week’s edition of Waiver Flavor.
Bust the Move
1) Brett Lawrie: 2B/3B, Toronto Blue Jays (Owned in one percent of leagues)
Lawrie will be called to the major leagues within the next 10 days. He is currently hitting a whopping .342/.398/.603 with nine HR, 33 RBI, 39 runs and nine steals for AAA Las Vegas. Lawrie has been an exceptional hitter at every level of the minor leagues, and scouts have rated him a top prospect each of the last three seasons.
Imagine being able to plug an All-Star-caliber player into your corner or middle infield spots at this point in the season—and all that it would cost you was a waiver move.
2) Desmond Jennings: Outfielder, Tampa Bay Rays (owned in 11 percent of leagues)
Jennings doesn't have to wait until June 1st for his promotion to Tampa Bay, as he was already called up at the end of last season and thus doesn't have the same restrictions as other minor-league prospects in terms of arbitration eligibility.
Jennings has been red-hot for AAA Durham lately and will be called up possibly by the time this article is posted. He will assume the left field role on most nights and possibly will see time in the leadoff spot as well. Goodbye, Sam Fuld—nice to know ya!
Close the Gap
3) Matt Guerrier: Closer, Los Angeles Dodgers (owned in 16 percent of leagues)
Guerrier is a short-term fix as the closer for the Dodgers but still deserves plenty of fantasy attention this week, especially from those of you who decided to wait on closers during the draft. Guerrier isn't anything special, but he has plenty of experience pitching in all kinds of situations, including closing out games. He is basically keeping the seat warm until Kenley Jansen works out his mechanical issues.
Raking the Infield
4) Chris Johnson: Third Base, Houston Astros (owned in six percent of leagues)
Too bad he doesn't have the speed of his NFL namesake. But this Chris Johnson does hit a lot harder and is a much better fantasy player than his .225/.270/.394 line suggests. It is stunning to me that he is only owned in six percent of fantasy leagues, especially with the lack of options at the hot corner. Johnson has been hitting much better over the last two weeks and is about to go on a real offensive tear here soon, so it is time to climb aboard and get some of this production.
5) Justin Turner: 2B/3B, New York Mets (owned in three percent of leagues)
Turner doesn't have third base eligibility yet but will by the end of this week, and that will greatly improve his value in mixed-league formats. Turner will be the primary fill-in while David Wright recovers from a stress fracture in his back. This should give him at least a month to get comfortable in the Mets lineup and enough time to make an impact for your fantasy team.
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Catch Him If You Can
6) Jonathan Lucroy: Catcher, Milwaukee Brewers (owned in 13 percent of fantasy leagues)
I have to admit that I wasn't completely aware of what Lucroy was doing out there in Milwaukee either until I went searching for an upgrade for my second catcher spot for my NFBC team. Turns out Lucroy is hitting a cool .320/.373/.490 with four HR, 18 RBI and 12 runs scored. This is tremendous production for a second catcher in leagues that start two and also solid production in one-catcher leagues as well.
Lucroy has good power but is sacrificing some of that in order to turn a better batting average, which is what the Brewers are seeking out of him. Either way, he should be on your radar if you are in the market for an upgrade behind the plate.
Ride the Wave
7) Corey Patterson: Outfielder, Toronto Blue Jays (owned in eight percent of leagues)
Please hear me out on this one because I would be as skeptical as anyone in reading Corey Patterson as a waiver pickup. Patterson is starting most days for the Blue Jays currently and just ended a nice 11-game hitting streak. He has a bit of power and good speed, but there is one very important detail that makes Patterson very intriguing: He is batting second in the Blue Jays order, right in front of the scorching Jose Bautista.
This position is guaranteed to see a lot of fastballs, and hittable ones at that. There isn't a pitcher alive who would tempt fate by trying to get cute while Bautista is in the on-deck circle. These are the strategies for the veteran fantasy player and ones that are used by those who win the big bucks playing this game. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you, right?
Two Starts Are Better Than One
8) Bartolo Colon: Starter, New York Yankees (owned in 34 percent of leagues)
What Colon is doing this season is remarkable, but in the offseason he underwent a procedure to inject stem cells into his right arm that has evidently given it new life. Colon's curveball is as good as it has ever been right now, and with an offense like the Yankees' supporting him, there is no reason not to pluck him off your waiver wire right now.
Two starts this week means now is the perfect time to replace one of your struggling starters with the fountain of youth poster boy, Bartolo Colon.
Jeff Mans is the co-host of The Fantasy Alarm Show on SiriusXM Radio, the Senior Writer for Fantasy Alarm and a regular contributor to Bleacher Report.
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