2011 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Charlie Blackmon, Dustin Ackley and More
We are headed into the dog days of summer and also the fantasy baseball season. It is no longer too soon to freak out about a player's performance or stick to anything you felt heading into the draft.
Truth be told, there are only a few more weeks in which impact players will still be available on the waiver wire. Sure, there will always be the two-start pitcher or the one-time streamer, but impact bats are getting much harder to find these days.
This week's Waiver Flavor features a couple players who could turn your team around or at least give you the boost you need to climb back up the standings. Let's take a look at who you should be targeting on the waiver wire this week in the next installment of Waiver Flavor.
1) Charlie Blackmon: Outfielder, Colorado Rockies (Owned in 16 percent of leagues)
This former second-round draft pick has made a quick rise up the Rockies system and is now continuing his success at Coors Field. Blackmon has a smooth, compact swing that allows for solid contact to all fields. He doesn't strike out much and is much more of a gap-to-gap hitter than a true power source. Still, he can hit the ball out of the yard on occasion, especially in the thin air in Colorado.
Blackmon also has above-average speed and the desire to steal a large number of bases. This is key in putting him in another level as far as fantasy goes, because a good batting average and below-average HR power doesn't excite those of us looking for an outfielder. But right now he is swinging a very hot bat and stealing bases as soon as he gets on.
It appears as though Blackmon has replaced Dexter Fowler as the Rockies' everyday center fielder and leadoff or No. 2 hitter. Either way, there is a ton of run production in his future, and thus he is the top pickup for this week.
2) Dustin Ackley: Second Base, Seattle Mariners (Owned in 10 percent of leagues)
I've been talking about Ackley practically all year, and he has finally made his arrival in Seattle. Ackley will be the Mariners' everyday 2B and will eventually work his way up the lineup to bat directly behind Ichiro in the No. 2 spot. This will give the Mariners a formidable top of the lineup with Ichiro, Ackley, Justin Smoak and Mike Carp.
Although he doesn't hit for a ton of power or steal a lot of bases, Ackley is a master of the strike zone and will spray the ball with authority all over the field. When he fills out a bit, he will profile as a No. 3 hitter in a good lineup due to his discipline and strong, quick wrists. Anybody who has a need at 2B or middle infield should consider bidding high on Ackley this week.
3) Scott Baker: Starter, Minnesota Twins (Owned in 34 percent of leagues)
I am not a Scott Baker fan normally, but I have to give credit where it is due, and he is one of the hottest pitchers in the American League right now. Furthermore, the Twins have been on a roll of late and are finally winning some games this season. Baker will never be a big strikeout machine, but he has a track record of quality starts and of winning ball games.
Going with the hot hand in your rotation has been a trademark of fantasy champions for years. Don't miss out on great performances just because you weren't high on that player earlier in the season.
4) Derek Holland: Starter, Texas Rangers (Owned in 26 percent of leagues)
My top choice of the two-start pitchers for next week, as Holland draws two of the lightest-hitting teams in baseball in the Astros and Mets. This season hasn't gone exactly how many of us thought it would for Holland, but he has been brilliant at times, and there just isn't any reason to think he won't be again this week.
Middle Infield Specials
5) Alcides Escobar: Shortstop, Kansas City Royals (Owned in 37 percent of leagues)
Everybody knows that Escobar is a world-class fielding shortstop. The only question was whether he was going to hit at the big league level, and if so, when? Well, he is starting to answer those questions in a flurry recently, as he's collected 19 hits in his last 37 at-bats, raising his average from .208 to a respectable .255.
What's better is that Escobar is finally getting to use his great speed to pick up some great chunks of stolen bases. Escobar has stolen five bases in his last 10 games as well. Right now he is a must add in deeper AL-only leagues and is working towards becoming a mixed-league option soon.
6) Eduardo Nunez: SS/3B, New York Yankees (Owned in two percent of leagues)
The injury to Derek Jeter has created a nice little spot for Nunez, who does have 3B eligibility, in the everyday lineup. Nunez has stepped up since being inserted into the Yankees lineup and at this point is a better fantasy player than Derek Jeter is. He'll get you some steals and runs scored mostly, but that is a very useful commodity in fantasy baseball leagues these days.
Getting the Call Soon
7) Dayan Viciedo: 3B/OF, Chicago White Sox (Owned in zero percent of leagues)
There has been a lot of speculation suggesting that Viciedo could be called up soon to take the place of struggling Juan Pierre in left field. But that is not really the case here at all. As hot as Viciedo is right now, he is more likely to get the promotion in order to sub for Adam Dunn and to give Pierre, Paul Konerko or Brent Morel a rest. This kid has officially come of age now for AAA Charlotte and will soon be doing the same for your fantasy baseball franchises.
8) Brandon Allen: 1B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Owned in zero percent of leagues)
It has become obvious that Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson just doesn't like Juan Miranda and wants to try new people at first base all the time. Well, enter Brandon Allen, who over the past few seasons has put together quite a power display down on the farm. Allen has nothing left to prove at AAA and should be on his way to Arizona very, very soon. Allen is hitting .291/.418/.511 with 10 HR, 43 RBI, 53 runs and five steals for AAA Reno right now.
The Diamondbacks also have Paul Goldschmidt down in AA right now, but it is doubtful they skip Allen over to bring in Goldschmidt. He will be getting an extended look with Arizona in the very near future.
Jeff Mans is a co-host of The Fantasy Alarm Show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, the Senior Writer at Fantasy Alarm and a contributor to Bleacher Report.
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