Fantasy Baseball: Barry Zito and Top 12 Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 14

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2011

Fantasy Baseball: Barry Zito and Top 12 Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 14

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    Heading into Week 14, a lot of familiar faces are starting to resurface in fantasy baseball.

    Whether they've started off on the wrong foot or haven't been good enough to warrant mixed-league consideration, many waiver wire options are gaining steam.

    While some of these bigger names fight for roster recognition, young prospects are doing their best impressions of productive fantasy options, making owners wonder who do they add?

    Here are the top 12 waiver wire pickups for the following week

12. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Cleveland Indians

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    Lonnie Chisenhall started his first career game at third base for the Cleveland Indians Monday, after being called up from the minors.

    Chisenhall is a 22-year-old prospect who could be ready to make an MLB impact and a fantasy splashdown.

    Through 350 at-bats at Double-A, he hit 14 home runs and 58 RBI, making him a liable power hitting option for the next couple of months.

    Chisenhall isn't going hit for a high average, but he's got enough pop and lineup stability to make things happen on the scoreboard.

11. Jon Jay, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Jon Jay is getting regular at-bats for the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Going forward, if he continues to beat out fellow outfield competition for starts, he could become a viable deep mixed-league option.

    Jay is batting over .300 with five home runs and five stolen bases through 180 at-bats.

    He's become a solid outfield play in many formats and could become a must-add by the end of the week,

    The 25-year-old will offer a .300 average, decent home run power, seasoned plate discipline, and also score plenty of runs while in the Cardinals lineup.

    With or without Albert Pujols.

10. Jemile Weeks, 2B, Oakland Athletics

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    Brother of Rickie Weeks, Jemile Weeks has surprisingly produced at a fantasy worthy level.

    Through nearly 70 at-bats, the 24-year-old as stole six bags, recorded three triples, and continues to teeter around a .300 average.

    While Weeks isn't in the perfect lineup to score many runs and become a significant fantasy producer, he's done too much in such a short sample to be discarded with the common folk.

    Over the next few days, keep an eye out for Weeks.

    If he starts to hit for power he could become a very popular add at a thin fantasy position.

9. Chris Johnson, 3B, Houston Astros

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    Chris Johnson could be setting up for a fantasy hot streak.

    The Houston Astros third baseman has recorded a hit in 16 of his last 20 games, suggesting he's breaking out of an early season slump.

    Johnson hit .359 in the month of July last year, with four home runs and 13 RBI, so he could be on the verge of another mid-summer hit fest.

    Another week of consistent hitting and Johnson could spell some struggling third baseman like injured Pablo Sandoval, a lack luster Casey McGehee, and whoever the Detroit Tigers have at third these days.

8. Jordan Lyles, SP, Houston Astros

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    Two Houston Astros in a row.

    Odd, isn't it?

    Well, when you consider Jordan Lyles has performed fairly well since being called up to the majors four weeks ago, it's hard to ignore the obvious.

    The 20-year-old can pitch.

    Lyles has compiled 30 innings of work, striking out 26 and walking only six.  That's some serious control for a young rookie pitcher.

    While he's yet to win a game, 0-2, Lyles has produced enough over his last three starts to be considered a low-end option in pretty much any mixed league.

7. David Freese, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals

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    David Freese is on his way back,

    He'll start Tuesday after recovering from a broken left hand that kept him out of the lineup for nearly a month.

    Freese should see substantial at-bats and good lineup positioning consider Albert Pujols is out for the next six weeks.

    That means solid production for fantasy owners.

    Freese was an advisable start before the injury, so he still maintains enough potential to warrant that title.

    Even though he had only hit two home runs before he went on the DL, Freese was hitting an astonishing .356.

    I'd pick him up.

6. Roger Bernadina, OF, Washington Nationals

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    Roger Bernadina is quickly gaining speed in most fantasy formats.

    Considering the Washington Nationals are hitting very well of late, their leadoff hitter is going to benefit more often than not.

    That's where Bernadina is going soak in all his potential, atop the Nationals order.

    The 27-year-old speedster has swiped 11 bases through his first 45 games, adding four home runs and a low strikeout ratio.

    Bernadina is going to offer his owners consistent hitting, a knack for extra-base hits, and solid run scoring as long as Washington continues their surge.

    He's sort of a poor man's Andrew McCutchen.

5. Ty Wiggington, 1B/2B/3B/OF, Colorado Rockies

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    Coming out of nowhere, Ty Wiggington has arguably been the hottest hitter in baseball over the past week.

    He's smacked six home runs in his last seven games, adding nine RBI and has a chance to warrant fantasy consideration.

    Everyone knows Wigginton's story.

    He came up with the New York Mets, never really lived up to his hype, but has still managed to hit well wherever he goes, especially when he gets hot like this.

    Now while he's likely to slow down at least a little bit, Wiggington should be added immediately in almost all mixed leagues.

    He's offers eligibility at first, second, third, as well as the outfield.

    The journeyman will continue to hit, but will you add him?

4. Alcides Escobar, SS, Kansas City Royals

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    Alcides Escobar if finally living up to his elite potential.

    Now while he's not quite an elite fantasy option at shortstop, the 24-year-old is surely on his way.

    Escobar has .390 over the last two weeks, two triples, four stolen bases, and seven RBI.

    He's become one of the hottest hitting shortstops around, albeit Jose Reyes and Troy Tulowitzki are still the obvious go getters.

    Going forward in the season, Escobar could be very well be on his way to bringing his season average up to .300

    This could be the start of a fantasy era.  Stay tuned.

3. Carlos Pena, 1B, Chicago Cubs

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    Carlos Pena is finally hitting like the Chicago Cubs signed him to do.

    Over his last 40 at-bats, the veteran first baseman has hit five home runs, nine RBI, and has hit safely in five of his last six games.

    Pena will no doubt continue to hit for power as the season goes on, so adding him now before it's too late could help your offensive production down the line.

    By no means pickup Pena if you already have a significant first baseman, but testing him out at utility isn't a bad idea.

    Quick Update: Pena just hit two more home runs Monday night, so I think that categorizes him as a must-add and must-start for next week when he faces the pitching likes of Pittsburgh and Washington.

2. Homer Bailey, SP, Cincinnati Reds

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    The Cincinnati Reds needed a consistent starting pitcher besides Johnny Cueto and they could of found one with the return of Homer Bailey.

    The 25-year-old starter left the Reds with a 3-1 record and a mid-3.00 ERA before he was placed on the 15-day DL nearly a month ago.

    Well, he's back, and could be in line for a huge second half.

    He did struggle in his first outing off the disabled list on Sunday, lasting only five innings and taking the loss against the Baltimore Orioles, but he'll surely get back on the horse in his next start against Fausto Carmona and the Cleveland Indians.

    The fact remains that Bailey can help almost any fantasy team with his strikeout ability and low WHIP, not to mention the Reds will supplement his pitching with sufficient offense.

    He's an advisable add.

1. Barry Zito, SP, San Francisco Giants

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    Look who's back.

    Barry Zito was called off the disabled list to take the mound Tuesday and replace an injured Jonathan Sanchez.

    Zito has easily become one of the most unpredictable starting pitchers over the last few seasons, given his potential to produce dominant outings anytime he takes the mound.

    With that said, his next few starts should tell fantasy owners what kind of second half the 33-year-old is in for.

    He supposedly gained some much needed perspective on his pitching when he was down in the minors, so hopefully it did him some justice and fantasy owners can reap the benefits.

    With the right offensive production and consistency to limit hits, Zito can no doubt become a must-own option going forward.