Fantasy Baseball: Who Is Waiver Worthy?

Eric StashinSenior Writer IApril 20, 2009

PHOENIX - APRIL 08:  Starting pitcher Franklin Morales #56 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the game at Chase Field on April 8, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Rockies defeated the Diamondbacks 9-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Let’s take a look at a few potential waiver wire pick-ups for this week for those who play in both deeper and “normal”-sized formats.

Deeper Formats

Chris Duncan1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals

Though he’s playing the outfield this season, thanks to his work last season Duncan is eligible at first base in most formats, only adding to his allure.

The Cardinals are currently using a rotation in the outfield, with Duncan sharing time with Colby Rasmus, Rick Ankiel, and Ryan Ludwick.

In time, Tony La Russa will settle on a three-man starting outfield, and Duncan is doing everything possible to force his way in.

Through Saturday, he was hitting .381 with two home runs, 11 RBI, and seven runs scored. Let’s not forget Duncan hit 43 home runs over 655 at-bats between 2006-2007, though we have never seen what he can do over a full season of work.

In 2007, a sports hernia sidelined him in September. Last season, a herniated cervical disk in his neck not only ended his season, but the thought was it could potentially end his career.

Obviously, with his start to this season, he has been able to return to the form he once showed. The only game in which he has not registered a hit was on April 8, when he entered as a pinch hitter and drew a walk.

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Otherwise, all he’s done is hit.

The 2007 season brought about concerns with Duncan's average, which was low due to an inflated strikeout rate. That season, he struck out 32.8 percent of the time. In 2006 he was at 24.6 percent, and in 2008 he was at 23.4 percent.

This season, he’s sitting at 23.8 percent. What that tells me is that it is not impossible to see him hit in the .280-.300 range, with power.

As long as he continues to see regular at-bats, Duncan’s a player that certainly is worth owning in all formats.

Franklin MoralesSP, Colorado Rockies

With the Rockies finally in need of a fifth starter, Morales is set to return to the team this week and start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

Morales is a pitcher that I’ve been skeptical about in the past thanks to a mediocre minor league career, but there is no doubting his talent.

Heading into 2008, Baseball America had him pegged as the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball. Of course, his 6.45 ERA and 1.79 WHIP over 25.1 innings for the Rockies sent most owners scurrying for cover.

This season, things have been different.

Morales made a start early on, giving up one run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts over six innings, before being demoted thanks to off days. All he did in the minors was toss six shutout innings, allowing two hits and five walks while striking out four.

Control has always been his issue, as he's averaged 5.3 walks per nine innings over his minor league career. He showed in his first start this season that if he could overcome that, he could be successful in the major leagues.

That makes him worth stashing, if you have the room. At 23 years old, this may be the season he finally figures things out.

If you don’t have the room on your bench, however, I wouldn’t recommend grabbing him. He is too big a risk.

Shallow Formats

Elijah DukesOF, Washington Nationals

We mentioned Dukes when Lastings Milledge was first demoted, but now it’s time to drive the point home. Dukes has long been considered a player with a ton of talent; he just needed the opportunity to realize it.

Over parts of 2007 and 2008, he hit 25 home runs over 491 at-bats, which should certainly show you just how high his stock could rise with regular playing time, especially in the power department.

Dukes' average could be a problem, but as of Saturday he is sitting at .323.

His BABIP is a bit inflated, at .364, but his walks are also down, at 8.8 percent (last season he was at 15.3 percent). That tells me the average is going to drop, but he should still have the potential to score runs and wreak havoc on the base paths.

With his power, however, the potential is there to see him emerge as a must-use option, even in formats that require only three outfielders.

While Dukes is getting regular time, and playing well, he’s a must-own.

Mark BuehrleSP, Chicago White Sox

I just do not understand why people have an aversion to Buehrle. The guy has proven time and time again that he will not only take the ball every five days and eat innings, but excel while doing so.

Is it because he’s only posted a career K/9 of 5.29? I know that is not appealing, but he’s:

  • posted double-digit wins each of the past eight years
  • had an ERA of 3.89 or lower in six of the past eight seasons
  • had a WHIP of 1.35 or lower in seven of the past eight seasons

Basically, he’s going to produce across the board, outside of strikeouts. He’s gotten off to a similar start this season, at 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over his first three starts.

Buehrle’s proven time and time again that he’s worth using and can help you to fantasy victory, so don’t shy away. 

So, what do you think of these options? Would you grab any of them? Which would you avoid?