With the lighter schedule of games Thursday, we’re going to take advantage every Friday and give a look at the top talent available on the waiver wire. At each position we’ll give you the top players available in >60% of Yahoo standard leagues and for those of you in deeper games, we’ll throw out a name available in more than 85% of those formats.
We are going to try and keep things fresh here and hit on some players that we didn’t get to in last week’s edition of Waiver Wire Friday but we’ll re-list some players from time to time when their ownership rate and performance still warrants a mention.
Working the Wire
Ryan Doumit (MIN) 32% owned: Doumit offers a steady power bat at the catcher position. He’s not gonna win a batting title, but his .246 batting average in May is certainly an improvement for the .182 mark in April. For his career, Doumit is a .270 hitter and he’s averaged 20 home runs per and 79 RBI 162 games played since 2008. He’s not a top-5 guy, but Doumit has a way of sneaking into the back end of the top-10… just as he did last season.
A.J. Ellis (LAD) 10% owned: Ellis came out of nowhere for the Dodgers last year to put up a solid .278/.376/.414 slash line and his numbers so far this season echo that performance .278/.381/.397 through 149 plate appearances. Ellis has been even better in May, batting .315 with a homer and seven runs scored in 15 games, all while posting a brilliant 7:7 walk-to-strikeout ratio. He doesn’t bring the category juice like the Martin’s and the Arencibia’s of the world, but Ellis should score a solid number of runs and won’t crush you batting average. If you happen to play in an OBP league, he’s a top-10 guy.
Yonder Alonso (SD) 21% owned: Alonso continues to be overlooked despite a solid .280 average, 19 runs scored and 29 RBI on the year. He’s currently pacing towards 22 home runs and 92 RBI, solid totals for a low-end fantasy first baseman. Perhaps it the Petco/Padres stigma, perhaps it the limited power upside, but owners need to wise up to a steady and solid option who is widely available of the cheap price of a waiver claim. The Padres offense has actually been good since the start of May and Alonso’s performance is certainly one of the reasons why.
Logan Morrison (MIA) 5% owned: LoMo continues to rehab from offseason knee surgery and while it feels like a while since we’ve seen him on the field, it’s been an eternity since this guy was fantasy relevant. During his first season and a half in the bigs, Morrison put up a a per-162 5×5 line of .269-85-22-79-2, very solid numbers. He, of course, struggled last season when on the field in between major surgeries, batting just .230 with 11 bombs in 93 games. Morrison is currently rehabbing at High-A Jupiter and will advance to Double-A after the weekend. He’s begun to see time in the field and once he proves capable of working back-to-back games, the Marlins will come calling. You should only need to wait about two more weeks for LoMo’s return and in deeper leagues he’s worth a stash until then.
Darwin Barney (CHC) 4% owned: Barney is not a top-shelf talent. He’s hit just 11 home runs and stolen 19 bases in 1,296 major league at bats. Still, he’s batting .342 in his last 11 games with eight runs scored and has shown a bit of an improved power stroke this season with a pair of home runs and eight double through 32 games. When the depth gets as thin as it is in the middle infield sometime you’ve just go to ride the hot hand.
Alexei Amarista (SD) 3% owned: Some recall Amarista’s sizzling performance last June/July following his arrival in San Diego and you really need to look no further to identify the kind of contributor that he can be. Alexei scored 21 runs and knocked in 20 RBI in a 44 games span with thee homers and three stolen bases. Those totals aren’t going to bring you to a championship, but they will play as a Chase Utley replacement over the next couple of weeks. Amarista’s 44 game performance so far this year has been comparable with a .280 batting average and three home runs. The Padres has been hitting in May and Amarista’s strong contact rate and modest power can help you get by in the short term.
Freddy Galvis (PHI) 1% owned: Galvis takes over at second base with the injury to Chase Utley. The Phils are confident that Utley’s injury will not be long and Galvis really doesn’t have a spot after that. For the time being, however, Galvis will have an everyday role on a team in desperate need of a sparkplug. As Phillies fan I wish there was more to get exited about, but Freddy’s limited power and speed upside make him little more than a desperation play. Still, sometimes at-bats can be the most attractive asset for fantasy owners and Galvis can at-least provide those!
Eric Chavez (ARI) 18% owned: It’s anyone’s guess how long Chavez is able to hold up before requiring a DL stint, but the DBacks are deploying their brittle vet on an almost a nightly basis while shifting Martin Prado over to second base in Aaron Hill’s absence. Chavez has been out of control in May, posting a .440 average in 15 games played. Though his power stroke has cooled a bit as he has juts one home run this month after belting four long balls in April, Chavez has remained productive at the dish. Chavez is currently the No. 12 third baseman according to ESPN’s player rater and he should stay in that area for as long as he can stay on the field.
Anthony Rendon (WAS) 2% owned: Rendon was not productive during his 8-game stint with the Nats early in the season and though there is not immediate path to the majors, Ryan Zimmerman remains a health worry. Beyond that, Rendon has begun lay some second base down on the farm–a position he played in college–to reacquaint himself with the right side of the diamond. Danny Espinosa has been impressively bad (.163/.196/.291) and it seems like only a matter of time before Davey Johnson takes ol’ Danny boy out back behind the shed to put him out of his misery. Rendon has simply mashed his way through the minors–when on the field of course– and did post a strong 5:7 walk-to-strikeout ratio when in the majors earlier this season. You haven’t seen the last of Rendon in Washington in 2013 and when he’s up for good, he’ll help your fantasy squad.
Dayan Viciedo (CHW) 29% owned: The Cuban Clubber has always been an enticing talent to us. He bashed 25 home runs and drove in 78 RBI a year ago in 505 at-bats, numbers that put him on our radar heading into this season. Strikeout issues continue to plague the 24-year-old outfielder as he’s racked up 26 whiffs in just 24 games so far, but when he makes contact, good things happen. The .344 BABIP is highly unsustainable, so we don’t expect that .289 batting average to stick, but four home runs and 13 RBI in 101 plate appearances so far supports the 25 homer, 80 RBI type performance he put up last season. He’s also a bit of a streaker and the .357/.4353/.524 slash line he’s put up in May has us ready to plug Viciedo right into our starting lineups. Dayan can be a solid No. 4 outfielder for your fantasy team and simply should not be available in more than 70% of standard leagues.
Andy Dirks (DET) 7% owned: We talked up Dirks last week as well, but I don’t think enough of you are getting the point. With Austin Jackson on the DL, Dirks is leading off the the most productive offense in the major leagues! Let that sink in for a minute. Since first appearing at the top of the order on May 12, Dirks has made his last eight starts for the Tigers in batting position. He’s racked up seven runs, two homers seven RBI and a steal over those eight games. Small sample? Yes. Elite production? Yes. Available in 90% of standard leagues? YES.
David Phelps (NYY) 20% owned: Injuries to Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte have opened up a spot for Phelps in the Yankees rotation and he’s pitched well so far for fantasy owners in four starts: 3 wins, 2.84 ERA and 24 Ks in 25.1 innings pitched. his walk rate in the rotation remains a slight worry, but Phelps offers nice strikeout ability. After posting an 8.67 K/9 in 99.2 IP for the Bombers last season, Phelps has nudged that rate up to 9.78 in his first 42.1 innings of 2013. He wasn’t exactly a strikeout artist in the minors but Phelps has adapted his arsenal since making it to the big leagues, relying more heavily on his two-seem fastball and slider this year. His performance so far has earned his a chance to stick in this rotation long-term and he is capable of an ERA in the mid-3s to go along with double-digit wind and solid strikeout numbers.
Trevor Rosenthal (STL) 19% owned: An old favorite here at BretskyBall, Rosenthal was our choice to take the closer role for the Cardinals when Jason Motte first hit the DL. Edward Mujica has been rock-solid, however, but there are other ways in which the young fireballer Rosenthal can help you out. For the season, Rosenthal has posted a 2.35 ERA with 13.5K/9, numbers that can boost your squad even in a bullpen role. Since April 27, though, he’s been simply untouchable, racking up 18 strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched without allowing an earned run. He’s yielded just 10 base runners in those 12 appearances and has put any early-season struggles in the past. If Mujica falters, Rosenthal will get his shot and if the Cards’ wise up, they could still move him into the rotation down the line. In absence of both, Rosenthal is still an asset to your fantasy team. Don’t leave this electric arm on the wire.
Ricky Nolasco (MIA) 10% owned: You won’t find Nolasco on any of my fantasy teams. The on-and-off love affair that blossomed back in 2008 before ending painfully sometime during the summer of 2011 has left scars… scars so deep that they will never be repaired. In his last four starts, Nolasco true profile has shown itself. A mediocre 6 IP/4 ER performance against Philadelphia on May 3 was followed by a dominating 9-strikeout game in San Diego on May 8. He was then blasted for six runs in his next start versus Cincinnati before shutting down the DBacks with 11 Ks over 8+ innings one one-run ball last week. All told, he’s given you a 4.15 ERA and 29 Ks in 26.0 IP over those four starts, pretty much the best you can expect from Ricky. Nolasco takes his next turn Saturday evening in the pitcher friendly Marlins Park against a strikeout prone White Sox team and if you are chasing down a lead in a head-to-head league, I’ve got no problem throwing him out there. The blowups will come regularly, but if you can tolerate the risk, Nolasco has a chance to be dominant each and every time he takes the hill.