Of course it would happen this way. No more than a couple of hours after I open my big fat mouth and start blabbing about Troy Tulowitzki as a top-10 player with the chance to play 150 games for the first time since 2009, does the talented shortstop aggravate a rib injury that lands him on the DL for 4-6 weeks. Simply brutal news for the Rockies and fantasy owners alike. Well, they say that for every door that closes a window of opportunity is open and sure enough, it looks like popular preseason sleeper Josh Rutledge is lurking around out back just trying to sneak through that window.
Rutledge makes his return to the majors after spending just under a month down n the a farm to work on both his approach at the plate and his laughable defense. Interestingly, Rutledge had already improved his walk rate significantly from where it was in 2012 while bringing some nice juice with five home runs and five steals through his first 43 games. He did more of the same at Triple-A, popping a pair of home runs and stealing a base in 69 at-bats. His numbers have consistently put him on pace to threaten 20/20 over a full compliment of at-bat. Don’t expect a batting title, but do expect a solid mix of power and speed coming from the middle infielder who will, once again, play half of his games at Coors field.
At the current moment, Rutledge is dangling out on waiver in just over 75% of Yahoo standard leagues and as the Tulo news circulates, that number is sure to be on the rise. Rutledge needs to be scooped up in all league and figures to have a pretty solid chance to take back his regular role even after Tulo returns.
And now back to our regularly scheduled program…
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
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (BOS) 39% owned: Salty’s average has been surprisingly not terrible this year as he checks in at a .278 clip with 8 homers over 52 games this season . He’s still striking out in one-third of his plate appearances, a painful pace, but Salty has been making hard contact when he gets a hold of the ball. Though his home run pace is slightly off the 25 bombs he hit in 2012, the Sox catcher has already drilled 17 double, matching his total from 121 games last season. Point to a .398 BABIP and tell me that the average will come down… and you may be right, but this is also a guy who has significantly increased his line drive rate and is piling on the extra-base knocks at a career-best pace. Scoop him up if you need a power bat behind the plate.
Carlos Ruiz (PHI) 9% owned: Chooch’s run with the Phillies was short lived earlier in the year. He lastsed just 16 games with the team coming off of a 25-game suspension before blowing out his hamstring. Ruiz is getting ready to begin a rehab assignment this weekend and could be back with the Phils sometime next week. Ignore his early struggles in 2013 and consider a player whose put up a .308/.388/.454 slash line over the past three season.
John Jaso (OAK) 4% owned: If you are rolling in a deeper league, Jaso is worth a look. He’s got 12 hits in his last 29 at-bats (.414) and though the Athletic deploy a pretty strict platoon with thier catchers, Jaso has excellent on-base skills and is worth a start whenever the A’s face off with a right-handed starter.
Kyle Blanks (SD) 25% owned: From DFA to FA add, Blanks was on the brink of a demotion when Yonder Alonso’s injured oblique saved the big boy’s roster spot. Blanks now find himself with an every day job at first base and was off to a really nice start to June, batting .313 with three home runs, 10 runs and 10 RBI in 13 games. If he hits, he’ll stick in the lineup even after Alonso returns.
Tyler Colvin (COL) 8% owned: One of our deepest sleepers heading into the draft this season, Colvin apparently forgot to wake his bat this spring and wound up in the minors for the first two months of the season. As injuries ravage the Rockies starting lineup, Colvin has gotten the call… and responded. He’s got four hits in his first 15 at-bats with a pair of home runs and seven RBI. We’ve seen a solid power stroke in the past and after putting up 18 long balls with 72 RBI in 420 at-bats last season, Colvin looks primed to take advantage of his most recent opportunity with the big club.
Nolan Arenado (COL) 24% owned: Those who impatiently dumped Arenado after he posted a meager .221/.261/.374 slash line over his first 34 games have failed to reap the rewards of his recent run at the dish. In his past eight games, Arenado is on fire, batting .388 (14-for-36) with six runs scored, a home run and three RBI. The talent is there and now Nolan is sitting on you wire just waiting for you.
Anthony Rendon (WSH) 22% owned: Like Arenado, Anthony Rendon got off to a sluggish start to the year. Since being recalled, however, the Nats rookie infielder has hit in seven straight games, scoring three times and driving in four. For the season he boasts a very strong 7:12 walk-to-strikeout rate and once he gains second base eligibility, his value will get an even bigger boost.
Willie Bloomquist (ARI) 5% owned: If the rookies are gone, why not give the vet a look. Willie biggest asset is his eligibility and the swiss army knife has put up a .429 average over the past two weeks. Interestingly, he has not stolen a base during that time, leaving owners who were perhaps rolling the dice on some cheap speed scratching their heads. Still, the average is nice, and when you are digging deep, sometimes you might as well just ride the hot bat.
Josh Rutledge (COL) 25% owned
Derek Dietrich (MIA) 2% owned: Miami’s rookie second sacker has been flashing an impressive power stroke during his first trip around the Bigs and despite a suspect batting average, Dietrich’s performance was enough to supplant Donovan Solano as the regular second baseman in South Beach. Dietrich has six home runs in his first 30 games with the club, driving in 15 RBI and scoring 16 times. He’s been one of the Marlins most productive bats over the past month and with Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison back batting in from of Dietrich, the is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the kid’s short-term potential.
Ben Revere (PHI) 35% owned: Revere made an appearance last week here on Waiver Wire Friday and he continues to play well. In the month of June, Big Ben is batting .325 with a solid .357 on-base and most importantly, five steals in six attempts. He’s been seeing more time at the top of the Phillies’ order of late and coming off of a four-hit performance on Thursday evening make a nice pickup if you are in need of some speed.
Rajai Davis (TOR) 6% owned: Like Revere, Rajai is a pure speed option for you, but he can pile up the steals in a hurry. He recently returned from an oblique injury and has hit the ground running since his return. He’s not in the lineup every single day, but for those of you with daily roster moves, Rajai can be a really nice complimentary player to stash on your bench. In his only start in the past week, Davis went 3-for-5 with a pair of steals.
Marlon Byrd (NYM) 1% owned: Byrd has never been the most exciting outfielder to own in fantasy, but he did cobble together a couple of very useful seasons in Chicago and Texas. The .252/.308/.503 slash for the year is decent when paired with 10 homers in 155 at-bats. He’s worked his way into a really nice groove over the past couple of weeks, batting .303 with six homer runs 8 runs and 11 RBI in his last 12 games.
Rick Porcello (DET) 24% owned: We’ve been on the Porcello band-wagon for a couple of week now, telling you to scoop him up here and hold steady on him here and yet, owners seem reluctant to trust a guy who has been so awful in the past. We’ll go through the numbers one more time and maybe you’ll buy in this time around! In his last eight starts, Porcello has a 3.24 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 51 Ks in 50.0 innings pitched. His ground ball rate is phenomenal (56%) and he’s not walking anyone. Go grab this guy, he is a changed pitcher and an every week start at the current moment.
Dillon Gee (NYM) 10% owned: Amid reports that he’s been dealing with tendinitis in his arm all season, Gee went out an dominated the Cardinals over 6.2 innings this past week. Your going to need to ignore his 4.84 ERA and 1.53 WHIP when making the pickup, but think more about a guy who has posted a 1.29 ERA over his last 21.0 IP with a 3-0 record and 26 strikeouts against just three walks. Gee’s peripheral’s have always pointed to a pitcher with the skills to succeed and he’s only 24-years old. We’ll be rolling Gee out there with confidence in his next start against the Braves–a team he holds a decent 3.71 ERA against in nine career starts–and he could very well continue this roll right on through the summer.