Be a contender in your fantasy baseball league today. Pay attention a few minutes a day. Continue to check your lineup in July and August as you do in April. Fantasy baseball is a long season where many managers are excited at the beginning and then give up. You can be a winner, by checking your team every day, sitting starters who aren’t starting, and dropping players who are hurt for the season. Watch closely,picking up free agents can lead you to being the champion of your league.
The waiver wire can help you. This week I share with you part of the article Pedro Power from D.J. Short of Rotoworld.com, my favorite fantasy baseball site. Take a chance and pick one of them up. Good luck!
Waiver Wire Pickups:
Scott Downs RP, Angels
It was a bit of a surprise when young fireballer Jordan Walden was removed from the closer role late last week, but Downs is certainly good enough to run away with the job. The 36-year-old left-hander has notched back-to-back save opportunities since getting the nod and has yet to allow a run in 9 1/3 innings this season. The strikeout rate (6.89 K/9 career) isn’t what we typically see from a closer, but Downs has excellent control (2.3 BB/9 since 2009) and a career ground ball rate of 57.4 percent. Walden could eventually get his job back and the Angels are reportedly talking to other teams about a closer, but Downs is a safe add in all formats right now.
Pedro Alvarez 3B, Pirates
Alvarez appeared bound for a possible demotion just a couple weeks ago, but he’s suddenly one of the hottest waiver wire adds out there. After collecting two hits 5 strikeouts through his first and 1 30 at-bats this season, the 25-year-old third baseman is batting .388 (14-for-36) with four homers and 10 RBI over his last 10 games. This includes his current five-game hitting streak. The strikeouts are still a major concern, so don’t expect him to help much in the batting average department, but the potential for 20-plus home runs is very real. Third base is suddenly very thin, so give him a shot if you’re searching for a replacement for Pablo Sandoval, Evan Longoria or Kevin Youkilis.
John Danks SP, White Sox
Danks was hammered for seven runs over 5 2/3 innings by the Red Sox last Friday and has an ugly 6.23 ERA across his first five starts this season, so it’s no surprise to see him sitting on the waiver wire in mixed leagues right now. It remains to be seen whether his diminished velocity and suddenly shaky control is just a blip or part of a bigger issue, but his track record makes him a worthy buy-low. Remember, he had a 6.89 ERA and 10/14 K/BB ratio in five starts last May before posting a 3.69 ERA for the rest of the season.
Henderson Alvarez SP, Blue Jays
Do I completely buy Alvarez’s impressive April? Not necessarily. While his 3.62 ERA through five starts is pretty nice, his 4.93 xFIP indicates that he has been somewhat fortunate. And it doesn’t take much digging to see why. The 22-year-old right-hander has an underwhelming 9/9 K/BB ratio over 32 1/3 innings and has benefited from a .196 batting average on balls in play. The encouraging part is that he has demonstrated excellent command in the majors (1.59 BB/9 in 96 innings) and has a ground ball rate of 58 percent this season. I wouldn’t trust Alvarez every time out in mixed leagues, especially in the power-packed AL East, but I like him for upcoming road starts against the Angels and Twins.
Josh Reddick OF, Athletics
On the strength of his current seven-game hitting streak, Reddick is batting .274 with four homers, nine RBI, 13 runs scored, three stolen bases and a .772 OPS through 25 games this season. I’ll admit that’s not going to blow most fantasy owners away, he’s doing enough in all categories to warrant attention in deeper leagues. His lack of patience is still an issue (just three walks in 106 plate appearances this season, 4.9 percent career walk rate) and I would like to see more RBI, but the opportunities should be there as long as he continues to bat third in the A’s lineup.
Tony Campana OF, Cubs
Yep, it only took one week for Campana to graduate from the NL-only to the mixed league side. And why the heck not? Though 10 games, Campana is hitting .355 (11-for-31) with seven stolen bases and seven runs scored. Only eight players have more stolen bases and most of them have three times as many at-bats as Campana. I’m not suggesting you go out and pick him up in a shallow mixed league, as the 25-year-old is essentially a one-trick pony with absolutely no power, but he makes for a fine pickup in five-outfielder formats. Just keep in mind that Campana could sit against left-handed starters, so he’s more useful in a daily league.
Will Middlebrooks 3B, Red Sox
Boston, your savior has arrived. OK, not quite. Middlebrooks will only hold down third base until Kevin Youkilis is ready to return from a lower back strain. However, the 23-year-old makes for an interesting short-term option in deeper mixed formats. Middlebrooks went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and a stolen base in his major league debut Wednesday against the A’s and was hitting .333/.380/.677 with nine homers, 27 RBI and a 1.057 OPS over his first 100 plate appearances with Triple-A Pawtucket this season. I wouldn’t drop anyone of great importance for him, as his first stint in the majors will likely be a brief one and his aggressive approach could lead to some growing pains, but nothing wrong with taking the proverbial flier.
Brian Fuentes RP, Athletics
Grant Balfour deserves a bit of a leash with the closer role, but he has allowed five runs on five hits and two walks over his last two appearances and was pulled in favor of Jordan Norberto during a save situation Tuesday night against the Red Sox. Fuentes got the save — the 200th of his career — on Wednesday and would be the likely alternative if Balfour’s struggles continue. Sure, Ryan Cook is beginning to look like a possible “closer of the future” and I would much prefer to see him get a shot, but Fuentes has that “proven closer” tag which most managers seem to dig. Getting a few saves under his belt could also enhance his trade value leading up to the deadline. Stash if you’re in the mood to speculate.
Steve Cishek RP, Marlins
Heath Bell was terrible again Wednesday night against the Giants, allowing three straight hits to begin the bottom of the ninth before getting pulled from a save situation. He ended up getting charged with two runs and saw his ERA jump to 11.74 on the year. The 34-year-old right-hander has allowed 13 hits and eight walks over just 7 2/3 innings of work this season while his velocity and swinging-strike rate continue to decline. His three-year, $27 million deal provides some extra job security, but Marlins’ manager Ozzie Guillen suggested after Wednesday’s game that he Bell could be pulled from the closer role, at least on a temporary basis. Cishek is the strongest candidate to replace him, as he got the call in the ninth inning last night and has an 0.79 ERA and 12/4 K/BB ratio over 11 1/3 innings this season, but Guillen could also turn to Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb.
Drew Smyly SP, Tigers
I had Smyly under my AL-only recommendations in the very first Waiver Wired of the season, but the rookie left-hander is now on the mixed league side after posting a 1.23 ERA and 22/8 K/BB ratio in 22 innings through his first four major league starts. His strand rate is a perfect 100 percent, so he can’t be this fortunate forever, but he’s racking up plenty of swings and misses and his control has been very solid since he walked three over four innings in his major league debut. It’s tough to make a strong judgment with such a small sample, but give him a whirl Friday against a White Sox team that is batting just .199 with a .614 OPS against southpaws this season.
Bobby Abreu OF, Dodgers
I’m cheating a little bit here, but this is assuming that Abreu ends up signing a contract with the Dodgers. The 38-year-old was released by the Angels last weekend after being buried on the bench and hitting just .208 over his first 24 at-bats, but he will presumably share playing time with Juan Rivera in left field and function as a left-handed bat of the bench. Abreu is clearly on the decline and could be an adventure in the outfield, but he still had a .353 on-base percentage last year and swiped 21 bases in 26 attempts. He’s a must-own in NL-only leagues as soon as he’s in the player pool.
Patrick Corbin SP, Diamondbacks
Josh Collmenter was booted from the starting rotation over the weekend, so Corbin started in his place on Monday against the Marlins and allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings while striking out six and walking three. Corbin, who was acquired from the Angels in the Dan Haren trade, has a 3.83 ERA over parts of four seasons in the minors, averaging 8.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. The 22-year-old left-hander doesn’t have the upside of more exciting D-Backs’ prospects like Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley or Tyler Skaggs, but he should at least hold down a rotation spot until Daniel Hudson returns from a right shoulder impingement.
Brian Bogusevic OF, Astros
There’s not a lot to get excited about here, but Bogusevic could provide some sneaky value if he continues to get regular playing time. The 2005 first-round pick had a knack for getting on base in the minor leagues, something he has maintained with a 9.3 percent walk rate and a .340 on-base percentage over his first 302 plate appearances in the majors. And while he doesn’t have the wheels of teammate Jordan Schafer, the 28-year-old outfielder had 20 or more stolen bases in each of the past three seasons in the minors. Just keep in mind that Travis Buck looms as a threat if he struggles.
Alex White SP, Rockies
Jhoulys Chacin was optioned to the minors on Wednesday after struggling to the tune of a 7.30 ERA over his first five starts and the early speculation is that White will get the call to replace him in the starting rotation. White, who came over from the Indians in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal last July, has a solid 2.92 ERA and 21/8 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings over his first five starts with Triple-A Colorado Springs this season. His command was shaky in his first taste of the majors last year, but he throws hard and keeps the ball on the ground. That’s a potential recipe for success.
Michael Taylor OF, Athletics
With Coco Crisp likely headed to the disabled list due to recurring issues with a sinus infection, Taylor is in line for a promotion and should at least see part-time duty in the A’s outfield. The 26-year-old outfielder is off to a strong start with Triple-A Sacramento this season, batting .347 with two homers, 18 RBI, six stolen bases and a .938 OPS over 105 plate appearances. Taylor hasn’t come close to reaching the lofty expectations attached to him during his days as a farmhand with the Phillies, but his modest power-speed combo is enough to make him interesting.
Jarrod Dyson OF, Royals
The Royals were originally hoping that Lorenzo Cain would be able to return from the disabled list last Friday, but his timetable has been pushed back a couple weeks after he experienced a setback during his rehab assignment. Mitch Maier continues to get looks in center field during his absence, but Dyson is the one you want from a fantasy perspective. The speedy 27-year-old has stolen 22 bases with the Royals over the past three seasons, despite appearing in just 50 games.
John Jaso C, Mariners
Miguel Olivo is expected to miss an extended period of time with a strained right groin, which means that Jaso and Jesus Montero will split catching duties for now. Jaso has been limited to just 18 at-bats so far this season, but the expectation is that he should handle most of the catching duties against right-handed pitching, which at least plays to his strengths offensively. The 28-year-old backstop is coming off a horrible season, but he owns a 12 percent walk rate and .340 on-base percentage over 707 plate appearances in the big leagues.
Aaron Cook SP, Red Sox
Cook had an out-clause in his contract on May 1, so the Red Sox will bring him up to the majors to prevent him from becoming a free agent. His first assignment will come Saturday against the Orioles, as he’s set to fill in for Josh Beckett, who came down with lat soreness after he tied a career-high by throwing 126 pitches last Sunday against the White Sox. Cook has a 4.53 ERA in the majors, so let’s not get carried away here, but the veteran sinkerballer was pitching well with Triple-A Pawtucket and has a career ground ball rate of 57.4 percent. Use him Saturday and see how things shake out.
Evan Longoria Tampa 3B out for 4-8 weeks with a partially torn hamstring,
Matt Kemp Dodgers CF was hot in April with s12th home run
Allan Craig is off DL, plays 2B all of the outfield positions, and will qualify for 1B soonm is worth a pick up.
James McDonald P Pirates has a ERA under 3.00 and worth a pickup.
Bryan LaHair OFCubs has been a great for my team, 5 home runs and batted .390 in April.
Ryan Braun OF MIL Had 3 home runs in one game, looks like he is breaking out of his slump- Time to get him in a trade if the owner will part with him
Andy Pettitte P NY will join the Yankees soon, not in yahoo data base so he will be on waivers, not a free agent
Mariano Yankees closer Rivera out for year,after freak accident.
As the 2012 season continues I will be discussing events of the week (tidbits), injury news, waiver wire possibilities, and sharing with you articles that I am reading that will help you achieve your goal of reaching the playoffs, and achieving the goal of being the 2012 Fantasy Baseball champion of your league! Post your comments questions and feel free to e-mail me any time at Bonniegortler@gmail.com
Bonnie Gortler is a successful stock market guru who is passionate about teaching others about social media, weight loss and wealth. Bonnie is also a huge sports fan who successfully lost over 60 pounds by applying the many lessons learned through her commitment toward personal growth. Choose your very own FREE down-loadable gift from Bonnie by visiting bit.ly/bgoffers. You may also connect with Bonnie via Twitter & Facebook plus subscribe to BonnieGortler.com.
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