Each week, Baseball Press provides some "under the radar" fantasy players for AL-only leagues, NL-only leagues, and mixed leagues. We'll review the diamonds in the rough on the waiver wire that might help you boost your fantasy team in 2011.
Reggie Von Bartles
Under the Radar - AL/NL Only Leagues
Wednesday August 10th, 2011
This week's AL/NL-only waiver wire pickups features players who are putting together solid numbers headed down the stretch. At this point in the season, it's about owners winning points no matter what, even if it means signing a usually irrelevant player to your team during a recent hot-streak. Whether your fantasy team needs home runs, steals, or strikeouts, or even if you're just chasing wins, this mix of players has you covered.
* Owned percentages via Yahoo!
Luke Hochevar - SP, Kansas City Royals (7% owned)
Although right-handed starting pitcher Luke Hochevar owns a .500 W-L record this season, he's 3-0 in his last five starts and has won three of his last four starts. In his last 21 1/3 innings pitched, he's allowed just four earned runs while striking out 20 batters. In 2011, Hochevar is striking out just about five batters per nine innings while walking 2.8 per nine innings. His next start is against the Chicago White Sox and he is worth owning not only in AL-only leagues, but worth a look in deeper mix leagues.
Chris Davis - 1B/3B, Baltimore Orioles (2% owned)
Even with the trade from the Texas Rangers to the Baltimore Orioles, corner infielder Chris Davis is still the same player that racks up a ton of strikeouts and shows little plate discipline. However, the Orioles will give him something the Rangers didn't - a chance to play every day. Davis is a career .317/.374/.596 hitter in six minor league seasons, but hasn't been able to adapt to big league pitching, hitting just .246/.297/.452 in 271 big league games. He's in a favorable ballpark for home runs (not as favorable as Arlington) and should see plenty of at-bats from now until the end of the season with the Orioles.
Brad Mills - SP, Toronto Blue Jays (1% owned)
Left-handed starter Brad Mills was asked to join the rotation after an injury to Carlos Villanueva and the departure of Jo-Jo Reyes. Mills, 26, spent most of the 2011 season with Triple-A Las Vegas prior to making his first big-league start on July 30. In his first two major league starts, Mills is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Mills doesn't have an over-powering fastball, but relies on location and an excellent change-up to keep hitters guessing.
Eric Chavez - 3B, New York Yankees (2% owned)
Veteran third baseman has been terrific as of late for the New York Yankees after missing 71 games due to a variety of injuries and issues. With the injury to Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada slumping, Chavez has found regular playing time at third base and the designated hitter spot. Since his return to the Yankees at the end of July, Chavez is hitting .316/.350/.421 with a .771 OPS. Of course a .379 batting average on balls in play likely inflates his .316 batting average, but at this point in the season, it's about counting stats and riding hot streaks. Even when A-Rod returns to the lineup early next week, there's a good chance that Chavez will remain at the DH spot, with Posada remaining in a bench role.
James Darnell - 3B, San Diego Padres (0% owned)
The 24-year-old prospect made his major league debut earlier this week, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Darnell was recalled after regular third baseman Chase Headley suffered a fractured finger. Darnell split time between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson this season, hitting a combined .317/.415/.573 with 23 home runs in 102 games. Drafted as a third baseman, Darnell recently made the transition from third to left field in order to help him reach the big leagues quicker. He's able to make good contact and doesn't strike out a lot, while also hitting for above average power.
Alfredo Amezaga - 2B/OF, Florida Marlins (0% owned)
This veteran utility man is on his second tour with the Florida Marlins after being acquired from the Colorado Rockies for a minor league player. Amezaga was added to the roster after regular second baseman Omar Infante landed on the disabled list with a broken finger. Alfredo has been hitting second in the lineup for the Fish while playing second base. He's a career .251/.311/.338 hitter and should only be added by fantasy owners who are desperate to find a player with steady playing time. Hopefully, Amezaga can reach base and score runs with Gaby Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez (when healthy) hitting behind him.
J.D. Martinez - OF, Houston Astros (5% owned)
With the Houston Astros trading away Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn at the trade deadline, the team was left with young prospects to fill the void. Prior to hitting in the big leagues, outfielder J.D. Martinez had never played above the Double-A level. In two seasons at Double-A Corpus Christi, Martinez hit .324/.393/.494 with a .887 OPS over 138 games. Since his promotion, Martinez has been seeing a lot of time in left field while hitting third in the lineup for the Astros. In his first ten big league games, Martinez is hitting .306/.359/.722 with four homers. Prior to the start of the season, Baseball America ranked Martinez the sixth best prospect in the origination with solid power to the gaps and 10-15 home run potential.
Michael Martinez - 3B/2B/OF/SS, Philadelphia Phillies (2% owned)
Super utility man Michael Martinez is a regular in the Under the Radar section due to his versatility and reoccurring injuries to Placido Polanco. With Polanco facing sports hernia surgery, the team could be without the veteran third baseman for an extended period of time. His .222/.265/.313 triple-slash line this season isn't easy on the eyes at first, but perhaps the lineup he plays in along with multiple position eligibility will change your mind. With the trade deadline passing, the Phillies are expected to use Martinez at third base for a bulk of the time that Polanco is out, so playing time likely won't be an issue.
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