Each week, Baseball Press will be providing some "under the radar" fantasy players for NL-only leagues, AL-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.
Under the Radar - Mixed Leagues
Friday September 23rd, 2011
With all of the unpredictable injuries, slumps, and job changes, many fantasy owners are looking to the waiver wire for help in keeping their season hopes alive. This final week's mixed league list features a late-inning reliever who could snag saves and several hitters who can fill up fantasy categories as we close out the year.
*Owned percentages via Yahoo!
Edward Mujica - RP, Florida Marlins (5% owned)
News broke on Thursday that Marlins closer Leo Nunez was placed on the restricted list and that he had left the country after investigations revealed that he was allegedly playing under a false name and age. Whatever happens regarding Nunez's situation, the most vital thing for fantasy owners to know is that any save opportunities in Florida's remaining games will be up for grabs, and most of those will go to righthander Edward Mujica. Mujica was featured as a speculative pick in an Under the Radar article back in late July when rumors of a Nunez trade were hot, but those talks never came to fruition. He has been the Marlins' most reliable setup man all season long and enters play on Friday with a 9-5 win-loss record, a 2.65 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, and 61 strikeouts in 75 innings of work. The 27 year-old Venezuelan is finishing up what is easily his best big league season and he could be a sneaky pickup for fantasy teams in need of a few saves.
Mike Aviles - 3B/2B/SS, Boston Red Sox (21% owned)
Despite his team's dreadful month of September, Boston infielder Mike Aviles has been putting up solid hitting numbers while filling in for injured third baseman Kevin Youkilis and has earned some fantasy recognition. Aviles, who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals on July 30th, has thrived with the Red Sox and has hit .348 with two home runs and four stolen bases in 34 games since then. He began 2011 dealing with slumps and injuries with K.C., but Aviles has a .290 career batting average in the big leagues and the skills to pile up double-digit figures in homers and steals over a full season. Furthermore, his ability to slot in at multiple infield positions make him exceptionally valuable, especially to fantasy owners who need to fill gaps as their stars take rest days in the final week.
Mike Moustakas - 3B, Kansas City Royals (21% owned)
Royals infielder Mike Moustakas, one of the game's top hitting prospects, was recalled from the minor leagues and made his major league debut back on June 10th, but the slugger failed to make much of an impression over the first two months of his big league career and was hitting just .182 about halfway through August. He was seeing everyday playing time, but the youngster just wasn't producing and tallied just one home run and 11 RBI in 53 games. However, a three-for-three performance in a win against the Yankees on August 17th set off a 15-game hitting streak for Moustakas, and he has been very productive at the plate over the past month-plus of play. The 23 year-old has hit safely in 26 of those 30 games and has nine doubles, three home runs, 18 RBI, and a .364 batting average in that span. Moustakas had 36 home runs in the minor leagues last season and 10 in just 55 games prior to his call-up this year, so many fantasy owners added him back in June but dropped him once he failed to hit as well as expected. Now, though, he has made himself well worth a fantasy roster spot. He'll open 2012 as a starter, so the Royals will have him in the lineup every day this week to get him prepped for his first full season.
Chris Parmelee - 1B, Minnesota Twins (2% owned)
With incumbent first baseman Justin Morneau shelved for the season after struggling to recover from concussion symptoms, the Twins first base duties will fall to Chris Parmelee, their 2006 first-round pick. The 23 year-old rookie was recalled from Double-A New Britain earlier this month and has been a pleasant surprise for the club, and for fantasy owners. He has hit an impressive .388 with two home runs and a .474 on-base percentage in his first 14 big league games. With former AL MVP Morneau entrenched as Minnesota's first baseman, Parmelee is likely a long shot to make the big league roster in 2012, but his .287 average, 13 home runs, and .366 on-base average in the minors this year suggest that he may find continued success in the last few days of the season and could be a temporary fantasy asset as the Twins' cleanup hitter.
Jerry Sands - OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (2% owned)
The late-season performance of Dodgers rookie outfielder Jerry Sands has been somewhat lost in the talk of Matt Kemp's MVP hopes and Clayton Kershaw's push for the NL Cy Young Award, but fantasy owners should take notice. After fizzling to a .200 batting average and just two homers and 17 RBI in a 125 at-bat stint for Los Angeles earlier this season, Sands has rebounded to a .358 average and a pair of homers in just 53 at-bats since rejoining the club on September 8th. The Dodgers are out of contention and the rookie will continue to see lots of playing time as the year finishes up, so fantasy-wise he could be a reliable source of offense from here on.
Jason Bourgeois - OF, Houston Astros (7% owned)
Astros outfielder Jason Bourgeois has been featured in Under the Radar before (as recently as June 3rd), but his breakout season has been slowed by injuries and a playing time crunch. However, the departure of centerfielder Michael Bourn has made Bourgeois the primary speed threat in Houston, and he has responded by tallying 31 stolen bases in just 232 at-bats this season. The 29 year-old has also hit .297 and played all three outfield spots this year, plus a couple of games at second base. He's not a lock for everyday playing time down the stretch, but fantasy clubs desperate for stolen bases should certainly look to add him and put him in if he is in the Houston lineup on a given day.
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