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 who might help you boost your fantasy team in 2012.
Reggie Von Bartles
Under the Radar - Mixed Leagues
Friday August 3rd, 2012
With all of the unpredictable injuries, job changes, and trades of the baseball season, many fantasy owners are looking to the waiver wire for help. Regardless of where help is needed, this edition of UTR can provide you with some players who are still available in most mixed leagues.
*Owned percentages via Yahoo!
Ryan Ludwick - OF, Cincinnati Reds (27% owned)
After a red-hot month of July (.333/.383/.707 with 7 HR) outfielder Ryan Ludwick finds himself as one of the most desirable additions to any fantasy baseball team. Although he started the season in a "platoon" role for the Reds, he's now firmly grabbed the left field job and doesn't plan on looking back. I mentioned Ludwick prior to the season as a "Low Value-High Return" for home runs and he's turning into just that. Owned in less than 30% of leagues and is currently on pace for between 30 and 35 home runs. The Reds as a team are playing good baseball right now, and with the eventual return of Joey Votto, Ludwick will have continued success.
Chris Carter - 1B, Oakland Athletics (6% owned)
After spending the majority of 2011 and 2012 at the Triple-A level, first baseman Chris Carter is finally getting a shot at regular playing time in Oakland. Carter, 25, has started in the last 5 of 6 games for Oakland at first base or the DH position, and in 86 plate appearances this season, he has eight home runs and is slugging .643. His approach at the plate has changed this season, whether it be due to a technique change or simply because he doesn't have the pressure of competing for someone else at his position. Although he's struck out in just over 25% of his plate appearances, he has also walked in 18% of those same 86 plate appearances. He's a nice addition for deeper leagues searching for double digit home run power.
Greg Holland - RP, Kansas City Royals (37% owned)
Reliever Greg Holland became an immediate add in most fantasy baseball formats this week after Royals closer Jonathan Broxton was traded to the Cincinnati Reds during the trade deadline. Holland has been linked to the Royals in the past for saves, but due to Broxton's minimal success combined with Holland's walk issues, he wasn't able to secure the role full-time. Holland, 26, has posted 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings this season, but as mentioned, has also struggled with free-passes, allowing 5.0 walks per nine innings. The 5'11'' reliever features a fastball in the mid-90's and a slider and curveball. If he isn't owned in your league already, make sure to grab him.
Domonic Brown - OF, Philadelphia Phillies (4% owned)
After a busy trade deadline, the Philadelphia Phillies were left with holes in their outfield due to the trades of Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. With two of the three regular outfielders gone, long time prospect Domonic Brown finally gets a chance to play everyday in Philadelphia. The 24-year-old left-handed hitter has seen limited action in previous seasons, but due to a crowded roster and limited production, has yet to stick around at the big league level. Prior to his promotion this season, Brown was hitting .310/.360/.473 with a .833 OPS in 65 minor league games. The Phillies plan on using Brown as the everyday left fielder, however, he could sit against left-handed pitchers in the early going. Brown is worth an addition if you have a deeper team and the space to add the prospect.
Kris Medlen - RP/SP, Atlanta Braves (7% owned)
After a spot-start earlier in the week, right-handed pitcher Kris Medlen will be making a few more starts thanks in part to an injured Tommy Hanson. Medlen, 26, missed most of the 2011 season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. He's 2-1 this season with a 2.43 ERA, but a majority of his 59 1/3 innings have been pitched while entering from the bullpen. In his first start this season against the Miami Marlins, Medlen went 5 innings on 57 pitches, striking out 3 and allowing 1 earned run on a home run. Medlen's pitching repertoire consists of a sinker, changeup, and curveball. As mentioned earlier, Medlen should have a few more starts scheduled with the injury to Hanson, including a start against the Houston Astros. Owners searching for a stream pitcher should add Medlen.
Daniel Straily - OF, Oakland Athletics (0% owned)
23-year-old righthander Dan Straily was mentioned in last week's Under the Radar - AL/NL-Only article, but has now found in his way into mixed leagues. I won't go into much detail on Straily, as last week's article covered that, but he should be a future add for owners based on his success across the Double-A and Triple-A levels. He currently leads all professional pitchers in strikeouts with 175. He isn't available in the player pool in Yahoo! leagues, but fantasy managers will want to add him once he's added.
Ryan Lavarnway - C, Boston Red Sox (1%)
After hitting 18 home runs and posting a 1.002 OPS in Triple-A Pawtucket last season, catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway found himself repeating the level in 2012. However, after hitting .295/.376/.439 with a .815 OPS in 83 games this season, he's been added to the Boston roster. The 25-year-old right-handed hitter saw a decrease in home run totals from 2011 (18) to 2012 (8) but has also seen a decrease in his strikeouts (22.7% in 2011 and 16.9% in 2012). The Red Sox plan on using Lavarnway at the DH and catching position for now, but that could change once regular DH David Ortiz returns from the disabled list. Although Lavarnway may not appear to be an attractive option at first glance, fantasy owners in deep leagues, especially those that require two catchers, may want to take a gamble.
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