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.
Under the Radar - Mixed Leagues
Friday September 7th, 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!
Mark Reynolds - 3B/1B, Baltimore Orioles (51% owned)
For years, fantasy owners have tolerated the awful batting average from Orioles infielder Mark Reynolds because the 29 year-old so consistently mashed home runs. In the four seasons between 2008 (his first full year in the major leagues) and 2011, Reynolds averaged 35 home runs per year, though he posted just a .231 batting average in that span. This year, Reynolds' traditionally bad batting average has held, but his home run numbers have not been nearly as impressive, even when accounting for an injury that lead to missed time in May. However, in the last week Reynolds has been phenomenal at the plate, and in seven games since August 31st he has an amazing 8 home runs, 16 RBI, and an 11 for 26 (.423) batting average. He entered that stretch with a relatively low fantasy ownership and may now be long gone in all but the shallowest mixed leagues, but if he is somehow still available, all owners should act now and get this hot hitter in their lineups.
Ross Detwiler - SP, Washington Nationals (37% owned)
As a member of the excellent 2012 Washington Nationals pitching rotation, lefthander Ross Detwiler has been somewhat overlooked this year, but his numbers have been solid and fantasy owners should take notice. While his poor strikeout numbers (86 whiffs in 140 innings, or just 5.5 strikeouts per nine innings) may scare some roto players off, his 3.15 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and only 9 home runs allowed illustrate just how good he has been. His next start will come Saturday, September 8th against the lowly Miami Marlins, so Detwiler is a good bet for a strong outing. Beyond that, he could provide some starting pitcher value in the final weeks of the year, particularly for fantasy clubs without a desperate need for strikeouts.
Josh Donaldson - 3B/C, Oakland Athletics (13% owned)
26 year-old catcher/third baseman Josh Donaldson entered the 2012 season as the 20th-best prospect in the Oakland Athletics organization (per Baseball America) and the club's last remaining player from the Rich Harden trade back in 2008, but he wasn't known for much beyond that designation. Lately, though, Donaldson is helping his team push toward a post-season berth and has also caught the attention of fantasy owners. Since being recalled to replace injured third baseman Brandon Inge in mid-August, Donaldson has hit .316 with 5 home runs and 15 RBI in 21 games and has raised his season average from .153 to .226. Inge's return on September 1st was short-lived and he has now undergone season-ending shoulder surgery, so Donaldson will likely see the majority of the available playing time at third base this month. His minor league numbers displayed above-average home run ability and, with the added eligibility at catcher, Josh could be a very valuable fantasy asset for the remainder of 2012.
Miguel Gonzalez - SP, Baltimore Orioles (14% owned)
Despite some solid turns as a member of the Orioles rotation in the second half of the 2012 season, righthanded rookie pitcher Miguel Gonzalez wasn't on many fantasy radars before his masterful 7 shutout inning, 9 strikeout performance in Yankee Stadium on August 31st. Gonzalez followed that start with a rough outing against the Blue Jays on September 5th (5 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings), but his 1.91 ERA in five August showed signs of fantasy relevance, and if he can continue to avoid walks and put in solid work between now and the end of the season, he could be a competent streaming option or a roster-worthy starter capable of logging wins for owners in need.
Andrew Cashner - SP/RP, San Diego Padres (11% owned)
Padres righthander Andrew Cashner made just three starts since converting from reliever to starter earlier this season, but his impressive strikeout numbers and prospect pedigree made him an intriguing fantasy option at that time. Now, Cashner is set to return from the disabled list and will start Friday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 25 year-old's power arm and 100 mile-per-hour fastball have not always had the desired results in his big league time with the Cubs and Padres, but his 2012 numbers (a 3.44 ERA, 45 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings) suggest that he could be a useful fantasy player in the final weeks of this season. Owners scrapping for strikeouts may want to gamble on Cashner.
Chris Parmelee - OF/1B, Minnesota Twins (2% owned)
Twins infielder/outfielder Chris Parmelee was impressive in his 21-game MLB debut in September of 2011 and started 2012 with a lot of promise, but struggles at the plate led to a demotion in mid-May. Parmelee bounced between Triple-A Rochester and the Twins throughout the season, but the 2006 first-round pick has cemented a job as Minnesota's starting rightfielder lately and in eight games since rejoining the team on August 29th (replacing injured outfielder Denard Span) the 24 year-old has gone 13 for 32 (a .406 average) with 3 home runs, 8 RBI, and 6 runs scored. Parmelee's minor league history doesn't imply massive home run totals, but his strong plate discipline and good contact hitting could provide fantasy help this month and help him secure a job for next year.
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