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 14th, 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!
Kyle Kendrick - SP, Philadelphia Phillies (40% owned)
Since taking over the starting rotation spot of traded teammate Joe Blanton last month, righthanded pitcher Kyle Kendrick has been a surprising force for the surging Phillies, and he's finding his way to more and more fantasy rosters in the final month of the 2012 season. In six starts since August 14th, Kendrick has tallied a 5-1 record with just 7 runs allowed in 42 1/3 innings (a 1.49 ERA), a 0.80 WHIP (27 hits, 7 walks), and 33 strikeouts. The 28 year-old hurler has had stretches of success in his five MLB seasons prior to 2012, but overall he hasn't typically been a great fantasy option. However, with the Phillies riding high and trying to sneak into the playoffs and Kendrick's next start slated for Saturday against the lowly Houston Astros, there's no better time for fantasy owners to add him to their rosters and coast the current wave of success. At worst, he's a streaming option, but at best, he could provide quality roto innings until October.
Ricky Nolasco - SP, Miami Marlins (31% owned)
Since his breakout season back in 2008, Marlins righthanded pitcher Ricky Nolasco has been everything from a fantasy ace to a fantasy dud, and his latest stretch of starts suggest that he is once again tapping into the success that made him a big part of many fantasy teams in prior years. In his last three outings, Ricky has notched two complete game shutouts (both against the Washington Nationals) and a 7-inning, 1-earned run win against the Milwaukee Brewers, along with 16 strikeouts and just one walk. Those three wins evened his season record at 12-12 and lowered his 2012 ERA to 4.40. He'll face the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds in his next game on Sunday, but there may be no hotter pitcher in baseball right now and fantasy owners are taking notice. If one has innings to fill, Nolasco is an ideal player to lean on through his next few starts.
Logan Forsythe - 2B/3B, San Diego Padres (8% owned)
Padres infielder Logan Forsythe earned a spot in our Under the Radar - AL/NL Only Leagues piece back on June 13th when he took over the club's starting second base job, and he's hit well enough lately to get plenty of mixed league consideration. The 25 year old was a supplemental first-round pick back in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft, and Baseball America ranked him as San Diego's 13th-best prospect prior to the 2011 season, but he never earned much significant hype as a prospect while in the minor leagues. However, Logan was known for his keen batting eye, gap-to-gap hitting, and steady defensive play, and the transition from third baseman and utility man to full-time second baseman helped him get to the big leagues. The Memphis native has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games and hit .379/.419/.586 (average/on-base/slugging) with 11 runs scored in that time, and that shouldn't be ignored. He'll probably never project for more than 12-15 homers and steals each as a big leaguer, but his solid hitting and eligibility at multiple spots give him some real fantasy value in the last few weeks of the 2012 season.
Andrew Werner - SP, San Diego Padres (6% owned)
The San Diego Padres have always managed to find their fair share of good starting pitchers (due in large part to the pitcher-friendly confines of their home stadium Petco Park), and 25 year-old rookie lefthander Andrew Werner has been another one here in the late part of the 2012 season. Werner was undrafted out of college and played a couple of seasons in the independent minor leagues before signing with the Padres organization in 2011, and with a 2-1 record, 2.59 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings he has already greatly impressed fans and fantasy owners alike this year. While his 88 mile-per-hour fastball is far from overpowering, it has a notable sinking action and, when paired with his heavy changeup (which typically measures around 80 miles per hour), it's clear why he has been so successful: a 61.9% ground ball rate (source: Fangraphs). His 23 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings (8.5 strikeouts per nine innings) in his brief big league career is above his minor league rate, but even 7 or 8 whiffs per nine innings would still make him a valuable fantasy piece. His next start will come at home on Sunday against the last place Rockies, so now is a great time for owners to add him.
Adam Eaton - OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (2% owned)
Diamondbacks rookie outfielder Adam Eaton has overachieved at every level since joining the organization as a 19th round pick out of Miami (Ohio) back in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft, and after hitting an amazing .381 with a .456 on-base mark for Triple-A Reno and winning Pacific Coast League MVP honors this year, he's continued that trend in the majors. The 23 year-old Eaton hit safely in his first five games for the D-Backs and notched multiple hits in four of those contests, though he's 0 for 6 in his last two games. Still, he reached base via walk in both of those games and it appears that he'll be getting plenty of playing time as Arizona's lead-off hitter for the rest of the season, and his good contact numbers and stolen base potential could be a valuable asset for fantasy owners in need. Adam hit just 24 home runs in 319 career minor league games and isn't much of a factor in that regard, but he stole 44 bases (11 caught) and scored 130 runs in 130 games on the farm this season. If he keeps hitting, his fantasy ownership should jump significantly in the next week or two, so savvy owners should add him before it's too late.
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