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Under the Radar - AL/NL Only Leagues
Nate Springfield | Wednesday May 23rd, 2012
Irving Falu has seen extended playing time with the Royals. (US Presswire)
Irving Falu has seen extended playing time with the Royals. (US Presswire)
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 2012.

This week's AL/NL-only waiver wire pickups features players who can provide some early season help to owners in need of stopgaps and youngsters with upside.  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!

AL-Only Players
Brendan Ryan - SS, Seattle Mariners (1% owned)
Brendan Ryan's fantasy upside is not high, but he has been known in his career to go on hot streaks at the plate, and it appears that he is in the early stages of one over the past several days.  In the last week, he has gone 8-for-23 at the plate, good for a .348 average.  If he can keep getting on base, expect his run and stolen base total to increase, as the top of the Mariner's order is doing a better job of putting the ball into plate lately.  He should not be looked as a long-term option, but can definitely be useful in the short term if his hot streak continues.

Irving Falu - SS/2B, Kansas City Royals (1% owned)
With Chris Getz hitting the disabled list earlier this week, recent call-up Irving Falu should see an increase in at-bats in his absence.  Falu, who is 28 years-old, had zero major league experience before his call up on May 3, but was hitting well in Triple-A, holding a .306 batting average, a .346 on-base percentage, and six stolen bases.  In his first 40 major league at-bats, Falu is hitting .400 with seven runs scored.  Being a switch hitter, and currently doing well at the plate, he should have an advantage for at-bats over Johnny Giavotella, who has been struggling at the plate.


NL-Only Players
Josh Bell - 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks (1% owned)
Josh Bell, who was once considered a top prospect in the Orioles organization, was recently recalled by the Diamondbacks to have a chance to be the everyday third baseman.  The 25-year-old switch-hitter was tearing up Triple-A Reno this season, hitting .381, with four home runs, 30 RBI, and a 1.047 OPS over 112 at-bats.  Bell's strikeout-to-walk rate always seemed to keep him from making it as a major league hitter, but he had improved in that area while in the minors this season, striking out 25 times while walking 17.  He probably will not have a long leash with the major league club, but he is worth a flier if you are struggling at the corner infield position.

Jordan Pacheco - 1B/3B, Colorado Rockies (1% owned)
After breaking spring training with the big-league club, Jordan Pacheco had a hard time working his way into the lineup because of his struggles at the plate and Chris Nelson was a better defensive option at third base.  Now that Nelson has landed on the DL, Pacheco has been seen a majority of the starts at the hot corner for the Rockies.  Over the last two weeks, he has carried a .308 batting average, with one home run, and five RBI in 39 at-bats.  There is a possibility of Pacheco losing playing time when/if the team decides to promote prospect Nolan Arenado (possibly sometime in June), but his upside makes him a must add while he is playing.

Brad Lincoln - SP/RP, Pittsburgh Pirates (5% owned)

The 2006 first round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates has yet to live up to his potential as a front end rotation arm, but 2012 may be the year that Brad Lincoln finally fulfills expectations.  Pitching mostly out of the bullpen this season, Lincoln is carrying a 1.23 ERA, with a 1.00 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched.  He did make a spot start on May 14 against the Marlins, earning the win, which should intrigue NL-Only owners who are in need of starting pitching help.  Another positive for Lincoln, in terms of fantasy ownership, is he qualifies as a starting pitcher and relief pitcher.  He could be a huge value for an owner that is required to start a relief pitcher if he ends up in the starting rotation full time.
Nate SpringfieldNate Springfield joined the Baseball Press crew for the 2010 season and hosts the site's podcast. His love for the game has grown thanks to fantasy baseball, with a specialty in NL-only auction leagues. You can contact him at nate@baseballpress.com or follow him on Twitter @NateSpringfield.