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 PlayersRajai Davis
- OF, Toronto Blue Jays (4% owned)
Between his recent performance at the plate and the demotion of Eric Thames
to the minor leagues, look for Rajai Davis to become a tremendous source of steals while being the every day left fielder in Toronto. Over his career, when healthy and getting consistent playing time, Davis has been a major threat on the basepaths. He consistently started in May of 2011 when he swiped 12 bases and in July, with regular at-bats, he stole 13 more. Even at age 31, look for Davis to provide a little pop with quite a few steals and runs scored while enjoying regular starts in the potent Blue Jays offense.
- C, Seattle Mariners (3% owned)
Miguel Olivo's activation from the disabled list almost went unnoticed by most owners, but anyone who plays in a two-catcher AL-Only league should take a look at the veteran back stop. He is hurt offensively by the lineup that he hits in, and the ballpark he calls home, but Olivo will get consistent at-bats, something that all owners want out of their second catcher. It's true that the powerful Jesus Montero
may steal some starts from Olivo, but look for the franchise to protect their future superstar by putting him in the designated hitter role as much as possible for the rest of the season.P.J. Walters
- SP, Minnesota Twins (4% owned)
Former St. Louis Cardinal pitching prospect P.J. Walters fought injury early in his career and seemed to miss his chance to become a full time major league starting pitcher until putting things all together at Triple-A at the beginning of the 2012 season. In his four major-league starts of 2012 Walters owns a 2.96 ERA, with 19 strikeouts in 27-plus innings pitched. Walking ten batters on the season almost gives him the desirable two-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio, something not often found on the waiver wire in deeper leagues. What is encouraging about Walter's performance this season is the fact he has done this well while facing the Detroit Tigers twice and the Toronto Blue Jays once, both being offenses that are very capable of putting up high run totals. After a start against Cleveland this weekend, he will face the Chicago Cubs at home next week, a match-up that should prove favorable for the 27-year-old righty.
- 2B/SS, San Diego Padres (1% owned)
Bouncing between a utility role and the minor leagues for most of his career, Everth Cabrera has implanted himself as the starting shortstop for the Padres since Jason Bartlett
hit the disabled list in mid-May. Even though Cabrera has been seeing major-league time since the 2009 season, he just turned 25 years-old this last winter, meaning his skills may have finally caught up with his raw speed and talent that made the Padres give him the chance at a very young age. His batting average is less than desirable, but four out of his ten hits have gone for extra bases, and he has stole second three out of the seven times he has reached first base - and has yet to be caught. There is potential to turn into something more, but look at Cabrera as a cheap source of steals for the time being.
- OF, Milwaukee Brewers (1% owned)
Nori, as the Brewers broadcast crew calls him, got off to a rough start in the first month-and-a-half of his major-league career, but since making a few adjustments in mid-May he has been nothing short of outstanding at the plate for the Brew Crew. The native of Japan raised his average almost 100 points from his May 12th mark of .220 to .313 by May 27th. Now that the Brewers have routinely been playing Corey Hart
at first base, because Mat Gamel
and Travis Ishikawa have both found themselves on the disabled list, Aoki could see enough at-bats to make the high average very valuable to a fantasy team. He is definitely worth owning until the Brewers decide to divvy up the playing differently.
- SP, Washington Nationals (3% owned)
The Washington Nationals activated Chien-Ming Wang last week and inserted him into the bullpen. After pitching three scoreless innings and picking up the win in his first appearance of 2012, manager Davey Johnson
moved Wang into Washington's rotation as the team's fifth starter. Last season, the Taiwanese righty made eleven starts for the Nationals, missing the first part of the season while still rehabbing from a 2009 shoulder surgery. In those 11 starts, Wang struggled with his command, but this was not too surprising considering he had not pitched at the major-league level since July of 2009. His recent stint on the DL was not because of a shoulder issue, but instead a pulled hamstring. Wang will not strikeout a lot of batters, but will produce a ton of ground balls, which makes him a good candidate for a low WHIP and high win total while pitching for the NL East leading Washington Nationals.