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!
- 3B, Los Angeles Angels (2% owned)
Even though it was thought the Angels would have a log-jam all year between their third base, first base and designated hitter positions, Alberto Callaspo has manned the hot corner for the Halos more than anyone else this season. The seven-year veteran did struggle at the plate early in the year, but since June 1st he has seen his average climb from .234 to a more respectable .263 in just 85 at-bats. Callaspo has never been a huge counting stats contributor, but with the amount of at-bats he is getting paired with a solid .306 batting average since the start of June makes him someone you'd want on your active roster at a corner infield or utility spot in any AL-only league.
- 2B/3B, Tampa Bay Rays (2% owned)
Jeff Keppinger has always been a player that is streaky in his limited playing time, and over the last two weeks while mostly filling in for Evan Longoria
at third for Tampa, the streak has been good. In his last 35 at-bats Kepp has posted a .371 batting average, with a .421 on-base percentage while chipping in a home run and seven RBI. Longo was cleared to resume baseball activities last week, so Keppinger is not a long term option, but use him while you can at just about anywhere in the infield in most leagues.
- 2B, San Diego Padres (6% owned)
Coming over to San Diego from the Angels in the Ernesto Frieri
trade, Alexi Amarista was viewed as a useful utility player even though he had above average speed and a career .313 minor league batting average over his six seasons in the Angels farm system. The 23-year-old native of Venezuela should see plenty of playing time with the Friars if he keeps producing at the plate like he has since his call-up. In just under 100 at-bats with San Diego, Amarista is sporting a .290 batting average with four home runs and one stolen base. All four of his home runs have come in the past week, so it is possible that he has discovered once dormant power, but more than likely the long ball rate will cool off, but his stolen base total should rise over the second half.
- 1B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (9% owned)
Two weeks ago, we featured the right-handed hitting Casey McGehee
in the NL-only Under the Radar, and this week we are adding his lefthanded counter part Garrett Jones. It seems the entire Pirates roster has benefited from the surge in production from Andrew McCutchen
and Jones hasn't missed the party. In the last two weeks, he has clubbed five home runs and driven in 14 RBI. Jones has typically seen his production tail off during the second half of the season since his rookie season, but this year may be different for the native of Illinois.
- SP, St. Louis Cardinals (2% owned)
Filling in for the injured Jaime Garcia
in the Redbirds rotation, Joe Kelly has looked pretty good in his first five major league starts, registering three quality starts with a 3.29 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 16 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings pitched. As you can see, he doesn't strike out many batters, but does throw a hard sinker that should allow him to stay away from serving up the long ball. His current major league numbers reflect what he has accomplished in the minor leagues, so do not expect much improvement in his WHIP or strikeout numbers, but if the Cardinals can start providing him similar run support that the rest of the rotation has been getting, do expect his win total to climb over the second half of the season.