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!
- OF, Cleveland Indians (1% owned)
Since his recall to the major leagues on August 3rd, Ezequiel Carrera has slotted in the Indians lineup as the starting left-fielder when the team has faces right-handed pitching. The 25 year-old Venezuelan saw considerable playing time last year for the Tribe, but posted a disappointing triple-slash line of .243/.312/.301. Before his call-up this season Carrera was hitting .294 at Triple-A Columbus with 26 stolen bases. He seems to have improved his plate discipline, and will surely swipe a bag when he reaches, making him a nice source of stolen bases for the rest of the season.
- DH, Cleveland Indians (5% owned)
The name Travis Hafner does not carry the weight it once did in the fantasy world. A couple disappointing seasons marred by injury and lack of production has really kept owners away from "Kronk". He recently has again missed a few games in the last week, but when he has been active he has been very productive, posting a .318 batting average with three home runs over his last 22 at-bats. Even though he isn't playing every day, he is still more valuable being slotted in a utility spot than a player hitting .250 with the same kind of power upside.
- SP, Oakland Athletics (4% owned)Currently completing his rehab starts in the minor leagues, Brett Anderson looks to rejoin the Oakland rotation next week after missing over a year following his Tommy John Surgery. Anderson has not been dominant so far in his first few rehab starts at the minor league level, but he is in the initial stages of building arm strength and regaining his command on the mound. In 2010, his most recent healthy season, the now 24 year-old southpaw posted a 2.81 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, while striking out 75 batters in 112-plus innings pitched. He is more than worthy of a flier as a nice addition to a fantasy rotation late in the season.
Brett Jackson - OF, Chicago Cubs (3% owned)
The youth movement is in full swing on the North Side, with the Cubs calling up top prospect Brett Jackson this past week. Jackson's Triple-A numbers this season do not indicate a big major league premier, carrying a .256 batting average with 156 strikeouts in 407 at-bats, even though he also hit 15 home runs with 27 stolen bases. In his first three major league games Jackson has eight strikeouts and two walks over his first 13 plate appearances. His power/speed upside makes the low batting average and high strikeout rate worth tolerating, similar to fellow NL Central outfielder Drew Stubbs. Jackson will see consistent playing time the rest of the way, and should only see a day off here and there against tough left handed pitching.
- SP, San Diego Padres (1% owned)After starting 2012 in the Chicago White Sox rotation, Eric Stults found himself in San Diego after the Pale Hose designated him for assignment in mid-May. The 32 year-old lefty was immediately added to San Diego's starting rotation at that time, but in early June he hit the disabled list with back spasms. He joined the Padres bullpen after being activated from the DL in late July and now seems to have won a spot in San Diego's rotation again. As a starter this year he owns a 2.78 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 35-plus innings pitched. He is not a pitcher with tremendous upside, but considering his home park is PETCO he will help more than hurt your staff more times out than not.
- SS, Milwaukee Brewers (2% owned)
Jean Segura entered the 2012 season ranked as the second best prospect by Baseball America in the Angels organization behind Mike Trout, and he probably would be ranked the best prospect in most other organizations considering how good Trout is. Segura made his way to the Brewers via the trade that sent Zack Greinke
to Los Angeles, and he made the jump to the big leagues straight from Double-A, where he produced a .304/.358/.413 triple-slash line with seven home runs and 37 stolen bases. The former Angel has struggled at the plate so far at the big league level, but once he gets on track look for a mediocre batting average with the ability to steal a base. Long term he probably will be a top of the order bat that is very productive, but at just 22 years-old he will look a little overmatched the rest of 2012.