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Under the Radar - AL/NL Only Leagues
Nate Springfield | Thursday August 16th, 2012
Erik Kratz has filled in nicely for Philadelphia. (US Presswire)
Erik Kratz has filled in nicely for Philadelphia. (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
John Jaso - C, Seattle Mariners (5% owned)

John Jaso has always hit for a solid average for the catcher position, but usually had little more than that to offer to fantasy owners, but has recently shown a little pop in his bat and has had the opportunity to drive in a few runs for the Seattle Mariners.  So far in August, he is hitting north of .280, has hit two home runs, and collected six RBI.  As a second catcher option in an AL-Only leagues, he is putting up tremendous numbers.  Don't expect this to continue for the rest of the season, but he is definitely worth an add to ride out what is left of this current streak.

Moises Sierra - OF, Toronto Blue Jays (0% owned)

Moises Sierra slid into the major leagues right after the trade deadline, going unnoticed by many fantasy players because he did not have the pedigree of most other prospects called up around the same time.  The 23 year-old outfielder posted modest numbers at Triple-A, hitting .289, with 17 home runs, and seven stolen bases over 100 games this season.  In his first 36 at-bats with the Blue Jays, he owns a .361 batting average, and has hit a home run.  His batting average will drop, but it appears that the he will continue to see playing time and get at-bats.

Roberto Hernandez - SP, Cleveland Indians (1% owned)
The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona has finished serving his suspension and is ready to re-join the Indians rotation following a few rehab starts at the Triple-A level.  Since he has not pitched effectively at the major league level since 2010, there is a little risk that comes with Hernandez.  In his first start of 2012 against the Angels, he went six innings and allowed five earned runs - two of which came on solo home runs - while running into a little bad luck because of the defense behind him.  But at the same time, he did not walk a batter, meaning that his command was pretty good.  He just needs a few more innings in game situations to get it all the way back.  Also, with Hernandez being a pitcher who likes to keep the ball low in the zone and induce a lot of ground balls, he was probably pretty amped up for his first start, and may not have been as effective keeping the ball low in the zone.  He is a gamble, but the Indians are definitely going to march him out there every fifth day, and his arm is fresher than a majority of the other starting pitchers in the American League.

NL-Only Players
DJ LeMahieu
- 2B/3B, Colorado Rockies (2% owne
d)

DJ LeMahieu joined the Rockies this off-season when the Cubs sent him to Colorado in a package of players in exchange for Ian Stewart.  Still a developing player, LeMahieu took a major step forward this season at Triple-A Colorado Springs, hitting .314 with a home run and thirteen stolen bases.  Now that the former second round pick is playing everyday for the Rockies, he is getting a good number at-bats, meaning he's hitting for a high average and is worth rostering.  His multi-position flexibility to fill a corner infield, or middle infield spot just makes him more valuable of a pickup.

Erik Kratz
- C, Philadelphia Phillies (2% owned)

Even thought the Phillies are far from being in contention this year, it appeared to be a big blow to the team when their very productive catcher Carlos Ruiz hit the disabled list.  Fortunately for the Phanatics, Erik Kratz has taken over as the everyday catcher, and has been just as productive since assuming his new role.  He is currently carrying a .313 batting average on the season, adding five home runs, and thirteen RBI.  There is a good chance that Ruiz will miss the rest of the season, making Kratz a great pick-up for the rest of the way.
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.