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, Chicago White Sox (2% owned)
With the recent injury to starting center fielder Alejandro De Aza, Dewayne Wise figures to take over as the everyday guy in center for the White Sox moving forward. Wise, probably most remembered for his great catch to preserve Mark Buehrle's perfect game, was cut by the Yankees in early July, and then signed a minor league deal with the White Sox. Since joining the South Siders on August 12th, he is batting .361 with three home runs, and two stolen bases over 36 at-bats. He is a short term option though because he will surely head back to the bench once De Aza is healthy enough to come off of the disabled list.
- SP, Minnesota Twins (0% owned)
23 year-old Liam Hendriks was recalled to the major leagues on Wednesday to face off against the Oakland Athletics in first start for the Twins since early July. Over his 106-plus minor league innings this season, Hendriks owns a 2.20 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, with 82 strikeouts, and only 28 walks. Those numbers indicate more promising starts ahead for native Australian. Next week he is scheduled for two starts, facing off against the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals. Since both teams have struggled offensively, this may be the perfect time to pick up Hendriks before others take notice. Luis Mendoza
- SP/RP, Kansas City Royals (2% owned)
Luiz Mendoza created a lot of buzz among fantasy baseball owners this spring when he posted very impressive numbers during spring training. Unfortunately for everyone involved, that kind of performance did not immediately carry over to the regular season, as Mendoza post a 4.50 ERA and 1.53 WHIP over the first half of 2012. However, since the All-Star Break, Mendoza has improved on the mound with a 3.88 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Essentially his second half improvement is a result of cutting his walk rate by better than one walk per-nine-innings-pitched, trimming his rate from a 3.77 BB/9 mark in the first half of the season to a much more respectable 2.71 BB/9 rate in the second half. He will not strike out a lot of batters, or win a lot of games, but at this point in time he is not hurting you and seems to be more consistent, as of late, than most other lower end AL-Only starting options.
- OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (15% owned)
Jose Tabata has had a disappointing major league career after bursting onto scene in his 2010 mid-season call-up, hitting .299 with four home runs and 19 stolen bases in 405 at-bats. Since that time, he has batted .254 with seven home runs and 24 stolen bases in 603 at-bats. His counting stats haven't disappointed too much, but the lack of playing time due to a low batting average and on-base percentage prompted the Pirates to demote him at the beginning of July. They recently recalled Tabata back to the major league level, and he seems to have improved his plate discipline and contact skills. In 4 games since being recalled he has two walks and two multi-hit games, albeit a small sample size, he is worth a flier for the stretch run.
- SP, Miami Marlins (2% owned)
Jacob Turner made his National League debut on Wednesday night, and even though he took the loss, he looked impressive on the mound. The 20 year-old 2009 first round pick threw 80 pitches over six innings, striking out five batters while walking none. The Marlins will be careful moving forward with the young arm they acquired earlier this season in the trade that sent Anibal Sanchez
and Omar Infante
to the Motor City, which will limit his ceiling for the remainder of the year, but a pitcher with the history of striking out better than seven batters per-nine-innings-pitched over three minor league seasons, while making starts in a pitcher friendly park should peak the interest of potential owners.
Tyler Skaggs - SP, Arizona Diamondbacks (8% owned)
Even though he may not be able to help you right away because of his possible demotion following his major league debut, Tyler Skaggs will surely see a September call-up now that his "arbitration clock" has started ticking. The rookie lefthander looked a little shaky the first time out against the Marlins, allowing five walks and two earned runs in six-and-two-thirds innings pitched, while striking out four. Skaggs had never allowed more than four walks in any of his 69 professional starts, and so far this year he is averaging only 2.7 BB/9 over his 122-plus minor league innings, so his initial high walk rate should not alarm owners. Because of the probable limited amount of innings he will see the rest of the year, he may not have a tremendous impact, but he does have the potential to perform like Matt Moore
after his late season call-up in 2011.