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 2011.
This week's AL/NL-only waiver wire pickups features a few veteran outfielders and a slugger who hopes to stick with the Blue Jays the rest of the season. Whether you're seeking injury replacements or overhauling your entire roster, this mix of players has you covered.
* Owned percentages via Yahoo!
- RP, Minnesota Twins (3% owned)
The recent struggles of current Twins closer Matt Capps
could soon open the door for lefthanded reliever Glen Perkins to receive some save
opportunities. Perkins, a former starter, has found great success
pitching out of the bullpen this season, posting a 1.78 ERA with 32
strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings pitched. Even though he may have to compete
with former closer Joe Nathan
(36% owned) for save opportunities if Capps is removed from the
job, Perkins' strong ratio statistics and excellent strikeout rate make him worth a pickup in AL-only leagues.
- OF, Detroit Tigers (15% owned)
Since being activated from the disabled list on June 13th, Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez has raised his 2011 season batting average from a miserable .168 to a better mark of .204. Neither of those numbers look particularly impressive, but in the last week Ordonez has reached base in five of his six games, and over the past two weeks he has hit .293 with a home run and six RBI. Currently, the 37-year-old veteran is resting and out of the lineup about one game per week, which cuts into his at-bats but helps him stay healthy. Unless the Tigers acquire an outfielder before the trade deadline, look for Ordonez to keep getting regular plate appearances and improving as the season moves forward.
- OF, Toronto Blue Jays (19% owned)
Owners who drafted Toronto outfielder Travis Snider at the start of this season were hoping to get a .260 batting average and at least 20 home runs out of the 23-year-old Washington native, but that certainly hasn't happened. Instead, before his demotion to the minor leagues at the end of April, Snider was hitting just .184 with one home run in 87 at-bats. During his two months at Triple-A Las Vegas, Snider rebounded and hit .333, and he also improved his plate discipline by posting a .403 on-base percentage. In his first game back with the Blue Jays, he went 3 for 5 with three doubles and may be back on track as a big leaguer. Snider's potential makes him a must-add in AL-only leagues, and he could be a difference-maker in the second half.
- 1B, Texas Rangers (1% owned)
After repeatedly excelling in the minor leagues but struggling as a big leaguer, Texas Rangers infielder Chris Davis has often been labeled as a "quad-A" player, and he is once again posting numbers at the Triple-A level that may force the Texas Rangers to give him another chance. In 148 minor league at-bats his season, Davis has posted a triple-slash (batting average/on-base/slugging percentage) line of .372/.417/.851, resulting in a 1.267 on-base plus slugging (OPS) percentage and 20 home runs for Triple-A Round Rock. Davis was scratched from a start with a sore groin earlier this week, so for owners in need of some power-hitting depth during this transaction period, he should be very cheap. If he is called up to the Rangers, Davis could get regular playing time, which will also increase his trade value as we approach the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of this month.
- OF, Florida Marlins (0% owned)
Veteran outfielder Mike Cameron will make his way back to the National League after the Marlins acquired him (with cash considerations) from Boston for a player to be named later. This move came after the Red Sox had designated him for assignment at the end of June. He will become the Marlins everyday centerfielder until regular starter Chris Coghlan
comes off of the disabled list, at which point the 37-year-old Cameron will probably slide into a fourth outfielder role. Cameron struggled before going on the DL this season and missed a considerable amount of time with injuries for Boston last year, but when healthy he can produce a .250-plus batting average with some home run pop and stolen base potential. While he is in the lineup every day, he's a must-add in any NL-only league.
- OF, Cincinnati Reds (4% owned)Over the past two weeks, Reds fourth outfielder Chris Heisey has been the hottest bat in the Cincinnati lineup, with a .281 batting average, four home runs, and seven RBI over his last 32 at-bats. Most of those at-bats have come at the expense of struggling centerfielder Drew Stubbs, and Reds manager Dusty Baker will likely ride the hot hand for the foreseeable future. In just his second big league season, the 26 year-old Heisey doesn't project to be an all-star at any point, but he did prove last year that he's capable of extending a hot streak to more than a couple weeks. If he continues to play, it will be because he is maintaining a .280-plus batting average, and he could also add a few stolen bases and home runs for a fantasy owner.
Mat Gamel - 3B, Milwaukee Brewers (0% owned)
After being called up to serve as the Brewers designated hitter during most of interleague play last week, it appears that, for now, the Brewers are going to keep infielder Mat Gamel on the 25-man roster. Gamel has been one of the top prospects in the Brewers system for the past several seasons, but a combination of his sub-par defense, his high strikeout rate, and the excellent play of starting third baseman Casey McGehee
have kept him out of the major leagues. While playing for Triple-A Nashville this season, Gamel earned a call-up by improving his strikeout-to-walk rate (48 strikeouts to 25 walks) and hitting .321 with 18 home runs. If McGehee continues to struggle and Gamel can bring that plate discipline to the major leagues, he could see considerable playing time for the rest of the year and make for a valuable fantasy pickup.
- C, New York Mets (2% owned)
Over the last month, New York Mets catcher Ronny Paulino has steadily worked his way into the better half of the club's backstop platoon. Opening day catcher Josh Thole
has struggled at the plate and with handling some of the inexperienced pitchers on the Mets staff, but Paulino has excelled in both areas this year. The 30 year-old receiver offers little power with the bat, especially since he plays half of his games in pitcher-friendly Citi Field, but has been hitting for a great average, and his impressive .333 season line has been helped by a .406 mark over the past two weeks. As long as he is producing at the plate, Paulino will continue to see four starts a week, making him a legit option in any two-catcher NL-only league.