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 recent callups getting everyday at-bats, an outfielder benefiting from a trade and a pitcher that can also hit home runs- though those homers won't help your fantasy team. Whether you're seeking injury replacements or overhauling your entire roster, this mix of players has you covered.
* Owned percentages via Yahoo!
- 1B/OF, Seattle Mariners (9% owned)
First baseman and outfielder Mike Carp, who received cup-of-coffee call-ups with the Mariners during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, has joined the big club once again and has been one of the few bright spots for Seattle during the team's recent losing streak. Since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on July 19th, the lefthanded hitting Carp has hit .321 with two home runs in 28 at-bats. His average will probably settle in closer to .260, but the 25 year-old could contribute 10 home runs between now and the end of the season. Seattle will continue to find ways to get Carp into the lineup, as they see him as a part of their future and like his power potential from the left side of the plate. His bat could be a nice addition for a fantasy team in need of homers.
- SS, Seattle Mariners (1% owned)
Infielder Brendan Ryan, who was mentioned in an Under the Radar article during a hot streak in early June, has started to heat up again over the last two weeks. During that time, he is hitting .333 with two home runs, two stolen bases, and seven RBI. The former seventh-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals currently owns an 11-game hit streak, including four multi-hit games. Ryan may not be an answer for the rest of the year, but should get some fantasy consideration while he is performing at his current level.
- 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics (1% owned)
Infielder/outfielder Conor Jackson, another player previously mentioned in an Under the Radar piece, has recently played his way into more consistent at-bats with the A's. In his last 40 at-bats, Jackson has 15 hits (good for a .375 batting average) with one home run and a .912 on-base plus slugging (OPS), and those numbers have earned him a spot in the middle of Oakland's batting order. There have been subtle rumors that Jackson might be moved before Sunday's trade deadline, and if he could land in a more hitter-friendly ballpark he could be a much more valuable fantasy player for the remainder of the season.
- C, Tampa Bay Rays (0% owned)
Rookie catcher Robinson Chirinos made his major league debut for the Rays
on July 18th, and since then he has split time behind the plate with veteran Kelly Shoppach
. Chirinos made his way to the Rays from the Chicago Cubs as part of the off-season trade that sent Matt Garza
to the friendly confines, and he probably isn't ready to be an everyday major league catcher, but he will get plenty of at-bats while he is with the Rays. This year at Triple-A Durham, Chirinos hit .265 with five home runs in 249 at-bats. Those are decent numbers, but are a huge step back from his minor league stats from last year, which included a .326 average and 18 home runs in 92 games between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. The Rays are hoping he finds that kind of production again now that he is with the major league club, and if he can, he could be a valuable fantasy contributor.
- SS, San Diego Padres (11% owned)
At this point of the fantasy season, many owners are starting to look for players who can help them in certain statistical categories, and that need makes Padres shortstop Jason Bartlett worth consideration. Bartlett is a solid source for stolen bases and can be had at a cheap price, and he also plays at a thin fantasy position. In the last two weeks, Bartlett has helped in owners with more than just steals, as he's gone 12 for 40 (good for a .300 batting average) while scoring nine runs and notching two RBI. The former Tampa Bay Ray has settled in nicely as the everyday two-hole hitter in Bud Black's lineup, which should help him maintain his current level of production for the remainder of the season.
- C, Houston Astros (1% owned)
Humberto Quintero, the opening day catcher for the Houston Astros, was activated from the disabled list and returned to action in early July. Quintero missed time due to a home plate collision he sustained when the Astros were facing the Diamondbacks in late May. Since his return to the lineup, the soon to be 32-year old backstop has hit .270 with one home run and five RBI. If he maintains that sort of performance at the plate, Quintero could be a passable fantasy replacement for recently injured catcher Brian McCann
and might be a valuable pickup for NL-only owners.
- 1B/OF, New York Mets (1% owned)
With Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran
on the move to San Francisco, 25 year-old infielder/outfielder Lucas Duda looks to gain the most playing time ast the New York Mets rightfielder through the rest of the year. The lefthanded hitting Los Angeles native has split time between the Mets and their Triple-A affiliate this season and has hit .302 with a 1.011 on-base plus slugging (OPS) and 10 home runs in 129 minor league at-bats. At the major league level, he is hitting a respectable .276, but has just two home runs and a .805 OPS in 123 at-bats. Duda will not give a huge boost in any one statistical category, but he shouldn't be a liability in any of them and is a good pickup because of the at-bats he will receive for the remainder of the season.
- SP/RP, Arizona Diamondbacks (1% owned)
Once known more for his ability to hit home runs than get batters out, Arizona pitcher Micah Owings seems to have, for now, locked down the fifth spot in the Diamondbacks rotation. Pitching mostly out of the bullpen this season, the six-foot five-inch righthander has logged an impressive 2.36 ERA, with 23 strikeouts in 34.1 innings pitched. Last Sunday, Owings started at home against the Colorado Rockies and hurled five scoreless innings while allowing only two hits. That strong outing earned him at least one more start (on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers) and makes him worth a fantasy pickup for next week and maybe beyond, if he stays in the rotation.