At this point in the season you are starting to get a feel for what your team is made of and what you gotta do to make a run for the money. If you are in the top of the standings don’t get too comfortable. There are tons of under-performing studs so far in 2012 and they will almost certainly level it all out by the end of the season. No matter if you are at the top or not, you need to stay active on the waiver wire in order to win the league. That does not mean to lead the league in add drops, but rather to constantly check the availability of the Waiver Wire Wiz recommendations. Here is what week 7 is looking like across the 2012 fantasy baseball season.
Chris Carpenter SP Cardinals owned in 80%: Chris is not scheduled to be back anytime soon but since I noticed his ownership drop to 80% for the first time in a long time. I won’t get into how good he is when he is healthy. You know by now if you are reading this that he should not be available.
Nolan Riemold OF Orioles owned in 48%: My 27th ranked overall OF in our season rankings this year, despite his neck injury Riemold is not letting me down. Another player I drafted in almost every league. Riemold is one of the most dropped players this week. Get him now because we have been saying all along that he was going to break out this season. Nolan is a great breakout candidate and Showalter seems to really know what to do with him. He looks good at the leadoff spot and will look even better in the 3 hole should he continue his hitting and Roberts comes back. Nolan has 20-20 potential and actually seems to have the power for 30 hr if could have gotten 600 total plate appearances this season. Don’t let him be available in your league for another second, take a break and go get him.
Angel Pagan OF Giants owned in 76%: Pagan is our 19th overall OF in our rankings for 2012. He is batting leadoff and has the potential for a .280 line with 40+ SB, and 85 runs scored this season. The gaps at San Francisco line up well with his swing and he is due for a nice amount of triples this season. Look for a nice increase extra base hits with a season of full time ab ahead of him. Pagan should be owned and started in 100% of the leagues. So check extra carefully for him or maybe even go get him in a trade based on my recommendation.
Everth Cabrera SS Padres owned in 2%: Cabrera was batting .333 with 15 steals in 15 attempts in AAA. He has been called up to take over the SS job, possibly for the remainder of the season. He could be a nice add for steals in your roto league if you drafted an under achieving MI. I don’t know if he will play well enough to keep the job once the struggling Jason Bartlett returns from the DL. I would suggest that Cabrera can hit over .260 and steal 30 bags from here on out. He has the potential to surprise a lot of people depending where he settles into the lineup at. I see him as a potential leadoff batter when I look at that lineup. His ownership should rise pretty quickly so get yourself another Cabrera while you still can.
Tony Campana OF Cubs owned in 27%: So I picked up Campana to be a backup and probably be the first guy I drop. Not so fast, or should I say, wow he is fast… Campana said in a recent interview that if he had a full season in the majors he could easily swipe 100 bags. If you need SB and Tony is available, its a no brainer. Once you add him you won’t be able to drop him. Tony is the fastest player in MLB. Even when he doesn’t start he gets a look for a sb and a run or an AB as a pinch hitter.
Carlos Quentin OF Padres owed in 53%: Carlos is an OPS machine. He will strike out a bit more than you might like when he is cold but when he sees the ball well he will either walk or hit an extra base hit. Quentin is our 30th ranked OF this season and he should be back from his injury this week. Expect him to nail 20+ HR and hit in the heart of the Padre lineup.
Salvador Perez C Royals owned in 14%: Perez is one of the top catchers in the league and will instantly upgrade your catcher position once he returns from MCL surgery. He is hitting in the cages and looking great. He will be back around the first week of June and should be a mainstay in someone’s lineup. He can hit over .300 and he should play a lot. The sky is the limit for this young catcher. Preseason I had him in the top 5 catchers until his injury. Now he is knocked down quite a bit, only cause I take the entire season into consideration when I rank my players.
Mark Reynolds 3B/1B Orioles owned in 65%: Mark is one of the guys that seem to be getting dropped in most of my leagues. I don’t draft him, but I will add him. He is hot and cold, boom or bust, whatever you want to call it Mark strikes out more times a year than my girlfriend changes her outfits, shaves her legs, or wears makeup. However nobody but Pujols has hit as many HR as Reynolds lately. This year and the last 5. Just don’t drop your high draft picks this early fellas.
Ike Davis 1B Mets owned in 69%: Although I’m worried about this whole Valley Fever thing that he may or may not have, I won’t be dropping or trading Davis anytime soon. Oh Ike, you have a lot of work to do to climb your way out to be the #13 1B like I thought you were. My guess is that he just needs to get his timing back, and he won’t finish in the top 13. But when I watch Davis bat, he looks all out of whack. Nothing is still in his approach, he moves his hands 2 feet every pitch. I still believe that Davis will bat at least .270 and hit 25+ hr this season. There I said it. Think Michael Morse 2011.
Paul Goldschmidt 1B Diamondbacks owned in 56%: Goldy is trying real hard to snap out of this funk he is in. You gotta grab him and stash him up if you can. Paul can easily rake in 30 HR this season so make sure your league isn’t one of the 40% that he is a free agent in. Don’t worry too much about Lyle Overbay, Gibson does not want to play him. He also doesn’t want to lose more, which is why Overbay played while Goldy struggled. While Paul maintains his positive momentum expect less and less Lyle. Goldy is my 24th ranked 1B this season and I think that is as conservative as I was willing to go.
Eric Bedard SP Pirates owned in 60%: Bedard’s injury history and his era of 5.03 this spring has taken him out of the talk of a must have fantasy pitcher. In a shallow league, I have the philosophy to pitch them while they are healthy and buy another healthy arm when you need it. Bedard was considered an ace, until he became considered injury prone. I am not afraid of injury prone players if they put up outstanding numbers while healthy. Bedard fits the category, he also should see an increase in K now that he gets to face some pitchers on a regular basis. He can have an era under 3.65, strike out over a batter an inning, and if he stays healthy he is good for around 200 innings. Pick up the Pirates ace and reap the rewards as long as he is healthy. He is among the NL league leaders in strikeouts so far this season.
Chipper Jones 3B Braves owned in 69%: The future hall of famer has no reason to be unowned in your league. If you have a daily league, Jones can be a must start 3B every day that he plays. I use RotoInfo Daily Lineups to check on the lineups every day. I only have Jones in daily lineup leagues but he still has value in Roto leagues that use weekly lineups. He is almost an every day player now, Chipper plays 2-4 days and takes a day off. His bat is hot as ever right now and as I previously mentioned there is no reason to think that Chipper Jones isn’t worth a spot on your roster. He will bat .300, hit 20 HR, and score and drive in around 75 runs. Much better than some players that are owned in a higher percentage of leagues.
James McDonald SP Pirates owned in 61%: J Mac is mowing hitters down this season and by scouts standards it is about time. Not that he is old by any standard but the Dodgers did the classic Pirate move and expect too much out of a young player too early in their career. He must have lacked control because he throws a really straight fastball. Now that he can hit his spots he is mowing them down left and right. He had a no no going through 6 last time out and it is safe to say that he has broken out. He is the Pirates best young arm that is actually on the staff so look for them to roll w him good or bad. He will be a fine #3 pitcher behind their uber prospects Taillon and Cole that will be arriving in 2013.
Josh Tomlin SP Indians owned in 10%: Tomlin is a favorite sleeper of mine. Two things that I love about him are he throws almost nothing but strikes and he is a classic throwback baseball player. Watching him pitch reminds you of the “junk” ball thrower that could barely hit 6o and you still couldn’t hit. Big League style chew in mouth, Tomlin will challenge every hitter he faces. Start him against weak hitting teams and you can reap the benefits. He goes deep into games, doesn’t walk anyone, and will get you enough K to start during 2 start weeks. Tomlin may not be real flashy but he is our 73rd ranked pitcher and I am pretty sure you can count on him to keep your whip respectable. I would rather have Tomlin than guys like Phil Hughes, Bruce Chen, Phillip Humber, and Francisco Liriano. His injury appears minor, so stash him up.
Kurt Suzuki C Athletics owned in 33%: If you go into your league and check the 3 year averages at catcher you will be surprised to find Suzuki anywhere from #6 to #12. This means he is a must own catcher unless there has been a huge influx of talent at the catcher position. I am not suggesting he is a top 6 catcher. But say you had Chris Ianetta, you can safely drop him for Suzuki… Kurt can hit about 15 Hr and even steal some bases for you, not a bad secret.
Ryan Vogelsong SP Giants owned in 62%: Vogelsong made the All-Star team in 2011. Just because he is missing a week and a half, he is not owned in 37% of the leagues. That is not right. Vogelsong has cemented his spot in the rotation with the Giants trading Jonathan Sanchez to KC. Even if he doesn’t repeat his 2011 numbers he is still worth having on your team, so if he is available don’t hesitate to grab him up today. He clearly learned how to pitch in Japan and I don’t expect to big of a drop off. He is pitching really well and I expect his ownership will sky rocket with a dominant performance or two, take him before it happens.
Wei-Yin Chen SP Orioles owned in 57%: Chen is still a big question mark, I am picking Chen up in every league after he showed very good composure against the New York Yankees in his MLB debut. He gave up a leadoff home run to Jeter for his welcome to the MLB moment. Chen then settled in nicely and pitched 5 2/3 strong innings in which he struck out 6 batters and gave up 2 earned runs. He has been lights out ever since that game and he will continue to surprise the doubters. The manager will be somewhat careful about his innings but look for Chen to throw over 180 innings this season. I fully expect an ERA under 4 and his K to BB ratio to be very good as well, probably between 4 or 5 to 1. You shouldn’t miss out on what he could be, his ceiling is very high.
David DeJesus OF Cubs owned in 21%: Not that I’m a big fan of DeJesus but the guy is the leadoff batter in Chicago and it seems like that is going to stay that way. He is only worth mentioning because he is worth a spot in a daily head to head league. The guy gets a lot of ab, so anyone in a daily lineup league can use a leadoff hitter on the bench.
Jerome Williams SP Angels owned in 32%: I drafted Jerome in our league and so far he has been better than I could have hoped. I have been watching him pitch and he reminds me a little bit of Roy Halladay without the arm angles. Jerome has an easily repeatable delivery and a great 2 seam and 4 seam fastball. He sinks his pitches and induces a ton of ground ball outs. He can put just enough movement on his pitches to get them up in the zone for the strikeout. Williams can probably only strike out 6-7 batters max in a game for you, but he is a threat to go 8 innings every time he takes the mound. I roll him out there with confidence, he is what I wish Charlie Morton could be.
Nyjer Morgan OF Brewers owned in 11%: Nyjer is my 54th ranked OF for 2012. He has been splitting time with Gomez who was swinging a hot bat. Now that Gomez is on the 15 day DL, Morgan is a legit add for steals, and if he can get back on track, he is not going to kill you in any particular category. I am not sure where his bat is this season, but he can be a stash candidate if you are really hurting at OF in a really deep league.
Drew Pomeranz SP Rockies owned in 22%: Here is a guy that you are lucking out on because he started off the year pretty poorly. Pomeranz is a fantastic talent and one AAA player told me personally that he is one of the toughest pitchers he has ever faced. Drew will rebound and everyone will remember about him being an uber talent. He is a top 30 prospect in most publications and is breaking camp in the starting rotation. Last season was a huge success. The Rockies are counting on him for 160-170 innings this year. With his slow start you can expect to keep him well past the all star break, and possibly into your playoffs. He should just get better and better so stick with him, or go get him.
Stephen Drew SS Diamondbacks owned in 42%: Stephen was a top 100 overall player until 2011 when he demolished his leg. Drew has been looking real good and is losing the hitch in his giddy. In 2010 which was his last healthy season, Drew was the #6 overall SS in most leagues. He has been a stash candidate for a long time now and it is about to pay off. He will go to AAA on May 20 to start a rehab assignment. Look for him to take his everyday SS job back right away and run with it. Drew is a special talent so find a spot for him on your bench.
Brian Roberts 2B Orioles owned in 13%: As recently as preseason 2010, Brian Roberts was once a lock as a top 4 2B. He still could provide fantastic production if he ever gets over this concussion problem. They are easing him back into the swing of things and he is feeling more normal every week. As of now he is taking batting practice with the team, doing fielding drills, running the bases, and mentoring the team on the art of stealing bases. He is targeting a late May return and if that happens you better make sure you stash him. He bats leadoff and he is very fast. He is a very good base stealer. If he makes it back, you should play him. If you can, stash him. Roberts says that he feels closer than ever to a return and will begin a rehab assignment fairly soon. Possibly after their next road trip.
Chris Young SP Mets owned in 2%: What a find this late in the season. If you are in a head to head league then you should get really excited over this one. Young is no joke, he is a fly ball pitcher that thrived in New York before the shoulder capsule injury he suffered in his 6th start of 2011. Now that he is fully recoverd, he has his velocity back and is pitching at AAA. The thought is to have him pitch 1-3 games before his promotion to the rotation. Not that he will strike out too many guys but you can certainly roll him out there in any style of league. He will keep a low ERA and WHIP and not walk any batters. My kind of guy.
Lorenzo Cain CF Royals owned in 34%: Cain is a rising star in Kansas City and is very much a 5 tool player as a rookie. He is a rock solid fielder with excellent range in CF. He is in no danger of losing playing time anytime soon. If you don’t know what to expect from the guy, I expected him to hit around .290, score 80 runs, drive in 70 rbi, steal around 20 bases, and hit around 20 home runs.. I know it is a slim chance that he is available, but if he is still out there grab him up and start him as soon as he is recovered from injury. Cain was off to a slow start, but don’t let that stop you from grabbing him. Cain will be out another 3-4 weeks but he is a guy that you can grab early so that you don’t miss out on him.
Brian Fuentes RP Athletics owned in 41%: Grant Balfour feels that he didn’t pitch badly enough to lose the closer job. Well I guess he doesn’t really matter casue Fuentes is now the closer for the time being and he has enough experience and has the mindset to keep the job. He is pretty much Scott Downs version 2. He is a soft throwing lefty that will finesse his way through any lineup. Pick him up and get what you can out of him. He has potential to stick. I kinda feel like its all about luck with Fuentes.
Yonder Alonso 1B/OF Padres owned in 53%: Alonso could be the long term replacement to Gonzo. The organization is so high on him that they traded super prospect Anthony Rizzo in order to clear the path for Yonder. Although San Diego is a huge pitchers park, Alonso can hit for a very high average in PETCO. Look for Alonso to solidify himself as a must start fantasy player very soon. It is a shame that he is still available in 56% of leagues. I project him out to hit 285, have 20 hr, drive in 90 runs, score 80 runs, and be a mainstay at 1b and hit cleanup for the Padres by the end of the year. Don’t be afraid to start him in your OF for now. Alonso is not going to provide you with huge power numbers but he should be a lock for a high batting average. Alonzo is on a tear at the plate recently, grab him while you can.
Rafael Soriano RP Yankees owned in 72%: He is the closer in NY right now and he has had 40 save seasons before. No reason to think he can’t handle the job. In fact he seems to be pitching a little better now. Robertson may or may not have a strained oblique. Until you know for sure what is going on, roll with Rafael.
Marco Scutaro 2B/SS Rockies owned in 51%: Scutaro is way too solid to be unowned in any league. He is the leadoff hitter in Colorado people. In his last four years he has hit between .275 and .299. Marco is realistically a 10/10 guy that will have a OBP of .340 or more this year. He will get back to his days of scoring 90+ runs this season and should be starting at MI for you, or your top backup 2B/SS. Feel free to plug him in at U if you are having injury problems, he won’t hurt you in any category. His ownership will raise and hopefully it is because you read this.
A.J. Ellis C Dodgers owned in 44%: Here is the deal with Ellis. He is a lifetime AAA player and doesn’t really hit for any power at all. But, he has an amazing eye. Mattingly bats him in front of the pitcher because he knows that A.J. will take the walk every time he gets the chance. He has a great approach every at bat. He might not bring much pop but he will hit for a high enough average that if your league rewards on base percentage in any way Ellis is a great #2 catcher. Ellis is my preseason #14 ranked catcher. That was a risky call by me, so far so good.
Ryan Hanigan C Reds owned in 5%: Hanigan can bat .300 for you and walk more than he strikes out. If this can help you in your format don’t be ashamed to grab him up and play him. Much like A.J. Ellis, Hanigan won’t provide much in the extra base hit categories but if you need on base percentage Hanigan can be your man. In our league we lose points for strikeouts and also start two catchers. Hanigan has shown enough to me to rank him as the 15th catcher coming into 2012.
Todd Helton 1B Rockies owned in 52%: If Helton played everyday he could be a top 15 1b. But he has a bad back that is feeling better than it has in years, and the coach wants to keep it that way. I just expect him to produce every day he is in there. He will play more than Chipper Jones will this season. If you have daily lineups, you need to target those type of players to round out your roster. Its all about what you get out of each day. Trust in Todd.
Travis Ishikawa 1b Brewers owned in 4%: I’m definately in some leagues where there are so many teams and so many players that just grabbing an everyday player is all you can hope for. Travis will be taking over at 1B for the injured Mat Gamel. He is a old school doubles hitter that makes the pitchers work. Nothing to go dropping an underachieving star over, but def worth a look in your NL only or 16 team league.
Dillon Gee SP Mets owned in 18%: Gee is a good pitcher. He is a lock to stick in the rotation this season. He said he worked harder than ever this winter to build endurance. Last season Gee started his year 8-1 with an ERA of 3.22. He was a huge waiver wire addition and I’m surprised that he is this under-owned. I always love to hear that a player has picked up yoga as part of his training. Gee looks more fit and projects out to be a top 80 pitcher this year. Ask yourself this: How many teams are in your league? How many pitchers do you start? He is under-owned, add him now.
Santiago Casilla RP Giants owned in 72%: Casilla instantly becomes the closer for the Giants as long as he can hold the position. I have a feeling that he will have a long leash as well. Casilla had 8 saves last year and really is the only option that they have on the roster. Sergio Romo is best suited for the role he has. Casilla is good and you should have no fear of putting him in your linup and expecting similar numbers to Brian Wilson. He has a lot of value right now in any league considering the opportunities he should get.
Kyle Drabek SP Blue Jays owned in 48%: Kyle was off to a hot start in Toronto and as long as he pitches well, he can count on keeping a spot in the rotation. Drabek has worked on his attitude this offseason, and it has paid off early. He has always had good life on his fastball, but now that he has his head on right you should look for him to grow into a 160 inning starter this year. He could be a nice plug in for your head to head league. Be ready to replace him late season.
Jake Arrieta SP Orioles owned in 45%: Arrieta is the #1 starter in Baltimore. What does that mean? Not much. The highly touted prospect does have a really good arm, and I would feel very comfortable running him out there in any league that I lack superstar pitchers. Jake appears fully recovered from an elbow injury and has gone into the 7th inning in each of his 3 starts. He will contribute in all the categories but wins. He may even win enough to be considered a pretty reliable starter in both head to head and your rotisserie league. He has been a big improvement over Guthrie as the teams horse.
Ted Lilly SP Dodgers owned in 81%: I’m starting to feel like Lilly is Old Reliable. Now that he is healthy and back in the rotation, Lilly is a must own pitcher. Kemp can score a few runs a game lately so Lilly is actually a nice start in any league. Lilly can win over 12 games, have an ERA under 4, and have a great K to BB ratio leading to a really low Whip (1.15). Pick him up and start him every week. No reason to expect a drop off. He said he feels better than he has in years.
Dayan Viciedo OF White Sox ownded in 35%: Last year at this time Tank was on everyone’s preseason radar. He played very well in a late 2010 call up and most everyone felt that he deserved a shot in Chicago’s lineup. Dunn, Rios, and Pierre struggled so badly that the manager was constantly deflecting questions surrounding the arrival of Viciedo. His time did come and he pretty much disappointed. He hit .255 with a .314 slugging percentage. That was enough for him to go largely undrafted in 2012 despite an everyday role in the OF. I’m not sure if we can expect his 2010 stats (.308 BA, .519 SLG) to translate into a full season of ab, but it may be safe to hedge a bet that he will hit over .285, hit over 20 hr, drive in more than 80 rbi, and slug much better than .314. I suggest grabbing him, waiting for him to get hot, and starting him with confidence. Viciedo will be the regular LF in Chicago this season.
Mike Leake SP Reds owned in 19%: Leake is a up and coming star. He isn’t hyped nearly as much as he should be. This young man skipped the minors. How many pitchers do that? Not many have had his solid results. I assume as he progresses another step in 2012 and his stats could end up looking something like this. 15 wins, 150 K and 60 bb, an era around 3.40 and a whip around 1.15. That is enough to consider him a top 60 starting pitcher in any league. He is off to a slow start, and did the same thing last year. Don’t let him be available in your league.
Juan Nicasio SP Rockies owned in 25%: Nicasio was a dynamite signing for Colorado. The former Dominican standout did not disappoint in his first pro season. What happened to him certainly was surprising though. He suffered a broken neck in August and everybody wrote him off as fantasy history. Guess again, Nicasio is fully recovered and is more confident than ever this season. He is a great strikeout pitcher and will eventually settle in as a #2 or #3 starter for Colorado. My guess is that he can eat up more innings than you might think. The best part about Juan is that he doesn’t walk anyone. He will have a K to BB ratio close to 5 to 1. That is very very impressive and I suggest you grab him up because he might have some beautiful stats by May.
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