Keeper League Mailbag: Question No. 2

In some ways, having No. 1 waiver priority can be harder than having No. 10, at least for me. Today’s question from Jason concerns just how to use that top priority:

I’ve got No. 1 waiver priority in a Yahoo Dynasty League. With all of BA’s midseason Top 25 already drafted, and most of the “Prospects 26-50,” which player likely to be called up in 2010 should I save my waiver for?

You ask a challenging question, especially without knowing which of those 26-50 guys are taken. I’m going to assume the names I perceive as “popular” are already taken. I’m also going to assume you’re not looking for production in 2010, but that you want a keeper for down the line. I don’t think any of the call-ups this season are likely to be impact fantasy players in September.

Of that 26-50 group, Rockies catching prospect Wilin Rosario might get a look—he’s demonstrated good power for a catcher in the Texas League although I have no information about his defense. Beyond that, watch for young pitchers like Jordan Lyles or Zach Wheeler getting a spot appearance. It’s incredibly unlikely but it’s good to be prepared for it.

As you can probably tell, the pickings are pretty slim and they’re all going to have some kind of wart. The first two players who come to mind are Peter Bourjos and Jarrod Parker. Both should already be in your player universe. Bourjos is a decent fantasy option for non-OBP leagues as he combines power, speed and decent contact skills. His plate discipline is lousy, which is why you don’t find him in the top 50.

Parker has ace potential but is coming off Tommy John surgery so might be neglected in your league. He is progressing with his rehab, currently throwing simulated games to Double-A hitters and humming in the mid-90s.

Hank Conger, another guy who won’t cost a waiver, is likely to see some time at C/DH down the stretch, especially once the Angels are eliminated. That’s a messy catching situation to sort through over in Anaheim, so it’s up to you whether you want to wade in and gamble on him. He’s not exactly an amazing prospect but should be an above average hitting catcher.

Yonder Alonso isn’t on the list, but I suspect he’s taken. If not, it’s still an iffy pickup. His bat has come alive since midseason, but he’s still playing as a first baseman and it appears he may have no future in Cincy. I take the lack of playing time in the outfield as a signal that the Reds don’t think he can play there. He’s in the Yahoo! player universe so chances are, he’s another guy who won’t require waivers.

The perennially baffling Carlos Carrasco seems to be making some improvements down on the farm. He still profiles merely as a mid-rotation pitcher. He’s yet another guy who shouldn’t cost a waiver.

Fellow future Indian Lonnie Chisenhall could be a decent pickup as a cheap corner infielder, but it’s a non-exciting pickup.

Last and probably not least, Kirk Niewenhuis could find himself starting in a decent Mets lineup sometime in the middle of 2011. He’s got a little bit of power, a little bit of speed, and a really hard last name to spell. Again, nothing to get excited about claiming.

Ultimately my best advice, and you’re not going to like this, is to wait for Sept. 1 and react to whoever goes onto waivers in your league. If you want some advice once that goes down, shoot me an email or leave a comment here and I’ll get back to you ASAP. For now, your top priority should be hoping that some franchise gets overly ambitious with a Jordan Lyles-type and gets him a spot start.

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  1. Brad Johnson said...

    Adding to that, as of yesterday officials with the Indians were saying Lonnie Chisenhall would NOT get a call up.

    Good catch on Rosario I don’t know why I didn’t notice that in my google news search.

    Like I said, there’s not a whole lot going on in this group of call ups that’s not already in the Yahoo player universe.

  2. Kevin said...

    Mike Moustakas is not yet in the Yahoo pool. Any word on his callup chances? I’d rather have him over anyone you mentioned.

  3. Brad Johnson said...

    I thought about including both Moustakas and Hosmer, but I didn’t think either player would get a call up. By all means, be on the look out for it.

    I can’t say that I really buy the Moustakas hype. From what little I’ve seen of him, he looks like he’d be about an average major league hitter. Certainly a good thing for the Royals and employable in a fantasy league, but he doesn’t look like the kind of talent I’d go out of my way to acquire. Honestly, aside from Parker and Lyles none of these guys are.

  4. mymrbig said...

    Brandon Belt?  I have top waiver priority in an NL-only keeper league (with 3-player minor league rosters) and he is the guy I am eyeing.

  5. Brad Johnson said...

    In an NL only keeper he’s worth a look, but I excluded Belt for a similar reason as Moustakas. Belt does have a much better shot at getting a look in September. Between the cavernous fields of the NL West to the expected performance regression coming to big leagues, I’d expect Belt’s breakout season to look no better than a 2nd division starter at best.

    Not only is his bat uninspiring from a fantasy context, but we also have to consider that Brian Sabean has a well publicized love affair with veterans. If he doesn’t re-sign Huff for his career season, then he’ll probably sign some other veteran with Huff’s credentials.

  6. Brad Johnson said...

    For what it’s worth, Oliver likes Belt more than I do. This season’s performance translates to a .908 OPS/.393 wOBA and he’s projected to have wOBA’s around the .380’s with mid-teens home run totals going forward, which sounds a lot like Billy Butler.

  7. Brad Johnson said...

    You know…on second thought, given the utter dearth of quality, waiver eligible players expected to be summoned, Belt might be your best gamble. Aside from an unforeseen promotion, Belt probably has the highest upside, even if I am pessimistic about him reaching it.

  8. Brad Johnson said...

    You can post something up here or if it’s more involved you can email me (see end of article for address) and I’ll type it up into it’s own post.

    Conversely, if you prefer Mr. Gross’ analysis you can send it over to him, although I can’t comment on how quickly he’d be able to answer.

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