The first post-All-Star break waiver wire column on the Senior Circuit was a success: the top pitcher on the run-down, Wilton Lopez, is soon to inherit the Astros’ sorry closer role, and Josh Rutledge’s ownership rate is rallying thanks to his near-1.000 OPS in an early taste of the big leagues. What does the next week hold in store?
Paul Maholm | Cubs | SP | 18 percent Yahoo ownership | 13.4 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.88 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 6.0 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.41 ERA / 1.38 WHIP / 5.5 K/9
Evidentially, plenty believe in Maholm’s hot streak, but he warrants a recommendation on the off-chance he’s available in your league (he was in my 14-team, highly active Yahoo league). Thanks to a wildly improved strikeout to walk ratio in the month of July, Maholm’s posted most welcome ratio stats (a 1.20 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP). It’s been a consistent upward trend for Maholm in terms of his “controlled rate stats” (homers and walks allowed, strikeouts recorded), and the difference between his sorry June (5.18) and stellar July is luck, which isn’t to say that Maholm is surviving on luck during his recent surge.
His balls in play average is consistent with career norms, and while he’s stranding anyone and everyone who’s put on base, he’s hardly due for a blowup—he’s thriving, in fact, with an all too-high line drive rate (32.1 percent) that’ll regress to the mean sharply and quickly. I’m buying Paul Maholm in deeper mixed leagues (which is a hard shift from my anti-Maholm sentiment in past times) and hoping he stays in a friendly home park while the deadline creeps upon us.
Wilton Lopez | Astros | RP | 5 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.5 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 2.61 ERA / 1.05 WHIP / 7.1 K/9
Oliver ROS: 3.48 ERA / 1.18 WHIP / 6.6 K/9
This is mostly here as a reiteration, but Lopez warrants a pickup in all leagues. Look, I fell for the same Francisco Cordero trap you did for what feels like the umpteenth time, but it’s not too late to correct our most recent blunder. As of yesterday, Lopez was free for the taking in all of my leagues in which I didn’t already own him,
|Some nasty fastball movement from the oft-mentioned Lopez (MLB.com)|
despite the fact that he should be trotting out for the next save opportunity. And though the harsh reality is that the Astros will probably win only a few dozen more games if lucks treats them kindly, Lopez is a highly capable pitcher in his own right and can likely claim double digit saves from this point forward.
Fair warning: in his 12 high-leverage innings this season, Lopez hasn’t been his typical self—his control has fluctuated and he’s allowed a pair of homers—but anything at the moment is better than Coco, and I’m willing to bet the Astros are ready to give the 29-year-old Lopez a shot to prove his worth.
Edward Mujica | Marlins | RP | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.5 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 4.29 ERA / 1.15 WHIP / 5.3 K/9
Oliver ROS: 3.58 ERA / 1.11 WHIP / 7.6 K/9
In his two and two-thirds innings since his return from a short DL stint, Mujica’s managed five strikeouts and nothing else. I figure he factors into the Miami closer-by-committee shenanigans sooner rather than later, as he’s a comparable pitcher to Steve Cishek and no one seems to be gaining trust or role sturdiness fromOzzie Guillen anytime soon.
Cishek is the alpha male at the moment, but he’s one blown save away from a role dip—with such a leash, why isn’t the likely second-in-command a more popular commodity in the world where saves are such a fascination? He’ll garner a couple, and a couple from Mujica counts the same as a couple from Joel Hanrahan. Doesn’t it?
Nate Schierholtz | Giants | OF | 1 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.5 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .248 / .317 / .429
Oliver ROS: .267 / .323 / .419
Nate Schierholtz is a perfect fit for fourth outfielder duties on an offensively deficient contender. That’s exactly what Nate Schierholtz currently is. And Nate Schierholtz, a relatively speedy lefty with rare displays of power, is pretty good at his job, mundane as it is. Still, Nate Schierholtz requested a trade from a playoff-positioned Giants team where he won, just days ago, it seems, a World Series—he wants to play every day, and doesn’t seem to care if it’s for a contender or not. The Giants are prepared to answer his call and are flaunting him in the days leading up to the trade deadline; chances are, he ends up in a situation sunnier from the fantasy side of things. He’ll, more likely than not, garner playing time against all righties (against whom he owns a .877 OPS this season) and his power will blossom outside of the cavernous AT&T Park. He’s worth a speculative add.
Carlos Gomez | Brewers | OF | 5 percent Yahoo ownership | 4.7 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .241 / .296 / .439
Oliver ROS: .237 / .288 / .375
Gomez’s main calling card—his generally lauded defense—won’t help those outside of UZR leagues. But his speed certainly will, and so long as Tony Plush keeps being Nyjer Morgan, Gomez should have a clear path to playing time.
In July, the difference between part one and two of Milwaukee’s center field platoon of sorts is startling: Gomez owns a .329/.371/.512 slash while Morgan is sub-replacement level with only six hits to his name. The former’s game-changing speed isn’t hurting, either, as he’s an excellent nine-for-ten in stolen base opportunities in the current calendar month. He’s certainly employable so long as he’s healthy and getting burn. He can restore what you lost in Dee Gordon, albeit at a different position. Who knows—maybe someone dropped Starling Marte (a highly recommended pickup who’s far gone, probably) for him. Crazier things have happened.