Waiver Wire: AL

Ronny Cedeno | Seattle | SS/2B
YTD: .139/.195/.264
True Talent: .252/.301/.375
Next Week Forecast: 0.3 HR, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, .251 BA, 0.3 SB
Looking as if he might be the next coming of Rich Aurilia—who struggled for years before emerging as an All-Star—Ronny Cedeno was given a full-time job by Dusty Baker in 2006, sinking 572 PA into an offensive black hole just as he’d done with Aurilia in SF. That he’s now 26, has a career batting line of .244/.282/.343, and has been awful in 2009 would all be more damning if he hadn’t clobbered AAA pitching when demoted in 2007. He has a chance to earn more PT in this awful middle infield if he hits while Lopez is on bereavement leave.

Jason Frasor | Toronto | RP
YTD: 7.2 K/9, 6.3 K/BB, 1.90 ERA
True Talent: 8.0 K/9, 2.4 K/BB, 3.39 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 1.5 Saves, 3.52 ERA
Listed at 5-9, Jason Frasor has probably earned significantly less money in his career than if the same 95+ heater and nasty slider came in a larger package. But hitters know about him (8+ career K/9), and his righty presence in the mostly-gauche Blue Jays pen is perfect in a complementary role. But Cito rewards good play, not size of pitcher or size of contract so Frasor should get the biggest share of the saves “pie,” at least until Downs’ toe is healed. And we’d call him 1-in-3 to keep getting the most saves even after that.

Matt Harrison | Texas | SP
YTD: 4.8 K/9, 1.7 K/BB, 5.43 ERA
True Talent: 6.0 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 6.04 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 10.1 IP, 0.5 Wins, 7 K, 5.76 ERA
“Pass.” We could save 74 words and leave it at that. But it’s come to our attention that people are adding Matt Harrison in various formats. The promise of youth is great and all, but this guy pitches half his games in Texas, and two of the weakest-hitting teams in the AL both hit LHP pretty hard, so even road starts at KC and Seattle aren’t gimme’s. Grab a reliever instead for ratio help.

Luke Hochevar (reprise) | Kansas City | SP
YTD: 3.0 K/9, 0.9 K/BB, 5.60 ERA
True Talent: 5.2 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 4.96 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.0 IP, 0.3 Wins, 3 K, 4.60 ERA
Omaha (AAA) 2009 was the first time No. 1 overall pick Luke Hochvar really showed any of the promise people had seen before the draft. There, he was 5-1, 1.50, with a 36:12 K:BB ratio in 48 IP. If that helped Royals fans forget the 129 mediocre-to-bad innings in 2008, his first start (8 ER in 2.0 IP) against Oakland reminded them. The bad .753 RZR with just 81 OOZ plays by the KC infield makes it really hard on a guy with a 53% career GB% and very low K totals. So, outings like his most recent CG victory (1 ER) over the Reds will be uncommon. But there’s enough here for an AL-only pickup; just don’t go crazy.

David Huff | Cleveland | SP
YTD: 5.7 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 7.09 ERA
True Talent: 6.6 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 4.97 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 11.2 IP, 0.7 Wins, 9 K, 4.73 ERA
2006 first-round pick David Huff didn’t enter the Indians rotation with the fanfare of some other top prospects this year, largely because his fastball tops out around 92. And while we disapprove of throwing out data, his ERA is 4.44 if you write off his first two starts as “debut jitters.” He’s not ready to make anyone forget CC Sabathia, but if he’s spotted intelligently, he should be good for some across-the-board help in AL-only leagues.

Jed Lowrie | Boston | SS/3B
YTD: .056/.150/.056
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
Jed Lowrie has some obstacles ahead before he becomes a viable fantasy alternative in any format, but his hand appears to be on the mend, and he’ll soon be playing AAA ball again. He’s not a better defender than Lugo, nor is he likely to out-hit the fluky stats Green has put up. But he’s a switch-hitter, though he’s only hit .210/.292/.323 vs. righties in his career. And his approach at the plate is more in line with the Red Sox organizational philosophy. He still appears to be the SS of the future in Boston, and now would be a good time to get him in a keeper league.

David Murphy | Texas | OF
YTD: .257/.340/.386
True Talent: .266/.330/.418
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 HR, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, .266 BA, 0.3 SB
For his career, David Murphy is a .280 hitter with a .460 slugging. By reputation, he’s a good fielder, and most advanced fielding stats indicate he’s right around average in the side fields, though he did post an exceptional .978 RZR in 2008, with +11 plays being made, per the BIS +/- system. Still, he’s played in a couple great hitter’s parks, and his “True Talent” is that of a 4th OF. Expect him to hit like TT projects, and to get extra AB without Hamilton around, but the team has too many OF options for him to get much more PT.

Tomo Ohka | Cleveland | SP
YTD: 2.6 K/9, 2.5 K/BB, 4/24 ERA
True Talent: 4.3 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 5.24 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 5.0 IP, 0.3 Wins, 3 K, 4.99 ERA
Tomo Ohka has a career ERA of 4.14 and a FIP of 4.48 in over 1000 IP. He’s just 33 this season, though it seems he’s been around forever. Without any announced injuries, his velocity had dipped after the 2004 season, but it’s back almost all the way to where it was (88.1 average FB, compared to just over 89 from 2002-2004). Modeling systems don’t like him because he doesn’t whiff batters or induce grounders, but he’s death on the running game (35-33 career against him, outstanding for anyone, much less a RHP). It doesn’t take much to be a top-five SP on the Indians, and the potential is here to get cheap help for an AL-only rotation.

Miguel Olivo | Kansas City | C
YTD: .245/.274/.470
True Talent: ..248/.279/.425
Next Week Forecast: 0.9 HR, 2 Runs, 3 RBI, .254 BA, 0.3 SB
That Olivo has gotten 2373 PA in his career while carrying an OBP of .275 speaks volumes about the other parts of his game. He’s not as fast as the seven SB in 317 PA in 2008 suggest, but otherwise, his stats have been remarkably consistent. And his defense is superb, so expect him to get about 2/3 of the playing time—unless Buck goes on a hot streak upon his return. Should be good for 10 more HR this year.

True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.

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Comments

  1. Michael Kelley said...

    I know people have said this before, and I’d like to reiterate: last year’s waiver wire was better. I know that the new format is probably because the people who compile them have changed but I haven’t really gained any useful information from any of this year’s posts (except the RPs). I think it’s because the players here are all mediocre at best…

  2. John Burnson said...

    It’s true that we’re applying a stricter definition of “waiver wire” this year; that’s why you’re not seeing recommendations like “should be owned in all leagues.”

    That said, it’s also clear that many readers don’t want a “waiver wire” column; they want something with more gems. That’s understandable; all I can say again is, hold tight.

  3. John Burnson said...

    It’s true that we’re applying a stricter definition of “waiver wire” this year; that’s why you’re not seeing recommendations like “should be owned in all leagues.”

    That said, it’s also clear that many readers don’t want a “waiver wire” column; they want something with more gems. That’s understandable; all I can say again is, hold tight.

  4. Rob McQuown said...

    As John alludes to, the concerns about which players to pick up are being heard.  The problem is that there are numerous formats that are popular.  In 10-12 team AL-only leagues with 23 actives, the “net” has to be cast a lot wider. 

    That said, the message is clear, and I thank you for responding.  I’ll work on getting more mixed-league guys on here next week.  I considered writing up Smoltz and Wieters in the past, but figured they were already owned in almost all leagues anyway.

  5. Kevin said...

    Why do you say there is a 1 in 3 chance Frasor gets the majority of saves even after Downs returns?  Are you anticipating Downs not remaining healthy?  There is no reason I can see that Downs will struggle performance wise upon his return.  His peripherals have been terrific for the last couple of years.  There should be no doubt who the closer is when he returns.

  6. Mike said...

    Lugo has been unbelievably bad in the field this year (and shaky in prior years), and Lowrie is very solid, so your comment about Lowrie not being a better fielder is wrong.  Also, his poor hitting against right-handers last year was due to the broken wrist he played with most of the season—his minor league numbers do not show hardly any L/R split.  That said, Green has played well enough to merit additional playing time, so it isn’t clear how the time will be split.  Lugo is likely gone, IMO.

  7. Rob McQuown said...

    re: Downs -  I agree, he’s been fantastic.  But closers get “inertia”, righty closers have an advantage – both real and in terms of managerial preferences, and Downs’ injury really does sound like something where he’ll need to prove he’s healthy.  Considering Frasor’s performance yesterday, it’s likely a lot less than 1-in-3 already, but the thinking was that if he’d racked up 5-6 strong saves in a row, there would be no reason for Cito to prefer Downs over him.  And Frasor’s skill level is high enough that this was certainly possible.

    re: Lugo – good point about his defense.  Defense has “inertia” too, obviously – and Boston fans can be particularly harsh on poor shortstop defense.  I have been attributing his shaky defense this year to his injuries, but maybe his problems aren’t going away. 

    re: Lowrie – Yes, he was “flat” in the minors, so maybe his struggles vsR were entirely based on his injuries.  I still wouldn’t bank on him for a lot in 2009, but it’s possible (likely?) that Green comes back to earth in a hurry, and Lugo’s defense prevents him being used much.

  8. Eddie said...

    I’ll second Joe D’s comments.  In fact, in my league (10 team AL, 33 man roster), many of the players noted here have already been picked up, so I vote to go even deeper.  Michael Kelley may be correct that many of the players listed are “mediocre at best,” but deeper leagues mean that every team will have at least a couple of such non-entities.  So I appreciate any and all information about these types of players.

  9. Chris B said...

    I’d like to third Joe D’s comments.  I’ve had to pick up David Murphy (Span going to DL), David Huff (Kyle Davies sent down), Jason Frasor (Frank Fransisco to DL), and already had Jed Lowrie on the DL.  So these comments validate some of my choices…  Of course, if this post had been about a week earlier it would have saved me some time!

  10. Peter D said...

    I’m in a mixed league and read the other sites for who to pick up in mixed leagues, however, I find they recommend every hitter that’s hot.  This site does a good job at suggesting who may not be such a good pick up, despite their stats.  I’d like to see more of this for mixed league waiver wire guys. 

    Everyone knows about Jimmy Rollins and such, but what about guys who have put up great stats to date such as Luke Scott and Jason Kubel, are they really worth playing in a mixed league, or will they come back down to earth.  My own opinion is start Kubel against RHP and expect Scott to come back down to earth.

  11. Joe D said...

    I hear many complaints that the Waiver Wire feature is directed more towards deeper leagues.  I, for one, absolutely *love* this.

      There is an absolute slew of information out there for guys in shallower (10-12 team) mixed leagues.  Similar features at other websites habitually mention sleepers and FA pickup candidates who are owned (and have been owned for a while) in all my leagues.  Finding out that guys like Shin-Soo Choo and Kelly Johnson are useful is not news to me, and it’s practically embarrassing to have to wade through lists of that sort. 

      Let this serve as a lonely voice in support of maintaining the current format and criteria of the excellent Waiver Wire feature.  Given the trends of other websites towards catering solely to fantasy newbies, I fear I may be fighting a losing battle.

      If so, I look forward to reading next about what a great waiver wire pickup Jimmy Rollins would make since he’s much better than his current .150 average.

  12. Rob McQuown said...

    Yeah, timing “hot” hitters is a fools errand, IMO.  As an example, Adam Kennedy is hitting .214/.283/.321 in June.

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