Waiver Wire: AL

Adrian Beltre | Seattle | 3B
YTD: .254/.285/365
True Talent: .262/.308/.415
Next Week Forecast: 0.6 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, .253 BA, 0.6 SB
As with other third basemen with “bad wings” (Chavez, Rolen, etc.), there’s a huge concern about whether Beltre’s power will return, limiting the team’s deadline options, and a yellow flag for fantasy teams. Still, he’s a career .270/.325/.455 hitter, and has actually been stealing bases. For his career, he’s hit just .249/.304/.405 in Safeco, as is to be expected for a righty power bat. The everyday role makes him valuable in AL-only leagues, but not very.

Neftali Feliz | Texas | RP/SP
YTD: 10.6 K/9, 2.6 K/BB, 3.52 ERA
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
Neftali Feliz burst onto the Major-League scene like a Texas Tornado. Not that he’s a secret—when Nolan Ryan gushes about a guy’s stuff, that’s a big deal. But six Ks in his first 3.1 IP have this career starter poised to stage a K-Rod or Bobby Jenks-style coup of the closer’s role down the stretch. As for his long-term role in keeper leagues, it’s unclear, but he’s a guy to get either way. Breaking down in 2009 doesn’t suggest great stamina, though he’s shown the ability to maintain his velocity deep into games in the past. In a pen role, his fastball has averaged almost 99 mph (AVERAGE!) so far, and he’s probably just doing hitters a favor at this point when he shows his other two pitches.

Howie Kendrick | Los Angeles | 2B
YTD: .273/.321/.407
True Talent: .291/.328/.423
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 HR, 3 Runs, 3 RBI, .291 BA, 0.6 SB
Back in ’06, Kendrick was coming off his second consecutive .400 OBP, .600 SLG season in the minors. There were huge concerns about his (virtually non-existant) walk rate, but still many saw him as a future batting-champ contender. When he hit .322 in 2007, he was on his way, right? The injuries have sapped his skills to the point where his TT line isn’t much different than Maicer Izturis now, and he’s nowhere near Maicer’s equal on defense. With another two-time .600-in-minors-slugger, Sean Rodriguez, just demoted, Howie’s playing time seems more secure, and he’s hit .451 since a three-hit game on July 11, so glass-half-full owners who need a second baseman can pick him up in any format. Still a viable keeper.

Casey Kotchman | Boston | 1B
YTD: .281/.353/.408
True Talent: .283/.353/.429
Next Week Forecast: 0.1 HR, 0 Runs, 0 RBI, .285 BA, 0.0 SB
While on the theme of ex-Angels phenoms, why not spotlight Boston’s new defensive replacement, Casey Kotchman? The “weekly forecast” is a bit light, since Boston will try to get him into the lineup whenever possible, and their team offense is great. There’s a slim reason to be optimistic about his offense, in that his spray chart shows when he pulls the ball it’s on the ground, but when he goes the other way, it’s often a fly ball—which is perfect for abusing The Monster (a la Wade Boggs). Obviously not a mixed-league player, don’t be surprised if he’s “OK” in deeper AL leagues.

Justin Masterson | Boston | SP
YTD: 8.5 K/9, 2.7 K/BB, 4.32 ERA
True Talent: 7.3 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 4.33 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.0 IP, 0.4 W, 5 K, 4.36
Masterson is actually throwing harder in 2009 than he did last year (up to 92+ on his average fastball). That’s resulted in a slightly lower GB%, but he’s still flirting with 50%. Skills-wise and opponents-wise (i.e. Not AL East), he’s one of the better pitchers to own in the AL now, and worth a pickup in any format. But Cleveland doesn’t have any reason to push him, so expect a lot of 5- and 6-IP outings as he reacclimates himself with the SP role. The Cleveland relievers have been so criminal this season, they belong in another sort of “pen,” which will lead to fewer wins and more runs charged to Masterson.

Brian Matusz | Baltimore | SP
YTD: 8.9 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 1.55 ERA (AA)
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
This is how it’s supposed to work when teams draft quick-to-majors polished college pitchers. Matusz throws harder than most such guys, explaining his fourth-overall draft status and $3.5 million bonus in 2008. As long as he maintains his excellent control of his devastating curve, he won’t be much fun for opposing hitters. As usual, the fact that his division contains some offensive powerhouse teams makes him a dicey fantasy proposition, however. Expect at least 2-3 rough outings the rest of the way. How he responds to those will determine whether he’s just another struggling rookie, or worthy of owning in AL-only leagues (and spot starts for mixed leagues). Don’t overspend.

Josh Reddick | Boston | OF
YTD: .277/.352/.520 (AA)
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
It would be easy to dismiss Josh Reddick for 2009 based just on his good-not-great Double-A stats. But Portland is a tough place in which to hit (especially for power), and two of his hard-hitting teammates there raved about how well this guy could rake. Obviously, there’s no clear role for Reddick in Boston if both Drew and Bay are healthy, but they haven’t been. And Reddick’s arm is so good that it will have to be tempting for Francona to consider him ahead of Brian Anderson. For example, in his 167 RF games, Reddick has racked up a mind-boggling 37 assists. Before this season, he profiled as a Garrett Anderson sort of high-average/decent SLG run producer with limited OBP, but has exchanged some hits for walks and more ISO (and more K’s) this year.

Josh Roenicke | Toronto | RP
YTD: 10.6 K/9, 2.6 K/BB, 3.52 ERA
True Talent: 8.2 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 4.51 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 Saves, 5.00 ERA
Sure, Roenicke just turned 27, but this is an instance where lack of experience improves the outlook. His pro debut was in 2006, and he blew through the minors in just 159 IP. He’s touched 100 on guns before, and normally works well into the upper 90s. He’s your standard two-pitch, big-body flamethrower, and has lowered his walk rate every year of pro ball—to just 1.9 BB/9 this year in AAA. It’s unclear why Cincy thought he was expendable, but we’re going to trust Toronto’s track record with pitcher evaluations here. Has a good chance to be the closer in 2010.

Carlos Santana | Cleveland | C
YTD: .283/.407/.530 (AA)
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
“The Next Vic Martinez”? Switch-hitting Carlos Santana has outgrown Double-A. Suffice it to say that he should be owned in keeper leagues, and don’t be surprised if he’s a good option in September. He won’t have Martinez’s batting average, but has power and on-base to spare. Wyatt Toregas hit Double-A pitching last year, and was “OK” at Triple-A this year. All three of Shoppach, Toregas, and Marson are probably in the mold of “great backup” or “marginal starter” quality catchers. There are several teams who could use one of them.

True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.

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  1. Rob McQuown said...

    Couple tidbits for this weekend:
    1. I was asked about a Feliz/Roenicke decision.  The league allows keepers for 1 year, at the FAAB salary spent on the guy, but the team in question is going all-out for this year.  I think Feliz is clearly the better keeper, and also more likely to get saves in 2009.  Sure, Francisco is better than Fraser and Texas is sort of in contention.  But Roenicke is with a new organization, and has to impress a new group of people, while Feliz has the backing of the team President.  Besides, Feliz is just a lot better at pitching.  That’s not meant as a knock on Roenicke, per se, as Feliz is truly a great talent. 

    2. In my deep AL-only league (40-man rosters, 25 active, can keep almost everyone – no expiring contracts), I placed a claim on Chad Gaudin this week.  He has a 4.23 xFIP, and while that can be expected to rise in the AL, the league uses win%, and the Yankees offensive and defensive support should make him worth his roster spot, even if he’s a slight burden on ratios.  Gaudin has been in the bigs on-and-off since he was 20, so it’s easy to forget that he’s just 26 this year.

    Side note: Don’t pay too much attention to claims that Gaudin is much harsher on RHP.  That’s not really true.  The Stat lines are:

    vsR: .252/.321/.407 (.309 BABIP, 3 IBB in 1289 PA, 21 GDP)

    vsL: .292/.388/.431 (.315 BABIP, 17 IBB in 1178 PA, 35 GDP)

    In essence, when he’s not IBB’ing lefties, his platoon splits are probably even less pronounced than a typical RHP (51 points of OPS this year in MLB).  The extra BABIP may be for real in this case, as balls are getting hit harder, but the GDP have a huge WPA impact, obviously.  So, don’t be afraid to use him against lefty-laden lineups.

  2. MadMaxScherzer said...

    Who has the better outlook going forward: Howie Kendrick, Chris Coghlan, or Skip Schumaker?

    Kendrick and Schumaker have playing time issues due to Macier Izturis and Julio Lugo and Coghlan is very streaky. Who do you think can provide the steadiest/best production?

  3. Rob McQuown said...

    Well, here’s how I see that situation:

    1. Schumaker’s an easy “no” – he doesn’t homer or steal, and he sits vs LHP.  A guy has to hit almost .330 to really have value in that situation, unless you’re dying for runs scored.

    2. Coghlan’s “True Talent” is .256/.331/.381, but he has some speed.  He has just 6 SB in over 300 PA, but everything points to him having much more speed than that, and TT has him at .7 SB/wk, with part-time PT.  I’m not clear on why he’s listed in Heater as not playing full time, not up to speed on the situation there, but adding a bat, and Maybin’s imminent arrival can’t be a great combination for him.

    3. Kendrick is a career .299 hitter, and – like it or not – Scioscia loves base hits.  With as well as that offense has been working, I could see him driving in lots of runs, as the Angels should have guys on the bases as never before.  Obviously, with Vlad clogging up the DH slot, he’ll get less PT than otherwise, but as I noted in the Maicer writeup a few weeks back, he’s almost certain to be hurt for significant time.

    I think I go with the best hitter in the best lineup, Kendrick.  Coghlan’s not far behind, though.

  4. Rob McQuown said...

    There’s some chance, sure.  Jonny Gomes hit 3 homers tonight, anything’s possible. smile  Those high-K guys seem to go on longer rides in both directions, but you just have to ride them out if you want to catch them, IMO, since – like Gomes tonight – most of the benefit can come suddenly.

  5. MadMaxScherzer said...

    Great that’s the move I made. Btw do you think there’s any chance of Jorge Cantu coming out of his stupor and hitting up a storm the next few weeks?

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