Waiver Wire: AL

Michael Brantley | Cleveland | OF
YTD: .400/.455/.400
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
Brantley was 46-5 in stolen base attempts at AAA. Essentially, that’s all that needs to be said about him, but it’s also nice that he doesn’t strike out, with a Ct% near 90% in Triple-A. Just pretend his Triple-A batting average says .310, since there’s no way his stats support a continued .288 BABIP. He has a GB% of 49%, LD% of 21%, bats lefty, has speed to burn, and the aforementioned Ct%. His great speed reportedly hasn’t translated into good defense, which could take a bite out of his playing time going forward, but we expect Eric Wedge to get a long look for himself in September. Should be worth 1-1.5 SB/week.

Wade Davis | Tampa Bay | SP
YTD: 7.9 K/9, 2.3 K/BB, 3.40 ERA (AAA)
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
If you lost track along the way, this is Entry No. 932 in the Rays’ Endless Stream of Studly Starters. Davis will get the ball Sunday, and should be claimed in formats where young players can be kept. As far as how good he’ll be, he’s probably on a par with Tillman and Matusz of Baltimore, but has the advantage of facing the O’s instead of the Rays. Only mess with him for 2009 if you are desperate, and/or you have an awful pitcher active who needs to be replaced.

Brian Duensing | Minnesota | SP
YTD: 6.6 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 3.81 ERA
True Talent: 6.3 K/9, 1.7 K/BB, 5.29 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 11.0 IP, 0.6 Wins, 6 K, 5.25 ERA
Sometimes rotation member Duensing’s ERA is pretty much all fluke. His quality of batters faced is just .260/.329/.423 (95th OPS in AL among 50 IP pitchers). His BABIP is low (.284), his HR/FB% is low (7.8%). He does have things working for him, in that the Metrodome has one of the lowest park factors in the AL (93), and he’s excellent at preventing the running game (1-2 on SBA against). Expect him to gradually get better for four more years, peaking around age 30. Not much help in 2009, though.

Akinori Iwamura | Tampa Bay | 2B
YTD: .302/.370/.408
True Talent: .274/.349/.387
Next Week Forecast: 0.2 HR, 3 Runs, 2 RBI, .270 BA, 0.4 SB
There’s really not much to say about Iwamura, except that pre-injury he was stealing a lot more this year (8 SB so far in just 193 PA). He won’t hurt even a mixed-league team, but he won’t help much, either. The talk of the Rays potentially declining his option is folly, assuming he shows himself to be 100% healthy. There are plenty of teams that could use him (after a sign-and-trade) at his option price of $4.5 million.

Brandon McCarthy | Texas | SP
YTD: 5.9 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 4.61 ERA
True Talent: 6.2 K/9, 1.7 K/BB, 4.92 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.0 IP, 0.4 Wins, 4 K, 4.30 ERA
We won’t pretend to understand exactly how the new “Ryan System” works in Texas, but it’s certainly showing more promise than the old towel-tossing that Tom House used to use. But McCarthy has brought his xFIP DOWN to 5.39 this season, and he’s still a flyball pitcher in Texas. So, there’s no real reason to worry if you don’t get him, but he’s probably worth a play in road games against the offensive offenses of Seattle and Oakland.

Jeff Manship | Minnesota | SP
YTD: 3.8 K/9, 1.0 K/BB, 3.75 ERA
True Talent: 5.1 K/9, 1.5 K/BB, 5.69 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 10.1 IP, 0.6 Wins, 6 K, 5.64 ERA
A 14th-round pick in 2006, his 2007 experience in A and high-A had people talking, but he’s always been regarded as having very little upside. Still, he’s good at inducing ground balls (over 48%), and could be innocuous in AL-only leagues for his home games, at least. Only worth consideration in AL-only leagues, but the Twins are a good organization on which to have pitchers, so expect him to out-perform his indicators.

Kameron Mickolio | Orioles | RP
YTD: 9.2 K/9, 2.2 K/BB, 2.84 ERA
True Talent: 7.1 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 4.43 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.1 Saves, 5.16 ERA
Mickolio came over from Seattle, so he must be good, right? Well, he does some things well, but he chose a bad time to have a “tired arm.” With a fastball that averages over 95 mph when his arm is healthy, the only concern about this power reliever is whether he can throw strikes. Lowering this rate to 3.3 BB/9 in Triple-A this season is a promising beginning, and one more meltdown by Johnson could lead to Trembley “kicking the tires” in September to see if Mickolio is a road-worthy closer for 2010.

Sean Rodriguez | Tampa Bay | INF
YTD: .200/.276/.440
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
Out of the frying pan, into the fire for Rodriguez. It may be easy to hit at Salt Lake, but .300/.400/.600 (approx) translates pretty well from any Triple-A park. You can never have too many good shortstops and starting pitchers, and it’s not surprising that the Rays are emulating the Angels in that. Rodriguez was always considered a “will do” defensive shortstop, so he’s probably going to play second base, where he’s expected to be a big asset with the glove. That means he will only become viable with an injury or a trade … just like the “frying pan” he left in Anaheim.

Carlos Torres | Chicago | SP
YTD: 7.8 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 3.86 ERA
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
The Sox season may be forfeit, and few in Chicago were watching the “Crosstown Classic,” but Carlos Torres pitched his way into Geoff Blum Folk Hero status by shutting down the Cubs yesterday. He isn’t really considered a top prospect, but he had a great Triple-A season, and has earned a rotation slot until (if) Peavy’s elbow heals from the liner that hit him. Someone to avoid if you’re playing conservative, but he had a 9.1 K/9 in Triple-A, so his junk is deceptive enough to miss bats, and adding a full-time SP with 7.5 K/9 potential at this point in the season could help certain fantasy teams.

True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.

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Comments

  1. Rob McQuown said...

    re: Brantley v. Stubbs: I think I’d go with Brantley.  Stubbs has surprised in hitting 4 HR already, against 3 all season in the minors.  And he had a slightly better XBH% than Brantley, but I think the dramatically higher Ct% for Brantley – not to mention the extra 2.5 years of youth – make him the better call.

  2. Michael Street said...

    I’d give Stubbs the edge here over the long haul, but the short haul depends on what you’re looking for.

    Both have very good speed, but Stubbs is rated slightly higher and is considered the better athlete. Brantley’s power is almost nil (.369 SLG in minors) while Stubbs’ .401 is generally expected to rise. Brantley, however, gets the edge in contact (89.7 contact rate vs. 72.7 for Stubbs).

    Either one will give you speed; Brantley will offer superior BA, while Stubbs should bring more power (though it’s still developing).

  3. MadMaxScherzer (Kevin) said...

    Thanks for the advice. I picked up Stubbs and have already reaped the benefits with a HR today. I’ll keep an eye on Brantley in case there’s an injury in my OF (like the terrible loss of Nyjer).

    Can anyone explain Stubbs’ extremely high BABIP (characteristic of speedsters) but low average in the minors?

  4. Rob McQuown said...

    re: high BABIP – well, strikeouts are 100% outs, while homers are 100% hits, and he only had 3 HR vs 104 K in the minors. :>

  5. Rob McQuown said...

    First, I’d say “no” to Dunn in standard 5×5.  Next year’s draft/auction may be the exception in his career, but he always seems to drop in drafts in my experience.  I say 2010 may be the exception because he has an artificially high AVG this year (.350 BABIP vs career mark of .296).  Still, he’s a 3 category player who hurts you in the other 2. 

    Next, I’d also not keep Votto.  He, too, has a high BABIP, now has an injury record, and only plays first base.  1B is just too deep to take on these risks.

    I’m sure people will disagree strongly, but I’ve learned to mistrust young starting pitcher hype.  Too many of the top pitching prospects return so very little in their first few years.  Hanson has a 4.53 xFIP.  That suggests to me that he hasn’t arrived yet.  Price has been even worse at 4.79.  It seems to me that for every plug-and-play superstar like Tim Lincecum, there are multiple top pitching prospects which go one of the following routes: a) not as good as expected, really a #3 or #4 type, b) takes a few years to grow into their “ace” level, c) converted to reliever.  With just 4 keepers, I’d stay far away.

    Normally, I’d also shy away from pitchers in general with so few keepers, but you have 2 proven good ones, and those are the exceptions…

    Hamels still gives me a little bit of an unsettled feeling, due to his past health problems, but he has a nice offense and defense behind him, and has proven that he can pitch in that ballpark.  His year-by-year xFIP ratings have been 3.96, 3.80, 3.70, 3.85. 

    Verlander has been far less consistent, but the better defense this year in Detroit really seems to be to his liking, and he somehow added 2 MPH(!) to his average fastball in 2009.  This resulted in him bringing his xFIP down over a full point to 3.49 (and his ERA down even more).  I think it would be nuts to cut him at this point.  The only potential worry here is that with the playoffs, he’s going to have a very high IP total this season, so his 2010 stats may drop off some.

  6. MadMaxScherzer (Kevin) said...

    In other news I’ve inherited a keeper team for next season and forward with the following roster.

    C Kurt Suzuki (Oak – C)
    1B Adam Dunn (Was – 1B,OF)
    2B Ian Stewart (Col – 2B,3B)
    3B Evan Longoria (TB – 3B)
    SS Jimmy Rollins (Phi – SS)
    CI Joey Votto (Cin – 1B)
    MI Howie Kendrick (LAA – 2B)
    OF Matt Kemp (LAD – OF)
    OF Carlos Lee (Hou – OF)
    OF Nelson Cruz (Tex – OF)
    Util Michael Cuddyer (Min – 1B,OF)
    P Cole Hamels (Phi – P)
    P Kerry Wood (Cle – P)
    P Matt Garza (TB – P)
    P Justin Verlander (Det – P)
    P John Danks (CWS – P)
    P Chris Volstad (Fla – P) NA
    P David Price (TB – P)
    P Derek Lowe (Atl – P)
    P Tommy Hanson (Atl – P)
    BN Willy Taveras (Cin – OF) DL
    BN Denard Span (Min – OF)
    BN Jack Cust (Oak – OF)
    BN Jason Frasor (Tor – P)
    BN Randy Wells (ChC – P)

    Positions are
    C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OF, OF, OF, Util, P, P, P, P, P, P, P, P, P, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, DL, DL

    And it’s a 5×5 H-2-H league
    Batters: Runs (R), Home Runs (HR), Runs Batted In (RBI), Stolen Bases (SB), Batting Average (AVG)
    Pitchers: Wins (W), Saves (SV), Strikeouts (K), Earned Run Average (ERA), (Walks + Hits)/ Innings Pitched (WHIP)

    With four keeper picks available I will probably choose to keep Longoria and Kemp along with Hamels and Hanson. Would there be an argument to take Verlander or Price or even Dunn or Votto instead?

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