Waiver Wire: American and National League (Week 16)

American League

Francisco Liriano | MIN | SP – In Liriano’s last ten minor league starts, he has posted a 9.56 K/9 and a 1.54 BB/9 in 64 IP. It’s absurd that he hasn’t been recalled yet, and his agent is talking about filing a grievance. I expect he’ll be called up soon, and when he is, he could easily be one of the second-half’s most dominant pitchers.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Gio Gonzalez | OAK | SP – The team hasn’t announced an official replacement for Joe Blanton, but the speculation seems to be that Gonzalez will be recalled. His 11.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and 52% ground ball rate in Double-A last year was very good, but he’s fallen off a little at Triple-A this year: 9.6 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 41% ground ball rate. He’s got potential, and in his last 10 games, he has posted a 10.7 K/9 and 3.96 BB/9. I think he’ll be decent this year, but we might have to wait until next year to really see Gonzalez succeed in the majors.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Bryan LaHair | SEA | 1B – LaHair will likely start against all right-handers and maybe even some lefties. He strikes out a lot, though, and doesn’t put up amazing BABIPs. He has decent power, though, and might be able to hit 7 or 8 homers given 250 at-bats. His average might only be around .245, though, and batting eighth or ninth in addition to only semi-regular playing time makes LaHair an AL-only pickup at best.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12-team AL-only leagues.

Asdrubal Cabrera | CLE | 2B/SS – Cabrera has been called back up and should have a chance to reclaim the starting second base job for the Indians. He struggled earlier this year due to a too-low BABIP, additional strikeouts, and decreased power numbers. It might be a tall order to expect a complete bounceback, but some of those struggles could have been luck related and he did play well when demoted to Triple-A. I’d expect maybe a .255 batting average (but with upside) and 3 or 4 homers (assuming 250 at-bats). He stole 23 bases at Double-A in 2007, so it’s possible he could steal some bases too.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues, for now. Should be considered in 8-team and owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Frank Thomas | OAK | DH – Thomas could be back by the end of the month, so the time to stash him is quickly approaching. As it feels like I’ve said a thousand times, he has good power and could hit .265-.270 with a bunch of RBIs.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

National League

Jonathan Broxton | LAD | CL – Takashi Saito is out into September and could miss the whole year. The Dodgers are saying they could trade for a closer, but that would be a very stupid move considering that they have a guy like Broxton waiting in the wings. Assuming they don’t make a trade, Broxton could be one of the top 10 or 15 closers the rest of the way.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Hong-Chih Kuo | LAD | RP – Kuo has been tremendous this year with a 10.90 K/9, 2.28 BB/9, and 47 percent ground ball rate. If Broxton gets hurt, he’d probably take over closing duties. He’s been good enough to own even if he isn’t closing, though, and the increased chances of some saves only increases his value.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Joe Blanton | PHI | SP – The Phillies might have thought they were acquiring a good #2 starter, but they almost certainly won’t be getting a pitcher nearly that good. His 4.39 K/9 and 2.48 BB/9 could improve in the National League, but he’s still not a very good pitcher. It’s such a crime the way this team has treated Brett Myers, who is the #2 starter the team needs, yet it was possible he could have been shifted to the bullpen in order to keep Adam Eaton in the rotation.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.

Jaime Garcia | STL | SP – Garcia will get his first chance to start on Sunday. His minor league numbers have fluctuated, but he seems to have good potential. He posted a 10.54 K/9 and 4.11 BB/9 in Double-A this year but just a 7.47 K/9 and 3.28 BB/9 at Triple-A. His ground ball rates, however, were 62 and 56 percent, respectively. Like Gio Gonzalez, Garcia has potential, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he struggled a little this year. If he does, he might only receive a couple of starts before being sent to the bullpen or back to the minors.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Mike Pelfrey | NYM | SP – There was a pretty good article recently at Driveline Mechanics about the changes Pelfrey has made of late, but I’m not convinced that these changes are sufficient for him to keep up his respectable 6.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 since the beginning of June. Using his fastball 85 percent of the time is what I’m concerned about the most, because while the slider is improved and the curve reintroduced, what good does that do if they’re being used a combined 10 percent of the time? Speculate if you wish here, but I’m not overly excited, although the ground balls should be legit and help his value.
Recommendation – Should be owned in only in the deepest of mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues, for now.

Troy Tulowitzki | COL | SS – Tulo should be returning from the DL for the second time this week, and while there is some risk here, he really needs to be owned in all leagues. He has so much upside, and his contact rate was actually improved over last year.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

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