Waiver Wire: American League (Week 10)

American League

Joel Zumaya | DET | RP: A closer simply cannot survive with a 3.8 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 without some excellent luck. That’s what Todd Jones is doing now, sporting a lucky 4.64 ERA. It won’t last forever, and with Joel Zumaya nearing a return (likely by the All-Star break), his term as closer could be coming to a close. Someone might already be stashing him on the DL, but if not, definitely do it. He’s even worth stashing in leagues with five or more bench spots. There’s a decent chance he’ll be saving games by the last week of July.

Brandon Morrow | SEA | RP: J.J. Putz is really struggling with his control (7.13 BB/9). Brandon Morrow seems very close to becoming next in line, if he isn’t already. I have a hard time seeing the Mariners removing Putz, but it isn’t unfathomable that they would if he continues on like this. There are definitely better speculative picks out there, but if all the obvious ones are gone, Morrow could be worth owning. Just be aware of Morrow’s own control problems. His BB/9 is 3.94 in 16 major league innings this year and he’s striking out a ton of batters, but that control has been downright awful in the past.

Mike Mussina | NYY | SP: Mike Mussina is seeing some pickups, and they aren’t completely unwarranted. He’s striking out batters at a rate lower than league average, but his excellent control is keeping his ERA respectable. Not a great pickup if you need Ks, but decent otherwise.
Recommendation: Can be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in 8-team and owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Aaron Laffey | CLE | SP: With Jake Westbrook out for the year, Aaron Laffey should have a permanent rotation spot (assuming Jeremy Sowers doesn’t pull out some luck in the next couple of weeks and take it from him). He gets lots of ground balls and has good control to make up for a sub-par (though not awful) strikeout rate.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Jeremy Sowers | CLE | SP: Sowers should have a spot until Fausto Carmona returns, but will likely get demoted after that. His skills aren’t good, and he isn’t really worth owning in many leagues.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Jeremy Guthrie | BAL | SP: After a surprise 2007, Guthrie started 2008 off terribly with five TQS “Below Average” starts in his first six outings. He has since posted two “Good” starts and has posted a 6.75 K/9 and a 2.62 BB/9 in his last 10 starts. Not great, but in line with last year (a little better, even), although his ERA is being aided by a lucky BABIP and LOB percentage. Still, Guthrie is owned in just 16 percent of ESPN leagues and deserves a pickup in more.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Coco Crisp | BOS | OF: With David Ortiz injured, it looks as though Crisp will start most games in the outfield while Manny Ramirez DHes. Of course, this is after Crisp serves his suspension for his part in the events of the other night. Look for a .260-.270 average and a whole bunch of steals, though he doesn’t have much power and the runs won’t come with Jacoby Ellsbury entrenched atop the order.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

Kenny Lofton | FA | OF: Lofton was never signed this offseason, but his skills were still good last year and now there’s talk that a number of teams could look to sign him. This is the time when teams start thinking about trades, but why trade a valuable chip when it would cost only dollars to get Lofton? I’d have to think a major league team will sign him, followed by a fantasy team in most leagues. Owners will receive a .300 batting average and lots of steals and runs if he’s given enough playing time.
Recommendation: Monitor in all leagues. Can be stashed in very deep leagues.

Josh Fields | CHW | OF: With recent quotes like “If we think we are going to win with the offense we have, we are full of s—” and talk of making changes from Ozzie Guillen, it might be time to start watching Josh Fields again. There doesn’t appear to be room for him now, but a guy like Joe Crede could easily be traded, creating an opening for him. Definitely keep an eye on this situation.
Recommendation: Monitor in all leagues. Can be stashed in very deep leagues.

Esteban German | KC | 2B/3B/OF/SS: German will get an extended look at KC’s shortstop, but don’t expect much fantasy-wise. Even if his contact rate returns to the level it was the past couple years, he might hit only .270. He doesn’t have much speed or power and will likely bat eighth or ninth, so the only real value he’ll have is from a decent batting average and a fair number of RBIs and runs just because he’ll get at-bats.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Alexi Casilla | MIN | 2B: This power isn’t for real, though Casilla does have a lot of speed. He hasn’t stolen many bases yet this year, but he has the potential for a bunch. He might hit only .260 or so (although the potential is there to do better), but if he can steal bases he’ll have a little value. He takes a good amount of walks and has spent a lot of time in the No. 2 spot of late, so he could score some runs as well.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be considered in eight-team and owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Alexei Ramirez | CHW | OF/2B/SS: Ramirez appears to be the everyday second baseman for the White Sox, although he isn’t a great option. His .280 batting average is definitely for real, though the .303 BABIP doesn’t look so legitimate given his 11 percent line drive rate. This could easily rise, but be careful for now. He’s two-for-three in steal attempts and could grab a few more, and while he has a little power, it hasn’t looked great so far. So you’re basically looking at a .280 average and a handful of steals and homers out of a guy hitting mostly out of the No. 8 spot. Playing second helps his value.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be considered in eight-team and owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

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