Waiver Wire: American League (Week 15)

Sorry again for not having a Waiver Wire last week. The National League should be up later tonight or tomorrow.

Octavio Dotel | CHW | CL: With Bobby Jenks on the DL and Scott Linebrink blowing two saves, Octavio Dotel is the guy to own. Jenks could be back shortly after the All-Star break, though, so Dotel might get only a couple of saves. He does need to be owned until Jenks returns, though.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Dan Wheeler/Grant Balfour | TB | CL: It’s tough to get a read on the Tampa closer situation with Troy Percival on the DL, manager Joe Maddon talking about Wheeler as a possible All-Star, and then Maddon giving a save opportunity to Balfour a few hours later, but Wheeler is still my bet. It seems as though Chris Neault thinks Percival is at risk of reinjury once he returns, so be sure to keep an eye on whoever does win out here.
Recommendation: Both should be owned in all leagues, for now.

Masahide Kobayashi/Rafael Perez/Rafael Betancourt | CLE | CL: Cleveland’s closer situation isn’t quite as murky as Tampa, but there weren’t any save opportunities this past week, so we don’t know for sure who will even get the first one.

Kobayashi seems like the favorite, followed by Perez and then Betancourt, even though Betancourt is the most talented of the three. He struggled in the role earlier in the year (bad luck) and continues to get unlucky, so I don’t see the team trusting the ninth inning to him. Kobayashi has the worst skills of the bunch, and just a little bad luck could get him thrown from the role (assuming it is his to begin with).
Kobayashi recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues, for now.
Perez recommendation: Should be owned in all but shallow leagues, for now.
Betancourt recommendation: Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Clay Buchholz | BOS | SP: Buchholz has been recalled and should spend the rest of the year in the rotation. He was unlucky to start the year, so his good stats in Triple-A (8.86 K/9, 3.50 BB/9) should come as no surprise. They aren’t quite as good as I expected, but I could easily see Buchholz establishing himself as an ace in the second half. If he’s still out there, go get him now.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Sean Gallagher | OAK | SP: The main piece coming to Oakland in the Rich Harden deal, Gallagher has the potential to be quite good. He’s moving to the more difficult league, and the transition might not be completely smooth, but he does have talent. He has posted a 8.03 K/9 and 3.50 BB/9 in 11 starts so far this year and always had solid minor league stats, so he might be worth a shot in deep mixed leagues if he was dropped once demoted to Chicago’s bullpen.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

Matt Ginter | CLE | SP: Ginter hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2005, but he could be recalled to fill C.C. Sabathia‘s spot. He had just a 5.85 K/9, 2.88 BB/9, and 44 percent ground ball rate at Triple-A this year, and while his control has been better than this in the minors in recent years, I’m not expecting much of Ginter. AL-only at best.

Hank Blalock | TEX | 3B/1B: I was big on Blalock coming into the year, but this injury has soured me a little bit. We’ve talked before about how wrist injuries can sap power, and I’m not expecting big numbers out of Blalock in the second half. He could put up a decent batting average with pretty good RBI and run numbers if he resumes hitting in the middle of the order, so he will be worth owning in some leagues, but if he struggles Chris Davis could push to take the first base job back. If his power doesn’t seem to be affected, his recommendation would greatly improve.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 14-team and owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

Adam Lind | TOR | OF: I talked about Lind’s good power in the article introducing True Home Runs the other day, and he could be a nice second-half sleeper. He’s one of those once-top prospects who never really exploded, but he could hit .275 (though there is plenty of room for fluctuation for Lind) with more than a dozen homers given 250 at-bats. There is a wide range of possible outcomes here, but Lind has the potential to be good. He would be better if he would be hit higher than eighth, though.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Jason Kubel | MIN | OF: Kubel still isn’t getting regular playing time, but he really deserves it. He’s having a quietly excellent year with a much improved 43 percent fly ball rate and very good 14 percent HR/FB. He could hit a dozen homers given 250 at-bats and hit .260 or so. Not great, but for those who need power, Kubel is a decent option. With more playing time and a good spot in the order, he could be quite valuable.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 8-team AL-only leagues.

Denard Span | MIN | OF: Span is starting in Minny with Michael Cuddyer on the DL and is tearing things up. His .426 BABIP is far too high, but he could hit .275 with considerable upside and provide a little bit of speed. He doesn’t have much power, though, and is batting mostly ninth, so his value is limited.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Brett Gardner | NYY | OF: With Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui on the DL, Gardner is getting regular playing time. He’s a huge asset for those looking for speed, and he already has five steals (71 percent stolen base attempt percentage!). He doesn’t have much power and could struggle to hit .250 if his BABIPs aren’t as good as they were in the minors, but the speed is there for those in need. He’s also batted some leadoff, so he could score some runs as well given his good walk rates. He loses a lot of value once Damon or Matsui return.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 14-team and owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

Shin-Soo Choo | CLE | OF: Choo seems to have found regular playing time in Cleveland. I’m not sure how long it will last, though, and he doesn’t look likely to help much. He could steal some bases, but he hasn’t shown power since 2006 in the minors and might hit only .230 or so. Batting fifth and sixth will allow him to get some RBIs, but his lack of power will limit his potential here. He could score some runs if he continues hitting there given his pretty good speed and above average walk rates, but he won’t help fantasy owners much in any one category and will hurt in a few.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12-team AL-only leagues.

Juan Rivera | LAA | OF: Rivera, starting in Los Angeles, was a very promising power hitter before missing most of last season and this one with injuries. He could hit a dozen homers the rest of the way (assuming 250 at-bats), but he could hit even more if his fly ball rate is anywhere near where it was last year (41 percent) or this year (48 percent). These were in limited at-bats, though, and it has been just 34 percent since 2002. Still, he could hit .275 with good amount of RBIs batting sixth, assuming his replacement of Gary Matthews Jr. is permanent.
Recommendation: Should be strongly considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Jeff Mathis | LAA | C: Mathis will fill in while Mike Napoli is on the DL, but he doesn’t look like a very good pickup. His power isn’t as good as his current 11 percent HR/FB indicates, though he does hit a lot of fly balls. I’m not expecting his .217 batting average to rise, though, and that will be a killer for many fantasy teams. Hitting eighth and ninth doesn’t improve his value.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in 14-team, single-catcher AL-only leagues. Should be owned in eight-team, two-catcher AL-only leagues.

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