Waiver Wire: American League (Week 2)

Back with the American League Waiver Wire for Week 2. Really busy weekend, so there are a few decent guys I’ve left out. If you have questions on anyone who isn’t listed, just shoot me an e-mail.

American League

Anybody who has been dropped that you deemed draftable on Draft Day: Judging by my 100 percent unscientific observations, this is becoming increasingly less common. Still, if you’re in a league where one of these players has been dropped, he shouldn’t be—with very few exceptions—unless he has been injured or lost enough playing time to warrant it. Numbers from the first two weeks of the season mean very little and should be taken with a grain of salt. We’re dealing with sample sizes that are just too small to be significant.
Recommendation:Should be owned in your league.

Jeff Niemann | TB | SP: With Matt Garza injured, Jeff Niemann has been recalled and should start today. I discussed Niemann in part one of the “Young pitchers to watch” series (look for Part 2 this week). He has an injury history, but also plenty of talent and upside.

Worth a gamble in most leagues, especially since Garza could be out a month and since Jason Hammel really hasn’t pitched very well. Unfortunately for Niemann (and another favorite of mine, J.P. Howell), Edwin Jackson has gotten off to a fast start. Still, there’s plenty of time between now and Garza’s return, and Niemann could easily lock down a spot by then in place of Jackson or Hammel.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but the shallowest AL-only leagues.

Edwin Jackson | TB | SP: Jackson was once a top prospect, but I’m not a fan at all, mostly because he had been blocking far more talented pitchers like Howell and Niemann. He has an 0.64 ERA through two starts and is starting to get picked up, but I still advise caution. He has never been good in the majors and was only decent in the minors in 2006. Even in his two starts this year, a 6.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 are nothing special. Again, small sample size issues, but even in a small sample size he’s not putting up improved peripherals. I’m not changing my judgment of him until I see something good.
Recommendation: Should not be owned in mixed leagues. Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Dontrelle Willis | DET | SP: D-Train is getting dropped in tons of leagues. Please don’t see his name on waivers and put a claim in. Dontrelle simply is not a good pitcher, and now he’s on the DL. Three years of increasing walk rates and decreasing strikeout rates coupled with a move to the American League is a recipe for disaster. I don’t care if he has a good offense in front of him (and yes, Detroit’s offense is still good despite a slow 10 games).
Recommendation: Should not be owned in mixed leagues. Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Francisco Liriano | MIN | SP: Getting the call and should start today. If he was dropped in your league, pick him up. Likely won’t be as good as 2006, but he’s still a very good pitcher with perhaps the highest upside of anyone in baseball.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Rich Harden | OAK | SP: Unless you have a free DL slot, Harden shouldn’t be owned in mixed leagues. He is just too injury-prone. In Arizona, Rick Wilton seemed to think this was due to weight-lifting to build muscle as opposed to actually throwing to build strength in all the proper places. If he gets dropped in your league (or wasn’t owned to begin with), don’t pick him up hoping for a good comeback. A hundred innings might be a lot to ask of him this year.
Recommendation: Should not be owned in mixed leagues. Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Shaun Marcum | TOR | SP: Two great starts have owners scrambling to pick up Marcum. In both starts, he struck out eight and walked one in seven innings. Small sample size, but Marcum was a solid pick to begin with. Probably was a little underdrafted, so a pickup would be warranted.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in eight-team and owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Dana Eveland | OAK | SP: Eveland is getting a lot of hype—perhaps too much—but he’s a decent pitcher. The most promising thing is his 2006 Triple-A stat line: 9.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 55 percent GB rate. The control wasn’t great, and he missed three months in 2007 with a torn tendon in his finger. Still, that line shows that there is some potential in Eveland, and he’s worth a shot in certain leagues. His good first two starts don’t hurt anything.
Recommendation: Should be considered in deep 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be considered in eight-team and owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Scot Shields | LAA | RP: Francisco Rodriguez is back, but as Chris Neault pointed out, if he’s coming back too soon, he could injure something else, possibly his arm. Shields would likely fill in should that happen, since he’ll have a little time between now and then to get back into the swing of things. Decent speculative pick if he gets dropped or was never picked up to begin with.
Recommendation: Should be considered in deep 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be considered in eight-team and owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Justin Speier | LAA | RP: If K-Rod were out for an extended period of time starting now, Speier would have more value. But since Shields will get some innings in before a potential K-Rod injury, he would probably get the save opps. Hold onto Speier if you want, but he’s not as good a bet as Shields.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 14-team and owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Ryan Rowland-Smith | SEA | RP: After blowing a save and pitching in a non-save situation, it looked like Mark Lowe might not be the favorite for saves anymore. He picked one up Friday night, though, and the save Rowland-Smith got on Tuesday likely was because he came on in the eighth and stayed on in the ninth because three lefties were due up. He has decent skills, but Lowe is still the guy to own in this bullpen unless he starts to struggle.
Recommendation: Should be considered in deep mixed leagues. Should be considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team AL-only leagues.

Joe Crede | CHW | 3B: With Josh Fields being forced to sulk in the minors, Crede has the third base spot in Chicago. He has a Rick Wilton saying that he could return to his former power levels. Could hit .265-.270 and with his good FB percentage could approach 30 homers, but batting eighth doesn’t help him much with RBIs and runs (and at-bats to help accumulate homers).

Also, being traded out of Chicago would likely decrease the 26 percent home run inflation U.S. Cellular provides. Look at his HitTracker profile. He hit one that would have been a homer in just four parks and another right near it that looks like it would have barely cleared the fence in at least 26. There are better third base options, but Crede is off to a good start and is a decent pickup.
Recommendation: Should be strongly considered in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in eight-team and owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Mike Lowell | BOS | 3B: After being the recipient of a lucky .342 BABIP last year, Lowell was due for a down year. Now he’s injured. If you don’t have a DL spot for him, guys like Hank Blalock, Edwin Encarnacion, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Mark Reynolds should be picked up to replace him if available. I’d probably have rather owned any of them regardless. Given that he could be out an extended period, you could even drop him for lesser options if it makes sense in the context of your team and league.

Carlos Quentin | CHW | OF: When Jerry Owens eventually comes off the DL, Nick Swisher could remain in the leadoff spot. This bodes well for Quentin’s value because if Owens won’t be leading off, the Sox might not start him at all. Quentin was pretty good in the minors, but I don’t know if he’s ready to be a quality major leaguer yet. His contact rate has been higher in the majors than the minors, but if it ever returns to 85 percent, his batting average prospects would improve. He doesn’t have a great BABIP history, though, potentially hindering a great batting average.

His AB/XBH was pretty good in Triple-A, although he doesn’t hit a ton of fly balls and hasn’t had an AB/HR below 20 since Advanced-A in 2004. It would take quite a few things going right for Quentin to launch himself into the ranks of the elite outfielders. There is potential, though, so don’t write him off.
Recommendation: Should be considered in deep 14-team mixed leagues. Should be considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team AL-only leagues.

Evan Longoria | TB | 3B: He was on here last week, but after being recalled he really needs to be owned in all leagues. I said in the past to keep expectations in check, but Longoria really has a lot of potential.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Luke Scott | BAL | OF: Scott has decent power, and a .270 batting average with 20-25 homers seems like a pretty good bet. Perhaps more interesting is that he’s batting second, which should help with both RBIs and runs.
Recommendation: Can be considered in 10-team and should be owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

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