Waiver Wire: American League (Week 8)

Sorry for the lack of articles this week. This coming week we should really get started. I hope articles will be coming at you nearly every day for the rest of the season.

By the time you read this, an article about Johnny Cueto using PITCHf/x data should also be out to whet your whistle (awesome saying, right?). We’ll be using PITCHf/x in player analysis articles from here on out, so good things should be in store. For now, here’s the first half of the Waiver Wire for Week 8.

American League

Joba Chamberlain | NYY | RP/SP: Joba was almost certainly drafted in your league, but if he wasn’t, it’s time to grab him. The Yankees will stretch him out to become a starter, and he could be starting games within a month.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Dontrelle Willis | DET | SP: Not sure how long it will last, but the D-Train has been placed in the bullpen. I hope you weren’t hanging onto Dontrelle while he was on the DL, and there isn’t a pressing need to pick him up now that he’s off. Three years of increasing walk rates and decreasing strikeout rates that weren’t great to begin with make Willis an AL-only addition.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12-team AL-only leagues.

Joe Borowski | CLE | CL: I mentioned Borowski last week, and he is now activated and should close immediately. Pick him up if he’s still available.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Joey Devine | OAK | RP: At age 24, Devine is looking very good. His control is much improved over recent years and his strikeout rate is stellar. With Santiago Casilla injured (and apparently out up to eight weeks according to Chris Neault), there’s a pretty good chance Devine would fill in as closer should Huston Street get injured too. Alan Embree might be the guy if Street were to suffer a short-term injury, but the job would likely be turned off to Casilla shortly after he returns. (He also probablt would close in the second half should Street get traded.) But if Devine continues pitching like this, he would have some value regardless.
Recommendation: Can be considered in mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues, for now.

Armando Galarraga | DET | SP: We talked about Galarraga a few weeks ago, and as expected, his peripherals have declined: 6.11 K/9 and 3.57 BB/9. His .192 BABIP and 7 percent HR/FB have kept his ERA low and even pushed Willis to the bullpen. These will regress and Galarraga will be a little below average as a pitcher. There’s a pretty good chance he’ll end up getting demoted when it happens.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues, for now.

John Danks | CHW | SP: Another starter we talked about a few weeks ago. Stats have started to stabilize a little, and while he still sports a lucky 78 percent LOB rate and 6 percent HR/FB, his skills are still pretty decent. Perhaps most encouraging is the 51 percent ground ball rate, which at 215 batters faced has surpassed the stabilization point set by Pizza Cutter. Strikeout rate is down a little from last year, but so is the walk rate.
Recommendation: Can be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

Dana Eveland | OAK | SP: Yet another repeat here. As we’ve said, Eveland has some potential, but the results aren’t great so far. The 2.90 ERA is being largely influenced by good luck. His 6.39 K/9 and 3.48 BB/9 are only so-so.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Hank Blalock | TEX | 3B/1B: Was going to be activated this weekend, but carpal tunnel syndrome has set him back. Still, he could be back in a matter of days, and even if he’s out for a couple more weeks, he’s probably worth stashing.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all but shallow leagues.

Eric Chavez | OAK | 3B: Chavez also could be returning soon, but he’s not nearly as good a pickup as Blalock. A .250 batting average with 20 homers (assuming 500 at-bats) might be what we should expect, although who really knows how his back will affect his power and ability to hit for contact. It’s also possible he’ll revert to being the Eric Chavez of old, but that’s pretty unlikely at this point.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 14-team and owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Jose Guillen | KC | OF: Guillen was mentioned in Week 1, and he is finally starting to heat up. If he’s still available, go get him. My words from Week 1: “He could hit 20 or 25 home runs and hit over .280. Plus, he hits in a prime RBI spot (cleanup), albeit for a subpar team.” I still feel Guillen is a great add.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all but shallow leagues.

Alexi Casilla | MIN | 2B: With Adam Everett on the DL, Casilla will start at second until he returns. Casilla puts up decent contact rates, though doesn’t have much power. He did post a 27 percent stolen base attempt percentage last year to go with a 91 percent success rate. He’s batted either first or second in four of the last five games, so he’s a good pickup for steals and runs. He might only hit .240 or .250, though (although anything can happen with BABIP over the a couple of weeks).
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues, for now.

Brendan Harris | MIN | MI: Harris has seen a decrease in his contact rate, BABIP, line drive rate, fly ball rate and HR/FB this year. He will be playing full-time while Everett is on the DL and should pick up shortstop eligibility, but he is an unspectacular fantasy play. Might hit .270 with eight homers or so given 500 at-bats and might steal a couple bags. He could also score some runs as he’s hit towards the top of the order a few times of late.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues, for now.

Akinori Iwamura | TB | 2B/3B: After a 60 percent stolen base success rate last year, Iwamura’s attempt rate has fallen from 12.4 percent to 6.7 percent this year. He could begin stealing more, but why would they let him when he’s been caught two of four times this year? A .270 average with eight or so homers and a handful of steals is probably what we should expect from Iwamura this year. His second base eligibility adds some value, though, and he will score some runs leading off for the Rays.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in deep eight-team AL-only leagues.

David Murphy | TEX | OF: Murphy looks like a decent pickup right now. He could hit .280 with maybe 15-homer production given 500 at-bats. While he isn’t known for gaudy stolen base totals, he is four-for-five this year after going eight-for-nine in Triple-A last year, so there could be some value to be had there as well. Finally, batting fifth behind Milton Bradley, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young should help him grab a bunch of RBIs.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep 10-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Miguel Olivo | KC | C: Olivo is off to a good start, but his .339 BABIP is likely to high, as is his 18 percent HR/FB. This is propelling his BA upward as well as his home run totals. He has never had a BABIP that high before, and HitTracker shows that his raw power is the same as it has been. His fly ball rate is increased this year, but he’s had only 90 at-bats and at least some regression is likely. I wouldn’t change your preseason projections too much based on his hot start. Maybe a .240-.250 batting average with 18 homers given 500 at-bats.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in single-catcher mixed leagues. Should be owned in two-catcher 10-team mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in eight-team and owned in 10-team single-catcher AL-only leagues. Should be owned in all two-catcher AL-only leagues.

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