Waiver Wire: American League (Week 9)

Not a very exciting week for the American League. Let’s take a look.

American League

Dan Wheeler | TB | CL – With Percival on the DL, Dan Wheeler should get most of the save opportunities for the Rays. He blew his first opportunity last night, but is still probably the favorite going forward.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Al Reyes | TB | RP – Reyes is worth owning in case Wheeler blows another save. If he does, Reyes could start seeing some opportunities. Wheeler has the skills to hold down the job, but all it might take is a little bit of bad luck to propel Reyes into the role. Speculate if you wish.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Troy Percival | TB | CL – Percival hit the DL this week, but it wasn’t an arm injury as we said was a possibility back in March. He should jump right back into the closer’s role when he returns, so if his owner drops him, snatch him up now.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Scott Baker | MIN | SP – Baker could be returning to the Twins rotation this week. We’ve talked about him a few times before, and if he was dropped in your league, it’s time to snatch him up. He has good control and should post a strikeout rate of at least league average, if not better. Unspectacular, but he’s a very solid pitcher to own. Look for an ERA of around 4.00
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Clay Buchholz | BOS | SP – With Daisuke Matsuzaka hitting the DL, the Red Sox will need a replacement pitcher on Tuesday. It could go to Masterson, but Buchholz deserves to be in the majors. Even if he isn’t the guy to get called up, he will at some point and is worth stashing. He has incredible talent.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Justin Masterson | BOS | SP – Masterson has pitched just 18.1 innings above Double-A, but he could make a good pickup if you’re looking for a spot starter (assuming he gets called up on Tuesday). He is an extreme groundball pitcher and gets a good amount of strikeouts (although, strangely, had just a 5.3 K/9 in Advanced-A at the start of 2007 and jumped up to 9.2 in Double-A). His strikeout rate was down and his walk rate was up this year in Double-A, but not to awful levels. Decent pickup, but he won’t be higher than seventh on the Sox totem pole once Buchholz reestablishes himself, so he shouldn’t be looked at as a long-term option.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues, for now. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues, for now.

Kyle Davies | KC | SP – Davies is replacing Brett Tomko in the Royals’ rotation, but don’t expect too much out of him. He’s long been looked at as a guy with potential, but there isn’t much to like with his 5.88 K/9 and 3.18 BB/9 in Triple-A this year. I’m staying away except in the deepest leagues.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Jose Contreras | CHW | SP – Contreras has been pretty bad in the past, but he’s actually looking half-way decent this year. He’s got a lucky .258 BABIP and 5 percent HR/FB, and all it would take is a small increase in his walk rate and decrease in his strikeout rate for him to regress to his 4.70 LIPS ERA of 2007. No room for error here, but for now he might be worth owning.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Dontrelle Willis | DET | SP – Talk is beginning of taking D-Train out of the bullpen. They’re going to start him on Tuesday for the first four or five innings and then bring in Armando Galarraga. Jim Leyland said, “I’ve got to try to get Dontrelle going. We have three years invested in this guy. This guy has credibility as a major-league pitcher.” Credibility, maybe. Above average talent? No. AL-only pickup at best.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in all mixed leagues. Should be considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team AL-only leagues.

Jake Westbrook | CLE | SP – There was talk of Westbrook adding a change-up this year, but Pitch f/x shows that he threw one last year. It looks pretty similar this year to last year, so I wouldn’t be expecting that increase in his strikeout rate to come now that he’s off the DL. He’s worth owning in some leagues, but I don’t see a ton of upside here.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Marcus Thames | DET | OF – Thames was expected to get a look in left field, but there are already signs that the team doesn’t trust him. For example, Carlos Guillen started in left field tonight to allow Brandon Inge to play third. Thames is a guy known for a lot of power but a low average, but HitTracker shows that his raw power is down from 2006 and 2007. His contact rate is improved this year, but in 76 at-bats and at 31 years-old, it probably isn’t for real. Speculate if you wish, but Thames probably isn’t the best pickup.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues, for now.

Jeff Larish | DET | UT – Jeff Larish was recalled this week to start at DH versus righties, but he isn’t a very good pickup. He only had a 70 percent contact rate in Triple-A this year and doesn’t put up very good BABIPs. He has very good power and takes walks, but the fact that he’s only eligible at UT makes him ignorable in many leagues. He’s batted sixth once and seventh twice since being recalled, not the best spots for RBIs and runs.
Recommendation – Should be ignored in mixed leagues. Should be considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team AL-only leagues.

Ben Francisco | CLE | OF – We discussed Francisco in week six, but he’s starting to get picked up now. Back then, I said, “In the majors, at least initially, expect maybe a .260-.265 batting average (though with the potential for much better) with 12 homers and 20 steals (assuming a baseline of 550 plate appearances).” That batting average upside is being fulfilled with a better-than-expected 83 percent contact rate and .352 batting average, though he isn’t stealing many bases. The BABIP is likely too high, and in only 88 at-bats, the contact rate might not be for real. He has been hitting in the second and third spot in the order recently, though, which should help with runs and RBIs. There’s potential, but also some risk here.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

Frank Thomas | OAK | UT – Man, my players just keep getting injured. One league I’ve got 11 DLed players. Luckily it’s a league with unlimited slots. Thomas was a guy I was very big on this offseason, and he has looked very good this year. Chris Neault thinks he could out for four weeks, though, and if you don’t have a DL spot or more than three or four bench spots, you can drop Thomas. If you can hold onto him, he’ll put up a respectable batting average with a good number of homers and RBIs. If you have room for him and his owner drops him, scoop him up.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

Carlos Gonzalez | OAK | OF – Gonzalez got called up this week, but I wouldn’t get too excited. He puts up okay contact rates and has a good BABIP history, but he doesn’t steal many bases, doesn’t have much power, and is hitting in the last few spots in the order. He’s got potential, but I don’t see him having much fantasy value this year.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in all mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12-team AL-only leagues.

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Next: THT Dartboard: June 1, 2008 »

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