Waiver Wire: American League

Another week, another Waiver Wire. We’ll look at the American League now and focus on the National League tonight.

Dustin Pedroia | BOS | 2B/SS – Not much power, but a 92% Contact rate and a 10% Walk rate make Pedroia an excellent contact hitter. He should post a BA above .300 while now batting second in the Red Sox order. He’ll score plenty of runs and grab a decent amount of RBIs, but you won’t get many Home Runs or Steals out of him.
Recommendation – Should be considered in deep 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be considered in deep 8 and owned in 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Joey Gathright | KC | OF – Considered by many to be the fastest player in baseball, Gathright recently was called up by the Royals. Might not play everyday, but the Royals don’t have a ton of better options. Would make a great leadoff hitter, although he has batted ninth so far. Had an 87% Contact rate and a 18% Walk rate in AAA this year. Last year those rates were 80% and 10%. He doesn’t hit a lot of Line Drives, but if his minor league numbers translate to even 84% and 12% Gathright could be a .300 hitter. Playing a full-season, Gathright would easily be able to swipe 50 bags. He has 2 already through 2 games. Not much power, but if he moves atop the Royals lineup he should get plenty of steals, runs, and will have a good BA too.
Recommendation – Should be considered in deep 10 and 12 if you need steals and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be considered in 8 and owned in 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Andrew Miller | DET | SP – I wasn’t a Miller fan when he was first called up to the bigs, but in his time at AA he has been impressive. His Ground ball rate remains high (it’s a ridiculous 75% so far!), and his Walk rate is very good: 1.59 BB/9. His K rate is only decent at 7.62 and will limit his value in the majors right away. He has only thrown 28 innings at Double AA, so keep in mind that we are dealing with a small sample size. In the majors, his K rate should drop into the 6s, and his BB rate will rise above 2. In all likelihood, it will rise above 3, possibly 4. It’s difficult to tell when dealing with a small sample size. It was 3.49 in Single A not long ago, so realize that while Miller has potential to do fairly well, he also has the potential to stink it up. Let’s say Miller will post a 6.25 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, and a 65% GB rate. That’s not great, but the Ground ball rate will help him a lot by limiting Home Runs. Also, there is no guarantee he will stay up when Nate Robertson returns.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team mixed leagues, until he proves otherwise. Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues, until he proves otherwise.

Andrew Sonnanstine | TB | SP – Has shown great control in the minors, but last year, in Double A, his Strikeout rate dropped to 7.40. It was over 10.00 in 2005 and it was 9.29 this year in Triple A, so there isn’t much to worry about. Sonnanstine could strike out over 7 batters game in the majors, and his Walk rate might be around 2.5. His Ground ball rate should be a decent 43%. Actually, Sonnanstine seems to be a lot like Kevin Slowey. If you wanted Slowey and missed out on him, Sonnanstine could be a good option. Andrew Miller seems to have more potential, but Sonnanstine might be a safer bet.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but the shallowest AL-only leagues.

John Buck | KC | C – Talked about the other day, I just wanted to remind you of Buck.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team single catcher mixed leagues. Should be owned in all single-catcher AL-only leagues. Should be owned in all two catcher leagues.

Gregg Zaun | TOR | C – Coming off the Disabled List today, Zaun was one of my favorite catcher sleepers preseason. Owned in just 1% of ESPN leagues, Zaun is a good contact hitter with good discipline, boasting an 85% Contact rate, 12.5% Walk rate, and 20% Line Drive rate in 2006. He put up a 42% Fly ball rate last year (although it was the highest of his career and was 34% in 20 games at the beginning of this year) and has decent power. With 450 ABs, Zaun could easily hit 15 HRs. Combine that with a .290-.300 BA and a good Toronto lineup, Zaun is a good pickup in two catcher or AL-only leagues. Might just miss the cutoff in 14-team single catcher leagues where no catchers are stashed on the bench.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 14-team single catcher mixed leagues. Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team single-catcher AL-only leagues. Should be owned in all two catcher leagues.

Mike Piazza | OAK | C – The guy I drafted as my catcher in many leagues, Piazza is said to be on target to come off the DL in the middle of the month. If he was dropped in your league, he might be an upgrade over your current catcher. Piazza still has good power and is capable of hitting 25 HRs over a full-season. He could also hit .285, and if he resumes his spot in the middle of the Oakland lineup should rack up the RBIs and Runs. And considering he is Oakland’s DH and not their catcher, he could play in more games per week than many catchers.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Frank Thomas | TOR | DH – Not being 1B-eligible hurts his value, but Thomas is owned in less than 30% of ESPN. He has been slumping a little of late, but he is still crushing his HRs, and I still think he is a good bet for 40. His 82% Contact, 17% Walk, and 18% Line Drive rates are quite good and could make for a .280 average, although his speed might hurt him a little bit. His .237 BABIP is the lowest of his career in a season where he had more than 105 ABs and is bound to increase. The Toronto lineup is pretty good, he has lots of power, and takes lots of walks, so he should get plenty of RBIs and Runs. If Thomas is available in your league, pick him up. With Travis Hafner now 1B-eligible, Thomas becomes the premier UT-only player.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Jose Guillen | SEA | OF – Lots of power and a decent Contact rate, but only average Walk and Line Drive rates. Still, 30 HRs and a .275 average is pretty good, and Guillen has some pretty good hitters in the lineup for RBIs and Runs. Is even more valuable in leagues where you need a RF, and not just an OF, as that can be a fairly shallow position. Surprisingly owned in just 6.6% of ESPN leagues.
Recommendation – Should be strongly considered in deep 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Richie Sexson | SEA | OF – Power hasn’t been overly impressive this year, but it was good last year and it should be back. Sexson is not a .197 hitter, and his BA should rise to around .260-.265. He could still hit 30 HRs, and he should get a decent amount of RBIs and Runs.
Recommendation – Should be strongly considered in deep 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Dan Johnson | OAK | 1B – I’ve talked about Johnson many times before, but he has hit a relative rough patch and is owned in just 7.2% of ESPN leagues. This number should be much higher.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep 10, 12, and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Jack Cust | OAK | OF – Got off to a hot start and was picked up in many leagues, but his ownership has since dropped to 3.6%. As predicted, his batting average has plummeted, but he still has great power. A BA as low as his current .230 is not unreasonable given his enormous number of strikeouts, but he takes a lot of walks, has a lot of power, and hits in a good lineup. As long as the A’s continue to play him, which I am pretty sure they will, Cust has some value. He will hurt your BA, but he will get a lot of HRs, RBIs, and Runs.
Recommendation – Should be considered in deep 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in deep 8, 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Melky Cabrera | NYY | OF – With Jason Giambi hurt, Melky should play most days. He isn’t a great player, but he can hit around .280 with an 88% Contact rate, 7.5% BB rate (was 11% in 2006), and 17.5% LD rate. He could also get 10 HRs, but most of his value comes from hitting in the Yankees lineup with RBIs and Runs should come by default.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Kenny Lofton | TEX | OF – Lofton’s .264 average is keeping him under the radar a little bit, but he is stealing a ton with the Rangers. He could approach 50 steals if he doesn’t get hurt. He probably won’t hit more than 10 HRs, but he should get his BA up to at least .290. He should also score a bunch of runs batting leadoff for the Rangers. He won’t play everyday, but for the 4-5 games per week he does, Lofton has plenty of value.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

David DeJesus | KC | OF – Good contact hitter who should get back up to at least .290. Also has 12-15 HR power and can steal a handful of bases. Kansas City lineup isn’t great, but batting leadoff he could still score 90 Runs.
Recommendation – Should be strongly considered in 12 and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Jose Vidro | SEA | 1B/2B – Being eligible at second base gives Vidro some value in deeper leagues. Great Contact rate, decent Walk rate, but his Line Drive rate is down from past years. If it rises, Vidro would have a shot at .300. Otherwise, he should hit somewhere in the .280s. He might also be able to hit 8-10 HRs. Hitting second and third be should score a decent amount of Runs and get a few RBIs.
Recommendation – Should be strongly considered in 12 and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

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