Waiver Wire: American League

This week’s American League version is all about pitching. Problem is, none of it is really very good.

Esteban Loaiza | OAK | SP – Certainly can’t keep up his 1.84 ERA, but is he still usable? Despite a 30% line drive rate, his BABIP is an absurd .198. Of course, we’re only looking at two games. His peripherals aren’t good in these games, weren’t much better in his rehab starts, and weren’t very good last year for the A’s. I don’t see him outperforming his 2006 4.77 LIPS ERA by too much.
Recommendation – Should be owned only in very deep mixed leagues. Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Ian Kennedy | NYY | SP – Struck out over 10 batters per game at both Single A (54.2 IP) and Double A (48 IP), but his control wasn’t as good as you’d like (3.46 BB/9 in A+, 3.19 BB/9 in AA). He also pitched 27.3 innings at Triple A this year, holding his own with strikeouts (8.89 K/9) and improving his BB/9 to 2.96. I still see a BB/9 closer to 4 in the bigs, though. He might be able to post a K/9 over 7.00 (maybe over 7.50), although I know some people are worried that Kennedy is the type of guy who succeeds in the minors but can’t fool enough big league batters. It’s not really looking like he’ll stick in the rotation more than one start, but if he does he could be moderately useful, especially with wins.
Recommendation – Should only be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team AL-only leagues, for now.

Mike Mussina | NYY | SP(?) – Not as bad as he has seemingly been pitching, although a 4.38 LIPS ERA isn’t good either. His poor year can be attributed to a sharp decline in strikeouts (5.53 K/9 compared to 7.84 in 2006 and 7.11 in 2005). The good news is that his K/9 is up to 6.13 since July 20, although it’s been 4.67 in his last 4 starts. Overall, Mussina has a pretty good chance of regaining his spot in the rotation and could help with wins, but after that he is a pretty risky play.
Recommendation – Should considered in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Carlos Silva | MIN | SP – Before his last game, Silva had allowed just 7 earned runs in 36 innings. Then he blew up for 6 earned runs in 3.2 innings. Silva is Aaron Cook minus the elite ground ball rate but with a little better control. His K/BB is over 2.00, but with so few strikeouts (3.85 K/9, which is actually his best ever as a starter), he really just isn’t that good. Has posted a 4.77 LIPS ERA so far. Won’t even help much with wins, either.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned only in the deepest AL-only leagues.

Jeff Weaver | SEA | SP – Very unspectacular. He is a fly ball pitcher than consistently puts up a strike rate a little below league average, but enjoys marginal success due to good control. Getting unlucky (66% LOB% at work) to the tune of a 5.62. LIPS says it should be 4.62. Still, nothing to go out of your way to acquire. If you’re looking for wins, he might be able to get you some, which would bump up his recommendation if you’re in need.
Recommendation – Should only be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in 12 and owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Radhames Liz | BAL | SP – Has shown a good ability to strike batters out in the minors, but his control has been very worrisome. I don’t think he’ll be able to do very well in that area in the majors, making him a shaky pickup. He also doesn’t have a guaranteed spot, although he will be pitching tonight against the Red Sox. The trade of Steve Trachsel makes it more likely he’ll stay, but nothing is for certain. The recommendation is based upon his having a spot in Baltimore’s rotation.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be considered in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Garrett Olson | BAL | SP – I haven’t heard yet who will be the Orioles’ #4 and #5 starters since the Trachsel trade, but it seems like Liz and Olson might be the most likely candidates. Brian Burres could move back into the rotation, though, so we’ll have to see what happens. I think Olson has the most talent between him and Liz, but Liz might have the inside track for the #4 spot. The recommendation is based upon his having a spot in Baltimore’s rotation.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Akinori Otsuka | TEX | RP – Likely done for the year, Otsuka can be dropped in redraft leagues. Even if he comes back, it might only be for a week or two and he probably won’t get many save opportunities. This improves C.J. Wilson‘s value, although Joaquin Benoit is still in the picture.
Recommendation – Should be dropped in all redraft leagues.

Asdrubal Cabrera | CLE | 2B/SS – Has a terrible walk rate (1.6%), but his 22% line drive rate has allowed him to post a .308 BABIP. His 87% Contact rate is also quite good, although higher than I’d originally expected. Could be in for a little regression. Still, he seems to have overtaken Josh Barfield as the second bagger for the Tribe and has been batting second, so he has some value. His batting average should be decent if he keeps up these numbers, but with a power decrease it might be closer to .280 than .290. Still might be good for some steals, but without the walks it will be difficult to score runs, even hitting in front of Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez.
Recommendation – Should only be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Jack Hannahan | OAK | 1B/3B – With Eric Chavez out for the year, Hannahan should have third base for the rest of the season. Takes a lot of walks (19% in AAA this year!) and hits a lot of line drives (24% in AAA this year!), but his contact rate was only 73% in AAA. Interesting, the contact rate was his lowest in the past three years and his walks and line drives were the highest. He’s played in AAA for three years, though, and he is 26, so his numbers aren’t quite as impressive in that light.

His power was also sub-par until this year (10% and 9% HR/FB in 2005 and 2006), but improved to 19%. Age 26 and 27 are considered to be breakout/peak years, so maybe Hannahan is just now putting it all together. Batting between 7th and 9th won’t help him much with RBIs and runs, but his good walk rate should provide some run opportunities, and if he can post even a 12% HR/FB he could help out a little with homers. His batting average might be .275 if he puts up decent power; he’s already displaying his usual good walks and line drives.
Recommendation – Should only be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

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