Waiver Wire: American League

Coming a little late, but here’s the AL half of the Waiver Wire for this week.

American League

Matt Garza | MIN | SP – Garza has been recalled by the Twins and is expected to start on July 6th. He might have a chance to claim a roster spot all for himself. His Triple A numbers looked much better last year, although it was in a small sample size. He’s pitched 84.2 innings so far, and has a 9.46 K/9 and a 3.30 BB/9 with a 42.6% Ground ball rate. The control is worse than last year — across AA and AAA — and it will probably only get worse in the majors. Garza should be capable of striking out 7 batters per game in the majors, but he might walk 4. That would put his K/BB under 2.00, and AL pitchers are best off with a K/BB over 3.00. His Ground ball rate isn’t good enough to make up for it, so expect modest results from Garza.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Jason Giambi | NYY | 1B – Well, Giambi is finally out of his walking boot, but his foot is still hurting a bit. The good news is that he probably won’t be out for the year. He might return in a month or so, making Giambi a guy to keep a close watch on. I drafted Giambi in a couple leagues and mentioned him as a Buy Low candidate a while back, so I do like him when healthy. Great walk rate, good power, excellent lineup. Still might be a little early to stash him away, but in certain leagues this is the appropriate move.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues when healthy.

Shea Hillenbrand | LAA | 1B/3B – Rumors are circulating that the Yankees are interested in Hillenbrand. This would boost his value a lot, at least until Giambi comes back, assuming he’s healthy enough at that point to play first. He never walks, but he has decent power and good Contact and Line Drive rates. Hitting in the Yankees lineup would help him immensely.
Recommendation – Should be watched in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be watched in 8 and 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Andrew Miller | DET | SP – 3 Wins, 2.70 ERA. I’m still not convinced. His 1.36 K/BB is terrible, and his 87% LOB% is incredibly lucky. He doesn’t even strike a lot of guys out. I’d avoid him in most leagues.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

John Thomson | KC | SP – There’s talk Elarton won’t get his job back when he returns from the Disabled List next week, and while Thomson is nothing special, he is an upgrade. His K/9 should be around 5.00 and his BB/9 over 3.00. His 45% Ground ball rate won’t be bad, but Thomson isn’t terribly much better than the guy he is replacing.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be considered in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Justin Duchscherer | OAK | RP – Could rejoin the A’s before the All-Star break, and if they think he’s throwing well he’ll start the second half of the season as Oakland’s closer. If he can post numbers like last year, he’ll be a great addition to any fantasy team.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all but shallow leagues for now and owned in all leagues once he claims the closer’s role.

Jonny Gomes | TB | OF – Still owned in just 6.2% of ESPN leagues, I’m going to leave him on the list for another week. Be sure to check out my “Cust Inefficiency” article if you haven’t already. I wish they’d bat him higher up, but he is getting regular playing time now.
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 – The inspiration for the “Cust Inefficiency” article, Cust’s ownership is at just 2% in ESPN leagues. A good 3 category guy, Cust needs to be owned in more leagues.
Recommendation – Should be considered in deep 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Akinori Otsuka | TEX | RP – Will remain here until Gagne is traded or the trade deadline passes. I suspect the former will cause his removal. There haven’t been many save opportunities to go around in Texas, but Otsuka should be the one getting them sometime in July. Stash him away if you can.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all but shallow leagues for now and owned in all leagues if he claims the closer’s role.

Kenny Rogers | DET | SP – Only two starts in and his Ks and BBs are the best they’ve been since 1995. He will regress and lose a lot of value. His K/BB will drop below 2.00 as his K/9 drops below 5.00. He gets a good number of ground balls, but Rogers still isn’t much better of an option than Andrew Miller.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Sorry, guys, I’m fading tonight after a hectic day. I’ll post the National League tomorrow afternoon. There should be a lot more interesting guys in the NL. Also, look for a post about Carlos Pena.

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