Waiver Wire: American League

Here’s the American League side of the Waiver Wire as we head into the All-Star break. From now on, I’m going to post the American League on Friday and the National League on Saturday. Seems like I’ve been doing this most weeks anyway, but now we’ll officially make the change. Anyway, onto the Waiver Wire…

Gary Glover | TB | CL – I talked about Glover yesterday. While he could provide a bit of negative value in mixed leagues, he could also grab a few saves for you.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Philip Hughes | NYY | SP – Also talked about yesterday, Hughes can be picked up in a lot of leagues where he is on the Waiver Wire. If you have a free DL slot, you’d be hard pressed to find a better free agent to fill it for the next month. Should be owned in nearly all leagues when he comes back.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Jason Bartlett | MIN | SS – While he has very little power, Bartlett is showing good contact skills this year. He is walking at a 10% clip and hits a ton of line drives, plus he has an 85% contact rate. That should put Bartlett around .290. He is only hitting .254, which is why he is under the radar a bit. That will surely improve. He also has quietly stolen 17 bases. He stole 10 last year in less than a full season, so it seems as though he’s got some speed. He might not get to 34 like he’s on pace for now, but he could be a solid contributor for your team in BA and SB. He bats either first or second 30% of the time (the rest is spent batting eight or ninth), so he might also help a little bit with runs.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in deep 8, 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Dustin McGowan | TOR | SP – 50% ground ball rate is very good, and his 7.16 K/9 should provide a little positive value. His 3.52 BB/9 isn’t great, and we hope to see a K/BB over 3.00 in the American League. McGowan’s is just 2.04. It’s not great, but it is worth more than his 0.7% ownership in ESPN leagues indicates.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Jake Westbrook | CLE | SP – Succeeds on his ground ball rate, but it is down to 50% from over 60% the past three years. With a low K/9 and K/BB, he needs it to be over 60% to be mildly successful. His control is worse this year than usual, too. He’s started only nine games so far, so I expect him to fix the walks and start getting some more ground balls. He’s much better than his 6.27 ERA.
Recommendation – Should be owned only in very deep mixed leagues. Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Brad Wilkerson | TEX | OF – Now getting some regular playing time, Wilkerson has posted 13 HRs so far. As he’s only hit four over 400 true feet (according to HitTracker), I don’t expect his 24% HR/FB rate to stay up. His previous high was 16% in 2004. While he walks 10% of the time, he won’t put up a very good batting average given his 70% contact rate and 14% line drive rate. He’s got some AL-only value, but because his power doesn’t seem to be for real he really shouldn’t be picked up in mixed leagues.
Recommendation – Should be avoided mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Jerry Hairston Jr. | TEX | 2B/OF – With Ian Kinsler out for a while, Hairston becomes the new second baseman in Texas. He has speed, but his SB numbers have beden dropping every year. He might grab a handful as a regular, and the potential is there for more, but we are unlikely to see it. His 17% line drive rate isn’t as good as it was from 2002 to 2005 (low-20s), and his 7% walk rate isn’t great, but his 85% contact rate should allow Hairston to hit at least .265. Doesn’t have much power.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Billy Butler | KC | OF – His 1.4% walk rate is terrible, but he is hitting 23% line drives. His 82% contact rate isn’t bad. He put up much better numbers in the minors both this year and last year, so an improvement is possible. With Mike Sweeney on the DL for a while, Butler will have a chance to play regularly, so we’ll see if that improvement comes. Power wasn’t great last year in Double-A, but to start the year it was good in Triple-A. He’s put both of his HRs so far past 400 true feet, so he might be able to post another 10 or so in the second half. Not a guy to rush out for, but a somewhat intriguing case.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Neifi Perez | DET | 2B/3B/SS – I hope you weren’t desperate to own Perez, even in an extremely deep league. If you were (first, my sincerest apologies), I think you’ll be safe dropping him. He has been suspended 25 games, and I don’t think anybody will be rushing to pick him up if he becomes available.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in all leagues.

Mark Grudzielanek | KC | 2B – Fresh off the DL, he should reclaim his starting spot and help out in deeper leagues. His great contact and line drive rates allow Grudzielanek to hit near .300 most years, although his walk rate is rarely higher than 6%. If he starts batting second again (he is tonight), he should also help out in runs. I wouldn’t expect more than a few home runs, though, and RBIs will be tough to come by.
Recommendation – Should be owned only in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in deep 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

A.J. Burnett | TOR | SP – Back on the DL. If his frustrated owner drops him, you should pick him up. When healthy, he is a very good pitcher and worth owning in all leagues. The problem is staying healthy.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all but the shallowest leagues.

Scott Baker | MIN | SP – Only has eight starts this year, but his numbers aren’t bad. He has a decent 6.70 K/9, and his BB/9 is a nice 2.11. That puts his K/BB at 3.18. It was 3.88 last year in 16 starts, so Baker probably won’t regress much. His 41% ground ball rate is much higher than 34% in 2005 and 2006 and will probably regress. Still, his high K/BB makes him valuable.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

Garrett Olson | BAL | SP – With Steve Trachsel on the DL, Olson got a shot in Baltimore recently. He might be back down in Triple-A soon, but he could wind up back in the bigs at some point in the second half. 2006 Double-A line: 9.04 | 3.30 BB/9 | 2.74 K/BB | 45% GB. 2007 Triple-A line: 8.29 K/9 | 2.74 BB/9 | 3.03 K/BB | 43% GB. Could provide a little K value in the majors with a K/9 maybe a bit south of 7.00. His control might not be good enough to keep him K/BB over 2.00, though. Worth a look in some leagues.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 14-team mixed leagues while in the majors. Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues while in the majors.

Reed Johnson | TOR | OF – Back from the DL, Johnson should get regular playing time and the leadoff spot in the order. Low 80s contact rate and low 20s line drive rate are nice to see, but his walk rate probably won’t go over 7%. He could hit .280-ish with eight or so home runs. He should also pick up a nice number of runs hitting in front of guys like Alexis Rios, Vernon Wells and Frank Thomas. Might also snag a handful of steals.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 14-team mixed leagues while in the majors. Should be strongly considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues while in the majors.

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