Waiver Wire: National League (Week 15)

Damaso Marte | PIT | CL – With Matt Capps on the DL, Marte is closing in Pittsburgh. He’s probably gone in your league, but if not, get him. He’s got great skills and will close for the next couple of months. There’s a possibility he’ll be traded (in which case Tyler Yates might become the guy to own), but apparently with Capps out the likelihood of this has diminished.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Manny Corpas | COL | RP – With the likelihood of a Brian Fuentes trade, Manny Corpas has to be owned. Two prominent Colorado beat writers wrote last week that Corpas would be the closer should this happen (over Taylor Buchholz), and GM Dan O’Down confirmed this yesterday. Corpas has posted an 8.0 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, and 53 percent ground ball rate since the beginning of June and could do quite well closing now that he seems right.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Jonathan Broxton | LAD | RP/CL – Takashi Saito left last night’s game, and the extent of his injury is unknown. Broxton needs to be picked up in all league he isn’t already owned in immediately. If Saito misses an extended period, Broxton would make an excellent closer.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Rich Harden | CHC | SP – For those in NL-only leagues, Harden has joined the ranks and is a fantastic pitcher while healthy. That’s a big if, though, and I would be surprised if he stays healthy the rest of the way.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

C.C. Sabathia | MIL | SP – Same goes for C.C., minus the healthy concerns.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Josh Johnson | FLA | SP – Johnson pitched just 15.2 IP last year and is just coming off the DL now. He posted a TQS “Good” start in his first outing off the DL, and it would have been “Great” if he went another couple of innings. His 7.62 K/9, 3.90 BB/9, and 46 percent ground ball rate in his only full season (2006) wasn’t great, though. He could be rusty after being out for so long, but apparently he’s gained a couple of MPHs on his fastball. There is both upside and downside here, and he might be worth owning until we find out what kind of pitcher he really is.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues, for now. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues, for now.

Chris Volstad | FLA | SP – Top Marlin prospect Chris Volstad also has joined the rotation, though I’m not sold on him. A 5.54 K/9 and 2.97 BB/9 at Double-A? Not very good, and his numbers at the lower levels weren’t much better. He does post ground ball rates in the mid-to-high 50s, but I still don’t think he’s a guy I’ll be picking up in many leagues.
Recommendation: Should be considered in deep mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team NL-only leagues.

Brett Myers | PHI | SP – Myers is a guy we might take a look at in a full-sized article, but he has been unlucky this year and has perpetually been mistreated by Philly. He could be back in the majors by the end of the month, and while his peripherals were a bit worse than recent years, he is still a good pitcher and doesn’t deserve this treatment.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all but shallow leagues.

Chan Ho Park | LAD | SP – Park’s 7.20 K/9, 3.32 BB/9, and 49 percent ground ball rate are pretty darn good for a guy most people wrote off a couple years ago. These came mostly out of the bullpen, but he has put up a 10.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in five starts this year.

Out of nowhere, his pitches have picked up velocity (his fastball jumped from 88.4 MPH to 92.4 MPH since just last year), which might explain his increased strikeout rate. This might partially be due to pitching out of the ‘pen, but 4 MPH is huge regardless. His peripherals aren’t too far removed from his 2006 numbers (6.32 K/9 and 2.90 BB/9), and it isn’t too big of a stretch to think he’ll continue with these numbers. He’s worth owning in certain leagues until we find out.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow NL-only leagues.

Jeff Francoeur | ATL | OF – Francoeur was recently sent down to the minors for three games and then recalled. His HR/FB has decreased four years in a row and it currently sits under 9 percent, but he has shown good power in the past and is still just 24 years old. Despite his age, strangely enough, he is nowhere near the power hitter he was in 2006 in terms of how far he’s hitting them. Still, he could hit 8-10 homers the rest of the way given 300 at-bats.

His BABIP is the lowest of his career and will probably rise. Even assuming his Marcels BABIP of .304, he would still only hit .265 or .270. He’s batting sixth and could get some RBIs, but he doesn’t take many walks and doesn’t have great hitters behind him and might not score a ton of runs.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow NL-only leagues.

Andruw Jones | LAD | OF – Andruw is back from the DL, and many owners are wondering what to make of him since he’ll have regular playing time with Juan Pierre being placed on the DL. Check out his True Home Run table:

+------+-------+--------+-------+--------+--------+------+
| YEAR | LAST  | FIRST  | HR/FB | tHR/FB | nHR/FB | RAW  |
+------+-------+--------+-------+--------+--------+------+
| 2006 | Jones | Andruw | 26.11 |  20.38 |  22.29 | 8.92 |
| 2007 | Jones | Andruw | 15.03 |  13.29 |  16.18 | 2.89 |
| 2008 | Jones | Andruw |  5.26 |  14.32 |  15.48 | 2.63 |
+------+-------+--------+-------+--------+--------+------+

While his power has dropped off a lot from 2006 to 2007 and a little bit from 2007 to 2008, it hasn’t dropped off as far as his actual HR/FB indicates. Of course, he’s only hit 2 home runs this year (one of which was a No Doubter in both environments) and has the small sample size caveat attached. This caveat, in addition to a .190 True Batting Average, makes Jones a pretty poor fantasy pickup. There’s upside if his contact rate improves (it should), but he still probably wouldn’t hit better than .220 unless his BABIP climbs a lot or his old power returns.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12-team NL-only leagues, for now.

J.R. Towles | HOU | C – Towles is back in the majors and will start 80 percent of games. He had an unlucky .168 BABIP to start the year, but posted just a .273 BABIP when he was sent to the minors. His history indicates he’s a better hitter than this, so it could all just be bad luck. Towles has a little bit of power, a little bit of speed, and okay contact skills. I’m not super excited about him, although the potential is there for him to be a top fantasy catcher. In deeper leagues, he’s definitely worth speculating on.
Recommendation: Should only be monitored in single-catcher mixed leagues, for now. Should be owned in 10-team, single catcher mixed leagues, for now. Should be owned in all but shallow NL-only leagues, for now.

Jerry Hairston Jr. | CIN | 2B/SS/3B/OF – Since returning from the DL and couple weeks ago, Hairston has received nearly regular playing time and is batting lead-off most games. He should score a bunch of runs and is stealing a ton of bases. His batting average is inflated by a .377 BABIP, but his batting average will be good while he is hitting like this. After, he could fall as far as .250. He also doesn’t have much power, but he’s worth owning for now for the steals and runs.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues, for now. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues, for now.

J.J. Hardy | MIL | SS – J.J. Hardy is much the same player he has been the past few years with gradually improving skills. He’s exhibiting more patience this year, has maintained most of his fly ball rate gains from last year, and has a much improved BABIP. His contact rate is down a bit, but his power looks pretty good. Assuming his mBABIP of .282, Hardy should hit .270 or so with 12 homers (given 300 at-bats) the rest of the way. Batting second helps with RBIs and runs, giving Hardy some good value in four categories.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all but shallow leagues.

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