Waiver Wire: National League (Week 5)

It usually seems like the American League is the boring league as far as pickups go. Not this week. Sorry NL-only leaguers!

National League

Rich Hill | CHC | SP – Rich Hill was sent down to the minors after getting off to a rough start to the year. I really would like to take a look at his Pitch f/x data to see if his pitches really were as flat as some describe or if his release point was off as he claimed. Maybe we’ll do that this week. Either way, he only had pitched 17 innings and was excellent last year. If his owner drops him, he might be worth stashing, although with the Cubs and Lou Piniella, we really don’t know when he’ll be back.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but the shallowest NL-only leagues.

Jon Lieber | CHC | SP – Lieber will replace Hill, but he really isn’t that good. He has good control, but won’t post higher than a league average strikeout rate (will likely be a decent bit lower than that) and only has an average ground ball rate. Will help in NL-only leagues, but that’s all.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.

Johnny Cueto | CIN | SP – Not gonna spend much time here. 8.49 K/9 and 1.54 BB/9 are accompanied by a 5.40 ERA and 52% LOB%. The LOB% is in turn accompanied by awful peripherals with runners on base, suggesting either a small sample size or trouble adjusting to the majors while pitching from the stretch. Maybe a look with Pitch f/x one day soon will shed some light on this. Regardless, he needs to be owned; I don’t think anyone (especially someone with peripherals like that) deserves a 52% LOB%.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

John Lannan | WAS | SP – There are some things to like about Lannan, but not enough to warrant all the pickups he’s receiving. He gets a lot of ground balls, but his 6.42 K/9 is higher than it was at any level in the minors last year, and that includes 50.2 innings in High-A ball. His 4.28 BB/9 is also bad, although it was better in the minors. Not a guy you should be rushing to get. I would probably take Lieber over him.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.

Aaron Cook | COL | SP – Cook is the same pitcher he’s always been, so all of these pickups are unwarranted. His K/9 is up a little bit, but 4.39 isn’t really anything to cheer for. He gets a lot of ground balls, which play well in Coors, but he is still playing in Coors with a below-average strikeout rate and a non-elite walk rate. ERA is being affected by a .251 BABIP and 6% HR/FB.
Recommendation – Should be not be owned in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.

Phil Dumatrait | PIT | SP – A one-time prospect for the Red Sox, Dumatrait never fullfilled his promise. He’s starting in Pittsburgh now that Matt Morris has been released, but he really isn’t a good pickup. In 212.2 Triple-A innings between 2006 and 2007, Dumatrait posted pedestrian 5.29 K/9 and 3.98 BB/9 rates. Pass.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12-team NL-only leagues.

Yovani Gallardo | MIL | SP – Gallardo tore his ACL and will likely be out for the year. Don’t drop him until the results of his tests are official and it is announced he’ll undergo surgery, but when it is, feel free to drop him.
Recommendation – Should be dropped in all redraft leagues once he is declared out for the year.

Dave Bush | MIL | SP – Dave Bush was a big-time sleeper for 2007 but disappointed his owners. He was sent to the minors recently, but with Gallardo out has been called back up. He still has decent skills, though he may never get back to his 2006 level when it appeared he was primed for a breakout. The recommendation given indicates leagues he deserves to be owned in, but there’s a decent chance there are better guys also available on your waiver wire.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 10-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Jair Jurrjens | ATL | SP – Jurrjens really should be in the minors another year. He isn’t though, so he has some fantasy value. His 6.57 K/9 and 3.05 BB/9 are close to what we could expect given his stats from last year, but that doesn’t make him deserving of being owned in nearly half of ESPN leagues. He gets ground balls and has potential, but I don’t see him having too much upside this year.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 8-team NL-only leagues.

Tom Glavine | ATL | SP – Stop picking up Tom Glavine! Do you think he suddenly turned 42 and decided he was going to start pitching like he when he was 32 again? No, his 2.60 ERA is simply a function of an 86% LOB%. He’s no longer a good pitcher.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in all mixed leagues. Should be owned in deep NL-only leagues.

Paul Maholm | PIT | SP – Maholm is getting lucky, but he’s a pretty good pitcher. His K/9 is up to 6.23 and his BB/9 is under 3.00 again. He is also gets over 50% ground balls, so he is a guy worth a pickup. Might not have a ton of upside and might not get quite as many wins as a guy with his skills playing for a good team, but he’s a solid pitcher.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Ian Snell | PIT | SP – In a competitive league, Snell is still owned. If you’re league is a little less so, he’s worth a pickup. His peripherals are down and his .349 BABIP and 68% LOB% are hurting him, but he’s still a good candidate to bounce back and have a good year. Hold.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Ryan Doumit | PIT | C – Playing over his head a bit, but certainly a worthwhile catcher to own. His contact rate and BABIP are not in line with his career numbers, though if the contact rate remains this high he definitely gets a boost. His raw power isn’t much changed over last year, but it’s still pretty good and he hits a pretty good percentage of fly balls. A .280-.285 average with 20-25 homers over 500 at-bats is completely within reason. He’s also hitting cleanup, so he should get lots of RBIs. Excellent pickup as a catcher if he’s still available.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Carlos Delgado | NYM | 1B – For all the negative things being said about Carlos Delgado, he isn’t that bad. His HitTracker profile shows that his raw power is still relatively in tact. He was actually probably a little unlucky in that department last year. His fly balls are down a little bit, but that could just be a small sample size thing as he isn’t even half-way to the point where fly ball rate becomes meaningful. Even if it stays where it is, he could hit .270 with 23 homers. The current .258 batting average is being hurt by his unlucky .225 BABIP. If he can manage to secure the #5 spot in the rotation, he’ll get a bunch of RBIs, although he’d get a good amount hitting #6 too. If Moises Alou gets hurt again, the #5 spot should go to him by default.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow NL-only leagues.

Luis Gonzalez | FLA | OF – Gonzalez will fill in for Josh Willingham, but he’s not a great play. Still has a little power left. Over 500 at-bats, he could hit 17 homers with a .265 batting average. If that sounds appealing over the next couple weeks, feel free to pick him up.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team NL-only leagues.

Jayson Werth | PHI | OF – Werth is showing a different type of power this year than he did last year. Check out his HitTracker profile for 2008 and 2007. Hitting it to straight-away center and farther than he did last year. Citizens Bank isn’t the best park for hitting straight-away homers, but Werth will be interesting to watch, especially considering his BABIP is lower than it has been in his career. He’ll still be just 29 at the end of the month, so it’s possible he’s made some adjustments. Some of his numbers have really been all over the board in his career, but a .275-.280 average with 20 homers in 500 at-bats really wouldn’t be out of the question. He’ll also collect some steals and will score runs at the top of the lineup. Risky, but might be worth it.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Fred Lewis | SF | OF – Lewis isn’t showing additional raw power this year, so don’t flock to him for that reason. His .405 BABIP is also far too high. Overall, Lewis is decent, but think more along the lines of a .270 average with maybe 10 homers or so. He is running more this year (21 percent up from 11 percent last year) and could help with steals and runs (batting mostly leadoff), but he’s not someone to go crazy over.
Recommendation – Should be only be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12-team NL-only leagues.

Andy LaRoche | LAD | 3B – He’s been activated from the DL but was also demoted, giving Blake Dewitt the job. Dewitt, though, is currently sporting a higher walk rate and BABIP than he had at any level of the minors in his career. He isn’t showing much power or speed either, so there’s a good chance LaRoche will have the job in the near future. He’ll also have Nomar Garciaparra to worry about once he gets healthy himself, but LaRoche is the most talented of the three by far. If you have room to stash him, it might be worth it.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.

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