Waiver Wire: National League (Week 9)

Sorry for not having the National League Waiver Wire last week. With the holiday weekend, time got away from me. This week will have more players than usual.

National League

Salomon Torres | MIL | CL: Probably gone already in your league. If not, go get him. With Eric Gagne on the DL, Torres should get the majority of the saves in Milwaukee. He isn’t fantastic, but he is a closer while Gagne is out.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

John Smoltz | ATL | CL: There’s a chance Smoltz will be back this weekend and slide immediately into the closer’s role for the Braves. He’s worth picking up if his owner got impatient and dropped him, but there is a huge red flag attached to Smoltz. Chris Neault has been talking about him a lot at the Disabled List Informer. Not a very bright outlook. Great quote from Chris: “The second he notches a save upon return, I say sell, sell, sell!” I agree. Pick him up and sell him immediately.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all but shallow leagues.

Rafael Soriano | ATL | CL: Soriano was just activated from the DL. He will close until Smoltz returns and pick up occasional opportunites once Smoltz returns (since Smoltz likely won’t pitch on back-to-back days). With Chris’ outlook on Smoltz, there seems to be a good chance Soriano will be closing shortly. He figures to get overlooked given the presence of Smoltz, but Soriano seems like one of the best setup men to speculate on right now. Of course, he is an injury risk himself. Which leads us too…
Recommendation: Should be owned in all but shallow leagues.

Mike Gonzalez | ATL | RP: With the injury concerns of Soriano and Smoltz, there is a reasonable chance Gonzalez will find himself closing at some point this year. He needs to prove that he is as effective as he once was, but the potential is definitely there. A decent speculative pickup. He can be owned in all leagues where you can stash him on your league’s DL for a few weeks after he returns.
Recommendation: Should be strongly considered in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.

Pedro Martinez | NYM | SP: There’s certainly a lot of risk with Pedro, but he has the potential to be a very good fantasy starter who will help in all categories. He’ll be coming off the DL on Tuesday, and now is the time to pick him up if he’s still available.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Jason Bergmann | WAS | SP: Bergmann is one of the lone (true) bright spots for the Nationals’ pitching staff this year. His 9.56 K/9 and 2.25 BB/9 are very good. Don’t get too excited, though, as it’s in just five starts and he hasn’t put up numbers like this at the major league level. He’s also an extreme fly ball pitcher. He’s been pretty good in the minors, though, and has a little potential.
Recommendation: Can be considered in 14-team mixed leagues, for now (if he keeps this up, he could be owned in much shallower leagues). Should be considered in eight-team and owned in 10-team NL-only leagues, for now.

Jorge Campillo | ATL | SP: Campillo wasn’t good in the minors last year, but he has been excellent in three starts since joining the Braves’ rotation: 16 strikeouts and zero walks through 15 innings. Speculate if you wish, but he doesn’t have a track record of this.
Recommendation: Can be considered in 14-team mixed leagues, for now (if he keeps this up, he could be owned in much shallower leagues). Should be considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team NL-only leagues, for now.

Tim Redding | WAS | SP: Redding is by no means a good pitcher, but he has been putting up the best numbers he has had since 2001 and 2002. His 4.59 LIPS ERA isn’t great, but it is serviceable if you think he can keep this up. His current 3.59 ERA is being aided by a low .260 BABIP and 9 percent HR/FB.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team NL-only leagues.

Seth McClung | MIL | SP: Why do the Brewers think McClung is an upgrade over Carlos Villanueva? Villanueva isn’t great, but McClung is just awful. He has a career 6.51 K/9, 5.50 BB/9, and 37 percent ground ball rate. There’s a decent chance the Brewers are just biding their time until Jeff Weaver shows them he’s ready. He needs to be in the majors by the middle of the month or he can opt out of his contract. Either way, McClung is really unownable except in leagues where basically all starters are owned.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned only in deep NL-only leagues.

Wandy Rodriguez | HOU | SP: Wandy looked very good before getting injured this year, turning in a 9.3 K/9 and 1.93 BB/9 to go with two TQS “good” starts and another that was only “above average” because he went just five innings. Wandy has flashed potential in the past, and now that he’s back from the DL, he makes a very good speculative pickup.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow NL-only leagues.

Doug Davis | ARZ | SP: Davis’s story is a great one, and as much as I’m rooting for him, his skills just really aren’t that good. He walks a lot of batters and doesn’t strike out many, though he does induce ground balls at an above-average clip. Still, I’m not buying.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be considered in 10-team and owned in 12-team NL-only leagues.

Eric Byrnes | ARZ | OF: Byrnes hasn’t been himself this year and is now on the DL with two torn hamstrings. He isn’t the same player fantasy owners thought they were drafting. The hamstrings will prevent him from running a lot, which will affect both his steals and BABIP. Power was great last year, but wasn’t the same to start this year. We might be looking at .245 with 12-15 homers (assuming 500 at-bats). Don’t expect too many steals, either. If you’re low on bench spots, Byrnes is probably droppable.
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 Salazar | ARZ | OF: Salazar will face righties in Byrnes’ absence, but it’s difficult to know what to expect from him. He’s put up contact rates ranging from 70 percent to 80 percent in the majors, though they have been as high as 86 percent at Triple-A. His major league BABIPs have been very good (.359 in 203 at-bats) but his Triple-A ones were .306 and .327. He has okay power and runs a little bit, and should have some NL-only value for the next couple of weeks, at least.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12-team NL-only leagues.

Jay Bruce | CIN | OF: We mentioned Bruce a couple of weeks ago, and now he has been recalled to the majors. The chance is always there for a rookie to struggle, but the potential for Bruce to be great means he should be owned in all leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Ryan Spilborghs | COL | OF: Spilborghs is a guy I said I liked at the end of last year. Now, with Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe on the DL, Spilborghs should have regular playing time for a while, something he really has deserved for quite some time. With Willy Taveras also around, he likely won’t keep it once those two return, but for now he’s a great pickup. He always puts up good BABIPs, and at age 28 this year is doing even better, plus he’s striking out less and walking more.

His sub-30 percent fly ball rate is very strange given his excellent raw power. Just check out his HitTracker profile. Even with a low fly ball rate, Spilborghs could be expected to hit 19 or 20 homers given 500 at-bats. In addition to that, he could hit .310 with a handful of steals. He’s also been batting between third and fifth, so RBIs should come. This position, combined with his excellent walk rate and good speed should allow for runs as well.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues, for now.

Ian Stewart | COL | 2B/3B: Stewart is an interesting guy. He was once a top prospect, then he fell off a little bit. This year, though, he’s improved in many categories. He takes a good amount of walks, but he also strikes out a lot, which limits his batting average potential. His power hadn’t been great the past two years, but a jump from a 28 HR/FB last year improved to 14 this year. This, combined with a 48 percent fly ball rate after it was just 33 percent last year, shows that there is some promise for continued power in the majors.

Overall, Stewart might manage only a .250 batting average (though there is upside here) but could hit 20 homers given 500 at-bats. He’ll gain extra value once he gains second base eligibility, although there’s no guarantee he’s in the bigs to stay.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be considered in eight-team and owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.

Ty Wigginton | HOU | 2B/3B: Wigginton struggled early and spent some time on the DL, but he’s a guy I was big on coming into the year and he’s really heated up this past week. Here’s what I said about him in Week 2: “Perfectly suited for the Crawford Boxes, Wigginton could hit .270-.275 with close to 25 homers (maybe more like 20 now that he’ll miss some time).” As a second baseman, Wigginton has some very good value.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues with a MI spot.

Randy Winn | SF | OF: Randy Winn has quietly stolen nine bases this year due to a 90 percent success rate and 19 percent attempt rate. It’s been 10 and 12 percent the past two years and his career success rate is just 69 percent, but he could still be useful in this category. He’s got decent power and is hitting more fly balls this year and is even hitting a lot in the No. 3 spot, albeit for the Giants. Splitting time between leadoff and No. 3 should help Winn score some runs and collect some RBIs to go with a .290-.295 average and 10 or so homers (assuming 500 at-bats). A decent help in all categories.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Elijah Dukes | WAS | OF: An 11 percent line drive rate and .192 BABIP did Dukes in last year, and he’s striking out a ton so far this year, but with Austin Kearns on the DL, he might be worth owning. If he plays well, he might even find regular playing time once Kearns returns from injury. He showed good power last year and hit a lot of fly balls to go with a decent contact rate for a power hitter. Walks a ton, and might be worth speculating on.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in eight-team and owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.

Andre Ethier | LAD | OF: With Andruw Jones on the DL, Ethier will have regular playing time for a while. Above-average contact rates, good BABIPs, lots of line drives to support them, and decent power (though not a ton of fly balls). Not much speed, however. Expect maybe a .295 batting average with a dozen homers given 500 at-bats. If he can hit mostly second, he’ll get a bunch of runs and a few RBIs. He’s batted as low as sixth, though.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Jesus Flores | WAS | C: There’s been talk that Flores could remain the catcher for the Nats once Paul Lo Duca returns, but he’s not that great. His .465 BABIP is far too high, as is his 31 percent line drive rate. It’s possible he’s maturing as a hitter, but he really has no track record of this and never really progressed as he should, being forced to jump from Advanced-A to the majors after being taken from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft.

A .245 average with five to seven homers (assuming 500 at-bats) is probably what should be expected. If he does earn regular playing time, the RBIs and runs gained simply from the extra at-bats would be worth something in deep two-catcher leagues, but once the BABIP regresses he could lose that playing time anyway.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in all mixed leagues. Should be owned in 14-team single-catcher NL-only leagues. Should be owned in all two-catcher NL-only leagues.

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