Waiver Wire: National League

Yesterday, we looked at some American League targets. I gave my disclaimers yesterday, but there’s one thing I left a little unclear. I said you shouldn’t change your opinion of players this early in the year except in the case of an injury, but a loss in playing time is another reason to change up your valuation a little bit.

Now let’s jump into the National League.

National League

Jon Rauch | WAS | CL: With Chad Cordero injured, Rauch will be in until at least Friday. He needs to be owned until then. Chris Neault said that “the possibility of (Cordero’s) shoulder flaring up within a month’s time is probably 50/50.” If you have room, it might even be worth it to hold onto Rauch afterwards. If he’s currently owned in your league and you have room, consider picking him up when his owner likely drops him on Friday.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Tony Pena/Chad Qualls | ARZ | RP: It’s only a matter of time before Brandon Lyon is pulled from the closer’s role. If it happens sooner than later, Pena probably will take over. If it happens later in the year, Chad Qualls is a better pitcher and might pass him. Pena makes a good speculative pick in most leagues where this is appropriate, and Qualls is a good speculative pick in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Can be considered in deep 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow NL-only leagues.

Carlos Marmol | CHC | RP: With Kerry Wood closing in Chicago, Marmol might have been dropped in your league. He has the best talent in the Chicago pen and is the closer of the future. If Wood underachieves, Marmol could step in and be a very good closer. Great speculative pick.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Johnny Cueto | CIN | SP: I talked about Cueto in-depth yesterday. While he has significant risk involved and is probably overrated, he’s still good and worth a pickup in all leagues, if for no other purpose than as trade bait.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Manny Parra | MIL | SP: Parra made his major league debut yesterday and pitched well. It’s possibile he’ll be sent down when Yovanni Gallardo comes back, but it makes little sense for the Brewers to straight up release Claudio Vargas, have Parra make just a couple starts, start his arbitration clock, and then send him back down. He’s got good skills and is a great alternative if you missed out on Cueto.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all but shallow leagues.

Edinson Volquez | CIN | SP: Control might be a little problem, but Volquez is capable of dominating. He should get a lot of strikeouts. I talked about him in Part 1 of my “Young pitchers to watch” series.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Nick Johnson | WAS | 1B: Johnson could easily miss some time in 2008, but he’s shown great skills in the past that warrant a roster spot, especially since he has the first base gig to himself. A .290 average with 20 or 25 home runs is completely within reason. Batting fourth with Ryan Zimmerman and Lastings Milledge ahead of him should help with RBIs and having Austin Kearns behind him should help with runs. Comeback player of the year?
Recommendation: Should be strongly considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but the shallowest NL-only leagues.

Corey Patterson | CIN | OF: Jay Bruce could press him, but he’s starting for now and does some things well. A .270 average with a bunch of steals and runs, plus a little power is what to expect from him. He’s ownable until Bruce gets recalled.
Recommendation: Should owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in deep 10-team NL-only leagues.

Nate McLouth | PIT | OF: McClouth might not hit more than .260, but he showed an increase in several skills last year. At 26-years old, he could be primed for a breakout. He has a 95 percent career stolen base success rate and 18 percent and 24 percent stolen base attempt percentages in 2006 and 2007. His walk rate improved to 11 percent last year, allowing him to reach base more and therefore steal more. As long as he doesn’t regress too far, 20 steals should be in the picture.

He’s leading off, so he should score plenty of runs, too. He also improved his fly ball rate to 53 percent in 2007 and he is entering his physical peak. That fly ball rate is likely to regress a little, but McClouth could hit 15-plus homers.
Recommendation: Should owned in 12-team and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow NL-only leagues.

Scott Hairston | SD | OF: His batting average might not go much higher than .260, but Hairston has some power. He hits a good amount of fly balls and can hit the ball a good distance. He’s batting fifth now, so 20 homers and 80 or 90 RBIs is a distinct possibility. He needs to watch out for Chase Headley, though.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12-team and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.

Jeff Keppinger | CIN | MI: Keppinger should be a solid bet for a batting average around .300. Batting second and his 9 percent walk rate last year should help him score runs. He might also pick up a moderate number of RBIs, but don’t expect many homers or steals. Still, given your strategy and team makeup, he could be a solid pickup.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Juan Pierre | LAD | OF: If anyone in your league dropped Pierre following the announcement that Andre Ethier had eclipsed him, pick him up. He’s started two of five games so far and there’s a pretty good chance he’ll get traded.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all but shallow leagues.

Matt Kemp | LAD | OF: I know this LA situation is tricky, but Kemp was dropped in 5,500 Yahoo! leagues yesterday. That’s just ridiculous for a guy with his talent and whose average draft position was 125.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Chris Snyder | ARZ | C: He’s off to a slow start, but he’s a prime candidate to step into the upper echelon of catchers this year. His batting average won’t be great, but good enough for a catcher, and his HitTracker profile showed that he has good deal of power. He was dropped to seventh in the lineup after hitting fifth and sixth to start the year, but if he starts hitting, that could change again. He also takes walks (11 percent career), which should help his cause.
Recommendation: Should be strongly considered in 8-team and owned in 10-team two-catcher mixed leagues. Should be considered in 12-team and owned in most 14-team single-catcher leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

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