Aaron Heilman | Arizona | RP | 20 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: 2.83 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 7.22 K/9, 2.56 K/BB, 27.1 GB percent
True Talent: 4.56 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 1.89 K/BB
A repeat visitor to The Waiver Wire, Aaron Heilman is officially in line to pick up some save opportunities for the Diamondbacks according to manager A.J. Hinch. At the same time, he’s not the designated closer, Hinch stated Heilman may be used in high leverage situations in the seventh and eighth inning as well. The reason for owning Heilman is simple, saves, and saves only. For the season, he’s posting an xFIP of 4.52, his K/9 is only 7.22 and he gives up a ton of flyballs in a ballpark that punishes pitchers for doing so.
Recommendation: Should be owned by owners in need of saves in leagues of all sizes.
J.A. Happ | Philadelphia | SP | 50 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: 0.00 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 4.35 K/9, 0.63 K/BB, 36.4 GB percent
True Talent: 4.43 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 1.95 K/BB
Don’t confuse me for a huge fan of Happ, who thus far in his career has been quite lucky as the gap in his xFIP and ERA would indicate, but at the same time, his ownership seems rather low. Happ’s true talent, in my opinion, is that of a low four ERA pitcher, with a mediocre K/9 in the 6.5-7.2 range, who is helped by his ability to limit his walks (3.04 BB/9 in 2009). Working against Happ is that the Philadelphia lineup has been a shell of what it was in 2009, and he allows flyballs at a fairly high clip, which will hurt him eventually at home.
At this point Happ is still rehabbing and on the DL for the Phillies. Happ threw a messy 2.1 innings on June 13 but his velocity was reported to only be a few ticks below what it has been while healthy. The time table is a bit murky for when Happ will return, but I’d venture to guess that once he builds his arm strength up and is consitantly throwing in the upper 80′s to low 90′s that he’ll be recalled and re-inserted into the Phillies starting rotation.
Recommendation: Should be owned in most 14-team or larger mixed leagues, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.
Clayton Richard | San Diego | SP | 49 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: 2.71 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6.61 K/9, 1.91 K/BB, 53.1 GB percent
True Talent: 3.69 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 6.0 K/9, 1.81 K/BB
Clayton Richard‘s 2.71 ERA is simply unsustainable given his peripherals, however, even if he posts an ERA that matches his 4.04 xFIP he’d be of use in a large number of leagues. Richard has been able to induce more swings on pitches outside the strike zone this year (28.8 percent in 2010, 22.3 percent in 2009). Unfortunately for Richard hittes are also making more contact on pitches outside the strike zone and his swinging strike percentage is down a bit. Working in his favor this season is a reduction in free passes, and of course pitching half his games in PETCO is helpful as well.
Recommendation: Should be owned in some 12-team mixed leagues and all larger mixed leagues, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.
Brett Myers | Houston | SP | 20 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: 3.18 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 7.19 K/9, 2.33 K/BB, 48.7 GB
True Talent: 4.45 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 2.5 K/BB
Pitching on the putrid Houston Astros makes it quite easy to overlook players such as Brett Myers, but fantasy gamers shouldn’t. Myers has posted useful numbers thus far this season thanks to a slider which he’s using at a much greater frequency this year than any previous season. As well as throwing his slider more often, the pitch has been much more useful than in years past.
Myers continues to induce groundballs at a top notch rate (48.7 GB percent) and limit his walks (3.08 BB/9). His 1.37 WHIP can be largely tied to bad luck on balls in play as his BABIP against is .322. While Myers has been unlucky on balls in play, he’s been lucky on fly balls as his HR/FB is 7.2 percent, lower than league average.
Recommendation: Should be owned in some 12-team mixed leagues and most larger mixed leagues, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.
Aramis Ramirez | Chicago (NL) | 3B | 66 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
True Talent: .273/.348/.468
Coming into the season Aramis Ramirez was largely viewed as one of the better options to man 3B for fantasy teams. Now that we’re in the middle of June many owners have cast Ramirez to the curb due to his early season struggles. While it’s not easy to deal with a struggling player, and at somepoint owners have to cut bait, Ramirez thumb injury and DL trip point to a reason for his early season struggles. If Ramirez returns from the DL in good health, and has success with his new bat grip, it is easy to see a scenario where he pays big dividends for those who hold tight, and those who scoop him up off the waiver wire.
It is currently a buyer’s market for Aramis, and the time to buy is now. Those in need of help at 3B should either scoop him up off the wire in the 34 percent of leagues he’s unowned in, and attempt to trade for him at ten cents on the dollar in the leagues he’s owned in. Oliver still likes Aramis, and a triple slash of .273/.348/.468 would look good manning the hot corner for many fantasy teams.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.
Jay Bruce | Cincinnati | OF | 66 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
True Talent: .264/.329/.500
Glancing through player ownership this week I was absolutely stunned to see Jay Bruce owned in less than 80% of fantasy leagues. A blue chip prospect of Bruce’s stature, age, and upside who’s making talent strides needs to be owned in all leagues. Bruce’s batted ball percentages are just about ideal, in my opinion, 21.1 LD percent, 39.4 FB percent and 39.4 GB percent. With an improved contact rate this season, though only slightly, and a LD rate over 20 percent it is a bit surprising to see Bruce’s batting average below .275. The likely reason for Bruce posting a less than ideal batting average is a HR/FB rate of 13.0 percent, which is significantly lower than his HR/FB rate in 2009, and lower than I’d expect from a hitter with his raw power playing his home games in a HR friendly ballpark.
Also promising for Bruce is an improved walk rate, 11.2 percent, that comes with a reasonable strikeout rate, 24.7 percent. Even further adding to Bruce’s appeal and value is his somewhat surprising five stolen bases on the year. Bruce is a good athlete, and hitting below the Reds other top batters should allow Bruce to continue to get base stealing opportunities as the cost of getting caught stealing should be significantly lesser than getting caught stealing higher in the order.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.
Miguel Montero | Arizona | C | 48 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues
True Talent: .271/.336/.448
Miguel Montero was a popular pick to finish in the top 5-8 catchers in the fantasy game coming into the season, unfortunately for Montero he suffered a torn meniscus and has missed most of the season. While Montero is highly unlikely to finish amongst the top eight catchers, he is now healthy and has a chance to post numbers that if accumulated over a full slate of games would have landed him there.
While it is safe to assume that the Diamondbacks will be cautious with Montero, they have already played him in back to back games since returning from the DL, and as long as he’s healthy and doesn’t complain of knee pain should see steady playing time going forward. None of the things that made Montero an appealing option coming into the season have changed, and it’s time for owners in need of catching help to plug him into their lineups.
Recommendation: Should be owned in most 10-team one catcher mixed leagues and all deeper leagues.
Drew Stubbs | Cincinnati | OF |25 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
True Talent: .224/.299/.348
Oliver’s true talent projection appears to have concerns about Stubbs maintaining a batting average north of .240, I do not harbour those same concerns. My reasoning for faith in Stubbs maintaining a batting average north of .240 is rather simple, he’s fast and has a reasonable spread of balls in play, making his .317 BABIP sustainable. Stubbs strikeout rate of 31.7 percent is a bit bothersome, but in my opinion, is more likely to improve than regress as he makes further adjustments to the majors.
At this point in the year it is abunduntly clear that Stubbs is a strong play in the HR and SB department as he already has 7 HR’s and 13 SB’s on the season, which should come as no surprise given strong tools that scouts love. Because Stubbs is able to induce walks at a useful rate, 9.3 BB percent, and he has been successful swiping bags (13 SB’s versus three caught stealing), I’d expect Stubbs to surpass 30 stolen bases by season’s end. As I mentioned previously, Stubbs also should be useful in the homerun department, and has a shot to pop 15-20 HR’s by season’s end as well.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all 12-team or larger mixed leagues using five OF’s, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.