Between the rash of injuries and the flurry of trades we’re seeing right now, your league’s waiver wire should be a hotbed of action. It may or may not be depending on how many owners in your league have given up and turned their attention to the upcoming fantasy football season, but if you’re in a heated competition with just the two months remaining on the baseball season, then you should be keeping up to date with any player that is starting to sniff some regular playing time and can contribute to your cause. Here are two that may help you out…
Casper Wells, SEA |OF| Ownership: ESPN – 14.5% Yahoo – 5.0%
In the wake of the Ichiro Suzuki trade and the demotion of Justin Smoak, the Mariners appear to be going with Wells and Carlos Peguero in the corner outfield spots with recent call-up Mike Carp likely taking over first base duties. All three are in line to receive major increases in playing time, but Wells, seems to be the most seasoned of the three and likely the one to play with the most consistency. Sure, people will talk about Peguero’s power potential, but I look at his strikeouts and see a guy who could do more harm than good to your team. Carp has some promise, but given the shoulder concerns and the weak numbers he showed in Triple-A this season, Wells might just be the safer bet here for some added power.
There are definitely some flaws in Wells’ game right now between the low contact rates and the excessively high SwStr%, but he’s never had a full-time job before and a lot of his impatience at the plate could be him trying to do too much because he feels like he has a limited number of at-bats to prove his worth. That’s likely true to some extent, but now, in a situation like this where the Mariners are folding up their tents for the season, there’s little or no reason for him to put excessive pressure on himself. It’s not that he can just coast the rest of the way, but he can certainly take some time to relax at the plate and get back to the basics. With ISO numbers so strong at every level, there’s no question that the power is for real. With a full-time job for two months and little or no pressure, Wells finally has the opportunity to blossom and show what he can do.
Josh Rutledge, COL |SS| Ownership: ESPN – 13.4% Yahoo – 8.0%
With so much still up in the air regarding Troy Tulowitzki’s return, Rutledge is looking like a solid pick-up if you need help in your middle infield. Tulo insists that he will be back at some point in August, but as it stands right now, he hasn’t even picked up a bat yet. Rutledge has filled in admirably recently and over a quick 10-game span, has his .368 with six runs scored, one home run, six RBI and three stolen bases. His .382 BABIP is pretty inflated, but in looking at his recent minor league totals, he’s routinely posted high BABIP totals. If he can continue to make strong contact and keep the ball in play like this, the hits should continue to fall. True the sample size is small, but we’re also now dealing with a two month long season not six. Short-term help can be quite beneficial, especially if the guy can get on-base regularly and can kick in with some speed.
But there’s also the chance that Rutledge sticks even when Tulo makes it back, so long as he’s playing well. It’s not like Jordan Pacheco is tearing it up at the plate and the Rockies have made the rest of the league well aware that Marco Scutaro is available. If Scutaro goes, then Rutledge can slide over to the keystone once Tulo returns or, if he doesn’t, then perhaps he gets a chance to play some third. He’s an interesting choice for the short term and could easily pan out to be a full-time guy over the next two months.