Obviously it depends on the roster size and depth of your league, but it never ceases to amaze me when you see veterans who have produced in the past, yet started off the season slowly, begin to heat up and still get left out on the waiver wire. Maybe the rosters are far too loaded up or maybe owners are just not paying close enough attention. Either way, if you’ve got a corner infield spot that’s lagging or just need to balance your team via the utility spot, here are a pair of vets you might want to look up.
Derrek Lee |1B| Ownership: ESPN – 31.7% Yahoo – 27%
After a slow start to the season, a DL stint for a strained oblique and a stop on the bereavement list after the death of his grandfather, Lee has finally gotten going on his 2011 season. A bit of a rough road to begin the year, no? As evidenced by his ownership percentages, people have given up on the 35 year old slugger, and it’s time for you to swoop on in a grab him now for a quick boost on the power department. In the last two weeks, Lee has hit .286 with a pair of home runs and seven RBI, with both home runs coming in the last four games, and he’s looking more and more comfortable at the plate again. Of course, at his age, you have to account for some decline, but if we’re talking regression to the means, then you’re still looking at an uptick in his BABIP and walk rate as well as his ISO. Lee is not finished just yet and as we enter the summer months, he will take more advantage of the favorable dimensions of Camden Yards. He may not plug you another 20-25 HR (probably more like 15-18), but he’ll certainly outproduce plenty of other corner guys with higher ownership percentages. Act now while you still can.
Scott Rolen |3B| Ownership: ESPN – 33.5% Yahoo – 34%
Everyone, including myself, talked about Rolen’s 2010 season splits during pre-draft player analysis. He was ridiculously hot in the first half and then Father Time seemed to grab him by the…well, you know….and virtually shut him down the rest of the way. That’s the Rolen everyone remembers. The slow start to the season hasn’t helped his value, but just like Lee, things seem to be coming around for him here in the tail end of June. After pressing at the plate — an obvious problem seen in a walk rate that’s less than half of what it has been his entire career and an IFFB% that’s nearly double what it was the last two years — Rolen seems to have calmed down and gotten back on track. He’s hitting .292 over the last two weeks with a pair of home runs and 10 RBI and is starting to right the ship. Again, just like Lee, he’s not the player he once was, but there still something left in the tank and I’d rather take a shot on him this summer than a struggling Casey McGehee or an unproven Freddie Freeman.
Again, these guys are certainly past their prime and aren’t necessarily long term options this season. But if you’re looking for a stop gap, someone to cover a struggling Adam Dunn or an injured Justin Morneau, then these guys fit the bill for a temporary situation. Take advantage when they’re hot and worry about replacing them when the time comes. Who knows? By the time they start to fizzle out, maybe Dunn will have learned how to hit AL pitching…