Playing the waiver wire can be a tough thing this early in the season. For many, this first couple of weeks is about tweaking the roster, fine-tuning a few positions and keeping an eye out for anyone who may have been flying under the radar. For others, it’s about exhibiting patience and allowing your decisions to be based on more than just 30-odd at-bats. I tend to lean towards the latter, but obviously there are some instances where you need to make moves, whether it’s due to an injury or a sudden platoon situation developing. So if you’re going to be making moves, at least make sure you are picking someone up who will be there for the long haul. A guy off to a hot start is nice, but if he’s going to be riding the pine in two weeks, how helpful will he really be in the grand scheme of things? With that consideration in mind, here are two guys I was looking at recently…
Michael Saunders, SEA |OF| Ownership: ESPN — 26.7% Yahoo — 23.0%
Maybe there’s just an overabundance of shallow leagues or leagues that require just three starting outfielders, because these ownership percentages seem low for a guy as talented as Saunders. Here’s a player who gradually worked his way into a full-time starting job and fell just one home run shy of a 20-20 season last year. Sure, the .247 average is a bit cumbersome, but he also managed to boost his walk rate and lower his strikeout rate while displaying his continuously developing power. His 31 doubles and 19 home runs left him with a .185 ISO, the highest of any season in which he spent time in the majors and so far, he seems to be building on that number this season. A strong spring has helped him find his stroke early on here and he’s hit safely in his last seven games. It’s tough to think he’ll keep his average up all year, but with him garnering outfield starts on most days, he’ll have ample opportunity to try and build off last year’s totals.
Donovan Solano, MIA |2B| Ownership: ESPN — 0.8% Yahoo — 4.0%
In truth, the only thing Solano can offer you right now is some help in the batting average department. He doesn’t have any power and he doesn’t steal very many bases. There’s probably a better chance of seeing some speed development rather than power, but there’s been little or no indication of that to date. But with strong contact rates over the last few years he has been able to sustain a favorable BABIP mark which in turn helps keep the batting average up. Should you find yourself with a few low-average sluggers on your roster along with a hole at second base, then Solano just might fit the bill for you. His lack of help in the counting stats will keep him off most people’s radar but his everyday job should provide you with enough at-bats to help make a difference in the batting average category. It’s probably not a move that will win you a championship, but it will help you build a decent support staff and keep you heading in the right direction.
Kudos to anyone who may have taken my suggestion last week and picked up Vernon Wells. Maybe he only starts for the first two months or maybe he earns himself a full-time gig as the team’s DH once Curtis Granderson comes back. But the fact remains that he is currently batting .360 with five runs scored, two home runs, four RBI and a stolen base and he’s producing a heck of a lot more than a lot of outfielders out there right now. He’s got just a 34.6% ownership percentage in ESPN leagues and just 19.0% in Yahoo, so you might still have time.
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