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Ryan Sweeney & Steve Cishek: Waiver Wire

The waiver wire is still full of quality options as we start the season’s second month. Here’s an outfielder and a bullpen arm who are likely better than someone on your roster…

Ryan Sweeney | OF | Red Sox | Owned: 11% Yahoo! and 17.2% ESPN

Just a secondary piece in the Andrew BaileyJosh Reddick trade, Sweeney has become in an important cog in the top-heavy Red Sox offense. His .368/.398/.540 batting line is excellent but nothing something I would expect him to sustain for the next 130-something games, mostly because his .457 BABIP (!) is not built to last. Sweeney has always been a high contact/BABIP hitter however — .330 career — and he moved into a much, much more favorable home ballpark with the trade. A .450 BABIP is nuts, but a .350 BABIP is probably doable.

Sweeney’s always been considered one of those five o’clock power guys, meaning he drives the ball over the fence in batting practice but is unable to do so in games (just 14 homers in nearly 1,800 career plate appearances). He does lead the league in doubles and it’s not all because of the Green Monster; seven of his 13 doubles have come at home and his plate appearances are split almost exactly 50/50 between home and away. Sweeney still rides the bench against tough lefties — and there are a lot of tough lefties in the AL East — but otherwise he’s generally hit second ahead of Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, and David Ortiz. You’re not going to get homers out of him, but Sweeney will give you a strong batting average and be a runs scored machine.

Steve Cishek | RP | Marlins | Owned: 31% Yahoo! and 23.4% ESPN

The Marlins finally removed Heath Bell from the closer’s role over the weekend, with guys like Cishek, Edward Mujica, and Ryan Webb platooning in the ninth inning for the time being. Cishek has been the club’s best reliever really since last season, producing 1.4 WAR in 69 innings. He’s struck out 15 in 14.1 IP this year to go along with a 54.8% ground ball rate that is actually down a few percentage points from last season, and his walk rate is inflated by four intentional walks (out of six total). Funky low-arm slot guys always seem to produce a ton of grounders, and this one adds in some strikeouts.

Cishek has seen a lot of high-leverage work in the early going — 1.57 gmLI ranks 31st out of 128 qualified relievers (min. 10 IP) — and the only reason he didn’t close out yesterday’s win was because he was still recovering after Friday’s 52-pitch, three scoreless inning appearance. He’s flat-out out-pitched Mujica and Webb for the last ten months or so, but he’s still worth owning even if he doesn’t rack up many save chances before Bell sorts himself out and reassuming closing duties. There’s a lot of volatility in that bullpen at the moment and it’s always a safe bet to expect the best arm/performer to get important innings in those situations.