If you’re still here, congratulations! For a second, it made sense to write about Addison Reed possibly losing his job to Matt Thornton, but Colin at the Bullpen Report wrote just about what I would have, which is that, “Holy BABIP, what’s going on with Reed?!” Matt Thornton is a pickup, but Reed’s not a dropper, not at this point. Mike Axisa also had more on this today.
So instead let’s reprise last week’s article and look at players that can help in power categories this week (speed tomorrow). Leagues of all sizes and depths should find an interesting player or two here.
The best power park in play early this week is Yankee Stadium. The Blue Jays come to town, meaning Adam Lind is your Shallow League Power Pickup of the Early Week. He’s a lefty, and Yankee Stadium augments home runs by left-handers by 16%, the most in the business. Unfortunately, he gets Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia, in that order, so call him the Shallow League Power Pickup for Wednesday and Wednesday Alone. Those pitching matchups negate half of the advantage any left-hander might have in the Bronx, so Kelly Johnson and Colby Rasmus are also only slightly more interesting than usual, but righties still get a 5% homer advantage. Deep leaguers could consider J.P. Arencibia and maybe Moises Sierra, but either would be a shot in the dark at best, considering the catcher’s contact rate and the outfielder’s modest power.
Other than that series, the only other series getting a ‘real’ power boost is the one in Chicago, where Wrigley Field has the tenth-friendliest confines for power hitters in baseball. Considering their pitching staff right now, it’s an interesting play. Ryan Ludwick might be a decent power play, if he’s available to you. Todd Frazier would be more interesting if his playing time was more predictable right now. He’ll play on Wednesday against lefty Chris Rusin, at least. Deep leaguers could try either of Chris Heisey or Drew Stubbs, even if neither has a ton of power, with Heisey most likely playing against the two right-handers on Tuesday and Thursday. The Cubs produce Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano for shallow leagues — home all week — and not much for the deep leaguers. Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters? It’s not even clear if they are long-term major league starters at their positions.
Over the weekend, the schedule gets a little friendlier to power. The Dodgers travel to Cincinnati (106 PF HR/LHB, 113 RHB), Pittsburgh is at Houston (104/104), Atlanta is in Philly (107/102), and, perhaps most importantly, Oakland is in New York (116/106) and Arizona is in Colorado (110/113). Shallow leaguers looking for a late-week power boost could get out in front by picking up Jason Kubel, or — gasp — Chris Johnson, who can still run into one now and again. Chris Young might be back at some point — he’s already pinch-hitting — and is a legitimate power hitter despite his low home run total. All his power peripherals look just fine. Deep leaguers should probably just look to the Rox, who have Tyler Colvin banging around on some waiver wires, and the more modest power of Jordan Pacheco and Chris Nelson on more.
And yes, the Yankees are home twice this week, but they are so well-picked over. Even though Nick Swisher is in the midst of a terrible slump, shallow leaguers could go that direction if it’s an option. Oh and Raul Ibanez might be available, and he is left-handed, so maybe his .285/.330/.485 home split this year is interesting to you. Problem is, he usually ends up getting LOOGY-d and then pinch-hit for, but he might do some damage in his three plate appearances. At least New York will miss both Tommy Milone and Brett Anderson, and Toronto’s lone lefty starter right now is Ricky Romero… it might just work. It’s the platoon-heavy Oakland team that will get the Yankee’s righties in a lefty-friendly park, which has to be a good thing. It might be a nice weekend for Seth Smith and Brandon Moss, for example.
The rest of the matchups are less clear. Even if you stick to a hand — say a righty Dodger in Cincy, or a lefty Brave in Philly, your waiver wire is not likely to produce a gem. The best waiver-wire level righty power talent in Los Angeles might be… Juan Rivera? A.J. Ellis? And for the Braves, readily available lefty power includes… Juan Francisco? Eric Hinske? We’ve outlined much better pickups than these.
Good luck gopher hunting.