Waiver Wire: April 4th

Catchers and closers, catchers and closers…

Russell Martin | C | Ownership: 40% Yahoo, 12.8% ESPN

It’s been three full seasons since Martin’s breakout 2007 campaign, when he was arguably the top fantasy catcher thanks to a .293/.374/.469 batting line with 19 homers and 21 steals. He’s been on a rather precipitous decline since, some (or all) of which has been attributed to his absurdly high workload. Martin started 27 more games behind the plate than any other catcher from 2007-2009, and over the last two seasons he’s dipped down to a .306 wOBA. A fractured hip last year (suffered when he stepped on the plate awkwardly) and an offseason non-tender put an end to his days with the Dodgers.

The Yankees grabbed Martin in the offseason hoping to reclaim some of that 2007 magic, and through the first three games of the season, he’s delivered. The backstop is 5-for-11 with a homer, three runs scored, three driven in, and a stolen base so far … which of course means very little because it’s been just three games. The offensive bar for catchers is very low though, and if Martin is on his way to being even 80% of what he was in 2007 and 2008, you’ll want to grab him now. Another two or three solid games, and he might not be available.

Sean Burnett | RP | Ownership: 21% Yahoo, 1.3% ESPN

Nationals’ manager Jim Riggleman recently said that Burnett and Drew Storen will split the closer’s role for now, but the former was brought in for the four-out save on Saturday after the latter worked himself into a jam in the eighth. Burnett finally found some sustained success last season after years of battling injuries and toiling away in the minors, striking out 8.86 batters per nine while unintentionally walking just 2.29 men per nine innings. He’s more than just a typical overachieving LOOGY because he owns a fine changeup, one that helped him hold right-handed batters to a .181 AVG last year (the .231 BABIP helped too) with a 2.71 FIP.

Because of his high strikeout and high ground ball (54.3% GB last year, 52.8% career) ways, Burnett is one of those rare relievers worth owning even if he’s seeing the minority of the save opportunities. He’s a must in holds leagues, and his manager has shown a willingness to hand him the ball in save situation. When the closer’s role is unsettled, that speaks volumes.

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Mike writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues and baseball in general at CBS Sports.

13 Responses to “Waiver Wire: April 4th”

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  1. Ash says:

    Better choice: Russell Martin or ianetta as a season-long option?

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    • sean says:

      ha i have the same dilemma of martin or ianetta, and i don’t really know which one is the better option so i’m hanging on to both for the time being.

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    • Reuben says:

      Martin’s probably the safer floor; Ianetta the higher upside. I guess it depends on where you put your team. If you definitely need a HR at catcher, I’d go Ianetta.

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      • cowdisciple says:

        Don’t forget about Posada. He’s still catcher-eligible (in Yahoo at least) and DHing may give him a big advantage in PAs over other catchers.

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  2. Buck says:

    I am a Yankees fan so this might be bias, but I have been watching his at bats and Martin looks like he is in for a bouceback season

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    • Reuben says:

      I watched Thursday and Sunday’s games and didn’t notice anything special about his ABs. But I didn’t notice anything terrible about them either, which is probably a step up from the last two years.

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  3. Sean says:

    I’m looking at his stats and Burnett has never really posted a high K/9 until last year (this includes minors and majors). Based on this info one could surmise that Storen is still the better long term hold even for a redraft league as Burnett seems ripe for regression.


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  4. Hunter says:

    Thoughts about Jordan Walden after Rodney’s implosion?

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    • MTUCache says:

      Picked up Walden this morning…

      I’m kind of stuck without bench-space for a few days while I try and wait out some more information on the Braves and Rays closer situations. I don’t particularly think I’ll be getting any definite information anytime soon, but I’d like to drop Venters/Farnsworth in favor of some other guys who will possibly get more saves asap.

      Walden was a definite pickup for me, but I wish I had room for Jepsen as well.

      Tough going in the first few weeks for those of us who went closer-light during our auctions.

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  5. DonCoburleone says:

    If you’re the Nationals why not try Sean Burnett as a Starter? If he has shown an ability to get right handed hitters out and his changeup is already a plus pitch then what’s the downside? Teach him a slider and/or curveball and throw him into the back of the rotation and see what happens. Would he really be any worse an option than John Lannan or Jason Marquis?

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    • chulton says:

      sure. just teach him a curveball. cant be too hard. im pretty sure if a guy is in the majors and doesnt have a curveball, someone somewhere has tried to teach it to him. some guys just cant throw curves or sliders for whatever reason (arm slot, release point, mental) its not as easy as teach him a curve ball and hes an ace.

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      • DonCoburleone says:

        Not saying he would be an Ace, but what’s the difference between Sean Burnett right now and CJ Wilson 2 years ago???

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  6. rocamadour says:

    in a league with holds and having weeks as my 2b and posada and ortiz as my utilities does a gordon beckham for soriano trade make sense?

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