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Waiver Wire: July 20th

Man, moving into an old house is hard. Every little thing opens up into eight million other things you gotta do. Bah. But you don’t want to hear me whine, you want the waiver wire dirt. So here are a coupla outfielders that could do you good. (Yeah, grammar goes out the window when you are this exhausted.)

Tony Gwynn, Jr, Padres (1% owned)
Gwynn is no unqualified get – they rarely are at this stage of ownership – but he does have some things going for him. For one, it looks like he’s the best outfield defender on his team, going by his double-digit career UZR/150 in center compared to Scott Hairston‘s single-digit number. He also can take a walk – his current 13.3% walk rate is second on the team in fact. Last, his current BABIP is so low that he figured highly on Goleblahblah’s xBABIP – BABIP list just the other day. A man that fast should not have a .255 BABIP. As the dinks and dunks fall in, he’ll be able to pair a passable batting average with good speed. With contact rates like he has (96.5% in the zone, 91.6% overall), he could even put up a good batting average. Of course, the rub is that he’s in a crowded outfield. Apologies to Oscar Salazar and Luis Durango, though, Gwynn is, at the very least, in the top four. Will Venable has some strikeout issues (that weren’t this bad in the minor leagues), and Aaron Cunnigham is finally showing something in the major leagues (but could take a walk here or there), so along with Hairston, the Pads have cobbled together a passable outfield. Some days, possibly against lefties (Gwynn had a lower OPS versus lefties in the minors), Hairston will play center field. The rest of the time, it will probably be Gwynn out there, so deeper leagues should look to Gwynn for steals.

Domonic Brown, Phillies (2% owned)
Rumors are rumors, but the newest rumors have Jayson Werth headed to Tampa. The Rays don’t seemingly go for Werth’s type usually (read: big-time in-season acquisition), but his contract expires at season’s end, and at $7.5 million is not onerous. For all the talk that Werth is somehow slumping, his slash line (.280/.371/.502) and wOBA (.376) are almost identical to last year’s (.268/.372/.506; .382). He’s not slumping. Yes, his ISO is a little down (.238 to .222), but it’s closer to his career numbers. So Werth is more probably the 2008 Werth than the 2009 Werth, but would anyone complain about a 20/20 outfielder either? Anyway, back to Brown. He was good enough to make our top 50 trade value list (at #50) and was named the number one Phillies prospect by maven Marc Hulet. We’ll allow space for a longer article concerning Brown (he seems to deserve it), but he’s 22, hitting .328/.389/.592 in Double-A and Triple-A combined this year, with speed (86 stolen bases in 416 minor league games at a 72% success rate) and power (.166 career ISO, with a full-season peak of .214). Let’s just call this a wake-up call for those in deeper leagues. There might be a nice prospect on the way.