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Waiver Wire: May 14th

It’s finally Friday. Here’s an afternoon delight, three waiver wire candidates, each at differing levels of ownership.

Jason Kubel | OF | Twins (54% owned)
Maybe last year was Kubel’s career year. Maybe his ISO wont be .200+ again. He’s swinging less often yet he’s swinging more often and stuff outside the zone. The good news is that he’s still hitting line drives so that BABIP should embiggen. He could be a better option available on the wire for those that are running Juan Rivera out there every day, for example. Rivera is reaching more and swinging less in the same way, has also seen a power loss, but isn’t hitting as many line drives. It might be a 50/50 proposition, but if you own someone worse than Rivera, Kubel should be interesting to you.

Felipe Lopez | 2B/SS | Cardinals (19% owned)
Felipe Lopez is a better player than Brendan Ryan. At least offensively. Defensively, Lopez is closing the gap. And the way that Ryan is currently struggling, he may not get to wait around for that BABIP to normalize before the newcomer usurps his job. Lopez has always had more power than Ryan, and now that his defense has improved the last two years, and he’s walking as often as the incumbent, it seems that he will take the job once he returns from his current rehab stint.

John Maine | SP | Mets (12% owned)
Sometimes, when a player is only owned in 12% of leagues, it’s for good reason and it’s hard to recommend the player. Maine, for example, is walking a career-high (for the NL at least), his fastball is the slowest it’s been in his career and none of his featured pitches has been worth positive runs in linear weights. So why is he interesting again? Well, swing rates stabilize first, and Maine has got a career-high reach rate (28.4%) and a career-low contact rate (77.4%). If he was effective at 91 MPH, why not at 89 MPH? As your last pitcher in a deep league, you can leave him on the bench and watch the radar guns. With those reach and contact rates, he’s already doing something right. It may not yet be significant, but Citi Field is suppressing home runs by almost 50% this year (last year it augmented home runs by 5.7%). That could be a bonus.