Waiver Wire: May 4th

I’ll do one shallow league guy just because he’s heating up and I’ve seen him on some wires, but then it’s back to the deep leagues of course. This triptych of ineptitude may leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, but there’s utility here despite their warts.

Nate McLouth | OF | Braves (50% owned)
It’s a mixed bag with McLouth, who was already behind the eight ball in leagues that count batting average. Since swing rates stabilize first, we’ll take a look there – and find the numbers going in different directions. Overall, he’s swinging a lot less this year (34.7%) than in his career overall (40.1%), but it’s hard to say that’s a negative right off the bat. Swinging less could, for example, lead to more selectivity and more walks. Accordingly, McLouth is reaching less (20.4%) than he has in his career (21.2%), and walking at a career high rate (14.3%). And that’s good. What’s bad is that his contact rate is down (81.3% this year, 85.4% career). In any case, more contextual clues lead to some hope. A week ago, McLouth had been dropped to 8th in the order and wasn’t playing against lefties. Though 478 at-bats against lefties is hardly an opus, his .702 OPS against lefties is close to a disasterpiece. Count it as hope that McLouth has been moved back to leadoff against righties, and you’ll get yourself a lifetime .818 OPS hitter against that hand. As long as you have daily lineups, and can wait for righties, he’s a good pickup.

Delmon Young | OF | Twins (15% owned)
Yes, I know. Hold your nose. Young is not the dynamic star that was once prognosticated for him. He’s very flawed. He doesn’t have much power. But this isn’t to say that he hasn’t improved. In fact, his swing profile includes some improvement in virtually every category. For such a wild swinger, swinging less has to be a positive – and Young is swinging less (54.7% this year, 61.2% career). He’s reaching at a career-low rate (36.8%), and this improvement is particularly informative because it’s part of a trend. He’s improved his reach rate in every season in the bigs. The best news is that his contact rate is up big (79.9% this year, 75.3% career) at the same time. He still swings at bad pitches too often, and his power is just barely above average, but there’s a good chance that he retains the gains he’s made in the early going. Though it’s not yet significant, it’s nice to note that he’s sporting a career high in flyball rate right now, and a .290/20/10 season is not out of reach. The hardest part will be following the lineups to make sure he’s playing.

Steve Pearce | 1B | Pittsburgh (0% owned)
Is another major league team about to give up on Jeff Clement? When is a good time to cut your losses and give up on a player? Did the Pirates already give up on Pearce before Clement? These are all good questions that won’t be answered here. Instead, we’ll just report that Pearce was recalled today and is on the major league roster. Though he’s shown a platoon split in the major leagues (.920 OPS versus lefties, .607 vs righties), those have come in a mere 378 plate appearances total. The same split is not as pronounced in the minors (.929 vs lefties, .871 vs righties) and virtually disappeared in his hot 2010 start (.353/.456/.612 overall). Maybe he’ll get some starts at first base against lefties, or maybe he’ll steal some time from the scuffling Lastings Milledge. It’s worth stowing a guy with a .889 career minor league OPS in about 2000 at-bats, especially when he’s just turned 27 and has a fire under his behind.

Ownership rates courtesy Yahoo Fantasy Sports.

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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

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Any advice for those of us unfortunate Yunel Escobar owners who 1) have an underperforming SS, and 2) just put him on the DL?

I picked up Pennington, but am wondering if Aviles might be worthwhile.