In today’s Waiver Wire we discuss two players who have shown great production of late. Thanks to reputations — one the player’s and the other the manager’s — they are owned in fewer than 10% of leagues.
Nick Blackburn: 5% ownership
When the name Nick Blackburn is uttered there are not many positive connotations that come to mind. Sure, he’s generally been a very durable pitcher over his career, but that’s about it when it comes to the positives. He’s never finished a season with an ERA or FIP under 4.00 and doesn’t strike anyone out. Last year was especially painful, as he had a 5.42/5.07 ERA/FIP in 161 innings. His 3.80 K/9 was the lowest among pitchers with 150 innings pitched. He’s a ground ball pitcher by trade, but he had a ~50% GB rate last year with a fair BABiP and still had a horrible season. The beginning of this season started better for Blackburn, allowing one earned run in his first two starts. Then April 15th-28th happened. He allowed five runs in each of his three starts, including four home runs. However, in his last five starts he’s turned it around, going 3-0 and not allowing more than two runs in any game. There were even eight and six strikeout games mixed in there. Currently his ERA sits at 3.20, FIP at 4.40, and BABiP at .277 so he’s likely due for a touch of regression. If you’re in need of a quick fix for your rotation Blackburn and his 5% ownership rate would make a good match.
Jon Jay: 7% ownership
Tony LaRussa hates us. That’s something you have to understand. In the same vein that Mike Shanahan hates fantasy football with his maddening usage of running backs, LaRussa seemingly enjoys torturing us fantasy baseball players with his playing time decisions. See Colby Rasmus last season for a good example. The Cardinal outfield was supposed to be Matt Holliday, Colby Rasmus, and Lance Berkman. Thanks to LaRussa, and a minor injury to Holliday, Jay has seen 38 games in the outfield with 18 starts. In those 18 starts Jay is hitting .368, and has a .333/.406/.478 triple slash line overall. Like his rookie season of 2010, Jay is being helped by a very high .380 BABiP. He’s hitting 10% more ground balls this year, so it looks like they’re finding some holes. He’s not very speedy, so that doesn’t seem likely to last. Our ZiPS rest of season projections have him hitting .290/.351/.411 from here on out with double digit steals. If you’re in a deep or NL only league, and can stomach the LaRussa mind games, Jay is a serviceable pickup.
*ownership based on Yahoo! leagues