Waiver Wire: May 29th

Enjoy the long weekend even more by picking these two under-the-radar players…

Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers (owned in six percent of Yahoo leagues)

The 27-year-old entered the season as a huge question mark, all but forgotten after missing most of the 2008 and 2009 campaigns following surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. But happily, Bonderman has made a strong return showing in 2010. In 47.2 innings pitched, he has 8.12 K/9, 3.02 BB/9 and a 3.97 xFIP.

He’s not the same power pitcher of years past — Bonderman is averaging 89.2 MPH with his fastball, down three to four ticks from his peak velocity. His slider, once a mid-80’s breaker, now averages 82.1 MPH. Bonderman has a 37.5 GB% in 2010, compared to a career 46.4 GB%.

Despite the velocity decline, he has nonetheless baited batters into chasing his stuff off the plate 33.7 percent of the time (27.7% MLB average in 2010), while also getting swinging strikes 9.4 percent (8-8.5% MLB average). Bonderman’s slider is giving hitters fits — they’re swinging at the pitch 54.7% (47.7% MLB average), coming up empty 23 percent of the time (13.6% MLB average).

It’s hard to say if he’ll remain healthy, but Bonderman is well worth picking up in AL-only leagues and has enough talent left to be of use in most mixed leagues, too.

Corey Hart, Brewers (40%)

Hart hammered pitchers in 2007, batting .295/.353/.539 with a .380 wOBA. He also nabbed 23 bases in addition to hitting 24 homers. Though the 6-6 righty batter again went 20/20 in 2008 (20 HR, 23 SB), Hart’s triple-slash dipped to .268/.300/.459, with a .327 wOBA. His Isolated Power, .244 in ’07, declined to .191. Most disappointing, Hart hacked at 31.7 percent of pitches thrown outside of the strike zone in 2008, after chasing 25.7 percent the previous year (the MLB average was around 25% both seasons). As a result, his walk rate dipped from an already-low 6.4% in 2007 to 4.1% in 2008.

Last year, Hart improved ever so slightly — he posted a .260/.335/.418 triple slash (.331 wOBA). He traded some power for walks, with his ISO falling to .158 but his rate of free passes taken climbing to 9.1%. Hart didn’t run much (11 SB), but stopped chasing so many junk pitches, with a 23.5 O-Swing%. In 2010, Hart has kept the walks and started mashing to boot.

The 28-year-old right fielder has a .261/.329/.542 line in 158 plate appearances, good for a .371 wOBA. He’s walking in 9.5 percent of his PA and venturing out of the strike zone just 20.9%, while also popping 10 HR and putting up a .282 ISO. About the only disappointing aspect for fantasy folks is Hart’s three SB on the season.

Before you go batty over Hart’s Herculean power numbers, keep in mind that it takes about 550 PA for a change in Isolated Power to become reliable. Hart’s got pop — his career ISO is .203, and his rest-of-season ZiPS projects a .209 ISO — but he’ll probably post an ISO closer to .200 than .300 going forward. ZiPS thinks Hart will post a .349 wOBA (.263/.326/.471) for the rest of 2010.

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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

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Argh. Posey or Stanton?? Posey just got called up. Argh.