Waiver Wire: AL

Brett Anderson | Oakland | SP
YTD: 6.6 K/9, 2.5 K/BB, 4.86 ERA
True Talent: 6.3 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 5.11 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 5.1 IP, 0.3 Wins, 4 K, 5.29 ERA
What would “AL Waiver Wire” be without an A’s pitcher? Does throwing a 9-K, 2-hitter at Boston herald a new level for Brett Anderson? We’re tempted to be more impressed than the TT projection is. He only had 31 IP above A-ball prior to 2009, and his xFIP is an adequate 4.37 anyway. For fantasy purposes, the Oakland park and defense should help him outperform his FIP. Just don’t expect run support.

Elvis Andrus | Texas | SS
YTD: .262/.320/.362
True Talent: .249/.300/.332
Next Week Forecast: 0.1 HR, 1 Runs, 1 RBI, .250 BA, 0.6 SB
Obviously gone in deeper leagues, is a regression to be expected this season, as TT predicts? Like Gardner last week, Andrus has most of his offensive impact on ground balls. He will get to play for his glove, with RZR/OOZ showing him as the second-best SS in the AL despite the errors. We think it’s likely his BABIP will climb from .295 (now), as he posted .350s in the minors the past two years, and he’ll thus avoid any slippage. The Rangers don’t attempt many steals, else he’d be a threat for 50.

Aaron Bates | Boston | 1B
YTD: .000/.143/.000
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
A “quick-to-majors” pick in the early 3rd round of the 2006 draft, Bates and his funky leg kick got caught in a quaqmire at AA starting in ’07. He’s retooled his swing, and appears to have vanquished AA this year, but is now old for a prospect and hasn’t mastered AAA yet (.182/.273/.295 in 99 PA). Chris Carter and McAnulty were more deserving of some more MLB time, but Boston wanted a righty bat to platoon with Kotsay, replacing an injured Bailey. All that’s to say that Bates will be well and truly buried again once people start recovering from injuries.

Ryan Freel | Kansas City | UTIL
YTD: .167/.298/.167
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
Back when the Reds had stationary objects in their outfield, and Freel was playing all over the place getting on base 37% of the time, the idea of installing him as a full-time outfielder (pushing Griffey to the side, and Dunn to 1B) made sense. In 2009, he’s 33 and gets injured about as often as he gets on base. Still, the Royals have Bloomquist to play multiple positions, so perhaps the stability of one position will help Freel stay healthy and regain some of his 30+ SB potential. Worth a look in AL leagues if you need speed.

Scott Hairston | Oakland | OF
YTD: .296/.351/.539
True Talent: .263/.332/.477
Next Week Forecast: 0.6 HR, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, .267 BA, 0.2 SB
Welcome to the AL, Mr. Hairston! If Scott’s performance drops off like the man he’s supposedly replacing in Oakland (Holliday), Beane may never trade for another “proven” NL hitter again! And flopping is certainly an option, as his career OBP is just .312. Still, he’s slugged almost .500 the past two years combined with Petco as his home, and his career line against LHP is .291/.344/.548. Expect the Jered Weavers of the world to give him fits but for him to be a top-2 offensive contributor (on the A’s).

Maicer Izturis | Los Angeles | INF
YTD: .302/.352/.422
True Talent: .283/.346/.390
Next Week Forecast: 0.1 HR, 2 Runs 1 RBI, .281 BA, 0.3 SB
Warning: personal bias here, as Maicer has long been a fave of this writer. It’s not like he’s going to hit 20 HR, but Izturis’ career stats have been suppressed by constantly playing injured. Scioscia loves him too, and he should play almost every game if healthy, leading to almost double the “next week forecast” stats, with a AVG around .300 … making him a great backup even in shallow mixed leagues, at least until he gets hurt again.

Dustin Nippert | Texas | SP
YTD: 4.9 K/9, 2.0 K/BB, 7.36 ERA
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
MSNBC (rotoworld.com) suggests putting this guy on a “watch list in AL-only leagues.” That’s good advice to subtly bring to the attention of your league-mates, if any of them are gullible. With the Rangers’ organizational philosophy of “leave him in,” Nippert’s lack of ability, recent arm woes, and the Rangers’ ballpark, only die-hardest Rangers fans should have him on a “watch list.”

Tony Pena | Chicago | RP
YTD: 6.9 K/9, 2.4 K/BB, 4.24 ERA
True Talent: 6.7 K/9, 2.4 K/BB, 4.00 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.0 Saves, 3.96 ERA
Tony Pena gets a remarkable amount of support from both scouting types and stats types, for such a mid-level reliever. This is undoubtedly due to his upper-90s fastball and good control (2.7 BB/9, career). Still, he’s a huge upgrade over Gobble—expect TT levels, with a WHIP in the upper 1.3’s, as the AL transition takes away some of the gains from a lower BABIP (currently .352).

Marc Rzepcynski (zep-chin-ski) | Toronto | SP
YTD: 10.5 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 1.50 ERA
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
Like Brandon Webb, Rzepcynski was passed over for several draft rounds (fifth round 2007), and scouts called him a “back-end starter, at best”. His advocates think he could be better than Webb as he throws harder, and actually gets more GBs (60%+ GB% in minors, just five HR in 254.2 IP). We won’t get that carried away, as Webb is fantastic, but while Marc’s control isn’t great yet, the Jays’ attention to defense make his upside enormous. Don’t expect miracles in 2009, but look out in 2011!

True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.

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