Waiver Wire: NL

John Baker | Florida | C
YTD: .258/.332/.421
True Talent: .261/.343/.401
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 HR, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, .260 BA, 0.1 SB
Baker’s awful .184/.245/.204 June had him riding the pine in Florida, and fantasy owners ditched him, too. Then he rebounded to a .367/.387/.600 July, pushing his numbers closer to True Talent’s prediction. He’s actually accumulated exactly as many PAs this year as in 2008, but his numbers have slipped, partly because his BABIP has dropped from .367 to .318, and partly due to the wear-and-tear of catching nearly every day. He’s not likely to continue his July production—not with a 53.9 GB% in 2009—and you may see some more swoons and spikes as he goes along, but he’s about as good a waiver-wire catcher option as you can expect at this point in the season. Eight-team NL-only leagues can definitely find a spot for him, as can mixed leagues twice as deep.

Manny Parra | Milwaukee | SP
YTD: 7.8 K/9, 1.5 K/BB, 6.78 ERA
True Talent: 7.5 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 4.87 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.0 IP, 0.3 Wins, 5 K, 4.69 ERA
After an awful start to the year, Parra was banished to Triple-A to work out the kinks. If it hadn’t been for injuries to Dave Bush and two awful starts by Seth McClung, he might be there still, but they recalled him—and he pitched seven shutout innings against Pujols and the Cards, with seven Ks and just one walk and three hits. He pitched well in three of his four minor-league starts, but still walked 13 while striking out 19 in 24.2 IP. Control is everything to Parra, who has yet to crack the 3.0 BB/9 threshold in the majors; he led all of baseball last season with 17 wild pitches. True Talent doesn’t see his control improving enough to make him a lock for a roster spot, but he could break out at any time. Mixed-league owners should monitor his walk rate for a start or two before deciding, and to be sure he’s going to stick in the rotation when Bush returns; NL owners shallower than 12 teams should do the same. Other NL owners can take a chance on a turnaround right now.

Jeff Francoeur | New York | OF
YTD: .256/.286/.358
True Talent: .267/.313/.412
Next Week Forecast: 0.7 HR, 3 Runs, 4 RBI, .275 BA, 0.2 SB
Frenchy has inspired more fantasies than Brigitte Bardot, and broken just as many hearts, making his brief surge after his trade to the Mets (4-for-9 in two games) sound like just another tease. A change of venue can sometimes inspire a player, and Francoeur was perhaps too comfortable in Atlanta, but it might not be enough to redeem his once-promising potential. He’s shown a few good signs in 2009, including a 6.6% rise in FB% and a dropoff in strikeout rate (6.7 AB/K, up from 5.4 in 2008). Since he’s also dropped his walk rate (3.6 BB%, down from 6.0 in 2008), however, his K/BB has plummeted from 2.85 to 3.92. He’s been extremely durable, and will get the chance to play every day in New York, so inveterate optimists will no doubt grab him. If he makes his lowly True Talent projections, he’d be barely suitable for 15-team NL-only leagues, but reaching that will require some improvement. Deeper NL leagues can certainly take the gamble, but mixed leagues shallower than 20 teams need to wait, no matter how enticing those potential HRs are.

Ramon Troncoso | Los Angeles | RP
YTD: 5.4 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 1.75 ERA
True Talent: 6.3 K/9, 1.7 K/BB, 3.53 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.2 Saves, 3.39 ERA
Jonathan Broxton, the best closer in all of baseball before the break, started slipping at the end, giving up five total runs over two straight outings. Turns out he’s got an irritated nerve on his right foot, something he didn’t divulge immediately to the Dodgers, and which kept him out of the All-Star Game. He got a cortisone shot over the weekend, but Joe Torre said he’d be dealing with the toe for the rest of the season. That doesn’t sound good, and it’s likely to mean a diminished workload for Broxton, if not an eventual DL stint. Broxton owners would be well advised to take out an insurance policy in setup man Troncoso, who’s had a solid year; others could certainly speculate on the righty groundballer (60.8 GB% in 2008, 56.8% in 2009). He won’t bring typical reliever Ks, but those grounders are going to get vacuumed up by the Dodgers’ solid infield. Even if Broxton gobbles up all the saves and the anticipated ERA adjustment hits, Troncoso is still going to help your ratios.

John Bowker | San Francisco | 1B/OF
YTD: .200/.333/.500
True Talent: .259/.312/.416
Next Week Forecast: 0.3 HR, 1 Runs, 1 RBI, .261 BA, 0.1 SB
Hours after submitting my column last week, Bowker was called up to eat some time away from Travis Ishikawa (covered in last week’s column) and a stagnating Randy Winn. The contending Giants need more offense to support their ever-improving pitching, and Bowker was ripping up the minors to the tune of .347/.448/.614. Bowker started strong in the majors in 2008, then plummeted from a .766 first-half OPS to a .559 in the second. He struggled against LHP (.323 OPS in 2008), a trend that’s continued in the minors this year, at least comparatively (.826 OPS vs. LHP, 1.167 vs. RHP). The Giants have said he’ll play every day, but that’s hard to imagine if those platoon splits continue, and True Talent’s pessimistic line predicts Bowker won’t be any better than either Ishikawa (755 TT OPS) or Winn (745 TT OPS). Even as a platoon player, it’s hard to see how he’d share time with the lefty Ishikawa or the switch-hitting Winn (who has also struggled against LHP this year). He’ll get the chance to prove himself, and offers power potential, but I’d hold off in all formats until his position in the lineup becomes clearer and he shows some stability. Right now, his projected production is nearly identical to Francoeur’s, making him also suitable for 15-plus team NL-only or 20-plus team mixed leagues.

Pedro Martinez | Philadelphia | SP
YTD: N/A
True Talent: N/A
Next Week Forecast: N/A
The Phillies finally found another starter, and it’s a future Hall-of-Famer. Whether or not the 38-year-old Pedro pitches like the Pedro of old—by which we’d take even 2005, when he won 15 games with a 2.82 ERA and a MLB-leading 0.95 WHIP—is another question. He looked very good in the WBC, with two scoreless outings for the Dominican Republic, with six Ks, no walks, and just one hit in six IP. Both of the outings were against the Netherlands squad, the Cinderella team that advanced to the second round despite the third-worst WBC OPS of .636. Several teams passed on Pedro, but the Phils liked him enough, which could be a measure of their desperation; if you’re also contemplating rostering him, it might also indicate yours. He’ll start the season on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, which makes him a great grab if you’ve got a vacant DL slot, but he’s certainly a dice-roll. Assuming he’s truly healthy—the team expects him to be ready in 2-3 weeks, after minor-league work—there’s no reason why he can’t achieve at least league-average form, with a good number of strikeouts and a few wins with an improving Phillies offense behind him. NL-only leagues of at least 10 teams should definitely watch him, if not pick him up, and mixed leagues deeper than 14 teams should do the same.

Milton Bradley | Chicago | OF
YTD: .243/.379/.381
True Talent: .280/.390/.479
Next Week Forecast: 0.8 HR, 3 Runs, 3 RBI, .281 BA, 0.2 SB
Owners are starting to give up on the 5,000-piece puzzle that is Milton Bradley. An early round draftee in most leagues, he started 2009 by producing like a waiver-wire contributor, where he resides right now in some leagues. But he’s hitting .250/.500/.393 this month, with a 2.2 BB/K ratio that shows his batting eye and patience are intact. His career OPS in July is .924, with a .512 SLG, his best monthly numbers in those categories by far. He’s suffered from a .288 BABIP this year, but his career BABIP is .321; he hasn’t had a BABIP below .300 since 2002. Whatever you might think about Bradley—and he’s bound to miss some time due to mental and physical problems—he’s not a .760 OBP hitter, another number he hasn’t hit since 2002. Wrigley is a better place to hit in warmer weather, and Bradley’s bound to have a good month, if not a better second half. If you’ve got a spot, stash him; if you own him, wait if you can; if you need an OF, watch him. He’s coming around.

Jonathan Sanchez | San Francisco | SP
YTD: 9.0 K/9, 1.7 K/BB, 4.69 ERA
True Talent: 8.7 K/9, 2.0 K/BB, 4.43 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 12.0 IP, 0.7 Wins, 12 K, 4.51 ERA
If you didn’t know Sanchez before last week, you know who he is now. His ERA and overall stats made him one of the less-likely pitchers to ever throw a no-no, but his True Talent ratios are certainly roster-worthy. While it would be foolhardy to expect a repeat of his no-hitter, and his value is definitely inflated, Sanchez may very well have turned a corner. He hasn’t suddenly become an ace, but he has definitely cemented the Giants’ rotation spot he’d lost before, and he’ll deliver about a K per inning and a smattering of wins. If you’re a NL-only owner in a 10-team league, he may not be there anymore, but grab him if he is, while mixed leagues 14 teams or deeper can definitely use him in their rotation, too.

True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.


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Michael Street
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Michael Street
I’d go with Bradley, for the reasons I mentioned above—Bradley seems ready to get things going, and has the better July stats, both historically and currently. Schierholtz is .211/.262/.263 in July, with 9 Ks and 3 BBs. Like Bowker and Winn, he’s also scuffling against lefties, further complicating any SFG outfield platoon possibilities. Plus Bradley’s a veteran who should return to previously established performance levels, while Schierholtz is trying to establish those same levels. I expect Nate to do better than he’s doing now, but Bradley’s got the higher ceiling and better hitters around him, with the return of Aramis… Read more »
MadMaxSherzer
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MadMaxSherzer

Who’s better to own: Troncoso or MacDougal?

starkweather
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starkweather

Any thoughts on Latos going forward?  Is he going to stay up for the rest of the year?  At what point is he getting shut down?  I picked him up (dropping Casey McGehee) in my 12-team mixed, weekly, head-to-head, keeper league

Michael Street
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Michael Street
MadMax— That’s a really good question, though I lean a bit towards Troncoso. MacDougal has the advantage of being the nominal closer, although with Riggleman in there, changes are possible. MacD has been 5-5 in save situations, but his supporting numbers stink: 7.4 BB/9 (including 6 in his past 6 appearances, totaling just 3.1 IP) and 3.7 K/9. All that spells the wheels falling off the cart for MacD. And even if he holds it together, he’s still closing for the lowly Nats. Troncoso, on the other hand, has had solid numbers and should slide into the closer’s spot if… Read more »
Michael Street
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Michael Street
starkweather— About the only exciting thing about the Padres is seeing some of their younger players like Matos. I don’t think we’re going to see much from him this year, partly because they’re wary of his workload. He’s got 72.1 IP under his belt already, so I don’t think he’s going to see much usage in 2009. Towers said he doesn’t see them more than doubling his 56 IP workload from last season, so you’re only likely to get 5-6 starts from him, tops. Still, they’re apparently going to give the kid a shot to see if he can keep… Read more »
starkweather
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starkweather

I should note that I’ve got Aaron Hill and Jose Lopez at 2B ahead of McGehee and am in a league where most owners have a pronounced disinterest in trading.  Should I have let Lopez go instead of McGehee?  I’m pretty high in the waiver priority and might even get away with waiting ‘til McGehee clears and just pick him up again.

Michael Street
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Michael Street
starkweather— You may be OK with Lopez there; he’s a bit of a wash with McGehee. True Talent sees them as mostly equivalent, with Lopez currently underperforming and McGehee overperforming, compared to their TT levels. I think McGehee is going to be the better hitter at the end of the year, but that may be based on the surge he’s already had. Plus his knee tendinitis is a bit of a red flag, though Milwaukee’s downplaying it. Lopez has good contact and power skills, even if he’s in the wrong park for the latter, and the wrong lineup for great… Read more »
Chasing Saves
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Chasing Saves

Better play, Bradley or Nate Schierholz?

MadMaxScherzer
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MadMaxScherzer
Well I dropped Mac…but for Garrett Atkins. As he was used in the 8th inning of a game that was not a save situation and he does not provide many saves. However, I think that I should find a way to pick up two of the following three players: Edwin Encarnacion, Phil Hughes, and/or Ramon Troncoso. I’m in a 12-team mixed head-to-head matchups league. Can you offer any advice based on my current roster? C   Jorge Posada (NYY – C) 1B   Ryan Howard (Phi – 1B) 2B   Ian Stewart (Col – 2B,3B) 3B   Brandon Inge (Det… Read more »
MadMaxScherzer
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MadMaxScherzer

↑Garrett Jones*

MadMaxScherzer
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MadMaxScherzer

Thanks for the advice. Regarding Jones however, I’ll have to decline. He is on fire, bats behind Sanch and McCutchen, and is putting up Chris Davis circa 2008 numbers. Seven homeruns in 48 ABs is insane. Jones should be rostered in all formats until he cools off.

Michael Street
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Michael Street

MadMax—

Do you mean Garret Jones or Garret Atkins? I don’t see Atkins on your roster, but I do see Jones.

What kind of H2H league are you playing in (points, cats), and what are your categories? I’m assuming it’s a standard and not a keeper league.

Thanks for the detailed comment. I’ll see what advice I can give once you let me know how your league scores.

MadMaxScherzer
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MadMaxScherzer

It’s a categories league with the categories consisting of: R, HR, RBI, SB, BB, AVG, OPS, IP, W, SV, K, TB, ERA, and WHIP.

I’m in 6th place (the last playoff spot) and won the league last year, but my pitching has been a disaster (I just dropped Joe Saunders and am considering doing so with Joba).

Michael Street
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Michael Street
MadMax— That’s a whole mess o’ categories! At the risk of stealing the thunder from THT’s Roster Doctor, here’s my thoughts and advice: Lidge, Kaz, and Meche have been killing me, too, on a couple of my teams, and you’ve got Joba dragging you down on top of that. I already dropped Kaz from the team that had him (a 9-team mixed league) and he’s stayed on the waiver wire ever since. Both he and Meche are concerns. I’m hanging on to Meche in my keeper league (10-team) and my 11-team mixed league, but he’s awfully close to getting cut.… Read more »
Rob McQuown
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Rob McQuown
You know, on June 6, Adam Kennedy was hitting .343/.415/.543, and I cut him from my 10-team Mixed league where I’d picked him up on May 29 since I needed a few days of MI. From June 7 (the day I cut Kennedy) through yesterday, he’s hit .248/.302/.358, about what one would expect from a 33-year-old with a career line of .276/.329/.392 playing in a pitcher’s park. I’m sorry, but the “hot” argument doesn’t sit well with me… it’s just like a craps player who’s won 10 straight and somehow thinks he has a great chance to win the next… Read more »
MadMaxScherzer
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MadMaxScherzer

I made the exact same drop with Kennedy from June 18th to June 25. I’ll ride out Jones until he’s cold but he does stand a chance of having a Shelly Duncan/Chris Davis type half. At least give the man a chance.

MadMaxScherzer
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MadMaxScherzer

Also, success breed success. By saying that he’s “hot” I’m referring to his consistent approach at the plate and the role of positive reinforcement and increased self-concept in maintaining such consistency.

Michael Street
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Michael Street
This is one of the toughest questions in fantasy: when do you cut a guy who’s hot? Jones is absolutely hot, and you should ride him as long as you can, so long as you realize that won’t be forever, or even all that long. The difference between Jones and Davis is that Davis showed significant, consistent power in the minors. Davis never slugged less than .534, and has slugged .598 in 1195 minor league PAs. Jones slugged .593 in 2004 AA ball, when his previous SLG peak had been .423 (in 2001 Rookie ball). His SLG splits in the… Read more »
MadMaxScherzer
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MadMaxScherzer
Thanks for the advice and quick responses! I’m partial to holding on to Kaz for at least two more starts and believe that Meche will land on the DL soon so I will probably drop him or drop Marcum (who’s I think has Clemens-esque stuff when healthy) and put him in that last DL slot. In which case I will add Troncoso or Lato (when he is added to the player pool). Despite all my power guys I’m one of the bottom teams in HR, RBI, and OPS in my league. I’ve had more success the last few weeks with… Read more »
Rob McQuown
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Rob McQuown
Some comments on AL players: – I like Hughes’ talent level, but I’d leave him alone.  He’s been improving his stats recently, but mostly in road games and/or against weak-hitting lineups.  With that ballpark/division combination, and his durability, it’s not hard to envision him taking a 3 inning beatdown some game when the Yanks are out of it, and that’s the last thing you want from your non-closer relievers. If he was in line to vulture a lot of wins for you, I’d like him more.  There have to be other “safe” non-closers out there.  Wuertz, maybe?  He has fantastic… Read more »
tzimmes
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tzimmes

Blanton vs. Brett Anderson

M. Montero to replace C. Iannetta. Will he do enough to replace him rather than a pitcher.H,R,RBI,BA,HR,SB/

Rob McQuown
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Rob McQuown

I’m not the NL guy, but I wouldn’t consider cutting Iannetta.  His OBP/SLG are just fine, and the low BABIP is all that’s suppressing his AVG so much.

… and I’d much rather have B.Anderson than Blanton.  Only possible exception is if you’re really dying to get wins, as Blanton will clearly get more run support.

tzimmes
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tzimmes

Thank you for the quick and knowledgeable response.

tzimmes
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tzimmes

Thank you for the quick and knowledgeable response.

Michael Street
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Michael Street
I would second Rob’s analysis. Montero’s been very hot as the full-time catcher in AZ, but will lose some PT when Snyder returns from the DL sometime around the 29th. He may still continue to produce, and Hinch might ride his hot bat for a while longer, but he’s got Snyder breathing down his neck for whenever he falters. Ianetta, on the other hand, is the catcher of the future in Colorado, so he’s going to keep getting PT, and he’s underproducing for his expected line, whereas Montero is overproducing. Montero’s the better short-term play, but for how long isn’t… Read more »
MadMaxScherzer
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MadMaxScherzer

Mat Latos or Chris Tillman?

Tillman’s minor league numbers don’t impress me at all and he’ll be playing in the AL East which is not the best intro to the majors. Latos has great stuff and a great minor league track record (especially this season with my favorite indicator of a WHIP under 1.00) however, he plays for the Padres punchless offense.

Who would be the better add?

In other news: Let’s go Garrett Jones! (and I picked up Craig Wilson for some saves!) but super trooper Brandon Inge looks to be on the downside with the bad patella 🙁

Rob McQuown
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Rob McQuown
I was going to reply to this earlier, but figured that the 100-inning thing was something I’d heard from Mike, so he should speak to that.  As far as Tillman, in general, young SP are unreliable (“young pitching will break your heart”, is the old roto saying).  But… As Mike points out, the one concern about Tillman is something he’s essentially put to rest, walking just 22 in 93 IP.  He’s big, throws hard, is poised, and is putting up eye-popping numbers.  If the other AL East offenses weren’t like Lake Woebegone residents, where “everyone’s above average” (including 3 of… Read more »
Michael Street
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Michael Street
MMax— Rob might speak better to Tillman, but the only thing I don’t like about his minor-league numbers are his walk rates, consistently 4+. Still, he’s brought them down to size this season (2.1). He’s also moved smoothly through the minors at a level a year, improving (not regressing) in nearly every peripheral stat at each level. I haven’t heard yet that the Os are calling him up, but given how thin they are in starting pitching, it’s possible. Latos looked solid, but he’s still going to be dealing with that innings cap this year. And though he pitches for… Read more »
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