Waiver Wire: NL, Week 11

Aaron Heilman | Arizona | RP | 20 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: 2.83 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 7.22 K/9, 2.56 K/BB, 27.1 GB percent
True Talent: 4.56 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 1.89 K/BB
A repeat visitor to The Waiver Wire, Aaron Heilman is officially in line to pick up some save opportunities for the Diamondbacks according to manager A.J. Hinch. At the same time, he’s not the designated closer, Hinch stated Heilman may be used in high leverage situations in the seventh and eighth inning as well. The reason for owning Heilman is simple, saves, and saves only. For the season, he’s posting an xFIP of 4.52, his K/9 is only 7.22 and he gives up a ton of flyballs in a ballpark that punishes pitchers for doing so.

Recommendation: Should be owned by owners in need of saves in leagues of all sizes.

J.A. Happ | Philadelphia | SP | 50 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: 0.00 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 4.35 K/9, 0.63 K/BB, 36.4 GB percent
True Talent: 4.43 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 1.95 K/BB
Don’t confuse me for a huge fan of Happ, who thus far in his career has been quite lucky as the gap in his xFIP and ERA would indicate, but at the same time, his ownership seems rather low. Happ’s true talent, in my opinion, is that of a low four ERA pitcher, with a mediocre K/9 in the 6.5-7.2 range, who is helped by his ability to limit his walks (3.04 BB/9 in 2009). Working against Happ is that the Philadelphia lineup has been a shell of what it was in 2009, and he allows flyballs at a fairly high clip, which will hurt him eventually at home.

At this point Happ is still rehabbing and on the DL for the Phillies. Happ threw a messy 2.1 innings on June 13 but his velocity was reported to only be a few ticks below what it has been while healthy. The time table is a bit murky for when Happ will return, but I’d venture to guess that once he builds his arm strength up and is consitantly throwing in the upper 80’s to low 90’s that he’ll be recalled and re-inserted into the Phillies starting rotation.

Recommendation: Should be owned in most 14-team or larger mixed leagues, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Clayton Richard | San Diego | SP | 49 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: 2.71 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6.61 K/9, 1.91 K/BB, 53.1 GB percent
True Talent: 3.69 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 6.0 K/9, 1.81 K/BB
Clayton Richard‘s 2.71 ERA is simply unsustainable given his peripherals, however, even if he posts an ERA that matches his 4.04 xFIP he’d be of use in a large number of leagues. Richard has been able to induce more swings on pitches outside the strike zone this year (28.8 percent in 2010, 22.3 percent in 2009). Unfortunately for Richard hittes are also making more contact on pitches outside the strike zone and his swinging strike percentage is down a bit. Working in his favor this season is a reduction in free passes, and of course pitching half his games in PETCO is helpful as well.

Recommendation: Should be owned in some 12-team mixed leagues and all larger mixed leagues, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Brett Myers | Houston | SP | 20 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: 3.18 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 7.19 K/9, 2.33 K/BB, 48.7 GB
True Talent: 4.45 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 2.5 K/BB
Pitching on the putrid Houston Astros makes it quite easy to overlook players such as Brett Myers, but fantasy gamers shouldn’t. Myers has posted useful numbers thus far this season thanks to a slider which he’s using at a much greater frequency this year than any previous season. As well as throwing his slider more often, the pitch has been much more useful than in years past.

Myers continues to induce groundballs at a top notch rate (48.7 GB percent) and limit his walks (3.08 BB/9). His 1.37 WHIP can be largely tied to bad luck on balls in play as his BABIP against is .322. While Myers has been unlucky on balls in play, he’s been lucky on fly balls as his HR/FB is 7.2 percent, lower than league average.

Recommendation: Should be owned in some 12-team mixed leagues and most larger mixed leagues, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Aramis Ramirez | Chicago (NL) | 3B | 66 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: .168/.232/.285
True Talent: .273/.348/.468
Coming into the season Aramis Ramirez was largely viewed as one of the better options to man 3B for fantasy teams. Now that we’re in the middle of June many owners have cast Ramirez to the curb due to his early season struggles. While it’s not easy to deal with a struggling player, and at somepoint owners have to cut bait, Ramirez thumb injury and DL trip point to a reason for his early season struggles. If Ramirez returns from the DL in good health, and has success with his new bat grip, it is easy to see a scenario where he pays big dividends for those who hold tight, and those who scoop him up off the waiver wire.

It is currently a buyer’s market for Aramis, and the time to buy is now. Those in need of help at 3B should either scoop him up off the wire in the 34 percent of leagues he’s unowned in, and attempt to trade for him at ten cents on the dollar in the leagues he’s owned in. Oliver still likes Aramis, and a triple slash of .273/.348/.468 would look good manning the hot corner for many fantasy teams.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Jay Bruce | Cincinnati | OF | 66 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: .268/.351/.464
True Talent: .264/.329/.500
Glancing through player ownership this week I was absolutely stunned to see Jay Bruce owned in less than 80% of fantasy leagues. A blue chip prospect of Bruce’s stature, age, and upside who’s making talent strides needs to be owned in all leagues. Bruce’s batted ball percentages are just about ideal, in my opinion, 21.1 LD percent, 39.4 FB percent and 39.4 GB percent. With an improved contact rate this season, though only slightly, and a LD rate over 20 percent it is a bit surprising to see Bruce’s batting average below .275. The likely reason for Bruce posting a less than ideal batting average is a HR/FB rate of 13.0 percent, which is significantly lower than his HR/FB rate in 2009, and lower than I’d expect from a hitter with his raw power playing his home games in a HR friendly ballpark.

Also promising for Bruce is an improved walk rate, 11.2 percent, that comes with a reasonable strikeout rate, 24.7 percent. Even further adding to Bruce’s appeal and value is his somewhat surprising five stolen bases on the year. Bruce is a good athlete, and hitting below the Reds other top batters should allow Bruce to continue to get base stealing opportunities as the cost of getting caught stealing should be significantly lesser than getting caught stealing higher in the order.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

MLB’s Diversity Fellowship Is a Step in the Right Direction
It is not a perfect program, but it certainly counts as progress.

Miguel Montero | Arizona | C | 48 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: .417/.481/.542
True Talent: .271/.336/.448
Miguel Montero was a popular pick to finish in the top 5-8 catchers in the fantasy game coming into the season, unfortunately for Montero he suffered a torn meniscus and has missed most of the season. While Montero is highly unlikely to finish amongst the top eight catchers, he is now healthy and has a chance to post numbers that if accumulated over a full slate of games would have landed him there.

While it is safe to assume that the Diamondbacks will be cautious with Montero, they have already played him in back to back games since returning from the DL, and as long as he’s healthy and doesn’t complain of knee pain should see steady playing time going forward. None of the things that made Montero an appealing option coming into the season have changed, and it’s time for owners in need of catching help to plug him into their lineups.

Recommendation: Should be owned in most 10-team one catcher mixed leagues and all deeper leagues.

Drew Stubbs | Cincinnati | OF |25 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues
YTD: .243/.317/.408
True Talent: .224/.299/.348
Oliver’s true talent projection appears to have concerns about Stubbs maintaining a batting average north of .240, I do not harbour those same concerns. My reasoning for faith in Stubbs maintaining a batting average north of .240 is rather simple, he’s fast and has a reasonable spread of balls in play, making his .317 BABIP sustainable. Stubbs strikeout rate of 31.7 percent is a bit bothersome, but in my opinion, is more likely to improve than regress as he makes further adjustments to the majors.

At this point in the year it is abunduntly clear that Stubbs is a strong play in the HR and SB department as he already has 7 HR’s and 13 SB’s on the season, which should come as no surprise given strong tools that scouts love. Because Stubbs is able to induce walks at a useful rate, 9.3 BB percent, and he has been successful swiping bags (13 SB’s versus three caught stealing), I’d expect Stubbs to surpass 30 stolen bases by season’s end. As I mentioned previously, Stubbs also should be useful in the homerun department, and has a shot to pop 15-20 HR’s by season’s end as well.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all 12-team or larger mixed leagues using five OF’s, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.


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Jeffrey Gross
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Jeffrey Gross
Couple of notes 1) I hate the Arizona bullpen. When Qualls was first about to lose the job, the guy to own was Gutierrez, who subsequently imploded and the job fell back to Qualls. Now that Heilman’s the man, he blows up last night vs boston. For the love of pete, use Saves Headhunters are getting a headache from Arizona. I’m almost tempted to put Arizona on par with Milwaukee and Baltimore as “closer situations you do not want any part of” 2) I think you undersell Bruce. xBABIP had him pegged as a legit .280 BABIP guy last year… Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
Thanks for the response Jeff.  Definitely not a fan of the Arizona bullpen either, but those in need of saves really can’t leave any stone unturned. Re-reading my Bruce section it does sound as if I like but don’t love Bruce, and that’s not the case.  I’m a huge Bruce backer, and think the sky is the limit for him. Interesting comp for Stubbs, I’ll be curious to see if he wears down and sees his SB’s slow down as the season progresses.  At the same time, his tools are awesome, and as you alluded to, if he cuts his… Read more »
Trey
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Trey

Josh, love the Bruce breakdown.  Who has the highest upside and chance of fantasy stardom for the rest of this season and the next three years (for those of us in keeper leagues, where guys like Bruce are gold): Bruce, Justin Upton, Carlos Gonzalez, or Colby Rasmus?

Jeffrey Gross
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Jeffrey Gross
@Trey, obviously the question is for Josh, but I’m bored at work at the moment, so I will throw my 2 cents in as well. I would personally rank them as: 1. Bruce (.280+ hitter, 30+ HR power, 10-20 SB in a good line up) 2. Upton (a legit 30/20 player, but the K’s and BA are still a looming question) 3. CarGo (he’s a poor man’s shin-soo choo. He does everything short of walk well, so he’ll be good overall, but perhaps prone to the occassional slump) 4. Colby (Maybe I’m just a biased Cubs fan, but Rasmus isnt… Read more »
brett
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brett

this is a serious baseball site and i wish the waiver wire was treated as serious also     having guys like montero-ramirez-bruse etc-etc is of NO help……theses guys r already on rosters in any kind of serious leagues……talk about chris nelson-santiago cassila-lucroy when he came up   guys like that…..under the radar guys…..not studs already on rosters

Jeffrey Gross
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Jeffrey Gross

Well I think Josh is trying to point out buy low/sell high guys. that is always helpful, no?

Not much happened this week in terms of guys changing around outside the Conor Jackson trade and pedro call up in Pittsburgh, no one really changed positions or lost there job this week…

Frank Kim
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Frank Kim

Both Oliver and ZIP RoS on Fangraphs projects Stubbs to do worse the rest of the season.

I keep vacillating between whether he is a legit 15/30 guy or someone who is going to kill you with his periodic 0/12 slumps.

I was offered Stubbs for Posey but not sure if I should do it.  I have Mauer at C, Pedro Alvarez/Daric Barton at 1B/3B, and Hawpe at OF so not sure if it’s an upgrade.  What do you think?

Jeffrey Gross
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Jeffrey Gross
haha sorry to intrude upon your column so much Josh, but I literally am sitting at my desk with no work for 40 more mins. Stubbs is more than a 15-30 guy. He’s a 40-60 SB guy depending on that OBP. Stubbs and Borbon, in terms of raw speed, are two of the fastest feet in baseball. Pedro, in my surmise, is a Garrett Jones of 3B like hitter. I would personally try and move mauer and see if his hype can buy you something nice and get posey. In my 12-team mixed league, Mauer was recently traded for Carlos… Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
Brett, I’m sorry that you didn’t care for this week’s article, but accusing me of not taking the site and the article serious is inaccurate. I would suggest taking a look at previous week’s articles and looking at the percentage of ownership of the players featured in those articles. While The Hardball Times has many visitors who play in exceptionally deep leagues, catering just to those folks is unfair to others who may be in shallower leagues and looking for advice as well. I personally would like to think that the Waiver Wire weekly columns can have useful information for… Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson

Jeff, thanks for taking the time to answer some of the questions posed on here, working both jobs today didn’t allow me sufficient time to reply to them until now.

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
Trey, I would personally rank the OF’s Bruce, Upton and then Rasmus/Gonzalez push.  Upton’s high strikeout rate prevents me from ranking him at the top of the list.  If he’s able to cut back some, there is no reason he can’t be Bruce’s equal, or in fact better than Bruce. Bruce has the best blend of current talent and upside, hence my ranking atop the list of the four outfielders. I am more enamored with Colby Rasmus than Jeff is apparantly.  I really like his walk rate, and am tolerable of the high strikeout rate because of that fact.  While… Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
Frank Kim, I am a believer in Drew Stubbs, as illustrated by his inclusion in this week’s article.  While your concerns about his OBP are reasonable, I’m not as concerned about him as I am about your typical run of the mill low average burner, thanks to a decent walk rate. I am also of the belief that Stubbs strikeout rate is more likely to go down as opposed to go up as he adjusts to the majors.  I don’t expect it to go down substantially, but perhaps shave it down to a hair under 30 percent and you could… Read more »
brett
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brett

i have no problmes debating-discussing the merits-stats-projections of guys like-bruce-stubbs-montero-ramairez……i enjoy that…….but they are not on waivers in any serious leagues including most mixed and the article is called waiver wire…….would just like too see this article cover guys that we sweat over spending faab or a spot in our precious waiver order……thanks

Jeffrey Gross
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Jeffrey Gross

Well I think even by those terms Josh would be justified. While most THT readers league probably do have Jay Bruce taken, 40% of leagues still have him unowned. Additionally, some people might not be aware of how good bruce has been doing after last season and his first 20 days of struggling this year.

3FingersBrown
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3FingersBrown

I’m speculating that Heilman won’t have that closer gig come two weeks from now – maybe sooner. The guy stinks plain and simple. Ok, so I’m biased as a Mets fan, who’s seen him blow too many important games to count. Call me biased. He’s still terrible. I know what you’re saying though – saves are saves.

For that reason, I just picked up Sam Demel in my 15 team mixed. The kid’s put up nice AAA numbers after adding a cutter this season. ‘Zona will soon call on another closer and it’ll be Son of Sam!

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
Brett, I hope this isn’t your first time reading the NL version of the Waiver Wire because this article does stray a bit from my typical focus, which is much shallower owned players.  I did feel as if my focus had become too great on nearly unowned players, as more casual fantasy players just stumbling upon The Hardball Times would get little use from that info.  As you said, and I agree with, the typical focus of the article is guys that are widely unowned in leagues of all sizes, but with little roster shakeups (minus Gerardo Parra finding himself… Read more »
Frank Kim
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Frank Kim

Thanks Jeffrey for your suggestion.  I would love to trade Mauer for Carlos Santana and Votto.  In fact I’d trade him just for Votto.  Unfortunately in my league Mauer isn’t getting much interest, probably cause he has only 2 HR’s. grin

I agree Stubbs is really fast but I am not sure how often he’ll get on.  If you take away his first month he’s averaging 4 SB’s a month which works out to about 25 SB’s a season.

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson

3FingersBrown, I’m in complete agreement that Heilman is a poor late inning reliever.  Certainly a reasonable speculative move owning Demel.  Heilman’s mediocre/bad strikeout numbers, nothing special walk rate, and propensity for fly balls makes him a ticking time bomb. 

All that said he’s been able to post a useful ERA, and non-damaging WHIP, and if he’s able to put together a handful of lucky appearances in the ninth may get some leash to save games.  Heilman is a good example of how the volatility of working so few innings can be beneficial for relievers on occasion.

JB (the original)
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JB (the original)

I recently traded Cano and Zimmerman for Utley, V. Mart, and Figgins (I lost Morales to DL and needed 1B help).  I currently have Doumit as my catcher and play V. Mart at 1B. The numbers would suggest that I play V.Mart at C and drop Doumit and pick up G. Sanchez for 1B.  (I also have Cantu on my roster).  Any thoughts?

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson

I would agree that Victor Martinez best value comes from playing C, and slotting him there and adding Sanchez for Doumit seems reasonable. That said, as obvious as it seems, maybe try making another uneven trade in which you use Doumit as a deal sweetener.  It would be a shame just cutting Doumit as he’s ownable in all but the absolute shallowest of leagues.

Jeffrey Gross
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Jeffrey Gross
I agree with Josh 100% correct. Doumit is a top 10 catcher and should be tradable in any league with more than 10 catcher spots. You might even argue that trading V-Mart for a better 1B to a guy who needs a catcher and using Doumit might be a better option to. The difference between V-Mart and Doumit is noticable but not so substantial that it cannot be recovered elsewhere. Doumit is a 15-20 HR capable C, where as V-Mart is a 20ish HR guy. They both steal a few bags and bat in the middle of their respective line… Read more »
JB (the original)
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JB (the original)

Thanks Josh and Jeff, it certainly gives me something to think about, I guess Doumit has performed so poorly up to this point that there are about a half dozen FA catchers with better numbers and performance lately in our league and I don’t see someone wanting to give up much when they can get similar for free.  But it’s free to fish….

Paul
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Paul

Regarding the Bruce/Upton/Rasmus/CarGo ranks that i have seen here.

If I had Bruce, I would trade him for JUp in any league.  JUp was one of the most highly touted prospects when he was drafted, and all he has done since is hit and hit well.

that being said, you wouldn’t mind a piece of any of those guys going forward

Frank Kim
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Frank Kim

Hi Josh,

I too am enamoured w/ Stubbs potential.  But his BB% rate has gone down every month, his K rate has not improved and is at 33% for June, and with his move to lower in the lineup his runs have gone down and his RBI’s are dependent on him hitting HR’s.

It may still be worth it just for the speed and hope he moves up in the lineup but I’m still not sure if that is worth Posey.

-Frank

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