Phil Hughes Locked In — MLB Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups 2013
Since our last installment there have been a string of huge injuries. Marlins slugger and only legitimate bat Giancarlo Stanton suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain and is expected to miss at least a month of action. Sure he started out the season slow but he was showing signs of breaking through. In his last six games he hit .296 with three homers and eight RBIs.
Much to the delight of his owners, Hanley Ramirez returned from a thumb injury that cost him the first 24 games of the season. He proceeded to hit .455 with a homer, two runs scored and a stolen base over 12 plate appearances before also going down with a bum hamstring. His will likely only keep him out a couple of weeks though.
Losses like this sting. Like lemon juice in a cut sting. You get that initial sharp pain that is then followed by that annoying dull pain until you rinse that sucker out. Consider me your sink, as I plan on offering you plenty of alternatives to pick up to fill in for your injured studs or other non-performing players.
** Percentage available taken from ESPN on Sunday May 5th
Perez turns 23 this week. Many sleep on the fact that this kid is a career .307 hitter over his first 531 at-bats. Sure his power hasn’t kicked in yet, but don’t let this keep you from owning him. He has spent more than half of his plate appearances batting fourth or fifth. His RBI totals are going to increase. Guys like John Buck, Russell Martin and A.J. Pierzynski are going to fall back to earth. Consider this a buy low point right now on what is ultimately a better player.
One thing Alonso has done consistently as a pro is hit for average. In the minors he hit .293 over 1,340 plate appearances while in the majors he has hit .279 over his first 858 plate appearances. His issue all along as a first baseman has been power. He has never hit more than 15 long balls in a season as a pro. So far this year he has four, leaving him on pace for 18. His ability to keep his average in the .280 range while flirting with 20 homers makes him a valid mixed league bat.
This is the second week in a row recommending Ackley. His ownership percentage jumped just .7 percent despite hitting .333 with a homer and five RBIs over his last seven games. With the Mariners six games out of first place and struggling to score runs, Ackley needs to perform to keep his job, especially when you have Nick Franklin tearing the cover off the ball in Triple-A. My money says he continues hitting and is owned in most mixed leagues before you know it.
Just like Ackley, Arenado makes his second straight appearance. Last week he was owned in less than one percent of leagues, this week he is owned in almost 64 percent. In his first week with the club he posted a .308-4-2-7 line over 26 at-bats. He has been just as good as advertised and has all the makings of a Top-12 third basemen from here on out. This will be the last week you can pick this guy up off waivers.
Injuries to the aforementioned Hanley Ramirez have opened the door for Gordon to see some playing time. He did however show well in Triple-A to earn the chance, hitting .314 with 19 runs scored and 14 stolen bases over 25 games. Since his call-up he has three hits in his first seven at bats with three RBIs and three stolen bases. This will be an audition for a full time job. If Gordon continues to play well, he can continue manning short with Hanley shifting over to third. Even if he does get sent down he has the ability to swipe you another five bases before he does. If you need speed, pull the trigger.
Saunders sprained his shoulder on April 11th and required a stint on the 15 day DL. He returned on April 29th and has done nothing but destroy the ball, posting a .318-8-3-6-1 line over 22 at-bats. Last season he hit 19 homers and stole 21 bases while hitting .247 over 139 games. That was enough to get our attention heading into drafts. He should now firmly have it with his start to this season. Only 11 players posted a 20-20 season last year. Getting your hands on a guy fully capable of doing so in May is a huge coup.
With five stolen bases in his last seven games, Pierre is now tied for second in the league in steals with 10. Yes he turns 36 this year, but we are looking at a guy who is a career .296 hitter with 601 stolen bases. Even with regression, his speed combined with his ability to put the ball in play make him nothing less than a .270 hitter. This is an extremely cheap source of speed on a team that has no reason not to let him run.
Grimm is pitching above his head but there is nothing wrong with riding a guy on a hot streak. His minor league numbers suggest nothing more than a back of the rotation starter. Right now we have a guy fully taking advantage of his first turn around the league, with all of his starts coming against below average offenses. Pick him up as a lottery ticket, but view him more as a trade chip than anything. If you can upgrade someplace else by throwing this kid in the deal do so.
Hughes won his first start of the season on Saturday, thoroughly dominating Oakland over eight innings, striking out nine while allowing just four hits and a walk. This however was actually his fourth quality start in a row. During that span he has struck out 30 and allowed just six runs. His problem has, and always will be giving up the long ball. He gave up 35 last season and is on pace to give up 28 this year. What makes him worthy of ownership this year is his 8.74 K/9. Pick when you use him wisely and he can pay off for you.
Andrew Bailey is set to undergo an MRI on his injured right bicep on Monday. The fact that he hasn’t appeared in a game since April 28th doesn’t bode well for him avoiding the disabled list. Hanrahan lost his job to Bailey after a stint on the DL, so it’s only fitting he likely gets it back in the same fashion. I am the first to admit I am not a fan of Hanrahan, but whoever closes out games for Boston needs to be owned.