Matt Stroup

Waiver Wired

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Pass the Mike

Saturday, May 23, 2009


You're simply going to have to take my word for it when I tell you that I visited a hospital for sea turtles this week. Why? Because when the weather isn't cooperative at the beach on a family vacation, sometimes you have to go to Plan B (or Plan G, as the case may be).

While observing these turtles in the hospital ward – among them one who was recovering from a stroke, another who had a severed flipper and one who simply seemed to be ramming his head repeatedly into the wall of his tank – I received an important philosophical reminder about fantasy baseball.

The lesson: Much like nursing a sea turtle back to health, you have to be willing to consider every possible remedy in order to repair a fantasy baseball team. Do I understand why the sea turtle doctors were treating one of their patient's wounds with honey? No, I don't (and to tell the truth, I wasn't really listening during that part). But the important thing was that they were willing to take a risk, and if that particular remedy hadn't been successful, you can bet that they would have moved on to another idea.

And that's the notion I'd like to highlight here today. I tend to be rather freewheeling with transactions in my league, but if and when a player I add doesn't pan out, I'm eminently ready to fling him off to the side, accept that I didn't catch lightning in a bottle in that instance and move on. In other words, when I add Mike Fontenot to a couple squads (and recommend him in this column) only to see him plummet into what ends up being a 2-for-36 slump, he's long gone from my teams before those 36 at-bats are complete. I only hope that he's gone from your respective teams just as fast.

In sum, when you add a player off waivers, be patient enough to give him a few games to show you something, but don't be so loyal that you leave him on the roster for an inordinate amount of time if he doesn't pan out. Assuming that your league doesn't have a transaction limit, there's no shame in running up the transaction count with the understanding that not every player you add is going to be good.

As the old hunting saying goes, not every piece of buckshot is going to strike a deer. Actually, there's no such hunting phrase that I'm aware of, but you get the point: Don't be afraid to fire away – or to reload when necessary. Now, to the wire:

MIXED LEAGUE

Kendry Morales, 1B, LAA (Yahoo: 41 percent owned; ESPN: 38 percent)

I touted the Angels first baseman a few weeks ago, but it appears that it's time for a re-tout. With a two-homer, three-RBI game on Monday, Morales pushed his season totals to an impressive eight homers and 26 RBI. He's nothing close to flashy, but there are far worse players to have occupying a corner infield spot in a mixed league.

Mike Jacobs, 1B, KC (Yahoo: 20 percent owned; ESPN: 22 percent)

Speaking of first basemen with impressive power numbers who should be owned in more leagues, Jacobs has nine homers and 23 RBI thus far, not to mention a relatively respectable .262 batting average and .338 on-base percentage after hitting just .247 with a .299 OBP in 2008. He still struggles against lefties (all nine of his homers and 18 of his 23 RBI have come versus right-handers), but Jacobs hit 32 homers with 93 RBI last season and is on pace to surpass the 30-homer plateau once again. He's not available in any of my leagues, but the numbers above indicate that he could be available in yours.

And in case you were wondering, if I had to choose between Morales and Jacobs, it comes down to categories. I'd go with Morales if batting average was a bigger concern, but I'd take Jacobs if raw power happened to be the objective. Though the two are currently just one homer apart, I still see Morales as closer to a 25-homer hitter, while Jacobs has legit 35-homer pop.

A reminder: For exclusive stat projections, player rankings and more, check out Rotoworld's MLB Season Pass.

Scott Hairston, OF, SD (Yahoo: 9 percent owned; ESPN: 7 percent)

Hairston remains largely available in fantasy leagues because there remains a perception that he's just a platoon player who annihilates left-handers, but he has actually been playing against most right-handers lately and is hitting .304 in 56 at-bats against them in 2009.

Though he has just 102 total at-bats so far due to the fact that he was in the lineup far less in April than he has been in May, Hairston has five homers, a pleasantly surprising five steals and a stellar 1005 OPS for the season. He's been hitting at the top or in the middle of the order lately, and as long as he's starting against most right-handers, I'm happily starting him in the majority of my leagues.

Jorge De La Rosa, SP, COL (Yahoo: 18 percent owned; ESPN: 13 percent)

I was significantly more excited about De La Rosa before he walked most of the Atlanta metropolitan area on Wednesday night, when his five walks led to seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Braves.

Leading up to that disastrous night, De La Rosa had been truly stellar in his prior two outings, allowing just three earned runs in 15 innings with a 22/1 K/BB ratio. Considering that his ERA and WHIP are still a relatively respectable 4.27 and 1.29 along with a 46/21 K/BB ratio in 46 1/3 innings, I'm planning to give him at least one more start before I begin to lose faith.

If he's available in your league and you have a shortage of de la strikeouts, I'd take a close look at De La Rosa. Despite an 0-4 record and the recent shellacking from the Braves, this lefty throws low-to-mid 90's heat with a nice repertoire of secondary pitches, and there's plenty of potential for strong strikeout numbers here as the season goes on.


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Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for Rotoworld.com. You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup



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