D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Smoak Gets In Your Eyes

Thursday, April 28, 2011




AL ONLY

John McDonald 2B/3B/SS, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

McDonald didn't start Wednesday's game, but has seen most of the time at second and third base since Jayson Nix and Aaron Hill were placed on the disabled list. The 36-year-old is a .240 career hitter, so don't expect anything special with the bat, but he does offer a little bit of pop and some speed. His multi-position eligibility makes him pretty useful right now.

Jesse Litsch SP, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.4 percent)

Litsch was merely the victim of a numbers game when he was sent to the minors earlier this month, but he continues to prove worthy of the sleeper tag. The 26-year-old right-hander owns a 3.86 ERA and 17/9 K/BB ratio over his first four starts this season and has delivered quality starts in three of them. He's getting more swings and misses than we're used to, which could be traced to increased reliance on his slider. I wouldn't blame you if you sat him for Sunday's start against the Yankees, but it is worth noting that the Bombers are batting just .240 against right-handed pitching so far this season.

Brad Penny SP, Tigers (Yahoo: 4 percent owned, ESPN: 0.6 percent)

I'll be honest, I'm basing this pick purely off Penny tossing seven innings of one-hit ball against the White Sox last Saturday. Granted, he entered the start with an 8.44 ERA over his first four starts, but he can't possibly be that bad, right? Penny was a worthwhile gamble for the Tigers this winter, but the biggest concern moving forward should be his durability. The 33-year-old right-hander hasn't thrown 200 innings in a season since 2007. Still, he should be worth an immediate flier in AL-only leagues.

Juan Rivera 1B/OF, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 2 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

Another Blue Jay? Another Blue Jay. Rivera is finally showing signs of life north of the border, hitting safely in six straight games, including home runs in two out of his last three. Edwin Encarnacion returned from a wrist injury on Wednesday, but John Farrell could continue to use him at third base to cover for Jayson Nix, who is currently on the disabled list with a shin injury. Rivera is unlikely to hit .300 or pop 25 homers again, but a modest rebound is possible.

NL ONLY

Brandon Wood 3B/SS, Pirates (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

The Angels finally cut ties with Wood last week, but the former top prospect quickly found a new home with the Pirates. Roger Cedeno isn't doing much at shortstop, so he has a legitimate chance at regular playing time should he get off to a hot start. Of course, Wood has a measly .169/.201/.261 batting line over 504 major league plate appearances, so don't expect any miracles, but the power potential is still there.

Roger Bernadina OF, Nationals (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

Ian Desmond was placed on the paternity leave list this week, clearing the way for Bernadina to get the call from Triple-A Syracuse. Desmond should return to the team Thursday, but Nationals manager Jim Riggleman indicated Wednesday that Bernadina could stick around. We hope so. Rick Ankiel has been absolutely brutal offensively, batting just .212 over his first 85 at-bats, so Bernadina could be an immediate improvement in center field.

James McDonald SP, Pirates (Yahoo: 4 percent owned, ESPN: 1 percent)

An early candidate for draft day bust, McDonald has a 7.66 ERA over his first five starts. The good news is that he's coming off six shutout innings against the Giants on Wednesday night. Granted, he did walk four batters and now has an ugly 15/16 K/BB ratio over 24 2/3 innings, but it certainly qualifies as a step in the right direction. The hard-throwing right-hander needs to walk fewer batters and have better luck with the home run ball moving forward, but that's a chance every NL-only should be willing to take.

Clint Barmes 2B/SS, Astros (Yahoo: 2 percent owned, ESPN: 0.4 percent)

Barmes is just about ready to wrap up a minor league rehab assignment and is expected to be activated from the disabled list for Friday's series opener against the Brewers. It looked like Angel Sanchez was going to make things difficult for Astros manager Brad Mills, but he has cooled down significantly following a fast start with the bat. Barmes is a poor bet for a high batting average and he'll likely miss Coors Field, but he still has the potential for double-digit homers and steals.


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D.J. Short is a Rotoworld baseball editor and contributes to NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog. You can also find him on Twitter.
Email :D.J. Short



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