D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Believe in Bedard?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Not sure how you feel about this, but I had no regrets leaving Jake Peavy on my bench last night. While it was a no-brainer to stash him as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I really wanted to see how he fared over his first couple of outings before activating him. Sure, the complete game shutout would have been nice this week, but I'm more excited about what he could potentially provide moving forward.

Peavy's ownership numbers will obviously look much different by the end of the day, but as of Thursday morning, he is owned in just 57 percent of Y! leagues and 57.6 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Granted, Peavy's upside is a bit limited by the team's current six-man rotation, as he may not have many two-start weeks in his future, but he's a must-own in mixed leagues as long as he's healthy. So far, so good on that end.

Let's move on to the good stuff.

MIXED LEAGUES

Koji Uehara RP, Orioles (Yahoo: 20 percent owned, ESPN: 2.6 percent)

This one is pretty simple to understand. Kevin Gregg has blown two out of his last three save opportunities and has a shaky 14/12 K/BB ratio over 16 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, Uehara has a 2.50 ERA and a very efficient 22/5 K/BB ratio over 18 innings. It may not happen today. It may not happen tomorrow. But I'd be surprised if Uehara wasn't closing games for the Orioles at some point this season.

Jake Arrieta SP, Orioles (Yahoo: 24 percent owned, ESPN: 30.3 percent)

This fellow may just be for real. Arrieta has an impressive 4.03 ERA and 46/21 K/BB ratio over his first nine starts this season. Including his victory over the Rays last Sunday, the 25-year-old right-hander has completed at least six innings seven times already. I'm confident he'll have some value in mixed leagues throughout the season, but he's an ideal streaming option with the Nationals on tap this weekend.

Ryan Ludwick OF, Padres (Yahoo: 12 percent owned, ESPN: 12 percent)

Now this is what the Padres thought they were getting at the trade deadline last July. After a slow start to the season, Ludwick has collected four home runs and 13 RBI over his last seven games. Calling PETCO Park home hasn't helped him offensively, but his current .227 batting average can be partially attributed to some bad luck with his batting average on balls in play. No, he's not a must-have in shallow mixed leagues, but I like him in deeper formats.

Scott Rolen 3B, Reds (Yahoo: 39 percent owned, ESPN: 37.5 percent)

Rolen hasn't missed a beat since returning from the disabled list, batting .435 (10-for-23) with three doubles, one triple and three RBI while reaching base safely in eight consecutive games. Third base is a mess right now with David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Pablo Sandoval and David Freese all on the disabled list and Pedro Alvarez struggling, so Rolen is absolutely worth a shot in most mixed leagues.

Rafael Furcal SS, Dodgers (Yahoo: 45 percent owned, ESPN: 32.8 percent)

Furcal's ownership numbers predictably went south following his broken thumb, but he's currently nearing the end of a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque. The veteran shortstop wasn't doing much prior to being placed on the disabled list, but remember that he's coming off a season where he batted .300 with 22 stolen bases over just 97 games. You don't find that sort of value often on the waiver wire, especially at the shortstop position. Stash away.

Tyson Ross RP/SP, Athletics (Yahoo: 11 percent owned, ESPN: 7.8 percent)

I included Ross in my AL-only recommendations a few weeks back, but he has quickly become relevant in mixed leagues by posting a 2.32 ERA and 18/9 K/BB ratio over his first five starts. While there's a little luck involved here -- he's allowed just one home run in 36 innings -- he also gets plenty of ground balls with his low-to-mid 90's sink. It might be too late to grab him for an enticing matchup against the light-hitting Twins on Thursday, but the 24-year-old right-hander is worth trying in upcoming starts against the Angels and Orioles.

J.J. Hardy SS, Orioles (Yahoo: 14 percent owned, ESPN: 25.5 percent)

Fair warning, the last time I recommended Hardy, he went on the disabled list with an oblique injury just a couple days later. Not saying I'm a jinx, but let this be a reminder that Hardy hasn't exactly been durable lately. As long as you're aware of the risk, it's worth noting that he's batting .294 (10-for-34) with two homers and eight RBI since coming off the DL. For the shortstop position, that'll do just fine.

Erik Bedard SP, Mariners (Yahoo: 13 percent owned, ESPN: 8.8 percent)

No, your eyes aren't fooling you. Bedard was a little shaky to begin the season, but he has compiled a 1.89 ERA and 15/4 K/BB ratio over his last three starts. Equally encouraging, the 32-year-old southpaw has completed seven innings in two of them. There's always the potential for injury with Bedard, so it would be silly to count on him in the long-term, but I love him as a streaming option this weekend against the Padres in PETCO Park. Bedard has his last start cut short due to rain, so he should be well rested.

Jonathan Lucroy C, Brewers (Yahoo: 14 percent owned, ESPN: 13.6 percent)

Lucroy has barely cracked 100 plate appearances this season, but he's already done enough to be a top-12 catcher in mixed leagues. That isn't saying much, of course, but the 24-year-old backstop is batting .315/.373/.467 with three homers, 16 RBI and an .840 OPS. The high batting average is partially fueled by an unsustainable batting average on balls in play, but he's taking more pitches than ever before and making contact more often, at least in this early season small sample. I like him if you're waiting for Joe Mauer or Geovany Soto to return.

Shopping at the five-and-dime:

(Players owned in less than 10 percent of Y! and ESPN.com leagues)

Kenley Jansen RP, Dodgers (Yahoo: 9 percent owned, ESPN: 6.4 percent)

Vicente Padilla is currently sidelined with some stiffness in his surgically-repaired forearm, so the Dodgers will go with a closer-by-committee approach for the time being. Matt Guerrier earned the save in Tuesday's win over the Brewers, but I'm more intrigued by Jansen. The 23-year-old right-hander has 29 strikeouts over 17 1/3 innings this season. And while his 5.71 ERA isn't overly impressive, he hasn't allowed an earned run over his last nine appearances. There's no telling where Don Mattingly will turn in the ninth inning, but you'll get strikeouts with Jansen no matter what.

Eric Hinske 1B/OF, Braves (Yahoo: 4 percent owned, ESPN: 7.4 percent)

Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones are back in the lineup, but Hinske is still relevant in mixed leagues because the Braves will use the DH against the Angels this weekend. Normally I would say David Ross would find his way into the lineup, but the Braves are scheduled to face three right-handed starters. By the way, Hinske is batting .358 (19-for-53) with three homers and 10 RBI against righties so far this season.



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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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