D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Believe in Bedard?

Thursday, May 19, 2011





AL ONLY

Elliot Johnson SS/OF, Rays (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

Reid Brignac has an ugly .179/.212/.189 batting line over his first 100 plate appearances this season, which has opened the door for Johnson to get more playing time at shortstop. The 27-year-old is batting .283/.339/.472 over his first 62 plate appearances this season, including two homers in his last three games. Who knows how long his initial success will last, especially with his penchant for the strikeout, but he at least has the potential for double-digit stolen bases if given regular playing time.

Felix Pie OF, Orioles (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, 0 percent)

The Orioles have yet to place Derrek Lee on the disabled list, but Pie figures to benefit the most should he require an extended absence. Luke Scott would likely log most of the time at first base in order to rest his right shoulder, which clears the way for Pie in left field. The 26-year-old outfielder hasn't done much across his first 50 at-bats this season, but still has an intriguing power-speed combo.

Eric Thames OF, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

The Blue Jays finally placed Adam Lind on the disabled list earlier this week and called up Thames in a corresponding roster move. The 24-year-old outfielder slugged 27 homers with Double-A New Hampshire last season and was batting .342/.419/.610 with six homers and 30 RBI over his first 167 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Las Vegas. His numbers were likely inflated by playing in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, but Thames has plus-power from the left side of the plate. Let's hope the Jays are smart enough to give him more playing time than Juan Rivera, even after Lind returns from the DL.

Danny Duffy SP, Royals (Yahoo: N/A, ESPN: 2.1 percent)

Duffy was uncharacteristically wild in his first major league start Wednesday night against the Rangers, walking six and throwing a wild pitch while allowing two runs over four-plus innings. It was pretty out of whack from what we've seen in the minors, as the 22-year-old southpaw averaged 10.5 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. You can imagine how much adrenaline was probably running through his body during his MLB debut, so don't give up on him after one shaky start. He's only going to get better from here.


NL ONLY

Tony Gwynn, Jr. OF, Dodgers (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

This one is all about interleague play, folks. The Dodgers will have the use of the designated hitter this weekend against the White Sox, which will in all likelihood will allow them to rest either Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Jay Gibbons. Gwynn is probably their best defensive outfielder, so he should be in the lineup for at least two games. Sure, he's nothing special at the plate, but he has a career walk rate of around 10 percent and possesses good speed. Worth a short-term play if you need help in your outfield.

Justin Turner 2B, Mets (Yahoo: 3 percent owned, ESPN: 2.3 percent)

Turner was already playing some second base with Ike Davis out of the lineup, but now he'll be the primary third baseman while David Wright is sidelined with a stress fracture in his lower back. The 26-year-old was something of a forgotten man in the team's second base battle during spring training, but is batting .333/.385/.500 with one homer, five doubles and 12 RBI over his first 52 plate appearances this season. He's been a little fortunate with his batting average in balls in play, but he's safe to own in most NL-only leagues, especially with pending multi-position eligibility.

Jeff Karstens RP/SP, Pirates (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.4 percent)

Where the heck did this come from? Somehow, Karstens has managed a 3.62 ERA and 29/11 K/BB ratio over his first 37 1/3 innings this season. The Pirates have been very careful with his workload, so he hasn't exceeded seven innings or 100 pitches over his first six starts. Still, the 28-year-old right-hander has shown solid control and career-highs with his ground ball and strike out rate. It may all be an early season mirage, but I like him in you're in the mood to speculate.

Fernando Martinez OF, Mets (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

Martinez has just seven plate appearances since being recalled from the minors last week, which is mostly a result of a crowded outfield and his inability to play center field. However, he should finally get a chance to play this weekend when the Mets play the Yankees under American League rules. Look for Carlos Beltran to be the designated hitter at least twice, which paves the way for F-Mart in right field. The Mets will be facing all right-handed starters, so Nick Evans or Scott Hairston are unlikely to make a start. The 22-year-old outfielder makes for a fine strategic play.


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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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