D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Beachy Keen

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Last night's power exploits by Chris Heisey got me thinking: Are we more likely to pick up a player following a three-homer game or a superb pitching performance?

Maybe it's a flawed question since great pitching performances happen all the time and can come in different shapes and sizes. Meanwhile, someone who would hit three home runs in a game would probably already be owned in most leagues. I guess that's why I find the Heisey situation so interesting, since he's so widely available at the moment.

Heisey's ownership will no doubt shoot up in the next day or so and given that the Reds can use the DH for the next six games in Baltimore and Tampa Bay, it's probably justified. But what happens after that? He'll still have to fend with Jonny Gomes and Fred Lewis for playing time in left field.

I've always been of the belief that Heisey could be a solid major-league regular if given the opportunity. I'm just not sure when (or if) that will actually happen. Do I need to remind you that Dusty Baker fills out the lineup card?

Let's move on to the good stuff.

MIXED LEAGUES

Brandon Beachy SP, Braves (Yahoo: 34 percent owned, ESPN: 26.9 percent)

What else did you expect? Beachy was fantastic in his return from the disabled list Wednesday against the Blue Jays, tossing six innings of one-run ball while striking out a career-high 11 and walking two. He had a 3.45 ERA and 46/12 K/BB ratio before landing on the disabled list with an oblique injury last month, so he's a no-brainer add in all formats now that he's back.

Roger Bernadina OF, Nationals (Yahoo: 8 percent owned, ESPN: 17.3 percent)

Missing Rick Ankiel? I didn't think so. Bernadina had his seven-game hitting streak snapped in Wednesday's win over the Mariners, but he's still batting .346 with three homers and seven RBI over his last 52 at-bats. Even better, he already has four homers and 10 stolen bases over just 41 games. Whatever you get in the batting average department is just gravy, as his power-speed combo is what you're really buying here.

Jason Bay OF, Mets (Yahoo: 43 percent owned, ESPN: 33.9 percent)

Just one day after going 3-for-3 with his first home run since May 13, Bay went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts on Wednesday night. Will the hot streak ever come? On the bright side, the Mets will travel to the hitter-friendly Ballpark at Arlington this weekend, where they are scheduled to face a pair of left-handed starters. This may be his best shot to find his way back into fantasy relevancy. Similar to the way I recommended Vernon Wells last week, I'm just not ready to give up on someone with Bay's track record. Not yet, anyway.

David Freese 3B, Cardinals (Yahoo: 28 percent owned, ESPN: 27.3 percent)

Freese is two games into a minor league rehab stint with Triple-A Memphis and is currently on track to return from the disabled list next Tuesday when the Cardinals begin a three-game series against the Orioles. He was hitting .356/.394/.471 with two homers and 14 RBI until he fractured his left hand on a hit-by-pitch on May 1. The third base position has been a difficult one to fill at certain points this season, particularly because of injuries in the National League, but a healthy Freese should be owned in most mixed formats.

Ty Wigginton 1B/2B/3B/OF, Rockies (Yahoo: 27 percent owned, ESPN: 39.7 percent)

How does he do it? Though Wigginton entered the season with an uncertain role, he has once again managed to find regular playing time. Remember that if you doubt him again next season. Wigginton homered twice Wednesday night against the Indians and is now batting .266 with nine homers, 27 RBI and an .811 OPS over 206 plate appearances this season. Ian Stewart is currently swinging a hot bat with Triple-A Colorado Springs, so things could change at any time, but Wiggy's pop and useful multi-position eligibility shouldn't be ignored.

Jemile Weeks 2B, Athletics (Yahoo: 14 percent owned, ESPN: 11 percent)

I was curious how much value Weeks would provide after being called up from the minors two weeks ago, but his early play has won me over. The 24-year-old is batting .321/.357/.509 through 59 plate appearances while scoring 10 runs and stealing four bases over his 14 major league games. New A's skipper Bob Melvin has used him out of the leadoff spot in the last four games, which gives him a slight boost, even in a weak lineup. Granted, he won't be able to maintain his current lofty batting average on balls in play, but at least he'll keep the starting job at second base now that Mark Ellis is destined for a utility role. The youngster makes for a solid target in deeper formats or leagues that use MI (middle infielder) spots.

Jon Jay OF, Cardinals (Yahoo: 7 percent owned, ESPN: 13.5 percent)

While there's nothing good about Albert Pujols' injury, it at least means that Lance Berkman can play some first base while Jay gets semi-regular playing time in the outfield. Jay's current .300/.350/.418 batting line is almost identical to last season, even though he's striking out more, walking less and hitting considerably more ground balls. Still, you'll get some speed and pop from the left side of the plate, which has value in deeper formats.

Jorge Posada C, Yankees (Yahoo: 38 percent owned, ESPN: 24.3 percent)

It finally happened. Posada hit his first home run since April 23 in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Reds. Many in mixed leagues gave up on Posada after he pulled himself out of the lineup last month -- and for good reason -- but he's now batting .391 (18-for-46) in June. Sure, Joe Girardi will likely sit him against left-handers, but there's still a lot of upside here considering the lack of quality catchers available.

Shopping at the five-and-dime:

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

Doug Fister SP, Mariners (Yahoo: 8 percent owned, ESPN: 4.3 percent)

While his 3-8 record is likely keeping him under the radar, Fister has a very solid 3.34 ERA over his first 15 starts this season. Thanks to an uptick in velocity, he's averaging a career-high 5.89 K/9 -- hey, it's an improvement -- to go along with his usual solid command. And his success isn't completely Safeco-driven, either. The 27-year-old right-hander has a 3.31 ERA over seven road starts. Give him a try against the Marlins this weekend.

Jeff Baker 1B/2B/3B, Cubs (Yahoo: 2 percent owned, ESPN: 0.9 percent)

Here's a sneaky option for those in need of short-term infield help. Baker is batting an astounding .444 (24-for-54) with two homers and 12 RBI against southpaws this season. And wouldn't you know it, the Cubs are scheduled to face left-handers Bruce Chen and Danny Duffy in Kansas City this weekend. You know what to do.


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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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