D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Vazquez Vindicated?

Thursday, August 18, 2011




AL ONLY

Casper Wells OF, Mariners (Yahoo: 4 percent owned, ESPN: 9 percent)

Wells has struck out 19 times in 46 at-bats since being acquired from the Tigers in the Doug Fister deal last month, but he also has five homers, including four in the last five games. All five of his home runs have been at Safeco Field, which is a pretty noteworthy accomplishment. I'm not sold on Wells as an everyday player in the long-run, but the 26-year-old has 13 homers and an .875 OPS over his first 252 at-bats in the big leagues. That sort of power shouldn't be left on the waiver wire in AL-only leagues. Wells was hit in the nose by a Brandon Morrow fastball on Wednesday night, but could return to the starting lineup as soon as Friday.

Josh Bell 3B, Orioles (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

Chris Davis is likely done for the season with a slight tear in his shoulder, so Mark Reynolds is expected to get the majority of the playing time at first base while Bell plays the hot corner. The 24-year-old has really struggled against major league pitching until now, batting just .208/.228/.279 with a .507 OPS over 202 plate appearances, but has at least hit safely in each of his last three games. His stock has taken a severe hit over the past two years, but he has a chance to play his way back into the O's long-term plans with a strong finish to the season.

Tyler Flowers C, White Sox (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

A.J. Pierzynski was placed on the disabled list Tuesday for the first time in his career with a fractured right wrist. It's not clear how long he'll be sidelined, as he could even need surgery, but Flowers has the opportunity to benefit during his absence. The 25-year-old hasn't progressed the way the White Sox originally hoped he would, but he has at least bounced back from a subpar 2010 season to bat .261/.390/.500 with 15 homers and an .890 OPS over 270 plate appearances at the Triple-A level this season. Fields is a batting average risk due to a his lowly contact rate, but he has enough power potential to be owned in AL-only leagues.

Tim Wakefield SP, Red Sox (Yahoo: 3 percent owned, ESPN: 2.7 percent)

Wakefield has failed to notch his 200th career victory in each of his last four attempts, but he actually hasn't pitched all that poorly, posting a 4.08 ERA and 19/6 K/BB ratio over 28 2/3 innings during the same timespan. He'll get his next opportunity on Saturday against the last-place Royals. No, I'm not guaranteeing a victory here, but Wakefield probably won't hurt you in AL-only leagues even if he walks away empty-handed again.

NL ONLY

Bryan Petersen OF, Marlins (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

I don't claim to understand the whole Logan Morrison demotion, but Petersen has at least decided to get hot at the right time, batting .476 (10-for-21) with two doubles, three triples, one RBI, four runs scored and a stolen base over his last six games. With his line-drive approach and above-average speed, Marlins manager Jack McKeon has really taken to using him out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup recently. Things could change if and when Morrison returns from the minor leagues, but Petersen is well worth using in most NL-only leagues at the moment.

Wade Miley SP, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

The Diamondbacks were dealt a tough blow over the weekend when the recently-acquired Jason Marquis suffered a fractured right fibula. While they could have replaced him with either Zach Duke or Micah Owings in the starting rotation, they instead opted to call up Wade Miley from Triple-A Reno. Miley, 24, has an impressive 3.64 ERA and 56/16 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level this season. And in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, no less. He also carries the reputation of a ground ball pitcher, so I'm a little less nervous about him starting his major league career in the desert. I would consider keeping him in reserve for his first major league start this weekend against Atlanta, but he could really surprise over the next few weeks.

Chris Marrero 1B, Nationals (Yahoo: N/A, ESPN: 0 percent owned)

Davey Johnson said earlier this week that he plans to give Michael Morse playing time in left field in an effort to prepare him for next season. While this will clear the way for Adam LaRoche to get his old job back following shoulder surgery, Chris Marrero will likely benefit in the short-term, as the 2006 first-round pick is widely expected to make his major league debut in September. The 23-year-old is batting .308/.384/.467 with 14 homers, 68 RBI and an .851 OPS over 119 games with Triple-A Syracuse this season. Some still wonder whether he'll hit for enough power to stick at first base in the long, but he should get enough playing time down the stretch warrant a pickup in NL-only leagues.


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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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