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I hope this week's edition of Waiver Wired finds you well. I'll get straight to the recommendations in a moment, but I just wanted to let you know that I will be leaving Waiver Wired in the very capable hands of Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer) for the next two weeks while I take some time off for my wedding. See, I am allowed to leave the basement sometimes. But don't worry, I'll be back to wrap up the season. Until then, good luck to those of you who are still in the hunt in your respective leagues.
Marco Estrada SP, Brewers (Yahoo: 39 percent owned)
Estrada has been excellent since returning from a hamstring strain earlier this month, posting a 1.88 ERA and 21/3 K/BB ratio in 24 innings across four starts. He pitched against the Cardinals, Reds, and Rangers in that time, so it's not like he was facing pushovers. The 30-year-old right-hander is a fly ball pitcher, so he can be dangerous at times, but he piles up strikeouts and limits walks. While Estrada was a disappointment prior to his two-month stint on the disabled list, he could be a valuable option in all formats the rest of the way.
Nolan Arenado 3B, Rockies (Yahoo: 18 percent owned)
While Arenado hasn't homered this month, he's hitting .323 (30-for-93) with seven doubles, two triples, and 13 runs scored in 25 games. He's actually hitting .285 dating back to the start of June, so the rookie third baseman has bounced back quite nicely after getting off to a slow start for his career. The 22-year-old owns a .793 OPS at home compared to a .642 OPS on the road and the Rockies will play their next six games at Coors Field, so there's no better time than now to give him a shot if you need to fill a CI (corner infielder) spot.
Andy Pettitte SP, Yankees (Yahoo: 40 percent owned)
Pettitte hasn't been much of a factor in mixed leagues for most of the season, but he has enjoyed a return to relevance recently, allowing four runs (one earned) in 19 2/3 innings over his last three starts. The 41-year-old southpaw hasn't struck out more than five batters in a start since way back on June 26, so his success has largely been derived from good location and inducing weak contact, but he'll have an excellent chance to maintain that trend against the White Sox next week. It helps that the Yankees have started scoring runs again.
Wilson Ramos C, Nationals (Yahoo: 16 percent owned)
I have been hesitant to rely on Ramos in single-catcher leagues until this point, but there's no real threat to his playing time now that Kurt Suzuki has been traded back to the Athletics. While hamstring issues have limited Ramos to just 51 games this season, he has been very productive when on the field, hitting .282 with eight home runs and 32 RBI. If you were to project those numbers out over a full season, you'd be looking at some big-time production. Health is the big question, but the 26-year-old has a real chance to be a top-12 option at the catcher position in 2014. He's undervalued right now.
Tyler Clippard RP, Nationals (Yahoo: 35 percent owned)
Rafael Soriano has looked particularly vulnerable this season, which led to Nationals manager Davey Johnson saying this week that he could envision using Clippard in the closer role before the end of the year. It's worth noting that Soriano has converted his last two chances without any drama, but Clippard is worth stashing if you are in the mood to speculate for saves. The 28-year-old has seven straight perfect appearances and a 1.94 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 63/20 K/BB ratio over 60 1/3 innings this season. He's going to help you in ratios and strikeouts even if he doesn't get any saves.
Adam Eaton OF, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 31 percent owned)
Eaton got off to a bit of a slow start after coming up from the minors early last month, but he's hitting .306/.372/.459 with seven extra-base hits (two home runs) 10 RBI, two stolen bases, and 17 runs scored in 22 games in August. That's what fantasy owners were hoping for when he was hyped as a sleeper prior to his elbow injury during spring training. Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson has used Eaton as his No. 2 hitter in each of the last seven games, so he should have plenty of value in all formats if he sticks there the rest of the way.
Dustin Ackley 1B/2B/OF, Mariners (Yahoo: 18 percent owned)
Andrew McCutchen leads the majors in batting average this month, but it might come as a surprise to learn that Ackley is right behind him. That's right, the 2009 No. 2 overall pick is hitting a cool .406 (26-for-64) with nine extra-base hits (two homers) five RBI, and nine runs scored through 19 games this month and has pulled his batting average up from .194 to .256 since July 5. Sure, weird things can happen in small sample sizes, but Ackley is hitting the ball harder these days and has always had the pedigree. Maybe the light has finally come on? With his multi-position eligibility, those in deeper mixed leagues can afford to gamble.
Brandon Moss 1B/OF, Athletics (Yahoo: 36 percent owned)
Moss is on an incredible roll at the moment, going deep six times in his last nine games. He's now up to 24 home runs on the season. The 29-year-old credits the surge to a flaw he spotted during a recent batting practice session. Two of his recent home runs have been against southpaws, who he has traditionally struggled against, so that's an especially encouraging development. Moss still strikes out a ton, so don't look for much batting average help, but there are few better power options who are widely available.
Shopping at the five-and-dime:
(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues)
Reymond Fuentes OF, Padres (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
Fuentes was called up to the majors for the first time this week following a breakthrough season in which he hit .330/.413/.448 with six home runs, 43 RBI, and 35 stolen bases over 107 games between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson. While strikeouts have been an issue for him in previous seasons, the 22-year-old brought the number down to acceptable levels this year and even showed improved patience. Still, speed is obviously the biggest reason to pay attention here and with Carlos Quentin done for the season and Cameron Maybin in shut-down mode with a knee injury, he should get plenty of opportunities to show it off down the stretch. Give him a look in deeper mixers.
Eric Chavez 3B/1B, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 5 percent owned)
Chavez returned from the disabled list this week after missing a couple of weeks due to knee and hip issues. The 35-year-old has quietly been very productive when called upon this season, batting .290/.342/.510 with nine home runs and 40 RBI in 65 RBI, largely duplicating his production from last season with the Yankees. He has been at his best at home (.909 OPS), where the Diamondbacks will play 13 out of their next 20 games. Chavez is not guaranteed to play everyday, which means that he's more of an option in leagues where you can make daily lineup changes, but he can be a useful plug-and-play for the final few weeks of the season.
Taijuan Walker SP, Mariners (Yahoo: 9 percent owned)
One of the top pitching prospects in the game, Walker is slated to make his major league debut Friday against the Astros. The 21-year-old right-hander earned the call after posting a 2.93 ERA and 160/57 K/BB ratio over 141 1/3 innings this season between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma. The Mariners didn't have to add him to their 40-man roster this winter and he may only make a couple of starts before facing his innings limit, but I'm not complaining from a fantasy perspective. Besides, there aren't many cozier first matchups than the Astros. Enjoy the sneak preview.
Danny Duffy SP, Royals (Yahoo: 3 percent owned)
After making a successful spot start last month, Duffy was dominant Wednesday night against the Twins, striking out seven batters and walking none over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. The excellent control was obviously nice to see, but he also averaged nearly 94 mph on his fastball, a very encouraging sign for someone who is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. The 24-year-old southpaw will likely be one of my favorite sleepers next spring, but he's worth rolling with if you are looking for some upside down the stretch. His start against the Mariners next Monday is plenty appealing.
Brian Bogusevic OF, Cubs (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
The Cubs have traded Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus, and Scott Hairston over the past two months, leaving Bogusevic with the chance to get regular at-bats in the outfield down the stretch. The 29-year-old owns a .231/.310/.356 batting line over 274 games in the majors, but he has some patience and is capable of providing modest pop and speed. He could be a sneaky option during the final month.
Matt den Dekker OF, Mets (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
Called up this week after the Marlon Byrd trade, den Dekker earned his way to the majors after hitting .296/.366/.486 with six home runs, 38 RBI, and eight stolen bases over 53 games this season with Triple-A Las Vegas. The 26-year-old likely would have been with the big club sooner if it wasn't for a fractured wrist suffered during spring training. While we only have a small sample of data to work with this year, he has cut down on his strikeouts and walked more often. It's unclear how much playing time den Dekker will get, but he's capable of helping in all categories.
Luis Jimenez 3B, Angels (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
Chris Nelson landed on the disabled list Thursday with a right hamstring strain, so the Angels called up Jimenez and figure to give him most of the playing time at third base for the final month of the season. The 25-year-old batted .232 with an ugly 24/2 K/BB ratio in 72 plate appearances during his first taste of the majors earlier this year, but he wasn't nearly as strikeout prone in the minors and routinely hit for a high average with a decent amount of pop. The playing time should be there, so he's worth adding where available.
Josmil Pinto C, Twins (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
Joe Mauer is currently sidelined due to concussion symptoms, leaving Ryan Doumit and Chris Herrmann as the only options behind the plate for the Twins, so general manager Terry Ryan said Wednesday that the club plans to add another catcher in September. As Brandon Warne of 1500 ESPN points out, Pinto is the natural choice since he's the only other catcher on the 40-man roster. The 24-year-old has really come into his own with the bat over the past two seasons, including a .308/.399/.478 batting line this year between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester, so he's worth monitoring. The 24-year-old could be in the mix if the Twins eventually decide to move Mauer to another position.
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