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With D.J. Short out of commission for the next two weeks while he puts a ring on his better half, I’ll be your host for Waiver Wired. If you’re still in contention this far into the season, you probably don’t need a ton of guidance. Or maybe it’s the advice you’ve received from Waiver Wired and other Rotoworld features that’s led you to where you are now. Yeah, that’s what I’m going with. Give us all the credit.
Without further ado, here are this week’s Waiver Wired recommendations.
Eric Young Jr. OF, Mets (Yahoo: 30 percent owned)
His 0-for-5 effort Wednesday aside, Young has been a nice little fantasy option since arriving with the Mets in mid-June. Over 67 games for New York, Young is batting .260 with 40 runs scored and 27 stolen bases. At this point you should know what you’re getting with the speedster. He has no power and he’s probably, at best, going to help you tread water in the average department. But when Young plays, Young runs. He’s playing regularly for the Mets, and he’s running a lot.
Corey Kluber SP, Indians (Yahoo: 16 percent owned)
When Kluber went down a month ago with a sprained right middle finger, it was certainly a blow to the Indians’ playoff hopes. After all, the right-hander sports a nifty 3.54 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 116/26 K/BB ratio over 122 innings this season, which includes a 1.82 ERA over his five starts prior to landing on the DL. By the looks of Kluber’s ownership percentages, it appears that many fantasy owners cut bait when he went down. Kluber is returning on Saturday, though, and he needs to be owned in all leagues.
Michael Wacha SP, Cardinals (Yahoo: 18 percent owned)
The Cardinals’ rotation has struggled of late, and they’ve featured a revolving door in the fifth spot since Jake Westbrook went down with a back injury. Wacha is the latest to get a shot, and he showed on Tuesday against the Reds that he could have staying power, tossing six shutout innings at Great American Ball Park. Overall, Wacha sports a nice 3.20 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 40/11 K/BB ratio over 39 1/3 big league frames. Westbrook is due back soon, but the Cards will give Wacha a shot to run with the fifth spot.
Brandon McCarthy SP, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 21 percent owned)
In his three starts prior to the one where his shoulder issues cropped up again, McCarthy allowed one run over 24 innings. The right-hander spent two months on the disabled list with shoulder problems, and he was up-and-down in his first four outings since coming off the DL. The last two times out, though, McCarthy has made strides, allowing one unearned run over seven innings against the Padres and permitting four runs while going the distance versus the Blue Jays. Since the beginning of 2011, McCarthy has shown that, when right physically, he’s more times than not a fantasy asset.
Mark Buehrle SP, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 36 percent owned)
Things haven’t gone as expected for the Blue Jays this season, and that’s been no different for Buehrle, at least until lately. After getting rocked for eight runs by the Orioles on July 12, Buehrle has gone on a tear, putting up a 2.21 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over his last 10 starts, lowering his ERA from 4.89 to 3.88 in the process. The veteran left-hander certainly isn’t going to pad your strikeout total, but he’s looking like a good bet to help your ratios and possibly get you some wins.
Mark Reynolds 1B/3B, Yankees (Yahoo: 29 percent owned)
The Indians decided to cut Reynolds loose nearly a month ago after he batted only .133/.246/.150 since the beginning of July. The free-swinger has landed on his feet, though, finding regular playing time with the Yankees. Reynolds sports a .265/.357/.449 batting line with two homers and eight RBI over 16 games for the Bombers while seeing starts at first base, third base and even second base. He’s the streakiest of streaky hitters, but Reynolds has held his own since donning the pinstripes, and he’s in a park that caters to his power. He might even have second base eligibility in some leagues.
Jason Vargas SP, Angels (Yahoo: 18 percent owned)
Vargas was sidelined for nearly two months after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot from his left armpit, but, when healthy, he’s given the Angels mostly what they expected. Though he was knocked around a bit in his last start, Vargas put together two of his better showings of the season his previous two times out. As it currently lines up, three of Vargas’ final five starts will come in big parks, which is great news for the flyball pitcher. One of the other two will come against the Astros.
Michael Morse 1B/OF, Orioles (Yahoo: 35 percent owned)
The Orioles were looking for some right-handed sock for their lineup, and they finally landed on Morse, acquiring him last week from the Mariners. The slugger didn’t do a whole lot of slugging during his time in Seattle, hitting only .226/.283/.410 with 13 homers and 27 RBI over 76 games. He’s picked up three hits in his first seven at-bats for the O’s, though, and should receive pretty regular playing time down the stretch. Morse is far from a safe bet given his struggles for much of the season, but he’s certainly capable of going on a power binge over the final weeks and could find Camden Yards to his liking.
Shopping at the five-and-dime:
(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues)
Pedro Strop RP, Cubs (Yahoo: 3 percent owned)
Strop was mentioned in this space last month as a likely option to take over at closer when the Cubs dealt Kevin Gregg. Gregg didn’t wind up getting traded, but what he has done is post a 4.91 ERA and 16/20 K/BB ratio over his last 25 appearances. Meanwhile, Strop has been lights-out since arriving in Chicago, putting up a 2.10 mark while punching out 28 over 25 2/3 frames. Manager Dale Sveum has taken notice, saying that the 28-year-old could be used in the ninth inning this month.
Jarrod Dyson OF, Royals (Yahoo: 6 percent owned)
Dyson has only one thing to offer fantasy owners, but he offers it in spades. The speedster stole 30 bases in just 102 games for the Royals last season, and he’s need a mere 69 contests to reach 29 swipes this year. Dyson has played regularly since Lorenzo Cain went on the disabled list, and while Cain is now back, he’s not able to swing a bat yet. There might not be a better cheap speed option for fantasy owners down the stretch.
Matt Adams 1B, Cardinals (Yahoo: 7 percent owned)
As of this writing, the MRI results on Allen Craig’s left foot were not yet known. At the very least, though, Adams offers a terrific insurance policy. “Big City,” as he’s most commonly known, or “Big Mayo,” as he’s less commonly known, smashed a pair of extra-innings homers in Wednesday’s win over the Reds after taking over for the injured Craig. The first baseman is slugging .476 with 11 bombs over just 212 at-bats this season and would be a no-doubt starter in mixed leagues if Craig’s injury forces him into regular playing time.
Ryan Ludwick OF, Reds (Yahoo: 9 percent owned)
Ludwick suffered a dislocated shoulder on Opening Day before he had taken an official at-bat. After missing over four months of action, the outfielder was hitless in his first 11 at-bats since returning. He’s heated up since then, though, batting .346/.358/.519 with two homers and seven RBI over 52 at-bats. Luddy showed last season during his surprise 26-homer campaign that he still has something left in the tank, so mixed league value down the stretch wouldn’t be a surprise now that he’s healthy.
Yusmeiro Petit SP, Giants (Yahoo: 5 percent owned)
It’s been a long time since Petit was a darling in the sabermetric community due to his results always far eclipsing what he showed with an eyeball test. Lo and behold, the 28-year-old (yes, he’s just 28) is impressing again from a K/BB perspective, putting up a ridiculous 122/17 K/BB ratio over 110 innings between the minors and majors this season. The right-hander has allowed two runs in each of his two starts for the Giants since a call-up last week, and he whiffed 10 batters in Sunday’s outing versus the D’Backs. There could be some NL-only value here.
Tyler Thornburg SP/RP, Brewers (Yahoo: 1 percent owned)
Thornburg has bounced back-and-forth between the bullpen and rotation during his time with the Brewers this season, but he been effective in both roles, holding a 2.08 ERA across 47 2/3 innings. In four starts, the young righty boasts a 1.13 mark while striking out 16 over 24 frames. Most feel that Thornburg will ultimately wind up as a reliever over the long haul, but he’s certainly shown this year that he can make it work as a starter and he should get a chance to stick in that role over the final weeks.
Marcus Semien 2B/SS, White Sox (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
A former sixth-round pick, Semien showed well in his first full season in the minors in 2012, and he took it to another level this year, batting .283/.401/.478 with 19 home runs and 24 stolen bases between Double- and Triple-A. The 22-year-old was promoted by the White Sox on Monday and given his first start on Wednesday, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single. Semien is expected to play pretty regularly down the stretch, and a power/speed threat with shortstop and second base eligibility isn’t easy to find this time of the year.
Michael Choice OF, Athletics (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
Choice has failed to develop into the top prospect the A’s were hoping for after his 30-homer season in the California League back in 2011, but he’s coming off a nice year at Triple-A that saw him bat .302/.390/.445 with 14 homers and 89 RBI. Since his call-up, the 23-year-old has been in the lineup both times Oakland has faced a left-handed starter, and he’s picked up a hit, a run and a walk. Choice could be relevant in AL-only leagues down the stretch.