This week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brandon Funston looks at eight intriguing fantasy baseball players still available on the waiver wire in more than half of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
Machado has been a "Macho Man" in his first week with the O's
Manny Machado (SS) Baltimore Orioles
Machado was mentioned/recommended in a few places in the pages of Yahoo! Fantasy when he was first called up last week. His pedigree received prominent mention, as the former No. 3 overall pick in the '10 draft was considered by some to be the top position player prospect heading into the '12 campaign. That said, Machado has been even better than advertised in his first week on the job for Baltimore, hitting three home runs in his first four games. Not surprisingly, he's Monday's top add in the Yahoo! game. The 20-year-old will almost certainly hit some speed bumps in the final weeks of the season, but if you need shortstop help (or 3B help, where he'll qualify after one more start), you probably can't afford to worry about that right now. Machado is going fast, and he's got the promise of being something special. Act now!
- Y! %44%
- Y! rank 1103
- AVG .375
This Blue Jay is a quick fix for any owner's speed needs
Rajai Davis (OF) Toronto Blue Jays
It doesn't seem like it's been hard to find solid speed options on the waiver wire this season. But, that said, it's still surprising to see the No. 2 steals guy in MLB available in more than 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Especially when said player is a top 40 fantasy contributor in 5x5 leagues since late May – Davis is hitting .278 with four home runs, 23 RBIs, 31 Runs and 24 steals in 62 games since May 29. If Davis is available in your league, then you don't really have an excuse if your are struggling in the speed department.
- Y! % 19%
- Y! rank 131
- AVG .261
Rockies rocket taking advantage of regular playing time
Eric Young (2/O) Colorado Rockies
If you'd prefer that your speed come not from your outfield but from a middle infield spot, take a close look at Young, who has taken advantage of regular playing time the past two weeks. In his past 12 games, Young is hitting .452 with nine runs and a steal. The lone steal is disappointing given how much (and well) he's played of late, but he can turn things around in that department quickly. With the trade of second baseman Marco Scutaro to San Francisco and a platoon job in right field with Tyler Colvin, Young should be in the lineup going forward on a steady basis.
- Y! % 4%
- Y! rank 774
Ludwick has been a steady long-ball producer for Reds offense the past two months
Ryan Ludwick (OF) Cincinnati Reds
Ludwick and Pedro Alvarez are the only two players with 20-plus home runs that are owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues. But, with a batting average 33 points higher than Alvarez, Ludwick is the best power option of the under-50 percent crowd (put Cody Ross and Carlos Quentin in that mix of contenders, as well). Ludwick was the leadoff recommendation in the August 1 POW edition , and he's back nearly two weeks later thanks to another three home runs and 11 RBIs to go with a .325 batting average (in 11 games) since last he was discussed in this forum. There's really not much more to say here about a player that has upheld a 1.000-plus OPS since the beginning of June.
- Y! %42%
- Y! rank169
- AVG .266
Reds cornerman has been a worthy stop-gap in the absence of Joey Votto
Todd Frazier (1/3/O) Cincinnati Reds
Frazier isn't up to teammate Ludwick's power standards, but he does offer nice three-position eligibility and, since Joey Votto exited the lineup, he's delivered a solid line of .283, 4 HRs, 18 RBIs and 10 Runs in 26 games. And with Scott Rolen dealing with his annual body breakdown issues (sore back), Frazier should see plenty of playing time even when Votto returns at the end of the month. Among 3B-eligible players with at least 300 plate appearances, Frazier ranks sixth with an OPS of .867, boosted by a four-game series against the Cubs that concluded on Sunday in which he went 9-for-15.
- Y! %19%
- Y! rank295
- AVG .280
April and May showers now a distant memory for Halo's middleman
Erick Aybar (2B) Los Angeles Angels
Visions of a big season for Aybar atop an Albert Pujols-infused lineup vanished somewhere within the first month-and-a-half of the '12 campaign –he was hitting just .189 on May 17. Along the way, he was replaced as the leadoff hitter by Mike Trout, which obviously worked out well for Trout and the Angels. But it also had favorable results for Aybar, who has hit .317 in his past 224 at bats going back to May 18. And since returning from a 15-day DL stint (fractured toe) last week, he's hit .458 with a home run, seven runs and two steals in six games, with most of the production coming out of the No. 7 spot in the order. The Angels have scored the most runs in baseball since the All-Star break, so a regular spot in the lineup, regardless of where it is, has a good shot to be lucrative if you are squaring the ball up like Aybar has been since mid-May.
- Y! %36%
- Y! rank 412
Medlen has put the peddle to the metal since jump to the rotation
Kris Medlen (P) Atlanta Braves
Medlen has embraced his late-July return to the rotation, going 2-0 with a 1.62 ERA and a 16:4 K-to-BB rate in three starts (16.2 IP). Interestingly enough, Medlen's K/9 rate has improved by 2.68 as a starter (8.64) compared to his relief rate. And that can't really be written off as a small sample size since he was pushing 8.0 Ks per nine innings prior to this season. Medlen has proven strikeout ability to go with good control, and his heavy ground-ball rate makes him less prone to the long ball. Also, Atlanta has the seventh-best bullpen ERA in the league, so Medlen should have a decent chance to have his leads that he hands off hold up as wins.
- Y! %21%
- Y! rank 167
Objects in Aceves' rearview mirror are closer than they appear
Andrew Bailey (RP) Boston Red Sox
Of the nine pitchers in MLB with at least six blown saves, seven of them no longer have a closer role. The other two are Dodger Kenley Jansen and Boston's Alfredo Aceves. With Bailey set to return Tuesday from a rehab stint in which he fanned 10 hitters, walked one and allowed just one earned run in 6.1 innings combined among three different minor league squads, Aceves looks like a marked man. Recovering from a torn thumb ligament, Bailey's velocity increased throughout his six rehab stints, and in his final Triple-A outings, he was hitting 94 mph on occasion, which is about where his average has been in his MLB career. With Boston 5.5 games back in the wild card, don't expect it to stick with Aceves as the closer too long if he continues to struggle (6 ER in 5.2 IP in August). Bailey is getting paid closer's money and he has less blown saves in the past two seasons combined (49 saves, 5 blown) than Aceves does in his four months on the job.
- Y! %44%
- Y! rank 614
Other Week 20 Pickups: Josh Rutledge, Col, SS; Carlos Quentin, SDG, OF; Angel Pagan, SF, OF; Domonic Brown, Phi, OF; Starling Marte, Pit, OF; Ben Revere, Min, OF; Chipper Jones, Atl, 3B; Cody Ross, Bos, OF; Denard Span, Min, OF; Matt Joyce, TB, OF; Pedro Alvarez, Pit, 3B; Garrett Jones, Pit, 1/O; Brandon Belt, SF, 1/O; Mitch Moreland, Tex, 1/O; Eric Chavez, NYY, 3B; Michael Brantley, Cle, OF; CoCo Crisp, Oak, OF; Norichika Aoki, Mil, OF; Carlos Gomez, Mil, OF;Carlos Lee, Mia, 1/O; Justin Ruggiano, Mia, OF; Andy Dirks, Det, OF; Ryan Doumit, Min, C/O; Wilin Rosario, Col, C; Salvador Perez, KC, C; Jhonny Peralta, Det, SS; Ezequiel Carrera, Cle, OF; Brennan Boesch, Det, OF; Jon Jay, StL, OF; Scott Hairston, NYM, OF; Jean Segura, Mil, SS; Marco Scutaro, SF, 2/3/S; Dan Straily, Oak, SP; Mike Minor, Atl, SP; Jonathon Niese, NYM, SP; Jarrod Parker, Oak, SP; Scott Diamond, Min, SP; Marco Estrada, Mil, SP; Patrick Corbin, Ari, P; Zach McAllister, Cle, SP; Jeff Samardzija, ChC, SP; Matt Harvey, NYM, SP; Carlos Villanueva, Tor, P; Alexi Ogando, Tex, P; Sergio Romo, SF, RP; David Hernandez, Ari, RP; Sean Marshall, Cin, RP; Jason Grilli, Pit, RP; Vinnie Pestano, Cle, RP; Jared Burton, Min, RP; Glen Perkins, Min, RP; Wilton Lopez, Hou, RP; Greg Holland, KC, RP; Steve Cishek, Mia, RP; Jeremy Affeldt, SF, RP
Xander Bogaerts, SS (Bos) – Arguably Boston's top minor league prospect, Bogaerts earned a promotion to Double-A Portland after a 13-game streak with Single-A Salem in which he hit .440 with 3 HRs, a triple and 6 doubles. He's 6-for-14 with a HR in his first 3 games for Portland.
Chris Parmelee, 1B (Min) – The Twins prospect is bucking for a return to Minnesota, as he's on an 18-game tear for Triple-A Rochester in which he's hitting .438 with an eye-popping 11 HRs.
Corey Seager, SS (LAD) – Kyle's brother has found his groove for Rookie League Ogden, belting his first 4 HRs as a pro and hitting .486 with 3 SBs in his past 7 games.
Adam Eaton, OF (Ari) – Eaton, the Triple-A batting leader (.382) also leads in Doubles (41), and he's added five more to his total (and a HR) in the past 10 games for Reno.
Tyler Skaggs, SP (Ari) – Eaton's Reno teammate and one of the organizations top arms has sizzled in his past seven outings, sporting a 0.88 ERA and 38 Ks in 40.2 IP.
Jeff Locke, SP (Pit) – A Pirates preseason top 10 prospect according to Baseball America, Locke justified that status with a 2.66 ERA and a 113:38 K-to-BB ratio in 125 IP for Triple-A Indianapolis before being promoted to Pittsburgh this past week, where he pitched 2.1 IP of perfect relief this past Thursday.