Doumit man, stop pro-Kratz-tinating and go grab these catchers off the waiver wire!!
The catching position is always one of the most difficult to fill via free agency, but fortunately for you, I may have some answers. Unless you’re ready to give up an arm and a leg for the Poseys, Mauers and Molinas of the fantasy world, keep reading and you’ll discover that there are in fact some decent options waiting for you in the abyss that is the waiver wire.
WAIVER WIRE WONDERS
(All suggested hitters are under 60% owned in both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues)
Ryan Doumit, (Twins): Doumit was a sneaky late-round pick in fantasy drafts because he was coming off of an 18 HR/75 RBI season and because he garnered both catcher and outfield eligibility. Unfortunately for his owners he started the season very poorly and was subsequently dropped in a majority of the leagues he was drafted in. After hitting .194 in April, manager Ron Gardenhire began benching him in favor of prospect Oswaldo Arcia, who showed his power stroke almost immediately after being called up from Triple-A. Eventually Arcia cooled off, and he was sent back down to the minors, which seemingly lit a fire under Doumit. In the 13 games since Arcia’s demotion on May 24, Doumit has gone 15 for 51 (.294, and has stroked 5 HR and driven in 16 runs, including the game-winning RBI in the 11th inning vs. the Nats on Saturday. He won’t be a viable source for a high batting average, as his .270 career average suggests, but his power potential and dual eligibility at the aforementioned positions makes him a hot commodity right now. (51.5% owned on ESPN; 49% owned on Yahoo!)
A.J. Pierzynski, (Rangers): If you looked up the definition of “cagey vet” in the dictionary, A.J. Pierzynski’s name would appear next to it. The 36-year old backstop has been making pitchers look silly for 16 seasons, and if you’re struggling to find a consistent catcher he could be a great addition to your fantasy team. After a season to remember in Chicago in 2012, a year in which he hit 27 HR and had 77 RBI, Pierzynski signed a 1-year deal with Texas worth $7.5 million. Prior to last season he had never hit more than 18 HR, so odds say he won’t replicate last year’s gaudy power numbers, but he’s currently hitting .301 and has hit safely in 12 of the 15 games he has played in since returning from an oblique injury. Balls begin to start flying out of the Ballpark in Arlington as the summer heats up, so grab him if he’s still available in your league. (39.4% owned on ESPN; 54% owned on Yahoo!)
Erik Kratz, (Phillies): Carlos Ruiz’s hamstring injury presented Erik Kratz with a great opportunity for increased playing time, and with what he’s done with the stick, manager Charlie Manuel will have to think twice about putting Ruiz back into the starting lineup upon his return. Ruiz went on the 15-day DL on May 21, and since then Kratz has 5 HR and 13 RBI, to go along with a respectable .260 batting average. At 32 years of age he’s no spring chicken, but Kratz has injected life into a Phillies team that was once destined for failure. The Fightins are 10-8 since he donned the “tools of ignorance”, so now would be a good time to pry him off the wire and ride out this hot streak. (2% owned on ESPN; 4% owned on Yahoo!)
STREAMING SAVIORS (Week of June 10-June 16)
(All suggested pitchers are under 75% owned in both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues)
- Bud Norris, Astros (6/11 @ Seattle): In my column last Sunday I suggested picking up a number of Houston Astros players and they and they have rewarded me for my good faith. The Astros are winners of 8 of their last 13 games and will have another relatively easy schedule this week. Bud Norris has been the ace of the staff with a 5-5 record and a 3.43 ERA. He has registered a quality start in 8 of his last 10 games and will be facing the Mariners Aaron Harang, who was shelled in his last outing vs. the Yankees to the tune of 6 ER in 2.1 IP.
- Tim Hudson, Braves (6/11 @ San Diego): From May 10 to May 27, Hudson have up 5+ runs in 3 of his 4 trips to the mound and was evidently on the outs with fantasy owners as his ownership levels dropped dramatically. Since then he has bounced back in a big way, allowing only 1 ER in his last 14.1 IP. He has an opportunity to even up his record at 5-5 when he faces the the Padres at PETCO on Tuesday. He has performed well vs. the Padres in his career, sporting a 2.70 ERA against them, which is 5th best of all the NL teams he has faced.
- Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies (6/13 vs. Washington): De La Rosa has been a revelation for Colorado this season. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 and came back to pitch three very ugly games last year (9.28 ERA in 10.2 IP). He put all of that aside and has come on strong in 2013, becoming the ace of the Rockies staff. In his last 10 games pitched he has a 3.24 ERA, which includes 6 quality starts, and he has given up zero earned runs in three of those games as well. He faces a sputtering Nats team at Coors, who will be without star slugger Bryce Harper. Going against the status quo for Rockies pitchers, De La Rosa has a better ERA at home (3.15) than he does on the road (3.57)
- Tyler Lyons, Cardinals (6/8 @ Miami): It’s really hard these days to not recommend a pitcher when he is playing against the Marlins, but in this case it would be even more difficult to abstain. The Cardinals will enter the week with the best record in the majors, and well, the Marlins will have the worst, and it’s not even close. Lyons, the rookie from Oklahoma State, has fared very well in his four starts, putting together a 2-2 record, accompanied by a 3.51 ERA and a sparkling 0.97 WHIP. Pitching against the inept Marlins offense (.227 team batting average) and having the Cards offense (2nd in BA, 4th in runs scored) backing him, this should be as easy of a win as a fantasy owner could ask for.
- Scott Kazmir, Indians (6/10 @ Texas; 6/16 vs. Washington): Kazmir has resurrected his career with the Indians this year. Prior to this season he had pitched only one major league game since 2010. No one wanted to have anything to do with him and he’d fallen so far out of favor with MLB scouts and personnel, that he was forced to play for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Independent League (the very same team that Roger Clemens made a spectacle with last year). Come 2013, with Ubaldo Jimenez struggling early on and Brett Myers going down with an injury, Kazmir was called on by the Tribe to eat up some innings. He has done much more than that though, winning 3 games for them and giving them a solid option in the rotation. His 5.24 ERA isn’t pretty, but he gets strikeouts (12th in MLB with a 9.32 K/9) and has the 7th-highest scoring team in league hitting behind him. Putting him in your lineup on Monday vs. the Rangers might not be a good idea, but his scheduled start at home against the Nationals is a good one. He pitches much better at home, where he’s 3-0 with a 3.68 ERA, compared to 0-3 and a 6.66 ERA on the road.
LAST WEEK’S “STREAMING SAVIORS” RESULTS:
Erik Bedard, Astros: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K and W vs. LA Angels; 4.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K and L vs. KC
Dan Straily, A’s: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K and ND vs. Chicago White Sox
Kyle Kendrick, Phillies: 9.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K and W vs. Miami; 6.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K and L vs. Milwaukee
Michael Wacha, Cardinals: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K and ND vs. Arizona
Dan Haren, Nationals: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K and L vs. NY Mets
By Seth Klein (@SethDaSportsMan)
Seth is a writer for FantasyTrade411.com, specializing in fantasy baseball, basketball and football. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, but has been a die-hard New York Giants, Knicks and Yankees fan since birth. He has been playing fantasy sports since 1999 and has since developed a real knack for daily streaming and “working the wire”, which can be attributed to his keen analysis of in-season trends. He is also a writer for BucketsOverBroadway.com, a New York Knicks website, and you can find him gracing the airwaves on @ThaSPORTSKRIB, a weekly show dedicated to sports. Seth attended the University of Arizona, where he majored in “tardiness”, and is now a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist. Feel free to send all your fantasy sports questions to Seth on Twitter: @SethDaSportsMan