by Will Overton
Last week I had a few comments from people wanting to dig a little bit deeper into the waiver wire to try and find not just hidden gems, but potentially buried ones. So this week’s waiver wire column is all about the deep leagues and what can be found on the waiver wire.
If you play in a deep league, what I consider anywhere from 12 – 14 teams it’s not easy to work the wire, but you can typically find somebody to fill a gap here and there. When you play in a very deep league with 16+ teams or single league format, it can be almost impossible to find waiver wire help sometimes. But when injury hits you have no choice but to hit the wire and see what you can find.
This week I am going to look at both kinds of leagues, the deep ones and the very deep ones where only the most hardcore of fantasy baseball players dare to go. I’ll be offering potential waiver finds and breaking down my analysis on each of them.
Hidden Treasure (12 – 14 Team Leagues)
Brandon Belt – 1B/OF, San Francisco Giants: Maybe I am getting just a bit caught up in the moment, but I am still a believer in Brandon Belt and I think it’s just a matter of time until he busts loose. More importantly I think the Giants believe the same thing because they’re not giving up on him either and it’s starting to pay off some. Belt was homerless through 116 AB’s as of the end of Sunday, and Belt is supposed to be known for his power. However within the last three days he has started each game and homered in each game, driving in seven runs as well. There is considerable power in the bat of Belt and it’s bound to come out eventually. Like other power hitters he does strike out too much, but he also takes quite a few walks, so if you use OBP instead of BA he’s all the more appealing.
Ryan Doumit – C, Minnesota Twins: After a slow start to the season a lot of people apparently wrote Ryan Doumit off as he is currently owned in just 6% of leagues, good for 22nd among C’s on ESPN. There aren’t 21 other catcher eligible fantasy baseball hitters better than Ryan Doumit, let me just put that out there for you. Doumit has been hitting the ball well lately with three mutli-hit games in his last five starts. Almost more importantly is the fact that he’s been a regular part of the Twins lineup not starting yesterday for just the second time in June. He’ll still get an occasional day off against lefties, but the Twins seem intent on giving Doumit playing time, and he has the power and ability to be a top 15 catcher at the least and should be owned in all deep leagues.
Juan Pierre – OF, Philadelphia Phillies: Sometimes in deep leagues you have to be ok with a guy platooning and that’s what Juan Pierre does. Pierre plays just about every game against right handers, but he does sit most of the time when a lefty is on the mound. The fact remains though that you play Pierre cause you need speed and even sitting against lefties he still steals plenty of bases. Pierre has 11 SB’s for the season, but he has 5 of those 11 in his last ten games. Pierre is also hitting .326 and .333 in June. You’re basically getting nothing from two statistical categories when you play Pierre, but a lot of times it’s worth it.
Buried Treasure (16 teams or more Leagues)
Ryan Raburn – 2B/OF, Detroit Tigers: There were few leagues in which Ryan Raburn was not owned in before the season started. Yet once again he disappointed out of the gate and was so bad he was eventually demoted to Triple-A and dropped in every league imaginable. Yesterday the Tigers recalled him and he responded with a 2 – 3 game knocking a run in and scoring a run. He’s got a .146 average, but he’s also got a track record of second half success. Last year he was hitting .213 going into the all-star break and than hit .341 after it. In 2010 it was .208 before the break, .315 after it. I don’t know what it is, but there is something in this guy that he doesn’t click until the summer and well, summer is here folks. I missed picking him up in my 16 team league by a few minutes earlier today, so obviously I am not alone on this. It’s hard to ignore what he’s already done, but he’s a different hitter after the break and if you wait until than it’ll be too late.
Casey McGehee – 1B/3B, Pittsburgh Pirates: It’s crazy to me that this guy is owned in less than 1% of leagues, even with the slow start he got off to. Ever since the calendar turned to June McGehee has been killing it hitting .350 with several multi-hit games and he’s finding some of the extra-base power he seemed to have lost. Let’s not forget this is the same guy who is two years removed from a 20 HR and 100 RBI season, so it’s not like he’s always sucked. Once the DH is no longer available playing time might become a concern as he’ll split time with both Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones, but with the way he’s playing, I can’t imagine the Pirates sitting him right now.
Justin Ruggiano – OF, Miami Marlins: This is one of those guys who flashed the potential in the minors to be a 20/20 hitter with a good average if he could ever put it together at the major league level. Now here he is at 30 years old just trying to stay in the majors. He’s doing a pretty job of that at least as he has found himself in a time share with Chris Coghlan and so far he’s holding his own starting out 8 – 24 so far, including two long balls. Right now Ruggiano is mostly limited to hitting lefties, but how much longer can the Marlins put up with Chris Coghlan and his .140 average and hitless in his last 16 AB’s. I think it’s only a matter of time before Ruggiano gets some starts against righties and might steal the centerfield job away. I don’t think 20/20 is in his future, but maybe his last chance will be his best one. Certainly worth a flier at this point.