Let’s take a look at a few potential waiver wire pick-ups for this week for both those who play in deeper and “normal” sized formats:
Chris Duncan – First Baseman/Outfield – St. Louis Cardinals
Though he’s playing the outfield this season, thanks to his work last season Duncan’s eligible at 1B in most formats, only adding to his allure. The Cardinals are currently using a rotation in the outfield, with Duncan sharing time with Colby Rasmus, Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick. In time, Tony LaRussa will settle on a three-man starting outfield and Duncan is doing everything possible to force his way in.
Through Saturday he was hitting .381 with 2 HR, 11 RBI and 7 R. Let’s not forget that Duncan hit 43 HR over 655 AB between 2006 & 2007, though we have never really seen what he could do over a full season of work. In 2007 a sports hernia sidelined him in September. Last season, a herniated cervical disk in his neck not only ended his season, but the thought was it could potentially end his career.
Obviously, with his start to this season, he was not only able to return, but return to the form he once showed. The only game he has not registered a hit was on April 8, when he entered as a pinch hitter and drew a walk. Otherwise, all he’s done is hit.
While the 2007 season brought about concerns to his average, it came due to an inflated strikeout rate. That season he struck out 32.8% of the time. In 2006 he was at 24.6% and in 2008 he was at 23.4%. Thus far this season he’s sitting at 23.8%.
What that tells me is that it is not impossible to see him hit in the .280-.300 range with power. As long as he continues to see regular at bats, he’s a player that certainly is worth owning in all formats.
Franklin Morales – Colorado Rockies
With the Rockies finally in need of a fifth starter, Morales is set to return to the team this week and start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday. While Morales is a pitcher that I’ve been skeptical about in the past, thanks to a mediocre minor league career, there was no doubting his talent.
Heading into 2008, Baseball America had him pegged as the #8 prospect in all of baseball. Of course, his 6.45 ERA and 1.79 WHIP over 25.1 innings for the Rockies sent most owners scurrying for cover. This season, things have been different.
He made a start early on, giving up 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk, striking out 6, over 6 innings, before being demoted thanks to off days. All he did in the minors was toss 6 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits and 5 walks, striking out 4.
The control has always been his issue, with a BB/9 of 5.3 over his minor league career. He showed in his first start this season that if he could overcome that, he could be successful in the major leagues. That makes him worth stashing, if you have the room, because maybe at 23-years old, this is the season that he finally figures things out. If you don’t have the room on your bench, however, I wouldn’t recommend grabbing him, because he is too big a risk.
Elijah Dukes – Outfielder – Washington Nationals
We mentioned him when Lastings Milledge was first demoted, but now it’s time to drive the point home. Dukes has long been considered a player with a ton of talent, he just needed the opportunity to realize it.
Over parts of 2007 and 2008, he’s hit 25 HR over 491 AB, which certainly should show you just how high his stock could rise with regular playing time, especially in the power department. The average could be a problem, but thus far this year he’s sitting at .323 (through Saturday).
His BABIP is a bit inflated, at .364, but his walks are also down, at 8.8% (last season he was at 15.3%). That tells me the average is going to drop, but he should still have the potential to score some runs and wreak some havoc on the base paths.
The power is there, however, to see him emerge as a must use option even in formats that require only three outfielders. While he’s getting regular time and is playing well, he’s a most own.
Mark Buehrle – Chicago White Sox
I really just do not understanding why people have an aversion to Buehrle. The guy has proven time and time again that he will not only take the ball every five days and eat innings, but excel while doing so.
Is it because he’s only posted a career K/9 of 5.29? I know that is not appealing, but he’s:
- posted double-digit wins each of the past eight years
- had an ERA of 3.89 or lower in six of the past eight seasons
- had a WHIP of 1.35 or lower in seven of the past eight seasons
Basically, he’s going to produce across the board, outside of strikeouts. He’s gotten off to a similar start this season, at 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over his first three starts. He’s proven time and time again that he’s worth using and can help you to fantasy victory, so don’t shy away.
So, what do you think of these options? Would you grab any of them? Which would you avoid?
To read the previous article, click here.