Free Agent Monday
I'm not a huge fan of waiver-wire bingo. I think too often we go for the quick fix when slow and steady often wins the race. You know what I'm talking about. Some guy goes 5-for-8 with a homer and a steal and you'd knock over your mother to get to the computer first so you could add him to your team (I know which one of you out there would do it to, so don't B.S. me and say you wouldn't). So it's with trepidation that I throw out the following names based upon their work the past two weeks. Still, it's Monday and you need to get your lineup in shape for the week, so if you have injured players, or guys that you simply can't stomach for another week, here are some options you could turn to.
Alexi Casilla - .432-0-5-9-5 in 44 ABs Finally. This guy can hit and steal a base, just look at his minor league numbers at Triple-A over 168 games: .278/.370/.371 with 38 thefts. However, after hitting .281 in 2008 with the Twins he's struggled to get significant playing time in the bigs. With the Twins in desperate need of offense you can't think he will be sitting any time soon, though it will be interesting to see what happens when Tsuyoshi Nishioka returns from the DL. For now, Casilla is white hot, and since he qualifies at 2B and SS there could easily be a spot for him on your club.
Freddie Freeman - .378-1-7-4-1 in 45 ABs The problem for any solid first base hitter is that first base is the land of the titans. Solid just won't cut it unless you are in a deep league or one that starts corner infielders. However, the Braves' rookie is doing his best to make you consider his name for a starting spot. In six of his last eight games he has at least two hits, he's driven in seven runners in that time, and lo and behold his season long batting average is now .277 – not bad when you consider it was sitting at .220 less than a month ago (May 13th). If you need an injury fill in he seems primed to help, but again, make sure you don't make the mistake of thinking Freddie's ready to be a starter at first in a 12 team mixed league.
Chase Headley - .354-0-5-5-2 in 48 ABs Most will look at Headley and see one homer and 23 runs scored and think – why even bother with this third baseman? In retort I'd point out the following. (1) Headley is hitting .280, a solid mark. He's also working on a 15-game hitting streak. (2) His OBP is strong at .385. In fact, that's the best mark of any NL third baseman. (3) He has seven steals. Only two third base eligible players have more – Ryan Roberts and David Wright have nine each. Headley isn't a difference maker, but he's a solid add if your lineup needs a boost.
Adam Kennedy - .342-1-8-7-0 in 38 ABs Kennedy came out of nowhere to hit .289 with 11 homers and 20 steals in 2009 after it seemed like his career was heading off into the sunset. He predictably slumped last year down to .249 with three homers, but he's back at it again in 2011. The Mariners' offense is atrocious, so Kennedy should continue to see time until he slows down. The pending call up of Dustin Ackley is a concern, they won't call him up to have him watch from the bench, but until then Kennedy is a moderate add for those of you who need some batting average help up the middle, and he's always good for a few thefts.
Miguel Olivo - .350-4-13-7-1 in 40 ABs Over the last three games he has three homers and seven RBI, and he's posted a hit in 6-straight to raise his average .012 points. Consistent. That's what Olivo is. I've said and written it before, but here it is again. Over the past five years only two catchers in baseball have 11 homers and 41 RBI each season. They are Brian McCann and Miguel Olivo.
Cliff Pennington - .349-0-3-5-1 in 43 ABs If you are a Jimmy Rollins or Hanley Ramirez owner you might look this guys way. He's clearly hitting well, and he's shown the ability to swipe plenty of bases (he had 29 steals last year). He's nothing more than a place holder in mixed leagues, but you could do worse in the short-term.
Ruben Tejada - .326-0-8-5-0 in 43 ABs Limitations are the name of the game here. In 17 games this year he has zero homers. In 95 career games he has only one. In 17 games this year he has zero steals. In 95 games he has only two. He's also hit a mere .232 in 272 career at-bats. OK, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned him at all.
Ty Wigginton - .326-3-5-8-0 in 43 ABs He somehow always goes underrated while somehow getting enough at-bats to blast 20 homers. Ty qualifies at 1B, 3B and 2B in every league, so he is a great guy to have at the end of your bench. When he's getting regular playing time, like he is now, and is also hitting well, as he has since he returned from injury, then it makes a lot of sense to have him in your starting lineup.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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