The Waiver Wire team returns after a holiday weekend.
Well, I was wrong about the Pirates sacrificing some arbitration dollars to boost their meager playoff odds when I recommended Polanco about a month ago. The super-two cutoff is on it’s way, though, so your chances to pick him up are slipping away if you were wiser than I. Polanco is likely to bat leadoff for the Pirates, and should provide plenty of stolen bases (40 in 2011 and 38 in 2012) in addition to good-enough power (6-8 homers the rest of the way, I would guess).
Singleton is the other obvious post-super-two callup (also Maikel Franco, who I’m not high on). With the Astros, though, there’s an outside chance he doesn’t see the field until next May. The most encouraging aspect of Singleton’s minor league performance to date is the way he has cut down on his strikeouts (and without Manny Ramirez to guide him). He remains risky; I would rather have Adam Lind, for example, but I would probably take him over Mitch Moreland.
Taveras was called up this week, but he was already owned in most leagues. It remains to be seen whether he will get enough playing time the rest of the way, but he’s worth owning on that chance.
I have mentioned Dickerson a few times in this space, mostly lamenting the lack of available playing time in Colorado. Well, at least they are making an effort. Michael Cuddyer started at third the past two days in the absence of Nolan Arenado. The main beneficiary of this move is likely to be Cuddyer himself if and when he gains third base eligibility. Dickerson is still splitting time with Brandon Barnes and Drew Stubbs in right (and left when Carlos Gonzalez sits). But, hey, if Cargo and Justin Morneau get injured and miss the rest of the season, he could play every day! Even at 3 starts per week, though, he may be more productive than your fifth outfielder, depending on the depth of your league.
Prior to a shoulder injury, Garcia was really good for the Cardinals. More strikeouts than average, very few walks, and tons of groundballs. Also, he’s really tough. It’s not clear when he tore his labrum, but it was sometime during 2012, yet he didn’t have surgery until after making 9 decent starts in 2013! Pitchers often don’t even come back from that surgery, but so far Garcia has looked as good as ever in 2014. Be on the lookout for reports of shoulder pain returning, but ride him until then.
I typically hold off on players with lackluster minor league track records until… well until right about now. That may mean he’s gone in your league, but he’s still over 70% available in Yahoo and ESPN.
McCarthy has been hit solidly in his last two outings and three of his last five. I would still pick him up were he available in any of my leagues. In 2011-2012, McCarthy provided around a 3.30 ERA by only doing on thing well, controlling the strike zone. This season, his velocity is way up, and he’s striking batters out at a league-average rate, and the walks are the same as they have always been. He’s in a bad ballpark, of course, but a poor man’s Cliff Lee is typically worth owning anywhere except Coors Field.
The closer position has actually been relatively quiet since I last wrote. Belisario is likely to hurt your rate stats, but there’s really no one else on the South Side, so he could hold the gig for a while. If that’s too meh for your tastes, might I suggest:
LaTroy Hawkins has miraculously held onto the job for this long while striking out less than 10% of hitters. It can’t continue, and I think Ottavino gets the first chance rather than lefty Rex Brothers, who is having more control problems than usual, which is saying something. I also picked up Joba Chamberlain in one league, though manager Brad Ausmus has been suprisingly levelheaded about Joe Nathan’s struggles thus far. Typically that trait doesn’t last very long in major league managers.