Wired: Week 9

Another week down, and another two wins for my two favorite fantasy baseball teams. Of course they did it in different ways, with Michael Brantley carrying the one team in the absence of Cliff Lee, and with Josh Beckett coming through for me in the other after Chris Tillman went big time into the negative. Brantley has been a staple of my team since the beginning, while Beckett was a one-week pickup from — you guessed it — the waiver wire.

That’s the key to the waiver wire, though. I only made the one pick-up this week and it helped my team, but if it had hurt my team I also limited the damage by just picking up the one guy. Unless you have multiple injuries to deal with in any given week. Luckily for you that Josh Hamilton and Jason Kipnis are due back this week.

Now, here are the players you should consider who may be available on your waiver wires for week 9:

CATCHERS

Josmil Pinto (MIN) – While Suzuki may hit for more consistency and average, it’s Pinto who has the power, already knocking 7 balls out of the park. If you need to cover someone struggling at catcher this week, you can certainly count on Pinto to deliver some power numbers. And with so many premier catchers struggling, why not take the chance?

Yan Gomes (CLE) – I told you about Gomes last week, and he may not be available in too many leagues much longer. He’s up and coming, and it won’t be long before more people are talking about him like he’s the flavor of the week, when instead he’s so much more than just that.

Jason Castro (HOU) – Castro is on deck for a potentially big week. He’s hot lately, especially over his last eight games, and he’s facing fair to middling pitching options for week 9. Get on board the train right now and ride it until this streak is over, but it should continue through this coming scoring week.

FIRST BASEMEN

Garrett Jones (MIA) – Just as with Gomes, I can’t believe I have to tell you again this week about Jones. He’s still displaying his power, and he’s a solid candidate for a breakout season if you believe the numbers so far are real. He still strikes out a little too much, but he’s making up for it with his hits and walks. Jones is more than just a one-week replacement. There’s staying power there.

Mark Reynolds (MIL) – Don’t look now, but Reynolds is on another hot streak. He and Adam Dunn are good candidates for being the most streaky players, and it’s no wonder both are available on most waiver wires, but when they’re hot they’re both really hot, and both are hot right now. Ride them while they’re hot, and drop them when they’re not.

Nick Swisher (CLE) – Swisher is back just in time to help make a difference in your fantasy lineup for week 9. After losing Abreu a few weeks ago and then Fielder this week, it’s easy to see that having someone steady like Swisher can only help your team. Don’t pick him up, though, if you have just a struggling elite first baseman on your hands. Pick him up if you have an injury issue only.

SECOND BASEMEN

Brandon Phillips (CIN) – So this isn’t the Phillips from a few years ago. He’s not reliable as an everyday second baseman, but he can still help out your fantasy team. His 54 hits so far place him in solid company, and he’s still getting his fair share of RBIs. His power is down, but with the consistency he is showing right now, it can be overlooked for a week.

Derek Dietrich (MIA) – Dietrich draws more walks than Phillips and has scored 24 runs to Phillips’ 17. He also has a higher slugging percentage than Phillips but he still isn’t seen as in the same category. Maybe that should change. They have the same number of fantasy points so far in this season, and it’s a tossup which one you should grab off the waiver wire. Both have potential for this week, but not necessarily for the long term.

Brett Lawrie (TOR) – Lawrie just keeps hitting, which is what you want from a second baseman (he also has eligibility at third base). Maybe owners are looking for a higher batting average, but that’s pretty much the only knock you can put on Lawrie. Unlike the other two I mentioned, he is a long-term solution to your problems at second base, but others may be realizing that too, finally. Pick him up if he’s still available and you need a second baseman (or a third baseman) long term.

THIRD BASEMEN

Matt Dominguez (HOU) – I never thought I’d be touting several Houston players, but the team has good options who are playing well to this point in the season. Dominguez is one of them, and perhaps the only reason he’s still available on a significant number of waiver wires is the fact that he does indeed play for the Astros. He’s playing better than a lot of “prime” players at the position.

Luis Valbuena (CHC) – He’s hot right now, having had multiple hits in several games over this past week. He’s proven to be reliable when he’s on a hot streak, so you can count on him this week to reward you.

Pablo Sandoval (SF) – Don’t look now, but the Big Panda’s back. And it coincides with the moment so many owners decided to give up on him, so he’s a lot more available than I’ve ever seen him. Now, I’m not saying he won’t disappoint at some point in the future. I do think he’s turned a corner for the moment, though, so ride the hot hand, especially if you can pick him up for a steal at the moment.

SHORTSTOPS

Erick Aybar (LAA) – Just being in that loaded Angels lineup seems to have been doing wonders for Aybar recently, but his ownership hasn’t gone up at the same time as his actual value has. He has 25 RBIs so far, though, and that should tell you all you need to know. As long as he’s coming up with men on base, his value will continue to climb.

Xander Bogaerts (BOS) – His team is in the middle of an abysmal losing streak, but Bogaerts isn’t the cause of that. He’s playing well, and he’s seeing the ball clearly. He’s also scored 20 runs to this point, and you know Boston will get going sooner rather than later. Don’t miss out on his production.

Andrelton Simmons (ATL) – Perhaps Simmons is playing possum, but he hasn’t shown nearly as much in the early going as he should have in the tank. The fact that he has 43 hits in only 166 at-bats should tell you that the potential is very much still there. And that’s enough to give him another chance during a week when he has good matchups.

OUTFIELDERS

Yangervis Solarte (NYY) – I told you about Solarte last week, and he has only gotten better over the course of that scoring period. He has personally helped one of my fantasy teams pick up another win, and I would have to say he’s been the prize of the waiver wire where I’m concerned. This should be the week you finally pick him up before it’s too late.

Garrett Jones (MIA) – See what I said about Jones earlier (at first base) and you can see where his multiple eligibility (like Solarte) can definitely help out your team, especially if you’re dealing with injuries and have to move people around. He is more than worth the roster spot.

David Murphy (CLE) – Speaking of players with a hot hand, Murphy has one of the hottest at the moment. His .268 average speaks to his ability to get on base and to make his at-bats matter.

PITCHERS

R.A. Dickey (TOR) – His 5-4 record may be misleading because most of those poor starts happened early, but he has been hitting his stride of late. As a knuckleballer, you know it’s all about the rhythm, and Dickey has that rhythm right now. As a one week replacement he can definitely help you out.

Phil Hughes (MIN) – Was it Yankee Stadium or what? Who cares. The real Hughes was always inconsistent, Yankee Stadium or not, but right now I think we’re seeing a big switch, and I think it has to do with maturity, not quite the environment. Whichever is the real difference, Hughes is in line for two starts this week against struggling teams. This should be a no-brainer.

Zach Britton (BAL) – Two straight saves for the new Orioles’ closer, and an infinitesimal ERA. That should equal higher ownership, but it doesn’t. If you’re dealing with a struggling relief pitcher, why not give Britton a chance?

The Fantasy Ace

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