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Waiver Wire: Buck-ing the trends

Senior Fantasy Writer
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A little deeper on the list of the Most Added players sits an interesting player on an interesting team with an interesting background.

Chris Parmelee, outfielder for the Twins, is owned in 28 percent of leagues, a number that has jumped up 12 percent since last week.

Why the leap? Parmelee, 25, is hitting .261, with one home run, a steal, and five RBI in eight games this season. But he's been hot in his last four games, with a .444 average and 1.316 OPS in that span.

The last time we saw Parmelee in the majors, closing out a lost 2012, he was failing to capitalize on his minor league promise, hitting .229 with five home runs and 10 doubles in 192 at bats. He had a bit of a run late in the season with three September home runs and a .253 average, but it was nowhere near the numbers the 2006 first-round pick produced in the minors where, in 2,520 at-bats over seven seasons, Parmelee hit .273, with 91 home runs and an OPS of .820.

Parmelee's average rose as he climbed his way up the minor league levels, and he hit 13 or more home runs in three of the last four seasons, including 17 last year in just 228 at-bats in Triple-A. He has a big bat and is in a lineup with underrated power hitters, including Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau, and Trevor Plouffe. The big issue here is that first base is too deep for Parmelee to make an impact in most Points/Head-to-Head leagues, because of the smaller roster sizes. He can be a solid corner infielder in Roto formats and is a must-own in AL-only leagues, but those playing in smaller leagues should simply keep an eye on him for future adding.

On to the rest of the wire!

The Big Leaps

John Buck, C, Mets (53 percent ownership, up 8 percent)

Apparently, somebody got very motivated with all the talk of when Travis d'Arnaud would be called up to the majors, totally dismissing the incumbent catcher (Buck) in the process. With prospect-philes drooling over d'Arnaud, Buck quietly went out and hit .342 with two home runs and three doubles in 17 spring training games. When nobody noticed that, he stepped up in the first eight games of the season and hit .393 with four home runs and 14 RBI. By the season's eighth game, Buck was batting cleanup. In celebration, he homered for his second straight game.

Most Added Players (as of 4/10)
Player Name % change
1. John Buck, C, Mets 46
2. Jim Henderson, RP, Brewers 44
3. Jed Lowrie, SS, Athletics 40
4. Gerardo Parra, OF, D-Backs 38
5. Barry Zito, SP, Giants 33
6. Travis Wood, SP, Cubs 31
7. Jeremy Guthrie, SP, Royals 29
8. Kelvin Herrera, RP, Royals 27
9. Jose Fernandez, SP, Marlins 25
10. Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Mariners 24

Buck studies opposing hitters and shares intel with his pitchers to improve their game plan. He also had probably the best scene in the 2012 series The Franchise, introducing a taxi driver to the game of baseball. More importantly to Fantasy, Buck may not be a fluke. Yes, there is a lot of concern about his role when d'Arnaud (hitting .267 with seven walks in five games for New York's PCL club in Vegas) is called up, but Buck has a 20-homer season under his belt, two more with 16-plus homers, and has hit double-digit homers in seven of his nine seasons. His average will be low, but as long as he has regular at-bats, he's a good bet for some power.

Buck is the perfect second catcher for a team with d'Arnaud or even the suspended Yasmani Grandal on the bench. He has an expiration date but should be a nice power option in the meantime.

Chances he has impact beyond June: 40 percent
Chances that impact is for the Mets: 40 percent
Over/under on home runs (season): 13
Over/under on average (season): .240

Jim Henderson, RP, Brewers (47 percent, up 3 percent)

John Axford has been beyond bad. Choose a word from the thesaurus -- deplorable, calamitous, miserable, rotten, sickening -- and you won't be accused of hyperbole. But it doesn't mean he's beyond repair. Axford has a 24.30 ERA and 3.30 WHIP through four games. He has given up four home runs, nine hits and two walks. The silver lining? For players in 1x1 leagues, which count only K/9 for pitchers, Axford has managed to strike out over a batter (four) per inning (3 1/3). The plan in Milwaukee is to fix Axford, then put him back in the closer role.

In the meantime, the team plans on turning to fellow Canadian Jim Henderson to handle the closing duties. (Unresearched fun fact: the Brewers are the first team in baseball history to replace their Canadian closer with another Canadian closer in two consecutive seasons). Henderson, 30, has been stellar so far, with four scoreless innings on the season and six strikeouts. However, his minor league track record isn't blow-you-away impressive (granted, there were some serious injuries mixed in there), he gave the closer role back to Axford last year, and he seems to expect Axford to take over again this year.

So where does that leave us? In leagues where saves come at a premium, Henderson should be picked up. It will probably be a good two weeks until Axford is fixed -- assuming he is fixable and not masking an injury -- and Henderson will probably have a long leash in the meantime.

Over/under on saves (season): 11
Chances he is still the closer in August: 18 percent
Heartwarming story about Henderson's struggle to reach the majors: Check.

Jed Lowrie, SS, Athletics (90 percent, up 50 percent)

About two weeks before the season, it was still unclear how the A's were going to shuffle their collection of middle infielders, a group that included Jed Lowrie, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore. Without much fanfare, Lowrie started on opening day. And then the next day ... and the next ... and soon it became clear that Lowrie was the starting shortstop for the A's.

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That was step one in figuring out Lowrie's value. Step two will take place over the next five months, as we wait to see just how many games he can play. Lowrie's career-high is 97, set last year with the Astros, when he also set a career-high in home runs (16) and runs scored (43). The power is another fun facet of his game. We saw it develop a little in the minors, and he's shown flashes of his power in the series of truncated major league stints, but nobody is really sure what to expect from Lowrie, who has three home runs already on the season. If it's anything close to last year, you have a J.J. Hardy clone. If he falters, you may be looking at more of a Stephen Drew.

Over/under on days spent on the DL: 29.5
Chances he hits 25 home runs: 55 percent
Over/under on batting average: .261

The Flavors of Next Week

Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals (12 percent ownership)

Matt Adams can relate to John Buck. While everyone was raving over Oscar Taveras and how he was going to come up and take over when Carlos Beltran got hurt, Adams hit .288 with three home runs, 17 RBI (!), and five doubles this spring. The slugging first baseman (he hit 22, 32, and 18 home runs in his last three minor league seasons) has now played in four games this season. With Taveras in the minors and Mike Matheny giving Adams more playing time than anyone anticipated -- especially considering his outfield and first base slots were pretty solid without Adams in the mix -- it stands to reason that Adams may have surpassed Taveras (or, perhaps, was never really behind him) in the pecking order for replacing an injured outfielder. Allen Craig, who was benched at Adams' expense on Wednesday, would move to the outfield, with Adams taking over at first.

Of course, we'd need an outfielder to get hurt for this to happen, but with Adams playing his way into more time, he'll probably see some more attention from owners this coming week.

Over/under on at-bats (season): 400
Over/under on home runs (season): 20

Chris Young, OF, Athletics (24 percent ownership)

He probably would have seen a nice leap in ownership even if Josh Reddick was perfectly healthy, but with Chris Young playing every day for the rest of the week, he has a chance to build on his two early home runs and 1.002 OPS.

A lot was made about Young's quad injury last year, which took a good chunk out of his September. But the real season-killer was when he tore a ligament in his shoulder in April when crashing into an outfield wall. Even after resting for about a month, he came back and played through the pain. The result was a drop in power and speed, as Young followed up two straight 20/20 seasons with 14 home runs and eight steals.

Yes, he is now going to call a larger park home. But Young is healthy and the A's have a tendency to run. There isn't much hope here for a batting average jump, but Young could force his way into the lineup with stellar defense and a hot bat and be a 20/20 threat once again.

Over/under on home runs: 22.5
Over/under on steals: 21.5

Evan Gattis, C, Braves (21 percent ownership)

All you need to know about Evan Gattis' awesome backstory was already covered here by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien. As for his actual baseball skill? In the last two minor league seasons, between Class-A and Double-A, Gattis hit 40 home runs in 600 at-bats. He has a career .308 average and .920 OPS. Fredi Gonzalez has already conceded that he needs Gattis' bat in the lineup, and he'll probably play a decent amount more than Gerald Laird. Want another John Buck recall? Just like the Mets catcher, Gattis has found his way into the cleanup spot in the order, appearing there three games in a row.

So what's the catch? When Brian McCann arrives, Gattis is going to be forced into backup duty. While he played outfield in the minors, the Braves famously went out and acquired two Uptons in the offseason to complement Jason Heyward as their outfielders. Gattis played seven games at first base in the minors, but Freddie Freeman will probably be coming off the DL around the same time McCann returns. In short, Gattis isn't just squeezed, he's squeezed by a cast of All-Stars. These things usually have ways of working themselves out, through injury or trade, but exercise caution before adding Gattis at the expense of someone like Jesus Montero.

Over/under on at-bats: 350
Over/under on home runs: 20

American League fun

Erik Bedard, SP, Astros (14 percent ownership)

It's safe to say Erik Bedard had a very weird start to the season, with a 3 1/3 inning save on opening day, followed by a four-inning, no-decision start on Tuesday. In the 7 1/3 total innings, though, Bedard has allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out five batters. It's an encouraging start from a pitcher who had an ugly, injury-spoiled 2012 (the second the back spasms hit, his promising 2012 start was derailed).

Bedard, 34, has a career ERA of 3.83 and a WHIP of 1.33, striking out about a batter per inning. Like Lowrie, his main issue is health -- Bedard has never pitched 200 innings in a season and has only gone over 30 starts once. The Astros seem to recognize this, limiting Bedard to 66 pitches in Tuesday's blowout against the Mariners.

On top of a two-start week coming up, Bedard is also capable of very solid pitching, like his run from 2006 to 2011 (3.44 ERA and 1.24 WHIP). Add it up, and you have a very useful pitcher on a team that understands his relative fragility, who can be very useful when he's right.

Chances he is pitching at the All-Star break: 90 percent
Over/under on innings pitched (season): 145
Pitchers I would release to add him for the upcoming two-start week: Joe Blanton, Ubaldo Jimenez, Bartolo Colon

National League fun

Greg Dobbs, 1B, Marlins (7 percent ownership)

Greg Dobbs is your prototypical pinch-hitter: in a 10-year career, Dobbs has just one season with more than 350 at-bats. But he has a decent .267 average and has seasons of eight, nine, and 10 home runs. This is not to say Dobbs is awesome. But, given regular at-bats, players tend to get into rhythms and zones. Dobbs hasn't had that many chances to play daily, which is why he could turn some heads. The season in which he played the most -- 2011, with the Marlins -- Dobbs hit .275 with eight home runs, 23 doubles, and 49 RBI. These aren't the most impressive numbers, but they do fall right into the "serviceable for Fantasy" category. And I'll be even more specific. I owned Casey Kotchman in an NL- only league. He was my starter at first base. I added Dobbs to help me weather that storm, and I'm in a good place, mentally. Dobbs won't do damage, and he could supply enough in power and average to make you forget all about Kotchman.

Over/under on at-bats: 375
Over/under on home runs: Nine
Chances he is still starting at first base on June 15: 50 percent

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Report: Indians likely to exercise option on Mike Aviles
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:30 pm ET) The Indians are expected to exercise their $3.5 million option on versatile veteran Mike Aviles, according to the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Aviles played outfield and all infield positions aside from first base last season in earning 344 at-bats. He finished the year with a stat line of .247/.273/.343 and tied a career-best with 14 stolen bases.

He was part of a lopsided deal before the 2013 season for Esmil Rogers in which the Indians also received emerging standout catcher Yan Gomes.


Bochy: Illness kept Tim Lincecum out of pregame ceremony
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:15 pm ET) Giants reliever Tim Lincecum declined to elaborate about his absence from pregame introductions Tuesday night, claiming he was in a back room and that he preferred not to run out in the middle of the ceremony.

Bruce Bochy, however, came up with another explanation. He said Lincecum was busy throwing up. "That's the honest truth," Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News. Lincecum, who told trainer Dave Groeschner that he was feeling ill, made it out to the bullpen after the first inning.

"He said he was good to go," Bochy said. "Timmy was available."


Pirates giving prospect Josh Bell shot at first base in AFL
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:43 pm ET) The Pirates are determined to find out if premier prospect Josh Bell can fill their longstanding hole at first base. That's why he's playing that position in the Arizona Fall League.

Bell split the first 10 games at designated hitter and first base, where he has already committed four fielding errors. His unfamiliarity with the position has proven problematic.

"Getting to feel overall comfortable has been the biggest challenge," Bell told MLB.com. "I'm sure that will come with reps. When I get more playing time, I'll be able to just run with it, react. It's definitely something different. You're a lot more active. It keeps you more in the game, always on your toes."

Bell is coming off another strong year offensively, batting .325 with nine home runs, 60 RBI and nine stolen bases at the Class A Advanced and Double-A levels combined.


C Jackson Williams hooks up with Angels
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:27 pm ET) The Angels have signed catcher and former top prospect Jackson Williams. The 28-year-old Williams finally reached the majors in late August and earned 13 at-bats with Colorado before undergoing right knee surgery.

Williams was a first-round pick of San Francisco in 2007.


Dodgers still waiting for SP Dan Haren to act on option
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:17 pm ET) The Dodgers have confirmed that veteran right-hander Dan Haren has yet to exercise his $10 million option for 2015.

Haren certainly had other concerns Wednesday, when he underwent arthrocopic surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

The 34 year old, who did not pitch in the playoffs, finished strong in the regular season. He yielded just 10 earned runs in his last 43 innings and concluded the year at 13-11 with a 4.02 ERA and just 36 walks in 186 innings.


Twins allow reliever Jared Burton to leave for free agency
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:08 pm ET) The Twins have declined their option on veteran right-hander reliever Jared Burton, making him a free agent.

The 33-year-old Burton, who finished the year as the closer after Glen Perkins was shut down, compiled an ERA of 4.36, his worst since 2009. His control has weakened in each of his last three seasons and his strikeouts were well down in 2014.


Orioles facing dilemma in regard to future of 1B Chris Davis
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:00 pm ET) The Orioles have a difficult decision to make regarding Jekyll-Hyde first baseman Chris Davis, who followed a stunningly productive 2013 with a stunningly horrible 2014.

Davis batted .196 with 26 home runs and 72 RBI before losing the last 17 games to suspension for PED use. The team might not want to risk taking him to arbitration, however, CSNBaltimore.com has speculated. Davis earned $10.35 million this season, a raise of more than $7 million from the previous year.

Further speculation is that the Orioles will not cut his salary 20 percent because they believe $8.65 million is too rich for their blood considering his monumental struggles this year. In addition, that move would likely prompt Davis to seek arbitration.


Tigers OF Torii Hunter believes he proved his worth in 2014
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:34 pm ET) Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter appears to be leaning toward a return in 2015. That will allow to play into his 40s - he turns 40 in July.

Hunter maintained his consistency and productivity in 2014 by batting .286 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI while batting mostly second in the lineup. But his team was knocked out without winning a game in the postseason.

"Playing for a contender is very important to me," he told MLive.com. "But taking a lesser role will be hard for me when my core numbers are pretty good, not just for a guy that's 39 years old but also for a 22-year-old player. The last three or four months of the season, I played pretty good defense as well.

"I know that we all get older, but until I give you signs that I can't help a team, don't count me out just yet. I've been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball. Everybody knows what they are going to get."


Yost: James Shields set to start Game 5 for Royals
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(2:17 pm ET) Ned Yost has declared strongly that Royals ace James Shields is locked in as the Game 5 starter in the World Series despite the recent struggles of the right-hander.

Shields has yielded 11 earned runs on 23 hits in 14 postseason innings. He bottomed out Tuesday in the World Series opener against San Francisco, getting knocked out after three innings having surrendered five earned runs.


Jose Bautista hoping Melky Cabrera remains with Blue Jays
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:21 pm ET) Blue Jays star teammate Jose Bautista has handicapped a return of free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera at about 50-50, per Sportsnet.

"I think he's going to allow the team a chance to come and match any offer that he might get out on the free agent market," Bautista said. "I think the Blue Jays are going to have a shot at bringing him back so hopefully for our fan base and for my sake - making my job easier and having him on base a lot, because he does get on base a lot with his bat - hopefully the team does take that chance and re-sign him somehow."

Cabrera performed well in his second season with Toronto, compiling a stat line of .301/.351/.458 and scoring 81 runs.


 
 
 
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