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Waiver Wire: Belt starting to surge

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Danny Salazar caused the staff here at CBSSports.com a few headaches this week. After touting him as a strong Week 20 play, Salazar promptly went out and disappointed against the Twins, giving up three runs in four innings. He then lost his second start of the week when Scott Kazmir was brought back into the rotation.

But it might be wise to stick by Salazar. He put up ERAs of 2.36 and 2.71 the last two years in the minors, with a 1.07 WHIP and 10.2 K/9. He only threw 71 pitches in that game against the Twins, and could have recovered from the rough start to shut the team down over two or three more innings. But it seemed like the Indians wanted to keep his arm fresh and not waste the innings in a game against the Twins. And Salazar will get some extra rest with Kazmir returning and bumping him back.

It's understandable that owners would want to bail on Salazar now -- he's given up seven runs in his last two starts and is a largely unknown quantity with a history of arm trouble. And the Indians have been a little inconsistent in their treatment of him -- letting him go 100-plus pitches one game, then yanking him after 71 pitches the next. But I think talent wins out here and Salazar could come roaring back with a string of solid performances to close out the year.

The Big Leap

Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants (59 percent ownership, up from 46 percent)

As most baseball players often do, Belt revealed the reason for his recent success at the plate in the middle of a blog post centered around a review for the latest Ryan Reynolds movie.

In his Brandon and Brandon blog, (which he writes with Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford), Belt explained why he was suddenly smashing the ball: he moved back in the batter's box and began holding the bat in his fingers, as opposed to his palms. Belt says the coaches had been trying to get him to make these changes "for a long item," but it took some encouragement from Buster Posey, a few other teammates and even Domonic Brown ( if you have a few minutes, read this story about how Bam Bam Meulens has a role in Belt's resurgence) until he relented and tried the changes.

"I saw results immediately," Belt wrote in his blog. "I felt I was really tapping into my ability, like I did in spring training." Belt hit .410 with eight home runs and a 1.265 OPS in 24 spring games this year. Since that Phillies series, where he sat and worked on his adjustments, Belt is hitting .417 with three home runs and a 1.306 OPS in 11 games.

We've been waiting for Belt to really break out for a couple years. And now, with changes in his batting stance and box positioning, we may be seeing him take off. Belt is dialed in, and should be added in all Fantasy formats.

Post-Deadline Trade!

Emilio Bonifacio, 2B, Royals (Owned in 13 percent of leagues)

Bonifacio was sent to the Royals on Wednesday for a player to be named later. While it may not register more than a blip on most radars, this could turn out to be a fortuitous deal for speed speculators in Roto leagues.

The Royals have struggled to find a starting second baseman all season. Chris Getz has started 49 games with Elliot Johnson starting 36, Miguel Tejada 22 and Johnny Giavotella 10. Bonifacio, who has made 134 career appearances at second base in his career, could solidify the position for the rest of the season. He can also contribute in the outfield, where David Lough and Jarrod Dyson have gotten regular playing time, or at third base, where Mike Moustakas is currently absent as he nurses a calf injury

The question here is how effective Bonifacio will be. He averaged 35 steals in 2011 and 2012, despite only playing in 64 games last year. And he's managed 12 steals over 262 at-bats in sporadic playing time with the Blue Jays this season. And the Royals like to run -- they're second in the majors in steals with 93.

So Bonifacio has upside -- essentially everyday at-bats at second, third or the outfield with a skill that is highly valued by his team -- but you'll have to keep your batting average expectations low (.250-.260-ish) and don't expect much outside of the speed. He's worth an add in Roto leagues based on his steal potential, but I'd be wary of Bonifacio's Head-to-Head league value, with little to contribute in other categories.

Guy I Added Based on a Hunch

Jake Arrieta, SP, Cubs (Owned in 3 percent of leagues)

Most Added Players (as of 8/15)
Player % change
1. Bruce Chen, RP, Royals 25
2. Danny Salazar, SP, Indians 23
3. Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins 21
4. Yan Gomes, C, Indians 19
5. Will Venable, OF, Padres 19
6. Josh Reddick, OF, Athletics 17
7. Robbie Grossman, OF, Astros 17
8. Stephen Drew, SS, Red Sox 15
9. Tyson Ross, RP, Padres 15
10. Dan Haren, SP, Nationals 14

If you take a step back and look at Arrieta as just a set of numbers, here's what you see: a 27-year-old former top prospect who was stellar his first three years in the minors. He had a nice strikeout rate (about one per inning), with a solid ERA and WHIP. Brought up to the majors, he just couldn't put things together. Sent back to the minors for parts of the last two years, Arrieta struggled, with two seasons of 4.00-plus ERAs.

However, after a trade from the Orioles to the Cubs before the deadline, Arrieta seems to have found a groove. In seven starts with Iowa, Arrieta has a 3.56 ERA and career-high 11.6 K/9. His WHIP is high (1.58), but, well, we'll take it.

This is a gut call mixed with some research. Arrieta showed signs of promise not that long ago. He was on the fast track to the majors. Maybe the AL East was too much. Maybe he lost some confidence getting sent back down to the minors. But Arrieta is still just 27, he has some nice strikeout potential and he's getting a late-season, no-pressure chance with a new team in a league with no DH.

I added Arrieta in an NL-only league and a 17-team mixed Roto league. He's not quite ready for my 15-team mixed Roto Tout Wars squad, but I'm keeping an eye on him. If he can get a strikeout per inning -- even if he gives up four runs -- I may consider adding him to help my strikeout totals in Roto leagues. And if he finds his way in ERA and WHIP, I'll consider that a nice bonus.

AL-only fun

Dane De La Rosa, RP, Angels (Owned in 9 percent of leagues)

It's as simple as this: Ernesto Frieri has been very bad recently and De La Rosa got the first crack at the save opportunity when Mike Scioscia decided a change was needed. As the would-be closer, De La Rosa now has value in AL-only leagues.

While he's not as impressive as Frieri (the 2012 version), De La Rosa can get about a strikeout per inning while keeping his ERA and WHIP around 3.00 and 1.20-ish, respectively. But all he really has to do is hold leads late in games for the next month and a half to have across-the-board appeal, as there really isn't another obvious choice in that bullpen to fill the closer role. For now, though, he's a must-add in AL-only formats on the speculative hope that De La Rosa keeps that job.

NL-only fun

Corey Dickerson, OF, Rockies (3 percent ownership)

Dickerson's been pretty much overlooked by the masses, especially in light of Carlos Gonzalez's injury. Dickerson currently has a .297 average, with two home runs and six doubles over 74 at-bats. But those numbers include a stint in June and July that had him playing somewhat sporadically. In the 17 games since his recall, Dickerson is hitting .366 with a .996 OPS. And in 32 August at-bats, he's hitting .344 with a .934 OPS

The problem is playing time. Charlie Blackmon is currently eating into Dickerson's at-bats and both will probably get the squeeze when Gonzalez returns from his DL trip. However, Dickerson -- who had a .321 average, .980 OPS and averaged 11 steals per season over four years in the minors -- has a ton of talent. So there's a chance Gonzalez sees the steep climb to the second wild card spot (12 games, currently) for the Rockies and decides to sit out the rest of the season and fix his finger. This would make Dickerson a shallower league play.

For now, however, Dickerson has value in NL-only formats as an upside play with a chance to capture more at-bats.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS .

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Player News
Justin Verlander to travel, possibly throw, with Tigers on road trip
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:48 am ET) Tigers starter Justin Verlander is getting closer to throwing again, as he recovers from a triceps injury that has him on the 15-day disabled list. 

Verlander will travel with the Tigers on their 10-game road trip that starts on Monday. 

“He’ll go because he may be able to throw at some point on the trip,” manager Brad Ausmus said, per the Detroit News.


Jimmy Paredes drives in two for Orioles
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:30 am ET) Jimmy Paredes had two RBI for the second time in the last three games as the Orioles lost on Friday. 

Starting at DH for the fifth time since returning from the DL--he's also started one game at second base--Paredes went 1 for 5 with a home run, his second in three days.

Paredes is hitting .320 for the season.  


Cubs start Miguel Montero at catcher Saturday vs. Reds
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:26 am ET) Cubs catcher Miguel Montero returned to the starting lineup on Saturday at Cincinnati, after David Ross handled catching duties Friday night with Jon Lester on the mound, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Montero is hitting .176 with two homers and seven RBI over 42 at-bats this season. He is 0 for 2 with a walk in his career against Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani.


Tigers' Bruce Rondon throwing fastballs and change ups, curves on Monday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:17 am ET) Tigers pitcher Bruce Rondon, recovering from a biceps injury that has him on the 15-day disabled list, will have a throwing session on Saturday.

Manager Brad Ausmus said that Rondon will throw long toss, followed by 20 fastballs and five changeups, per the Detroit Free Press

After a day off on Sunday, Rondon will throw breaking pitches on Monday. 


Nationals' Anthony Rendon: I'm getting back into the swing of things
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:15 am ET) Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon reported no issues with his left knee following his first minor-league rehab assignment game on Friday with Double-A Harrisburg.

"Everything is good," Rendon said, per the Washington Post. "Getting back into the swing of things and trying to feel comfortable."

Rendon went 1 for 2 with one double before being lifted after five innings.

"I haven't seen him since the play he got injured on so it was good to see him back out there,"Double-A manager Brian Daubach said. "He had a normal workday. He took infield with the club. He looked good in the game. He looked good on the double. Had a couple plays at third and made the plays. Another step in the right direction and staying on schedule."

Rendon is expected to play at least five days on a rehab assignment. He will play seven innings on Saturday before receiving an off day on Sunday. The team wants him to play a full game before activating him from the disabled list.


Reds part ways with INF Dan Johnson
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:07 am ET) The Reds released veteran infielder Dan Johnson, who had been with Triple-A Louisville on Saturday, reports MLB.com. Johnson was acquired by Cincinnati in a trade with the Astros before the start of the season. He hit .069 in nine games this season.

Red Sox' Brock Holt hits first home run of year
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:05 am ET) Red Sox utility man Brock Holt hit his first home run of the season in Friday's win at Baltimore. 

''It was just the same approach that I normally have - trying to get a good pitch to hit and hitting it hard somewhere,'' Holt said. ''He just left the fastball up and over the plate, and fortunately I was able to hit it out.''

Holt drove in three runs, his first multi-RBI game since driving in three on April 11. He went 2 for 4 and lifted his average to .424.


Phillies' Domonic Brown working on his timing during rehab
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:02 am ET) Although he told reporters he feels "outstanding," Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown still has one last hurdle to overcome in recovery from an inflamed Achilles that landed him on the disabled list.

"Some at-bats you feel locked in and other at-bats you feel like garbage," Brown said, per LehighValleyLive.com. "That's the toughest thing right now, getting your timing."

Brown moved his minor-league rehab assignment from Class A Clearwater to Triple-A Lehigh Valley last week, and is hitting .195 (8 for 41) with one home run and four RBI in 12 rehab games. He is anticipating a return from the disabled list next week.


David Ortiz drives in three in Red Sox win
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:57 am ET) Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz drove in three runs in Friday's win at Baltimore. 

Ortiz hit his first home run since April 13, which was also his last multi-RBI game. He had driven in a total of two runs in the eight games since. 

Ortiz went 2 for 5, his first multi-hit game since April 18. He raised his average to .211.


Brett Hayes replaces Roberto Perez in Indians' lineup
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:45 am ET) Brett Hayes will get his second start of the season at catcher on Saturday. Hayes is batting eighth in the Indians' lineup. 

Hayes' start gives Roberto Perez a rest after starting nine of the last 10 games. 

The Indians are +105 money line underdogs at Detroit. 


 
 
 
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