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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
Angels RF Kole Calhoun homers, records four RBI in win
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:54 pm ET) Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun enjoyed yet another monster performance during Sunday's win over the Rangers.

Calhoun went 2 for 5 with a home run and four RBI. He hit a three-run blast, his ninth of the season, during a four-run fifth inning.

Over hos last eight games, Calhoun is hitting a whopping .324 with 11 hits, three home runs and 14 RBI.


Angels 1B Albert Pujols slams 25th home run of season
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:49 pm ET) Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hit his 25th home run of the season on Sunday against the Rangers.

Pujols went 2 for 5 with a home run and two RBI in the 12-6 win over Texas. Pujols hit a solo blast off Rangers starter Colby Lewis in the fourth inning to continue the offensive onslaught his team put together.

Pujols is hitting .260 with six hits, two home runs and six RBI over his last six games.


Rangers SP Colby Lewis gets rocked for 10 runs in loss
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:31 pm ET) Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis got completely obliterrated by the Angels on Sunday.

Lewis allowed 10 runs on 12 hits in just four innings while picking up his fourth loss of the season. The outing was Lewis' second shortest of the season. Back in late May, he managed to get through just 2 2/3 innings before being pulled after allowing nine runs.

Lewis (8-4) has a 4.83 ERA with 75 strikeouts and 22 walks in 104 1/3 innings this season.


Angels SP C.J. Wilson strikes out four in win over Rangers
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:26 pm ET) Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson didn't have his best stuff on Sunday, but that didn't keep him from picking up his seventh win of the season against the Rangers.

Wilson allowed three runs on six hits in six innings of work. He struck out four batters but did give up two walks in the process. A Prince Fielder home run was an early mistake Wilson allowed in the first inning, but he settled in and didn't allow any more runs until the seventh inning.

Wilson (7-6) has a 3.82 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 34 walks in 108 1/3 innings this season.


Giants SP Ryan Vogelsong ejected along with manager
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:12 pm ET) Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was ejected in the fifth inning of Sunday's game against the Nationals for arguing balls and strikes, per ESPN.com.

Vogelson, along with manager Bruce Bochy, was ejected by home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi for apparently arguing balls and strikes. The ejection was the first of Vogelson's career. 

Vogelson threw four innings, allowed one run on three hits and struck out two batters prior to the ejection.


Dodgers to promote Eric Surkamp from Triple-A
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(8:48 pm ET) Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the team will promote left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp from Triple-A on Monday, but remained non-committal if Surkamp will start the game against the Phillies, per the Orange County Register. 

Surkamp, who started the year with the White Sox before being traded to the Dodgers in May, was 4-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts at Oklahoma City. 

He is 4-3 with a 6.20 ERA in seven MLB starts, all of which were made with the Giants between 2011-13. He appeared in 35 games with the White Sox last season.


AL Starters announced for 2015 All-Star Game
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(8:21 pm ET) The American League starters for the 2015 All-Star Game on July 14 were announced Sunday. The Royals will send four starters to the Summer Classic, with Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon leading the votes in their respective positions.

Angels outfielder Mike Trout will make his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance. He received the most votes of any outfielder and the second most on the AL roster.

Catcher: Salvador Perez, Royals
First baseman: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (injured)
Second baseman: Jose Altuve, Astros
Third baseman: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays (top AL vote-getter)
Shortstop: Alcides Escobar, Royals
Outfield: Mike Trout, Angels
Outfield: Lorenzo Cain, Royals
Outfield: Alex Gordon, Royals
Designated Hitter: Nelson Cruz , Mariners


Diamondbacks' Yasmany Tomas homers in loss
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(8:03 pm ET) Diamondbacks right fielder Yasmany Tomas hit a solo home run and drove in three of Arizona's four runs in Sunday's loss to Colorado.

Tomas homered for the second time in seven games. He has eight RBI over that stretch. 

Tomas has hit in six of the last seven, with three multi-hit games over that period. 


Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez snaps homer drought
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(8:01 pm ET) Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez went 3 for 4 with a two-run home run in Sunday's win over Arizona. 

Gonzalez hit his 11th homer of the year and snapped a 14-game home run drought.

Gonzalez also had the most hits in a game since he went 5 for 5 on June 26. He had been 3 for 29 since that game heading into Sunday. 


Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki hits in 18th straight
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(7:58 pm ET) Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit in his 18th straight game on Sunday, the longest current streak in MLB. 

Tulowitzki went 2 for 5 with a three-run home run. 

Tulowtizki had his seventh multi-hit game and second homer of the streak. He's hitting .371 over the streak.

Tulowitzki has also reached base for 33 straight games. 


 
 
 
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