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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
Lisalverto Bonilla shows control issues Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:24 am ET) Rangers pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla had some control issues Friday against the Angels.

Bonilla allowed two runs on two hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked four during the outing. Bonilla was strong to start things off, going four scoreless frames to open the game. He gave up his only runs in the fifth inning. After a leadoff double, Bonilla allowed a two-run shot to Brennan Boesch. He was able to get out of the inning, but was pulled prior to the start of the sixth.

With the win, Bonilla improved to 2-0. He’ll take on the Astros if he gets another start.


Hector Santiago has disastrous outing vs. Rangers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:24 am ET) Angels pitcher Hector Santiago turned in a disaster start Friday against the Rangers.

Santiago allowed seven runs, six earned, on seven hits over one inning. He did not record any walks or strikeouts during the contest. Leonys Martin singled to lead off the contest, and was driven in a single later in the inning. Jake Smolinski then belted a two-run shot, giving the Rangers a three-run lead. Things didn’t get any easier in the second inning. Santiago gave up four straight singles, plating two more runs. Santiago was pulled at that point, but was charged with two more runs.

With the loss, Santiago dropped to 5-9. He’ll take on the Athletics in his next start.


Domonic Brown dealing with sprained hand
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:22 am ET) Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown was scratched Friday night against the A's because of a right hand sprain, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Brown landed awkwardly on his wrist making a leaping catch the previous day against the Padres. He is hitting .237 with 10 homers and 61 RBI over 452 at-bats.

The struggles continue for Tim Hudson on Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:06 am ET) The struggles continued for Giants starter Tim Hudson in a loss to the Padres in San Diego on Friday, dropping to 9-12 on the year.

Hudson, who is working past a hip issue, allowed a two-run double to Alexi Amarista and a run-scoring single to Cameron Maybin in the opening frame. He also allowed a run-scoring double to Seth Smith in the third inning. The right-hander permitted five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits and two walks while striking out two over 4 1/3 innings of a 5-0 defeat. Of his 76 pitches, 47 were strikes.

Hudson owns a 3.52 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP over 30 starts (184 innings). His final start of the regular season will come Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.


Odrisamer Despaigne spins seven scoreless innings vs. Giants
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:05 am ET) Padres pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne bounced back with a gem Friday night at home against the Giants, improving to 4-7 on the year. The right-hander allowed only two hits and one walk while striking out six over seven innings of a 5-0 victory.

Despaigne picked up his first win since Aug. 12. Over his last three starts covering 17 innings, Despaigne has allowed nine earned runs. He owns a 3.36 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP over 16 starts (96 1/3 innings). He will make his final start of the season at home on Wednesday against Colorado.


Sean Doolittle picks up save No. 22
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:49 am ET) Athletics closer Sean Doolittle picked up his 22nd save Friday against the Phillies.

Doolittle entered with a two-run lead and slammed the door. He tossed a perfect inning during the appearance, facing just three batters. Doolittle did not record any strikeouts. 


Jon Lester turns in fantastic start Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Athletics pitcher Jon Lester turned in a great start Friday against the Phillies. 

Lester allowed one run on five hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked two during the outing. Lester gave up his only run in the fourth inning. With one out in the inning, Lester allowed a solo home run against Ryan Howard. The run didn’t impact him too much, as Lester tossed three more scoreless innings before being pulled. 

With the win, Lester improved to 16-10. He’ll take on the Angels in his next start. 


Edwin Encarnacion belts 33rd home run Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:36 am ET) Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion clubbed his 33rd home run Friday against the Yankees. 

Encarnacion struck in the first inning. With a man on, Encarnacion belted an 81 mph slider out to left for the two run shot. He finished 1 for 4, with one run scored and two RBI.


David Buchanan posts quality start in losing effort
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:35 am ET) Phillies pitcher David Buchanan posted another quality start in a losing effort Friday night in Oakland, dropping to 6-8 on the year. The right-hander permitted three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out six over 6 2/3 innings of a 3-1 defeat.

Over his last four starts covering 23 innings, Buchanan has allowed 11 earned runs. He owns a 3.77 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP over 19 starts (112 1/3 innings). His final start of the season will come Thursday in Miami.


Yoenis Cespedes belts home run Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:29 am ET) Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes belted his 22nd home run Friday against the Orioles. 

Cespedes struck in the fourth inning. With the bases empty, Cespedes belted an 80 mph slider out to center for a solo shot. He finished 1 for 5, with one run scored and one RBI. 


 
 
 
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