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Waiver Wire: A tale of two Jakes

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Jake Arrieta is one of the most-added players in Fantasy right now, with a 15 percent uptick in ownership (from 3 percent to 18 percent). The 27-year-old has been brilliant in two starts for the Cubs -- sporting a 0.69 ERA and 0.69 WHIP, with nine strikeouts in 13 innings.

Acquired in a July trade from the Orioles, Arrieta was a tantalizing prospect in the minors (he was in Baseball America's top 100 twice), with solid minor league ratios (3.22 ERA and 1.25 WHIP) and a nice K/9 rate (8.8). But when he hit the majors, he'd have spurts of greatness mingled with bouts of disappointment. It all resulted in a 5.29 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over 71 major league starts.

But consider these motivating factors: Arrieta will no longer have to face the DH (outside of interleague play away games), he pitched most of his games against a very tough AL East, and he may have some extra motivation with the Cubs, wanting to prove that his Orioles appearances weren't the real Jake Arrieta.

With two starts next week, Arrieta could either ride this momentum to a really nice finish to 2013 ... or continue his career-long string of disappointments. He has enough talent and motivation to make me bet on the former, and he's the perfect candidate for a Fantasy team in third place or below looking to make a late-season charge up the standings.

The Big Leaps

Will Venable, OF, Padres (54 percent ownership, up from 31)

Venable has always done a dangerous dance with regular playing time. But the left-handed 30-year-old has never eclipsed 425 at-bats over six seasons -- an irregular diet of at-bats that may have knocked him out of any rhythm and suppressed his batting average and power numbers.

This season, however, the Padres have essentially been forced to send Venable out as a regular, with injuries to Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin and Kyle Blanks opening up plenty of playing time. Instead of being in a platoon with someone like Chris Denorfia, Venable has bounced between center and right field as a starter, and his bat has come alive with the increase in playing time.

From April 1 to June 30, Venable started 56 of the team's 80 games (70 percent), with a .221 average, 10 home runs, six doubles and a .689 OPS. In July and August, while the injuries mounted, Venable started 34 of 38 games (89 percent), hitting .328 with seven home runs, five steals, 10 doubles, and a .949 OPS.

With Cameron Maybin hitting a snag in rehab, and Blanks and Quentin looking like they won't return anytime soon, Venable is probably going to continue at his current start-90-percent-of-games clip and should produce at a nice level (probably more like .280 with an .850 OPS and decent steal numbers) the rest of the way.

League size in which Venable should be added: 12-team Roto
His ownership on September 15 should be: 70 percent

Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox (56 percent ownership, up from 44)

There are a few differences between 20-year-old wunderkinds Jurickson Profar and Bogaerts (power potential, speed potential), but the most stark, for Fantasy purposes, is their roles. While Profar is getting everyday at-bats, bouncing between shortstop, third base, second base and DH, Bogaerts is expected to serve as a backup to Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks, mainly appearing in relief of Drew at shortstop.

The Red Sox made it a point to say that having Bogaerts up with the team won't stunt his development, because he's already gotten 515 plate appearances in the minors. So that argument (for him playing) is out the window. Instead, Bogaerts owners will have to take the unenviable position of rooting for a Drew injury. Which is never fun.

For now, Bogaerts is a gamble outside of dynasty formats, in which he's a great keeper. And having a gamble sitting at the end of your bench this late in the season isn't necessarily a bad thing. But Bogaerts' ownership should be more around the 30 percent level, given his playing time prospects.

For what it's worth, I'd prefer to roster Josh Willingham (56 percent owned), B.J. Upton (53), Nate Schierholtz (51), Yonder Alonso (50), Adam Eaton (44), Rajai Davis (38) and Jose Iglesias (47) -- among others -- ahead of Bogaerts in single-season formats.

Over/under on at-bats (season): 40
Over/under on average (season): .265

Jedd Gyorko, 2B, Padres (75 percent ownership, up from 66 percent)

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With the playoffs under way in a lot of leagues and owners shifting their attention to football, it's easy to lose track of some late-season accomplishments. Case in point: Gyorko, who is owned in just 75 percent of leagues.

Overall, Gyorko's numbers aren't spectacular -- a .251 average with 21 doubles, 14 home runs and a .735 OPS. But this is over just 342 at-bats and has come during a rookie season in which Gyorko missed more than a month with a groin injury, then played several games after that trying to get back into a groove.

What we're seeing lately is Gyorko finding that groove. Over his last 10 games, Gyorko is hitting .316 with four home runs, four doubles and a 1.053 OPS. And I'm willing to guess this isn't a fluke, as Gyorko was hitting .309 with a .912 OPS in the 35 games before hitting the DL.

Gyorko had a .321 minor league average, with 55 total home runs between 2011 and 2012 and a career .916 OPS. He even stole 19 bases over 337 games. With position eligibility (second and third base), Gyorko could be a Fantasy boon over the stretch run.

Over/under on home runs (season): 20
Over/under on average (season): .275

AL-only fun

Munenori Kawasaki, SS, Blue Jays (1 percent ownership)

The Blue Jays are lacking some serious depth on offense right now, and with Emilio Bonifacio now on the Royals they have one less utility player to plug into the lineup. Enter Munenori Kawasaki, a fan favorite who has started two games at second base and one at shortstop since his mid-August return from a demotion.

Kawasaki's versatility will allow him to regularly spell Maicer Izturis and Jose Reyes (who has encountered some soreness in his knee lately) at second base and shortstop. I'm not expecting Kawasaki to set the world on fire with his offensive stats, but for a deep AL-only team, he could slot in at MI and do just enough to have some value. It's a gamble -- and far from a guarantee -- but at this point in the season he's on a team going nowhere and playing behind a high-priced shortstop who could be rested or shut down if his injury persists. It's a situation that makes Kawasaki a decent consideration in deep single-league formats.

Over/under on average (season): .225
Over/under on home runs (season): 2

NL-only fun

Roger Kieschnick, OF, Giants (1 percent ownership)

When the Giants DFA'd Jeff Francoeurearlier this week, it was done with little-known Roger Kieschnick having started five straight games in left field. The 26-year-old rookie has played in 17 games for the Giants since his late July call-up, hitting .283 with a .367 OBP and a triple.

Kieschnick showed off a good amount of power over five minor league seasons, with four double-digit homer campaigns, despite getting 300 or more at-bats just three times. While his average isn't overly impressive (.275 over 1,807 at-bats), Kieschnick has enough potential for the Giants to keep playing him for the rest of the season -- at the very least, to see what they may have for the future.

Over/under on home runs (season): 5.5
Over/under on batting average (season): .269

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 stndifino aff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Giants pitcher Juan Gutierrez elects free agency
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:33 pm ET) Giants pitcher Juan Gutierrez has elected free agency.

Gutierrez was designated for assignment by the club on November 20. The team attempted to send him to the minors, but Gutierrez rejected the assignment, becoming a free-agent. He's now free to sign with any club. Gutierrez posted a 3.96 ERA over 63 2/3 innings last season. 


Marlins will consider using Aaron Crow as a starter
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:12 pm ET) The Marlins will consider using newly-acquired pitcher Aaron Crow as a starter, according to the Sun Sentinel.

There's no guarantee Crow will be stretched out during spring training, but President of Baseball Operations Michael hill praised Crow's versatility. "We love the thought he could possibly be a starting option for us, but at a minimum we know he’ll be a valuable bullpen piece," Hill said. Crow started 48 games in the minors before converting to the bullpen. He's been solid with the change, posting a 3.43 ERA over 233 2/3 career innings as a reliever. 


RHP Belisario opts for free agency after assigned by White Sox
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:42 pm ET) Reliever Ronald Belisario has chosen free agency over a minor league assignment from the White Sox.

Belisario struggled in 2014 to the tune of a 5.56 ERA and 78 hits allowed in 66 1/3 innings.


White Sox sign OF Tony Campana
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:35 pm ET) The White Sox have signed speedy veteran outfielder Tony Campana to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

Campana spent brief periods of time with the Diamondbacks and Angels this season and managed just 14 hits in 75 at-bats.


Report: Nats, Doug Fister not making progress in extension talks
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:52 pm ET) The Nationals made pitcher Doug Fister an extension offer in the spring after acquiring him in a trade with the Tigers. Both sides weren't able to agree to terms at the time. According to James Wagner of the Washington Post, both have not made any progress in extension talks "for months"

Fister is entering a contract year after going 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA in 25 starts. He'll make $7.2 million in 2015.


Report: Royals trade RHP Crow to Marlins for lefty Flynn
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:24 pm ET) The Royals have swapped right-hander Aaron Crow to the Marlins for southpaw Brian Flynn, according to Fox Sports Insider Ken Rosenthal, who has further reported that minor league righty Reid Redman is also heading to Kansas City in the trade.

Crow, who had been pitching for Kansas City since 2010, struggled at times in 2014 despite a 6-1 record. His 4.12 ERA was nearly a point higher than what he compiled the previous year. Flynn has pitched in just six major league games over the past two seasons.


RHP Anthony Swarzak opts for free agency
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:04 am ET) Right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak has declined an assignment by the Twins to Triple-A Rochester in favor of free agency, a team source has told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Swarzak had been a mainstay since 2009 in Minnesota, but struggled in 2014, compiling a 4.60 ERA and allowing 100 hits in 86 innings pitched.


RHP Michael Kohn dispatched by Rays to Durham
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:59 am ET) The Rays have outrighted right-hander Michael Kohn to Triple-A Durham a week after designating him for assignment.

Kohn has twice cleared waivers, but could get a chance in spring training to earn a spot on the 40-man roster or land with the big club.


RHP Jason Frasor staying with Royals
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:46 am ET) The Royals have maintained strength and depth in their bullpen by re-signing right-hander Jason Frasor to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2016. The deal guarantees Frasor $1.7 million

Frasor, who was added in July, sported a 3-0 record and 1.53 ERA in 23 appearances for Kansas City in 2014. He won both his decisions in the postseason.


Report: Melky Cabrera not interested in playing on artificial surface
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:48 am ET) The chances of free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera returning to the Blue Jays aren't looking good, and it may be because of Toronto's playing surface.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN on Thursday, Cabrera's preference is to sign with a team other than the Blue Jays so he doesn't have to play his home games on artificial surface. The Blue Jays play in Rogers Centre, which uses Astroturf Gameday Grass. At home last season, Cabrera slashed .304/.352/.454 with seven home runs and 38 RBI over 273 at-bats.


 
 
 
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