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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
Ryan Zimmerman to 'ramp up' throwing sessions
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:11 pm ET) Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman will "ramp up" his throwing sessions, according to MLB.com.

Zimmerman threw for the first time Thursday, and did not report any issues with his hamstring Friday. Manager Matt Williams said Zimmerman was "on his way" back. Zimmerman hit .282/.345/.456 over 195 at-bats prior to tearing his hamstring. 


A.J. Pollock to begin rehab again Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:40 pm ET) Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock will begin his rehab assignment again Tuesday, according to FoxSports.com.

Pollock will begin his assignment at Triple-A Reno. Pollock had been on a rehab assignment, but needed extra time after being hit on the same hand he broke earlier in the season. He's been out since May 31 with the injury.


Nick Punto not ready just yet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:13 pm ET) Athletics infielder Nick Punto is not ready for baseball activities yet, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Punto is dealing with a hamstring injury, and hasn't come along as quickly as expected. He's been out since August 2 due to the issue. Punto is hitting .207 over 179 at-bats.


Kyle Blanks to have MRI Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:09 pm ET) Athletics infielder Kyle Blanks will have an MRI on his feet, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Blanks said both his feet have started bothering him on his rehab assignment. He's been sidelined since June 22 due to a calf injury. It doesn't look like he'll be able to join the major-league club any time soon.


Cory Luebke able to play catch
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:03 pm ET) Padres pitcher Cory Luebke started a throwing program Saturday, according to MLB.com.

Luebke is recovering after his second Tommy John surgery. His throwing schedule has been slightly altered this time around. Luebke will take more time between throwing sessions. There's still no timetable for his return. 


Hitters to sit in Week 22
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:45 pm ET) So you're thinking of starting Mike Zunino, Allen Craig, Neil Walker, Casey McGehee, Brock Holt or Josh Hamilton in Fantasy Week 22 (Aug. 25-31)? That may not be such a great idea.

Check out the latest Start and Sit Hitters to find out why.


Hitters to start in Week 22
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:44 pm ET) Looking for a sleeper hitter for Fantasy Week 22 (Aug. 25-31)? You may just find him in the latest Start and Sit Hitters. Stephen Vogt, Justin Morneau, Jedd Gyorko, Martin Prado, J.J Hardy and Michael Morse are all labeled "starts" for the upcoming scoring period, with several other sleeper suggestions sprinkled throughout.

Be sure to give it a look before setting your lineup.


Jed Lowrie not ready to throw or hit yet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:42 pm ET) Athletics infielder Jed Lowrie is not ready to throw or hit yet, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Lowrie did say his injured finger was getting better. He's hoping to begin throwing and hitting drills in a few days. Lowrie has been sidelined since August 13 with a fractured finger. 


Marcus Semien could soon factor in Fantasy
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:40 pm ET) By trading Gordon Beckham to the Angels Thursday, the White Sox created a big hole up the middle that, for now at least, they'll attempt to fill with some combination of Carlos Sanchez and Leury Garcia. But neither figures to make as much of an impact long-term as Marcus Semien, who Fantasy owners may remember for the splash he made back in April and May filling in for an injured Beckham and then an injured Conor Gillaspie.

His final numbers didn't look so hot, but he showed his potential with a couple nice weeks. When the White Sox finally shipped him to Triple-A Charlotte, he slumped so badly that he fell off the radar for a while, but he's rebounded in July and August, batting .288 (51 for 177) with six homers and 14 doubles. Most encouraging is his exceptional on-base percentage during that time thanks to a 35-to-30 strikeout to walk ratio. His plate discipline put him on the map as a prospect last year but hasn't been as evident during his time in the big leagues so far.

So why isn't he up yet? Good question, but MLB.com has reported he will be when rosters expand in September. My guess is he gets most of the at-bats then, and with an Ian Kinsler-like combination of power and speed, I could see him making an impact in Fantasy.


Hyun-Jin Ryu tosses another bullpen session Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:35 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu tossed another bullpen session Friday, according to MLB.com.

Ryu has been sidelined with a glute injury since August 13. He also threw from the bullpen mound Thursday. Ryu has a 3.28 ERA over 137 1/3 innings.


 
 
 
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