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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
Diamondbacks counting on Mark Trumbo to provide offensive spark
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:59 pm ET) Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale knows what Mark Trumbo can bring to the lineup. So much so, that Hale tends to forget about him when worrying about different guys in the lineup, reports AZCentral.com.

"When we talk about all the potential offensive stars that we have, sometimes he gets forgotten," Hale said. "We're looking for Tomas to do this, we're looking for Goldy (Paul Goldschmidt) to do this, we're looking for Lamb to come — and all of a sudden you start thinking, Trumbo has done it. He's hit 30 home runs in Anaheim. He knows what he's doing."

Trumbo hit .235 with 14 home runs and 61 RBI in 328 plate appearances in 2014.


Phillies' Grady Sizemore fine after being plunked
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:53 pm ET) Phillies outfielder Grady Sizemore left Wednesday's game after being hit in the knee with a pitch, according to MLB.com.

Sizemore was replaced by Jordan Danks at first base. His removal from the game was deemed "precautionary" by manager Ryne Sandbery. "He got hit on the meat in the back," Sandberg said. "He felt fine."

Sizemore, 32, hit .233/.299/.354 over 347 at-bats last season.


White Sox pitcher Zach Putnam misses Wednesday with illness
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:49 pm ET) White Sox relief pitcher Zach Putnam was held out of Wednesday's game against the Dodgers with a stomach ailment, reports MLB.com.

Putnam, who is also dealing with a back injury during spring training, went 5-3 in 2014 with a 1.98 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings pitched.


Tigers' Sanchez breezes through first spring outing Wednesday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(6:43 pm ET) Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez breezed through his two-inning outing Wednesday against the Orioles. Sanchez faced just seven batters in his spring debut, allowing a single to J.J. Hardy in the first inning and no walks.

He also struck out Delmon Young.

"They put a really good lineup out," Sanchez said, per MLB.com. "I don't want to pitch around those guys. They're smart. I know they're going to swing because they're working, too."


Royals' Tim Collins dealing with elbow soreness
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:42 pm ET) Royals reliever Tim Collins is dealing with elbow soreness, according to the Kansas City Star.

Collins will head for an MRI on Wednesday in order to determine the severity of the injury. The team won't have a timetable for Collins until they receive the results of the MRI. 

The 25-year-old posted a 3.86 ERA over 21 innings last year.


Nationals' Jayson Werth swings bat for first time since surgery
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:40 pm ET) Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, who has been doing conditioning drills and running, swung a bat on Wednesday for the first time since Jan. 9 shoulder surgery, reports the Washington Post.

Werth took about 20 light swings, mostly dry with roughly five of them coming off a tee. He admitted he's pushing his recovery to be ready in time for opening day.

"We'll see how I react to it," Werth said. "I've been doing a lot. You push it as far as you can without setting yourself really setting yourself back. It's just a tedious process but stuff we got to go through. … It's a start."


Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman developing sinker this spring
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:39 pm ET) Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman is hoping to have a better spring this year after struggling in 2014, reports MLB.com.

"I struggled all last spring, I wanted to make the team so bad," Stroman said following his debut during the Blue Jays' 4-1 win over the Pirates on Wednesday. "I feel a lot different. I feel much more relaxed, I'm focused. I know what I have to do rather than doing everything in my power to go out there and try to make the team, doing more than I had to. So I'm relaxed, I'm motivated, I'm ready to go. I'm excited for this year."

Stroman heads into the 2015 campaign looking to add another pitch, a sinker.

"I've always wanted a sinker," Stroman said. "If you can have a sinker, all hitters say that's one of the hardest pitches to hit when it's located. So it was not that I needed another pitch to make an adjustment, it was more so that I saw it as a weapon I never had that I wanted to add to my arsenal."


Giants pitcher Derek Law throws off mound Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:39 pm ET) Giants pitcher Derek Law was able to throw off a mound for the first time since last June when he underwent Tommy John surgery, reports MercuryNews.com.

Law threw 25 pitches and was suppose to take it fairly easy in his bullpen session.

"I was supposed to go 50 percent," said Law, smiling. "I might have gone 60 percent."

Law is hoping to get back on the mound for a game by June, the one-year anniversary of the injury.

"The first four or five felt a little weird, just getting used to standing on the hill," Law said. "Then it was coming out fine. It was like riding a bike."


Mariners' Ji-Man Choi carted off on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:34 pm ET) Mariners first baseman Ji-Man Choi had to be carted off the field on Wednesday, according to MLB.com.

Choi injured his leg or ankle while leaping for an errant throw in the ninth inning. After the game, it was detemined he fractured his right fibula. It's unclear how much time Choi will miss due to the injury. 


Orioles' Manny Machado plays in first game since August
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:37 pm ET) Orioles third baseman Manny Machado struggled with an 0-for-3 day at the plate in his first game since back from an elbow injury.

Manager Buck Showalter was happy Machado finally got on the field, according to MASN.com.

"Manny needs to play in some games. He's tired of all the work. You think of all the work he's done since he was able to start going on the field after the surgery and you think about the last time he got to play a lot," Showalter said. "We'll try to get as many reps for him as we can, because physically it's not a challenge for him. He's in good shape."


 
 
 
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