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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
Blue Jays veteran Maicer Izturis had tear in right shoulder
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:40 pm ET) Second baseman Maicer Izturis has a tear in his right shoulder that will be examined again before the Blue Jays determine the extent of the injury and how long he will be sidelined, per MLB.com.

Izturis sustained the injury while diving after a ball in a May 23 rehab game.

He has had 11 stints on the disabled list in 11 years. He appeared in just 11 games last year because of a torn ligament in his left knee.

Izturis appeared destined to earn the second base job with the Jays in spring training this season, but he strained a groin. He was on a rehab assignment for that when he suffered the latest setback.


Astros pitching prospect Vincent Velasquez on manager's radar
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:30 pm ET) A.J. Hinch has mentioned fireballing prospect Vincent Velasquez as a possibility to start if the Astros need to bolster their rotation this season.

Injuries have proven costly as the team has used nine starters already.

"Velasquez is throwing the ball very well," Hinch told the Houston Chronicle.

He is 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA at Double-A Corpus Christi and has allowed just 14 hits in 19 1/3 innings with seven walks and 28 strikeouts.


INF Jeff Bianchi opts for free agency after DFA
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:11 pm ET) The Red Sox have announced that infielder Jeff Bianchi has turned down an assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket and opted for free agency.

Bianchi was designated Thursday after garnering one at-bat for Boston this season.


Braves pick up journeyman catcher Ryan Lavarnway
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:05 pm ET) Veteran catcher Ryan Lavarnway wasn't out of work long. Four days after the Orioles designated him for assignment, he has been signed by the Braves. He will join their Triple-A Gwinnett team, the Atlanta Journal Constitution has reported.

Lavarnway earned 28 at-bats for Baltimore this season, but managed just three hits.


Dodgers SS Jimmy Rollins banished to eighth spot Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:57 pm ET) Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins has finally started to produce. He's on a six-game hitting streak.

So what thanks does he get? He has been lowered to eighth in the lineup Saturday in St. Louis after occupying one of the top two spots in all 41 games he has played this season.

Joc Pederson and Justin Turner are holding down those two places in the order against the Cardinals.


Dodgers OF Scott Van Slyke returns to action in St. Louis
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:50 pm ET) A back ailment that has prevented Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke from playing since Monday does not have him out of the lineup Saturday in St. Louis, where he will try to get his first hit in nine days.

It won't be easy - sizzling starter Michael Wacha is on the mound for the Cardinals.

Van Slyke is playing left field and batting seventh. A 4-for-33 slide has lowered his batting average from .373 to .274.


Jason Heyward out of Cardinals' lineup on Saturday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:49 pm ET) Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward is not in the team's starting lineup for Saturday's game. Heyward has started the last four games and seven of the last nine. 

Randal Grichuk gets the start in right for the fifth time this year. He'll bat fifth in the order. 


Jon Jay returns to Cardinals' lineup on Saturday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:47 pm ET) Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay returned to the starting lineup for the first time since May 9. 

Jay has been on the disabled list with wrist tendinitis. He'll bat seventh in the Cardinals' order. 


Matt Holliday returns to Cardinals' lineup on Saturday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday returned to the lineup for Saturday's game. 

Holliday was held out of the lineup for Friday's game, suffering from an illness. 

He'll bat third in the order. 


Dodgers activate Yasmani Grandal from DL, send down Chris Heisey
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:40 pm ET) The Dodgers announced that catcher Yasmani Grandal was activated from the seven-day disabled list prior to Saturday's game.

Grandal suffered a concussion, but he completed a minor league injury rehab assignment and is ready to return to the team. 

To make room for Grandal, the Dodgers sent outfielder Chris Heisey to Triple-A. Heisey hit .111 in five games with the team. 


 
 
 
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