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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 clear their 60-day disabled list
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Diamondbacks have moved four players off the 60-day disabled list, according to the Arizona Republic

Bronson Arroyo, Patrick Corbin, David Hernandez and Matt Reynolds were activated Thursday. Players are not allowed to be on the 60-day disabled list during the offseason. They can be put back on the 60-day DL once the season begins again. 


Diamondbacks bring back Daniel Hudson, Matt Reynolds
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Diamondbacks have picked up options on Daniel Hudson and Matt Reynolds, according to the Arizona Republic

Hudson returned to the majors after undergoing two Tommy John surgery. He tossed just 2 2/3 innings, posting a 13.50 ERA. Reynolds spent all of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery. 


Padres decline option on Josh Johnson, but could bring him back
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Padres have declined an option on pitcher Josh Johnson, according to MLB.com.

Johnson missed most of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was owed $4 million next season, but the Padres opted to buy out the final year on his contract. Despite the move, Johnson could return to San Diego at a lesser price. The 30-year-old pitcher reportedly has interest in staying with the club. 


Orioles decline to bring back Nick Hundley
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Orioles have declined an option on catcher Nick Hundley.

Hundley hit .243/.273/.358 over 218 at-bats last season between San Diego and Baltimore. He was set to earn $5 million in 2015, but the Orioles didn't want him at that price. He'll look to hook on with another club this winter.


Orioles decline option on Nick Markakis
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Orioles have declined an option on outfielder Nick Markakis.

Markakis was owed $17.5 million next season, but the team opted to buy out his contract for $2 million. The 30-year-old Markakis will head into the offseason a free-agent. He hit .276/.342/.386 over 642 at-bats last year.


Orioles bring back Wei-Yin Chen, Darren O'Day
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Orioles have brought back pitcher Wei-Yin Chen and Darren O'Day for next season.

The club had options on both players and decided to pick them up. Chen posted a 3.54 ERA over 185 2/3 innings last year. O'Day posted a 1.70 ERA over 68 2/3 innings. 


Dan Haren decides to return to Los Angeles
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren has decided to remain with the club, according to the Los Angeles Times

Haren opted to exercise a $10 million option to stay with the team. In his first season with Los Angeles, Haren posted a 4.02 ERA 186 innings. 


Royals expected to decline option on Billy Butler
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Royals are expected to decline an option on designated hitter Billy Butler, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Butler slumped last season, hitting .271/.323/.379 over 549 at-bats. He hit just nine home runs. Butler is owed $12 million next season, and the team is expected to go a different direction. 


Royals pitcher Danny Duffy limited by rib issue
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) Royals pitcher Danny Duffy was limited by a rib injury throughout the playoffs, according to the Kansas City Star.

Duffy suffered a stress fractuce in his ribcage late in the year, which prevented him from throwing more than two or three innings at a time. Duffy was a candidate to start the first game of the ALDS until the injury cropped up. Duffy was excellent down the stretch for Kansas City. He posted a 2.53 ERA over 149 1/3 innings. 


Marlins expected to bring back Jeff Mathis
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Marlins are expected to pick up an option on catcher Jeff Mathis, according to MLB.com.

Mathis is owed $1.5 million next season, and the club will likely pick that up. Mathis isn't much of a threat at the plate, but receives high marks for his defense and ability to work with a pitching staff. 


 
 
 
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