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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
Rangers outfielder Jake Smolinski rips first home run of 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:35 pm ET) Rangers outfielder Jake Smolinski went 2 for 4 at the plate with a home run in Texas' 11-10 loss to the Mariners Sunday. Smolinski went deep in the third inning when he smacked a 3-1 pitch from James Paxton over the left center field wall, driving in Rougned Odor, his first home run and RBI of the year.

Smolinski is now hitting .143 in 21 at-bats this season.


Jeff Francis, Russell Martin become Blue Jays' first Canadian battery
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(8:34 pm ET) When Jeff Francis entered Sunday's game in the fifth inning and pitched to catcher Russell Martin, it marked the first time in Blue Jays' history that the franchise featured a Canadian battery, reports the Toronto Sun

Francis, who hails from Vancouver, British Columbia, was called up by the Blue Jays from Triple-A before Sunday's game. 

Martin is from East York, Ontario.


Mariners outfielder Austin Jackson cracks first home run of the year
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:31 pm ET) Mariners outfielder Austin Jackson went 3 for 5 at the plate with a home run and two RBI in Seattle's 11-10 win over the Rangers Sunday.

Jackson got going early, taking a 1-2 pitch from Ross Detwiler over the left center field wall to lead things off in the first inning, his first home run of the season.

Then, in the ninth, Jackson singled to left field, bringing home the game-tying run before Nelson Cruz won it later in the inning. Jackson, who picked up his first two RBI of the year, is now hitting .277 in 47 at-bats this season.


Journeyman P Brandon McCarthy may have found home with Dodgers
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(8:20 pm ET) Journeyman pitcher Brandon McCarthy may have finally found a home as the right hander, who signed a $48 million contract with the Dodgers ($6 million signing bonus) during the offseason, is off to a solid start after his strong performance Sunday against the Rockies, reports the Denver Post.

McCarthy is with his sixth MLB team and seems solidified as the Dodgers' fourth starter this year.

"He was a lot better," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said after Sunday's game. "Take a look at his velocity when we faced him last year in Arizona. He was 90-91. Today, he was 95. He's a completely different pitcher."

Rays outfielder Steven Souza continues hitting tear Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:19 pm ET) Rays outfielder Steven Souza continues to be a force at the plate early in the season. Souza ripped his third home run of the year in the first inning off Michael Pineda, scoring David DeJesus. Souza credits his success to making adjustments, reports MLB.com.

"Their game plan today was pretty obvious -- they were going to come at me with breaking balls," Souza said. "And so I made an adjustment.

"He hung that one and I just barreled it up."

Souza is hitting .289 with 10 RBI in 45 at-bats so far this season.


Rangers reliever Neftali Feliz blows saves, tagged with loss Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:10 pm ET) Rangers relief pitcher Neftali Feliz last 1 1/3 innings Sunday and blew a save opportunity in Texas' 11-10 loss to the Mariners. 

Feliz came on in relief in the eighth and allowed a run, charged to Keone Kela to make it 10-9 before finishing off the inning. Then in the ninth, Feliz put two men on when Austin Jackson singled to right field, scoring Brad Miller from second, giving him his first blown save of the year.

Things got worse from there. Feliz then intentionally walked Robinson Cano to load the bases for Nelson Cruz, who singled to left field to end the game.

Feliz, now 0-1, boasts a 6.00 ERA in six innings of work this season.


Mariners' Nelson Cruz rips two homers, walk-off single in win Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:01 pm ET) Mariners right fielder Nelson Cruz went 3 for 6 at the plate Sunday with two home runs and the game-winning walk off single in the ninth to lead Seattle to an 11-10 win over the Rangers.

Cruz got things going early with a solo homer in the first over the left center field wall on a 1-0 pitch from Ross Detwiler. Cruz then homered again in the third, again off Detwiler, over the left field wall for a three-run shot, his eighth of the season.

Cruz then came up in the ninth with the game tied at 10 and the bases loaded after Texas intentionally walked Robinson Cano. Cruz ripped a 2-2 pitch to left field, bringing home the winning run.

Cruz is now hitting .354 with 14 RBI in 48 at-bats this season.


Rangers pitcher Ross Detwiler allows five runs, earns no decision
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:57 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Ross Detwiler allowed five runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings of work in Texas' 11-10 loss to the Mariners Sunday. 

Detwiler struggled early and often, allowing two home runs in the first inning to Austin Jackson and Nelson Cruz. Then in the third, Detwiler put two men on for Cruz, who ripped the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for a three-run home run. Detwiler allowed two more hitters to reach base before getting the hook.

Detwiler, still 0-2 on the year, now boasts an 11.68 ERA and will look for his first win of the season Sunday against the Angels.


Mariners pitcher James Paxton tagged for seven runs in ND Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:57 pm ET) Mariners pitcher James Paxton allowed seven runs on nine hits in just 2 2/3 innings in Seattle's 11-10 win over of the Rangers Sunday.

It all fell apart for Paxton in the third inning when the first four batters of the inning reached base safely, leading to a run. Then with the bases loaded, Shin-Soo Choo grounded out to bring home another run. Texas continued to peck away at Paxton, scoring five runs all on singles or fielder's choices. Jake Smolinski then smacked a two-run home run over the left center field wall. The Rangers added another run before Paxton was pulled.

Paxton, still 0-1 on the year, now boasts a 5.40 ERA and will look for his first win of the year Saturday against the Twins.


Dodgers INF Justin Turner posts career-high four hits on Sunday
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(7:55 pm ET) Infielder Justin Turner had a career-high four hits Sunday in the Dodgers' win over the Rockies.

Turner went 4 for 5 with an RBI in the game and is now 6 for 15 (.400 avg.) on the season.

 
 
 
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