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Waiver Wire: A plethora of useful parts

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't we've seen this act before from Emilio Bonifacio?

Coming off his best season in 2011, Bonifacio was a hot commodity on Draft Day 2012, especially since he had multiple-position eligibility. He got off to a quick start that season, batting .370 with four stolen bases through the first seven games. Unfortunately, his hot start wouldn't last.

Bonifacio was hitting .233 by May 8, he would only play in 25 games after May 18 because of injuries and months later he was shipped to Toronto in the mega deal that also sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle north of the border.

The question now beckons following Bonifacio's fast start in 2014: Will he be more like the player he was in 2011 or 2012?

Fantasy owners are gambling on Bonifacio returning to his 2011 form, as his ownership went from 18 percent in Week 1 to 77 percent in Week 2. He was the most-added player in CBSSports.com leagues.

Most added players on CBSSports.com
Player Own %
1. Charlie Blackmon, OF, COL 59 (+56)
2. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B, CHC 78 (+55)
3. James Paxton, SP, SEA 86 (+54)
4. Casey McGehee, 3B, MIA 62 (+54)
5. Justin Smoak, 1B, SEA 74 (+40)
6. Francisco Rodriguez, RP, MIL 72 (+38)
7. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, MIA 45 (+37)
8. Chris Colabello, 1B, MIN 38 (+37)
9. Mark Buehrle, SP, TOR 78 (+35)
10. Aaron Harang, SP, ATL 36 (+33)

I'll admit that I wasn't part of the movement flocking to waivers to add Bonifacio since drafting him in 2012 proved to be very costly, and I really didn't want to waste my waiver priority on him. However, I have no beef with Fantasy owners wanting to add Bonifacio, especially in Rotisserie leagues.

Maybe Bonifacio wasn't consistent offensively before dealing with injury problems in 2012, but he opened the season a perfect 20-for-20 on stolen base attempts and his injury problems started when he hurt his thumb on his first caught stealing attempt of the season.

While his tenure in Toronto last season was forgetful, he was a different player when he joined the Royals. He hit .285 with a .352 on-base percentage and 16 stolen bases in 42 games.

He already has four stolen bases in six games this season, so it seems the theme on the North Side of Chicago is "Run Emilio Run."

Casey McGehee, 3B, Marlins


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 62 percent (up 54 percent)
Once upon a time, McGehee was a regular in Fantasy lineups. But the last time that happened was 2010. McGehee's career quickly spiraled downward, and he eventually had to play in Japan in hopes of stirring up a major-league comeback. Well, McGehee is not only back, but he's producing as the Marlins' cleanup hitter. McGehee was great in Japan last year, batting .292 with a .515 slugging percentage, 28 home runs, 30 doubles and 93 RBI in 144 games. Maybe the year overseas fixed whatever plagued McGehee, and surely the lineup protection from Giancarlo Stanton hasn't hurt. But it's a hard sell to convince me that McGehee has the potential to finish as a top 10 Fantasy third baseman, and it wouldn't surprise me either to see him on the most-dropped list soon.
Leagues worth adding him: 12-team Rotisserie and Head-to-Head leagues

Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 59 percent (up 56 percent)
Blackmon was once one of the Rockies' top outfield prospects, but his career had been derailed the last few seasons due to injuries. Blackmon is now healthy and opens the season as the preferred choice in center field for manager Walt Weiss. However, Blackmon is going to have to keep producing because Weiss could easily turn to Drew Stubbs or recall Corey Dickerson from the minors. Blackmon had pretty good numbers throughout his minor league career, but had moderate home run power. He is more of a contact hitter with decent speed, so he could be a cheap source for batting average and steals in Rotisserie leagues. I added Blackmon in a 24-team mixed league, but I'm not convinced yet he's going to be a long-term option.
Leagues worth adding him: 12-team Rotisserie and Head-to-Head leagues

Jose Valverde, RP, N.Y. Mets


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 53 percent (up 26 percent)
Valverde went from temporary closer to permanent option -- well at least for the time being -- after the Mets announced Bobby Parnell will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Papa Grande might not be the dominant closer he was in the past, but if you are in need of saves, you could do a lot worse. Valverde has tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings and has six strikeouts through his first three appearances. This coming after he was 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 10 spring appearances. The Mets might not be contenders, but that's not a bad thing. They could be in a lot of close games, which means save chances for Valverde.
Leagues worth adding him: All formats that reward for saves

Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Marlins


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 45 percent (up 37 percent)
Don't mortgage the farm to get Hechavarria on your roster. This is just a nice hot streak to open the season. Sure, he hit .312 in his last full season in the minors, but that was in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Hechavarria has always been lauded for his defense. He's hitting leadoff right now for the Marlins with Rafael Furcal on the disabled list, so there's a chance he'll be moved to the bottom of the lineup when Furcal is healthy. If you recall last season, Hechavarria had a nice stretch in July when he hit .417 over an 18-game span, but then he hit .191 over his last 64 games. There's just not a lot of offensive upside here.
Leagues worth adding him: NL-only and maybe deep Rotisserie formats as a middle-infield option

Aaron Harang, SP, Braves


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 36 percent (up 33 percent)
You know pitching is a premium in leagues when you see Fantasy owners climbing over each other to add Harang off waivers. I guess it helps his appeal that he's pitching for a team that's supposed to compete for the NL East crown, and his first start went way better than expected. But Fantasy owners quickly forget he was 5-12 with a 5.40 ERA last season. He might have done well for the Mets down the stretch, posting a 3.52 ERA and striking out a surprising 26 batters in 23 innings. However, Harang also gave up five home runs and walked 12 batters in his four starts for the Mets. I still don't know why the Braves thought Harang was an upgrade over Freddy Garcia.
Leagues worth adding him: NL-only and deep Head-to-Head mixed leagues

Chris Colabello, 1B, Twins


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 38 percent (up 37 percent)
Of the top 50 most added players, Colabello is the only one who had zero percent ownership heading into Week 1. Collabello is a good story. He had to cut his teeth for several years playing independent ball before joining the Twins' organization in 2012. He handled minor league pitching well, but struggled in his first taste of the majors last season. He had a pretty good offer to play overseas this offseason, but Colabello chose to stay stateside and earn his way onto the Twins' roster. He not only did that, but he's thriving hitting in the heart of the order. Not many players are breakout stars at 30 years old, but Justin Ruggiano did it a few years ago, so don't overlook Colabello. He can rake, and he really has nothing to lose. If he fails, he knows he can go finish his career elsewhere.
Leagues worth adding him: 12-team Rotisserie and Head-to-Head leagues

Jenrry Mejia, SP, Mets


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 52 percent (up 22 percent)
Although Daisuke Matsuzaka had a strong spring and deserved a spot in the Mets' rotation, the team made the right call to choose Mejia as the fifth starter, and he didn't disappoint in his season debut. I drafted Mejia as a late-round sleeper in a few of my leagues and glad I did. He did have some control issues against the Reds Friday, but he struck out eight in six innings and still picked up the win. Mejia was phenomenal in five starts last season for the Mets, and he did that with a bum elbow. Now that the Mets are done toying with shuttling him between the bullpen and rotation, this kid has serious potential as a starter.
Leagues worth adding him: 12-team Rotisserie and Head-to-Head leagues

Tyler Skaggs, SP, Angels


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 71 percent (up 17 percent)
The more and more I read about Skaggs, the more and more I'm convinced he's on the verge of a breakout run. Skaggs had anything but a lights-out spring, posting a 4.94 ERA and 1.82 WHIP in six starts. He also walked 12 batters and allowed 31 hits in 23 2/3 innings. Yet, Skaggs won a spot in the Angels' rotation. He has since tossed eight scoreless innings in his season debut against Houston and revealed after the game he relied on a two-seam fastball, which is a new pitch in his arsenal. It was also encouraging to hear that Skaggs was throwing in the mid-90s in his last spring start, which even he admitted is the hardest he's thrown in a while. I know it's one start and it came against the Astros, but Skaggs was a top pitching prospect in the minors and still has a lot of untapped potential.
Leagues worth adding him: 12-team Rotisserie and Head-to-Head leagues

Chris Owings, SS, Diamondbacks


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 55 percent (up 21 percent)
The Diamondbacks made the right call to choose Owings over Didi Gregorius at shortstop. Gregorius is a stellar defender, but Owings is the better all-around player. While Owings has no RBI or home runs through nine games, he's batting .367. He might only have moderate home run power, but he's a good contact hitter and could be a cheap source for steals. The only issue might be in Head-to-Head leagues, where Owings strikes out a lot and doesn't draw many walks.
Leagues worth adding him: Rotisserie formats and Head-to-Head leagues that only penalize minus-0.5 for strikeouts

Yangervis Solarte, 3B, Yankees


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 31 percent (up 29 percent)
Solarte reminds me a lot of Zolio Almonte, who tore the cover off the ball following his promotion to the majors last season but quickly faded. Right now, there isn't much of a scouting report on Solarte, which I feel is helping his hot start. Even Almonte had better numbers in the minors than Solarte, so I would have given him a better chance to survive than Solarte because of his track record. Solarte was a decent contact and gap hitter in the minors, but he had just a .336 on-base percentage and slugged .397 over 672 games. He might be worth using in deeper formats while he gets regular at-bats for New York, but I just don't see him having staying power.
Leagues worth adding him: AL-only

Michael Morse, OF, Giants


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 43 percent (up five percent)
It's shocking to see so many Fantasy owners pass over Morse, who has the potential to be a must-start option. He's been added in just five percent of leagues over the last week, but it wasn't long ago that Morse was raking for the Nationals. He's had two straight injury plagued seasons, so I can understand the hesitation of Fantasy owners a little bit. However, he's healthy now and off to a great start. Morse is slugging .550 through seven games and that's a great sign. From 2009-12, Morse had a .514 slugging percentage and did a lot of damage for Fantasy owners. Right now, he's a very cheap option and could end up being a steal off waivers.
Leagues worth adding him: 12-team Rotisserie and Head-to-Head leagues

Abraham Almonte, OF, Mariners


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 20 percent (up 14 percent)
I don't mind evaluating Almonte, but I was hoping at this point of the season we would be talking about Stefen Romero as the Mariners' outfielder to pick up. Romero posted great numbers this spring -- slugging .643 in 24 games -- and has serious potential in Fantasy. In time, we will probably be talking about adding Romero, but for now the focus is on Almonte, who had 21 Fantasy points in Week 1. He's another player with moderate home run power, but he showed last season in the minors he has the ability to fill up the stat sheet. Don't sleep on Almonte as a 25-steals threat as early as this season. He's the leadoff hitter in what's looking like a pretty good Mariners' lineup. I'm not sure Almonte will become a must-start Fantasy option, but he might develop into a reliable reserve outfielder in deep formats.
Leagues worth adding him: 14-team Rotisserie and Head-to-Head leagues

Player you might reconsider dropping

Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals


Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 72 percent (down 16 percent)
It took only one week for Fantasy owners to already start bailing on Moustakas, who opened the season mired in a 0-for-18 slump through five games. Moustakas has obviously been a bust in his young MLB career, but I'm not ready to give up on him yet. Not after all the progress he made in the offseason and spring training. Also, the Royals aren't panicking about Moustakas' slow start. In past years, it's been a different story, but the Royals are speaking confidently that this is just a slump and not a long-term issue. The team is most encouraged by Moustakas' plate discipline. He's seeing more pitches per at-bat and it's showing up in his walk percentage, which is at a career-high 14.3 percent through five games (FanGraphs.com). Moustakas' career walk percentage (BB/PA) is 6.3 percent.
Leagues worth keeping him: 12-team Rotisserie and Head-to-Head leagues

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Player News
Matt Shoemaker: I could be out 'for a week or two'
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:32 pm ET) The rib cage injury to Angels impressive right-hander Matt Shoemaker has become a concern for the team, according to MLB.com, despite his proclamation Wednesday that it was feeling better. He added that it was 'a little sore' after undergoing an MRI that revealed a mild oblique strain. Shoeamaker is uncertain when he will return - he is set to miss his Saturday start.

"There is no time frame," he said. "Literally they said in two or three days you can feel good or it could be a week or two. We'll just go by feel. Once it stops feeling sore, they want to get into some activity just to test it and rehab it. I want to get into everything quick, but they're just being smart."

Shoemaker has won his last seven decisions. He has allowed just seven earned runs in his last 48 2/3 innings pitched.


Adam LaRoche in midst of deep slump for Nationals
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:17 pm ET) Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche has fallen into a slump from which he hopes he can emerge in time for the NLDS.

LaRoche is hitless in his last 17 at-bats covering four games. That dry spell followed a tear in which he slugged 12 hits, including five home runs, in nine games. His .257 average is at its lowest point since April 4.


Norichika Aoki on tear in leading Royals roll offensively
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:00 pm ET) The Royals have picked it up lately offensively and right fielder Norichika Aoki is greatly responsible.

Aoki has been white-hot with 11 hits in his last 13 at-bats to raise his average 16 points to .281 - no easy feat at this time of year. That mark is at its highest point since May 25, but his overall hot streak has extended back to Aug. 27. Aoki has hit safely in all but four games since then and is 28 for 72 during that stretch.


Jimmy Paredes making impact with strong run
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:47 am ET) Third baseman Jimmy Paredes has received significant work and has taken advantage of it since arriving with the Orioles in late August.

Paredes has received an increasing number of plate appearances, particularly since the loss of Chris Davis to a drug suspension. He has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games with 13 hits, including two home runs, in 33 at-bats. He has eight RBI and seven runs scored during that stretch.

He boasts a tremendous stat line of .358/.383/.578.


Avisail Garcia solid, but not slugging in September
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:34 am ET) White Sox outfelder Avisail Garcia has inched his average in a positive direction since bottoming out at .222 on Aug. 30.

Garcia is 17 for 57 since then with one home run and nine RBI. But he has just one extra-base hit since Sept. 3. His stat line now sits at .254/.318/.413.


Lorenzo Cain on roll for Royals
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:26 am ET) Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain merely accentuated a strong stretch Wednesday night against Chicago, when he blasted a three-run homer off super southpaw Chris Sale and added two more hits.

Cain has hit so well that he has been moved to the third spot in the lineup. He has hit safely in seven of his last eight games with 12 hits in 32 at-bats during that run. Cain has eight RBI and seven runs scored in his last 10 games, sweetening his stat line on the season to .298/.337/.413. He has also contributed 25 stolen bases.


Yasmani Grandal bringing good and bad news to the plate
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:20 am ET) A 19-for-74 stretch might not seem like much, but it's an encouraging run for Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal considering he began it batting .202.

Grandal began the comparative hot stretch on Aug. 26. He has three home runs and 10 RBI in 20 games during that period, but remains a windmill at the plate. He has 19 strikeouts in the last 16 games and has fanned 102 times in 345 at-bats this season.


Wade LeBlanc set to start Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:57 am ET) Left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who was clobbered in his last opportunity to start for the Angels, will get another shot Saturday at home against Texas. He is replacing the injured Matt Shoemaker.

LeBlanc has been fine in relief with four consecutive scoreless appearances covering five innings. But he surrendered six earned runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings in an Aug. 25 start against Miami. He owns a 6.88 ERA on the season.


MRI reveals only jammed shoulder for Eduardo Escobar
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:50 am ET) Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar underwent an MRI on his right shoulder Wednesday that revealed no structural damage. He was diagnosed with a jammed shoulder and is considered day to day, per mlb.com.

Escobar hurt the shoulder diving for a ball Tuesday and was forced out of the game.


A.J. Burnett indicates he's been pitching hurt this season
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:40 am ET) Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett has hinted that he's been plagued by a physical issue this season, but declined to elaborate.

Burnett indicated that he felt terrible much of the year, though he used an unprintable word. Ryne Sandberg said Wednesday, however, that he was unaware of any such problem for Burnett aside from an inguinal hernia that has been known since April.

The veteran starter is 8-17 with a disappointing 4.40 ERA. He leads the majors in losses and walks (87), but is set to make $12.75 million in 2015. Sandberg has been impressed with his durability - Burnett has made 32 starts this season.

"If anything he has displayed just the opposite," Sandberg said about Burnett's health. "Very durable guy with innings, the length that he does give, durable arm. The hernia thing ... from my knowledge, that's been a non-issue."


 
 
 
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