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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
Rays pitcher Drew Smyly targeting April for a return to the mound
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:39 pm ET) Rays pitcher Drew Smyly threw a fourth bullpen session Sunday to rehab from shoulder tendinitis and his hoping to be back in action in April, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

"I'm very hopeful that I'll be pitching in April, for sure," he said. "Something would have to go wrong, there'd be a step backward for me not to pitch in April I feel like."

Smyly is hoping to throw batting practice at some point this week.


Rays to use Brad Boxberger as fill in closer to start season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:36 pm ET) Rays pitcher Brad Boxberger is expected to fill in to the closer role for at least the first month of the season while Jake McGee recovers from elbow surgery, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

"He will be in a lot of meaningful situations," manager Kevin Cash said. "With some other guys, but for what Box did last year and the confidence we have in him, I would definitely anticipate him pitching in those leverage situations."


Brewers release pitcher David Herndon
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:33 pm ET) The Brewers have decided to part ways with pitcher David Herndon, the team announced Sunday. Herndon last pitched in the majors in 2012, posting an 0-1 record with a 4.70 ERA in five appearances.

Rangers pitcher Nick Tepesch struggles in outing Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:25 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Nick Tepesch surrendered seven runs on nine hits, including one home run, in just 3 2/3 innings of work Sunday against the Dodgers.

"He threw the ball well for three innings, then it got a little loose," manager Jeff Banister said. "He got the ball up a little and got it flat. But he had three solid innings. The fastball was there and the breaking ball was in play."

Tepesch is now 1-2 in spring training with a 10.38 ERA.


Rays 2B Logan Forsythe looking for consistency at the plate
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:20 pm ET) Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe is working to become a more consistent hitter, regardless of his role on the team, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

"I think consistency depends on how you feel at the plate if the rhythm and timing are there," Forsythe said. "Last year I think that my swing was at a good point to where the rhythm and timing were there going into playing every day, so when I got into that consistency of more at-bats, more playing time, my swing kind of came out more. It's not hit or miss, but I think there's certain times in the season when the swing is there and it's not there. That's baseball."

Forsythe hit .223 with 26 RBI in 301 plate appearances in 2014. He is feeling good about his approach with Opening Day right around the corner.

"There's time when you feel good about your swing. It comes based on results you get in a game,” Forsythe said. "That feedback doesn't necessarily always have to be, 'Oh I got a hit.' Or, "I drove a run in.' Or 'I hit a home run.' As long as you put the barrel to the ball, it can be a line drive out or a web gem made on you, that confidence is boosted, and the more opportunity you get when your confidence is up, you're going to get better results."


Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey makes first appearance out of the bullpen
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:15 pm ET) Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey threw one scoreless inning Sunday, sending the Orioles down in order. Pelfrey, who made his frustrations about the transition known, settled down a bit and felt somewhat comfortable in the appearance, reports MLB.com.

"It was good," Pelfrey said. "At the end of the day, I have a lot of respect for him. I got a lot of things off my chest, and he got a lot off his. So it was a very good discussion. Obviously, my emotions probably got the best of me yesterday. So I told him I'm going to be professional and go to the 'pen and give it everything I have."

He has made just four appearances out of the bullpen in his career compared to 183 starts.

"I wanted to see how fast I could do it, and it was surprising to me I only needed those 10-12 pitches," Pelfrey said. "So that was pretty good. I think the hardest part was playing catch before the game and then waiting around and doing it again."


Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson goes 3 2/3 innings Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:05 pm ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson tossed 3 2/3 innings Sunday, allowing no runs on three hits with four strikeouts against the Rockies. It was Hudson's longest outing of spring training.

"For a couple of hitters there, I'd lose the release point and fly open a little bit and fall behind," Hudson said to MLB.com. "My two-strike pitches were better today, but I wasn't getting ahead as much as I wanted. It'll come.

"I was pretty disappointed about the way I threw to hitters in the first part of the game. It's the first time I've gone [into] four innings in 2 1/2 years. It kind of comes with it."


Padres outfielder Wil Myers working at first base in workouts
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:55 pm ET) Padres outfielder Wil Myers is taking limited practice time at first base during workouts, manager Bub Black said Sunday according to MLB.com.

Myers, who is hitting .278 with three home runs this spring, is currently projected to be the team's starting center fielder, but is part of a very deep outfield.


Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa leaves with back tightness Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:51 pm ET) Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa left Sunday's game after his back flared up, manager Bruce Bochy said according to Andrew Baggarly.

Ishikawa, who is hitting .191 with six RBI in 47 plate appearances this spring, is expected to be re-evaluated Monday.


Brewers release reliever Chris Perez
(8:18 pm ET) The Brewers have released reliever Chris Perez , the team announced.

In camp on a minor league deal, Perez pitched in 10 spring games, surrendering three earned runs in 10 innings (2.70 ERA). 

Perez pitched in Sunday's game but left with a right ankle sprain.

With the departure, the Brewers will consider Rob Wooten, Tyler Thornburg and Michael Blazek for their remaining two bullpen roles.


 
 
 
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