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Waiver Wire: Dustin fools

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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It's amazing what you can find on the Internet these days. Don't worry. I'm not going to show you a clip of a cat playing a piano or post a spoiler from your favorite television show.

But I do want to show you a scouting report I dug up on Mariners outfielder Dustin Ackley leading up to the 2009 MLB draft. This pre-draft report is provided by MLB.com:

"Ackley might be the best pure hitter in the college ranks, if not the entire Draft class. He's got great bat control and plus bat speed that allows him to make consistent contact to all fields. There's some debate about how much power he'll have, but that's really only an issue if he can't return to center field. He's had to play first since Tommy John surgery last summer. But regardless of where he plays, those hitting skills should get him off the board early."

Hitting skills? It could be argued Ackley hasn't shown much of that in his MLB career, as he sports a .246 average through 390 games. But the point is that pretty much every scouting report was like this one. Ackley was a can't-miss prospect that seemed destined for Cooperstown. There's a good chance if Stephen Strasburg wasn't in the same draft class that Ackley might have gone first overall to the Nationals after never hitting below .402 in his three seasons at North Carolina.

Most added players on CBSSports.com
Player Own %
1. Drew Pomeranz, SP, OAK 55 (+51)
2. Tyler Lyons, SP, STL 42 (+35)
3. Ryan Vogelsong, SP, SF 40 (+28)
4. Rafael Montero, SP, NYM 37 (+27)
5. Seth Smith, OF, SD 33 (+27)
6. Juan Francisco, 3B, TOR 40 (+26)
7. Derek Norris, C, OAK 43 (+25)
8. Bryan Shaw, RP, CLE 26 (+24)
9. Jordan Lyles, SP, COL 69 (+20)
10. Jeurys Familia, RP, NYM 21 (+20)

Ackley is in the news again after having a power outburst over the weekend. Ackley homered three times in a two-game span Saturday and Sunday against the Royals. It was the first time in his MLB career he's homered in consecutive games.

Here's what Ackley had to say about his weekend power display (per The Seattle Times):

"I've been seeing the ball pretty well and putting good swings on pitches and not missing them. In the past, I've just been a little off with some foul balls. Now I'm not missing the pitches I'm supposed to hit. I'm just trying to barrel every ball that I can, whether it's a home run, double, single, or whatever. I'm not really focusing on the results. I'm focusing more on how I'm feeling. I'm just going to come out and keep trying to have the same at-bats."

Are you buying it? I guess it's a bit encouraging to hear Ackley say his approach at the plate is changing. However, my question is: What took so long? What all of a sudden sparked his turnaround? You would have figured this would have come last season, when Ackley was demoted to the minors.

I must admit I was buying into the Ackley hype after he put together a strong spring. He carried that momentum into the start of the season before quickly fading. He was mired in a 12-for-61 slump (.197) in his previous 21 games leading up to Saturday.

I guess I would be more encouraged if Ackley put together a string of multi-hit games and not multi-homer games, since the scouts have always been touting him as a contact over power hitter. In short, Ackley's weekend performance was enough for me to put him back on the watch list, but it's going to take more than a few games before it's time to start buying into the hype ... again.

Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 73 percent (up 18 percent)
My colleague Scott White is trying to convince me Rasmus has the same type of potential as Reds outfielder Jay Bruce. I can definitely see the comparisons. Both are streaky sluggers with high strikeout rates. But that's as far as I'm willing to go with comparisons. Rasmus had one of the better seasons of his career in 2013, tying a career-high with a .276 average and posting a career-high .501 slugging percentage. However, even with those numbers, Rasmus was barely among the top 60 Fantasy scoring outfielders in Head-to-Head and Rotissiere formats last year. The differences between Bruce and Rasmus are that Bruce has more home runs, doubles, runs, walks and RBI. Rasmus might finish with 20-plus homers and a decent slugging percentage, but he doesn't fill the stat sheet like Bruce, which is why I don't buy the comparisons in Fantasy. Rasmus appears headed to the disabled list with a hamstring injury, but even when he returns and you are considering adding him off waivers, keep your expectations in check.
Leagues worth owning him: 12-team Rotissiere, 14-team Head-to-Head

Seth Smith, OF, Padres

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 32 percent (up 26 percent)
Smith is off to a scorching start in May, batting .472 (17 for 36) with one home run, three triples, seven doubles and seven RBI in nine games. However, it's worth pointing out Smith has only played at home this month, where he continues to thrive. He's batting .426 at home, as opposed to .158 on the road. Smith has also been in the lineup a lot lately because the Padres have faced a slew of right-handed starters. Smith has fared pretty well against lefties this season, batting .333 in 11 games, but that's a little misleading since he's had just nine at-bats (12 plate appearances) against lefties. Smith is coming off a 41-point performance in Week 6. He averaged 10.6 Fantasy points in the first five scoring periods. Until he proves he's more than just a streaky platoon outfielder, then his Fantasy ownership will continue to fluctuate.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Rafael Montero, SP, Mets

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 36 percent (up 26 percent)
The Mets finally made the decision Monday to remove Jenrry Mejia from the rotation and replace him with Montero. Many Fantasy owners would have liked to see Noah Syndergaard get the call, but he's off to a rocky start at Triple-A Las Vegas and Montero is slightly ahead of him in his development. While Montero might not be the power arm Syndergaard is, make no mistake; he still has plenty of upside. The best thing about Montero is he doesn't walk a lot of batters, walking just 2.0 batters per nine innings in his career. He's also allowing just 7.3 hits, 0.4 home runs and striking out 8.5 batters per nine. Montero is very good at working the strike zone and his plus command could suit him well in the majors. We just hope long-term Montero develops into Jordan Zimmerman, who is a command pitcher with high-end Fantasy value, and not Phil Hughes, who is a command pitcher with low-end potential.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Bronson Arroyo, SP, Diamondbacks

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 37 percent (up 14 percent)
Arroyo has been dealing over his last two starts, allowing one unearned run in 14 1/3 innings. It's been a nice turnaround after Arroyo went 1-2 with a 7.77 ERA in five April starts. Arroyo deserves a pardon for April because he missed a good chunk of spring training with a back injury. He was pretty much getting back up to speed in April, and it appears he's turned the corner. Arroyo might not have high-end Fantasy potential, but he's reliable. He was a top 40 Fantasy starting pitcher in Head-to-Head formats in 2012 and 2013, and a top 30 option in 2010. He's not as strong of an option in Roto formats because his WHIP can get a little high, but Arroyo is a workhorse. He's failed to net at least 10 wins just twice in the last 10 seasons and has failed to reach 200 innings just once in the last nine seasons. The points surprisingly add up in Head-to-Head formats, so Arroyo is still a decent buy-low option off waivers in those formats.
Leagues worth owning him: 12-team Head-to-Head, 14-team Rotisserie

Gerardo Parra, OF, Diamondbacks

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 49 percent (up 17 percent)
I've criticized Parra in the past, but he's a lot like Arroyo when it comes to outfielders. He might not have high-end potential or be a must-add player, but he's a sneaky contributor, especially in Head-to-Head formats. Thus far, he's a top 30 Fantasy scoring outfielder in Head-to-Head formats and is averaging 17 Fantasy points per week through six scoring periods. Parra's slash line (.273/.316/.406/.722) is pretty much around his career averages (.277/.329/.401/.730), so we might not expect much more room to grow. But Parra was the 41st-best Fantasy scoring outfielder last season in Head-to-Head formats and was a top 60 outfielder in Rotisserie formats. He's helped out a little more in Head-to-Head because he's more prone to hit doubles instead of homers. Still, I think it might be time to start giving Parra a little more respect than he's been getting in Fantasy.
Leagues worth owning him: 14-team Head-to-Head and Rotisserie

Justin Smoak, 1B, Mariners

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 48 percent (up 11 percent)
We've been here many times before with Smoak. Every time it looks like he's turned the corner, he fades back into oblivion. Will this time be any different? I doubt it. As much as I want to believe Smoak is going to be a reliable option, his track record speaks for itself. Even when he had 11 home runs and 27 RBI in his last 53 games in 2013, he hit just .208 in that span. Smoak has definitely benefitted from a more potent Mariners' lineup. He's already had two Fantasy weeks with 20-plus points, and he's on pace for 26 home runs, 83 runs and 113 RBI -- all career highs. Smoak is just entering the prime of his career, so a breakout season is possible. But I'm just not ready to buy into Smoak being a 25-homer, 100-RBI threat.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Orioles

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 65 percent (up 6 percent)
Fantasy owners bailed on Jimenez following a horrible start, but now might the opportune time to add him off waivers, especially if you just lost a player like Jose Fernandez. Jimenez has traditionally been a slow starter. He has a career 5.23 ERA in March/April, which is the highest ERA for any month in his career. Jimenez usually turns the corner in May (3.71 ERA) and June (3.17 ERA), and his strikeout rate also improves as the season progresses. In his career, he's striking out 7.8 batters per nine innings in the first half, as opposed to 8.8 batters per nine in the second half. Orioles manager Buck Showalter was preaching patience when Jimenez got off to a poor start this season, and it seems good ol' Buck was on to something. I doubt Jimenez will be as strong as he was in the second half last season (1.82 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) because he was pitching for his next contract last year, but he's still a viable mixed-league arm.
Leagues worth owning him: 12-team Head-to-Head and Rotisserie

Gordon Beckham, 2B, White Sox

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Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 18 percent (up 9 percent)
Beckham has been pretty productive to begin May, batting .304 with a .478 slugging percentage, .825 OPS, two doubles, two home runs and five RBI in 11 games. Beckham missed the start of the season due to an oblique injury, so he's doing his best to make up for lost time. Beckham is another player that you want to believe this is the hot streak that finally turns around his career, but much like Smoak, it is what it is -- just a hot streak. Beckham's recent surge has brought his slash line (.254/.303/.380/.683) back to his career norms (.249/.313/.380/.694). Perhaps the pressure will be on Beckham to finally break out with second base prospect Micah Johnson surging through the minors, but it's going to take a prolonged hot streak before it's time to jump on the Beckham bandwagon.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Chase Headley, 3B, Padres

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 66 percent (up 1 percent)
Headley appears to finally be healthy and rounding into form. Even before he went on the disabled list with a calf injury, Headley was showing signs of turning the corner offensively. He's batting just .259 in his last nine games, but he has a .519 slugging percentage, .894 OPS, two home runs and six RBI in that span. I've never been a huge Headley fan, but there's value here for Fantasy owners. It's not going to cost you much to add a player off waivers that has shown in the past he can be a top 12 Fantasy third baseman. Headley is also really motivated right now to shake his recent injury-prone label and get back to the 30-homer, 100-RBI player he was in 2012. Let's not forget, Headley is still in a walk year and has the motivation to put up big numbers. Headley said his production was impacted last season due to a knee injury, and he's been battling injury issues this season since the spring. If he's finally healthy, maybe he's ready to get back to his 2012 form.
Leagues worth owning him: 14-team Head-to-Head and Rotisserie

Chase Anderson, SP, Diamondbacks

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 8 percent (up 8 percent)
Anderson might not have the prospect profile of fellow Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley, but don't sleep on the right-handed hurler. There's more talent here than people realize. Anderson had a rough season in 2013 (4-7, 5.73 ERA), partly due to injury and pitching in the hitter-friendly PCL. However, he was outstanding in 2012 at Double-A Mobile and was great again for Mobile this season prior to his promotion to the majors. In his Double-A career, he is 9-6 with 2.27 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 27 starts. Anderson was pretty impressive in his MLB debut Sunday, holding a good White Sox lineup to one run on two hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings, while striking out six. The scouts doubted Anderson's ability to be a major-league starter because of durability issues, but they've said he has the repertoire to start. Anderson has an above average changeup and throws strikes, so the formula for success is there.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

American League options

David DeJesus, OF, Rays

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 8 percent (up 4 percent)
Over the last 21 days, DeJesus has been a top 5 Fantasy outfielder in Rotisserie formats and a top 10 option in Head-to-Head leagues. Yet, Fantasy owners have been resistant to add DeJesus off waivers, and we've been hesitant to move him up our rankings. It's probably not so much that Fantasy owners are treating this as just a hot streak for DeJesus as much as they are unwilling to clear a roster spot for him, who doesn't have high-end potential. DeJesus continues to start regularly when a right-hander is on the hill but finds himself on the bench when a lefty starts, so it's very difficult for Fantasy owners to get excited about a platoon player who has moderate home run power. DeJesus has been good lately, but there's not much to see here. He is what he is in Fantasy leagues.
Leagues worth owning him: AL-only, stopgap option in deep mixed leagues

National League options

A.J. Pollock, OF, Diamondbacks

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 16 percent (up 11 percent)
Run A.J. Run. That's been the theme lately in Arizona, as the speedy outfielder has picked up five stolen bases in his last six games after having zero in his first 29 games. He had just a .302 on-base percentage in his first 29 games, so it's not like he had a plethora of opportunities. It's no coincidence his steals total has coincided with a six-game hitting streak which has produced a .480 on-base percentage in that span. Pollock is also healthy after getting past a groin injury. He totaled 67 stolen bases in 302 games in the minors, so there is some steals potential here. He was a good contact hitter in the minors and a decent OBP guy, so if he gets back to that level, then the stolen-base opportunities might continue. We would really be ranting and raving about Pollock if he was the team's leadoff hitter. It's tough to get overly excited about a player that hits toward the bottom of the lineup, but his recent surge makes him a player worth monitoring.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Player you might reconsider dropping

Dayan Viciedo, OF, White Sox

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 59 percent (down 12 percent)
I can't believe after one bad Fantasy week (5 points) that owners are ready to throw in the towel on Viciedo, who is just outside a top 30 Fantasy scoring outfielder in Head-to-Head leagues and remains a top 50 scoring outfielder in Rotisserie formats. He's not off to a stellar start in May, but a course correction was coming after he hit .348 with a .528 slugging percentage in April. He's still hitting .303 with a .477 slugging percentage in 37 games. Also, he homered Monday off right-hander Jesse Chavez. Viciedo continues to perform well against righties, which was a major weakness of his in the past. He is batting .313 with a .515 slugging percentage, three home runs, nine doubles and 12 RBI in 34 games against righties this season. Viciedo hit .285 with a .486 slugging percentage in 209 games at Triple-A, so he has a track record against advanced pitching. He's been developing slowly at the major-league level, but we could finally be witnessing his breakout run.
Leagues worth owning him: 12-team Head-to-Head and Rotisserie

From the Twittersphere ...

Should I pick up Tanner Roark, Matt Garza or Drew Smyly and drop R.A. Dickey , Tyler Skaggs or Danny Salazar? -- @MattJaques

MH: I definitely wouldn't drop Skaggs, who has the potential to be a quality arm at the back-end of your Fantasy rotation. Dickey continues to be inconsistent, but that can be expected from a knuckleballer, and Salazar hasn't lived up to expectations thus far. However, Salazar is worth stashing in deep formats because of his potential. Perhaps Dickey is the only player I would consider dropping, and Smyly would be my choice to add in Head-to-Head leagues because of his relief-pitcher eligibility.

Who do you expect to have a better second half: Corey Hart, Jurickson Profar, Gregory Polanco or Miguel Montero ? I'm looking for a utility hitter -- @jeff_spin

MH: You really could make the argument to pick up Montero right now since he's putting up good Fantasy numbers, and not just for a catcher. But if you are looking for a potential second-half option, then the choice is Polanco. If he lives up to expectations, he has the chance to be an impact Fantasy option down the stretch.

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Player News
Brewers' Ryan Braun batting third, Aramis Ramirez off Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:52 am ET) Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun is back in the No. 3 spot in the lineup Sunday one day after batting leadoff against the Pirates.

The Brewers stacked the lineup with righties against a left-handed starter Saturday, and Braun made his first career start as a leadoff hitter, going 2 for 3 with two singles, getting plunked once and scoring a run in his team's 6-2 loss. He's back in his normal position for Sunday's series finale.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez is out of the starting lineup Sunday for the first time this season. He'll be replaced at third base by Luis Jimenez.

The Brewers are underdogs (+155) in Pittsburgh Sunday.


Tigers' Joe Nathan needs game work before he returns
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:42 am ET) Tigers reliever Joe Nathan is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday. Manager Brad Ausmus isn't sure if Nathan will be activated on that day, per MLive.

Ausmus did say that Nathan would need game work--either a simulated game or a rehab appearance--before he returned to the Tigers. 


Carlos Beltran out of Yankees' lineup again on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:39 am ET) Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran is out of the starting lineup for the second straight day. Beltran missed Saturday's game with an illness, and he's not in the lineup for Sunday's game.

Garrett Jones gets the start in right for the Yankees. He'll bat seventh in the order. 

Catcher Brian McCann is also not in the lineup. JR Murphy will start and bat eighth. 


Phillies' Chase Utley out of lineup Sunday vs. Nationals
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:37 am ET) Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is not in the starting lineup for Sunday's game against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.

It's the second day off this season for Utley, who has started six straight games but has hit just .119/.170/.262 in 42 at-bats this April and is 0 for 17 in his last four games. Cesar Hernandez will start at second base in his place.

Left fielder Ben Revere is back in the starting lineup after three straight games on the bench. He went 1 for 1 with a double, a stolen base and two runs scored Saturday after entering the game as a pinch runner in the seventh inning.

The Phillies are massive underdogs (+200) against the Nationals Sunday, per VegasInsider.com.


Nationals' Yunel Escobar (groin) out of lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:31 am ET) Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar is not in the lineup Sunday for a second straight day while nursing a groin injury.

Escobar started each of the team's first 11 games at third base, filling in for the injured Anthony Rendon, before sitting out Saturday with the injury. He said before Sunday's game that he's feeling better and he'll practice on the field, per MLB.com. He also indicated that his MRI only showed groin inflammation, and that he hopes to be back in the lineup Tuesday, the Washington Post reports.

Danny Espinosa will draw a second straight start at third base against the Phillies. The Nationals are heavy home favorites (-225) Sunday.


Nationals activate Denard Span, option Michael Taylor
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:28 am ET) The Nationals activated center fielder Denard Span from the 15-day disabled list Sunday and optioned outfielder Michael Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse.

Span had to open the season on the disabled list after underdoing surgery on his core muscle in March. He was able to play in back-to-back games Thursday and Friday before taking Saturday off. He's atop the lineup for Nationals in Sunday's game against the Phillies.

Taylor performed well while filling in as the team's center fielder. He hit .271/.314/.500 with two home runs, eight RBI and two stolen bases in 48 at-bats. He'll return to Syracuse where he can play every day, but he'll likely be back with the Nationals the next time an outfielder is out for an extended period with an injury.


Red Sox taking advantage of Brock Holt's versatility
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:21 am ET) Red Sox utility man Brock Holt has played four different positions and hit in three different spots in the batting order. 

The constant change doesn't seem to be having a negative impact. Holt is hitting .579 in 19 at bats this season. He's played second, third, short and center, and he's batted first, eighth and ninth in the lineup. 

"That’s his role,” manager John Farrell said. “We try to the best of our abilities (to get play him), and as frequently as possible. We also have a very deep roster, so he accepts his role, he excels at it, and the versatility he provides is a real good fit."


Ryan Goins gets start at short for Blue Jays
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:14 am ET) With Jose Reyes out for the weekend with a rib injury, Ryan Goins got the start for the Blue Jays at shortstop on Sunday.

Goins will bat ninth for the game against Atlanta. 


Mets' Michael Cuddyer, Wilmer Flores out of lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:11 am ET) Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer and shortstop Wilmer Flores are not in the starting lineup for Sunday's matchup with the Marlins.

It's just the second time on the bench this season for both players. Kirk Nieuwenhuis will bat seventh and play left field, while Ruben Tejada will bat eighth and play shortstop.

The Mets are heavy favorites (-200) against the Marlins Sunday.


Braves' Freddie Freeman serving as DH Sunday vs. Blue Jays
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:06 am ET) Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is serving as the team's designated hitter for Sunday's series finale against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The Braves have mixed and matched at designated hitter during the series in Toronto, using Chris Johnson and Nick Markakis there in the team's first two days. Catcher Christian Bethancourt is also back in the lineup Sunday after sitting out the team's first two games of the series.

The Braves are underdogs (+135) against the Blue Jays Sunday.


 
 
 
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