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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
Dodgers unsure how Grandal, Ellis will split time
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11:46 pm ET) The Dodgers aren't sure how they'll platoon their two catchers, according to the Orange County Register.

A.J. Ellis has been the team's primary option the past few seasons, but the club brought in Yasmani Grandal during the offseason. While Grandal has a much higher offensive upside, it's unclear how much he'll play once the regular season begins. 

"There’s nothing going to come out of this camp where we’re going to say, ‘OK, this guy is going to start 72 percent of the time’" general manager Andrew Friedman said. "It’s going to be much more about Donnie (Mattingly) writing the lineup each and every day for what gives us the best chance to win that day."

Mattingly admitted that Grandal has "tremendous upside offensively," so it's possible he could lead that way more often. While Mattingly has indicated that he doesn't want to assign any personal catchers yet, there's a sense Ellis could be used when Clayton Kershaw is on the mound. 

Grandal hit .225/.327/.401 over 377 at-bats last year. Ellis hit .191/.323/.254 over 283 at-bats. 


Giants sign Ronny Cedeno to minor-league deal
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11:18 pm ET) The Giants have signed infielder Ronny Cedeno to a minor-league deal, according to the PCL transactions page.

Cedeno, 32, spent most of the year in the minors. He hit .313/.368/.431 over 281 at-bats in Triple-A. Cedeno received nine at-bats with the Phillies, but failed to record a hit. 


Brewers' Scooter Gennett glad to have full-time role
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:03 pm ET) Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett is glad to have a full-time role heading into 2015, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Gennett spent last season in a platoon with Rickie Weeks, but with Weeks gone, he'll assume the full-time role. Gennett said he feels far less stressed about his position on the team this spring. "Seeing as I'm pretty much the everyday guy, that eliminated the stress, or whatever you want to call it, off my back," he said. 

"Just not having to worry about stuff out of my control. I've put myself in this position where I've earned the job, I've shown them what I can do, and now it's about consistently doing it," he added. 

Manager Ron Roenicke has already said he'll give Gennett plenty of opportunities to prove himself against left-handers. 

Gennett, 24, hit .289/.320/.434 over 440 at-bats last season. 


Cubs' Arismendy Alcantara will play all over the place
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:54 pm ET) Cubs utility man Arismendy Alcantara is going to play a lot of positions this season, according to ESPN.

Alcantara saw time in center last season, but the team's trade for Dexter Fowler will alter his role. Alcantara says he's ready for the challenge. "Mentally you have to be ready for that," Alcantara said. "They want me to play second base and the outfield." He's also expected to see some time at third base. 

Manager Joe Maddon is glad to have such a versatile player on the team. "When you get a guy like that and you want to give someone a rest, you don't feel like you're losing anything," Joe Maddon said. "And the big attraction there is also in-game. It's like having an extra guy on the bench."

The 23-year-old Alcantara hit .205/.254/.367 over 278 at-bats last year. 


Rockies ask Corey Dickerson to be more patient
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:31 pm ET) The Rockies want Corey Dickerson to be a little more patient at the plate, according to MLB.com.

Dickerson had a breakout season in 2014, hitting .312/.364/.567 over 436 at-bats. He walked in 7.7 percent of his plate appearances, which was actually just above the league average. Still, the team wants Dickerson to be slightly less of a free-swinging this year.

"I talked to Corey about adding this much discipline to his game," manager Walt Weiss said. "We don't want that much, because then he wouldn't be Corey Dickerson." Weiss explained that it's difficult to deliver this type of message, as Dickerson's aggressiveness makes him effective. 

Dickerson said he would work harder to study pitchers and work on his approach during games. 

The 25-year-old is expected to open the year as the team's starter in left.


Marlins unlikely to add reliever now
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:16 pm ET) The Marlins are unlikely to add a reliever now that Francisco Rodriguez is off the market, according to MLB.com.

The Marlins were involved in negotiations for K-Rod through at least Wednesday, and were reportedly willing to offer $10 million over two years. The club has been looking for a veteran reliever for some time, but may pass now that Rodriguez has signed with the Brewers.

Both Rafael Soriano and Phil Coke have been connected to Miami, but the team would likely only sign those players to minor-league contracts.


Diamondbacks' Chase Anderson a favorite for the rotation
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:42 pm ET) The Diamondbacks consider Chase Anderson a favorite to break camp in the rotation, according to azcentral.com.

The club wants to create a lot of competition for the rotation, and it was initially believed Anderson would be competing for a spot. General manager Dave Stewart sort of quashed those rumors, saying he perceives Anderson as a strong favorite right now. "Chase Anderson won nine games for us last year; you have to strongly consider him as part of our rotation," Stewart said. 

Anderson is expected to pair with Josh Collmenter and Jeremy Hellickson for now. The club will determine the final two spots in the rotation during camp.

Anderson, 27, posted a 4.01 ERA over 114 1/3 innings last year.


Indians' Francona: Swisher 'swinging the bat really well'
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:14 pm ET) Indians manager Terry Francona has been satisfied with Nick Swisher's performance during batting practice, according to the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

"He's swinging the bat really well," Francona said. "He's under control and he probably has to be (because of his knees). But he's using the whole field. He really looks good." 

Swisher has been working with the team's hitting coaches on trying to go up the middle more often. Francona said that strategy has already translated to his batting practice sessions. 

Running still remains an issue for Swisher, however. He was able to do some drills on Thursday, but reportedly looked uncomfortable during the session. The club expects he'll be ready for games in mid-March.

Swisher, 34, hit .208/.278/.331 over 360 at-bats last year. 


Rockies' Jordan Lyles hoping new changeup leads to success
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:55 pm ET) Rockies pitcher Jordan Lyles is hoping a new changeup will lead to success this season, according to the Denver Post

Lyles started experimenting with a split-change last year, and spent all offseason honing the pitch. I've been working on that all offseason," Lyles said. "I wasn't paying too much attention to my curveball and cutter. I really wanted to give a bigger gap between mph."

Manager Walt Weiss came away impressed with the offering. "His confidence in that pitch has skyrocketed," he said. Weiss added that he views Lyles as "a staple for [the Rockies."

Lyles is expected to open the year in the team's rotation. He posted a 4.33 ERA over 126 2/3 innings last season.


Royals looking at Joe Blanton as a reliever
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:48 pm ET) The Royals will use Joe Blanton as a reliever, according to MLB.com.

Blanton has not pitched in the majors since 2013. While he started 20 games that season, the Royals view him strictly as a reliever. "The only way he is really going to help us is in the bullpen," manager Ned Yost said. "We're not going to stretch him out [to be a starter]."

Blanton posted a 6.04 ERA over 132 2/3 innings in 2013. He'll compete for a job in the Royals bullpen this spring. 


 
 
 
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