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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
Royals' Terrance Gore won't need jaw wired shut
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:02 pm ET) Royals manager Ned Yost said Monday that outfielder Terrance Gore (jaw) is doing better and will "play to tolerance" of the pain, MLB.com reports.

Gore was hit in the face by a pitch Friday, suffering a broken jaw. Yost added that the outfielder will not need to have his jaw wired shut. A key pinch runner for the Royals during last year's postseason run, Gore was optioned to the minors earlier in March.


Astros' Hinch: Jason Casto 'a well-rounded player'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:42 pm ET) Catcher Jason Castro is the longest-tenured member of the Astros and optimistic about the direction of the team, MLB.com reports.

"It's a great time for this organization," Castro said. "It's exciting to have been here and weathered the storm a little bit through the middle of that and see it through to the other side. It's exciting and hopefully we can play up to the type of baseball we're capable of playing. We have some guys in here who can do some pretty special things on the baseball field."

Manager A.J. Hinch is a fan of the different things Castro brings to the lineup and behind the plate.

"Jason's a well-rounded player," Hinch said. "There's a reason he's an All-Star, there's a reason he can contribute in every facet of the game. For us, being a left-handed bat, we have some right-handed bats that we're going to rely upon… and he'll offer us something different than those that hit in front of him. I like his balance, his composure, his steadiness of how he approaches the game. I look forward to his leadership. As he's entering these years of his career, he's got a track record under his belt to provide some steady leadership and have a good year for us."

Castro is 9 for 34 with two home runs this spring.


Phillies' Amaro expecting Sizemore to be on Opening Day roster
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:35 pm ET) Although Phillies outfielder Grady Sizemore has struggled offensively this spring, leading to some speculation about whether he will make the Opening Day roster, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday he expects the veteran outfielder to remain on the roster.

“For me he is (on the team),” Amaro said. “Sizemore can swing the bat.”


Phillies' Amaro confirms Herrera will open season as starting CF
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:32 pm ET) Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. confirmed Monday that Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera will open the season as the team's starting center fielder, per MLB.com.

“He kind of fits the bill of what we were trying to do,” Amaro said. “We were trying to get younger, a little more athletic. He’s got good energy, he’s got a decent package. Is he going to be a .300 hitter toward the top of our lineup or wherever (Ryne Sandberg) puts him? I don’t know. We’re going to give him a shot. That’s what this season is about.”


Phillies not giving up yet on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:26 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is set to begin the second year of a three-year, $12 million contract in the minors after he was demoted to the minors on Sunday. However, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is not ready yet to call Gonzalez's contract a mistake.

“We don’t know (if it was a mistake) yet,” Amaro said, per CSNPhilly.com. “We’ll know when it’s all said and done. I was asked the same question about Pat Burrell. When we won the World Series, did we regret it?

“It’s disappointing that Miguel hasn’t gotten there. But it’s not the end of the world yet. We’ll see. We’ve still got time. We’re hopeful he can step it up. If he can’t, he can’t.”

Gonzalez was hit hard this spring. He gave up 25 hits, including five home runs, in 14 1/3 innings.

“His stuff and his location just wasn’t good enough to make our club,” Amaro said. “The stuff wasn’t there. He wasn’t throwing well enough to make our club.

“The ball is coming out of his hand better, a lot better than it was last year, but it’s just not there right now. Hopefully it can get there at some point.”


Cardinals add Carlos Villanueva, place Jaime Garcia on DL
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:24 pm ET) The Cardinals have purchased the contract of pitcher Carlos Villanueva and placed pitcher Jaime Garcia on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder injury, the team announced Monday.

Garcia had been delivering an great performance this spring, posting a 3.86 ERA and 13:3 K:BB ratio in 9 1/3 innings, but suffered a setback in the last few days. He said Sunday he has been dealing with fatigue and soreness. Garcia will likely pitch in extended spring training in preparation for his late start to the regular season.

Garcia was in the mix to serve as the team's fifth starter before his setback, but that role will likely fall to either Carlos Martinez or Marco Gonzales.

Villanueva has surrendered six earned runs in 11 innings while striking out 11 batters and walking two this spring.


White Sox sign James Baldwin, release J.D. Martin, Joe Savery
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:16 pm ET) The White Sox have signed outfielder James Baldwin and released pitchers J.D. Martin and Joe Savery, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Baldwin was a fourth-round pick of the Dodgers in 2010 and hit .217/.292/.414 with 14 home runs, 43 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 374 at-bats with high Class A Rancho Cucamonga last season.


Indians reassign Jerry Sands to minor-league camp
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:12 pm ET) The Indians have sent outfielder Jerry Sands to minor-league camp, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports.

Sands has done a fine job this season, hitting .316/.381/.421 with one home run in 38 at-bats, but has lost out on the competition for a bench spot.


Dodgers 3B Juan Uribe (illness) back in lineup Monday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:10 pm ET) Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe returned to the spring lineup Monday against the Diamondbacks after sitting out Sunday due to an illness. Uribe is batting .225 (9 for 40) through 16 spring games.

Marlins' Jarred Cosart set to return to mound Wednesday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:02 pm ET) Marlins starting pitcher Jarred Cosart is scheduled to start Wednesday's spring game against the Nationals, according to The Palm Beach Post. He threw a bullpen session Sunday after being scratched from his last spring start due to a blister on the middle finger on his right hand.

Cosart is 0-2 with am 8.49 ERA in four spring starts.


 
 
 
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