Free Agent Friday | Ride The Hot Streak | 05.18.12

The hot names from the waiver wire are long gone from the month of April. Now, we’re at the point where there aren’t many sudden surprises and we’re left scrambling for whoever is riding a hot streak (see, Raul Ibanez). But, that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore the waiver wire as every team could still use a little help and there are decent options still out there. As always though, be careful who you drop. While Andy Dirks seems like a nice guy to have on your team, the pickup is only as good as the player you drop for him.

Good Pickups

Andy Dirks (OF, DET) – For those needing OF help, there’s not a ton to choose from right now and Dirks is swinging a hot bat so he’s a hot pickup as a result. In a full season, Dirks is the type of player who could flirt with hitting .300 but likely fall short while hitting 10-15 HR and stealing 10-15 SB. In shallow leagues, that’s got some roto bench value and it’s got even more value in deep leagues. He’s worth a flier if you need OF help.

Brian Fuentes (RP, OAK) – When it comes to recommending picking up a new closer, I’m mainly looking to see whether they have the “stuff” to keep the job for a while. But, in reality, any closer is worth owning in a roto league because there’s so few guys who can get you saves. In the case of Fuentes, he’s been a closer in the past and has borderline-closer “stuff” so I could see him holding the job for a while in Oakland (and then being a trade-bait candidate at the deadline perhaps). He seems a safer bet than other borderline-closers to have the job for a while.

Dale Thayer (RP, SD) – Meanwhile, Thayer doesn’t have loads of MLB experience but seems to be a viable closer candidate until Huston Street returns. Keep on rollin’ with him.

Could Be Good Pickups

Christian Friedrich (SP, COL) – Friedrich was a hyped-up prospect out of the Rockies organization until he hit a rough patch in AA and then AAA. This year, he seemed to get back on the horse in his AAA appearances and now has been given a shot at the Bigs. Through two starts, the results are quite good. Depending on your league type, he’s certainly worth betting on but he’s definitely a wild card at this point given his struggles in the minors. He does have the potential to be a very capable starter though.

Raul Ibanez (OF, NYY) – As a Phillies fan, I watched Ibanez enough over the past few years to know what is going on here. Ibanez is a streaky player who can hit under .200 for a full month with 1 HR but then hit over .300 with 7 HR the next month. He alternated months last year with a cold April, hot May, cold June, hot July, etc. Right now, he is in that hot zone so he is worth owning. Next month, probably not. Tread lightly.

Scott Diamond (SP, MIN) – A pitcher for the Twins? Well, you know you aren’t going to get many Wins out of him (despite his 2 wins in 2 starts thus far). He’s got decent control and had a FIP of 3.80 or less in every step of the minors so he certainly has the ability to be a decent starter even if he is pitching for the Twins. In shallow leagues, you can probably still wait a few more starts to see how he does but he’s worth pursuing in deeper leagues if you have someone droppable.

Let Someone Else Pick Them Up

Wei-Yin Chen (SP, BAL) – Chen was a wild card coming into this season but has pitched quite well. Going through a league for the first time can be beneficial for a pitcher as hitters aren’t used to him yet. He won’t rack up strikeouts for you but he’s got decent control and has had good (but somewhat lucky) results thus far. However, xFIP and SIERA show that his ERA should be closer to 4.50 so keep that in mind. Don’t sell the farm for him.

A.J. Ellis (C, LA) – He’s hitting .330! But, his BABIP is .400. He’s got 3 HR’s in under 100 AB’s! But, his HR/FB rate seems unsustainable. He’s a catcher! So, let’s lower our expectations. But, even as a catcher, he’s shown no past history of being an offensive contributor. ZiPS has him pegged to .257 with 3 HR over the rest of the season so, yeah, you can find any catcher in the league who can do better than that. Pass.

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