Lets take a look at some of the more popular waiver wire adds for week 6 of fantasy baseball 2013, and see who the best pickups are for our readers.
Heath Bell – RP – Arizona Diamondbacks
J.J. Putz is experiencing a myriad of elbow injuries, and at this point is simply hoping to return by the end of the year for the Diamondbacks, which has left an obvious hole at the closer position. While many pundits believed David Hernandez to be the closer in waiting, it has been Heath Bell tabbed for the role, and one of the most added players in fantasy baseball in week 6. From 2009-2011 Bell saved 40+ games each year for the San Diego Padres, making him one of the more sought after closers in baseball, which saw him sign a lucrative free agent deal with the Miami Marlins in 2012. Bell posted a 5.09 ERA for the Marlins a year ago, while saving just 19 games. Now the real question for owners in 2013, can he return to the dominant closer we saw just a few seasons ago in San Diego?
There are a number of factors to consider, but the main two in my view are age and ballpark. Bell is now 35 years old (turning 36 in September), an age which typically sees a pitcher’s skills start to decline, and throwing in a much more hitter friendly park than when he was closing for the Padres. Through 14.1 IP, Bell has tallied 20 strikeouts which probably looks pretty good to potential fantasy owners, but don’t overlook the 17 hits allowed. His ERA currently sits at 4.40 with a high WHIP at 1.40. If you play in a standard roto league, are you willing to gain a few extra saves at the expense of your ERA and WHIP? Tread lightly if you decide to pick up Heath Bell off waivers, my best estimate is that his backup David Hernandez will have the closer job by the all-star break after a few blown saves by the former Padres star.
Hector Santiago – SP/RP – Chicago White Sox
Update – John Danks is expected back by the middle of May for the White Sox, and it will be either Dylan Axelrod or Hector Santiago that loses their rotation spot.
Hector Santiago captured the fantasy baseball world’s attention when he went toe to toe with Matt Harvey on Tuesday, as both pitchers didn’t allow a run in their respective starts. Santiago came out of the bullpen for the Sox in 2012, and over the course of 70.1 innings he managed to strikeout 79 batters, showing the ability to get the swing and miss. Why hadn’t you heard his name before this? Well, Santiago just took the rotation spot of Gavin Floyd, who will be missing up to 19 months following surgery on his arm, and with his start it looks like Santiago could be here to stay. So far in 2013, Santiago has thrown 26.2 innings (many as the long relief guy out of the pen for the Sox) while posting a decent 25/7 K/BB ratio. The 5 ER that he has allowed puts his ERA at 1.69 to go with a very solid .97 WHIP. While the ERA should finish in the mid to low 3’s, Santiago is still a solid strikeout pitcher that shouldn’t do too much damage in your starting rotation. If you need SP help, make sure that Hector is one of your top adds off the wire this week.
Dee Gordon – SS – Los Angeles Dodgers
Looking for some speed off the wire this week? Dee Gordon has some to spare. By now everyone should be familiar with the Dodgers shortstop, and with Hanley Ramirez expected to miss 4-6 weeks we should get an extended look at LA’s speedy infielder. He clearly won’t hit for power (unless it is an inside-the-park shot), so the real gamble here is whether or not you think he can hit over .250. If he can do that, Dee should rack up 40+ steals (assuming he maintains a full time job the rest of the way). Gordon has been up with the Dodgers since May 4th (4 games) and has already picked up 3 stolen bases, thanks in large part to a .316 batting average. Don’t forget this is the same guy that hit just .228 for the Dodgers in 87 games a season ago, but if you are struggling at SS or MI, he could be a gamble worth taking.
Junichi Tazawa – RP – Boston Red Sox
Funny how two injuries can take a team’s perceived strength and flip it on its head. The Red Sox bullpen appeared to be one of the more dominant in baseball, but after both Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan hit the DL, it was down to Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara for 9th inning duties. Manager John Farrell gave an interview saying he preferred Junichi Tazawa, and that is all you really need to know at this point. His line – 15.1 IP, 19 K, 2.93 ERA, 1.04 looks solid on paper, but the one real issue here is that Andrew Bailey is expected to return once his 15 day DL stint is up, meaning Tazawa owners could have him for about a week and a half. Make the pick up if you need help, just don’t expect it to be a long term fix at closer.
Marcell Ozuna – OF – Miami Marlins
Who the heck is Marcell Ozuna? He is Giancarlo Stanton‘s current replacement, and a kid who started the season at high A ball!. After making 15 plate appearances in high A, Ozuna moved to double A, where he cracked 5 HR in 42 AB’s, which in the Marlins organization apparently means you are ready for big league action. He is just 22 years old, and while many readers will point to his 20+ HR 4 seasons in a row in the minors, he never made it any higher than A ball from 2008-2012. What has suddenly changed now is beyond me, but Ozuna was consistently hitting in the .260’s at single A, meaning if he can manage over .230 at the big league level it would be a pretty big accomplishment. There is enough depth in the OF I would assume you could find a better power hitting option like Chris Carter of the Astros or Brandon Moss of the A’s, but if you like the flavor of the week, Ozuna is currently flying off waivers in mixed league play. We should get an extended look out of Ozuna until Stanton is ready to return around the middle to end of June.
Kevin Slowey – SP – Miami Marlins
Just when you think you know a guy… Kevin Slowey has come out and dominated the national league so far in 2013. For a guy who was a below average pitcher over the course of his career in Minnestoa (532.2 IP, 395 K, 4.69 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) this start has been a pretty big surprise. For 2013, Slowey is just 1-2 thanks to a luckluster offense, but he sports an ERA of 1.81, WHIP of .94, and 36 K over 44.2 IP. Will he continue to dominate in this fashion? Most likely no, but the NL is a different beast than the AL, so his ERA could come down a little from his career average, and finish somewhere in the high 3’s. If you need an innings eater to land you a few strikeouts along the way, Slowey is a decent option, but no better than a SP 3, and most likely a 4 in most fantasy bullpens.
Justin Grimm – SP/RP – Texas Rangers
As is the case with many young pitchers, Justin Grimm experienced early success on the big league level, but in his last start out against the Brewers he gave up 5 runs in 5 IP which pushed his ERA to 3.45. The good news here is that he is still striking out a batter per inning, but with the weather just starting to turn warmer, he isn’t a starter to trust when pitching at home. The ball jumps out of the ballpark at Arlington during the dog days of summer, and as teams get more and more gametape on the young hurler they will start to figure him out. With two starts in week 7, you can give Grimm a look as a streamer option that can rack up the strikeouts, but he is unlikely to keep the ERA/WHIP at a reasonable level over the course of a long season.
Any questions or comments about your fantasy baseball rosters? You can find me in the forums as we continue to talk fantasy baseball throughout the 2013 season.