As the regular season in fantasy baseball ticks down, there’s less “long-term” to consider and time to make some moves to get players on hot streaks in your lineup. In our daily Sleeper Central post (Archive here) we scour the boxscores for players who are heating up but are still on waiver wires in over half of ESPN leagues.
Here’s today’s lineup of waiver wire options:
Casey Kelly- San Diego Padres – SP: A familiar name to all Red Sox and Padres fans, Kelly was one of the main pieces of the trade that brought Adrian Gonzalez to Boston, so it’s fitting that he makes his debut just a few days after Gonzalez is traded away from Boston and to the Dodgers changing the landscape for both those teams. Kelly may be a game-changer himself as he showcased last night in his MLB debut against the visiting Atlanta Braves. He dominated the Braves who were fresh off back-to-back wins in San Francisco including a roughing up of former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum on Sunday Night Baseball. Kelly went six shutout innings allowing just three hits while striking out four and walking two. He had been having a solid season (although interrupted by injury) in Double-A before getting the call to the Bigs. The Padres have won a season-high eight in a row and their lineup is producing better than it has at any other time this season. Kelly has a lot going for him for the rest of this year as well as being a must-add in keeper formats. He will pitch his home starts at Petco which is always a plus when considering whether to add San Diego pitchers. His time off means he has innings still under his “cap” and should get to make several more starts as the Padres see if he’s ready to start next year in the Majors. He has immediate value in NL-only leagues and is a great spot start option if you have innings or starts to fill or the roster flexibility to add him for the rest of the season.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Wilin Rosario- Col: (16.5% ownership in ESPN leagues) 1-5, R, 2 RBI, HR. Rosario looks to be in line for the majority of the starting time the rest of the way for Colorado as they get him seasoned to take over as full-time catcher next season. He has 21 homers already on the season with 53 RBI and a .245 average. If you need a power-hitting catcher, there’s few better options in the league. His ownership will start to climb if he gets the playing time down the stretch so act now.
1B- Eric Chavez- NYY: (9.3%) 3-4, R, BB. Chavez started at 3B but moved across the diamond when Mark Teixeira left with an injury. Chaves is hitting .295 on the year with 13 home runs and 32 RBI. He’ll get playing time moving forward as Teixeira and Rodriguez continue to battle injuries. Chavez may not play everyday due to his own physical limitations but offers some pop and a solid average when he is in the lineup.
2B- Skip Schumaker- Stl: (0.7%) 2-3, R, RBI, 2B. Schumaker is up to .317 going after going 8-15 in his last four games. He’s started the last four games on Cardinals road trip and it’ll be hard to sit him down if he keeps hitting this well.
3B- Chris Nelson – Col: (1.2%) 3-4, 3 R, 2B, 3B. With all the injuries in Colorado, Nlson is getting more playing time. In his last six games, he’s 8-19 with a pair of doubles, a triple, and a home run. It was his sixth long ball on the year to go with 33 RBI and .277 average.
SS- Clint Barmes- Pit: (0.3%) 2-3, RBI, 2B. Barmes was back in the lineup Monday and had his fourth multi-hit performance in his last 10 games. He won’t give much power or speed but he can be an option in daily leagues if you’re strapped for cash and can live with only R, RBI, and average.
OF- Brett Jackson – ChC: (0.4%) 1-3, R, RBI, HR. Four games ago, Jackson was hitting just .164 with one home run in his first 16 games in the Major Leagues. In his last four games, Jackson has raised his average up to .212 going 5-11 with a double and three home runs. He’s making solid contact and seems to have made the adjustment to MLB pitching at least at this point. He’ll get plenty of playing time the rest of this season.
OF- Scott Podsednik- Bos: (2.1%) 2-4, R. Podsednik will get plenty of at-bats the rest of the season for the Red Sox and if he keeps hitting like he is now will definitely have fantasy value. He’s hit in seven straight going 13-29 and scoring four runs over that span. He’s hitting .375 on the year and is 7-9 in stolen base attempts. If you need runs, speed, and average, Scotty Pods is a great grab.
OF- Franklin Gutierrez- Sea: (0.2%) 1-2, BB, 2 SB. Gutierrez is an intriguing option. When he’s been healthy, he’s been solid this season reaching base regularly and showing last night he’s got the speed to steal bases. It was his first game back from the DL and he only has 47 plate appearances in his 14 games. He does however have a pair of homers, a pair of doubles, five runs, and nine RBI. If he can stay healthy and get regular playing time, he could have serious fantasy value the rest of the year.
AL Starting Pitcher- Daisuke Matsuzaka – Bos: (0.0%) 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K, W. Diasuke gave up only one unearned run in his return from the DL. He’s been inconsistent this year but was good his last few rehabs start and will try to build on his first win of the season his next time out probably against the A’s in Oakland.
NL Starting Pitcher- Casey Kelly – SD: (0.6%) 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K, W. If your young, stud pitcher is about to get shut down and you need a pickup to start, Kelly is a solid option after dazzling in his debut and showing the poise necessary to pitch in the Big Leagues. Read more above…