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Searching through the waiver wire and making the right pickups at the right times can result in huge fantasy baseball benefits. The Stealthy Ninjas column is here to let you know the kinds of players you’ll find available on your wire and whether it’s worth wasting a roster spot on them or not.
Each week, I’ll outline a couple hitters and a couple pitchers that had great weeks and are more than likely available on your waiver wire based on ownership rates in Yahoo’s leagues. This week’s hitters:
Luke Scott, OF, Orioles (36%) Key stats: .533 average, 6 HR, 7 R, 14 RBI
- Advice: Since returning from the DL, Scott’s been on a tear. More than likely, if you’re looking on the waiver wire for a player it’s because you just put one of your starters — Grady Sizemore anyone? — on the DL. Scott will not be able to keep up this pace, he’s homered in four consecutive games, but he had 23 homers last year so even after he cools off he could be an option for some teams.
Ryan Garko, 1B, Indians (6%) Key stats: .389 AVG, 6 R, 8 RBIs, 3 HR
- Advice: Garko had 21 homers two years ago and hit .289, but regressed last year. His OPS is up from last year but still far from that great 2007 campaign. Add at your own risk.
Gary Sheffield, OF, Mets (24%) Key Stats: .467, 2 HR, 5 R, 9 RBI, 1 SB
- Advice: Sheffield’s best years are behind him, and he doesn’t play full games because of his defensive liability in the NL, but he has hit well so far. I’m not in any hurry to pick him up in any of my leagues.
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B, 3B SS, OF, Reds (36%) Key Stats: .348 AVG, 6 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI
- Advice: Last we saw Hairston, I was calling out the return of starter Alex Gonzalez and a likely return to a utility role. Since then, he’s qualified at 3B and continues to get healthy ABs. Check out those numbers. Compare them with your MI backups and tell me he shouldn’t be owned in more than 36% of leagues.
Reed Johnson, OF, Cubs (1%) Key Stats: .389 AVG, 5 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB
- Advice: He finished with four and five steals the previous two years so don’t pick him up for speed. He also had 2 and 6 homers, so scratch the power. He’s not even a starter in that bloated Cubs outfield. He should stay at 1 % ownership.
Brandon McCarthy, SP, Rangers (4%) Key stats: 15.0 IP, 2 W, 8 K, 0.60 ERA, 1.07 WHIP.
- Advice: How is it that there’s a Rangers pitcher on this list every week. (Yuck) But McCarthy did the most with a two-start week. He hasn’t been awful this season, but he’s probably not going to help your fantasy team unless you grab him for a two-start week when he has decent matchups like he did against the As and the Astros.
Phil Hughes, SP, Yankees (28%) Key stats: 8.0 IP, W, 6 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP
- Advice: Hughes was solid against Texas, but gave up four earned runs in five innings today against the Tribe. If you’re in a deep keeper league and he’s available, you should add him now. If not, you’re going to have to deal with some decent ups and unhelpful downs. Wait until next year.
Joe Blanton, SP, Phillies (5%) Key Stats: 7 IP, 1 W, 11K, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
- Advice: The numbers from his last start fly in the face of his career stats. Oh, but a sneaky ninja has to occasionally turn away from such information. I picked up Joe Blanton today. It’s only for a spot start. He had some really strong numbers in his last start and he’ll face that squishy San Diego Padres lineup. I’ll drop him for the pitcher du jour after his game Monday.
Jeremy Guthrie, SP, Orioles (20%) Key Stats: 13.0 IP, W, 14 K, 2.77 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
- Advice: In case you pitchers out there haven’t noticed, having a two-start week will get you on this list. Guthrie only got one decision out of the deal, but had solid numbers overall. His ERA, WHIP and Batting Average Against are all up this year compared to his previous two year’s stats. *Sniff, sniff.* Do I smell correction coming.
Josh Outman, SP, Athletics (11%) Key Stats: 14.1 IP, 1 W, 9 K, 2.51 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
- Advice: I went back and double-checked twice (that’s four checks if you’re scoring at home) and it’s official, an As pitcher made the list. he only got one win and had a stark contrast in strikeouts between his two starts — he had nine in his last game, zero in the game before. He’s been getting 4,5,6 Ks in all of his starts this year, but he’s kept the ERA, WHIP and BAA down considerably compared to 2008. If he got more wins on a better team he’d be worth a lot more. Somebody get Giambi back on the ‘roids.
What do you think? Is Guthrie starting to turn it around? Are you going to dive into Ryan Garko’s pool and swim until he pulls you under and drowns your team? What players have you targeted? Let us know in the comments, or visit our forums and start a conversation.