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Searching through the waiver wire and making the right pickups at the right times can result in huge 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 we’ll start with hitters:
Invisible Ninjas (Owned in 4% of leagues or less)
Bill Hall, 3B, Brewers (2%) Key stats: .292 average, .953 OPS, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 14 TB.
- Advice: Once upon a time, Hall was an up-and-coming fantasy stud. That opportunity has likely passed, but he could still finish the season with stats that could help your fantasy team. If you need 3B help, take a chance.
Chris Getz, 2B, White Sox (4%) Key stats: .467 AVG, .953 OPS, 5 R, 2 SB, 0 K, 7 TB
- Advice: Getz is a singles hitter with some speed and who will score runs. If you need that kind of help, and 2B help, he’s worth a shot. I picked him up myself for one of my speed-deprived teams.
Rod Barajas, C, Blue Jays (4%) Key Stats: .320 AVG, .986 OPS, 8 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 16 TB
- Advice: A lot of players use a rotating pile of crap in the backstop position – /EP puts up hand/. Barajas is on a hot streak, ride it until he cools off.
What was that? Ninjas. (Owned in 5% to 8% of leagues)
Ryan Spilborghs, OF, Rockies (5%) Key Stats: .409 AVG, 1.071 OPS, 5 R, 9 H, 1 2B, 2 SB, 13 TB
- Advice: This guy was draftable — he bats leadoff in Colorado — so I’m surprised he’s available in so many leagues. Average, steals and some non-homer power? C’mon, you know you have more turdy players in your OF slot. Pick up Spilborghs
Josh Anderson, OF, Tigers (5%) Key stats: .375 AVG, .875 OPS, 4 R, 1 3B, 4 SB
- Advice: If you are in need of speed, pick up Anderson, but beware. You will need to counter an unhelpful AVG and OPS down the road.
Kendry Morales, 1B/OF, Angels (8%) Key stats: .333 AVG, 1.031 OPS, 5 R, 7 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 14 TB
- Advice: Morales will never live up to his initial hype, but with dual eligibility he’s worth a pickup at his current pace if you have a roster spot.
I thought I saw a Ninjas (owned in 9% to 18% of leagues)
Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies (9%) Key stats: .350 AVG, .891 OPS, 5 R, 7 H, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 10 TB
- Advice: Understand Helton does not carry the same stick he used too, but could pop out some decent numbers for those players whose 1B sleeper hasn’t lived up to expectations. Believe in a .300 average-15 homers-80 RBIs pace as long as he stays healthy.
Russell Branyan, 1B/3B, Mariners (16%) Key stats: .417 AVG, 1.500 OPS, 4 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 12 TB
- Advice: Another guy I’ve picked up in a couple leagues. I traded Hank Blalock in for Branyan and I’m totally buying his preseason outburst. Just cross your fingers he stays healthy for the whole season.
Edgar Renteria, SS, Giants (18%) Key stats: .292 AVG, .995 OPS, 7 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K, 15 TB.
- Advice: I know he’s getting old and that his 8 RBIs are fluky, but he’s only two years removed from a .332-87R-302B-12HR-11SB-.860OPS season. Even if he falls short of that in a couple categories, he’ll be owned in more than 18% of leagues by the end of the year.
Invisible Ninjas (Owned in 1% or less)
Ramon Troncoso, RP, Dodgers (0%) Key stats: 5.2 IP, 1 SV, 1 H, 3 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.18 WHIP.
- Advice: Those are some solid numbers, but he only got the save because the Dodgers bullpen was spent. Don’t pick him up, but keep an eye on him if Jonathan Broxton goes down with an injury, or even if Troncoso moves into a setup role.
Adam Eaton, SP, Orioles (1%) Key stats: 7.1 IP, 1W, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 2.45 ERA, 0.82 WHIP
- Advice: His K:BB Ratio from his only start this week was amazing, and after struggling to start the season, Eaton may finally settle in. He’ll benefit from speedy outfielders and will finish the season with 2:1 K:BB ratio and an ERA around or better than his career 4.85.
Chris Sampson, SP/RP, Astros (1%) Key Stats: 4.2 IP, 2 W, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1.93 ERA, 0.86
- Advice: Win vultures typically make this list, and Sampson fits the mold. The K per inning with 0 BB is nice. Like Troncoso, wait for him to get more opportunities before pulling the trigger.
Jeff Niemann, SP/RP Rays (1%) Key Stats: 11 IP, 2 W, 6 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 7 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
- Advice: The Rays’ No. 5 starter, despite some solid numbers, he did not register a quality start in two tries. The 7 Ks in 11 innings isn’t awful, but I’m not buying yet because of the six hits and six walks. He debuted in April of last year, so he’s got some time to develop. Let him.
What was that? Ninjas (Owned in 6% to 13% of leagues)
Brian Bannister, SP, Royals, (6%) Key Stats: 13.0 IP, 2 W, 5 H, 8 BB, 3 K, 0.69 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2 QS
- Advice: Not sure it’s good or bad that Bannister had 2 quality starts and a 1.00 WHIP despite walking eight batters and striking out only 3. Yes, it’s good for Bannister, but it looks like a sign of future trouble for your fantasy team.
Dave Bush, SP, Brewers (7%) Key stats: 7.2 IP, 1 W, 2 H, 1 R, 1.17 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 1 QS
- Advice: Bush has a career ERA of 4.45, with a 2-to-1 K:BB ratio and has been an inning eater. He’ll be owned on lots more than 7% of squads by the end of the season.
Ryan Madson, RP, Phillies (13%) Key stats: 4.0 IP, 1 W, 1 SV, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K, 0.00 EAR, 1.25 WHIP
- Advice: Decent K:BB and picked up a save for an ailing Brad Lidge. Worth a flier, especially if you have Lidge and his inflamed knee.
I thought I saw a Ninjas (owned in 16% to 36% of leagues)
Jamie Moyer, SP, Phillies (16%) Key stats: 6.0 IP, 1 W, 7 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 1.50 ERA, 1.33 WHiP, 1 QS
- Advice: Moyer’s not going to help you win ERA and WHIP, but his K:BB is enjoyable and he already has three wins this season. The Phillies like to score runs for the old guy. There are worse options out there, maybe even one or two on your roster.
Tim Wakefield, SP, Red Sox (36%) Key stats: 14.0 IP, 1 W, 1 CG, 6 H, 5 BB, 9 K, 0.64 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 2 QS
- Advice: For some reason Wakefield always ends up on one of my rosters at some point during the season. He’s already got 2 complete games this year and his ERA and WHIP are well below his averages. He’s an add just because he’s started so hot out of the gate, but don’t be afraid to dump him if he slumps or something better comes along.
What do you think? Going after Wakefield? How about Bill Hall? What players have you targeted? Let us know in the comments, or visit our message boards and start a conversation.