Outfielders up to our ears in today’s waiver report, but it’s nice to see some new names, like Austin Kearns, Will Venable and Tyler Colvin, emerging as fantasy options.
We’ve also got a couple pitching options, including one that is a must-own, a couple veterans and some youth to round out the trifecta.
Five pitchers and five hitters making waves on waivers:
Austin Kearns — Last week’s play — three runs, two homers, nine RBI and two stolen bases while hitting .435 — has thrust Kearns into fantasy relevance and the Cleveland Indians starting lineup. Kearns is available in 98% of Yahoo leagues and 99.9% of ESPN leagues. I’m not sure how long his hot streak will last, but c’mon, everybody’s streaming a hitter or two by now. The 30-year-old had an 86/24/86/9/.264 line in 2006, his best year in the bigs and Kearns has only had two seasons with more than 448 at-bats.
Will Venable — He’s hitting .246, so be a little cautious. However, he’s batting fifth behind A-Gonz and Headley. He’s scored 14 runs and driven in 11 while showing a good power/speed combo (4 HRs/5 SBs). In the last week, he hit .318 with five runs, two RBI and four steals. He’s worth owning as long as he bats in the meat of that order. Venable is available in 80% of Yahoo leagues and 86.7% of ESPNs.
Tyler Colvin — Owned in only 3% of Yahoo leagues and 0.8% of ESPN leagues despite great numbers because he’s part of a crowded Cubs outfield. Last week, Colvin hit .421 with four runs, two homers and five RBIs. He’s scored nine times this year and has three homers while batting .324. The biggest issue is playing time. The Cubs already have two high-priced outfielders in the corners — Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano — and both have been performing.
Kosuke Fukudome — Colvin’s play might warrant a full-time spot, but Fukudome hit .500 last week, belted a pair of homers and went 5/5 in runs and RBIs. He’s got nine runs, 11 RBIs, is hitting .333 this season and is available in 84% of Yahoos and 93.7% of ESPNs. The numbers are a little better than Colvin’s and Fukudome has a much wealthier contract, but he can’t hit lefties (.242). Colvin played against lefty John Lannan on Tuesday. If you’re in a keeper/dynasty league, Colvin is 25 and Fukudome is 33. Thirty-three is hardly ancient in baseball years, but at his age Colvin has a chance to make a big advancement or two in his development and, eventually, unseat Fukudome or Soriano.
Lyle Overbay — Flying under the radar because of his snail-like 4-for-50 start, Overbay is worth owning right now. He’s 9-for-his-last-21, with two homers and six RBIs in six games and hit .316 last week. Few good 1B options are available in fantasy leagues this long after the draft, he should be owned in a lot more than 2% of Yahoo leagues and 0.4% of ESPN leagues, even though I don’t expect a monster season out of him the rest of the way. You just put Nelson Cruz on the DL didn’t you? Pick up Overbay for a couple weeks then dump him.
Ty Wigginton showed up in my ESPN search but not my Yahoo search because his availability numbers (40.5% and 52%, respectively) are pretty different. Wigginton qualifies at 1B, 2B and 3B. I recommended him in the 4.18.10 daily Top 10 because of his streakiness — he’s streaking good right now — and he also made the 4.25.10 Top 10. Last week he hit .389 with a homer and three runs.
Jon Garland — In his last two starts, Garland has 13 innings pitched and two wins. He struck out 11 and had a 1.38 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. I like to be optimistic, but he’s not going to keep that ERA around 2.57 and he matched his career high 10 Ks Tuesday, skewing that strikeout total. He’s a 5.00 K/9, 4.50 ERA pitcher and when that corrects itself, you don’t want him in your starting lineup. If you’re a gambler, he’s available in 94% of Yahoos and 98.4% of ESPNs.
C.J. Wilson — So all those years of Wilson blowing saves, he should have been winning starts. Wilson won a pair of games, averaging 6.1 per start with 3.5 strikeouts with a 1.42 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. I expected more Ks, but he’s 2-1 in four games with a 1.75 ERA. For real? I’m buying and he’s available in 75.3% of ESPN leagues and 55% of Yahoos.
Scott Olsen — Who is the real Scott Olsen? In his first two starts, Olsen’s return from torn labrum surgery was probably more painful than the tear itself. However, on Sunday Olsen struck out eight Dodgers in seven scoreless innings of a win, allowing six hits and walking one. Yes, the Dodgers. The same team that is in the MLB top 10 in hits, runs, doubles, triples, homers and RBI. Olsen is ridiculously available — 0% of Yahoos and 0.1% of ESPNs — so you can probably roll the dice and wait for one more start. He’s shown 8-9 K/9 with a 4.00 ERA potential in the past and he’s only 26.
Mitch Talbot — Talbot’s just missed the cut on a handful of our daily top 10 updates because he hasn’t been a crushing success. And by that I mean, not enough Ks for ep to care. However, he’s got a 2.05 ERA (which is probably bogus by at least a point and a half) and a 1.18 WHIP (I wouldn’t want to speculate) and hasn’t lost — or really been touched up — since walking five and giving up four runs in his season-opener. Last week, he notched two wins, 12.1 IP and four Ks. He won’t turn 27 until October, so he very well could have figured out what he needed to harness some of what he showed in the minors. He’s available in 96% of Yahoo leagues and 99.6% of ESPNs.
Kyle Davies — Struck out five in six shutout innings this week. I’m not buying his 3.65 ERA or his 1.18 WHIP, and apparently neither are most of the people in Yahoo (1%) or ESPN (0.1%). He won’t be 27 until September so, like Talbot, he could finally be maturing as a pitcher. I’m a little more pessimistic with Davies.
Doug Fister was hiding in the ESPN bargain bin (available in 93.7%, 77% in Yahoos). He gave up two earned runs in eight innings last week, with a walk and four strikeouts. Fister has a 1.67 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. He had a 3.81 in AAA last season. He’s only 26 and this is the first season he started in the majors from Day 1, but his K rate will probably hover around 4.00 and his ERA and WHIP are due for a major correction. If you like eating nuclear nachos at your favorite Mexican restaurant then riding a roller coaster, Fister could help your ERA and WHIP for a few weeks … With another 15.1 innings of masterful work this week, Livan Hernandez continues to surprise. he’s available in 87% of ESPNs and 74% of Yahoos. His K/9 (2.5) is well below even his mediocre 5.00 standard, but he’s got matching ERA and WHIP numbers (0.87). The nuclear rods are already out of place, the meltdown is coming, but he’s been too good to be so available on waivers. If you’re in an NL-only league he’s a must-own at this point.