2011 Fantasy Baseball Week 2: Wired and Baked – Top Waiver Wire Pickups


Welcome to (Waiver) Wired and Baked! Your weekly review of who shouldn’t be available in your league, but probably is. There are lots of waiver wire columns out there, and frankly, I suggest you read as many of them as you can – being a waiver wire expert is what keeps me competitive in my leagues. 

Yes, it’s an investment in time and resources, but in my opinion, it’s the only way to win – grabbing that closer when his turn comes; watching the starting pitcher on a hot streak and picking him up for his next start; or looking at a guy’s splits to know whether he’s a good pickup for a week on the road are all excellent ways to get ahead of your competition.

So, starting today, I’ll do a weekly review of five players who are available in at least 50% of Yahoo leagues that you should definitely keep your eye on, as well as one AL-only and NL-only special. It’ll be published every Monday, in time for you to make weekly pickups, but feel free to post comments and questions throughout the week and I’ll be sure to answer all.

Luke Scott – 48% owned. 

For a guy who’s gotten progressively better since he entered the major leagues, and had an OPS of over .900 in 2010, its hard to believe that Luke Scott isn’t on every single Mixed League team. In 2010, he was 6th in the AL in Slugging and 7th in OPS despite his typical terrible April (.194 BA with 2 HR), and hit a home run every 16.6 at bats. Over a 500 at bat season, that’s 30 bombs. Can you name anyone else who’s got 30 home run power that isn’t owned in your league? Didn’t think so.

Coco Crisp – 43% owned.  

Owner of one of baseball’s best names, Covelli Loyce Crisp – aka Coco – has as much pure speed as anyone in the game. He gets a bad rap for being injury-prone, and indeed, has only played three full seasons in his 10-year career. But why not ride it while the getting’s good? He’s the owner of one of the best base stealing percentages in the game (just around 20% caught), and in 2010, Coco stole 32 bases in just 75 games. He’s healthy, playing for a new contract, and has already swiped 4 bags through the season’s first 8 games…putting him on pace to swipe 81. I’d gladly take half that.

Brandon Belt – 30% owned.  

Caveat – This is a keeper league special because to be honest, I have no idea if Belt will be a good major league player. Chances are that if your league is keeper, he’s already owned. But in the off-chance he is available, grab him. The Giants think highly enough of Belt to move Aubrey Huff to the outfield, and Belt is coming off a monster 2010 season in the minors (.352 BA, 23 HR, 112 RBI and a 1.075 OPS) and seems to have a fairly long leash. In a non-keeper league, wait till (if?) he gets hot, but if you’re in a keeper league, I suggest taking a flyer on Belt.

Aaron Harang – 16% owned.  

At least through two starts, Harang looks like he’s recaptured some of what made him one of the better fantasy starters in 2006 and 2007. After winning 16 games with over 215 K’s in each of those seasons, he won a total of 18 games in 2008-2010 and signed a bargain basement contract with the Padres prior to this season. He’s been on a lot of people’s watch lists, and pitched very well against the Dodgers this weekend after an excellent opening turn against the Giants, so grab him before someone else does. He could use Petco to his advantage and have a very nice bounce back campaign.

Matt Harrison – 29% owned.  

The forgotten piece of the Rangers deal for Mark Teixeira (they also got Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus and Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Braves in the trade), Harrison has generally put up good numbers…when healthy. He’s never made more than 15 starts in a season (2008), never had an ERA under 4.71 (2010), and has finished with a winning record as a starter only once (also 2008, but it was tied to a 5.49 ERA). So far in 2011, he’s had two very good starts – one at home against the Red Sox and one in Baltimore, both hitter’s parks and very good opposing lineups – and may be worth a short-term pickup while he’s healthy (because who knows how long that will last).

AL Only Special – Sam Fuld – 1% owned.  

Not yet ready for ownership in Mixed Leagues, Fuld stands to be the biggest beneficiary of Manny Ramirez’s suspension retirement. Married to his high school sweetheart from his New Hampshire prep school, Fuld’s got speed to burn (5 steals in just 6 games) and has shown an ability to get on base, both with the Cubs in 2008 (.409 OBP in 115 plate appearances) and this year (.333 in 21 plate appearances). Fuld has gotten every start since Manny was suspended retired, and given how horrid the Rays’ offense has been this year, I can see Rays’ skipper Joe Maddon giving Fuld a long look out there.

NL Only Special – Chris Narveson – 15% owned.  

Suddenly on everyone’s radar because he’s got a 0.00 ERA and 14 K’s through 13 innings, Narveson – a ten-season minor leaguer in just his second season as a major league starter – is not this good.  But in an NL-only league, he’s worth a flier with a career K/9 of 7.9 and low walk rate, and especially since he pitches for a very good hitting team. Knowing Narveson, he may very well blow up next time out…or turn into this year’s R.A. Dickey.

Written by Jesse Mendelson exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com.  Find and follow Jesse on Facebook.

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(March 31, 2011 – Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)

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Tags: The Fantasy Fix, Fantasy Sports Advice, 2011 Fantasy Baseball, Wired & Baked, Waiver Wire, Week 2, Jesse Mendelson, Luke Scott, Coco Crisp, Brandon Belt, Aaron Harang, Matt Harrison, Sam Fuld, Chris Narveson
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