Arismendy Alcantara is making a case to stay in the bigs. (Photo: Lance Iversen-USA Today Sports)
The injuries just continue to mount. Unbelievably, last week alone, Yadier Molina, Brandon Phillips,C.J. Wilson, Adam Lind and Masahiro Tanaka all wound up on the DL. The loss of Tanaka is particulary devestating news to the Yankees, already short-staffed and facing the balance of 2014 without CC Sabathia in their rotation. As always injuries create opportunities and before you settle in to enjoy the All-Star festivities this week, take the time to spend some of that FAAB and set up your rosters for the second half.
Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s Troll recommendations.
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Chicago Cubs (CBS: 42 per cent owned, ESPN: 8 per cent): Does anyone remember Wally Pipp? The term ‘Pipped’ could be one that Darwin Barney might be quite familiar with in the near future. Barney has been out of the lineup for a few days on paternity leave and the Cubs chose to take a look at one of their bright young talents in Alcantara. Alcantara is off to a great start, going 7-for-18 with five runs, three RBI and one theft. In 335 at-bats at Triple-A Iowa he hit 10 homers with 41 RBI, stole 21 bags and was sporting a great .307 BA. It’s very obvious that Alcantara is ready for the bigs (he certainly sounds so based on the video below, taken after his debut) so he should be sticking around for the long haul. Go get him!
Jordy Mercer, 2B/SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (CBS: 27 per cent, ESPN: 19 per cent): Mercer is slapping the ball all over the place and is scorching hot with a .415 BA in July, following up a five-homer June. What’s not to like? If you’re looking for a middle-infield replacement for Phillips, look no further.
Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Chicago WhiteSox (CBS: 27 per cent owned, ESPN: 7 per cent): We first recommended Gillaspie back in April and although he’s enjoyed a solid year, the power has been lacking. That changed last week as he managed to slug homers on three consecutive days. If Gillaspie is available in your league, rest assured he won’t be for much longer.
Jacob deGrom, SP, New York Mets (CBS: 38 per cent owned, ESPN: 5 per cent): It’s time for a second look at deGrom. It has been an up and down season for the Mets rookie, but right now he’s trending up, stringing together a nice little run of four straight quality starts, which included his first two wins. On the year, deGrom has now struck out 64 in 66 2/3 IP. We’re expecting a solid second half from the young righty.
Neftali Feliz, RP, Texas Rangers (CBS: 14 per cent owned, ESPN: 9 per cent): The Texas Rangers season has turned from bad to simply ugly. It’s rumoured that they could move Joakim Soria and if he is on the block the obvious replacement is former closer Feliz. A pre-emptive strike could pay off big in the second half.
Vidal Nuno, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks (CBS: 5 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Nuno, recently acquired in the deal that sent Brandon McCarthy to the Yankees, is going to find the NL West much more to his liking than the AL East.
Tsuyoshi Wada, SP, Chicago Cubs (CBS: 5 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): The trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland has created an opportunity in Chicago and Wada acquitted himself well in his first start. If not for the pathetic effort by the Cubs bullpen he’d have that first MLB victory under his belt. Wada is worth a look in deeper formats and NL-only leagues.
Edinson Volquez, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (CBS: 39 per cent owned, ESPN: 12 per cent): Volquez has won four starts in a row while allowed only three earned runs. It’s time to jump back on the bandwagon.
Christian Vazquez, C, Boston Red Sox (CBS: 5 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): The first victim of Boston’s horrid 2014 campaign is the one and only A.J. Pierzynski, who was DFAed Wednesday. The Red Sox called up Vazquez and he will be a big part of their catching plans in the second half. His outstanding defense will keep him in the game but don’t be surprised to see a solid offensive contribution. In two-catcher sets, Vazquez should be on the radar.
Shane Greene, SP, New York Yankees (CBS: 13 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Two successful outings and Greene vaults to the top of the charts in the injury riddled Yankees rotation. Is his start sustainable? Probably not, but ride it for all it’s worth.
Brad Ziegler, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks (CBS: 13 per cent owned, ESPN: 3 per cent): The Arizona hierarchy continues to stand behind Addison Reed. In the event that position changes (and based on Reed’s performance so far it could), Ziegler is the favourite to move into the ninth inning gig.
Norichika Aoki, OF, Kansas City Royals (CBS: 33 per cent owned, ESPN: 24 per cent): Aoki has returned from the DL and a disappointing first half. We’re expecting just a bit better production in the second half and with his ownership levels being down, buying in now could pay off down the stretch.
Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (CBS: 21 per cent owned, ESPN: 3 per cent): Hellickson’s season debut after an extended DL stint showed promise. The Rays are being very cautious with his pitch count but in deeper leagues he’s worth a bench stash.
Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres (CBS: 45 per cent owned, ESPN: 40 per cent): Headley changed his grip about a week ago and is finally showing signs of life. Why didn’t he change it about a year and a half ago?
Ramon Santiago, 2B/SS/3B, Cincinnati Reds (CBS: 1 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Phillips’ thumb injury has ensured steady PT for the former Tiger.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.
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