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The way the season has gone along, these columns have been mostly dedicated to younger guys who are breaking out all over the place. This might be the first veteran-heavy stock market piece as some of the guys that seemed a bit iffy coming in are putting up unexpectedly good numbers. Let’s take a look at who’s on the upswing and who’s ready to get hit by the swinging door on their way out.
Brandon Moss: Solid Buy. We saw Moss emerge as a serious power threat last year as he blasted 21 home runs in just 84 games – destroying his previous career high of eight home runs in 79 games. He already has 13 HR, 37 RBI, and 33 R through 67 games after adding six dingers and 11 RBI over his last two weeks. His .237 BA is much lower than last year’s .291 and probably closer to who he really is but he’s more than capable of hitting close to 30 this year if he stays healthy. SJN’s AccuScore projections have him at 15 HR, 39 RBI, and a .256 BA the rest of the way which sounds pretty dead on.
Ricky Nolasco: Short-Term Buy. While the Marlins continue to play little league level ball, Nolasco is in the midst of his best season since 2008 – albeit with just a 4-7 record. He currently owns a 3.61 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 7.2 K/2.2 BB. He’s been even more impressive over his last six starts, going 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA and .224 BAA. That said, I would pick him up for now but understand that he will level out to the pitcher he has been for the last four years. That means a mid-4s ERA and WHIP close to 1.30 though the strikeouts/walks should remain right around where they are now. SJN’s AccuScore projections have him at 5-8 with a 4.23 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 80 K the rest of the season.
J.J. Putz: Strong Buy. J.J. Putz is starting a rehab assignment and Heath Bell has given up a home run in four straight appearances. In other words, Putz will be the DBacks’ closer once again by the middle of next week. It hasn’t been a good season for Putz by any stretch as he’s blown four out of nine save opportunities and owns a 4.26 ERA and 1.58 WHIP over 12.2 IP. While the blown saves are alarming this is still a guy who saved 77 out of 86 opportunities while putting up a combined 2.48 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over his first two seasons in Arizona and saves are saves.
Tommy Hanson: Solid Buy. I was hoping for a nice bounce back from Hanson this year and he finally seems to be returning to his pre-2012 form. Over his last six starts, Hanson is 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA and while the baserunners have been a problem for him he has managed to put up solid outings overall. His 6.1 K/9 is a far cry from his 9.8 K/9 in 2011 but there is plenty of hope after he struck out eight Yankees and walked just one over 6.1 IP in his last start.
Hector Santiago: Solid Buy. I’ve been a big Santiago fan all season and he has been impressive once again since taking over injured Jake Peavy‘s spot in the rotation. In two starts he has allowed just four earned runs over 11.2 IP while striking out 14 and owning a .209 BAA. The walks have been a bit of an issue for him which is why his season WHIP is around 1.34 but he doesn’t surrender many hits and balances it out with good strikeout numbers (9.4/9 on the season).
Eric Young Jr.: Speculative Buy. Young didn’t do much in Colorado this season, putting up a pedestrian .243/.289/.638 line with 22 R and eight steals. That said, there is plenty of hope for the 28-year-old as he moves to the Mets. First, the Mets desperately need outfielders so Young will be playing a ton more time. Second, the Mets desperately need a leadoff hitter and if Young can hit for a better average he would certainly be a better option than Jordany Valdespin, Juan Lagares, or Mike Baxter. Third, CitiField has a lot of big gaps that are going to allow this kid to hit a lot more extra-base hits. In 2012, Young showed promise as he batted .316 with a .377 OBP and 14 steals over 98 games. He could find himself fantasy relevant very soon.
Jose Valverde: Well, if people weren’t fed up with Papa Grande already they certainly are after he allowed four runs over one inning to the Orioles on Wednesday – sending his 3.93 ERA skyrocketing to 5.59. It’s done. It’s over. Drop him. Move on. That goes for your team as well as the Tigers.
Mark Teixeira: Tex has reinjured the wrist tendon that kept him out the first 53 games of the season and is back on the DL. Between the trickiness of wrist injuries, the possibility of season-ending surgery, his tough-to-swallow .151 BA, and his propensity to be a slow starter I don’t see it happening this year.
James Loney: We all knew James Loney would come back down to earth and it seems to be happening already. Loney has just three hits in his last 29 at-bats and his average has dropped from .327 to .300 in that time. SJN’s AccuScore projections have him at 6-7 HR, 32 RBI, and a .287 BA the rest of the way. I would expect nothing more than a .280 BA, 12-13 HR, and 60 RBI tops from his this season.
Heath Bell: While Bell has only blown two saves in 15 chances, considerably better than Putz, he has struggled in his last four games, giving up a home run in each one of them. With Putz’s impending arrival, be prepared to drop Bell as soon as JJ is back.
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