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The four top sleeper buys this week have a combined 69 Major League games between them yet look far more promising than many of the more experienced guys floating around the fantasy waiver market. If you’re good, you don’t always have to wait around to make an impact. Let’s take a look at four very young players who are worth owning down the stretch and four guys who have been around a combined 37 years to sell.
Danny Farquhar: Solid Buy. Farquhar has adjusted very nicely to the Mariners closing role, throwing 3.1 scoreless, one-hit innings while striking out five since moving to the ninth inning. Although his season ERA is just under 5.00, he has not allowed a run in his last 12.2 IP while holding batters to a .075 BAA and 20 K/4 BB.
Darin Ruf: Solid Buy. Ruf is starting to get hot since August came around, putting up a .316/.381/.684 line with two homers, three RBI, a double, and four runs over his last five games. Ruf is now getting occasional starts in right field which boosts his value even more.
Wilmer Flores. Speculative Buy. I covered Flores extensively in yesterday’s Fantasy Baseball Sleeper column and the Mets rookie third baseman responded with a big 2-for-4 night with a double, three RBI, and a run in his second Big League start. The 22-year-old is a former top prospect who’s been tearing it up in the minors the last two seasons. In 2012, Flores put up a .300/.349/.479 line with 18 HR, 75 RBI, 50 XBH, and 68 R. He was building on last season in his first go at Triple-A this year where he put up a .321/.357/.531 line with 15 HR, 86 RBI, 69 R, and 55 XBH before being called up.
Danny Salazar: Solid Buy. I liked Salazar a lot after his first start after seeing him hold the Blue Jays to just one run, two hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts over six innings. I intentionally held off on recommending him until he cleared the Tigers last night, giving up four runs over 7.2 IP. He wasn’t bad, mostly hurt by two home runs allowed, and he struck out 10 batters while walking just one. In case you’re counting, that’s a 3.29 ERA and 17 K over his first 13.2 Major League innings. The strikeouts should come as no surprise, he owned a 12.5 K/9 in the minors this season along with a 2.71 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He’ll face the Twins next and is a must-start.
Tom Wilhelmsen: Through June 7, Wilhelmsen had 15 saves and a 1.98 ERA. Since June 7, Wilhelmsen put up a 7.65 ERA and 15 K/13 BB, ultimately being sent down earlier this week. The Mariners might be considering converting him back to a starter while he’s in Tacoma but as far as this season goes, you can safely drop him despite his 53 saves since June 5 of last season.
Andy Pettitte: Since returning from a minor back injury in June, Pettitte has just been off and is no longer worth owning anywhere. Over his last 71 IP, he owns a 5.32 ERA, .316 BAA, and seven home runs allowed. Between him, Phil Hughes, and CC Sabathia, the Yankees’ core starters have been all sorts of disappointing down the stretch.
Chris Carpenter: For a while, Carp was progressing in his rehab and it looked like he could be back in August to pitch some quality innings. He suffered a setback in Triple-A and a return this season no longer appears likely. In fact, he’s not even sure he’ll be back next season.
Josh Fields: Closers always have value. Then there’s Josh Fields, so, almost always. I even gave Jose Cisnero the benefit of the doubt when he stepped in to replace the traded Jose Veras. Cisnero struggled and was quickly sent down to the minors, likely to work on his 1.63 WHIP. I’m not giving Josh Fields any benefit of the doubt. The 27-year-old rookie only has 21 IP in his Major League career and has already allowed six home runs. His 6.84 ERA and 1.48 WHIP shouldn’t even qualify him for a mop up job, much less a closer gig but so go the Astros. He’ll be replaced soon enough so don’t even bother.
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