2012 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Bryan LaHair, Adam LaRoche, Omar Infante and More

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Welcome to Week 3’s Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire

You’ve spent several months reading and reciting a variety of fantasy baseball analysts’ draft guides and analysis articles like they were the gospel, and just two-to-three weeks into this young season you are ready to part ways with your draft day saviors as if they were associated with the Evil Spirit.

Let’s break out that old fantasy baseball bible to see if there is any reference to parting ways with draft day acquisitions:

FB 1:3 Don’t pay for saves – Nope that isn’t the one I was looking for. But relevant.

FB 1:5 Thou shall be cautious when investing in players coming off of a contract year – Nah, that’s not it, but that’s a good one too!

FB 2:1 The season is a marathon, not a sprint. Exercise patience - Yea, that’s the one!

I understand there are some moves you just have to make. Like dropping Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria in an unsaid NFBC league, scouring the wire and exhausting some of your precious FAAB on anyone resembling a potential closer. Yes, you have to do that. I mean, we’ve all been there, right?

Conversely, most need to understand you’ve exhausted your draft picks on your current rosters for a reason. On many occasions, players who find themselves employed or unemployed the first few weeks in fantasyland, will return to their expected state, kind of like Brett Gardner circa 2011.

Flashback: An unnamed owner in my home league was so darn frustrated with Brett Gardner’s .188 batting average and four swipes in March/April of 2011, that he was dropped in favor of Sam “Superman” Fuld. Fuld was sweeping the world off their feet with his fancy “Web Gems,” .289 average and his ten stolen bases through April. That was what Brett Gardner was supposed to be doing!  Over the course of the next three months while Gardner was hitting over .290 and stealing 28 bases, Fuld found his Kryptonite – playing time – and Gardner returned dividends for those who remained patient (or vultured him, like this guy!).

Remember, this is just one example. There are others that must hit the wire for whatever reason, but be sure to do your research, and be sure there isn’t anyone willing to give you something better than what is currently on the wire for said player.

Enough nonsense. The following players are just some of the waiver wire options out there for week three. And yes, all deserve a solid look depending on the format of your league and the composition of your team.

Bryan LaHair (ChC-OF | 19% Y!) In his last three years at Triple-A, LaHair has averaged a .308 BA, 78 runs scored, 29 long balls, 92 runs batted in, and a wRC+ of 142. In a brief twenty-game stint in 2011, LaHair hit .288, with eight of his 17 hits falling for extra bases. Through Thursday (4/12), LaHair was batting .375, with three of his six hits falling for extra bases. How is this guy only owned in 19% of Yahoo! leagues, you ask? It seems like he’s getting the majority of at bats against right handed pitching for the time being. He could be a gift for those in 12-team daily mixed and greater who need a CI. Just cross your fingers that he’s not the next Chris Davis.

Adam LaRoche (Was-1B | 33%) Yes, Adam is getting older, but we ALL are! All this guy does is bat .270, hit 25 home runs and knock in 80+ runs, every year. Well, except in 2011, but he had an excuse. LaRoche’s 2011 abruptly ended with surgery to repair a torn labrum. However, LaRoche seems like he’s up to his old tricks, starting the season batting .345, with two homers and eight RBIs through Thursday. With Michael Morse shut down for at least the next six weeks, LaRoche is the guy to add in 10-team leagues and deeper with confidence.

Omar Infante (Mia-2B | 50% Y!) Infante’s hot start to 2012 is not for real. Well, the power at least. Infante’s career high for long balls in a season, you ask? 16, in 2004. He’s already at 18% of that career high, through just seven games. Unsustainable. If you’re in need of a second basemen or MI in 10-team league or greater, grab him while he’s hot, but only expect a player who will give you a safe average and you won’t be let down.

Kyle Seager (Sea-3B/SS | 16%) In 2011 Seager was ranked the #8, and #9 prospect in the Seattle Mariners organization by Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus respectively. Each of the aforementioned outlets note that he’s a better “real” baseball player, and outside of average, Seager has little to offer in fantasy value. In deep leagues, I never mind adding a SS or MI who can hit for average. Like, Infante, don’t get your hopes up in the counting categories, and you won’t be disappointed.

Zack Cozart (Cin-SS | 53% Y!) Another middle infielder off to a scorching start, Cozart is batting .370 with a home run, two runs batted in and six runs scored through seven games. Although Cozart has little major league experience, our friend Kevin Goldstein notes that we can expect “good” home run and stolen base numbers for a short stop, if you’re team can withstand the hit in batting average. Zack should be getting a look in 10-team leagues and greater, especially considering the lack of depth at short.

With the news that Jacoby Ellsbury went down with what is believed to be a shoulder injury, I provided a few extra potential outfield additions (and a beer suggestion: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale) to ease your sorrows.

Edit: Some outlets are initially reporting that Ellsubry has a dislocated, or partially dislocated shoulder that could require him to be out a minimum of six weeks. 

Alejandro De Aza (CWS-OF | 47%) Through Thursday, De Aza has started, and led off each of the White Sox first five games. He’s accumulated two homers, three RBIs, scored five times and has stolen one base in those contests. If he continues to lead off, and starts showing some more patience at the plate (zero walks to date), you could see 12 homers, 70+ runs and 20+ thefts in 2012. Give him a long look in 12-team leagues. 

J.D. Martinez (Hou-OF | 34% Y!) Martinez was called the “best hitter for average” in the Houston Astros’ farm system in 2011 by Baseball America.  Outside of average, Martinez could be a decent source of RBIs, as he currently hitting third behind the speedy Jordan Schafer and switch-hitting Jed Lowrie. If those two can continue to get on base, look for Martinez to knock in about 80 runs for the season. Despite the fact he plays for the Astros, he is a decent addition for those who are looking to fill a slot left void by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Jordan Schafer (Hou-OF | 27% Y!)  Do I really have two Astros’ in this piece? Unfortunately, yes.  The former Braves outfielder is a solid source of speed, who could score 70 runs and steal 25 bags. As long as he continues to take walks, and get on base, Schafer is a decent fifth OF or platoon option against righties. Keep an eye on Jordan in 12-team leagues and greater.

Juan Rivera (LAD-1B/OF | 13%) By all means, the soon-to-be thirty-four year-old isn’t the most exciting player in the league, but he’s collecting hits, getting on base and more importantly, not striking out. In leagues greater than twelve teams, you could do worse. 

Edinson Volquez (SD-SP | 57% Y!) Once traded by the Texas Rangers along with Danny Herrera for Josh Hamilton, Edinson Volquez finds himself calling a new park home for 2012. Lucky for Volquez that new park is Petco. In his first two starts (small sample, I know!) in the pitcher-friendly park, Volquez finds himself 0-1, with 11.25 k/9 and a BAA of .189. In order to be successful over the course of the season, the right-hander will have to continue missing bats, reduce the walks (5.25/9) and display some consistency at home and on the road. Some of you are still having Volquez induced WHIP nightmares from previous seasons, and they may never disappear, but he’s worth the look in 12-team mixed and deeper. 

Jake Peavy (CWS-SP | 34% Y!) In two games, Peavy is 1-0 with 13 strikeouts and has surrendered just two walks. He has, however, given up ten hits and five earned runs in 12.2 IP against Texas and Detroit. Peavy needs to get a solid look in 12-team leagues, especially if he can stay healthy.

Danny Duffy (KC-SP | 6% Y!) The Royals’ young southpaw threw six innings of one-hit ball in has last start against the anemic Athletics. Duffy, who owns a strikeout rate of greater than 10/9 IP in the minor leagues, was able to sit down eight on strikes. There were some control concerns evident, as he did surrender four free passes. If Duffy is able to locate his three-pitch arsenal (fastball, curveball, changeup) effectively going forward, and limit his walks, we may be in for a pleasant surprise in 2012. I’m adding him in 12-team mixed leagues and deeper. 

Are there some owners in your leagues that suffer from an itchy clicker finger? Prey on those without patience, and properly utilize the DL spots your league has blessed you with.

Drew Storen (Was-RP | 87% Y!) Yes, Storen paid a visit to the most hated man in fantasy baseball, Dr. James Andrews, this past week after experiencing some pain in his throwing elbow. Subsequently, the young pitcher had surgery to remove a bone chip from his pitching elbow. While the Nationals haven’t given Storen an exact date to return, the All-Star Break has been mentioned.  If by chance he was dropped in your league, stash him in your DL slot until we hear something further regarding his return to action.

Michael Morse (Was-1B | 91% Y!) Like Storen, Morse visited Dr. James Andrews last week after re-aggravating his right lat muscle, and has been completely “shut down” for the next six weeks. I wasn’t confident Morse would have returned to his 2011 form even if he were healthy, however, leaving a player who could potentially put up 15 home runs and knock in 45 runs after the All-Star Break on the waiver wire doesn’t sit well with me. Stash him if he’s been dropped, and hope for the best. 

Andrew Bailey (Bos-RP | 59% Y!) The oft-injured closer of the Red Sox had surgery earlier this month to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. “Bailey is currently sporting a cast on his right hand that is expected to be removed in the coming days and is slated to begin an eight week rehabilitation program once the stitches are removed.” If you haven’t been living in a hole for the first two weeks of the season, you know the debacle that has been the Red Sox bullpen. While Bailey’s return to the closer position is clearly dependent on his recovery, adding and sliding him into your DL spot now does you no harm. 

Victor Martinez (Det-C/1B | 9% Y!) Victor Martinez doesn’t fall into the same category as those above, but this is a sneaky one. I like this move, especially in keeper leagues that offer deep benches and more than two DL slots. We learned this week that Martinez did not require the ACL surgery that was initially scheduled. Therefore, without setbacks, we could potentially see the Tigers’ slugger back into action as early as August. Yes, August. I know It seems like an eternity from now, but moves like this could win you the “moolah” this year and next

Don’t let the door hit ya’ where the good lord split ya’

Scott Baker (Min-SP |26% Y!) Baker has been shut down for the entire 2012 season as he will be having surgery to repair a damaged flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow. There is no reason that he should be owned in redraft or keeper leagues for that mater.

Joakim Soria (KC-RP | 10% Y!) and Ryan Madson (Cin-RP | 14% Y!) have both had Tommy John surgery this spring, and will not be available for fantasy baseballers until 2013. Considering we preach not to pay for saves, there isn’t any reason to keep these two rostered unless you’re in a super-deep keeper.

Who are you adding in week three? We want to know who is available on your wire, and how your FAAB plays out. Tell us about it in the comments below!

Written by Alan Harrison, exclusively for Alan is the founder and co-owner of TFF, feel free to contact him here or follow his nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.

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