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2012 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Bryce Harper, Jose Altuve, Jonny Venters and More

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No time for stories or fluff this week, let’s get right to business.

While these few names are familiar, they are not owned in nearly enough leagues.

Mike Trout (LAA-OF | 46% Y! and 27.6 ESPN) As I noted in last week’s waiver wire, Mike Trout has been absolutely raking in Salt Lake City, the Triple-A affiliate of the Angels in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, to the tune of a .403/.468/.623 triple slash. Trout clubbed four doubles, three triples, one home run, scored 21 runs and swiped six bags in 20 contests for the Bees. Now that the Angels have finally cut ties with Bobby Abreu, Mike Trout has been recalled and figures to be inserted into the leadoff spot for the Angels today against the Indians. Trout should be owned in all formats.

Bryce Harper (Was-OF | 63% Y! and 60% ESPN) I also wrote about the impending call-up of uber-prospect Bryce Harper last week here, and I still have the same feelings today. He is one of the greatest prospects that we have ever seen, however, Harper could’ve used some more seasoning prior to his call-up. Despite the improvement in batting average over the last week (.232-to-.250), the nineteen year-old outfielder continues to display a glaring weakness against southpaws (.190/.261/.238). The Nationals insist that they will not deviate from the “developmental plan” they have in place for Harper, as they continue to look for him to get 350 at-bats in the minors. But with Ryan Zimmerman hitting the disabled list, and Harper swinging the bat well of late, the opportunity to get a glimpse of the kid was too good to pass up. While he may not be up for good, Harper should be added in twelve team mixers and deeper, without cutting a player of value.

Jose Altuve (Hou-2B | 58% Y! and 80% ESPN) Ranked third amongst second basemen in Yahoo! and second on ESPN’s player rater, Altuve is a must add for those who lack depth at 2B or the middle infield slot. The five-foot-seven Venezuelan was ranked as the 11th best prospect in the Houston Astros organization heading into 2011, with the expectation that he could sustain a decent batting average, steal some bases and contribute some long balls. While it’s nearly impossible Altuve maintains his current .378 batting average, due to his .435 average on balls in play (.340 BABIP for career), it wouldn’t be surprising if he finished the season in the .300 range with about 30 stolen bases.

Tony Campana (ChC-OF | 5% Y! and 2% ESPN) At the time of his call-up, Tony Campana maintained a .304/.355/.375 triple slash and led the PCL with eight stolen bases. In six games since arriving in the Windy City, he’s held a .389/.421/.389 slash line, scored three runs and has swiped five bags. While we can’t expect him to sustain the average, given his .500 average on balls in play, he will serve as a single-category stud for those in need of stolen bases and most importantly, Campana will be very fun to watch. Add with confidence in any format if you lack in the stolen base department.

Stuck in The Middle With You:

I say this about the same time every year. The middle reliever might not have the big paycheck, the electrifying entrance song or his own fan section, but he does carry five category potential. You may be rewarded when he has the opportunity to pick up the scab win or he gets the save chance when the tabbed closer is given the night off. Additionally, he will maintain a humble ERA and WHIP while posting a first-class K:BB ratio. Lastly, the reliever you are looking to add could be the handcuff to your current closer for insurance purposes. Combine a couple of these guys, and you have yourself the results of a fine looking starter.

Jonny Venters (ATL-RP | 53% Y! and 26% ESPN) Venters entered 2012 as one of the elite, if not the best, set-up men in the majors. In eight appearances thus far in 2012, Venters has collected two victories, hasn’t allowed an earned run (0.00 ERA, 0.94 xFIP) and touts a 17.61 K/9. If Venters can improve on his command/control (a 4.7 BB/9 and 1.30 WHIP, both of which are above career average), he makes for a safe weekly start in all formats.

David Robertson(NYY-RP | 36% Y! and 12% ESPN) The cutter. Yes, it makes that much of a difference, especially when you learn it from Mariano Rivera. David Robertson added the ~92 mph cutter to his arsenal heading into the 2011 season. After overcoming some early season control issues with the new pitch, Robertson blasted the cutter in on lefties, and away from righties to achieve personal major league bests in K/9, ERA and WHIP. The heir-apparent to the aforementioned Rivera has started 2012 right where he left off in 2011. In nine appearances, Robertson is 0-0, with a 0.00 ERA (2.26 xFIP) and a 4.33 K/BB. While he is unlikely to sustain his current strand rate (100%), we can expect Robertson to continue to miss bats (9.6 SwStr%) and induce weak contact (12.5% IFFB%) at his current pace. Like previously mentioned, Robertson is one of those guys you just plug into your lineup week-in and week-out in any format, then sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Addison Reed (CWS-RP | 19% Y! and 9% ESPN)  The youngster from San Diego State was one of those players on many industry “experts’” wish lists heading into 2012. Due to the late-season success Reed had in 2011, and the trade of Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays, some felt Reed was the dark-horse candidate that Robin Ventura would call on to close games.

Quick scouting report: The six-foot-four right-hander started 2011 in low-A Kannapolis and ascended all the way to the big leagues by September. Baseball America notes that Reed’s fastball, which sits in the 93-96 mph range, but touches 98 isn’t even his best pitch. The bread-and-butter of his repertoire is a plus-plus slider that finishes in on righties at about 80 mph.

In Reed, you have solid ratios, strikeout numbers and potentially Chicago’s future closer should Hector Santiago continue to falter. I’m adding Addison Reed in all formats.

Pedro Strop (Bal-RP | 11% Y! and 6% ESPN) Strop has been called upon in nine of the Orioles’ first 20 games. In 12 innings, Strop is 2-1, with two saves and sports a 10.5 K/9. The two saves were picked up this past week in Jim Johnson’s absence, however, his performance proves to the club he has the ability to close out games should Johnson stumble at any point throughout the season. If you have any shares of Jim Johnson, I would strongly consider adding the 26 year-old Dominican for insurance purposes.

Mitchell Boggs (STL-RP | 8% Y! and 1% ESPN) In eight trips to the mound, Boggs is 0-0 with a 0.96 ERA (2.35 xFIP) and displays a stellar 9.00 K/BB. Although Boggs is likely owned in holds leagues, his ratios and ability to miss bats makes him serviceable in most formats.  

Following Up: Originally posted in the 4/13/12 edition of the waiver wire, Jordan Schafer, Adam LaRoche and J.D. Martinez continue to produce and are still unowned in too many leagues. What are you waiting for?

Written by Alan Harrison, exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. You can read more of Alan’s articles here, or argue with him about who to trade, add or drop on Twitter here.

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