2012 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Mike Minor, Ryan Vogelsong, Bartolo Colon and More


Welcome to the week-four waiver wire!

As many of you may know, I’ve recently married the woman of my dreams. It was perfect. Our families happily joined us to witness the commitment we were making to each other, at Stone Brewery! All of our guests were able to enjoy beautiful weather, great food and some of the best beers on the planet. Like I said, it was perfect!

Upon our return from our two-week honeymoon in Mexico, I learned my best man, and best friend, popped the question to his girlfriend. And she said “yes.” “Here we go again,” I thought. After he asked me to be his best man, we began discussing options for a bachelor party. He said “You know, since we didn’t get the opportunity to do anything crazy for your bachelor party, we should for mine. And, it will be for both of us. Let’s do something we’ll never get the chance to do again in our lives. Let’s go to Thailand.”

Wow, what a great idea. Thailand. Somewhere that I will never be able to go again once--- Wait, I’m already married? How in the hell am I going to be able to convince my wife of three months that this is something I need to do. My wife, the same woman I went to see the Hangover 2 with just a few months ago and the same woman who listens to our surfer buddy tell ridiculous stories about late night adventures in Thailand.

So I grew some huevos and did it, I asked my wife if she would mind if I went to Thailand on a “guys trip” for ten days. She looked at me with one eyebrow up, pondered for a moment, and said “Sure – GO AHEAD.” Immediately I knew she didn’t really want me to go. And if I did, it was going to cost me.

What exactly will it cost? I’m not sure. But if I knew, I would be able to make a more educated decision on whether I should be making this trip of a lifetime.

When it comes to the waiver wire, you too have to ask yourself the same question. Yes, I can add Phillip Humber who just threw a perfect game, but at what cost?

No, I’m not going to add Phillip Humber and drop Mike Trout in a keeper league. No, I’m not going to add Phillip Humber and drop my second closer, Javy Guerra.

Before you make that move on the wire, be sure to do a thorough analysis of your team. Check positional depth. Check which categories you are weakest/strongest in. All of these things you need to know, before you make that move.

With Cliff Lee, Ryan Dempster and Daniel Hudson hitting the DL today, and in honor of Philip Humber’s perfect game, here is a special “Mound and Minors” edition of the waiver wire.

As always, leave a comment below, or send me a message on twitter to ask about your potential waiver adds.

Enjoy. And yes, I’m going to Thailand.

On the Mound

Mike Minor (Atl-SP | 48% Y! and 88% ESPN) Not sure what Yahoo! is doing to hide Mike Minor from the majority, but you need to send out the search party for him, immediately. Small sample size yes, but he is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA (3.29 xFIP) and a 3.80 K/BB. Moreover, Minor has been a bit unlucky thus far with runners on base, having only stranded 52.6% of those who reached, versus his career 69.6 LOB%. Assuming those LOB% numbers normalize towards the league average of 72%, he continues to induce weak contact (15% IFFB%) and swing-and-misses (9.2% SwStr%), Minor could be in for a very special season.  He needs to be owned in all formats, except AL-Only obviously.

Ryan Vogelsong (SFG-SP | 50% Y! and 7.4% ESPN) In his second start of the season, Vogelsong chucked six strong frames of four-hit baseball today, striking out eight Mets and walking one, while not figuring in the decision. Vogelsong is starting to make me believe that he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder in 2011. I’m adding him in twelve-team leagues and deeper, knowing that I can stream him in San Francisco. 

Bartolo Colon (Oak-SP |33% Y! and 18% ESPN) The hefty hurler has had himself quite the start to 2012. Skeptics were worried that his early success could be attributed to the fact he started each of his first three games against the light-hitting Mariners. However, Colon came out this past Wednesday and made history against Albert Pujols and the mighty Angels by throwing 36 consecutive strikes between the fifth and eighth innings. Outside of the historical streak, Colon limited the Angels to four hits in eight innings and surrendered zero walks or earned runs. He is 3-1 on the short season, with each of his three wins being a quality start, and is strutting a 9.5 K/BB. Add in all relevant leagues.

Jake Arrieta (Bal-SP | 23% Y! and 17.5% ESPN) I know what you’re thinking here. And the answer is yes, an Orioles’ starting pitcher is actually ownable for fantasy baseball. The young right-hander, once called a “four-star” prospect and a power pitcher by Kevin Goldstein, has seen an increase in velocity so far in 2012 that could be aiding his early good fortune. According to BrooksBaseball.net, Arrieta’s four-seam fastball and sinker have both touched 96 on the gun, while sitting at ~94 mph consistently and have generated 12 of Arrieta’s 26 swinging strikes. If he can maintain that velocity, while effectively mixing in his secondary pitches to sustain his current 7 K/9, Arrieta would make a very serviceable fourth or fifth starter on your fantasy baseball team. Teams in 12-team mixers and deeper should consider the acquisition. 

Jake Westbrook (STL-SP | 21% Y! and 16% ESPN) Jake Westbrook is off to a 2-0 start with a 0.64 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. Those numbers probably look a lot better than most on your squad right now, don’t they? He’s a simple sinker ball pitcher who induces ground balls (career 2.65 GB/FB) and let’s his defense do the dirty work. Westbrook isn’t the pitcher you’re going to add because you need the strikeouts (career 5 K/9), but you’d consider him knowing that he plays for the Cardinals, and every time he heads out to the mound, he’s got a good chance to win. You could do a lot worse in 14-team leagues.

Ross Detwiler (Was-SP | 15% Y! and 2.7% ESPN) Starting receiving a lot of questions regarding Detwiler at the conclusion of his seven-strikeout performance yesterday against the Marlins. Now, through three starts, Detwiler finds himself 2-0 in 16 IP, with a 0.56 ERA (2.74 xFIP), 0.94 WHIP and a 8.44 K/9 (3.75 K:BB) Like Westbrook above, Detwiler throws a sinker ball that tops out at about ~94 mph  to induce groundouts with the hopes that his infield will make the easy out. So far, Detwiler’s effective sequencing and changing of speeds seem to be the reason for the spike in k/9. If you’re a Ryan Dempster or Daniel Hudson owner, who both hit the DL today, Detwiler could make for a nice fill-in. 

Jason Hammel (Bal-SP |8% Y! and 4% ESPN) Wow, a second Orioles’ pitcher? Well, when in Rome, right? Hammel is 2-0 in three starts (19 IP) with a 2.37 ERA (3.00 xFIP), a 1.11 WHIP and is sporting an 8.53 K/9. He has been able to strand more base runners (81.6% LOB%) than his career average (68.5%), so it may be safe to say he’s been a bit lucky in this three game sample. However, if Hammel continues to miss bats (10.6% SwStr%) and get ground ball outs (2.42 GB/FB) he could serve as a decent fifth starter or replacement for Dempster/Hudson.   

Phillip Humber (CWS-SP | 12% Y! and 1.7% ESPN) Humber pitched a perfect game on Saturday against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. While this was the Mariners, this should show he has the stuff to be on your fantasy baseball team. Humber could provide some steady strikeout production while aiding your WHIP. Most of you will be adding him today, regardless of format. I'm sure some will even be adding him in NL-Only, hoping he gets traded. Amirite?

In the Pen

Santiago Casilla (SFG-RP | 45% Y! and 11% ESPN) Casilla was given the first shot to close when Giants’ closer Brian Wilson went down with his second Tommy John injury. Casilla nailed down his first save opportunity, however, faltered last evening in his second chance. Bruce Bochy pulled the righty after allowing a leadoff infield single and summoned Javier Lopez with three consecutive lefties scheduled to bat for the Mets. Even though he blew his second save opportunity, I still believe he’s the closer of choice in San Francisco and should be owned in all formats.                                                                                                                                             

Juan Cruz (Pit-RP | 9% Y! and 1% ESPN) Pirates’ closer Joel Hanrahan tweaked his right hamstring on Tuesday and in still considered day-to-day. Although a return to the bullpen this weekend seems likely for Hanrahan, Juan Cruz was solid in his stead (two-for-two in save chances) and is clearly the next man in should he miss any considerable time. It would be smart for those with shares of Hanrahan to handcuff Cruz, and some in 12-team and deeper mixed leagues may simply choose to take advantage of the career 9+ K/9.

Eye on the Farm

Bryce Harper (Was-OF |26% Y! and 9% ESPN) The Nationals optioned the nineteen year-old Harper to Syracuse of the International League at the end of Spring Training to continue his seasoning. As it turns out, the Nationals obviously made the right choice. Through 14 games at Triple-A, Harper is sporting a .232/.295/.339 triple slash, with zero home runs and just one run batted in. Furthermore, left-handed pitching has presented itself as quite the dilemma for the center fielder, as he is batting a measly .158 against them on the season. Remember, the kid is young, and until he works out the kinks, he’s not worthy of roster spot in most mixers. However, he surely needs to be owned in Dynasty, NL-Only and deep keeper formats.  

Mike Trout (LAA-OF | 21% Y! and 2% ESPN) Contrary to Bryce Harper, Mike Trout has been absolutely tearing up Triple-A, and appears ready to join the big league ranks. Unfortunately, a .383/.426/.550 triple slash, three triples, one long ball, seven rib-eyes and four stolen bases aren’t enough to get him to Anaheim for reasons beyond his control. Trout, a consensus top-three prospect by multiple outlets, continues to be blocked by the debacle that is the Angel’s outfield. His call-up is imminent, yet dependent on the success, or lack thereof, of Bobby Abreu, Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and to a lesser extent, Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo. Trout will likely arrive, and provide steady production across the traditional five categories before Harper, but why is he owned less?  Trout should be owned in Dynasty, AL-Only and mixers consisting of twelve teams or more. 

Trevor Bauer (Ari-SP | 5% Y! and 0.7% ESPN) Hyped up, and rightfully so. Trevor is off to a 3-0 start for the Double-A Mobile BayBears and has allowed just one earned run, while fanning 20 batters is 15.2 innings pitched. Seems fantastic on the surface, however, Bauer has surrendered 12 free passes. Baseball America graded Bauer’s command/control a 55, the lowest of his grades in the five pitching categories, albeit still higher than the MLB average. While he still needs some more time to make some adjustments, it’s about time to start adding him in 12-team mixers and deeper if you have the bench spots, or there’s a good chance you’ll swing-and-miss on this young arm.

Anthony Rizzo (ChC-1B | 2% Y! and 0.2% ESPN) Similar to Trout, Rizzo’s promotion seems dependent on the success of the players blocking him at the next level. In last week’s waiver wire, we suggested that Bryan LaHair was a nice add for those in daily lineup leagues due to the fact that he starts primarily against right-handers. At this point Rizzo seems to be that same type of bat. He’s clobbering righties to the tune of a .450/.500/.925 triple slash with six moon shots and 12 runs batted in. Conversely, lefties have only surrendered four hits (.200 BA vs. LHP) to the Cubs’ top prospect, one of which didn’t land in the field of play. The Cubs may not be able to leave Rizzo and his 65 grade power in the Minors for much longer, especially when they’ve started just 3-11, but we would need to see Bryan LaHair cool off soon. Rizzo needs to be owned in Dynasty, NL-Only and keeper formats with deep benches. Mixers can wait...but not much longer.

Written by Alan Harrison, exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. You can read more of Alan’s articles here, or follow his nonsense on Twitter here.

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