2012 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Pedro Alvarez, Jed Lowrie, Gordon Beckham and More

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Welcome to week six's edition of the waiver wire. Sorry for the tardy/brief writeup this week, as I'm dealing with a sick wife and son at home.

Pedro Alvarez (Pit-3B | 46% Y! and 68% ESPN) Many scouting outlets salivated over Alvarez’s “70” power and suggested he could display a .300/400/.500 triple slash year-in and year-out. However, lack of success in 2010 and 2011 turned the former first round pick by the Pirates’ into a post-hype sleeper.

Thus far in 2012, Alvarez has exceeded his home run output of 2011 in just one-third of the at-bats. His HR/FB rate of 31% is clearly unsustainable, so one would expect for the rate at which Alvarez puts the ball into the stands to decline. Even when his HR/FB rate comes back to earth, I wouldn’t be surprised if Alvarez blasted 25-30 homers and knocked in 75-80 RBIs on the season. The lack of depth at third base, and injuries to players like Evan Longoria and Kevin Youkilis make Pedro Alvarez a must-own player, especially while he’s swinging a hot bat.

Jed Lowrie (Hou-3B/SS | 42% Y! and 71% ESPN!) Another week, another Astro makes my waiver wire list. The first thing I love about Jed Lowrie is his position eligibility, who can make starts at SS/3B/CI or MI depending on your league’s format. His .338/.433/.545 slash line may be inflated due to his .373 average on balls in play --which is 73 points higher than his career average -- but he is making solid contact (22% LD%) and getting on base for the moment, so take advantage.

Additionally, Lowrie has been key to the Astros’ run production in 2012, strutting an impressive wRC+ of 175, which ranks him just outside the league’s top ten and ahead of players like Ryan Braun, Joey Votto and Carlos Beltran. Lowrie has never exceeded nine homers or knocked in more than 50 runs at any level, so you’re not adding him if you’re looking for power. Add him with confidence if batting average is a weakness, and benefit from the position flexibility.

Gordon Beckham (CWS-2B | 7% Y! and 6% ESPN) Another post-hype sleeper starting to hit after a horrid March/April. He started the season batting .153 with just three extra base hits in 19 games. In five games in May, Beckham is batting .471 with two home runs and five runs batted in. The former first rounder should be monitored in case he is can continue his hot start to May.

Carlos Ruiz (Phi-C | 47% Y! and 47% ESPN) Carlos Ruiz is currently out-performing the likes of Mike Napoli, Brian McCann, Carlos Santana and Alex Avila while owned in less than half the leagues. The Phillies’ backstop is rockin’ a .325/.352/.588 triple slash with six doubles, five home runs and 19 runs batted in. Ruiz’s spike in homers is likely due to his excellent 19.2% HR/FB versus his career 6.8%, so don’t be surprised if the home run output doesn’t continue at it’s current pace. Add Ruiz for his steady batting average and pat yourself on the back for whatever else you get out of it.

Jose Tabata (Pit-OF | 27% Y! and 7% ESPN) Tabata has started to show some signs of life in the past two weeks, going 14-for-46 (.326 BA) with one homer, five runs batted in, two stolen bases and nine runs scored. Updated ZIPS projections have Tabata finishing the season with 25 stolen bases, 75 runs scored and a .267 average. While those aren’t stellar numbers, they’re definitely serviceable for those who start four or more outfielders.

Don’t forget about:

Carlos Quentin (SD-RP | 32% Y! and 22% ESPN) Quentin has been on a rehab assignment in Triple-A Tuscon of the Pacific Coast League for a few games. He has four hits in four games (11 PAs), with one home run and four runs batted in. He will get immediate playing time upon his return from the DL and should provide steady power numbers for those in need. Don’t expect 30 homers considering he will be playing his home games at Petco Park, but 20 moon shots and 50 runs batted in isn’t out of the question from here on out.

Written by Alan Harrison exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com, who is sincerely apologetic for the brief (and late) waiver wire article for week six. Feel free to take shots at him, or ask him your waiver wire questions on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.

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