NL Waiver Wire: Week 12

Tyler Moore | Washington | 1B, OF | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 6.6 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .339 / .413 / .607
Oliver ROS: .246 / .290 / .474

He’s big and powerful, and twice in a row (High-A and Double-A), he finished the season with 31 home runs. This year, that and more: he hit nine homers in his first 28 games and improved his plate discipline in Triple-A, and has carried the success right over to the big stage. Tyler Moore looks like a real hitter—albeit one who will hit closer to .250 than .330—but unfortunately is mainly seeing starts against lefties for now. His quick, small sample size splits say he can hit both, but until he gets every-day playing time in Washington, he’s merely an NL-only stream. Might as well pick him up and stash him if you still can, though, because more playing time only comes from continued success at the plate.
Recommendation: Worth stashing in NL-only leagues until a full-time gig is acquired.

Jeremy Guthrie | Rockies | SP | 1 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.6 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 6.36 ERA / 1.73 WHIP / 4.7 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.87 ERA / 1.38 WHIP / 4.9 K/9

Always a respectable talent, and rarely hyped, Jeremy Guthrie landed in the worst possible spot for his kind heart and fly-ball tendencies, which is, of course, Coors Field. And predictably, it’s been an ugly blow-up: his ERA at “home” is above 9.00 and the Rockies are said to be shopping poor Guthrie to whomever they can. Some aren’t fit to pitch in the high altitude (read: pretty much everyone), but the only risk here is that Coors took a psychological toll on Guthrie.

Before he’s traded, I would pick him up and stash him—there’s a chance he ends up in a plus situation, where he can pitch to the fly ball and regain some of his Orioles glory (where he had sub 4.00 ERAs three out of five years)—and if a handful of starts in he’s still struggling mightily, I’d assume the worst and cut bait if you can’t stash. Play this speculatively, and don’t expect the world out of Guthrie. But, well, weren’t people going to draft him when he was going to the Rockies?
Recommendation: Worth stashing in NL-only leagues before he’s traded.

Michael Fiers | Brewers | SP | 8 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.5 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 2.70 ERA / 1.11 WHIP / 8.44 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.47 ERA / 1.25 WHIP / 7.2 K/9

Fiers finds his name on the list after building a nice profile in the small sample size of 33.1 innings. To wit: he has 31 strikeouts to a mere five walks, which makes for a sparkling, if not unsustainable, 6.2 strikeout to walk ratio. Fiers is also giving up less than a hit per inning, so baserunners are a rare breed against the young righty thus far in his career. Okay, so some of the funny business is clearly ripe for regression—how many people, after all, have a 2.70 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with a ~9 strikeouts per nine innings ratio? Answer is a handful, and Fiers isn’t such a prime talent.

More likely, he’s getting a bit lucky (he’s stranding 79 percent of runners on base, which is well above league average) and pounding the ball into the zone to hitters who haven’t seen him (54 percent zone percentage). For that, he might well struggle when he makes his second trip to the mound against some of these teams. But Miller Park is a relatively friendly place to pitch, and Fiers has the right idea about how to pitch in general—get ahead, and don’t let ‘em walk.
Recommendation: Worth adding and starting in all NL-only leagues and in deeper mixed leagues.

Andrew Cashner | Padres | SP, RP | 10 percent Yahoo ownership | 4.6 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.63 ERA / 1.33 WHIP / 11.2 K/9
Oliver ROS: 3.64 ERA / 1.28 WHIP / 8.5 K/9

Cashner’s likely long gone in your league, but I’ll take this space to write a little about him anyway. Yesterday, in anticipation of the debut starts of Trevor Bauer and Cashner this year, Dave Cameron discussed their relative hype and made the case that Cashner was just as exciting a prospect as the often discussed Bauer. I’d agree; Cashner took a different course that included several stoppages and divergences, and for that he’s older—but he’s just beginning as a starting pitcher.

And we must not underrate the PETCO factor. If guys like Clayton Richard can thrive in the friendly confines, couldn’t a knockout talent like Cashner, who doesn’t rely mostly on balls in play but rather strikeouts? The recipe is there for Cashner to thrive both at home and on the road, and I’d hype him as a Mat Latos-like figure pitching in that home park with that talent. A big part of the game, as well all know, is opportunity and situation. Latos is struggling mightily in Cincinnati, but for now, Cashner has a cozy, cozy home.
Recommendation: Worth adding, trading for, starting in all leagues.

Francisco Rodriguez | Brewers | RP | 16 percent Yahoo ownership | 2.4 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.97 ERA / 1.41 WHIP / 8.5 K/9
Oliver ROS: 3.72 ERA / 1.30 WHIP / 9.4 K/9

We won’t pretend he’s the same pitcher who saved 62 games; the K-Rod of old is long gone. But despite a dwindling strikeout rate, Frankie has remained successful: his 2.67 strikeout to walk ratio is both respectable and in line with his career mark, while his 3.38 FIP is a tad higher than usual but nonetheless impressive.

What hasn’t been there for Rodriguez this year (besides the closer’s job) is good luck, as 2012 marks the first time since 2005 that his home-run rate has been in double digits. Balls are also falling in play at much higher rate for Rodriguez (his .337 BABIP is well above his .279 mark over his long, storied career), which is a shame, since a torrid start probably would’ve led to a switch in duties in the Milwaukee pen, what with John Axford struggling to keep the ball in the park with any kind of success. It all boils down to the trade deadline: Rodriguez has a legitimate shot to leave, and here’s your last call to grab some saves before he does.
Recommendation: Worth stashing for saves.

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