As we watched the trade deadline come and go we now have just one way to improve your roster, and that is via the waiver wire.
The importance of knowing which guy to latch onto and which one you should steer clear of is huge as your playoff chances are in the balance.
Take a guy like Pittsburgh third baseman, Pedro Alvarez. He got popular five weeks into the season and again at week 10 when he was sending balls out. I stayed away from him for the fact that he’s a ‘below the Mendoza line batter’ and an all-power hitter. Yes, it’s nice to have some power but I don’t want someone who will get me 30 points one week and negative points the next. I’d much rather have someone with consistent output (.280+ average) and a solid swing.
The wild card factor that someone like Alvarez possesses won’t get it done come playoff time. I’ll name a few guys that are in the same boat as Alvarez and then some guys that should be able to give you that consistent output you’ll want as the season comes to a close.
Ryan Ludwick, OF, Reds – With a name like Ludwick it’s hard to get someone’s attention, but his bat has been a consistent producer for the Reds the last three weeks. In that span he has hit .321, with six homers, 18 RBI and five doubles (numbers that are better than Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez and Baltimore’s Adam Jones). If you need an OF, Ludwick would be a good guy to have.
Josh Rutledge, SS, Rockies – Rutledge started his first game with Colorado four weeks ago and in the last three weeks he has looked eerily similar to the guy he filled in for, All-Star Troy Tulowitzki. The 23-year-old shortstop is batting .381, with three homeruns, 11 RBI and nine walks. He adds some speed to your lineup with three stolen bases in that same span as well as two triples. Rutledge will start at shortstop upon Tulo’s return, but if he keeps it up the Rockies will have to find a way to keep him in their lineup.
Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers – Gomez is NOT someone you should go after. He’s one of those inconsistent bang or bust batters that I talked about earlier. If you started him week 17, good for you, because he may never have a week like that again. He’s batting .320 in the last three weeks, with four homers, 10 RBI and eight steals, but he’s a .250 hitter that will strikeout a lot.. In the long run he’s a guy that hurts you more than he helps you. Stay away from this Car-Go.
Paul Maholm, SP, Braves – In the last three weeks Maholm has pitched better than guys like Jered Weaver and Clayton Kershaw. He has won three of four starts, struck out 24 and has done all of this while yielding a 1.21 ERA. The hottest arm on the market right now was recently dealt from Chicago to Atlanta which should only help him. Add him [like I just did] and hopefully he will find a spot in our rotation until the end of the season.
Denard Span, OF, Twins – If you were to leave someone on the waiver who is batting over .400 in his last nine games, Denard Span would be the guy. Even with an average over .400, he is only slugging .530. Span has also stolen just three bases while being caught stealing three times. The only area he will help you with is average so if you were to pick him up, you would soon find yourself dropping him and looking for someone else to fill his statistically weak spots.
Blake Beaven, SP, Mariners – Beaven has been lights out for Seattle in his last three starts (twice against KC and once against Tampa Bay). Winning those three starts while allowing just seven earned runs and striking out 14. But if you look at his numbers before he was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma you can see why. In his three starts before being optioned to Tacoma Beaven was 1-2 with an 11.77 ERA which raised his ERA to 5.92 on the year. I don’t care if your name is Tim Lincecum, if you have numbers like that at any point in the year I’m keeping you off my roster. And oh yeah, he’s in Seattle…Name five guys in their lineup. Exactly.