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Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: Apr. 30

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Stay tuned each week to Athlon Sports for a 2012 Fantasy Baseball Weekend Waiver Wire every Monday and a Weekend Rundown every Thursday.

I gave owners the standard "don't panic" speech last week and Jay Bruce completely proved me right. On April 18, Bruce was hitting .191, went 14 straight games without a home run and hadn't stolen a base all year. Yet, Bruce belted a home run in each of his last four games, raised his average to .296 since April 18, stole three bases and drove in 11 runs. In a matter of 10 days, Bruce vaulted himself into the top five of all fantasy hitters. Never fear Albert Pujols owners, he will come around. So will Jose Reyes, Justin Upton, Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Bautista.

Here are your current Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters:

 

Name

Pos

Team

R

HR

RBI

SB

BA

OPS

1.

Matt Kemp

OF

LAD

23

11

24

2

.425

1.383

2.

Josh Hamilton

OF

TEX

20

9

25

2

.395

1.182

3.

Edwin Encarnacion

1B/3B

TOR

14

7

20

4

.310

1.005

4.

Adam Jones

OF

BAL

17

6

12

4

.330

.973

5.

Jay Bruce

OF

CIN

14

7

17

3

.296

.954

6.

Derek Jeter

SS

NYY

16

4

13

1

.396

.954

7.

Ian Kinsler

2B

TEX

23

5

12

2

.297

.972

8.

David Ortiz

UTL

BOS

14

4

18

0

.395

1.098

9.

Miguel Cabrera

1B/3B

DET

15

7

20

0

.298

.939

10.

Evan Longoria

3B

TB

15

4

19

2

.325

.994

11.

Curtis Granderson

OF

NYY

18

8

16

0

.272

1.002

12.

Carlos Gonzalez

OF

COL

16

4

16

4

.288

.892

13.

Paul Konerko

1B

CHW

13

5

15

0

.383

1.123

14.

David Wright

3B

NYM

14

3

14

2

.397

1.094

15.

Starlin Castro

SS

CHC

10

0

13

10

.326

.774

16.

Carlos Beltran

OF

STL

17

5

11

5

.256

.838

17.

Josh Willingham

OF

MIN

13

5

15

1

.353

1.163

18.

Desmond Jennings

OF

TB

18

3

9

6

.273

.757

19.

Jose Altuve*

2B

HOU

15

1

10

4

.373

.984

20.

Yadier Molina

C

STL

14

4

15

2

.316

.961

21.

Nick Swisher

1B/OF

NYY

10

6

23

0

.284

.972

22.

Corey Hart

OF

MIL

16

6

13

1

.286

1.049

23.

David Freese

3B

STL

10

5

20

0

.333

.935

24.

Mike Aviles

2B/3B/SS

BOS

16

4

13

3

.284

.832

25.

Andre Ethier

OF

LAD

11

5

24

0

.277

.887

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Rookies Unite

It happened a little sooner than maybe most fantasy GMs thought, but Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are both on major league rosters before May 1. Harper already has two hits in six at bats, including a double. He showed off his arm on Saturday night in center field and will hit seventh for now. With Harper's continued growth, and Ryan Zimmerman landing on the DL, there is certainly a chance for him to move up in the order. He plays every play at 100% and his talent is painfully obvious. I doubt he is on your waiver wire, but do not even finish reading this paragraph until you at least go and see if you can still add the 19-year old to your roster.

Trout has gone hitless in his first two games (0-7), but might actually have more fantasy value than Harper this summer. Trout has batted lead-off in his first two games and has 40 games and 123 major league at-bats under his belt already. He was crushing the ball in triple-A and has forced the flailing Angels to inject some energy into the line-up. Now, if they could just figure out a way to get Mark Trumbo into the line-up everyday. As a side note, Trumbo added 3B eligibity to his "1B/OF" status this weekend. Something tells me the Angels aren't done moving pieces around just yet. 

Big Moves

Part of the reason the Halos had space to call-up Trout was the release of Bobby Abreu. The aging on-base machine could have some value if he lands, oh let's say, in Boston or New York. Keep an eye on this guy as he generally can contribute to most fantasy rosters across the board.

Part of the reason the Nats called-up Harper was Ryan Zimmerman landing on the disabled list. After an MRI on his shoulder was negative, the Nationals are expecting their stud third-sacker to be back when eligible. It doesn't appear to be a long-term injury and it certainly explains his slow start to the season. But fans and fantasy GMs alike have to be nervous about a guy who has spent the better part of two seasons on the DL.

DL Watch

-Zimmerman lands on 15-day DL after second anti-inflammatory injection. Brad Lidge has also landed on the 15-day DL with an abdominal issue. Henry Rodriguez is clearly the full-time closer.

-Jim Johnson is dealing with an illness that has made him questionable of late for late-inning usage. Pedro Strop looks like the hand-cuff option for now.

-After seeing multiple experts, Carl Crawford appears to be out for at least a few months. For you keeper leagues, look to pick him up off the wire in late June.

Recommended Articles

-Kevin Youkilis is questionable for this week's early games with a back issue.

-Paul Konerko is questionable for Tuesday's game with a neck injury.

-Shin Soo-Choo hasn't seen the field since April 24 and is questionable with a hamstring issue for Tuesday's game.

-Josh Hamilton left Sunday night's game with back stiffness and is questionable, however, it appears he will give it a try today. Monitor closely!

-Carlos Lee is questionable for Tuesday with an ankle issue.

Current Top 25 fantasy pitchers:

 

Name

Team

IP

W

SV

K

HLD

ERA

WHIP

1.

Jake Peavy

CHW

37.2

3

0

33

0

1.67

0.69

2.

Lance Lynn

STL

27.0

4

0

24

0

1.33

0.81

3.

Stephen Strasburg

WAS

32.0

2

0

34

0

1.12

0.88

4.

Kyle Lohse

STL

33.1

4

0

21

0

1.62

0.84

5.

Jered Weaver

LAA

35.2

3

0

36

0

2.02

0.95

6.

Justin Verlander

DET

37.1

2

0

35

0

2.41

0.86

7.

Gio Gonzalez

WAS

29.2

2

0

34

0

1.82

0.94

8.

Roy Halladay

PHI

37.0

3

0

24

0

1.95

0.95

9.

Joe Saunders*

ARI

30.0

2

0

18

0

0.90

0.87

10.

Clayton Kershaw

LAD

30.1

2

0

28

0

1.78

0.89

11.

Matt Garza

CHC

33.2

2

0

36

0

2.67

0.89

12.

Colby Lewis

TEX

32.2

3

0

29

0

1.93

1.04

13.

Matt Cain

SF

30.1

1

0

26

0

2.37

0.63

14.

Johnny Cueto

CIN

32.1

3

0

22

0

1.39

1.05

15.

Jason Hammel*

BAL

26.0

3

0

25

0

1.73

1.00

16.

Fernando Rodney

TB

9.1

1

7

8

0

0.96

0.64

17.

Bartolo Colon*

OAK

42.2

3

0

26

0

2.53

0.94

18.

Wade Miley*

ARI

21.0

3

0

15

0

1.29

0.81

19.

Aroldis Chapman

CIN

12.1

2

0

21

3

0.00

0.73

20.

Brandon Beachy

ATL

25.2

2

0

20

0

1.05

0.97

21.

Kenley Jansen*

LAD

14.2

2

2

24

5

2.45

0.89

22.

Jordan Zimmerman

WAS

27.0

1

0

16

0

1.33

0.70

23.

Cole Hamels

PHI

26.1

3

0

30

0

2.73

1.03

24.

Jake Westbrook*

STL

27.2

3

0

15

0

1.30

1.01

25.

Felix Hernandez

SEA

36.1

2

0

33

0

2.48

1.02

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

The Ninth Inning

The ninth inning revolving door has been a clear issue for most fantasy teams this year. Matt Thornton, Sergio Santos, Brian Wilson, Drew Storen and Jordan Walden were all quality options come draft day. Hector Santiago is now closing games for the White Sox, however, Addison Reed has yet to allow a run and could figure in should Santiago struggle. Santos, Wilson and Storen are all out for the time being. Brad Lidge was going to close in place of Storen but is hurting himself now. Henry Rodriguez and his unpredictable 100-mph fastball is now firmly entrenched in the ninth. And aging lefty Scott Downs is filling in for Walden while he tries to regain his control. Walden won't be used in even eighth or seventh innning roles either (so don't expect holds) for the time being. He should be the closer at somepoint, but track his "down-by-six-run sixth inning outings."

Keep this link handy as Athlon keeps its Closer Grid up to date all season long.

Timm-Ah!

One of my favorite pitchers of the last decade has been Tim Hudson. He made his season debut this weekend and his tidy line (5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) allowed him to get the win. First, it was against the Pirates, so he will deal with some lumps. But Huddy should be rostered and close to a near-start every time to the bump. With Jair Jurrjens down on the farm, it appears that Randall Delgado's spot in the rotation appears to be safe. 

Waiver Wire Starts This Week

1. Lance Lynn, STL: at PIT (Wed.) Stats:
2. Wandy Rodriguez, HOU: NYM (Wed.) Stats:
3. Mark Buehrle, MIA: at SD (Sat.) Stats:
4. Daniel Bard, BOS: OAK (Wed.) Stats:
5. Jeff Niemann, TB: SEA (Thur.) Stats:
5a. Jonathan Niese, NYM: at HOU (Tues.) Stats:

-by Braden Gall

Follow @bradengall