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Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: May 14

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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.

As I stated last week, we will no longer analyze the current season-to-date Top 25 players will instead look at the Top 25 hitters and pitchers based on last week. This way, each week you fantasy owners know exactly who are the hottest players in the game. This comes with a warning label, however, in the form of Joey Votto. 

Votto had the fifth-best week of any hitter in baseball over the last seven days. Votto has been solid, walking a ton (31 BB in 113 AB so far) and has been hitting for average (.296 before yesterday). But after his 4/5, 3-HR, 6-RBI, 4-R day agains the Nats, he finished last week as the No. 5 hitter in the game. He had three runs, no homers and two RBI in the first six days of the week. 

So while this chart can certainly tell you excatly who to target on the waiver wire, it can also deceive from time to time. The lesson? Do your homework before dropping, adding or trading players.

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (05/17-05/13):

 

Name

Team

Pos.

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OPS

1.

Josh Hamilton

TEX

OF

10

9

18

0

.467

1.962

2.

Carlos Beltran

STL

OF

8

6

13

0

.360

1.648

3.

Nelson Cruz

TEX

OF

9

1

7

1

.500

1.313

4.

Josh Reddick*

OAK

OF

7

3

8

1

.417

1.375

5.

Joey Votto

CIN

1B

7

3

8

1

.429

1.586

6.

Dustin Pedroia

BOS

2B

8

2

9

1

.393

1.205

7.

Andrew McCutchen

PIT

OF

5

3

6

1

.524

1.600

8.

Rafael Furcal

STL

SS

4

1

3

2

.667

1.506

9.

Allen Craig*

STL

1B/2B/OF

5

4

9

0

.348

1.318

10.

Elvis Andrus

TEX

SS

10

0

4

1

.419

1.002

11.

Raul Ibanez*

NYY

OF

5

4

8

0

.353

1.539

12.

Will MIddlebrooks*

BOS

3B

6

3

9

0

.308

1.126

13.

David Wright

NYM

3B

6

1

7

0

.481

1.258

14.

Nick Markakis

BAL

OF

4

3

7

1

.333

1.240

15.

Elliot Johnson*

TB

2B/SS

5

1

3

2

.500

1.279

16.

Ryan Braun

MIL

OF

6

2

3

1

.429

1.348

17.

Brandon Inge*

OAK

2B/3B

3

3

12

0

.286

1.080

18.

Danny Espinosa*

WAS

2B

4

2

5

2

.304

1.012

19.

Adam LaRoche*

WAS

1B

4

2

7

0

.450

1.477

20.

Jemile Weeks*

OAK

2B

4

0

0

4

.389

.920

21.

Melky Cabrera

SF

OF

5

1

4

0

.500

1.288

22.

Austin Jackson

DET

OF

7

0

2

2

.364

.919

23.

Roger Bernadina*

WAS

OF

3

2

5

2

.286

.967

24.

Andy Dirks*

DET

OF

5

1

4

0

.500

1.304

25.

Mike Trout*

LAA

OF

4

1

5

1

.421

1.184

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Middle Infield Help

If you needed MI help this week, or next, you should have plenty of options on your waiver wire. Allen Craig, Elliot Johnson, Brandon Inge, Danny Espinosa and Jemile Weeks all boast some sort of middle infield eligibility and all had Top 25 weeks. Most importantly, all of them are owned in less than 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Weeks and Craig are less likely to be available and both have the most long-term potential. But while Evan Longoria is on the shelf, Johnson has some intriguing value as he can contibute across the stat box and has the coveted "2B/SS" moniker.

Espinosa might be the top name to watch, however. He likely has the most raw talent and nearly got to the 20/20 mark a year ago (21/17). He will never help your team's batting average, but there is no weakness in his counting stats. Just be prepared for streaky ups and downs.

DH or No DH

Keep an eye on your DHs out there as Interleague play begins this week. There are some names out there who will either A) lose at-bats because they cannot help the team enough in the field or B) will gain eligibility somehow (fingers-crossed David Ortiz owners). Other platooners who need more at-bats in the NL could find some easy plate appearances as a DH. Keep your eyes peeled.

DL Watch

- Uber-star Matt Kemp has a tweaked hamstring and many believe (and want) to see him protected from himself with a quick DL stint. Kemp himself refuses to admit he will visit the DL. As the top player in the game, fans need to keep a close eye on this one. A week or two off doesn't seem like a bad idea.

- Arizona OF Chris Young is expected to start his Class A rehab this week. Keep a close eye on the young Diamondback.

- Cuban import Yoenis Cespedes is going to miss a few weeks after finally being placed on the 15-day DL with his broken hand.

- The Braves' Chipper Jones is questionable with "soreness." This may be the case for the rest of his swan song.

- The Cubs placed closer-turned-set-up man Carlos Marmol on the DL with a hamstring issue. Am I the only one that has "conspiracy theory" flashing in bright lights in the back of my head?

Rickie Weeks is questionable with a hand and wrist issue after missing a few games. That isn't the only thing wrong with the .158 hitter.

- Scott Rolen was placed on the DL over the weekend with a shoulder injury.

- Outfielder Dexter Fowler is questionable this week with an eye injury.

- The Royals Mike Moustakas missed a couple of games with a hamstring issue, but it doesn't appear to be serious.

- The Halos' Dan Haren is questionable for his Monday start against Oakland.

Recommended Articles

- The Mets' Ike Davis missed some time with an illness but should be back while Jason Bay's rehab is taking longer than expected — also with an flu-like illness.

- Erik Bedard is questionable for his May 16 start against Washington with a back issue.

- The Nationals' Wilson Ramos appears to be out for the season with a brutal knee injury.

As far as pitching goes, to accurately analyze who is hot and who is not, all pitchers need to be graded on an equal playing field. We will use every two weeks to breakdown the mound, since most every starter in the game will get three starts in every two week period of time. It makes for a very interesting Top 25:

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of the last two weeks:

 

Name

Team

IP

W

K

ERA

WHIP

1.

Carlos Zambrano*

MIA

23.0

1

21

0.39

0.87

2.

Brandon Morrow

TOR

15.0

2

18

0.60

0.73

3.

Jeff Samardzija*

CHC

19.2

2

20

1.37

0.86

4.

Scott Diamond*

MIN

14.0

2

10

0.00

0.71

5.

Chris Capuano

LAD

14.0

2

10

0.64

0.64

6.

Bud Norris*

HOU

18.2

2

19

1.45

0.96

7.

James McDonald*

PIT

22.0

2

25

2.05

1.05

8.

Brandon McCarthy*

OAK

13.2

2

14

0.66

0.88

9.

Justin Verlander

DET

21.0

2

21

2.57

0.90

10.

CC Sabathia

NYY

16.0

2

15

1.13

0.94

11.

Cole Hamels

PHI

21.0

2

19

1.71

1.05

12.

Paul Maholm*

CHC

13.0

2

7

0.69

0.69

13.

Matt Cain

SF

21.0

1

22

2.14

0.90

14.

Lance Lynn

STL

17.2

2

20

2.55

1.02

15.

Felix Hernandez

SEA

22.2

1

25

1.99

1.10

16.

Max Scherzer*

DET

13.1

1

18

2.03

0.83

17.

Johnny Cueto

CIN

16.0

1

9

0.56

0.81

18.

Brandon Beachy

ATL

19.1

2

13

2.33

0.93

19.

Jason Vargas

SEA

14.1

1

11

1.26

0.77

20.

Joe Blanton

PHI

15.2

1

13

2.30

0.70

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Top 5 Spot Starts for the Week (Tues. - Sun.):

1. Ervin Santana, LAA: Oakland (Tues.)
Coming off three quality starts in a row. Also gets the Padres on Sunday.

2. Doug Fister, DET: Minnesota (Thur.)
Has been excellent since returning from the DL and faces lowly Twins.

3. Max Scherzer, DET: at White Sox (Tues.)
Has 18 Ks and 2 BBs in last two starts. Also gets the Pirates on Sunday.

4. Colby Lewis, TEX: Kansas City
Two poor starts in a row (12 ER) but had 12 Ks against Orioles last time out.

5. Ryan Vogelsong, SF: Oakland (Sat.)
Two earned runs allowed in last 14.1 IP. Gets Oakland this weekend.

Top 20 fantasy Relief Pitchers of the last month:

 

Name

Team

IP

W

SV

K

HLD

ERA

WHIP

1.

Pedtro Strop*

BAL

15.0

3

2

16

3

1.20

0.80

2.

Fernando Rodney

TB

14.0

1

7

14

0

0.64

1.07

3.

Jim Johnson

BAL

12.0

0

8

9

0

0.75

0.67

4.

Chris Perez

CLE

11.0

0

10

8

0

2.45

0.82

5.

Brett Myers

HOU

11.2

0

8

7

0

1.54

0.69

6.

Jonathan Papelbon

PHI

11.0

0

8

13

0

2.45

0.82

7.

Wilton Lopez*

HOU

16.2

2

0

15

3

1.62

0.60

8.

Santiago Casilla

SF

12.0

0

7

9

0

1.50

0.83

9.

Kenley Jansen

LAD

12.2

0

3

19

6

0.71

0.79

10.

Darren O'Day*

BAL

14.2

2

0

16

2

1.23

0.75

11.

Alexi Ogando*

TEX

13.0

1

0

12

3

0.00

0.46

12.

Aroldis Chapman

CIN

11.2

1

0

20

2

0.00

0.69

13.

Craig Kimbrel

ATL

10.0

0

8

19

0

3.60

1.30

14.

Jose Arredondo*

CIN

11.2

2

0

17

0

1.54

0.69

15.

Jason Motte

STL

10.2

1

4

11

0

1.69

0.84

16.

Logan Ondrusek*

CIN

10.2

2

1

8

3

0.00

0.75

17.

Robbie Ross*

TEX

13.2

4

0

10

1

2.63

0.95

18.

Steve Cishek*

MIA

11.0

4

0

13

1

2.45

1.27

19.

Rafael Betancourt

COL

10.0

1

4

11

0

2.70

1.00

20.

Joe Nathan

TEX

9.2

0

5

10

0

0.93

1.14

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Closing Carousel

Casey Janssen and Dale Thayer have been clean (so far) in their week-long stints as closers for Toronto and San Deigo respectively. Sergio Santos and Huston Street should be back at some time, but for now these two seem safe to use in your desperate chase for saves.

Brian Fuentes has been named the Athletics' closer. He has plenty of experience in the ninth inning but plays for a bad team and has been anything but a sure thing over the course of his career. Keep an eye on this one.

Frank Francisco got off to a great start finishing games for the Mets, but has been terrible — 5 ER in 0.2 IP in his last two outings — of late. Jon Rauch has experience and the inside track while Bobby Parnell has the whiff-stuff needed to close.

This has been easily the most volatile and unexpected year of the closer I can remember. Prices for formerly concerning names like Chris Perez and Jason Motte continue to rise. Owners are going to be waiver chasing or paying premiums this season. 

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

-by Braden Gall

Follow @bradengall