It’s definitely a great week to be a sports fan. First of all, I must say that I think this NBA Finals has an opportunity to go down as one of the greatest in history if everyone plays to his potential. Being from Akron and supporting Cleveland teams throughout my whole life (by the way, yes, it is as painful as everyone makes it sound) I will certainly be supporting the Thunder for obvious reasons. That being said, I’m excited to see the match-ups that this series presents.
Also, we are currently in the midst of interleague play. I know there have been a lot of players and managers throughout the years that have been greatly opposed to interleague play, but it is certainly one of the most intriguing times of the season for baseball fans. Personally, I enjoy seeing teams play that I generally don’t get to see. Watching American League pitchers at the plate is incredibly entertaining as well. Let’s take a look and see which players can help out your fantasy team this week with during interleague play.
Format for waiver wire watch:
- 50-75% Owned- Player qualifies for 10-team league
- 25-49% Owned- Player qualifies for 12-team league
- Less than 25% Owned- Player qualifies for 14-team league
Again, these percentages are found on Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball.
10-team league hitter to watch
Jed Lowrie, 3B/SS, HOU
Jed Lowrie was always a highly touted prospect growing up through the Red Sox’s farm system. Injuries had put a damper on his career to an extent up to this season, but Lowrie is enjoying a breakout campaign in 2012 with the Astros.
His 12 HR currently ranks him first among all shortstops. He also leads his position in both SLG and OPS. This means that he is outperforming names such as Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki thus far in these categories. Additionally, Lowrie ranks among the leaders at his position in AVG, OBP, and RBI as well. Assuming he stays healthy, expect Lowrie to continue showing his true potential.
10-team league pitcher to watch
Carlos Zambrano, SP, MIA
There was a time not too long ago when it seemed that Carlos Zambrano’s career might have been on the brink of collapse. A couple of underwhelming seasons to go along with extravagant attitude problems left a lot of people wondering if Zambrano would ever return to the true dominant ace pitcher he was earlier in his career with the Cubs.
Well, so far so good for Zambrano in his first season with the Marlins. He seems to have turned his attitude around (at least for now), and he is pitching like his old self again. Despite a couple of rough starts, Zambrano has been pretty consistent on the year with a 3.55 ERA and a .217 BAA for the season. He is a good low-risk, high-reward type player at this point in the season.
12-team league hitter to watch
Jason Kubel, OF, ARI
Jason Kubel has surprisingly adjusted well to the National League and pitcher friendly Chase Field in Arizona. Kubel was always a player capable of producing solid power numbers back when he played for the Twins. This year some of his other numbers are up as well. He has a .300 AVG to go along with a .382 OBP and .489 SLG.
Kubel has been on a tear of late as well as he has a .320 AVG in the month of June and 11 RBI already for the month. Like I said earlier, Chase Field has not fazed him at all. He has a .354 AVG at home, and all six of his HR have come at home as well. Kubel is a solid outfield find for 12-team leagues.
12-team league pitcher to watch
Clay Buchholz, SP, BOS
After a disastrous first couple months of the season, Clay Buchholz has returned to form in June. In his two starts this month, Buchholz has a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 1.06. He also has a 0.76 WHIP and a .172 BAA for the month as well. In his most recent start, Buchholz fired a shutout against the Orioles, while only allowing 4 hits in the process. This looks to be a return of Buchholz to his usual self, and when things are going right for him, he is a top-tier pitcher.
14-team league hitter to watch
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, NYM
So far this season, Kirk Nieuwenhuis has held his own against Major League pitching in his rookie campaign. Taking a look back at his track record in the minor league, Nieuwenhuis was a doubles machine. Since being drafted in 2008, Nieuwenhuis posted at least 30 doubles at the minor league level multiple times. Playing in spacious Citi Field should help him to maintain a solid pace for extra base hits at the Major League level.
He has also shown that he is capable of getting on base and scoring runs for the Mets as well, with 32 scored this season. If you add into consideration that Nieuwenhuis can steal a base or two from time to time, then you have a player that could help your team out in a few different categories.
14-team league pitcher to watch
Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, SEA
It appears that Tom Wilhelmsen is the next lucky candidate in the Mariners’ bullpen to get a shot at the closer’s role. However, there are plenty of signals that indicate that he can succeed in this role. Wilhelmsen has great stuff and can strikeout batters as proven by his 37 Ks in just 32 IP on the season. The opposition is only batting .231 off of him as well.
He has already shown that he can handle the pressure of being a closer as he has converted all three save opportunities this month. Wilhelmsen has only allowed one hit in those those appearances. The available closers left in your fantasy league are probably few and far between, so if you are in need of relief pitching, it’s probably a good idea to take a chance on Wilhelmsen soon—unless Eric Wedge decides to change his mind once more.
* All statistics used are as of Sunday, June 10, 2012