Welcome back to the Waiver Wire Watch. As the pennant races start to heat up in the MLB, the races for first place in fantasy baseball leagues start to heat up as well. Here are some under-the-radar players that can push your team to the top.
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
Jayson Werth, OF, WAS
Though it might only be a few games, Jayson Werth has come out swinging in his return from the DL. He has a .417 AVG since his return (4 games). It is likely that many fantasy owners are overlooking Werth due to his long stint on the DL, which makes him a pretty good sleeper pick the rest of the way.
After a miserable first year with the Nationals, Werth was actually having a much better offensive season in 2012 until he got hurt. Also remember that despite a down year last season, Werth still came within 1 SB of having a 20/20 season. Thus, he is a good power/speed steal the rest of the way.
10-team league pitcher to watch
Phil Hughes, SP, NYY
After a disastrous 2011, and a terrible start to 2012, it’s taken me awhile to finally get back on the Phil Hughes bandwagon. Since June, Hughes has an ERA well under 3.00, and his WHIPs in June and July respectively were 1.06 and 1.07. He also has a 2.60 ERA after the All-Star break, where batters are just batting .214 against him in that time frame. His consistent performance, combined with a powerful offense to back him up, make Hughes a solid choice down the stretch.
12-team league hitter to watch
Chipper Jones, 3B, ATL
Chipper Jones is ending his career on a high note. The future Hall of Famer is coming off a vintage Chipper Jones month in July, where he had an outstanding AVG of .364 to go along with a .419 OBP and .636 SLG. However, he has actually been consistently good all season as proven by his overall numbers. For the season, Jones has an AVG of .320, an OBP of .396, and a SLG of .518. His power might not be what it once was, but Chipper has proven this year that he can still hit like the former batting champion that he is.
12-team league pitcher to watch
Paul Maholm, SP, ATL
The Braves made what I consider to be one of the best under-the radar-moves at the trade deadline this season by acquiring Paul Maholm from the Cubs. Now it’s your turn to make a solid under-the-radar move with Maholm.
Currently, Maholm has rattled off an impressive string of seven consecutive quality starts. In that span, he has allowed 1 run or fewer in all but one of those starts (in which he only allowed 3 runs). His numbers post-All-Star break are impressive: 3-1 record, 1.72 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, .198 BAA. Basically, he’s been as good as anyone since the break.
14-team league hitter to watch
Juan Pierre, OF, PHI
The veteran speedster Juan Pierre can still steal bases with the best of them. His 27 SBs on the season currently rank 4th in the NL. In addition, he is sporting an impressive average of .313 for the season to go along with a respectable .351 OBP for the season as well. Pierre does come with a disclaimer though.
Since the All-Star break, he has been put into more of a reserve role for the Phillies. However, the reason he makes this list is because he has a chance of being traded before the “waiver” trade deadline at the end of the month. Keep an eye on what happens with him, because he is about as good a source of speed as you will find.
14-team league pitcher to watch
Joe Saunders, SP, ARI
Joe Saunders has been putting up pretty solid numbers since the All-Star break. Overall he has a 3.90 ERA since the break and a 1.18 WHIP. The opposition is only hitting .232 off Saunders in that span as well. In addition, Saunders has pitched at least six innings in nine of his last 10 starts, and five of his last seven starts have been quality starts. For someone that is only owned in about 14% of fantasy leagues, these numbers are more than desirable.
**All statistics used are as of Monday, August 6, 2012