Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pickup Artists

Working the waiver wire for key pickups is essential to success in any format. On the flip side, it's just as important to know when it's time to cut ties with some of your guys who aren't performing. Let's take a look at some of the most added and dropped players (as of Thursday), courtesy of

Most Added
Dan Wheeler 2.7% owned to 35.1%: Wheeler was well on his way to having a nice season as the main set up man to Troy Percival for the surprising Rays. Percival is headed to the DL and astute owners snapped him up as soon as news broke about Percival exiting Wednesday's game. Percival is only expected to miss the minimum 15 days with his hamstring strain, but any time a 38 year old tweaks a hamstring, it's more than possible that an extended stay on the DL will be required. Wheeler's numbers are nice as is - 2.19 ERA, 18Ks in 24 2/3 innings and a 0.89 WHIP - so adding saves bumps him into the useful category. If Wheeler is available and you could use some help in the saves department, he is definitely worth adding.

Jerry Hairston Jr. 16.0% owned to 42.6%: This one is a bit surprising, as most figured Hairston would be losing playing time with the arrival of Jay Bruce to the outfield. But with Jeff Keppinger's injury, he has been getting playing time rotating both in the outfield & infield. He seems to be one of Dusty Baker's preferred guys, which means Dusty will find a way to get him regular at bats. In his last 10 games, he's gotten 39 plate appearances and has collected 11 hits. More importantly, he's swiped 6 bags in these 10 games. He's not going to give you much, but if you need stolen bases, he's worth a shot.

Dana Eveland 53.3% owned to 73.6%: responding to his 3 hit complete game effort against the Rays last week, fantasy owners grabbed Eveland. Quietly, he's having a solid season for the A's, sporting a 2.90 ERA & a 1.16 WHIP. Just today though, he got rocked for 7 runs against the Blue Jays. Still, Eveland is worth a roster spot until the A's come back down to earth and the league catches up with him.

Jesse Litsch 9.7% owned to 29.0%: Litsch tossed a CGSO Saturday against the Royals, no doubt driving up his pickup rate. He followed that up with a 7 inning shutout performance against Dana Eveland and the A's today. He's gone 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA this month. He's not a big strikeout guy (just 50 in 111 innings before today's starts) but you can't blame anyone for riding him while he's hot. He's still not a tremendous option, but you could do worse.

Kevin Kouzmanoff 60.5% owned to 78.8%: Rumors were swirling a week ago that Kooz's days as the Padres starting 3rd baseman were in serious jeopardy with super prospect Chase Headley looming, but he's survived the threat so far. Who knows, maybe it motivated him a bit. In his last 10 games, he's hit 5 HRs with 8 RBIs and is slugging .659. He's even hitting for a decent average - a .293 clip over the last 10. He might not be available in most leagues, but if you are dealing with a struggling 3rd baseman, Kouzmanoff is worth riding while he's streaking.

Most Dropped
Ten of the top 11 players dropped the most are starting pitchers. And honestly, they're all similar. Here are the top 5:

Randy Wolf
Doug Davis
Aaron Laffey
Greg Smith
Andrew Miller

Wolf has been consistent and is still getting Ks. He is definitely a much better pitcher at home in Petco (who isn't), so not wanting to waste a roster spot just for his home starts is understandable. Not much else to say about the rest of the crop. Davis came back strong from his cancer surgery, but got hit hard in his second start. To me, the most interesting drop is the man who came in 6th on this list - Johnny Cueto. He hasn't been dominant like he was in the early going, but it's important to remember that he's still a rookie. He's strung together 3 solid outings now and is definitely worthy of a roster spot.

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