MLB fantasy waiver wire: Griffin, Harvey make most of rise to majors
The Waiver Wire is here to offer up the choicest cuts of waiver wire goodness, paying attention to mixed, as well as AL- and NL-only leagues. Every league is different, and some players listed here may not be available if you play in a deep mixed league. However, we'll try to address everyone's needs, whether the depth of your league resembles a kiddie pool or the Atlantic Ocean.
A.J. Griffin, A's -- Seven starts into his major league career, I'm ready to buy into what Griffin is doing in Oakland. He's 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, striking out 35 batters in 43 innings. Griffin's a four-pitch pitcher -- fast, slider, curve, change -- and he relies heavily on his changeup, which has the ideal 10-MPH dropoff from his fastball according to Fangraphs. While he doesn't have an overpowering heater, the strikeouts look legit. He whiffed 9.14 batters per nine innings at Double-A Midland this season and 7.01 at Triple-A Sacramento. He can help in all but the shallowest of leagues.
Matt Harvey, Mets -- Harvey dazzled in his major league debut last week, fanning 11 batters in 5.1 shutout innings, allowing just three hits and three walks. His second start wasn't too bad either, as he fanned seven batters in six innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and three walks. We had him as a recommended pickup in NL-only leagues last week, and with a first start like that, he looks like a good addition for mixed leaguers, as well. Harvey probably should have been in the rotation whether or not the Mets were in the playoff race, but with the Mets falling out of contention, Harvey should be in the majors to stay. Unlike Griffin, Harvey is a power pitcher with the stuff to pitch at the top of a rotation one day. He should be added in all leagues, and is certainly a great option for keeper leagues.
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers -- Billingsley stumbled a bit around the All-Star break, but has righted the ship in his last two starts, allowing just one run in 13.1 innings against the Cardinals and Giants. He had just six strikeouts in the two outings combined, but it was encouraging to see him turn it around and recapture the form he showed early in the season. You'll have to be careful with Billingsley, as he's nowhere near matchup-proof, but he's a solid depth pitcher in most formats. He gets the Cubs and Rockies in his next two turns, both of which are nice matchups
Starling Marte, Pirates -- Marte, the Pirates' prized prospect, hit a homer on the first pitch he saw in the majors, though he is just 7-for-27 in his first six games. Marte has having a solid, if not spectacular, season at Triple-A Indianapolis, hitting .286/.347/.500 with 12 homers, 62 RBI and 21 steals before his promotion. While he should be added in nearly all formats, keep your expectations in check for the remainder of this year. Rookie years like the one Mike Trout is having are special for a reason. However, Marte is a worthy addition for the 2012 season, and could be a steal for those of you in keeper leagues.
Wilton Lopez, Astros -- With Francisco Cordero picking right up in Houston where he left off in Toronto -- pitching horribly -- the Astros will likely turn to the 29-year-old Lopez to close out games. He's enjoying the best year of his four-year career, posting a 2.52 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 39.1 innings, but Lopez has been quietly effective since 2009. That year, he had a 2.96 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, and in 2010 his ERA was 2.79 and his WHIP was 1.27. He doesn't have the gaudy strikeout totals of a dominant closer, but he makes hitters earn their way on base, as he was walked just 36 batters in 196.2 career innings. Save chances are likely going to be few and far between, but save chasers should still take a look in Lopez' direction.
Zack Greinke, Angels -- If you're bidding period on Greinke remains open, empty that budget for him now.
Ryan Dempster, Rangers -- While Dempster is a nice consolation prize if you miss out on Greinke, don't think of this as a No. 1 and No. 1a situation. Going from Wrigley Field to The Ballpark at Arlington will be a major change for Dempster. He still warrants unloading your FAAB wallet, but the transition to the AL and a much tougher home ballpark will be a challenging one.
George Kottaras, A's -- Kottaras, made expendable in Milwaukee by the return of Jonathan Lucroy, has decent pop and will take a walk. He hit three homers and drew 29 walks in 116 plate appearances for the Brewers this year. If you're in desperate need of a catcher, he's a better target than the next guy on the list.
Geovany Soto, Rangers -- Soto has had an absolutely dreadful year for the Cubs, hitting .199/.284/.347 before his trade to Texas. He'll back up Mike Napoli, and will see a decent amount of time behind the dish with Napoli also playing first. While Arlington could rejuvenate his bat a bit, don't expect any miracles.
Eric Chavez, Yankees -- With Alex Rodriguez on the shelf, the Yankees will likely turn to Chavez as their new starter most of the time. He's hitting .263/.330/.473 with nine homers and 22 RBI this season.
Ryan Roberts, Rays -- Those of you looking for a replacement for A-Rod could also go with Roberts, whom the Rays acquired from the Diamondbacks last week. He has struggled this year after a solid 2011, but still offers decent pop, as well as positional flexibility.
Kris Medlen, Braves -- Medlen looked great in his first start of the year Tuesday, earning the win after allowing just one run on four hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked one. He has a great matchup against the Astros on Sunday.
D.J. LeMahieu, Rockies -- With Marco Scutaro now in San Francisco, LeMahieu should be Colorado's starter at second base more often than not. He's hitting .259/.298/.333 in limited action this season.
Chat with me on Twitter, @MBeller.
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