Fantasy owners have seemed to miss something that the Dodgers' front office noticed: Ricky Nolasco is having a pretty good season. That's part of the reason why Miami traded him to L.A. for three prospects in one of the first significant trades of the season. He can also be a great pickup for fantasy owners looking for help in their rotations.
Nolasco (available in 72 percent of Yahoo leagues, 36 percent of CBS leagues, and 92 percent of ESPN leagues) earned his way out of Miami by making 18 starts with very good results this season. In 112.1 innings, he posted a 3.85 ERA, 3.52 FIP and 1.22 WHIP, all of which are career bests since 2009 or earlier. He has 90 strikeouts against just 25 non-intentional walks, and that 3.6 K/BB ratio would be his best in the last three seasons.
We don't have any reason to believe Nolasco is getting lucky, either. He has a .299 BABIP and 72.5 percent strand rate, both comfortably within league-average range. His velocity has remained consistent since 2010, and there isn't a ton of worry about wear and tear, since Nolasco has thrown at least 185 innings in four of the last five seasons. Now, he'll get to pitch roughly half his games in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. Add it all up, and Nolasco can be a great acquisition on the cheap for any fantasy owner who could use another starter.
Let's get to the rest of the waiver wire.
• 1B/OF Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins (84, 58, 81): Morrison missed the first eight weeks of the season, but he has made the most of his time on the field. In 19 games, he's hitting .318/.400/.621 with four homers and 10 RBI. Obviously it's way too early to draw any meaningful conclusions from his peripheral stats, but you have to like that his K-rate is down at 13.3 percent while his walk rate is 12 percent. Morrison essentially lost all of last year to injury, but remember that he started the year as one of the fantasy community's favorite sleepers. He belted 23 homers in 525 plate appearances back in 2011, and he's certainly capable of matching that rate again. He's definitely worth a shot in most mixed leagues.
• SS Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves (58, 26, 37): Simmons is hot of late, raising his slash line from .242/.276/.337 to .251/.287/.357 in the last three weeks. He has been especially hot in July, hitting .409/.417/.727 with two homers and six RBI. Simmons is another guy whose season has been compromised by injury, but he can be a useful hitter in the rate and run categories when healthy. He also has a .257 BABIP despite respectable line-drive and ground-ball rates. Given that he plays a shallow position, he should probably be owned in deeper mixed leagues.
• OF Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs (47, 40, 13): Soriano started one of his trademark hot streaks 10 games ago, which is not a moment too soon for the Cubs; they would love for him to entice an American League team into making him their DH for the last two months of the season. Since June 23, Soriano is 14-for-43 with five homers and 13 RBI. Everyone knows Soriano won't remain this hot forever, but he's the kind of guy who can really help when he's swinging the bat the way he is right now. If you're looking for short-term outfield help, Soriano is your guy.
• SS Derek Jeter, New York Yankees (43, 38, 70): Jeter took an important step in his comeback on Saturday, playing his first game in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He went 0-for-2 and played five innings at shortstop, but obviously the results don't mean a thing here. The fact that he was able to play five innings in the field without incident, and feel equally as good after the game, is the news. He'll play a few more games in the minors before rejoining the Yankees, but it looks as though there's a good chance he'll be back before the All-Star break. The time to grab him is now.
• SP Kyle Kendrick, Philadelphia Phillies: Kendrick has been hammered in each of his last two starts and three times in the last month. Just looking at his last two outings, he has allowed 10 runs on 22 hits in 11 innings, striking out just four. He was always a chancy fantasy play because of his lack of strikeouts, and that is really starting to show up as the season progresses. You can still afford to roster him in deeper mixed leagues (at least 14 teams), but those of you in the shallow end can feel free to let him go.
• 1B/3B Mark Reynolds, Cleveland Indians: If you're in a deep league, you probably want to hold on to Reynolds. Bench him for now, because he's in a terrible run at the plate, but he can get hot and carry you for a week or two. However, those of you in shallow leagues should get this rate-killer off your team. He hit .187/.288/.253 in June, and has yet to get a hit in 16 at-bats in July. You can find plenty of guys who will come just short of matching his power, but will actually get on base at a rate greater than 29 percent. There's no need for you to have Reynolds.