April 26, 2012

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.

Jarrod Parker, A's -- Parker made the first start of his A's career Wednesday, going 6.1 innings while giving up one run and striking out five. Now that he's in Oakland, he should be in the majors to stay. In four starts with Triple A Sacramento this season, Parker posted a 21/6 K/BB ratio and a 2.18 ERA in 20.2 innings. He might not pile up the wins, but Parker pitches in a great park that should take advantage of his fly-ball tendencies. He fanned 112 batters in 130.2 innings with Double-A Mobile last season, so he looks like a reliable source for whiffs. He's just the type of guy who should be, at worst, solid rotation fodder for the rest of the season, with Rookie of the Year-type potential.

A.J. Burnett, Pirates -- Burnett shined in his first start with Pittsburgh, pitching seven shutout innings against the Cardinals, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out seven batters. I was hesitant to start the season, but it looks like Burnett could be this year's winner of the Ted Lilly Award, given to the pitcher who enjoys the most success after moving from the American League to the National League, with bonus points awarded if that pitcher fled the AL East.

You can't overstate the bump a pitcher receives when he trades the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays and even Orioles, for the Cardinals, Brewers and Reds, and then gets the Cubs and Astros for good measure.

Burnett is who he is at this point. He's going to struggle with command at times, he'll walk too many batters, and even in a more pitcher-friendly park than Yankee Stadium, he'll give up his fair share of homers. He's also going to strike out a ton of batters, and if the move to PNC can proportionately cut down on the gopher balls he surrenders, he should have his best statistical season in years.

Devin Mesoraco, Reds -- Mesoraco was the object of many of my affections during spring training, and it appears Dusty Baker is finally coming around. It's too bad he didn't come around on using Matt Clement in Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS, but I guess I'll settle for this. Mesoraco has started three of the Reds' last five games at catcher, going 4-for-10 with three walks. Meanwhile, Ryan Hanigan is 8-for-36 with one extra-base hit this season. Dusty has never been a great friend to young players, but how long can he let Hanigan's bat undermine Cincinnati's offense? Get Mesoraco while you can.

Carlos Quentin, Padres -- Quentin is set to go on a minor league rehab assignment with a target return date to the majors in early- or mid-May. There might not be a ton of punch around him and he may play his home games in Petco, but Quentin has been a reliable source of 25 homers and 80 RBI his entire career, even in abbreviated playing time each season. His move from Chicago coupled with his injury have made him largely overlooked, as he's owned in only about one-quarter of leagues. He'll be a batting average risk for those of you who care about that, but if you can bear that burden, he'll make up for it in the power categories.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mets -- Nieuwenhuis has made the most of his opportunity, hitting .327/.397/.500 with a pair of homers and three doubles in 52 at-bats. Even when Andres Torres returns, he should have a regular spot in the Mets' lineup.

Tony Campana, Cubs -- With Marlon Byrd now plying his trade in Boston, Campana stands to be the main beneficiary in Chicago, at least until the team calls up Brett Jackson. Campana is a one-category superstar, but he'll steal a ton of bases so long as he gets playing time.

Marlon Byrd, Red Sox -- On the flip side, Byrd becomes a must-add in AL-only leagues, simply because of the environment in which he finds himself. Forget about his slow start in Chicago this season. Byrd's in a great spot at the bottom of Boston's order, serving as a table-setter for Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez.

Josh Reddick, A's -- I felt better about this before Reddick's recent 0-for-16 slide, but that just means you missed out on 16 hitless at-bats. He's still a good bet to get to 15 homers and 15 steals this season.

Chat with me on Twitter, @MBeller.

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