May 17, 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.

Yonder Alonso, Padres -- After a slow start to the season, Alonso, in his last 10 games, is 19-for-51 with his first homer of the season, seven RBI and five walks. However, he has been seeing the ball well most of the season, evidenced by a near 30 percent line-drive rate. He had five homers in 88 at-bats with the Reds last year, after hitting 24 across two seasons at Triple A. Petco Park will obviously keep his home run total down, but there's no doubting Alonso's bat.

Edinson Volquez, Padres -- Volquez came to San Diego along with Alonso in the deal for Mat Latos, and Southern California appears to be the cure for what ailed him after three rough years in Cincinnati. He has allowed two or fewer runs in six of his eight starts, striking out 43 batters in 48.1 innings. While he's doubtlessly taking advantage of Petco with his glimmering, career-low 7.3-percent HR/FB rate, he's also getting hitters to put the ball on the ground 53 percent of the time. We've seen dominance from him before, and it looks like he could resemble that guy again this season.

Tim Stauffer, Padres -- You know what? San Diego's so nice, let's extend our stay a bit longer. This one's a little less developed and more speculative, but Stauffer's worth placing a bet on in semi-deep mixed leagues. He struggled in his season debut Monday, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and three walks in five innings against the Nationals. On the bright side, he struck out five batters, and the elbow injury that had him on the DL for the first six weeks of the season didn't trouble him. He made 31 starts last year, his first real chance in the majors, and posted a 3.73 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a ground-ball rate north of 50 percent. He should be owned in most 12-team leagues.

Jesus Flores, Nationals -- With Wilson Ramos out for the rest of the season (torn ACL), Flores will take over as the regular starter for the Nationals. He has shown decent pop in limited duty since making his debut in 2007, hitting 17 homers in 155 career plate appearances. He has struggled in his rare starts this year, but will finally be given a chance to see what he can do with an everyday job. The Nats called up Sandy Leon to back up Flores, but he left his major league debut Monday after a collision at home plate with Chase Headley. Those with an unsettled catcher situation should give Flores a chance.

Rafael Soriano, Yankees -- This one is as academic as it gets. With David Robertson hitting the DL, Soriano takes over as the Yankees' closer. He has fanned 13 batters in 14 innings this year, despite a 1.57 WHIP. He's not the shutdown option he was in Tampa, but the strikeouts and saves should be there, so long as Robertson is out.

Andy Pettitte, Yankees -- Pettitte struggled in his debut, but all reports were that his fastball velocity sat in the 88-90 MPH range, right where he was his entire career. So long as he sharpens his command, which feels like a safe bet, he's worth the investment.

Brandon Guyer, Rays -- With Desmond Jennings hitting the DL with a knee injury, Guyer should see regular time the next few weeks. Through 22 games at Triple A Durham this year, he's hitting .294/.365/.459 with three homers, 13 RBI and two steals.

Andres Torres, Mets -- In two weeks of play since returning from the DL, Torres is 13-for-57 with a homer, a steal and 10 walks against seven strikeouts. He remains a decent speed-power combo.

Christian Friedrich, Rockies -- In his first two career starts, Friedrich is 1-0, allowing two runs in 13 innings, striking out 17 while walking just two. He had a 27:4 K:BB ratio with Triple-A Colorado Springs this year, so the strikeouts could be for real. He should remain in the Rockies' rotation in favor of Jhoulys Chacin.

Find me on Twitter, @MBeller.

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