Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Viciedo set for take-off this summer
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.
Dayan Viciedo, White Sox -- Since May 14, Viciedo is 12-for-34 with four homers and 10 RBI. That hot streak has Tank a little shy of a .700 OPS on the season, which doesn't sound great, but looks like a dream when compared with his .530 OPS of just a week ago. Viciedo remains a cheap source of power, and as we turn the calendar to June, U.S. Cellular Field will turn into the launching pad it becomes every summer. With a near-everyday spot in the White Sox' lineup, Viciedo could hit another 15 to 18 home runs this year.
Anthony Rizzo, Cubs -- After tearing apart the Pacific Coast League for a second straight season thus far, and with his parent club struggling, there has been much buzz surrounding Rizzo and his impending promotion to the majors. It appears we won't have to wait much longer, as word broke that the Cubs could call him up for their series in Minnesota June 8-10. However, once he gets the call, the Cubs won't really have any justification to send him back to Triple A Iowa, where he's hitting .346/.414/.692 with 14 homers and 39 RBI. Bryan LaHair has been one of just two Cubs to produce consistently this year, but they'll likely slot him in a corner outfield spot to make room for Rizzo. Rest assured, both will be in the lineup with Alfonso Soriano or David DeJesus getting some more time on the bench.
Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles -- Before faltering Sunday against the Nationals, Chen had ripped off seven consecutive strong outings to start the year, posting a 2.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 40 innings, striking out 32 batters. He beat the Rangers and Yankees, and held the Red Sox in check, as well as the Yankees a second time. He's getting a few ground balls to cover up his average strikeout rate, but the results aren't lying in this case. Chen projects as a solid back-end fantasy guy even in the shallowest mixed leagues.
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers -- I've been singing Lucroy's praises since the beginning of the year, especially for deep mixed and two-catcher leagues. People have started taking notice recently, punctuated by his two-homer, seven-RBI performance Sunday. For a guy who remains widely available at a shallow position, Lucroy has a decent amount of pop (12 homers in 430 at-bats last year) and plays half his games in a good hitter's environment. He has also been an on-base machine this season, as his .393 OBP is good for fourth among all catchers with at least 100 at-bats. He's also tied for the league lead in RBI among catchers with 29.
Alexi Ogando, Rangers -- With Neftali Feliz hitting the DL with an elbow injury, the Rangers may decide to move Ogando to the rotation. Even though he has been extremely valuable to the team as a multi-inning reliever, there's little doubt he'd have more fantasy value reprising the role he filled so well in 2011. GM Jon Daniels is already on the record saying Feliz isn't a lock to return to the rotation when he comes back from the DL, and Ogando is really the only candidate to replace him in the rotation on a long-term basis. He's worth the speculative grab now. Even if he remains in the bullpen, his high strikeout rate, coupled with a stellar ERA and WHIP, make him roster-worthy in all but the shallowest of leagues.
Derek Lowe, Indians -- This is not an all-out endorsement of Lowe going forward, but rather an acknowledgement that what he has done thus far warrants our attention. Lowe is 6-2 with a 2.15 ERA, allowing two or fewer earned runs in seven of his nine starts this year. While Lowe has been successful this year and warrants a roster spot in most leagues, he has just 15 strikeouts in 58.2 innings. It will be basically impossible to continue having this level of success without fanning more batters. Since the safer bet is that Lowe's luck catches up with him, not that he becomes a strikeout maven all of a sudden, temper your expectations going forward. Still, he makes a worthy add for the pitching-needy.
Jordan Lyles, Astros -- Lyles was roughed up by the Rangers Sunday, but he's in the majors to stay, having had two strong starts against the Reds and Phillies. You won't be able to plug him in for every start, but he's a nice guy to fill out your staff.
Travis Wood, Cubs -- With Chris Volstad earning himself a demotion to Triple A Iowa, Wood has a chance to grab a spot in the Cubs' rotation for the remainder of the season.
Elliot Johnson, Rays -- Johnson has been the primary beneficiary of Evan Longoria's injury, starting eight straight games and going 10-for-27 with a homer in that stretch.
Joaquin Benoit, Tigers -- Even if Jose Valverde returns from the DL this week, Benoit has value as a reliever in AL-only leagues. He has 27 strikeouts in 17.2 innings this season.
Chat with me on Twitter, @MBeller.
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