Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Smoak adding patience to power
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.
Justin Smoak, Mariners -- Smoak is on fire of late, raising his rates from .201/.246/.306 to .235/.295/.400 in the last three weeks. In the same stretch, which covers 17 games, he has six homers and 17 RBI. Perhaps most encouraging, Smoak has started taking his walks. He's got a career walk rate of 10.7 percent, so he's always been willing to take a free pass, but he just wasn't doing it this year. Over this hot streak, however, he has drawn nine walks while striking out just 11 times. Last season was a disappointment for Smoak, but he still managed to hit 15 homers in 427 at-bats. The power is for real, and now that he appears to be back to his more patient ways, it looks like he's on the right track going forward.
Gordon Beckham, White Sox -- It's OK to be afraid. I admit, I would be a little bit, too, if I were about to click the little plus sign next to Beckham's name. But this time, it looks like it's safe to take the plunge within reason. Even with his recent surge, Beckham's appeal remains limited to deeper leagues. Still, his is slash line up to .233/.286/.399, and he's coming off a huge series against the Mariners in which he went 6-for-16 with three homers and eight RBI. As far as second basemen go, he offers more pop than most, especially those you're considering if you're looking for help at the position.
Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians -- A strong couple of months at Triple A Columbus, coupled with an injury to Jack Hannahan, earned Chisenhall a call back to the majors last week. He hasn't disappointed in his first seven games, going 6-for-22 with a pair of homers and steals. In 28 games at Columbus, he hit .324/.353/.541 with four homers, 12 doubles and 17 RBI. He's still just 23 years old, and it's definitely encouraging to see him have success at the Triple-A lever after struggling there a year ago. Like Beckham, you need to go fairly deep at third for Chisenhall to have value, but there's a very real chance he took a leap between his age-22 and age-23 seasons.
Jason Bay, Mets -- The Mets expected Bay to return from a fractured rib earlier this week, but an illness kept him on the DL a few extra days. Still, his activation remains on the horizon. He'll take over as the Mets' starting left fielder and will likely slot in the fifth or spot in the lineup. It's not exactly the greatest offense, but you could do worse than having David Wright, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and perhaps Daniel Murphy in front of you. Bay's worth a shot in leagues deeper than 12 teams or those that use five outfielders.
Kris Medlen, Braves -- We're really just jumping out and putting a marker down here. The Braves sent Medlen to Triple A Gwinnett to stretch him out for a return to the big league rotation in a couple weeks. Medlen has always had strikeout stuff, fanning 174 batters in 206 career innings, good for 7.6 K-per-9. In 14 starts with Atlanta back in 2010, he went 5-0 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 84 innings. He missed the last month of that season and nearly all of '11 when his elbow required Tommy John surgery, but he appears to have returned to full strength. He should be a cheap option of reliable strikeouts with solid rates at a starter's level of innings.
Steve Clevenger, Cubs -- Clevenger will serve as the Cubs primary catcher going forward, and should remain the starter even when Geovany Soto returns. He's 15-for-42 on the year with six doubles.
Fernando Martinez, Astros -- The former top prospect for the Mets is getting his shot in Houston, and is worth a kick of the tires in NL-only leagues.
Stephen Pryor, Mariners -- After striking out 39 batters in 28 innings across two levels of the minors this year, the Mariners gave Pryor the call. He's got closer stuff and has a chance to grab the job, especially if the Mariners sell off some parts at the trade deadline.
Tim Collins, Royals -- Collins has 42 strikeouts in 28 innings this season, and similarly could take over as the closer if the Royals trade Jonathan Broxton.
Chat with me on Twitter, @MBeller.
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