July 19, 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.

Wil Myers, Royals -- This season has featured a boomlet of top hitting prospects making serious impacts at the major league level. The Nationals' Bryce Harper and the Angels' Mike Trout each made the All-Star Game, and Trout is a legitimate AL MVP candidate. Anthony Rizzo has made an immediate splash with the Cubs, and Will Middlebrooks convinced the Red Sox he could take over as the everyday third baseman, making a trade of Kevin Youkilis possible. The next big bat to make the move to the majors will likely be Myers, and his arrival should happen sooner rather than later. Many prospect gurus had Myers ranked ahead of all his counterparts coming into this year, and he hasn't disappointed, hitting .310/.397/.626 with 15 homers and 46 RBI at Triple-A Omaha this season. He'll be a lineup mainstay once the Royals promote him to the big league club, and should be added in all formats.

Lorenzo Cain, Royals -- Sticking in Kansas City, Cain came off the DL last Friday, and promptly went 5-for-11 in his first two starts. Even when the Royals bring Myers up to the majors, Cain should have a pretty regular spot in the lineup. Make sure you monitor his progress, especially with regard to attempted steals. Cain's really a two-category guy as a fantasy player. He should help you in rate categories, no matter if your league uses batting average or OBP, and he's a reliable stolen-base threat.

Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers -- Lucroy is expected to go on a rehab assignment sometime this week after taking batting practice over the weekend. When Lucroy broke a bone in his hand in a freak accident, he was one of the brightest surprises in the majors, hitting .345/.387/.583 with five homers and 30 RBI in 139 at-bats. The injury could end up setting back his entire season, but as long as the strength has returned to his hand, he has a great chance to pick up right where he left off. Given the fact that many owners are fickle with the catcher position, not to mention that Lucroy finally started garnering attention from the fantasy community right before his injury, there's a great chance he's available in your league. If he is and if you're shaky at catcher, make the move now. Provided he doesn't experience a setback, he'll likely go out on a rehab assignment Thursday.

Ben Sheets, Braves -- We talked about Sheets as a worthy addition in NL-only leagues last week, and his performance in his first start in two years has him hobnobbing with the mixed-league adds this week. Sheets tossed six shutout innings against the Mets, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out five. He's not the power pitcher of his halcyon days with the Brewers, as his fastball sat in the low-90s against the Mets. However, he flashed an impressive changeup, a pitch we had rarely seen from him in his 20s. Despite his great performance in his first start, Sheets is not going to be a fantasy ace for you. What he can be is a reliable, middle-of-the-rotation guy for an owner in a 12-team or deeper mixed league.

Ted Lilly, Dodgers -- Lilly threw from a mound over the weekend for the first time since going on the DL with shoulder inflammation. He still has to go on a rehab assignment and likely won't return until early August, but now is the time to strike. Lilly is widely available, and has been a reliable, under-the-radar source of strikeouts his entire career. When he hit the DL this season, he was 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 48.1 innings. If you wait too much longer, someone in your league will likely scoop him before you get the chance.

Chris Getz, Royals -- It's hard to imagine Yuniesky Betancourt holding off anyone who can actually get on base, so Getz, who just returned from the DL, has a great chance to become a regular starter. If you're looking for speed, add Getz.

David Phelps, Yankees -- Phelps filled in admirably for CC Sabathia while he was injured, striking out eight batters in 4.1 innings in his only start. He's back at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but he's worth keeping an eye on for the time if and when the Yankees bring him back up to the majors.

Matt Harvey, Mets -- The Mets have yet to turn to Harvey to replace the DL'd Dillon Gee in the rotation, but that move could be in the offing. He's 7-4 with a 3.34 ERA, 1.3 WHIP and 106 strikeouts in 105 innings at Triple-A Buffalo this year.

Paul Janish, Braves -- The Braves made a move for Janish after Andrelton Simmons went to the DL with a broken right hand. Janish has never been much of a hitter, but he will be Atlanta's everyday shortstop with Simmons out, so if you're desperate for help at the position, Janish at least gives you a new option.

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