Whether your team’s in first place or last place, there are always statistical categories in which you can use some improvement. In this column we’re going to go category by category and look at players that are likely available either on your league’s waiver wire, or through an inexpensive trade, that will help you address those offensive weaknesses.
Offensive 7×7 categories:
- Home Runs (HR)
- Runs Batted In (RBI)
- Stolen Bases (SB)
- Base on Balls (BB)
- Total Bases (TB)
- Average (AVG)
Alejandro De Aza is currently sitting on the waiver wire in 30% of Yahoo’s fantasy leagues, and he’s in the top 10 of total runs scored for the season. Furthermore, he’s a top 70 overall player who just doesn’t seem to be getting as much respect as he should. De Aza can help you in Runs (65) and SBs (18), while not hurting your team’s batting average (.279). If De Aza isn’t sitting on your league’s waiver wire, I’d recommend citing his lack of power production (6 hrs) and RBIs (37) in hopes of getting him via trade at an even better value.
Did you realize that Pedro Alvarez is starting to live up to his blue-chip prospect billing? No? Well I’m not surprised… Even though the Pirates are genuine contenders, many of their players are still not getting the recognition that they should in the fantasy community… and Alvarez is proof positive of that. Currently sitting unclaimed in 46% of Yahoo’s fantasy leagues, Alvarez is currently ranked as the 145th most productive player this year. His home run total of 21 home runs is 17th best in all of baseball, and his RBI total of 58 is 30th best in the majors. Throw in the fact that he is a 3rd baseman and there’s a decent chance that Alvarez won’t just help with your team’s power deficiency, but will in fact be an upgrade to your current lineup. If Pedro isn’t available in your league as a waiver wire addition, I’d recommend citing his low batting average (.228) and his total lack of speed (0 sbs and only 44 runs) to help you trade for him for pennies on the dollar…
Runs Batted In
Right now Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, a top 20 overall RBI producer, is available on 43% of Yahoo’s fantasy baseball league’s waiver wires. LaRoche certainly isn’t a big name, but the value of his power contributions far outweigh the expense that acquiring him would bring. Citing LaRoche’s lack of speed production (1 sb and 42 runs on the season) can help you get him for even less via trade.
Stolen bases seem to be the most frequently neglected statistic in the world of fantasy baseball. Most owners focus on power production (HRs & RBIs) and end up developing “fantasy crushes” on their favorite power hitters. Proof positive is this week’s Stolen Base providers player suggestion Rajah Davis. Very Simply, Rajah Davis is sitting unclaimed in 89% of Yahoo’s fantasy baseball leagues at the moment and there’s just no reason for it. Davis currently has the 5th most SBs of anyone this year and is ranked in the top 200 overall players at this point. The drawback to having Davis is that he doesn’t play every game, currently sharing a platoon with AAA speedster Anthony Gose who was called up when Jose Bautista went on the DL. This means that while you should be able to get Davis for literally nothing more than a waiver wire pickup or in a trade for a bench player that you never even plug into your lineup, he does come with an additional price… You have to pay attention to what days he plays and what days he sits to ensure that you aren’t wasting active lineup spots on him when he’s not playing. That being said, his SB production is worth the extra attention every day.
Another often overlooked statistic, Walks have as much impact on your weekly matchups as HRs or RBIs (assuming you’re in a 7×7 league that counts them). Tampa Bay Rays’ first basemen Carlos Pena is a surprisingly wonderful source of walks, currently ranked 5th in the majors with his 60 free passes. Pena is also among the league leaders in HRs (27) and RBIs (65). The problem is, Pena’s batting average is a crippling .195. So before you claim Pena off of the waiver wire, where he’s currently sitting unclaimed in 62% of Yahoo’s fantasy leagues, be sure that his batting average’s negative impact won’t cancel out the benefits of his walks and power contributions.
Despite the 60 game power surge he’s currently experiencing, Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano is still unclaimed in 35% of Yahoo’s fantasy baseball leagues. To go along with his 19 HRs and 58 RBIs, Soriano has the 40th most Total Bases this year with 169 and is ranked as the 110th most productive overall. If Soriano isn’t on your league’s waiver wire, trading for him might not be cheap… But keep in mind that aside from bringing a substantial amount of Total Bases and power numbers, Soriano won’t have a negative impact on your team’s Batting Average (.274) and can still be gotten via trade for far less than his production suggests.
Chicago Cubs rookie Anthony Rizzo is an interesting option if you’re looking for a boost in Batting Average. There was a lot of hype last year when the Padres called up Rizzo, but he stumbled against MLB pitching and his taste of Big League life as a Padre was short lived. This past off-season, the Cubs hired Padres GM Jed Hoyer to be the Cubs GM and one of the first moves that Hoyer made was to trade for Rizzo, believing that Rizzo’s struggles weren’t indicative of his true offensive potential… and so far, Rizzo’s making Hoyer’s trade look brilliant, hitting .323 since his call up about a month ago. Before you get nervous about trusting a rookie with the fate of your team’s batting average, I will point out that over the last two seasons Rizzo hit over .335 with 49 HRs in 163 games at AAA… Rizzo is sitting unclaimed in 50% of Yahoo’s fantasy baseball leagues and simply mentioning how poorly he did last year during his call-up with the Padres (he hit .141 in 49 games) will likely result in your being able to get him reasonably in a trade.
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