The Wire Troll: Beating Around the Bush
Tim McLeod is still recovering from his vacation, so RotoRob will handle The Wire Troll for this, the final week of the season. We want to thank all our readers for what we trust has been a very successful season, thanks to our super duper, chocolate chip cookie-inspired waiver wire advice. This week, we’ve got a few very under the radar picks here, and a couple of more obvious ones.
Dave Bush, SP, Milwaukee Brewers: The fact that Bush hasn’t won since August 29 (blame the shaky Brewer pen) and that he took a beating in his first start of the month has kept his fantasy popularity low. But you can’t argue with his last three starts, in which he’s yielded a mere 14 hits in 19 IP. Remember that this dude went 4-0, 2.12 in August (with just 26 hits allowed in 34 IP), and I’m left wondering why he isn’t getting any fantasy love. This week, Bush gets a home date against an improving Bucco offense, but given his 3.51 ERA at Miller Park this season, I think he makes a fine bet.
Matt Joyce, OF, Detroit Tigers: Joyce enjoyed a big July (.321, with five homers, 14 RBI and 15 runs) before slumping in August and most of this month. In the past week, however, he’s showing signs of life, going 5-for-16 over the past seven games, with five runs, a double and a very impressive eight walks. Joyce could be a decent speculative pick up in AL-only leagues, and I like his possibilities in keeper leagues, given a .525 slugging percentage as a 24-year-old rookie and the fact that, in limited exposure, this left-handed batter has hit southpaws at a .294 clip.
Ryan Madson, RP, Philadelphia Phillies: Need some relief help in your NL-only league? While Brad Lidge has looked untouchable as the Phillie closer, Madson, the team’s top set-up man, has been on quite a roll himself. After tossing another shutout frame Saturday to help nail down a big win over the Marlins, Madson has now gone ten consecutive appearances without yielding an earned run. Over that stretch, he’s fanned 15 and walked just one in 10 1/3 IP, earning a win and four holds along the way. He showed some cracks in his armour in July, but Madson is headed for a very strong finish to the 2008 campaign.
Huston Street, RP, Oakland A’s: While Brad Ziegler continues to impress as the Oakland closer (although he did blow a save last week), former closer Street has been pitching extremely well of late, making him an attractive target in any format where you need bullpen assistance. The word is that Street won’t get the closing gig back this year, but he’s been superb in September, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and three holds. Clearly, he’s put those rough summer months he endured behind him, and if you’re in a league that counts holds, I’d recommend going down this Street.
Jim Edmonds, OF, Chicago Cubs: After scuffling through an August in which he batted just .200, Edmonds lost plenty of fantasy steam. But the veteran is poised for a strong finish, scoring six runs, smacking three dingers, driving in four and drawing six walks over the past eight games. If you need a stick in an NL-only league, Edmonds could be your man. A word of caution, however: if the Cubs are scheduled to face a raft of lefties, you’ll definitely want to keep Edmonds tethered to your bench.
Marlon Byrd, OF, Texas: Why isn’t Byrd getting more fantasy attention? Did you see what this dude did in August? Try a .393 BA, with four homers, 11 doubles, two steals, 22 runs and 20 RBI. Yes, the first week of September saw him nosedive, but he’s bounced back in a big way, hitting in 11 of 12 games since, including back-to-back multi-hit efforts this weekend. Byrd is batting almost .300, showing the best power of his career (25 doubles, four triples, ten homers), and is capable of swiping the occasional base. What’s not to like? He’s a strongly recommended asset in AL-only leagues and deeper mixed leagues.
Russ Springer, RP. St. Louis: Okay, this is a very under the radar choice, probably only useful for very deep NL-only leaguers, but I think what Springer has done is worthy of some mention. He got cuffed around a bit in August, but has rebounded nicely and tossed five shutout innings of one-hit ball this month with a couple of holds for good measure. As an extremely situational reliever, he has very limited fantasy value, but how can you ignore a pitcher who is holding righties to a .183 mark for the season? Since arriving in St. Louis for his second tenure as a Card last year, Springer has been used in a very judicial manner that probably lends itself to far more “real” baseball value as opposed to fantasy value, but I’m giving him a shoutout anyways. Because I can.
Mark Teahen, OF, Kansas City: Teahen was mired in a two-month slump, the victim of a weaker strike zone judgment this season, and that pretty well sucked the fantasy value right out of him. But take a look at this splits over the last three years. Teahen has traditionally finished strong, buoying hopes that he’ll break out the following year. Don’t be fooled come draft day 2009, but for now, jump on his hot streak. In the last three games, Teahen is 6-for-10 with three runs, four RBI, a double, a homer, a walk and a steal. This run takes his September numbers up to .364 with a .591 slugging percentage courtesy of six doubles and three homers. He’s driven in ten runs already this month. If you require help in BA and could use some decent pop, Teahen is your man. He’s Mr. September, so take advantage while you can.
Dewayne Wise, OF, Chicago White Sox: Need a quick infusion of power on your AL-only team? Have you see what Wise has been up to lately? In his last seven games, he’s 7-for-21 with five runs, nine RBI, four homers, two walks and a double. With a .294 BA and ridiculous .706 slugging percentage in September, you’d be wise to add this power bat to your lineup for the stretch run.