The Wire Troll: American League All-Wire Team
Jarrod Saltalamacchia has delivered power off the wire.
It’s that time of the year when we can look back at some of the gems that found their way onto our Fantasy teams through the waiver wire. When you look to the winners in league play, our American League All-Wire selections will be on many a team atop the leader board. Without further ado, let’s give those justly deserving winners their due accolades.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Boston Red Sox: Heading into May, Saltalamacchia was owned in less than 20 per cent of CBS leagues. Yet in 348 at-bats, he’s mashed 16 homers and driven in 56 runs at a position where power is always at a premium. Salty has also been able to toss the ball back to the pitcher without bouncing it. In single format and two-catcher leagues he’s been a huge difference maker.
Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals: The 21-year-old phenom made his debut May 6 and — simply put — never looked back. In 507 at-bats, Hosmer has hit 19 homers with 77 RBI and 11 thefts. His 814 OPS ranks behind only Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Paul Konerko and Mark Teixeira among AL first basemen. For a rookie, that’s some pretty impressive company to be keeping.
Jemile Weeks, Oakland Athletics: Rickie Weeks’ younger brother got the call at the beginning of June and should be a fixture at the top of the Athletics’ batting order for many years. In 389 at-bats, he’s scored 49 runs and stolen 22 bases — good for third place among AL players at the keystone corner.
Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays: A fractured left hand delayed his arrival in Hogtown until August 5, but he sure didn’t disappoint when he did get the call. In just 150 at-bats, Lawrie smacked nine homers with 25 RBI and seven thefts while amassing a 953 OPS. Adrian Beltre is currently the leader (883 OPS) among AL third basemen that qualify for the batting title. Lawrie is going to be a most intriguing pick next year.
Brent Morel, Chicago White Sox: Morel has now smashed seven homers and driven in 17 runs in 67 at-bats in September. He’s raised his stock dramatically heading into 2012 and has been a huge asset for those that picked him up during this hot streak.
Cliff Pennington, Oakland Athletics: In the offensively challenged world of the shortstop, an eight homer, 58 RBI, 14 stolen base campaign gets the job done.
Peter Bourjos, Los Angeles Angels: Bourjos has shown a little bit of pop, great speed, and a glove that will keep him firmly entrenched in the Angels outfield for many years to come. Remember the 24-year-old in your 2012 drafts as he’s only going to get better.
Melky Cabrera/Jeff Francoeur, Kansas City Royals: Two career years in one outfield (well, you could argue that Francoeur has had better years). Still, if ’80s TV show That’s Incredible (which starred ex-Viking QB Fran Tarkenton) was still in production, these guys would be the lead story.
Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays: The penny-pinching Rays finally got around to bringing up highly touted Jennings on July 23 and in 229 at-bats at the top of their order he’s smacked 10 homers with 25 RBI, scored 43 runs and swiped 19 bags. Project those numbers out over a full season, folks. You have to wonder if the Rays would have the AL East wrapped up if they had Jennings in their everyday lineup a bit earlier; they certainly would be the AL Wild Card leader instead of scrambling like mad to catch Boston over the final days of the season.
David Murphy, Texas Rangers: If you were looking to the waiver wire for a September push, Murphy has gotten the job done. In 86 at-bats, he’s hit four homers, driven in 15 runs, swiped three bases, and is hitting an outstanding .349.
Ben Revere, Minnesota Twins: The concussion suffered by Denard Span opened up regular playing time for Revere and the rookie has responded with 34 stolen bases — good for fifth in the AL. Does Span have a job to return to in 2012?
Eric Thames, Toronto Blue Jays: In 350 at-bats hitting mostly in the two-hole for the Jays, Thames is up to 58 runs. Hitting in front of Jose Bautista does have its perks.
Mike Carp, Seattle Mariners: In 278 at-bats, Carp is up to 12 homers with 46 RBI and a solid .284 BA. In Seattle, that makes you an offensive dynamo, so small wonder that Carp has spent most of his time batting clean-up for the majors’ worst-hitting team.
John Danks, Chicago White Sox: Danks got off to an absolutely horrible start and has struggled in September (until a nice final start), but from June through to August he was rock solid. In those months he posted ERAs of 1.14, 0.69, and 3.15 to go along with six wins. If you bought in at the right time, the rewards were rather substantial.
Doug Fister, Detroit Tigers: A rather nondescript season changed rather abruptly for Fister with his trade to the Tigers at the deadline. In 62 1/3 IP in the Motorcity, he’s allowed 51 hits with only five walks. Fister now has seven wins for the Cats and has allowed a miniscule 14 earned runs, earning Tiger GM Dave Dombrowski the title of Genius of the Year.
Philip Humber, Chicago White Sox: Humber, 28, enjoyed a stellar first half before fading badly after the All Star break. An 8-5 won-loss record with an outstanding 3.10 ERA in the first half ensured your Fantasy rotation got out of the gate very strong.
Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians: Five wins in five starts to start the 2011 campaign with an ERA of 2.18 will get your attention. The former Red Sox prospect is finally fulfilling his potential.
Brandon McCarthy, Oakland Athletics: McCarthy has won five of his nine starts in August and September while allowing just 19 earned runs. Toss in the 51 strikeouts over this stretch and it’s reasonable to assume that he will be on many sleeper lists next season.
Guillermo Moscoso, Oakland Athletics: The 80 per cent of owners that ignored Moscoso heading into September missed out on a great opportunity. In 26 1/3 IP over the final month, he’s allowed 13 hits and five walks, chipped in 20 strikeouts and compiled a 1.71 ERA with two victories.
Ivan Nova, New York Yankees: Where would the New York Yankees be without the amazing rookie campaign turned in by Nova? He’s currently tied for fourth in the AL with 16 wins and his perfect five wins in five starts in August was instrumental in pushing the Yankees to their second AL East title in three years.
Alexi Ogando, Texas Rangers: After Ogando’s victory June 8 against the Tigers, the converted reliever was sporting a 7-0 record. He stumbled in August, but has rebounded nicely in September and has transitioned smoothly from a setup role into the rotation for the Rangers.
Jordan Walden, Los Angeles Angels: Walden took over for an ineffective Fernando Rodney as closer in mid-April, and the 23-year-old rookie-of-the-year candidate is now up to 32 saves. Fantasy owners that spent some of that FAAB money early were justly rewarded.
Sergio Santos, Chicago White Sox: Heading into the season, Santos was nothing more than an after-thought with Matt Thornton and Chris Sale thought to be the two relievers in the mix for saves on the Pale Hose. Six months later, Santos has 29 saves, 89 strikeouts in 62 IP, and a great future.
David Robertson, New York Yankees: There has to be at least one setup guy on our Troll All-Wire Team and who was more deserving this year than Robertson? He is the current league leader in holds with 34 and in 64 2/3 IP has an incredible 96 strikeouts. His 1.11 ERA is actually lower than his 1.14 WHIP. When Mariano Rivera eventually calls it a day, the Yankees have a more than capable replacement waiting in the wings.