Friday, August 19, 2011

N.L. Gearing Up: N.L. Week 21 August 22-28

James Loney.
You do not see guys like James Loney on the waiver wire often in N.L.-only leagues this late in the season.  In this case, however, a team in quasi-contention waived him for cap considerations (and because he stinks).  Loney has been terrible this year (5/36/3/.255), but he has at least picked his average up the last two weeks.  If you need someone to move the chains and Loney is there, you may want to take a flier here.

Chris Nelson.
Nelson is playing just about every day right now, but really has not contributed much, particularly in the stolen base department.  Every day players, however, do have a funny way of breaking out from time to time and moving the chains for you; Nelson could be that guy.  If he is available in an N.L.-only league, he is worth a look.

Livan Hernandez.
Hernandez is like a Timex: he just keeps on ticking.  Slow, slower and slowest describe his pitch selection at this point, but he is posting a 4.21 ERA.  The problem for contenders is that the wins are fewer and further between, the WHIP does not support the ERA and he appears to be running out of gas.  Tread carefully here.

Justin Sellers.
Sellers is supposed to be a utility player long-term, and, despite the .190 average over his first 21 at-bats, he does have a home run, three RBI and a steal.  Mattingly likes him enough right now to put him in the lineup everyday, and, as set forth above, that type of player is hard to find.  If you do not mind an average hit, Sellers may be worth a look to fill a hole.

Mike Cameron.
Despite getting a number of at-bats, Cameron is a guy to steer clear of right now.  Yes, he is capable of both a power spike and a stolen base spike, but the bat looks very slow and he is getting worse as the weeks go by.  I would suggest trying to find a more harmless player on the average side of the equation rather than take a big risk.

Jose Lopez.
With Omar Infante out, Lopez could see some playing time.  Lopez has been less than good so far this year, but with the middle infield in free agent shambles in your N.L.-only league, he is someone to take a flier on at this stage.  If he gets a little streaky, the power could be an important boost.

Wilson Valdez.
I am no Valdez fan, but with Placido Polanco on the disabled list, Valdez should see some semi-regular at-bats.  Sellers and Lopez should be better options, but, if you are in a tough place, you could go here without too much harm (unless you play in a double-play league).

Erik Hamren.
Hamren absolutely dominated hitters at A and AA this year, and has continued in the major leagues.  I do not think he is a closer candidate at this point, but he is certainly a strikeout option if you want to shed a starter and find a safe reliever.

Kevin Millwood.
Millwood finally worked his way to the major leagues this year, and wound up in Colorado…this is likely not a good place for Millwood to land.  He is giving up too many home runs and is not striking enough guys out at this stage in his career to have a huge fantasy impact.  If you are a contender, I would steer clear.

Michael Schwimer.
I mention Schwimer because, like Hamren, he just dominated hitters, though at AAA.  He is not as safe a play as Hamren based on ball park, but he is worth taking a look at to replace a starter.

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