Fantasy Baseball 2013 Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for Week 26
One final week, one last batch of waiver-wire additions, just the way you like 'em: hot and fresh out the oven.
Some players mentioned last week—including Adam Lind, Kole Calhoun, Rick Porcello, Johnny Cueto, Garrett Richards and Tanner Roark—are already owned in many leagues by now, but they remain quality pickups if they are still available.
In the interest of keeping the names new, though, let's avoid any repeats. Here are the top-10 waiver-wire pickups for Week 26 of the 2013 MLB season.
*All ownership percentages come from ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Players owned in more than 51 percent of leagues were not considered.
Oswaldo Arcia (1.6 Percent Owned)
Joe Kelly (41.3 Percent Owned)
Corey Dickerson (1.1 Percent Owned)
Matt Davidson (0.2 Percent Owned)—pictured
Burch Smith (2.7 Percent Owned)
Yordano Ventura (4.2 Percent Owned)
10. Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies (8.5 Percent Owned)
Charlie Blackmon, 27, is like a lot of young players on non-contending clubs who have been getting some extra run over the final few weeks of the season while their teams evaluate how they fit into the future.
In Blackmon's case, that has allowed him to hit .337/.361/.509 with four home runs, 14 doubles and 16 RBI in 38 starts since the beginning of August.
He should continue to get a look over the final week's worth of games, which includes a pair at Coors Field.
9. Alexi Ogando, RHP, Rangers (40.7 Percent Owned)
It's been an injury-plagued 2013 for Alexi Ogando, but when healthy, the 29-year-old has been very good, as demonstrated by his 2.93 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.
Following a few outings out of the bullpen after returning from injury, Ogando made two big turns in the rotation for the playoff hopeful Rangers over the past week and hurled 12 innings, allowing only one run on just four hits while sporting a nine-to-two K/BB rate.
With Texas fighting for its postseason life, Ogando is lined up to start Friday against the Angels in what may be a make-or-break game for the Rangers, and desperation can be quite a performance motivator.
8. Scott Kazmir, LHP, Indians (14.2 Percent Owned)
Understandably, fantasy owners have struggled to buy into Scott Kazmir at times this year—his first full season since 2010—but the 29-year-old has come up big for the Indians more often than not.
He's been a bit up and down over the last month, with two gems sandwiched around a pair of so-so starts since September began, but expect Kazmir's next scheduled start (Friday at Minnesota) to matter as Cleveland, like Texas, is going to need every win it can get from here on out to claim a wild-card spot
7. Pedro Strop, RHP, Cubs (10.9 Percent Owned)
With the announcement last week that the Cubs will be using Pedro Strop in save situations over the final slate of games, per Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, it's only logical that the hard-throwing 28-year-old should be one of the top pickups.
While his season stats don't look superb (4.53 ERA, 1.22 WHIP), Strop has been much better since joining the Cubs as part of the midseason trade that sent Scott Feldman to the Orioles. In fact, Strop's numbers have improved across the board with the move to the National League, and he owns a 2.70 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 10.8 K/9.
Better yet? Strop struck out the side while not allowing a baserunner, helping him earn his first save of the season on Saturday. If a save or two can help your club's chances over the final week, here's your add.
6. Darin Ruf, 1B/OF, Phillies (39.0 Percent Owned)
After coming from out of nowhere to lead the minors with 38 home runs a year ago, Darin Ruf was promoted in September and hit three more bombs.
This season, the 27-year-old masher has smacked 14 four-baggers and driven in 29 runs in only 230 at-bats—a little less than half a season's worth.
While his role with the Philies in 2014 is a bit in question—will he play first base with Ryan Howard back?; will the lumbering big man be able to handle left field?—Ruf has certainly shown he can hit big-league pitching. He's been hot over the past two weeks, batting .304 with two home runs and eight RBI, and he'll get another 25 or so plate appearances this season to try to do some more damage.
5. Adam Eaton, OF, Diamondbacks (31.0 Percent Owned)
Adam Eaton's three-hit performance Sunday night was his first such one in nearly a month, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been using the lumber well overall.
The 24-year-old lefty swinger owns a nine-game hitting streaking entering play on Monday, and he's 14-for-45 (.311) over that time. The speedy Eaton, who usually bats out of the leadoff spot, also has notched eight runs and a pair of steals over that time.
Injury hurt his chances to live up the Rookie of the Year hype—and frankly, he would have had a tough time sticking with Jose Fernandez, Yasiel Puig, Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran anyway—but it looks like he's locked up a starting job in 2014.
4. Jose Quintana, LHP, White Sox (11.3 Percent Owned)
Nothing that Jose Quintana does is overwhelming, but let it be said that the man is consistent as can be.
Quintana, 24, has allowed more than three earned runs only eight times in 31 starts this year, and better still, the southpaw has given up more runs than innings pitched just once—in his very first start of 2013.
Overall, he has a 3.49 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 7.5 K/9, all of which are perfectly respectable fantasy statistics, so why not give him a whirl in Monday's makeup game against the Blue Jays?
3. Marco Estrada, RHP, Brewers (14.3 Percent Owned)
Marco Estrada has been under-the-radar great since missing two months with a hamstring injury in the middle of the season.
The 30-year-old has made seven starts since coming back, and his ERA in that time is a minuscule 2.62, while his WHIP is 0.83. Futhermore, over those 44.2 frames, his K/BB ratio is a ridiculous 42-to-five.
For owners needing immediate help, the righty gets the nod Monday against a Braves team that is likely to rest some regulars after clinching the NL East division over the weekend.
2. Billy Hamilton, SS/OF, Reds (36.5 Percent Owned)
In some ways, it's fitting that Billy Hamilton is on the Reds. After all, about the only thing faster than Hamilton running the bases is an Aroldis Chapman fastball.
The 23-year-old outfielder is like Speedy Gonzales, the Road Runner and the Flash all rolled into one—except Hamilton isn't a fictional character. He's very much the real thing, at least as a demon on the base paths.
And with his second three-hit performance of the past week on Sunday night—two of which were infield singles—Hamilton has now tallied nine runs scored and 12 steals in only 14 at-bats.
Teams have tried pickoffs and pitchouts, but no one has been able to catch Hamilton on the basepaths yet. To be fair, though, no one has tried to drop an ACME anvil in his path yet, either.
1. Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals (47.9 Percent Owned)
Some folks have noticed just how much Matt Adams has been mashing, but not enough have gotten on board yet.
Since taking over for the injured Allen Craig 18 games ago on Sept. 4, here are Adam's numbers: .318 average, seven home runs, 14 RBI and 13 runs scored. Basically, he's been Craig, but with more power.
Adams, 25, is dealing with a balky right elbow himself, but considering the Cardinals are fighting to hang onto the NL Central lead, expect the big man to keep playing—and hitting.