In many leagues, this is the week that will make or break championship dreams, making it vital to monitor the waiver wire. With league trading deadlines in the rear view mirror, gems continue to appear on the scrap heap. We'll once again use our NL watch to examine some readily available free agents streaking at the right time.
Juan Uribe, 2B/3B, Giants: I challenge you to find a hitter as hot as Uribe, who up until now has been a career disappointment. He's blasted eight homers during the past month, and has also added a .310 batting average with 15 runs scored. At this point in the game, toss name value out the window and play the hot hand.
Casey McGehee, 2B/3B, Brewers: Another streaky middle infield bat, McGehee has posted a line of .293/6/22 during the past month, and should continue to compile stats as the Brewers play out the string. The organization is trying to evaluate what they have in McGehee, so they will give him every opportunity to prove his worth, making him a valuable addition to those in all formats.
Jason Hammel, SP, Rockies: Pitching for one of the hottest teams in baseball is an easy way to raise your stock, and Hammel certainly fits that bill. While he only has one win during the past month, his ratios have been excellent (2.78 ERA, 0.99 WHIP), and he's pitching deep into games (four quality starts). A little run support from his teammates should help boost his win totals, making him an even better addition down the stretch.
Homer Bailey, P, Reds: If you're hardcore, this is a name that has been frustrating you for years. But Bailey is 3-1 in his last six starts, with three quality starts and an ERA of 3.08. While his WHIP over that time is 1.50, his 35 strikeouts in 38 innings shows dominance, a good sign for the future. Take a gamble on him if you need the strikeouts, as there is the possibility for much more.
Carlos Beltran, OF, Mets: He worked hard to get back this season. But don't expect typical Beltran numbers from him going forward. Anchor expectations to what he's done since he's returned: .294 average, one homer, two RBI in 17 ABs. His moderate pop and run production can help lead you to victory.
Chris Carpenter, P, Cardinals: Ignore his rough outing against Braves on Sunday (six innings, seven earned runs), he's still one of the top hurlers in the National League. He's posted quality starts in five of his last six times out during the past month, to go along with an ERA of 3.00. Some of the top NL fantasy hurlers are being handled with kid gloves (Tim Lincecum, Josh Johnson, Yovani Gallardo), something you don't have to worry about with a veteran horse like Carp.
Mark Reynolds, 3B, Diamondbacks: I've waited for his inevitable collapse all season long. The unsustainable peripherals have finally knocked him back to reality the last month — .221 average, four home runs, 13 RBIs. Let some other sucker overpay for him next season, as I fully expect him to revert back to what he actually is, a .240/30/90 player who strikes out way too much. Those numbers hold value, but not anywhere close to the top tier.
Chris Volstad, P, Marlins: I have taken the liberty to put together a list of adjectives describing Mr. Volstad's feckless performance during the past month: Horrific, putrid, wretched, and downright awful. Over his last three starts, he's gone 8 2/3 innings, posting a 0-3 record and ERA of 14.54. I honestly worry about his long-term effectiveness as a starter at this point, as he's clearly taken steps backwards toward the end of '09. He'll be undrafted in most 2010 leagues, and rightfully so.
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