|Written by Christopher Kreush|
|Wednesday, 08 August 2012 04:39|
So the non-waiver trade deadline has passed, you’re in a NL only league outside of first place and you’re saying I didn’t get what I needed at that time so all is lost. After all, the waiver wire has long ago been picked clean of any warm body. Well, not so fast.
There are still trades that could be made to bring players over from the American League that could help NL fantasy players. Historically, there aren’t the volume of trades that are made pre-waivers but there have been trades that registered more than a slight bump on the Richter scale. However, many times you don’t need an 8.9 sized deal to affect the outcome of a race. Often enough a 4.5 sized tremor is enough to jumble things up in the standings.
It didn’t take too long for one of these tremors to happen in 2012 as catcher Kurt Suzuki was acquired by the Washington Nationals from the Oakland Athletics just a couple days after the deadline. The 28 year-old will play pretty regularly for the Nationals and can certainly help in all two catcher leagues and many one catchers leagues. Suzuki won’t help much in the power department and, while his average has slipped this year, has historically hit for a decent average for a catcher.
While there are sure to be more deals of this sort, trades aren’t the only place to look for roster help. Clubs will start bringing up players to see what they can do at the major league level, especially those teams that are out of the running. Not all of the call-ups will stick on the big stage, but some will and, even if they are up just a couple weeks at a time, could provide the difference in a category or two.
One example of these call-ups was the Chicago Cubs bringing up outfielder Brett Jackson and third baseman Josh Vitters. The 22 year-old Vitters was a high first round pick in 2007 and doesn’t have much standing in his way at third base – he just has to show some production to stick for a while. Vitters can help with batting average and has more than enough power to hit the ball out. He will even surprise with a stolen base occasionally. Jackson hasn’t started out well with only two hits in 11 at bats and has eight strikeouts already. He is two years older than Vitters at 24 and can hit for a fair average with some decent homerun power. One of Brett’s assets is his speed, with 27 stolen bases in 106 AAA games this year. But you know the old adage – you can’t steal first base. At the same time, Tony Campana and his 26 stolen bases were optioned out to AAA. If someone in front of you had Campana and you managed to pick up Jackson, it’s a double win as they lose and you gain.
The Milwaukee Brewers traded away Zack Greinke and, in return, got standout shortstop prospect Jean Segura from the Los Angeles Angels. The 22 year-old started in AA Huntsville for the Brewers but was called up and could see significant playing time the rest of the year. The shortstop can hit the occasional homerun but his biggest contributions will be a pretty good batting average and outstanding speed on the bases. Segura isn’t just fast; he knows how to steal bases – being successful on close to 80 percent of his attempts.
It’s not only big name prospects that get a chance to show something at the major league level. Milwaukee pitcher Mike Fiers is an example. He is hardly a prospect at age 27 but has been up since the end of May and has pitched a lot better than in the minors. Fiers has six wins against four losses with an ERA of 1.80 and a strikeout per inning. It’s too late to pick him up in leagues but this is the kind of player you have to be ready to roll the dice with if you’re looking to make up some ground.When you ride the waiver wire merry go round this time of year, it usually comes down to throwing a lot of spaghetti against the wall to see if something sticks. If you’re in chase mode, there isn’t much else you can do. But you have to be very alert, with your ear to the ground listening for the slightest hint of who might be bringing up whom. It is imperative to pay very close attention to injuries to get the jump on your competition for the services of the next call up. The bottom line is all is not lost. It’s not easy and takes a lot of work and research but many times persistence and due diligence pays off with a league title.