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Deep League Waiver Wire Pickups (AL Edition): Week 11


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gordon_Beckham_on_August_10,_2011.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Gordon_Beckham_on_August_10,_2011.jpg

In this week's installment, I will revisit a couple of sleepers that I touted earlier in the year, as they are still sitting on most waiver wires, and still producing. I will also introduce a couple of young sleeper pitchers flying under the radar as the NL currently has the spotlight when it comes to young players being called up (see Gregory Polanco, Andrew Heaney, Oscar Tavaras). I will also tout a hitter who has shown an awful lot of power over the last 10 days, who should continue to improve as the summer goes on now that he is getting consistent at bats.

 

Gordon Beckham - 2B White Sox

37% CBS 11% Yahoo! http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gordon_Beckham_on_August_10,_2011.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Gordon_Beckham_on_August_10,_2011.jpg Hitting .375 over the last 7 days, Beckham has continued to be a bright spot on this surprisingly pretty solid ballclub. He is hitting .298 on the season, scoring runs at solid rate (23 in 41 games), has shown he still has enough pop to hit 15 dingers this year (4 currently), and even swiped a bag last week.

With second base being a bit of an issue to some people (yes I am apart of the Jason Kipnis is killing me club), Beckham's positive contributions could be of great use to the right fantasy owner in mixed leagues. In AL only leagues, I would hope he is already snatched up, but if he is not, take advantage of some sleeping owners and grab him now. In deep leagues, he is a borderline 2B1 / MI1 type of player, and is a must own in those formats.

Of note, Jose Abreu's return has given a boost to Beckham's average, and could be a precursor of things to come for this post hype sleeper who hit over .300 last month, and is off to an even better start to June hitting close to .400. Joe Hannon, a fellow Rotoballer contributor hits it right on the head in his waiver wire piece on Beckham here 2 weeks ago. Check out this leadoff homer Beckham cranked off A's starter Tommy Milone below (enjoy Hawk, cherish him while he's here)

[iframe height="250" width="100%" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/tcsJ4lb2zKQ"]
 
 

Rubby De La Rosa - RHP - Red Sox

30% CBS 12% Yahoo! Rubby De La Rosa was once one of the games biggest prospects as a member of the Dodgers organization. He was called up in 2011 and sparkled working 60.2 IP, struck out 60, and pitched to the tune of a 3.71 ERA as a rookie. In July, he blew out his elbow pitching against the Diamondbacks, and has been on the comeback trail ever since. He was sent to the Red Sox as a player to be named later in the mega deal based around Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett, and continued his recovery in the Red Sox system. He was rewarded with a September call up last year, but still was not 100%. He came to camp in great shape in 2014, and his velocity is back in the mid to upper 90's. He has also added a curveball to his reportoire that already consisted of a plus change up that he uses frequently, and fringe slider that at times can be dominant, and at times can be a cement mixer.

By adding the deuce, he now has another option to go when the slider isn't working to get guys off of his fastball. Another factor in his jump back into the prospect discussion this year has been his ability to get his fastball down in the zone yet maintain his velocity. The full arsenal was on display in his first start of 2014 in the big leagues versus the Rays, as he went 7 innings, giving up no runs and striking out 8. His next start was not as good, as he gave up 4 runs over 5.2 IP with 5 strikeouts against Detroit's strong lineup, but the talent is there, the opportunity is there, so De La Rosa could be a price acquisition for those savvy fantasy owners willing to take a chance on a guy who had Archie Bradley type hype when he was called up as a rookie in 2011. Check out some video below of De La Rosa as a rookie, and then highlights of his start against the Rays in which he struck out 8 batters with his change up.

[iframe height="200" width="100%" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/IhijkhtI44E"]
 
[iframe height="200" width="100%" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qEvPAuAHGNg"]
 
 

Kevin Gausman - RHP - Orioles

41% CBS 11% Yahoo! The hard throwing righty could be a bit of a sleeper in 2014, as the Orioles have done a tremendous job limiting his pitch counts and workload in the minors this year, with the end goal being Gausman being a big contributor down the stretch along with Dylan Bundy at the big league level. Gausman was called up to make a spot start against the A's 5 days ago, and sparkled, working 7 innings, giving up just 4 hits, 1 run, and striking out 6 and walking just 1. The LSU product possesses an upper 90's fastball (97-99 4 seam, 94-96 2 seam), a plus changeup that sits in the mid 80's and is his most trusted offspeed offering, and his arsenal is rounded out by a developing slider that he has worked tirelessly on during his minor league career. It was all on display vs the A's, highlights below:

[iframe width="100%" height="280" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/AZs8H9-OdDc"]
 
Gausman established his 4 seam early in the game, and left the A's flailing at his change up all night. If that is the Gausman we see this week in his start vs the Blue Jays, then I will be buying even in mixed leagues. For deep leagues and AL only leagues, he is worth starting as long as he is in the big leagues, and should be rostered accordingly.
 
 

Conor Gillaspie - 3B - White Sox

20% CBS 10% Yahoo! A favorite of this writer, Gillaspie just continues his Bill Mueller impersonation in 2014, staying above the .350 batting average mark through the first 2 and a half months of the season. He also has driven in 21 runs in 42 games, and has an .870 OPS. The only knocks on Gillaspie are that he is not sitting against some lefties, and that he has not gotten the ball out of the park yet this season. Hitting in the middle of a talented lineup, Gillaspie has blossomed after manager Robin Ventura showed faith in him by playing him everyday at the outset of the season. He is not a wow player, but can be an extremely useful piece to a fantasy roster loaded with high power, low average types, and is a nice puzzle piece for a complete roster. He is only a fit for certain teams, but can be an integral part of your team if used properly. His ownership has been slowly creeping up, but a .350 hitter should be higher owned. He is off to a .397 start to June, so grab him now and enjoy this hot streak. Check out his 4 hit, 3 double day against the Indians below, and take notice the assortment of pitches he hits, and you will see why he truly is a professional hitter.

[iframe width="100%" height="250" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/v55g_EsExr8"]
 
 

Michael Choice - OF - Texas Rangers

11% CBS 1% Yahoo! I know, I know, the numbers aren't great, but Michael Choice has been a player I have been monitoring for some time. He is a squatty type, who learned the strike zone in the A's farm system before coming over the Rangers in 2014. He possesses a short powerful stroke, and to be honest I have been shocked that his swing has him hitting just .211 so far this year. Part of the issue was inconsistent playing time, but since Prince Fielder went down, Choice has been the main beneficiary. Now with Mitch Moreland down as well, Choice is all but guaranteed at bats for the foreseeable future. I am not 100% sure what his stat line will look at the end of the season, but I am sure that average is going to go up, and if his recent power surge is any indication of whats to come (3 HR in the last 6 days), the time is now to jump on Choice. He is not mixed league worthy just yet, but AL only leagues as well as deep leagues are spots Choice can be useful. If the power keeps coming, he may enter the mixed league bubble, so check back next week to see if I change my recommendation. In the meantime, check out this blast off of Justin Verlander's first pitch changeup by Choice 2 weeks ago below.

[iframe width="100%" height="250" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/5cOjD4wNazA"]

 
 

Last Weeks Recommendations Revisited

Liam Hendriks - RHP - Blue Jays: He was sent back down as Marcus Stroman won out after his brilliant first start, but Hendricks showed himself nicely in his 2 starts for the Jays and will be an option as the season progresses.

C.J. Cron - 1B - Angels: He is still getting a lot of at bats but not playing everyday since Josh Hamilton's return, taking him our of mixed league consideration. He is worthy a roster spot in daily deep leagues, provided you are adept at checking daily lineups, with the only issue being the Angels play late games, and sometimes you do not have any other options by the time their lineup is posted. That being said, when he plays, Cron is a good source of power and RBIs, and is currently hitting .286. Should the Angels give up on Raul Ibanez, than Cron is back into the mixed league discussion.

Roenis Elias - LHP - Mariners: Elias threw a complete game shutout against the Yankees days after the last column, and continues to build his case as one of the most unsung heros of the fantasy season in 2014. His ownership has jumped to 70% in the last 2 weeks, and is now listed as the Mariners #3 starter on most depth charts. This is huge, as James Paxton and Tajuan Walker are both very close to returning. By being the #3, Elias is insured to keep a rotation spot, no matter who comes back. Jump on if your league-mates are still sleeping.