Can you believe it? As we wrap up the weekend and head into week 14, teams will hit the 81 game mark, exactly half way through the 2013 season. Middle is the key word in this week's edition of Waiver Flavor. A handful of tried and true closers returned this week; J.J. Putz, Rafael Betancourt and Chris Perez to be specific. Chances are these guys were reserved in your league, so the main impact is that Heath Bell, Rex Brothers and Vinnie Pestano return to Middle relievers (OK setup men). We also are getting back Middle infielders Asdrubal Cabrera, Aaron Hill and Jose Reyes from injury. Temporary help like Mike Aviles and fellow Middle infielders in Arizona and Toronto take a major hit.
Another week has come and gone and the All-Star game is right around the corner. Zack Wheeler had a nice debut, but was sent back down until his next start on Tuesday complicating his pickup in some leagues. Brandon Beachy had a setback and needs to remain on your radar. Boston and Detroit are having closer problems, while things appear to be settling down at the back end of the Miami bullpen. Those in need of speed may be able to find what they need in the Philadelphia and New York Mets outfield.
Another great pitching prospect finally reaches "The Show" this week as Zack Wheeler joins Matt Harvey in the New York Mets rotation. We have Wheeler and Atlanta's Brandon Beachy on the list again this week for those of you in leagues that require a player to be on the 25-man roster to be eligible for pickup. Both Wheeler and Beachy are listed as probable starters in the Braves-Mets doubleheader on Tuesday. Ian Kennedy appears to be the big loser in the Los Angeles-Arizona brawl suspensions, getting docked ten games. The biggest fantasy news from that series was the changing of the guard in the ninth inning for the Dodgers with Kenley Jansen finally taking over closer duties from Brandon League.
This may be the most talented group of players we have featured at any point this season. We have seen a fairly steady arrival of prospects of late and we may peak over the next couple of weeks. This week's list includes a hitter and pitcher that tore up spring training, only one has been at the major league level all season, the other, finally getting the call. The top hitting prospect in baseball is on the verge of reaching "The Show" with two of the games top pitching prospects tentatively scheduled for starts over the next ten days. Be ready to jump and if you use a fantasy budget, I hope you have something left!
As the calendar rolls into June, we have also reached the one-third mark of the season. Trends are meaningful and gaps are real in your fantasy standings. It seems we get an influx of prospects in bunches and this week was no exception. The All-Star ballots are out at major league ballparks across the land and also on the Internet. I like the "select team" option, allowing you to vote for all the players on your favorite team with one click. Also the home run derby voting is an interesting touch. On to the most important news each and every week, our top choices on the waiver wire and free agency.
First of all, Happy Memorial Day weekend to all! A special thanks to all those who have served and our serving our country. Memorial Day weekend is a great opportunity to get out and support your local team, be it at the major or minor league level. I am taking the family to what I hope to be a preview of the "Beltway Series" as the Baltimore Orioles visit Nationals Park here in Washington. I had hoped to catch elite prospect Kevin Gausman, but he isn't pitching until Tuesday. We have a nice group of options for you this week, from Gausman to top hitting prospect Jurickson Profar.
Is it just me, or are there more sub .200 hitters in mid-May than usual? Are you wondering what to do with B.J. Upton? Hoping Jason Heyward found himself while on the disabled list? Has Paul Konerko finally hit the wall? The resurgence of Adam LaRoche gives us hope that its a long season and the numbers usuallybalance out. Pitching is much more volatile with Kevin Slowey suddenly a disaster for your staff, while Jarrod Parker is finally delivering as many expected. Hang in there.... its a long way to October!
Believe it or not, by the end of this week, we will be at the quarter way point of the season. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of where you are strong... and where you are weak. Each week, I try to find that delicate balance between those in deep mixed or AL/NL only formats and those in 10-12 team mixed leagues. There is a huge difference in who is available and the level of player that can help your particular situation. I am staying away from the obvious pickups and adding a few gems for deeper or league specific formats.
Is it time to panic yet? We are still early enough in the campaign where players remain available that can possibly help you in the long term. This week we have a mixture of young, emerging talent mixed with veterans returning from the disabled list and the minors. There are long shots with upside and phenoms, either making their first appearance, or getting a second chance.
It's that time of the week again! Time to save your team by adding the latest and greatest from the waiver wire! Keep in mind, every ten games of the MLB season is equivalent to just one game in a NFL season. As we prepare to head into May, we are already seeing solid veterans that were dropped early on, finally finding their way. When it comes to veterans, especially hitters, they aren't going to hit .200 or .400 and you need to play the peaks and valleys. If you are trading, trade 'em while their hot and get 'em while their not!