Dr. Stats Waiver Prescription: Week 13

By: Dr. Stat

The Doctor is in! Here is my weekly showcase of players who are most likely available in your league and could be valuable to your team.

HITTERS

Casey Blake: 1B/3B/perhaps SS and maybe hot dog vendor soon, Cleveland Indians

The man can do more than grow an awesome beard (one that looks Gerard Butler's in 300). Blake can hit! He hit .409 last week and .344 over the last month, along with 4 HRs and 18 RBIs. He's a great utility player, even playing an inning at shortstop last week.

Fantasy Diagnosis: He's hitting a smoking .422 with RISP this season. Unfortunately, killer whale sightings in Lake Erie are more common than Indians in RISP. I keep waiting for Blake to walk up to the plate, stroke his beard and say "ghostie on second". This mind game would result in two things. One, he'd envision players on base and get more hits. Two, he'd lead the league in IRBI's (Imaginary Runs Batted In). Never heard of it? Check out last months issue of Obscure Sports Quarterly.

Marcus Thames: OF, Detroit Tigers

He's hit 9 HRs in June, including a stretch where 7 hits in a row were home runs. Over the past month, he's hitting .271 with 11 HRs, 19 RBIs and 15 runs.

Fantasy Diagnosis: He's feast or famine, as May 30 was the last game in which he had an RBI that didn't come from a home run. If he hasn't been picked him up, it's in your best interest to add him and at least ride out his power surge.

Jeremy Hermida: OF, Florida Marlins

We had high expectations from him at the start of the season, and he disappointed us big time. He has quietly turned it on though, hitting .293 this month, thanks to a 12-game hit streak. Last week, he hit .381 with 2 HRs, 4 RBIs and 5 runs. His OBP and OPS are the highest they've been since mid-May.

Fantasy Diagnosis: It's too early to say that Hermida's turned the corner, so temper your expectations. If you do pick him up, remember two things. One, he hits 60 points higher against righties than lefties. Two, he hits 90 points higher on the road than at home. Thus, he's a guy you want to own as a fourth outfielder and play the numbers and matchups.

Raul Ibanez: OF, Seattle Mariners

Unlike the guitar, he hasn't been something you've wanted to play much this season. While his power numbers are down from last season, he's in a nice groove, hitting .326 this month. He has 10 extra bass (get it? sorry, couldn't resist) hits and 9 multi-hits games in June.

Fantasy Diagnosis: His 20 HR/100 RBI days are gone, but he can still hit. Now if only Seattle wasn't so bad. I'd rather watch Oprah than hit in front of Beltre (.241) and Sexson (.217). Not exactly music to your ears.

Josh Willingham: OF, Florida Marlins

After missing 50 games with a herniated disc, Willingham came off the DL on Tuesday. In 100 at-bats this season, he's hitting .320 with 6 HRs, 17 RBIs, 16 runs and 2 stolen bases. He'll hit cleanup in the Marlins batting order, so should have plenty of chances to drive in runs.

Fantasy Diagnosis: Willingham had 26 HRs and 74 RBIs in 2006, then 21 and 89 last year. He can hit for power and he hits in an attractive spot in the order. The question right now is his playing well, as it's unlikely he'll play every day right away.

PITCHERS

Zack Greinke: SP, Kansas City Royals

He's already won as many games as he did last year (7). He has 12 quality starts. Look at these combined numbers for his last three starts: 20 innings, 2 wins, 4 earned runs, 17 strikeouts, one walk. Those are ace-like numbers.

Fantasy Diagnosis: He's only given up more than 3 runs 3 times in 16 starts. His K/BB is 2.4+. It's time you gave Greinke a spot on your roster.

Matt Garza: SP, Tampa Bay Rays

Two of his three starts since his little fight with Dioner Navarro in the dugout have been excellent. He threw a one-hitter on Thursday against Florida. He's struck out 18 over his last 2 starts, proof that the velocity we wondered about most of the season has returned.

Fantasy Diagnosis: The Rays are scoring runs, so Garza will get support on the days he struggles. His value has risen drastically with his strikeouts and improved outings. He's the most unlikely player in this column to still be available, so add him if he is.

Tim Wakefield: SP, Boston Red Sox

Yes, he's old enough to be many of your fathers, but guess what? He leads Boston pitchers in quality starts (11) and has gone 6 straight starts where he went at least 7 innings. His June ERA is 2.31 and his season BAA is the lowest it's been since 2002. On Wednesday, the knuckleballer out-dueled Randy Johnson in the oldest pitching matchup in Fenway Park history.

Fantasy Diagnosis: The numbers say it all in baseball, and in this case it's obvious. Wake is still a valuable fantasy pitcher. You won't ever own him for his K/BB ratio, but he'll get you solid starts and usually have the run support to get the win. If you're behind in wins in your roto league, forget the fact he's almost 42 and pick him up.

Dave Bush: SP, Milwaukee Brewers

I'm including Bush because there were some questions about him in my weekly chat on Wednesday and many of you are probably watching him in your leagues. His last 2 starts are impressive and tempt you. We want to believe he's turned the corner, but he came back to hurt us last season like spoiled pizza (a college experience I had; never again). We've seen these types of outings before from Bush, and we know what's coming. Owning him is like playing Russian roulette with your fantasy pitching staff.

Fantasy Diagnosis: Call me a doubter, but I remain unconvinced. Bush is the ultimate fantasy frustration. He'll put together a few good starts in a row, and then implode as soon as you pick him up. Save yourself some heartache and avoid him. You will get good starts from him here and there, but he'll burn you along the way. If you must play the Dave Bush Dangerous Game, note the fact that his ERA on the road is more than double his ERA at home.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Brian Buscher: 3B/1B, Minnesota Twins

Buscher get the Who The Heck Are You Talking About? award this week. Most fantasy players have probably never heard of this Twins rookie. In 13 games since being called up from AAA-Rochester, he's hit .342 with 1 HR, 14 RBIs and 10 runs. His numbers will cool down and even out as he plays more, but 14 RBIs in 44 at-bats deserves attention.

Eric Stults: SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Two starts. 15 innings, including a complete game. 10 hits. 1 earned run. 2 walks. 8 strikeouts. 'Nuf said.

Joel Zumaya: RP, Detroit Tigers

Forever known as "that Guitar Hero injury dude" among baseball fans, Zumaya finally came off the disabled list and pitched on June 20. In 2.2 innings, he's allowed 2 runs, walked 5 and struck out 2. Having not pitched all season, he's obviously got some rust to shake off and kinks to work out. If he can stay healthy and return to his 2006 form (97 Ks in 83.1 IP), he'll be an excellent fantasy option. Even better, he'll be in line to succeed Todd Jones as Detroit's closer.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK

Adam Lind: OF, Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto has been high on this kid for several years. He's 25 and has been up and down over the past two seasons. New manager Cito Gaston has made it clear that Lind is going to play on an almost daily basis. In the last four games, he's 5-14, with 2 HRs, 4 RBIs and 0 Ks. With regular playing time, Lind could easily turn out to be a good option in deep leagues over the second half of the season.

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