Welcome to Dumpster Diving, where we search for deep league pick-ups among the picked over. In this space we’ll highlight some of the good and bad lurking on the waiver wire in those deep mixed leagues (14+ teams) and NL/AL-only leagues. Today, let’s take it around the horn for some recommended additions across the diamond.
Note: Ownership percentages are Yahoo, ESPN
Russell Martin, PIT — (40%, 24%)
After a two-year stint with the Yankees, the 30-year-old backstop is back in the NL and thriving again. His numbers aren’t outstanding, but he has 6 HR and a .262 BA, which is good enough to make him a legitimate starter in all deep leagues. He’s currently on pace for his second straight 20-HR season and his .255 BABIP should be rising.
Brandon Belt, SF — (38%, 23.9%)
Belt started the season colder than a San Francisco summer, but lately has reminded us why he was a Baseball America Top 25 prospect in 2011. After finishing April with 2 HR and a .235 BA, Belt has hit 4 HR and .276 in May, including 3 HR and a .355 BA over the last two weeks. He’s still only 25 years old and just coming into his own, so don’t be surprised if he finishes 2013 with close to 20 HR, a .280 BA and double digit steals.
Anthony Rendon, WSH — (2%, 0.2%)
If those first two weren’t deep enough for you, this one should suffice. Rendon’s currently playing at Double-A Harrisburg and was only so-so (6-for-25, 1 2B, 5 BB, 7 K) during his eight games spent with the Nationals this season while Ryan Zimmerman was on the mend. Since heading back to the minors, however, he’s been on a tear. For the season with Harrisburg, Rendon, widely considered a top-30 prospect, is slashing .330/.473/.625 with 6 HR, 30 BB and 23 K in 32 games.
But what makes him such an interesting play for those who can afford to speculate is the fact that he was recently moved from 3B to 2B. The Nationals have denied that they have any plans to replace the struggling Danny Espinosa in the lineup, but it appears to be only a matter of time before they do just that. If you were one of the owners blindsided by the Josh Rutledge demotion this week, you know what a wasteland the waiver wire is for middle infielders right now. If you’ve got space on your bench, go get Rendon now.
Matt Joyce, TB — (12%, 15%)
Though Joyce has been on a steady climb since a woeful start to the season, fantasy owners still aren’t paying much attention to his slow but sure ascent. Currently at .250/.338/.488 with 8 HR, Joyce has raised his average 28 points in May and the underlying numbers say it’s no fluke. His K-rate is down from previous seasons, and his BABIP (.250) is 37 points lower than his career average. An increase in ground balls accounts for some of that, but bad luck likely accounts for more.
If you’ve been tempted to pick up Raul Ibanez in the wake of his recent power surge, pick up Joyce instead. You’ll get the same power upside with a better BA, a handful of steals, and more consistent playing time.
Brent Holloway writes the weekly Prospect Profile and Deep League Dumpster Diving columns for BaseballProf.com. Follow him on Twitter (@thebholloway).