MIKE CAMERON, OF, BREWERS
Every team has a guy on his roster that just reading his name makes you yawn. Mike Cameron is usually this guy on my team. I almost get bored reading the name Cameron.
But there's no reason to continually pass on Cameron, as you scan the waiver wire. He's no spring chick at age 35, but Cameron is coming off back-to-back 20+ HR seasons in cavernous Petco Park in San Diego and stole 25 and 18 bases the past two years.
Perhaps the unsexiest 20/20 guy in baseball, Cameron's value is deflated because of a career .251 average. But he's hitting in a primo spot, behind speedster Rickie Weeks (he'll see lots of fastballs) and ahead of vegetarian Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun.
He's particularly a must-add in 5x5 leagues, as he'll likely score 90+ runs, even though he was just reinstated from his 25-game suspension for testing positive twice for a banned stimulant.
In his first game back Tuesday night, Cameron went 3-for-5 with a double and 2 RBI. Expect another 20/20 season from Cameron with a dog average, but unless he gets caught with another "banned" substance, he's likely the best option on your wire right now.
GREG SMITH SP, ATHLETICS
One of the chips that Oakland GM Billy Beane fetched in the Dan Haren trade has already paid off handsomely for the new-look Athletics. Smith isn't overpowering as his fastball usually tops out at 90, but he has a four-seamer that can reach 93 on occasion.
Smith was attractive to the Athletics after two seasons of minor league ball where he compiled a 3.27 ERA and 1.19 WHIP and a 3-1 K/BB rate in 352 innings.
Tuesday night, facing a tough Angels lineup on the road, Smith threw 8 strong innings, giving up just 3 hits and 3 BB, while striking out 5.
The lefty won't strike out more than 150 this year and he's likely not going to keep up the 2.73 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. But think of Smith as this year's Tom Gorzelanny, a guy with an ultra-smooth delivery and good command who will continue to rack up quality starts but probably win only 12-13 games playing on an Oakland team due to come back to earth.
Still, there's probably room for a Smith on almost every mixed-league roster.
Check out this clip of the 6th-round draft pick warming up during his stint in AAA Tuscon last year. Notice the effortless delivery, like he's playing catch with a neighbor.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008