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Fantasy411 Podcast: Waiver-wire options

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The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's Fantasy411 podcast, hosted by MLB.com lead fantasy writer Fred Zinkie and fantasy writer Scott Pianowski. To hear the rest of their discussion, subscribe to the Fantasy411 podcast by clicking here.

Fred Zinkie: The first topic I want to discuss with you today is taking a look at players who play the same position and are available in at least 60 percent of Yahoo leagues -- so pretty widely available for our listeners who play in Yahoo formats -- and just talking about which one of those players we would rather own the rest of the way. Because if owners are staying really tight on their teams, there's a chance to add some of these players who have been pretty productive of late, and maybe pick up some points in the standings.

The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's Fantasy411 podcast, hosted by MLB.com lead fantasy writer Fred Zinkie and fantasy writer Scott Pianowski. To hear the rest of their discussion, subscribe to the Fantasy411 podcast by clicking here.

Fred Zinkie: The first topic I want to discuss with you today is taking a look at players who play the same position and are available in at least 60 percent of Yahoo leagues -- so pretty widely available for our listeners who play in Yahoo formats -- and just talking about which one of those players we would rather own the rest of the way. Because if owners are staying really tight on their teams, there's a chance to add some of these players who have been pretty productive of late, and maybe pick up some points in the standings.

So we'll start with the catcher position, and we'll look at James McCann, who's been hitting pretty well over the past month since he's really taken over with Alex Avila gone, vs. Wilson Ramos, who has come around a little bit after a slow start since returning from injury. Which one would you rather own?

Scott Pianowski: Yeah, it's been a really slow go for Ramos, who we know had the better resume and bat class before this season, but at least he's finally started to show some bite in the last couple of weeks. I think Ramos, we've just been waiting for him to get back into shape, and to get back his timing -- and I feel like the last couple of weeks, we've seen that. And because his career resume is so much stronger than McCann's, I'm gonna go Ramos.

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Zinkie: Yeah, and I'll throw out one other name I noticed when I was researching. Christian Vazquez is hitting .400 in the last 30 days, which kind of snuck up on me. Would you still rather take Ramos over Vazquez?

Video: NYY@BOS: Vazquez hammers a solo homer to left

Pianowski: I would, because I think Ramos could maybe hit eight or nine home runs. Vazquez, to me, is somebody who's in a good lineup -- albeit at the bottom of that lineup -- but I don't see the power potential from him yet.

Zinkie: Yeah, I agree. Now we'll take a look at a couple of second basemen. Cory Spangenberg, who was really hot coming out of the All-Star break, cooled off a little bit, but really good overall in the second half, vs. Cesar Hernandez of the Phillies, who's been hitting pretty well and stealing some bases in the second half. Which one would you rather own?

Pianowski: The way they're playing in the last month, you could say it comes down to need. Do you need Spangenberg's home runs vs. Hernandez's stolen bases? But the thing is, Spangenberg has a background of stealing bases as well. Lately, it's hard to steal a base when you're hitting home runs. I don't know where this pop has come from. But if Spangenberg is going to be that dynamic of a player, at least in a short sample, I think that pushes him past Hernandez.

Video: SD@STL: Spangenberg hammers solo home run to center

Zinkie: And now we'll take a look at a couple of third basemen. One is Howie Kendrick, who's actually eligible almost all over the diamond, and is eligible at third base. And Nicholas Castellanos. Kendrick has been hitting better. Castellanos, I feel like, gets a little more fantasy publicity. Which one would you rather own?

Pianowski: You know, Kendrick, he's been hurt so many times, I don't know that he can handle the exposure of playing every day. Now, I've been saying this for a while and it hasn't really been right all season -- although Castellanos had a big game earlier this week -- but Castellanos, a lot of the metrics show that he's really been hitting a lot better than his results show. He's been unlucky in a couple of instances, and he is hitting the ball hard, and just doesn't have the results that are commensurate with that. I still think he's a good bat to somewhat get that fixed between now and the end of the season. I'm afraid that by the time this podcast comes out, Kendrick may be hurt again.

Zinkie: And I'll throw out one other one, just kind of off the cuff, because a lot of owners don't realize that he's now third base-eligible. But would you rather have Brandon Phillips than Castellanos?

Pianowski: Yeah, I think Phillips is safer. It may come down to needs. We know Phillips is a much better bet for average. I can see that. I think Phillips would slide above those two guys. It's not a big difference, though.

Video: CIN@ATL: Phillips drills a solo homer to left-center

Zinkie: Phillips is one of those players now -- I know he was different in his prime -- but now he just kind of goes along, helpful batting average, .280-.290, probably gonna end up with about 15 home runs, about 15 steals. There is something to be said for just helping a little in every area.

Pianowski: Oh, I love boring, consistent veterans, too. I know this is a little different, but in draft season -- and apply this to fantasy football, too -- the guys who are consistent but just kind of boring players are often tremendous values. I used to call them the Ibanez All-Stars, for Raul Ibanez, a guy who didn't do much in his 20s, then had a series of seasons in his 30s that he'd have a great year, people wouldn't really give him credit for it, and you'd just get him at a nice price the next season. I guess Phillips has become an Ibanez All-Star.

Zinkie: Let's go into the outfield now. A veteran, who Matthew [Leach] and I already talked about today, which is Curtis Granderson, vs. a rookie, Rhys Hoskins. Which one would you rather own down the stretch?

Pianowski: You know, sometimes the upside of the unknown can be kind of tantalizing. Hoskins, that really nice power and discipline profile in the Minors, he's already hit eight [now nine] home runs for the Phillies, also qualifies at first and the outfield, which is always a nice thing.

I feel like we know who Granderson is. Good pop, but the average could be dicey; it's obviously a plus to be added to that Dodgers lineup. But Hoskins, he looks like the real deal to me. I really like his Minor League profile, and the eligibility puts it over the top. So I'm gonna go with the kid.

Zinkie: Yeah I'm pretty excited about Hoskins. I actually think his ceiling is quite high. I do still believe that maybe the ceiling of someone like Yoan Moncada might be higher, but Hoskins seems more Major League-ready to help down the stretch this year. And those are two very different things when we're talking about people who are just playing in those one-year leagues.