It usually turns out that the best arm in the bullpen ends up with the closer’s gig. It’s Darwinism and most recently played out in Cincinnati where Aroldis Chapman picked up what will likely be the first of many saves with a strong finish against the Yankees on Sunday. In Anaheim, we have seen Jordan Waldan lose the job after his early season struggles and southpaw Scott Downs then picked it up. I have no complaints with Downs, he was excellent last season with a 1.34 ERA and he has yet to surrender a single run this year in 12 innings. But in Firieri the Angels have a flame-thrower that has fanned 14 batters in 6.2 innings since he was acquired from the Padres. He’s worth picking up since he’ll give you some immediate value and that could soar down the line assuming he gets his hands on the ninth inning.
In his first taste of Big League action, Matt Adams did exactly what he’s done in the minors: rake. The 23-year-old top prospect in the Cardinals system may start the remainder of the season at first base with Lance Berkman possibly lost for the season due to a knee injury. The former 23rd round pick had never hit less than .300 in any of his seasons in the farm system. After blasting 32 home runs with a .300 last season at Double-A, he hammered nine with a .340 average before earning a promotion this season. This is a player worth using your waiver wire priority on, and feel free to up the ante if in an auction waiver wire.
If in need of a power bat, take a look at Dayan Viciedo. The White Sox top prospect got off to a tough start, but has really turned things around lately. On May 13, Viciedo’s batting average dipped below the Mendoza line down to .196. Since then he has enjoyed a seven game hit streak with four home runs and 10 RBI. He will kill you in leagues that consider on base percentage, as he has drawn just three walks all season. On the other hand, his strikeouts are in decline and the White sox even pushed him up to cleanup on Sunday with Paul Konerko out of the lineup. The White Sox know that they will need Viciedo to come up big this season if the team is going to compete, so look for the franchise to do everything to jumpstart their rising slugger.
This 22-year-old outfielder was a second round pick in 2008 and has taken some time to develop. Last season he had 36 steals, but very little power and horrible plate discipline while playing at Double-A. This year Avery started at Triple-A and played at an all-time high level. He drew a ton of walks, hit for power, and was a perfect 8 for 8 on the base paths. Avery has since been called up to the Big Leagues where he got his first Major League against the Yankees. A potential 5-tool talent with youth on his side, Avery has a shot at making an impact in the Big Leagues. He’ll hold down left-field until Nolan Reimold returns and at that point the Orioles will have to make a tough decision. Avery batted leadoff on Sunday for the Orioles and responded with two hits, a run scored, and his first Major League stolen base. He is now batting .312.