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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fantasy baseball: Week 2 waiver-wire picks (hitters)

We have kept you waiting more than two weeks since our last free-agent recommendations for the batters.

In our defense, Week 1 in head-to-head fantasy leagues lasted for what seemed like a month because of the Mariners-A's Japan trip, combined with the remainder of MLB starting its season midweek -- seven days after Seattle and Oakland played twice.

We promise to be more diligent from now on. And we remind you that we select these players based on ownership percentages in ESPN leagues. All of the following players are available in more than 60 percent of the ESPN formats, and only two of them are currently banged up.

-- A.J. Pierzynski, C, White Sox (owned in 33.6 percent of the ESPN leagues): Mr. Sunshine might not be well-liked, but he has been surprisingly dependable the last two seasons. This year, Pierzynski is hitting .400 with four homers, 13 RBI and a 1.250 OPS. The power numbers likely won't last -- Pierzynski had a combined 17 homers and 104 RBI in 2010 and '11 -- but he can hit for a quality average (.287 in 2011).

-- Mike Aviles, SS, Red Sox (20.5 percent): Aviles is off to a decent start as the Sox's replacement for Marco Scutaro at shortstop, hitting .268 with eight runs, two homers, five RBI and one RBI. He has decent pop and speed -- in 2011, he had seven homers, 39 RBI and 14 steals in 286 at-bats -- and until last year, he provided a boost to your batting average. Aviles, who hit .255 last season, is a .288 career hitter, and he hit .300 in 2010 with the Royals. An added boost: He is eligible at second, short and third base in ESPN leagues.

-- Nolan Reimold, OF, Orioles (37.8 percent): Assuming the neck spasm that held him out of Thursday's game isn't serious, Reimold is a quality addition if you're looking for help in the power departments. He has seven runs, four homers and eight RBI in 41 at-bats. He's batting .341 with a 1.064 OPS, but don't count on him to help your batting average (Reimold is a .261 career hitter). He can be a strikeout waiting to happen (170 in 782 career at-bats), but he has an average of 27 homers and 86 RBI per 600 at-bats.

-- Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals (38.7 percent): He left Thursday's game with a shoulder sprain we can only assume won't hinder him next week. Jay is batting .349 with two homers, four RBI and two steals in 43 at-bats. In 785 career at-bats, he has scored 109 runs and has 16 homers, 68 RBI, 10 steals and a .301 average.

-- Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros (37.9 percent): His 2012 numbers won't get your attention (no homers, three RBI and one steal), but the 21-year-old was decent as a rookie in 2011 (.276 with seven steals in 221 at-bats) and was very productive in the minor leagues. In 1,466 at-bats down on the farm, Altuve hit a whopping .327 with mediocre power (30 homers) and excellent speed numbers (117 steals and 276 runs).

Previous waiver-wire picks

BATTERS: Zack Cozart (Week 1), Ryan Doumit (1), Raul Ibanez (1), Russell Martin (1), Cody Ross (1).

PITCHERS: Trevor Cahill (Week 1), Kyle Lohse (1), Jonathon Niese (1), Ivan Nova (1), Hector Santiago (1).

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