There are a number of reasons owners frequent the waiver wire. Finding a replacement for their injured starter, looking for that next hot player to carry your team (if only for a few weeks), searching for the next big thing rookie, streaming pitchers, the list goes on and on. I’m going to give you one more reason to visit the waiver wire; it’s something very few owners do, but they should. To block your opponent. Now I’m not talking about picking up and dropping all that day’s starting pitchers so nobody can use them against you, that is just a prick move. I’m talking about picking up that hot player/recent call up, the guy you have no place to play on your roster, and putting him on your bench. For example, on one of my teams I drafted 4 closers in the first 10 rounds so I have no need for another one. When Jason Grilli went down I quickly went out and picked up Mark Melancon. I have no need for Melancon and no room for him on my active roster. Guess what, who cares! Those are saves that won’t be going to my opponent. I attempted to trade Melancon but to no avail, so now he’ll just sit there until Grilli comes back.
Just because the player on waivers is no better than your current ones or you have no place for him to play doesn’t mean he can’t help you. He can help you just by being on your team because if he’s on your team….he’s not on someone else’s roster. Plus with all the injuries this year, who’s to say that player you picked up last week won’t be a valuable asset to you this week. This week Ben Zobrist suffered a dislocated thumb, Jose Fernandez will miss the remainder of the season and Starling Marte remains out of the lineup and there was talk of a possible trip to the DL. Injuries are not prejudice and all positions are at risk. And, if the injury bug strikes and that player you just picked up doesn’t qualify for the position you need, there’s always the waiver wire. Who’s on tap this week?
Jaime Garcia (Cardinals): So if you lost Jose Fernandez and pitching is thin in your league, this is the perfect place to focus your attention. Garcia is slated to come off the DL and start Sunday, taking over for Tyler Lyons who will take Garcia’s spot on the DL. He’s missed the past year so there will be some rust, but overall you’re looking at an ERA in the 3.5 range, WHIP around 1.3, a K/9 above 7.0 and double-digit wins. Garcia can’t replace Fernandez (odds are, nobody can), but he can be a nice stable arm in your rotation and worthy of a roster spot. I put my money where my mouth is on this one grabbing him in 2 leagues.
Currently available in 96% of Yahoo, 78% of CBS, 100% of ESPN and 72% of Fantrax leagues
Chase Anderson (Diamondbacks): Arizona promoted Anderson and given the struggles of the staff as a whole, he could stick. He’s not a big name prospect, but in the minors he had a K/9 ratio of 9.0 and was dominating AA hitters before getting the call (0.69 ERA, 0.72 WHIP in 39 innings). He continued with the heat in his first start against the White Sox allowing 1 run in 5.1 innings with 6 strikeouts. His minor league numbers were very good up until his time in AAA, but the K’s were still there and it was the PCL so I’ll cut him some slack. This could be a long-term solution or just lightning in a bottle. Regardless of which one it is, he deserves a shot with Arizona and fantasy owners alike. Sometimes it’s those lower little known players that make the biggest impact. I would grab him in advance of his Saturday start against the Dodgers. One more game like the last one against the White Sox and you may lose your chance. Get him while you can.
Currently available in 98% of Yahoo, 91% of CBS, 99% of ESPN and 88% of Fantrax leagues
Nick Tepesch (Rangers): He didn’t impress anyone with his debut last year, but he didn’t embarrass himself either. Tepesch got the call thanks to an injury to Martin Perez and he will get an extended look as Texas is in desperate need of pitching. His minor league numbers are solid, a strikeout rate above league average, low walks, decent WHIP and an ERA in the 3.5 neighborhood. Before his call up, Tepesch boasted an ERA of 1.58 with a 0.99 WHIP over 7 starts (45.2 innings). Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider he did that in the PCL. With the weather starting to warm, his new home park may not do him any favors, but if he held his own in AAA it might not hinder him either. Just like Anderson above, his first start was a gem and he might not be on waivers much longer if his next outing goes as well. If you’re in need of pitching and have been recycling through the same ol same ol, might be time to try something else.
Currently available in 97% of Yahoo, 96% of CBS, 99% of ESPN and 91% of Fantrax leagues
Juan Francisco (Blue Jays): Everyone thought Francisco would lose playing time when Adam Lind came off the disable list, but Colby Rasmus to the DL all but assures full-time at bats. Francisco has been hitting for weeks now and while his ownership levels are on the rise, they could be higher. With 3 home runs and a .318 batting average over the past week, Francisco isn’t coming out of the lineup anytime soon. He can’t hit lefties (.165 career average), but he’s currently batting .364 against righties. While the power is real, the average could drop out at any time so pick up Juan if he’s available and enjoy the production while it lasts.
Currently available in 73% of Yahoo, 57% of CBS, 70% of ESPN and 55% of Fantrax leagues
Carlos Quentin (Padres): I consider Quentin to be a poor mans Nelson Cruz; good power and overall numbers, but not a healthy bone in his body. When not injured, Quentin can be a productive fantasy player. He hasn’t played more than 86 games a year the past two season so odds are another minor injury is coming. Until that time, feel free to kick the tires on Quentin on road games and select home games and take whatever home runs he can give you. You could do better, but you can do a hell of a lot worse.
Currently available in 93% of Yahoo, 77% of CBS, 98% of ESPN and 65% of Fantrax leagues
A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks): I’ve been a Pollock fan since last year and this isn’t the first time I’ve pimped him out. He started out slow and worked himself from a full-time job into a time share position. Over the past 7 days Pollock has started to break out of his shell and show us why he was drafted in the first round. With a home run and 4 stolen bases he’s back to being a full-time outfielder (for the most part) and that .360 he batted last week raised his total to .287. Pollock is still struggling against lefties, but that wasn’t a problem for him in the minors. With a little time, that too could work itself out. The Michael Brantley comparisons are still there, and now is the time to grab Pollock if he’s available (whether you need him or not).
Currently available in 84% of Yahoo, 80% of CBS, 91% of ESPN and 70% of Fantrax leagues
Kolten Wong (Cardinals): If at first you don’t succeed….. Wong struggled to start the year and was sent back to AAA. During those 15 games he batted .344 with 2 home runs, 10 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. Wong was a .300 hitter in the minors, his lowest average at any stop was the .287 he hit in AA in 2012. Mark Ellis is still around but it’s clear the Cardinals would prefer Wong in the lineup. If he can maintain a high batting average playing time should follow. Second base has become almost as deep as first base so people in 10 and 12 team leagues might not see what all the fuss is about, but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored in these formats. Wong has top 10 potential with a nice mix of power and speed in a potent lineup. If you use a MI slot, Wong should be given serious consideration. Don’t sit, watch and wait to see what happens, if you do he could be gone before you get a chance.
Currently available in 93% of Yahoo, 66% of CBS, 96% of ESPN and 59% of Fantrax leagues
Danny Santana (Twins): With Pedro Florimon demoted and Eduardo Escobar not receiving starts, Santana is the Twins shortstop by default without ever being named the starter. Santana doesn’t own a great minor league batting average, in fact he’s only a career .274 hitter in the minors. He doesn’t walk much but he doesn’t strike out enough to worry potential owners. There’s also limited power here, and so far I’ve done little to convince you to take a chance on him. Santana does have 2 things going for him though, full-time at bats and speed. If Santana can maintain an acceptable batting average the stolen base potential gives him value, especially with some of the lackluster choices being rostered currently. The Twins have confidence in him and his bat, enough so that they have been working him out in centerfield. Playing time isn’t an issue and neither is the speed (although we would like him to improve his success rate). It all comes down to batting average, and that isn’t a problem right now. Ride him while he’s hot if you need help at SS or even MI. This is a good deep league grab.
Currently available in 99% of Yahoo, 96% of CBS, 99% of ESPN and 93% of Fantrax leagues
Mike Olt (Cubs): You look at his stats you see 8 home runs, 19 RBI and start and begin thinking about picking him up. Then you glance over at the .187 batting average and think twice (Adam Dunn feels your pain). Olt was only a .258 hitter in the minors so don’t look here for your batting leader. The average has improved as he’s batted .263 over the past week along with 3 home runs. He’s been tinkering with his mechanics and approach and so far it is working. If Olt can come close to that .258 minor league average, you could be looking at a repeat of the line Brandon Moss delivered last year. Worst case you get Adam Dunn’s line from last year; either way you’re looking at 30 home runs, and that is a great find on waivers. He’s doing almost everything Pedro Alvarez is doing if you want another name for comparison. Did I mention that chicks dig the long ball?
Currently available in 94% of Yahoo, 64% of CBS, 95% of ESPN and 63% of Fantrax leagues
Junior Lake (Cubs): I’m not a fan of this Junior, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that he’s batted .350 over the past week. Just like his cohort Mike Olt, Lake isn’t a batting average guy, but he fared slightly better than Olt in the minors (.271 – .295 in AAA). He has enough power to put a dozen over the wall, but Lake is more about speed than power. He doesn’t have the best success rate, but it seems to be improving so 20 or more stolen bases isn’t out of the question. Just because I can’t recommend him to you doesn’t mean that I won’t acknowledge his potential, and the power speed combination could be useful. Lake isn’t for 10 team leagues and in 12 team leagues, I’d only take a shot if I used 4 outfielders (maybe), but deeper leagues might want to give him a look if you’re struggling to fill a void in the outfield.
Currently available in 95% of Yahoo, 79% of CBS, 97% of ESPN and 70% of Fantrax leagues
Wade Davis (Royals): It’s not often I recommend a middle relief pitcher that isn’t in line for saves, but exceptions can be made. As a start, Davis was a borderline streaming option but in 2012, Tampa Bay tried him out in the bullpen with great results. Kansas City tried him out again in the rotation last year but realized the error of their ways. In 17.1 innings this year, Davis has a 2.08 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 32 strikeouts (one less than Yovani Gallardo). That’s a strikeout rate 16.62; holds or no holds, that plays in any format. His 1.32 FIP and 1.99 xFIP suggest his numbers are for real and while he still walks a few too many, he hasn’t walked anybody in the past 2 weeks. Davis also qualifies for SP so if all your RP slots are full, you can still play him without taking any of your current closers or relief pitchers out. Davis is gone in holds leagues (7 holds), but in standard leagues with 12 teams or more, Davis can help your ratios and strikeout totals and get you a few vulture wins along the way.
Currently available in 93% of Yahoo, 94% of CBS, 99% of ESPN and 82% of Fantrax leagues
Jason Motte (Cardinals): With Trevor Rosenthal struggling, Motte returning, and the number of closers jobs that have changed hands so far, one has to consider the possibility here. Following 2 successful stints in the bullpen, Motte was given the closer role in 2012 and ran with it. If not for Mr. Tommy John, Motte would still be the closer and Rosenthal would be clamoring for a rotation spot. I’m sure St. Louis will treat him with kid gloves to start, but if everything seems to be in working order and Rosenthal continues to struggle, he may get the Edward Mujica treatment and find himself back in the 8th inning (where he had some much success last year). Motte is not a sure thing to replace Rosenthal and it’s merely speculation, but it’s those speculative grabs that could pay off in the long run. A DL stash and several weeks of patience might be in order. If Motte does take over, you just got yourself a top 10 closer.
Currently available in 96% of Yahoo, 90% of CBS, 99% of ESPN and 79% of Fantrax leagues
Other notes from around the league.
Michael Cuddyer is set to return to the lineup on Monday. That leaves one spot open for popular f/a pickups Drew Stubbs and Corey Dickerson. If Dickerson gets the majority of the at bats (or even if he doesn’t), he’s worthy of a spot on your roster. If Stubbs becomes the 4th man, you might want to consider dropping him. His overall numbers are very good, but he’s hit .154 over the past 7 days. Stubbs may be reverting back to his old self.
With the demotion/release of Kyle Farnsworth, the closer job for the Mets is wide open (literally). Jeurys Familia, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jose Valverde, Carlos Torres and Jenrry Mejia have all been mentioned. The speculative add would be Familia, but you may want to wait a week to see how this one plays out.
The Jonathan Singleton clock is ticking with Astros GM saying he’s “On Deck”. My guess would be right around the Super Two deadline in June. He’s gone in competitive leagues, but the rest of you may want to see if you can stash him somewhere if you can.
Carlos Beltran hits the DL for the Yankees. I’ve listed several options above for outfield, but Zoilo Almonte is an in-house option. Almonte has an interesting combination of power and speed, but it remains to be seen if A) he’ll be able to hit for average in the majors and B) he’ll get enough playing time to make him a worthy fantasy player this year. Soriano started in right field on Thursday.
The Mets promoted Rafael Montero to replace Dillon Gee in the rotation. He did not crack MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list but he was the #2 prospect in the Mets farm system. Like I stated above, sometimes the lesser known players make the biggest impact so you never know here. This may only be an audition until Gee returns, but if he pitches well enough he could stick. I’d advise waiting another start or two before jumping on the bandwagon, but that’s me…and I was wrong once.
Kyle Blanks went from the black hole called Petco to the black hole called the Coliseum. The A’s said that Blanks will platoon at first and will bat against left-handed pitchers. Short of an injury somewhere in the OF, that essentially puts the nail in his coffin for this season. He’s worth stashing in AL only leagues, otherwise it looks like another lost season.
For free agent streaming options for week 8
Rob Adams has you covered with his week 8 stream team.