At this point in the season, your waiver wire should be pretty well picked clean of any sort of long-term talent (other than some prospect which have yet to be called upon). The best chance of improving your team would be through a trade and that window will be closing quickly (if it hasn’t already). There are potentially still some valuable pieces laying on the waiver wire, but mostly in Yahoo and ESPN leagues. Judging by the ownership levels, those that play on CBS & Fantrax are a little more shrewd when it comes to talent.
A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks): Pollock is currently on a rehab assignment, and the D-Backs could sure use him with Paul Goldschmidt basically done for the year. OK, the team is done for the year, but unlike fantasy owners, Arizona just can’t quit and focus on football. With all of the injuries this year, there is a good chance Pollock’s former owner had to release him and now would be your chance to take advantage. It may take him a week or two to shake off the rust, but once that happens you have a 5 category player ready to contribute to your playoff run. Pollock could be a difference maker for some teams so even if you don’t need him, pick him up anyway. Better he explode on your bench than in your opponents lineup.
Available in 83% of Yahoo, 69% of CBS and 52% of Fantrax leagues
Dustin Ackley (Mariners): You wouldn’t know it by looking at his bottom line, but Ackley has been hitting lately. Over the past 30 days he has hit .337 and in the past 14 days he’s hit .404 with 2 home runs and 8 runs and RBIs. He’s still not walking, but his strikeout have decreased and the last time he had multiple strikeouts in a game was on July 4th (guess that was his independence day for being a bad hitter). I’m not sure how long this will continue, if he’s finally figured things out or if it is just a hot streak. At this point in the season, I’m sure a hot streak is just fine with fantasy owners. If you need help at MI or you play 4 or more outfielders and need help there, dust off Ackley. On tap is a 9 game home stand against Atlanta, Chicago and Toronto, and all 3 of those staffs have had their pitching woes.
Available in 80% of Yahoo, 59% of CBS and 50% of Fantrax leagues
Grady Sizemore (Phillies): I hate making this recommendation but I’d be remiss in my job if I didn’t point out what Sizemore has done since arriving in Philly. He left his .216 batting average in Boston and brought a .338 with him. Sizemore only has 1 home runs, 1 stolen base and 5 RBIs since his arrival, but he is hitting well (3 multi-hit games last week) and scoring runs. He still doesn’t walk enough and has multiple strikeout games making him hard to trust long-term. In the short-term, if you have injuries and play in a 14 team league, Sizemore could make a quick Band-Aid (especially with all the injuries). Don’t get too attached, he started hot in Boston as well. I don’t condone this pickup, but I won’t condemn it either.
Available in 94% of Yahoo, 83% of CBS and 76% of Fantrax leagues
Josh Willingham (Twins): Mostly ignored because of his inconsistent past and lack luster batting average, Willingham is much better than he currently looks. Sure he’s only batting .221, but that was .208 less than 2 weeks ago. He has 11 home runs in 188 at bats, that would put him on pace to hit 30 in a season which is something he is more than capable of. He’s also hitting in the heart of the order so another 30-40 RBIs over the final 2 months isn’t to far-fetched. Willingham isn’t much for batting average, but if he can hit in the .250 range for the rest of the season (his career average), his home run, RBI and run totals should pay the rest of the bills. Essentially he’s a poor mans Jay Bruce, I’ll take that.
Available in 90% of Yahoo, 69% of CBS and 52% of Fantrax leagues
Josh Reddick (A’s): He looks like a new man since returning from the disable list. Since July 22nd, Reddick has raised his batting average from .227 to .259. Over that span he has 4 home runs, 7 RBIs and 10 runs scored. He also hasn’t struck out since July 25th. Reddick is not that far removed from the 32 home run season he had in 2012. While you shouldn’t count on the average going much higher, you could be in on the ground floor of a power surge. Oakland has games against Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Kansas City on tap, and each one of those staffs have had issues Reddick could take advantage of. Short term power binge or long-term answer, either way, get him while the gettins good.
Available in 72% of Yahoo, 66% of CBS and 52% of Fantrax leagues
Jedd Gyorko (Padres): Slumped, broken and left for dead by some owners, Gyorko looks good since returning from the DL. So far he’s batting .381 with 2 home runs (both at home) and 7 RBIs. This is what he was drafted for and this is why several weeks ago when I covered DL stashes I recommended you hold on Gyorko. Looking at the ownership levels some of you did just that, but he is still available in a good number of leagues if you need help at 2nd, MI or possibly 3rd (if he qualifies in your league). Playoff time is coming, and Gyorko could be that game changing bat in your middle infield that makes the difference. Supplies are limited so get your Gyorko today.
Available in 54% of Yahoo, 45% of CBS and 35% of Fantrax leagues
Will Middlebrooks (Red Sox): With J.D. Drew shipped out-of-town, shortstop belongs to Xander Bogaerts which means (for better or worse) that third base belongs to Middlebrooks. Yup, he’s been a disappointment and das wunderkind Brock Holt could displace him from time to time. If Middlebrooks hits thought, he possesses enough power to help you at third, a position that hasn’t been kind to fantasy owners this year. He didn’t impress much in the minors, but even with a bad average he still belted 17 home runs last year in 348 at bats. He hits lefties well so at the very least you’ve got half of a platoon player if you can get a right-handed counterpart. For now you can take a wait and see approach, there is no need to rush out and grab Middlebrooks. If you see him getting at bats and hitting against righties though, it might be time to roll the dice.
Available in 82% of Yahoo, 74% of CBS and 55% of Fantrax leagues
I know, you need pitching as well. Tommy Landseadel gave a few options the other day; in case you don’t like those, I have a few more for you starting with a closer.
Neftali Feliz (Rangers): With Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria in Detroit, Feliz is back in the role he held back in 2011. His velocity is still not up to what it was, but despite the decrease he is still getting the job done. Surprisingly he has recorded 3 saves over 3 games (all at home I might add), before blowing his first save on Sunday. Even before the blown save, owner’s have been slow to pick him up. Baring an injury, the closer situations around the league shouldn’t change much which means this could be your last chance if you are searching for saves. If Joaquin Benoit is available I would rather have him, but beggars can’t be choosers this late in the season.
Available in 55% of Yahoo, 59% of CBS and 47% of Fantrax leagues
Kyle Hendricks (Cubs): One of the beneficiaries of the Samardzija/Hammel trade. Hendricks has been solid since his unspectacular debut at Cincinnati. His career minor league ERA is 2.68. Before being called up, he had an ERA of 3.59, but considering that was in the PCL it’s much better than it looks. Hendricks in not a big strikeout pitcher (7.67 K/9) but is better than average. He’s more of a control guy with a 1.61 BB/9, the 2.02 BB/9 this year in AAA was his highest total in the minors. While he has given up 2 home runs already, Hendricks has a minor league HR/9 of 0.42, something that will be helpful given his home park. With 3 strong games under his belt, Hendricks looks to be a decent add in 12 team leagues or deeper.
Available in 96% of Yahoo, 84% of CBS and 74% of Fantrax leagues
Chase Anderson (Diamondbacks): Things were a little rocky at the start, and he still gives up too many home runs, but despite that Anderson is turning into a stable back-end option for your rotation. His walk rate is down to 3.07, still high and higher than his minor league average (2.34), but lower than it was. His strikeouts have increase as he has become comfortable in the majors. His innings have also increased as he’s lasted at least 6 innings in his last 4 games. Wins will be hard to come by since there is little offence behind him (even less with Goldschmidt on the shelf), but those of you who use quality starts will be rewarded nicely. Looking ahead, Anderson has a nice schedule with games against Colorado, at Miami and Washington and home verse the Padres. Could make for a short-term plug and play option, and if he does well over that stretch he becomes someone to consider for your playoff run.
Available in 90% of Yahoo, 77% of CBS and 60% of Fantrax leagues
With every add you make, you have to cut some dead weight. This week I recommend Mike Minor. I know there are still some out there holding out hope that he will turn it around. I was one of you, but it has reached a point that I can no longer justify rostering or defending him. If he is struggling this bad against the Padres over the last 2 games (8 earned runs in 11.2 innings), he can’t even be counted on as a spot starter or matchup guy. In his last 10 starts, Minor has allowed 4 or more earned runs 6 times. The few games in between where he didn’t blow up or actually turned in a decent start are not reason enough to hold him, and now with talks of Atlanta skipping some of his starts, it appears the Braves can’t even justify keeping him in the rotation full-time. Just like a Band-Aid, closer your eyes, rip it off and be done with it. And if you bang your chest upon his next good start saying I told you he’d come around, make sure to eat your humble pie the following week when he gets smacked around like a 6-year-old school boy.
Honorable mentions go to Allen Craig. A new home usually means a potential rebirth, but expect Craig to continue to struggle. In addition, Craig is now dealing with a bum ankle, and his injuries have a tendency to either get worse or are followed by something worse. I would easily drop Craig for Willingham at this point if he’s available.
Previous Waiver Wire suggestions Update.
In 12 team leagues, Jacob deGrom, Odrisamer Despaigne and Edinson Volquez are still worthy additions. Brett Anderson joins those ranks with 3 solid outings in a row.
Joaquin Benoit is still available if you’re searching for saves, but he won’t be for long.
Brock Holt, Chris Carter, Conor Gillaspie Arismendy Alcantara, and Stephen Vogt are all still solid adds to those in 12 team leagues or deeper.
Kevin Kiermaier, Oscar Taveras and Steve Pearce have been downgraded from add to monitor and or drop in 10 and 12 team leagues. Kiermaier has hit a wall and Taveras isn’t getting enough playing time. As for Pearce, I said watch for the decline, he has 5 hits in the past two weeks and is hitting a whooping .156.
Domingo Santana, James Jones and Dan Straily can all be dropped and or taken off your watch list.
Continue to monitor Taijuan Walker and Mookie Betts, but neither one should be counted on until September.