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Waiver Wire Report: 4th of July Special

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Fantasy baseball owners never cease to amaze me.  Perfectly good players can be sitting out there for half a season and it’s like pulling teeth to get owners to not only recognize these players accomplishments, but to actually drop someone to acquire them.  But, when some hotshot rookie gets the call, it’s a mad dash to the waiver wire to secure this unproven talent who has yet to take a swing at the major league level.  This week it is Miguel Sano; he is owned in 37% of Yahoo, 38% of ESPN and 67% of CBS leagues and just played his second game of the season yesterday. 

Now I’m not condemning the people who do this since I do the same thing on occasion, and if you are in AL/NL only, deep or keeper/dynasty league, I fully endorse this.  It’s those of you in the 10 and 12 team leagues that I take issue with.  There are a lot of useful players out there on waivers in leagues like this, and constantly jumping on the next big thing in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle is not the way to win – at least consistently anyway.  As a fantasy owner you should be looking on waivers constantly for an edge, sorting players by what they have done recently, splitting them up by position and comparing them to your current roster.  Like I said last week and many times before; it doesn’t matter if a players bottom line looks pretty if he has been killing your team for the past month. 

Make some moves; even if they are only temporary ones, and start with the players below (and in the previously recommended section at the bottom).  Note that Jonathan Singleton was recommended weeks ago as someone to stash; now that he’s been recalled you may want to act (just like you did with Sano).

SP – Brett Anderson (Dodgers):  For about a month now, Will Emerson has been rolling out Brett Anderson in his “Field of Streams” article; somehow though, Anderson slipped through the cracks in the waiver wire wall.  For the season, Anderson holds and ERA of 3.0; this number is well supported by his xFIP (3.31) and SIERA (3.15).  Eight of his last nine starts have been quality starts; in seven of those eight quality starts he has allowed 2 runs or less.  A large part of Anderson success is his ever-increasing ground ball percentage, currently sitting at 68.4%.  The walk rate (2.44) is right in line with his career average and he is doing a better than average job keeping the ball in the park (0.66 HR/9).  Strikeout numbers are low (6.47 K/9), but considering the quality starts, ratios and wins as of late, I can overlook that one minor detail. 

Anderson is currently a streaming options in Yahoo and ESPN, but he shouldn’t be.  Anderson is easily a solid pitcher to add on to the back-end of your rotation.

Available in 78% of Yahoo, 74% of ESPN and 38% of CBS leagues

SP – Ivan Nova (Yankees): Nova had a breakout season in 2013 posting an ERA of 3.10.  Eighteen months later and it seems some of you have forgotten; either that or you are skeptical because he is coming off Tommy John surgery.  Nova’s first game back versus Philly was solid (minus the strikeouts).  His second game against the Angels was a little rougher (8H, 2BB, 2ER – 5.1 innings), but at least the strikeouts returned (7 K’s).  Nova isn’t a big strikeout guy, but he did post a K/9 of 7.49 in 2013 and is more than capable of producing a K/9 close to 7.  He had a 2.44 ERA at home in 2013 over 92.1 innings so his home park (short porch and all) is not an issue.  The home ERA is close to his ERA versus two division opponents as well (Baltimore & Tampa) so half of the AL east is covered.

There will be some hiccups here; this I have no doubt of, but overall Nova should be a solid pitcher for the second half.  Plus the Yankees are hot so he should be able to pile up 8-9 wins before the end of the season.  Don’t take too long to think about this one; a few more good games and someone else in your league will beat you to him (if they haven’t already).

Available in 83% of Yahoo, 71% of ESPN and 52% of CBS leagues

SP – Andrew Heaney (Angels): His numbers in AAA prior to receiving the call would have him on waivers in every league.  Fortunately rookies get the luxury of hitting the reset button when promoted to the majors.  Two games in and Heaney is displaying the stuff he showed us in AA.  He was unhittable in those two games, but with a H/9 of 8.6 in the minors so I expect that to change.  Heaney does have very good control evident of a BB/9 under 3.0 at every stop along the way in the minors.  The strikeouts are real; Heaney produced a K/9 close to 9.0 in the minors. 

The former first round pick will get a few more starts with Jered Weaver out until after the all-star break.  Short-term I like Heaney as an add, but given his struggles when promoted to AAA I expect his current success to be short-lived.  Take advantage of him now and do not hesitate to throw him back at the first sign of trouble or when he is sent back to the minors.

Available in 88% of Yahoo, 84% of ESPN and 47% of CBS leagues

RP – Brad Ziegler (Diamondbacks): You would think the Diamondbacks only made a closer change a week or so ago considering the fact Ziegler is available in almost 50% of all leagues. Ziggy had 9 saves for the month of June as allowed just one earned run that month (a solo home run) over 11 innings.  He’s not your prototypical fireball type closer so don’t expect a lot of strikeouts, but you will get saves and he will not ruin your ratios (ERA under 2.5 in 3 of the past 4 seasons). 
It kills me that Fernando Rodney is more owned than Ziegler.

Available in 47% of Yahoo, 51% of ESPN and 57% of CBS leagues

OF – David Peralta (Diamondbacks): The Mark Trumbo trade open the door some for Peralta; Ender Inciarte hitting the DL threw it wide open.  His season numbers are nothing special; it’s the last two weeks he has turned things up.

  HR RBI SB Avg OPS
Season 30 7 35 4 .270 .806
Last 14 days 2 7 1 .306 .972

In a lot of ways Peralta is just a slightly older version of Inciarte with a little less speed.  He lost his outfield spot earlier in the year because Inciarte had a better bat, but Peralta is more than capable of hitting for a high average (.286 last season).  Runs will be an issue because unlike Inciarte, Peralta is batting towards the bottom of the order – that is good for RBI opportunities though.  Peralta is an above average option for the outfield who will exceed expectations at times (like now).  If you need a good 4th outfield option (or 3rd in larger leagues), Peralta is more than capable of holding down the fort until something better comes along.

Available in 94% of Yahoo, 91% of ESPN and 77% of CBS leagues

OF – Gerardo Parra (Brewers): Parra has already matched last year’s home run and stolen base totals and is hitting .300 for the season. The last two weeks he has been on fire, batting .377 with 2 home runs, 2 steals, 4 RBIs and 11 runs scored; a few more RBIs and he would have been a top  outfield 10 option.  Parra is hitting lefties well (.275) and there are no discernible home/road splits to worry about here.  He also finished June with over 100 at bats meaning playing time is no longer as issue.  Just like Peralta above, Parra doesn’t have a lot of power or speed so he needs a very good batting average to make the whole package work – like now.

Available in 88% of Yahoo, 83% of ESPN and 74% of CBS leagues

OF – Alejandro De Aza (Red Sox):  While Parra missed out on being a top 10 outfield option over the past 2 weeks, this guy didn’t.  In the last 14 days De Aza has 3 home runs, 11 RBIs and 9 runs scored while batting .386 with a 1.256 OPS.  I had written De Aza off considering what he was doing in Baltimore, but the move to Boston appears to be what the doctor ordered.  There is nothing to see looking at his career numbers; at best it would classify him as a poor man’s Peralta.  There is also the fact that the Boston OF could be potentially log jammed once players start getting healthy.  But, like I always say, don’t worry about what will happen down the road.  De Aza is hot, hitting now and in the lineup most nights.  Ride him for all he’s worth if you need OF help.

Available in 86% of Yahoo and 85% of ESPN and CBS leagues

OF – Gregor Blanco (Giants): Of the 3 outfielders mentioned so far, Blanco is below all of them as far as counting stats, but he has the best batting average over the past two weeks at .432.  Everything I said about De Aza and his career numbers can be applied here.  Blanco hasn’t had the greatest success in the majors, only flashes of brilliance – and the last 2 months have been brilliant as far as the batting average goes.  The one downside here, Blanco has only been receiving part-time at bats…that is, until recently.  With Hunter Pence still on the shelf and Nori Aoki down with a fractured fibula, Blanco has been thrust into full-time duty and along with it, fantasy relevance.  The Giants will sit him against lefties (which seems silly since he hit .296 against them last season over 125 at bats), but other than that he’s a safe uninspiring productive player for your outfield.

Available in 97% of Yahoo and 95% of ESPN and CBS leagues

Going Deep
Available in over 90% of Yahoo, ESPN and CBS leagues

1B – Justin Bour (Marlins): He’s a little bit older than the average rookie; most players break out at age 27.  Considering this is Bour’s first full season, he’s not doing half bad.  In 2013 Bour hit 18 home runs in AA and last season he hit 18 as well playing in AAA.  Both season he hit 18 in less than 400 at bats.  Over the last 14 days (35 at bats) Bour has 5 home runs and 10 RBIs while batting .257.  That gives him 9 for the season and the Marlins can use the extra muscle with Giancarlo Stanton out.  The biggest concern here is Michael Morse who is out with an injury.  Morse is batting .211 and hasn’t gotten things going yet.  The Marlins could move Morse to the outfield; he has the experience and there’s an opening now.  If that happens then Bour has some fantasy value as a CI player.  If Miami leaves Morse at first when he returns, Bour’s value is toast since he has never played another position other than first base in the minors.  I think there is some value here, but that value is contingent on playing time.  Wait and see how this unfolds, or stash Bour if you’re feeling optimistic (and if pickings are slim in your league). 

SS – Eugenio Suarez (Reds): Looks like the Reds found their replacement for Zack Cozart.  The former Tigers farm hand has an interesting mix of power and speed, albeit both are limited.  Suarez has never had a consistent batting average, hovering anywhere from .242 to .341.  Walks are about average and strikeouts a little high but manageable.  Those are things to consider if you’re looking to add him long-term.  Short-term, as in the here and now, Suarez is batting .378 over the past 14 days with a home run, 2 steals and 6 RBIs at the bottom of the Reds order.  This is one of those under the radar no-name brand lightning in a bottle prospects people usually ignore because they think he’s playing over his head and this can’t last.  Maybe it can’t, but who cares.  If a player is hitting now and he plays a position you are in need of, play him until he stops putting up the numbers.  Maybe you’ll only get a weeks worth of production, or you could get lucky and he’ll go on an extended streak.

 

Previous Waiver Wire Recommendations
I like to hold myself accountable for past recommendations so I will monitor
my hits and misses from the previous weeks and adjust the players accordingly.

Graduated

This is the last week Mitch Moreland and Matt Duffy will appear here. Their ownership levels are high enough that they should not be available with the exception of 10 team leagues. If they are on waivers in your league you should grab them above anyone else on this page before your window of opportunity closes.

Continue to add

  • HITTERS: Joey Butler, Randal Grichuk, Michael A. Taylor, Ryan Howard, Adam LaRoche, Jung Ho Kang, Luis Valbuena, Jonathan Singelton, 
  • PITCHERS: Darren O’Day, Brandon Maurer, Adam Warren, Mike Montgomery, Erasmo Ramirez, Tom Koehler, Kendall Graveman

The following are for larger and deeper leagues, but some are gaining strength in 12 team leagues.

  • HITTERS: Rougned Odor, Clint Robinson, Eddie Rosario, David Murphy, J.J. Hardy, Jace Peterson, Yunel Escobar, Nick Ahmed, Mark Canha, Joe Phegley
  • PITCHERS: Joe Blanton, Carter Capps

Hold – Do not add them, but do not drop them yet unless necessary

  • Carlos Beltran moves to hold with his trip to the DL – what a pity.
  • Andre Ethier and Juan Lagares have both been cold for weeks now; one more week and you have my permission to drop both (if you haven’t already.
  • Delino Deshields and Jake Marisnick are both in the rehab stage of the DL trips and should be returning soon.
  • Wilmer Flores moves to hold with a cold bat, and with the Mets talking of change his spot in the lineup could be in jeopardy.
  • For the second week in a row, Brandon Barnes and Ben Paulsen remain holds for the same reason; neither is doing good enough to move up to add but neither is bad enough to warrant dropping.
  • Jake Lamb had a good week, but I want to see one more before officially endorsing him (feel free to add him if you want though).

Drop ’em

  • Just like the graduates above, this is the last time Jarrett Parker, Caleb Joseph, Will Middlebrooks, Brandon Guyer and Anthony Gose will appear here. If you have not dropped these players, now’s the time to do so. 
  • The Juan Uribe party is over (if you blinked – you missed it).
  • Cory Spangenberg was a drop last week, the DL trip solidified my decision.
  • Ivan De Jesus and Preston Tucker have shown a little life, but both are still drops as there should be something better available.

Stream away Good enough to stream, but not good enough to own. Do what you will.

  • Chad Bettis, Kyle Gibson, Vincent Velasquez

 

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By Jim Finch

The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball.