Every time I think there is nothing left on waivers worth owning, a new crop of players step up. Players get promoted, injured guys return from the DL, and players who have had little value all year decide to step up to the plate and put on a hitting display. This is the number one reason you need to stay on top of your waiver wire each week. A week or so ago nobody would have given a second look at the players below; now they are being added and their ownership is growing. If you have some dead weight on your bench, maybe a backup catcher or middle infielder that you are holding onto just in case, now is not the time for that. It’s time to start filling those slots with productive players, and maybe even using some of those hot waiver players over your slumping starter; even the best team has a few of them. With that said, here are this weeks waiver wire pick-ups.
SS = Trea Turner (Nationals): The Nationals promoted the heir apparent to Ian Desmond the other day, and fantasy owners should jump on this one. He had a little trouble in the low minors, but it’s been all systems go since. He hit .369 in A-Ball, .327 in AA and was hitting .314 in AAA prior to his promotion. Turner doesn’t have much pop in his bat (13 home runs in 733 at bats), but he does have some speed to him (52 steals in 62 attempts). He also stole 113 bases during his 3 years at North Carolina State. He has a patient bat and knows how to draw walks which will eventually lead to a leadoff position for the Nationals.
What should we expect from Turner for the remainder of the season? Well if he continues to hit the way he has all season, you can expect a high average. You can also expect a good number of steals from him as well. As for the runs and RBIs, they may be limited at first depending on where the Nationals slot him in the batting order, but if he hits off the bat I can easily see them moving him up to a more prominent place in the order. Turner is not available yet on Yahoo, but he is the kind of player you should burn your waiver priority for if you are in need of help at short, middle infield and (coming soon) second base.
Available in 99.9% of ESPN and 82% of CBS
3B – Lonnie Chisenhall (Indians): Remember in 2014 when Chisenhall hit over .300 for the first three months and was all the rave? It might interest you to know that “That” Chisenhall is back! He’s batting .381 for the month of August and is receiving additional at bats as a result. The numbers he’s producing now are very similar to the ones Mike Moustakas put up in the first half of this season – much to everyone’s surprise. While Chisenhall is not the most dependable hitter, he can be during streaks like this. I would take full advantage and pick him up now before he becomes a household name again.
Available in 96% of Yahoo, 98% of ESPN and 94% of CBS leagues
OF – Jackie Bradley Jr. (Red Sox): At the start of the season, Bradley was the forgotten man in an outfield loaded with talent. Fast forward to present day and the Red Sox are in the same position they were in last year, attempting to crawl out of last place. The outfield is still full, but there is less standing in the way of playing time. Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo are hitting well now, but Hanley Ramirez is hobbling which opens the door some. Bradley has an August batting line of .347/.450/.776 along with 4 homers, 17 RBIs and 16 runs scored. He has limited at bats so the sample sizes are small, but Bradley is batting .333 at home and a ridiculous .452 against lefties. As long as Bradley is hitting, the Sox will find a way to get his bat in the lineup 4-5 times a week. I can see some hesitation for those with weekly lineups, but those in leagues that allow daily roster moves should look to roster Bradley.
Available in 79% of Yahoo, 71% of ESPN and 64% of CBS leagues
3B/OF – Danny Valencia (A’s): The A’s third baseman is quietly having a productive season. He batted .299 in the first half and is batting .276 in the second. So far in August he is batting .275 with 4 home runs and 10 RBIs. Valencia hits lefties and righties equally well so you don’t have to worry about who is on the mound; a luxury you don’t normally find on waivers this late. He’s receiving full-time at bats now with Oakland and is taking advantage of the opportunity. While he may not score that many runs, Valencia is still a viable source of power and should have ample RBI opportunities hitting 3rd or 4th in the lineup. I’m not sold on him yet as a starting third baseman in standard 12 team leagues, but in larger leagues or standard leagues that use a CI slot, I give him my full endorsement.
Available in 90% of Yahoo, 78% of ESPN and 87% of CBS leagues
OF – Franklin Gutierrez (Mariners): In 2009 it look like Gutierrez was poised to be a 20/20 player; that just goes to show you, things don’t always go according to plan. Since then Gutierrez has stumbled along trying to rediscover what it was that got him to the show. This season he batted .317 in AAA and earned another shot and things are finally clicking. Over the past 30 days Gutierrez has a .298 batting average with 6 home runs, 17 RBIs and 9 runs scored – in just 57 at bats. He is slowly pushing Seth Smith out of the way in left field and garnering more playing time. Given his track record and age I can see some trepidation, but nobody is asking you to marry the guy. Gutierrez is on a hot streak – ride it!
Available in 96% of CBS and 95% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues
1B – Greg Bird (Yankees): Bird has always been a contact guy. By this I mean he doesn’t walk or strikeout much so all of his success is based upon him putting bat to ball. His minor league numbers up until this season haven’t been impressive, but they aren’t bad. This year though in AAA, Bird took his hitting and average up a notch. After hitting just .258 in AA he earned a promotion to AAA where he hit .301 with 6 homers and 23 RBIs in 34 games. With Mark Teixeira out, Bird has a chance to impress at the ML level; he did just that on Wednesday going 2-4 with 2 home runs. As long as Tex is sidelined Bird should continue to receive playing time at first. He was hitting .313 against righties and .270 against lefties in the minors this year so (theoretically) there shouldn’t’ be any platoon splits. The Yankees have a decent schedule coming up so short-term things are looking good.
I know this one is a complete wild card and Bird could fade back into obscurity as quickly as he has burst onto the scene, but you never know. To beat a dead horse and reiterate what I usually say, the lesser known named prospects are sometimes the ones that make the biggest noise. Give these dice a roll.
Available in 91% of CBS and 98% of Yahoo and CBS leagues
RP – Sean Doolittle (A’s): The A’s closer is a rehab start or two away from rejoining his team, and the team is in desperate need of a closer. Everything is progressing nicely and as long as there are no setbacks, Doolittle should reclaim the closer role from day one. Normally I would go into why you should pick a player up, but if you played fantasy last year you are well aware what Doolittle brings to the table. Granted he may not get many save opportunities given the A’s recent offense, but he should help out in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts.
Available in 65% of Yahoo, 79% of ESPN and 71% of CBS leagues
SP – Derek Holland (Rangers): Holland missed most of the 2014 season. He came back strong in September and looked to be poised for a breakout in 2015, but a shoulder injury derailed things bringing us to the present day. Holland was a little rusty in his first start, but he didn’t walk anyone and struck out 6 over 6.1 innings. Last September he allowed 6 earned runs over 37 innings for a 1.46 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. I would not expect the same results, but I wouldn’t be upset to see some of his 2013 totals. He posted monthly ERA’s of 3.38, 2.31, 3.90, 3.29, 2.18 and 5.73. OK, that last one was a bit high, but given the increase in innings from 2012 to 2013 I’ll give him a pass. Holland is a strong pitcher and was a sleeper on many lists prior to his shoulder injury. Those of you that are in the playoff hunt and in need of a stable arm, go get Holland now.
Available in 81% of Yahoo, 83% of ESPN and 49% of CBS leagues
Finding their way to Waivers
It’s time to clean house and throw out the trash.
Matt Shoemaker looked to have figured things out, but after getting shelled in consecutive games he was sent down to the minors. I don’t see him getting anything other than a spot start if/when he does get recalled in September so don’t bother stashing him.
Mat Latos has been sent to the bullpen. Maybe he might have some value in holds leagues, but given his struggles this season I would not risk it.
I wasn’t a Phil Hughes fan to start the season and he has done little this season to win me over. His recent trip to the DL is a blessing in disguise and a sign from above for fantasy owners. Hughes isn’t worth a spot even on your DL.
Maikel Franco is out with a fractured wrist. While there is a chance he returns this season, we all know wrist injuries sap power and that was one of Franco’s main assets. Use a DL slot on him if you want, just don’t get your hopes up that he will be of any use to you this season.
Josh Hamilton has had the occasional good game, but in between those games he has been hobbled with nagging injuries and mediocre at bats. I was pulling for a comeback story just like the rest of you, but there is no happy ending this year. You can find better on waivers.
The timetable for Devon Travis continues to move back and now they are saying it may be about a month before he takes the field for the Blue Jays. Some players are worth stashing on your DL; this is not one of them (except for keeper leagues).
Previous W.W. Recommendations
- This is the last week Ken Giles will appear here. His ownership level has risen to the point he should no longer be available in competitive leagues.
Continue to add:
With the exception of 10 team leagues, Odubel Herrera, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jonathan Schoop, Francisco Lindor, Welington Castillo, Khris Davis (for power only), Ben Paulsen (for home games), Raisel Iglesias, Chris Bassitt, Chris Tillman and Jonathan Niese should all be rostered if they are available in your league.
- Travis Shaw moves back up to add with a hot week and owners should take advantage.
- C.J. Cron is forcing Mike Scioscia’s hand; add him before his at bats increase and his value skyrockets.
- Stephen Piscotty continues to hit the ball well. While he isn’t contributing big numbers where it counts, he could still be a useful option for teams in need of a 4th outfielder.
- Andre Ethier‘s at bats have diminished, but it’s not the first time that has happened this year so ride it out if you own him.
Hold: players that don’t warrant an add but shouldn’t be dropped yet.
- Ryan Howard is still hitting below par, but he could go off at any time. Have patience.
- Abraham Almonte‘s bat has cooled off, but I would hold considering what he did prior to this week.
- Mike Leake will not return this week but should be back soon. Only drop if you need the space on your DL.
- I gave Domonic Brown a pass last week due to an illness, but he still has not recovered. Hold him for another week if possible, but don’t hesitate on dropping him if there is a hot hitting f/a on waivers.
- Jake Peavy and Matt Garza may no longer be immediate adds, but they still should be monitored and have value as a spot starter.
- Tyler Saladino, Michael Conforto and Nick Castellanos can be safely dropped in all but AL/NL only and deeper leagues. They are not contributing and or receiving enough at bats to warrant a roster spot in standard leagues.
- Alex Wilson seems to have lost his grip on the closer role in Detroit. Bruce Rondon should be picked up as his replacement even though there has been no official word.
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