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Waiver Wire Report; fresh faces and recycled stars

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It is one of those weekends where I have no colorful anecdotes or words of wisdom to share with the masses. What I do have for you is a number of under-owned players who can help your fantasy team now – that is why you are here, right? And away we go!

Adam Duvall (Reds): After hitting .226 in April with only two home runs and five each in the run and RBI categories, Duvall has caught fire. His May totals are double what we saw in April and the batting average is 100 points higher. Just as impressive is the fact that he cut his strikeout total in half – it’s been a while since we’ve seen his strikeout percentage below 20. His walk total could use a little work as well as his contact skills, but we’ll take the small improvements as they come.

For now, Duvall is playing everyday and hitting for average and power. He hit 30 home runs in each of the past two seasons, and there’s no reason to think he couldn’t get close to that number this year. This could be more than a short-term addition to your fantasy squad.
Available in 72% of CBS, 84% of Y! and 82% of ESPN leagues

Brandon Guyer (Rays): Guyer’s .324 part-time batting average in April earned him additional at bats in May. It has also earned him a spot at the top of the lineup; an odd place for a guy who doesn’t draw walks and hasn’t shown any speed compared to last season, but nobody is arguing with the results. The fact that he can play all three outfield positions works to his advantage, but now with Kevin Kiermaier headed to the disabled list that no longer matters. It’s a coin flip on who will play left and center between Jennings and Guyer, but the important thing is that Guyer will be in the lineup almost nightly now.

Last season Guyer hit eight home runs and stole 10 bases over 332 at bats. He is halfway to that home run total in under 100 at bats, and with the improved ISO and hard hit rate I can see him cracking another 12 or more over the next four months. He may even start chipping in some steals soon too. As long as Guyer is making solid contact he is worth owning.
Available in 92% of CBS, 97% of Y! and 95% of ESPN leagues

Steve Pearce (Rays): Maybe you might prefer Guyer’s teammate, who is also seeing more playing time in May thanks to a hot bat and poor hitting by Logan Morrison (.170) and Tim Beckham (.174). His May power surge has him batting in the cleanup position, and that is where all five of his May home runs have come from.

I know Pearce has been a disappointment for years, but he did have one successful season in 2014 where he hit .293 with 21 home runs. This season looks a lot like that one, the difference being he is walking more, making better contact, and his average is not BABIP-dependent. Pearce qualifies for first base and outfield, second base in most leagues, and depending on your eligibility rules he could also qualify for third. Second base is where he could deliver the best value, but you could do worse using him as a fourth outfielder.
Available in 66% of CBS, 75% of Y! and 77% of ESPN leagues

Trayce Thompson (Dodgers): In the minors Thompson showed us a nice combination of power and speed, the ability to draw a walk, his propensity for strikeouts, and his inability to hit for average. His best batting average was in 2015 at Triple-A where he batted .260. He then went on to hit .295 over 135 plate appearances with the White Sox. Thompson ended the year with 31 doubles, 18 home runs, 11 steals, and most importantly a strikeout percentage below 20.

This season the strikeout percentage is close to 25, but he is making better contact, his ISO is closing in on .300, and he is maintaining an average close to .300. Thompson has five home runs so far in May in only 33 at bats, and with every hit he is pressing for more playing time. He hits lefties and righties equally, for average and power, so he can spell Pederson against lefties and Crawford (.222 – 0 HR) and Puig (.211 in May) nightly. His bat is too hot right now to leave out of the lineup, and the more the Dodgers trio struggles the easier it is for management to bench them for Thompson.

I don’t think this will last all year, but Thompson is hitting now, and now is all that matters. Ride the hot streak.
Available in 84% of CBS, 93% of Y! and 90% of ESPN leagues

Evan Gattis (Astros): A lot of Gattis’ fantasy value derived from his eligibility at the catcher position. Once he became a DH only player he lost almost all fantasy appeal, even with the ability to hit 25 or more home runs. The Astros decided they want to use Gattis behind the plate again, and even sent him on a brief trip to the minors to hone his skills. The question is, will Gattis be worth using at catcher once he is eligible again?

Looking at his numbers so far you would think not. He hit just his second home run of the season on Tuesday, plus he is striking out more and making less contact than any time in his major league career. Still, it’s early, and he is only one year removed from 27 home runs and does have three consecutive 20+ home run seasons. If you have a weak catching option or need a boost in home runs then Gattis makes a nice speculative add. Otherwise you can monitor his progress on the waiver wire.
Available in 45% of CBS, 55% of Y! and 69% of ESPN leagues




Danny Valencia (A’s): He hit an empty .294 in April and then missed some time with a hamstring injury. Many owners that drafted him just moved on to the next hot player, but those that stuck with him or were quick to the wire are now reaping the rewards. Valencia is hitting over .400 this month and all of his home runs were hit after May 12th. I know I was skeptical myself last season, and the lack of power to start this year made me think I was right to be. I was wrong, and I missed out on Valencia. Hopefully you were quicker than me – he is still out there for some of you though, but as of Friday his ownership levels continue to rise so he may be gone by the time you read this.
Available in 35% of CBS, 52% of Y! and 49% of ESPN leagues

Jonathan Schoop (Orioles): Another rags to riches story. Schoop batted .218 in April and left a lot of owners unhappy with their purchase. Hopefully you held on to him or were able to scoop Schoop (say that 10 times real fast) up off waivers because May has been a fine month for batting average. He is hitting over .300 right now with similar counting stats to April, and we still have another week left to the month. This may just be a hot streak so don’t get too attached, but don’t be surprised if these few hot weeks turn into a few hot months.
Available in 66% of Y! and 55% of ESPN leagues

Jose Reyes (Rockies): Now that we know how long Reyes will be out, it’s time to start planning for his return. I know some of you don’t see value in Reyes anymore after his disappointing 2015 season. While you didn’t get the numbers you paid for in 2015, it was hardly a disappointing season. Sure he only played in 116 games, but he still managed 24 stolen bases and 50+ in each runs and RBIs. He even socked seven home runs and could have reached double digits if not for the missed time. Those totals, despite not being what we expected, ranked Reyes 5th on the ESPN player rater. Tulowitzki ranked 9th, and he missed a hell of lot more time than Reyes has over the past five seasons, yet we still prop him up on a pedestal. Reyes is no longer elite, but he is every bit as good as Elvis Andrus, except with a better batting average.

Now to deal with the 600 pound gorilla in the room, namely Trevor Story. Let’s face facts people. The Rockies are paying Jose Reyes 22 million dollars a season. Let me say that again so the reality sinks in: The Rockies are paying Jose Reyes 22 Million Dollars a season. I know every loves Story. Everyone knows he is the future for Colorado at the shortstop position, but the Rockies are not going to sit 22 million dollars on the bench just to appease fantasy owners. Either Story will have to learn a few more positions and use versatility to force his way into the lineup or Reyes will – I’d assume either second base or left field. A trade is coming, but until that day Reyes should be in the lineup more often than not.
Available in 49% of CBS, 77% of Y! and 92% of ESPN leagues

Tony Kemp (Astros): Carlos Gomez landed on the DL because he sucks with bruised ribs and will be out for several weeks. If you’re looking for a sneaky fill-in option you might want to consider Kemp. After three years at Vanderbilt he was signed by the Astros. He struggled to hit for average in the low minors, but took off once he was promoted to A+ where he was a .300 hitter. It was the same story in Double-A, and while he didn’t hit .300 in Triple-A, nobody is going to complain about a .281. He was on his was to .300 this year (.298) prior to his promotion so maybe he just needed a little time.

Kemp has two calling cards, batting average (which I just covered) and speed. He has over 100 steals in his short minor league career, although the success rate needs some work. The Astros are currently batting him ninth which isn’t ideal, until you remember that he is batting ahead of Altuve, Springer and Correa. That lethal combination should ensure Kemp sees plenty of good pitchers and has ample run scoring opportunities. This is a short-term add (no pun intended – he’s the same height as Altuve), and one (realistically) for those that use more than four outfielders, but it could pay off.

Kemp qualifies for second base on ESPN and Yahoo – bonus points.
Available in 97% of CBS, 99% of Y! and 98% of ESPN leagues

Waiver Wire Report 5-22Matt Bush (Rangers): After multiple arrests over the years for offenses ranging anywhere from minor misdemeanors to more serious charges like assault and battery and a hit and run accident while under the influence, the real life Ricky Vaughn is looking to make a comeback. Putting past indiscretions to the side, Bush can still throw – even at age 30. During spring training his fastball was regularly clocked in the upper 90’s and he even surpassed 100 MPH a number of times. His other two pitches, a curveball and slider, both need some work, but as long as Bush has heat he can get away with a below average secondary offering.

It only took Bush 17 innings in Double-A to prove he still belongs. Prior to his promotion, Bush had 18 strikeouts with a 2.65 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. The jury is out on how he will handle the majors after all that time off, but the team is in desperate need of bullpen help. Closer Shawn Tolleson was just pulled from the closer role, and Sam Dyson is now the new ninth inning man. The Rangers will now need a reliable arm to bridge the gap, and right now Jake Deikman is the only arm that can be considered worthy. In turn, Bush could be put into some high leverage situations early which would result in more holds (for those that use them) and also put him next in line should something happen to Dyson.

The days of playing for the California Penal League are in the past (hopefully).
Available in 93% of CBS, 94% of Y! and 98% of ESPN leagues



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 Marcell Ozuna and Steven Wright will appear here. Their ownership levels have reached a point to where they should be owned in all competitive leagues.

Continue to add

  • Mark Reynolds, Michael Saunders, Melky Cabrera, Tyler Chatwood, Matt Andriese and Bartolo Colon are all still solid adds. Also Kevin Gausman on Yahoo and ESPN.
  • Derek Dietrich and Jake Lamb both had an off week, but one bad week doesn’t warrant being downgraded.
  • Melvin Upton is back to being fantasy relevant again- ride the streak.
  • Trevor Bauer is not a must add, but he deserves strong considerations.
  • Eduardo Nunez is still hitting well enough to be used as a middle infielder.
  • Mike Napoli is still hitting well enough to be used as a corner infielder.
  • Tim Lincecum makes an interesting speculative add now that he has signed with the Halo’s.

Stash Minor league players to stash prior to their promotion

  • Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, Trea Turner, Blake Snell

HoldDo not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible

  • Javier Baez has cooled and is not getting at bats. His talent warrants a hold, but his current numbers say otherwise. Do what you will here.
  • Brandon Moss is in the same boat as Baez, but with less talent and upside.
  • Jeremy Hazelbaker is hitting slightly better than Moss, but I might give him another week or two before officially calling it quits – feel free to drop if there are better options on waivers though.
  • Mallex Smith had a decent week hitting, and could be in line for more playing time with AAA manager Brian Snitker taking the helm.
  • Rubby De La Rosa had his start skipped due to “nagging injuries”. They say it’s nothing major, but we’ve heard that before.
  • Homer Bailey and A.J. Griffin are worth a hold, but only if you have a DL slot for them. Don’t waste the bench spot if you don’t.

Drop ’em

  • Joe Mauer is hitting .189 in May. That hot April was fun though.
  • Sean Rodriguez is now officially a drop – buh bye.
  • Eddie Rosario had a strong week with the bat, but not enough to warrant a hold. The same goes for teammate Danny Santana.
  • Aaron Blair was mercifully sent back to the minors.
  • That’s too many bad weeks in a row for Joey Rickard and Nick Markakis.
  • Jayson Werth is still worth a hold in leagues with 12 or more teams that use 5 or more outfielders, but everyone else feel free to jettison him.

 

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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. You can also find me at FanRagSports.com
Jim Finch

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20 comments on “Waiver Wire Report; fresh faces and recycled stars

  1. Wondering if it’s time to drop Wacha? I’ve tried to sell low on him but nobody in my league think any trade is fair.

    • I wouldn’t drop him, he is just going through a rough stretch. The last three games were partly due to bad luck – and inflated BABIP and low strand rate point to that. The five games prior to the last three were all good. Wacha is good, but not elite; there will be a few clunkers along the way.

      • Good point but his “good” outings were vs Mil, SD, Cin, Phi, and Ari. Bad starts were vs Col(not atCol) LAD,Pit and @Pit. And his WHIP is an awful 1.46.

        • His WHIP was 1.27 prior to his last two four inning games so you can’t just look at the final line. That 1.27 was only a few points higher than what he put up the last two years, and this early a few good or bad games and skew a pitchers ratios.

          Arizona ranks in the top 10 for runs, home runs, batting average and OBP whereas the Dodgers rank in the bottom half of the league in runs and home runs and in the bottom third for average and OBP. So he does know how to beat a good team.

          Pittsburgh ranks 2nd and 3rd in BA & OBP so writing him off because he faced an offense on caliber with Boston and Chicago (cubs) is silly. Even aces have been hit hard by the Pirates.

          So he had bad games against a weak Dodgers team and an average Rockies team on the road, and he had good games against a weak brewers Padres Reds and Philly team.

          All his batted ball and plate discipline numbers check out and he’s not doing anything differently so it’s just bad luck. Unlike someone like Matt Wisler who has a pretty ERA and WHIP but underneith there is a lucky BABIP along with a FB% and hard hit rate that are both the fifth worst in the league.

          Putting things in simpler terms, if his name was Syndergaard, Cole or Hernandez, would you drop them after 3 bad games that sunk their WHIP? Sure those guys are better, but like those players Wacha (to a lesser extent) has put up solid numbers each year and was pitching well this year.

          If you want to drop him go right ahead, but I Guarantee if you do that he will be on someone else’s roster by the end of the week.

  2. Thanks!! I appreciate the time you put in that response. And you are spot on when saying someone will grab him off the waiver wire.

    • Anytime, I hate yes/no and short answers.

      If Wacha blows up in his next few starts you might be able to safely drop him, but keep an eye on his progress if you do though. At least with a few more bad starts he’ll be well hidden on the waiver wire with even more inflated numbers.

  3. So Wacha’s next two starts are vs Cubs and Nats. Not looking up for him in the near future. I’m leaning toward sitting him today vs Cubs but he pitches well that will say something. Side question. What do you think about Joey Gallo?

    • If Gallo can maintain the new strikeout rate he showed in Triple-A I like him a lot. With Choo out one of the OF spots is open so he can split time with Ryu. Fielder and Moreland aren’t exactly lighting things up so 1B & DH can be available on any night. He can be a difference maker, but if he flails away like he did last year and the K% goes above 30 it’ll be another lost ML season. He’s worth the risk if you have some dead weight on the bench, maybe a sixth outfielder or back up catcher/MI.

    • And now you can safely drop Wacha without anyone looking at him. He should eventually come though so keep him on your watch list. Hope you sat him today.

      • Thanks for the follow up and thankfully I sat him today. That was my thought. What a horrible game, although he did settle down after the 1st. With the Nats up next, it’s not looking good. I have a pretty strong rotation with Kershaw, Strassburg, Matz, Gausman, Roark, Estrada, and Tillman in an 11 team Roto. And I do agree that he will be hidden on the waiver wire.

        I don’t have any of that social media. Do you have a website? And again, I appreciate your advice and time.

        • A website? Other than this one?
          I also write for http://www.todaysknuckleball.com/

          • My fault. I didn’t think of to look on top. I always read fantasy rundown and found you on there. Thanks.

          • fantasy rundown is a great source of fantasy articles which is why we promoted them daily. Without them, some good writers and sites would go unnoticed. Hope you’ll continue to visit us regularly in the future.

            If you’re every looking for something specific feel free to ask. I’ve got a list of sites bookmarked for reading as well as research.

  4. Hi Jim,

    Haven’t messaged you in a bit. Hope you’re well. Was trying to get some help in my 10 team keeper league on same moves on a more appropriate link but haven’t gotten any response. Know you’ve always been really helpful and responsive so hoping you’d oblige me with some help on 2 deals.

    It’s a 10 team, keeper POINTs league.

    First trade:

    Gave: Cobb $9 (but prob not keep able bc he needs to get to 100IP and $1 story

    Got: $19 Brantley $5 Cain

    I have kang and Russell and figured story’s Ks will eventually catch up in a points league. I just miss story and am hoping it wasn’t a mistake.

    Trade 2(haven’t made yet):

    Give: betts $4 (can’t keep again tho 🙁 ) and Franco $15

    Get: polanco $4, carpenter $12, and shields $8

    In both, I’m less concerned about keeper value and more concerned about getting better this year. My team is probably the favorite but there’s a few teams that are really close. I think betts is the real deal so just wondering if it’s too big of a downgrade for this year. Shields would be my 6 or 7 and I know carpenter prob pretty good upgrade over Franco in a points league but I feel like eventually someone will pay me for $4 betts.

    Hope you have a chance to shar some thoughts with me. Enjoy your Memorial Day!!!

    Best,
    Mike

    • Looking at the trades combined, you went from Betts to Cain, Polanco and Brantley. Even with Brantley not at 100%, if he is by July and gives you three months it’s a plus.

      I’d rather have Franco over Carpenter, but you said you were more worried about this year, and this year Franco isn’t getting the counting stats so this is a positive move as well. It could be negative if you can keep players for 5 or more years though, and if that’s the case Franco would have been a better choice since you have Kang to slide into 3B for the extra numbers.

      The same goes for Story. Not sure I’d want him the remainder of the season (Springer, Pederson) as the odds are against him in the K department. Then there is the Reyes factor. They’re not going to sit his millions of dollars on the bench when he returns, so short of a trade, Reyes will be playing shortstop. That will leave Story stealing the occasional start or having to learn a new position. They need to build Reyes’ trade value and they can’t do that with him sitting. Diminished at bats could lead to batting average issues without the day to day consistency. Long term though, like Franco, he is the best guy to own, period.

      Shields is hot, but we’ve seen this act before as well, and eventually he will rip those hopes we have of him sustaining this momentum away like Lucy with a football. And given his age there is no future. For this year alone, he is similar to story, a sell high candidate.

      As for Cobb, he’s a non factor. The Rays rotation is full. They have a number of minor league guys could easily step up and fill his shoes, and he still has options so a slow rehab and rough start could get him a quick hook or a job in the bullpen to come along slowly. Next year he’ll have to battle for a rotation spot with a number of high profile players (Blake Snell for one off the top of my head).

      Overall you did improve for this year provided Brantley plays the final three months. Betts is the real deal, but if you couldn’t keep him beyond this year I can see trading him, but I think with his name and potential, you might have been able to get more. The same goes for Franco, one of the teams on the bottom might have given you a better return.

      Before the trade deadline, if you see you don’t have a chance, flip Polanco as he is playing over his head. If you see shields string together a few weak games against less opponents, do the same before he has too many of them and you lose that edge.

  5. Thanks for answering, Jim. I didn’t pull trigger on the 2nd one, only the 1st. Hopefully betts’ brand goes up in the coming weeks. Since it’s a points league, I’d really prefer another ace. It’s daily moves with 12 start cap so the pitching plays pretty deep.

    Figure I’ll let you see the whole squad too since you were nice enough to give me such a detailed answer. Maybe you’ll see another flaw that I’m missing or that you think is more flip able:

    C $10 lucroy
    1b $20 Rizzo
    2b $1 PEDroia or not keepable zobrist
    Ss $1 Russell or $1 kang
    3b $15 Franco or kang
    Lf zobrist or $7 Hanley
    Cf $4 unkeepable betts $19 Brantley $5 Cain
    Rf $27 Bautista (monster stud in points) or betts
    Of any of the above
    DH lord David Ortiz

    $17 sale
    $36 Strasburg
    $21 carrasco
    Unkeepable Lester
    $16 Iglesias
    Unkeepable mchugh
    Unkeepable wainwright
    $3 fulmer
    Streamer/niese
    Streamer/fiers

    Rp
    Davis
    Osuna
    McGee
    Ziegler

    I can only keep 7 and I’m locked into only Rizzo and Brantley

    Also have Gallo, Stephenson, Mateo, turner, and Rodgers on the farm at no cost currently.

    Thanks so much for answering and for your detailed analysis.

    Best,

    Mike

  6. I can 1 year someone at cost but if you do that then you can’t keep them again so if it’s a good value then you normally try to trade them. If I 3 year people then there is $5 in inflation per year. So say I had been smarter w betts he’d be $9 $14 $19 instead of the $4 I had him at. I saved $5 at the draft bc I’m so risk averse but it was definitely stupid looking now since he seems to be an mvp In the making. I traded a $35 cutch for him and $1 wade Davis in one of the savvier moves I’ve ever made lol.

    I’m only locked into Brantley $19 and rizzo $20 next year. Both in year 3/3. Can either give a new 3 year contract with same inflation or 1 year for a 4th year. That is likely what I’ll do with sale. He’s in year 3/3 at $17 so I’ll probably one year him and then sell him for as much as possible next year. You can also buy guys out for 33% if they get hurt… It just takes up one of those 7 keeper slots.

    You also always need at least one 3 year guy on your team. I prefer mostly one years bc I’m a scaredy cat lol.

    Sorry… Prob not the most intricate keeper system but also not the simplest. I won last year though and have most points by pretty wide margin so far. I DESPERATELY want to repeat bc no one has won twice yet and I’m one of the only 3 on-paper favorites … But as your probably know … A mediocre team can get hot in H2H and win it all.

    Thanks again and sorry that wasn’t as quick as you probably were hoping lol

    Best,
    Mike

    • I would renew Rizzo for 3 years; $35 to lock him up through age 29 is a small price and one you’ll be happy you paid given the other aging first basemen.

      I’d also three year Franco, that is provided you’ll have no shot at Arenado, Machado or Bryant.

      Bautista could be worth a 1 year depending on where he lands.

      You don’t have a price for Wade Davis, but I might be interested in him for one or three years – the long term depends on his current price.

      Other guys that i’m interested in for keepers but not sure about for how long are Russell, Kang, Sale,
      Carrasco and Iglesias would both be on the outside looking in. Maybe a one year for either if you end up packaging any of the players above away for a better keeper.

      Strasburg could be a one year option, but maybe you can package him (in the off-season) with someone like Franco for an Arenado or Machado, or with Brantley or Bautista for a younger cheaper outfielder who is ripe to breakout. Look to the bottom teams who have weak options at the #6 & #7, they are the best teams to target in 2-1 deals if they have someone worthy in their top 5.

      As for Betts, he’s on pace for a 30/25 season so not sure how much more his value will go up than right now. If someone doesn’t want to pay you for 20 home runs and 15+ stolen bases, keep him for the year and ride him through the playoffs.

      Not sure how Hanley has been in points leagues, but he’s sucking in H2H & not helping much in roto, and if that’s the case in points maybe you can flip him this year for something (anything). Same goes for Wainwright – if someone is interested and will give you something decent, consider it.

  7. Thanks for the analysis,Jim. Hanley is solid in points but that’s it. LF kind of stinks though so the decent obp/avg and counting stats from being in best lineup have made him a top 5 LF so far. Would lik to have seen some more HRs though. Could see him being waiver fodder by year’s end, but currently trying to make him a sweetener in a deal with an upton owner. Waino also seems to be coming around in points format. Averaging about 12ppg last 6 weeks. Still, if someone wants to pay for the name I’m in.

    And yeah, betts is #6 overall hitter so far. Hopefully I get kluber or price or something like that for him for the stretch run when Brantley is back. Otherwise I’ll just ride him out like we said.

    Hope you enjoyed your MDW!

    Best,
    Mike

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