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Waiver Wire Report: Week 4

Welcome to week four of the waiver wire report. Each week I will dig through the f/a pool to find the best potential free agents on waivers. Some are good for a quick boost, others could be good long-term additions, and there will be a few speculative adds thrown in there as well.

For the most part I will deal with hitting; my colleague Marc Goldstein will run down streamable pitching option each Sunday along with listing some of the best under-owned pitching options available. I will, though, on occasion, step on his toes if there is a pitcher that deserves some much-needed attention.

Brandon Phillips (Braves)
Available in 53% of CBS, 61% of Y! and 52% of ESPN leagues

I know the arguments: He’s 35, the power hasn’t been there the past three years, the speed has declined. But look beyond the excuses for not owning him. Phillips hit above .290 the past two years. His stolen bases were down last year, but he stole 23 in 2015. And while the power isn’t what it used to be, he did reach double digits in 2015 and 2016.

Phillips is currently hitting .315 (.333 over the past seven days). He also has a home run and four steals (in four attempts) putting him on a 10/20 pace. There is little excuse for not liking him as a middle infield option other than personal bias.

Mitch Moreland (Red Sox)
Available in 56% of CBS, 74% of Y! and 64% of ESPN leagues

I hesitated to list Moreland here last week. That may have caused some of you to miss him, but hopefully we can correct that mistake this week for the rest of you. Over the past two weeks he has done his best David Ortiz impersonation, batting .417 (20 for 48) with eight each in runs and RBIs along with a home run. We would like more power, but you can’t argue with the overall production.

Hitting in the heart of the order will keep Moreland’s counting stats plentiful, and the power will eventually come (at least 22 home runs in three of the past four seasons). Moreland has a tendency to run hot and cold, so ride this hot streak while you can.

Taylor Motter (Mariners)
Available in 87% of CBS, 88% of Y! and 93% of ESPN leagues

When Jean Segura went down, not many paid too much attention to his replacement. On the surface his production this year is easily overlooked. Motter is batting .257 with three home runs, six RBIs and seven runs scored over 35 at bats. He hit .266 in Triple-A so hitting wise – what you see is what you get. What you may not know is that Motter has 60 doubles, 27 home runs and 45 stolen bases over 836 Triple-A at bats. If you cut that in half, that gives him a 13/22 power-speed floor with room for growth.

Segura will be back next week, but the versatile Motter has played every position except second base in the minors so he could stick – not to mention there are enough slumping bats in Seattle that he can easily swipe time all around the diamond. He isn’t the best player, but if he hits for average and gains eligibility at a few more positions you’ve got a sneaky plug and play injury replacement.

Adam Frazier (Pirates)
Available in 88% of CBS and 94% of Y! and ESPN leagues

Is Adam Frazier worth a speculative add? Well, he hit .324 in Double-A (377 at bats), .333 in Triple-A (261 at bats), .403 this spring (25 for 62), and is currently hitting .297. There is no question he can hit, and he knows how to draw a walk as well and will not strike out much. The rest of his game is in question.

He showed little power in the minors, but the ISO currently stands at .159 and he did hit three home runs this spring. Is 8-10 home runs out of the question? Frazier also showed double-digit speed in the minors, but his success rate was poor. Will they give him the green light? The final question is where will he bat? We’ve seen him bat first and eighth – one of these spots (obviously) has more value than the other.

In essence, Frazier is Joe Panik with a better home park and hitting division. I’m not sure there is enough value here yet for 12-team leagues, but leagues with 14 or more teams that use a MI slot need to give him some consideration.




Aaron Hicks (Yankees)
Available in 92% of CBS, 94% of Y! and 93% of ESPN leagues

There are plenty of reasons to dismiss Hicks, but I’ll just give the reasons to consider him. He is a former first round pick. He is 27 years old – the age most batters seem to break out. And while he isn’t getting full-time at bats, he is starting to muscle them away from a slumping Brett Gardner. To top things off, Hicks has been batting second so run, RBI and stolen base chances will be there.

Over the last seven days Hicks totaled 14 at bats and responded with five hits, four of which were home runs – against three separate teams mind you. The batting average sits a few ticks below .300. He has also walked eight times compared to three strikeouts, a stark reversal of his career trend. Maybe this is the year we get to see that Hicks breakout we’ve been waiting since forever for.

Trey Mancini (Orioles)
Available in 63% of CBS, 79% of Y! and 77% of ESPN leagues

Just like Hicks above, Mancini doesn’t have a place on the field to call home. And, just like Hicks, his bat is making a case to force the team to give him one. Mancini only has 27 at bats, yet he leads the team in home runs (four), RBIs (nine) and batting average (.333). Seth Smith, Hyun-Soo Kim and Craig Gentry provide little in the way of competition for a corner outfield spot.

Those in 10 and 12 team leagues may not want to speculate, but if you don’t do it now before the Orioles make him a full-time player it will be too late. I’m not yet sure if Mancini is a long-term outfield option, but I like him enough now.

Matt Davidson (White Sox)
Available in 90% of CBS, 91% of Y! and 95% of ESPN leagues

I know; what’s the deal recommending all these players who are not receiving full-time at bats? Well, they are the most overlooked meaning you can get a jump on your competition before they become stars. OK, calling Davidson a star is pushing it, but he is hitting. He is tied with Avisail Garcia in home runs (three), and second on the team in RBIs (10) and batting average (.324). The success with the bat is already starting to translate to more time; Davidson has 21 at bats over the last seven days.

Keep in mind that batting average and strikeouts are the two things that have kept him irrelevant to date, so when you see that bottom start to fall out… RUN!

Rafael Devers (Red Sox)
Available in 81% of CBS, 98% of Y! and 99% of ESPN leagues

Is it time to start thinking about stashing Rafael Devers? Pablo Sandoval had a huge spring, but has since fallen on his face. On top of that, management has taken notices of his defensive blunders. They will deal with it if he is hitting, but if Panda isn’t hitting or fielding… well, look no further than the Hanley Ramirez outfield experiment.

As for Devers, he is currently hitting .375 over his first 40 Double-A at bats. He has a nice mix of power and speed, doesn’t strikeout out too much – the only real flaw in his game is walks. The Sox may want to take it slow, but the early promotion of Andrew Benintendi shows they will not hesitate if they think a player is ready. If Sandoval isn’t hitting come May his days at the hot corner are numbered.

Kevin Kiermaier (Rays)
* Yahoo Special – Available in 73% of leagues

Steven Souza and Corey Dickerson get all the glory with their home runs and RBIs. Kiermaier is the overlooked many in Tampa, at least by those that play in yahoo. Kiermaier leads the team in runs scored (12) and stolen bases (four) – batting second with a .366 OBP sure help things. And while he doesn’t have a home run yet, there is enough here to at least reach double-digits.

The main worry here is the batting average and strikeouts. Strikeouts lead to a drop in average; that in turn leads to a drop in the batting order, and so on and so forth. That’s just a heads up for the future. For now, if you need runs and steals this is a decent place to start. Oh, he’s available in 50% of ESPN leagues too.

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 Aaron Judge, Manuel Margot and Chris Owings will appear here. Their ownership rates are high enough that they should be owned in all competitive leagues. Cesar Hernandez also graduates after just one week here on the waiver wire.

Continue to add

  • Continue to add Steven Souza, Corey Dickerson, Ryan Zimmerman, Asdrubal Cabrera, Chase Headley, Travis Shaw.
  • Joaquin Benoit blew a save on Sunday, but he is still the closer in Philadelphia until further notice.
  • David Peralta isn’t a must add, but he’s hitting well enough to be owned.
  • Bradley Zimmer is still a quality prospect bench stash.

Hold Do not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible

  • Jayson Werth had a slow week and is dealing with a sore groin. It could be nothing or the start of the same ole same ole.
  • C.J. Cron has seen his numbers and at bats decrease. Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks.
  • Yuli Gurriel and Hernan Perez only received 10 and 11 at bats respectively last week, but each tallied four hits and a home run. There’s still hope here.
  • Add Michael Conforto to the”can a brother buy an at bat” club. Maybe the Lucas Duda injury will open things up for him?
  • Marwin Gonzalez hit a wall this week. With Gurriel (above) starting to hit, Gonzalez could see his at bats dry up.
  • Tyler Saladino continues to fade. I might give him one more week, but feel free to drop him if there are better waiver options. The Eric Thames resurgence has made Jesus Aguilar.
  • Lucas Duda is out with an elbow issue. Wait and see if you can DL him (if it is required) – we should have news in the coming days.

Drop ’em

  • I think it is safe to drop Raul Mondesi now. The slump combined with the promotion of Whit Merrifield has sunk all value here, and a demotion to Triple-A is imminent.
  • The Eric Thames resurgences has made Jesus Aguilar irrelevant. He should not be owned, but he should also not be forgotten.
  • I recommend James McCann and he throws his game right in the toilet. Just like closers, catchers are a fickle bunch. The same goes for Jason Castro (to a less extent); at least he is still getting at bats.

 

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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
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