Welcome to week eight of the waiver wire report. Each week I will dig through the f/a pool to find the best potential free agents on waivers (under 50% ownership). 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.
Justin Smoak (Blue Jays)
Available in 80% of ESPN and 65% of Yahoo and CBS leagues
Yonder Alonso, Logan Morrison, and now Justin Smoak – the waiver wire has seen a number of former no-name first basemen shoot up the rankings and exceed expectations. He is batting .280 on the season and .291 in May. He has five home runs this month (nine for the season) along with 15 RBIs and 13 runs scored in 55 at bats.
The career high ISO, elite hard hit rate, improved contact and strikeout percentage under 20 says this is no smoke show. This might be a good place to look for those that lost Freddie Freeman for the next six weeks.
Justin Bour (Marlins)
Available in 66% of CBS and 85% of Y! and ESPN leagues
My favorite preseason sleeper is starting to come around. He is batting .313 in May with four home runs. Just as important is the fact he is batting .261 against lefties putting to rest those platoon issues everyone had. He is on pace for a 20+ home runs season, and now that the bat is coming around we should see him hitting fifth more often leading to more RBI opportunities. This is a more under the radar replacement for Freeman, but he won’t be hidden much longer.
Available in 71% of CBS, 81% of Y! and 87% of ESPN leagues
Honestly, this did not start out as a “how do I replace Freddie Freeman” edition of the waiver wire. I let the hot bats speak for themselves, and it just so happens that first base is hot right now. Valencia is sporting an unimpressive .244 average for the season hiding him in plain sight on waivers.
For the month of May he is batting .322 with three home runs and 11 RBIs over 59 at bats. He is also crushing lefties for those looking for a platoon partner. In 2015 and 2016 he showed us he can hit for average and power in a large park; it just took him a month to get acclimated to his new surroundings. This is another Freeman replacement, and Valencia also qualifies for third base and outfield giving him extra value.
Josh Bell (Pirates)
Available in 43% of CBS, 64% of Y! and 87% of ESPN leagues
I might as well continue the first base theme with Josh Bell. Like Valencia, the .246 batting average puts Bell on the low-end of the spectrum. Over the past two weeks he is batting .273 with five home runs, 10 RBIs and nine runs scored. He is also on a six game hitting streak. He is still a work in progress, but everyone thought highly of him last season.
Bell will not be a top-tier first base option, but he will provide steady production and is a nice stop-gap option with upside and potential.
Deep League Additions
Jesus Aguilar (Brewers)
Available in 96% of CBS, Y! and ESPN leagues
I recommended Aguilar very early in the season when it looked like Thames would not last. I was wrong about Thames, but I wasn’t wrong about Aguilar – just maybe a bit early. He is batting .375 this month with three home runs, 12 RBIs and eight runs scored over 32 at bats. With Thames out the past few days he has gotten a chance to shine, and even if Thames returns tonight he could shift to the outfield with Braun on the sideline.
It’s harder to replace Freeman in a deeper league. If the more popular choices are already rostered, maybe rolled the dice here.
Wilmer Flores (Mets)
Available in 95% of CBS, Y! and ESPN leagues
Flores has made a strong case for playing time this month batting .389 with just three strikeouts over 36 at bats. With Cabrera on the DL, Duda back but swinging a cold bat, and Reyes starting to cool a bit, the opportunity is there for playing time. The down side is Flores doesn’t have a set place in the batting order so runs and RBIs are hard to forecast. The positive is he qualifies for first, second and third base so he makes a nice plug and play option for deeper leagues.
Calib Joseph and Welington Castillo (Orioles)
Joseph is available in 95% of CBS, Yahoo and ESPN leagues
Castillo is available in 50% of Yahoo and 79% of ESPN leagues
Joseph is batting .284 on the season and .333 over 45 at bats so far in May. Castillo is batting .350 on the season and is hitting both lefties and righties. Castillo is the starter, but the recent emergence of Joseph has push things into a time-share situation. If you already own Castillo I would roster Joseph as well and play whoever is starting. If both are available I would make room as their combined numbers could add up to top-10 catcher numbers.
Minor League Stash
Amed Rosario (Mets)
Available in 60% of CBS, 90% of Y! and 94% of ESPN leagues
The recent promotions of Jose Berrios, Ian Happ, and Bradley Zimmer goes to show it’s never too early to stash a prospect. With Asdrubal Cabrera on the DL and Rosario raking, could he be next. Currently Rosario is batting .365 with 16 extra base hits and eight stolen bases. Last year in 479 at bats across two levels he hit over .300 with 42 extra base hits and 19 steals. I don’t know how much Terry Collins would play him, but the bat is ready.
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.
This is the last week Aaron Altherr, Yonder Alonso, Keon Broxton and Hernan Perez will appear here. Their ownership rates are high enough that they should be owned in all competitive leagues. If they are available in your league – Last Call!
Continue to add
- Continue to add Tim Beckham,Tommy Joseph, Domingo Santana, David Peralta, Ben Gamel and Leury Garcia.
- T.J. Rivera had an off week but was hot prior – have faith.
- If you didn’t stash Bradley Zimmer and Jose Berrios prior to this week you need to get them now before it’s too late.
- Michael Taylor now has consecutive seven-hit weeks with a home run. I’m still skeptical, but maybe he’s finally figuring things out?
- Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada and Franklin Barreto Jose should be stashed now prior to their call up.
Hold – Do not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible
- Kolten Wong and Jose Reyes are hitting, but it’s an empty batting average. Maybe in deeper leagues they’ll have a little more value.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit the DL last week. Stash him if you can, but drop him if your DL is full and you have no bench room.
- Trea Mancini and Jayson Werth are both running hot and cold. You take the good with the bad here.
- Lucas Duda had an unimpressive first week back. I want to say hold, but cut him loose if there is something better on waivers.
- Mitch Moreland is officially waiver fodder – we knew this day was coming.
- Steven Souza did hit a home run last week, but that is the only good thing he has done in the past 21 days.
- The same goes for Brandon Phillips – 21 days of zero production from a sinking name-brand product. You can pick him up later in the season if he gets hot again.
Need more waiver wire recommendations and free agent pick-ups, check out Fantasy Rundown daily for that and more.