Fantasy Baseball

Waiver Wire Report: Week 11

Welcome to week 11 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.

Carlos Beltran (Astros)
Available in 47% of CBS, 59% of Y!, and 63% of ESPN leagues

Beltran was just waiting for the summer sun to heat up his bat. Over the past two weeks he is hitting .295 with four home runs, 10 RBIs and 11 runs scored. In just one short week he is halfway to matching his counting stats for the month of May. I expect this streak to continue for a while, and with the Astros heating up as a team I foresee high run and RBI totals. In leagues that start four or more outfielders Beltran should not be on waivers.

Yuli Gurriel (Astros)
Available in 69% of CBS, 71% of Y!, and 72% of ESPN leagues

After a hot April things went south in a hurry; Gurriel batted .200 in May. Since the calendar turn we’ve started to see the guy who appeared on many sleeper lists in March. This month he is 8-20 at the plate with two home runs, eight RBIs and five runs scored.He is still having issues against lefties and at home, but against righties (.314) and on the road (.330) he is money.

There are still some hot first basemen out there (Valencia, Duda, Joseph), but if they are gone you could do worse than turning to Gurriel for your corner infield slot.

Joe Mauer (Twins)
Available in 87% of CBS, 94% of Y!, and 90% of ESPN leagues

Every year at one point or another I need to make the obligatory Mauer is hot reference. We always dismiss him, and after a .225 April it’s easy to see why nobody has noticed his recent production. Mauer batted .346 in May and is batting .306 in June. He is also batting .313 against righties, .300 on the road, and a respectable .278 at home. You will not get much power, just a high batting average with double-digit run and RBI totals. That could plug a hole in deeper leagues for owners that lost Justin Bour this week.

Melky Cabrera (White Sox)
Available in 51% of CBS, 60% of Y!, and 48% of ESPN leagues

Speaking of old and reliable. We tend to overlook, even dismiss Melky, because we are either looking for upside or are not impressed with his average production. Since 2014 he has scored 81, 70, 70 runs, driven in 73, 77, 86 runs, and batted .301, .273, .296. Yes, he will only hit between 12 and 16 homers, but he will produce in the other three fantasy relevant categories.

Over the past two weeks he is batting .304 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. You can’t predict when he will have a hot streak, all you can do is attempt to take advantage when you see one. And if he goes 2-22 next week, just relax – I’m sure he’ll make up for things the following week. The most underappreciated fourth outfielder in fantasy.

Lucas Duda (Mets)
Available in 57% of CBS, 75% of Y!, and 76% of ESPN leagues

I try not to double up on players, but since I recommended Duda back in week 3 I think it is more than acceptable to go back to the well. Besides, since my initial recommendation it has been a roller coaster ride for Duda. For the season he is batting .273 or higher at home, away, and against righties. The power is primarily against righties (8 of 10), but is split home and away.

In seven June starts he is 9 for 24 with four multi-hit games (against three different teams), two doubles, two homers. With 10 home runs he is one-third of the way to 30 with just one-third of the season gone. I know Duda can be frustrating to own sometimes, but his ownership levels are way too low.

Matt Adams (Braves)
Available in 64% of CBS, 86% of Y!, and 88% of ESPN leagues

To be honest, I don’t know if Adams qualifies as an add or not. He was highly thought of when he came up in St Louis, but a few untimely slumps combined with an excess of talent equals a lot of bench and backup duty. Now in Atlanta, Adams gets a fresh start and a chance at regular at bats filling in for Freddie Freeman.

Since his arrival he is batting .269 with six home runs and 15 RBIs. Four of those homers and 11 RBIs have come in the past two weeks. The batting average for the season is .278, but he is batting .297 against righties. Maybe he just needed a change of scenery. Like I said, I don’t know if Adams is someone you need, but he is someone to watch closely.

Deep League Additions
Available in at least 90% of CBS, Y! and ESPN Leagues

Jordy Mercer (Pirates)

Mercer has never been a batting average guy, he doesn’t steal bases, the pop in his bat is limited. That means the only time to own him is when he goes on a hot streak – and against righties (.311). So far in April he is batting .375 (9 for 24) with three doubles and a couple runs.

He is usually good for two home runs a month so you haven’t missed the power. He is also usually good for double-digit run and RBI totals so you’re getting in on the ground floor here too. Finally, for the past three years Mercer has produced two months each year with a batting average over .300. Ride the June hot streak.

Jose Pirela (Padres)

Who? I know, a 27-year-old career minor leaguer with a limited power/speed ceiling that has only received a few tastes of the majors isn’t the type of guy we normally look at. Could it be that Pirela is a late bloomer?

Prior to his promotion Pirela was batting .331 with 10 doubles, three triple, 12 home runs, and was 8 for 11 in stolen base attempts. His .304 ISO is nearly double anything he has produced since 2008. And the average, while PCL influenced, was not BABIP inflated (.331 BABIP). Pirela has played second base an outfield so far, but he has experience all over the diamond. He could be to the Padres what Hernan Perez was to the Brewers last year.

Franchy Cordero (Padres)

While Cordero doesn’t give me the same warm fuzzy feeling that Pirela did, he still could have the same sneaky type of fantasy impact. He has hit for a decent average from A+ to AAA (.274 and higher) and shows enough pop and speed to reach double-digits in both categories. The two negative aspects to his game are walks and strikeouts – he is allergic to one and a magnet for the other.

Prior to his promotion Cordero was batting .289 with five doubles, seven triples, seven homers, and eight stolen bases. He is hitting for average so far over 11 games, and if that continues full-time at bats should follow. Deeper leagues should give him a look.

Catcher Streams

Mike Zunino is 8-18 this month with three home runs. He is also batting .306 at home for those playing the home/road splits. Tyler Flowers continues to get overlooked due to the lack of power. Lefty/righty, home/away, month to month, all you see is a .300 plus batting average. Alex Avila and Russell Martin are also hitting well, but they are closing in on that 50% ownership plateau on Yahoo and ESPN.

Those in two-catcher formats may want to take a one week flyer on Elias Diaz while Francisco Cervelli is on the shelf. Marin Maldonado is putting up his best batting average since his rookie year and should be owned in this format. Jason Castro hit .296 over the past two weeks with a pair of homers. It’s either a hot streak or a potential turn-around. Either way it may be worth jumping on him.

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 Domingo Santana will appear here. His ownership rate is over 50% and he should be owned in all competitive leagues. If he is still available in your league – Last Call!

Continue to add

Continue to add Bradley Zimmer, Hunter Renfroe,Ben Gamel, Danny Valencia, Kevin Kiermaier, Max Kepler, Lucas Duda, Tommy Joseph, Tim Beckham, Didi Gregorius, Jed Lowrie, Whit Merrifield and Leury Gacia.

Wilmer Flores graduates to mixed league relevance with additional at bats now that he has (unofficially) replaced Jose Reyes at third.

Neil Walker is still and add, but he is dealing with knee stiffness so monitor his progress.

Michael Taylor and Josh Bell had an off week, but two of their four hits cleared the wall. Logan Morrison also had an off week, but don’t let that sway you – he does have 16 homers.

Tommy Pham showed signs last week of that impending collapse we’ve been waiting for. He could go from add to drop in the blink of an eye.

Eric Sogard is still a deep league add. I still feel the same way about Ben Revere even if the results have not shown up in the score-sheets. Chad Pinder was a deep league add, but one more bad week and you can probably move on.

Amed Rosario, Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada and Franklin Barreto should be stashed now prior to their call up.

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

Asdrubal Cabrera still seems to be working out the kinks after his DL stint. Stay strong.

David Peralta, Adam Frazier and Tim Anderson have slowed to the point they should not be added, but have not slumped long enough to warrant a drop.

Kolten Wong should be back this weekend, but I’m sure most owners have found a suitable replacement on waivers. Hold only if you really need middle infield help. The same goes for Mike Napoli except for corner infielders – he was 3-20 prior to placed on the DL.

Trey Mancini is hot one week and cold the next, meaning he is an add, hold, or drop at any given time. Because of this I will remove him and he will no longer appear here.

Drop ’em

Lewis Brinson has gone from minor league stash to drop candidate. The (brief) promotion of  Brett Phillips establishes a pecking order for promotion. Not only that, both Phillips and Brinson will need a major injury or trade to make an impact worthy of stashing them.

Jose Reyes is not only slumping, he is slowing being replaced by Wilmer Flores. We’ll revisit Reyes later in the year if he turns things around.


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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.