Welcome to week 15 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.
Since we’ve hit the halfway mark I am hitting the reset button on the waiver wire.That means all previously recommended players prior to last week will be thrown back into the pool. If they are sill worthy of being added I will give them the extra attention they deserve.
Paul DeJong (Cardinals)
Available in 55% of CBS, 58% of Y!, and 72% of ESPN leagues
I recommended DeJong a few weeks ago, and your window of opportunity is closing fast. A .267 June average looks rather pedestrian, but it came with five home runs and 14 RBIs. He turned up the heat before the break batting .444 with three more homers in just 27 at bats. The average is over .300 against lefties and righties so no platoon splits. He is only a .238 hitter on the road, but the sample is small and the power is still there.
There is little chance of him coming out of the lineup now. He qualifies for both middle infield positions and third base on Yahoo. At the very least he deserves a bench role, and almost all teams have one weak bench option to jettison.
Raimel Tapia (Rockies)
Available in 83% of CBS, 92% of Y!, and 93% of ESPN leagues
With Ian Desmond on the shelf you may want to run with Tapia until he returns. The major league sample size is small, but Tapia is batting .323 for he season, .352 against righties, .422 at home, and .379 in July leading up to the break. He was hitting .359 in Triple-A with 11 steals, and last year in Triple-A he batted .346 with six steals in 104 at bats. Tapia can give you a nice boost in runs, steals and batting average. Colorado is home vs Pittsburgh this weekend if you want to give him a test drive.
Luke Voit (Cardinals)
Available in 85% of CBS, 98% of Y!, and 95% of ESPN leagues
The Cardinals have been playing Matt Carpenter at second base recently giving Voit ample opportunity to nail down the first base job. He has done little to make them regret this decision, batting .316 with five doubles and three homers in 38 at bats. He was hitting .322 with 12 homers and 23 doubles in Triple-A prior to his promotion. Last year in Double-A he hit .297 with 20 doubles and 19 home runs, so his ability to hit for average and power is no fluke.
The Cardinals are famous for developing extremely useful under the radar type players. I would not be surprised if Voit is a Top-20 first base option by seasons end. Those in need of a corner infielder may want to roll the dice here.
Josh Bell (Pirates)
Available in 43% of CBS, 70% of Y!, and 85% of ESPN leagues
The one thing every expert could agree on with Bell is that he would hit for a high average in the majors. After all, he hit above .300 from High-A on up, a span that covers 1,335 at bats. That has not been the case this year, but he may be turning the corner. Bell is 10 for 33 (.303) this month, with multi-hit games in three of his last four prior to the break. He also has only five strikeouts this month, another area he excelled at in the minors. An increase in average would raise his value tremendously considering he already has 16 home runs.
Bell is well hidden on the waiver wire due to his .239 average, but once that reaches the .250 range people will start to take notice. You may want to get in early before it’s too late.
Clint Frazier (Yankees)
Available in 40% of CBS, 71% of Y!, and 73% of ESPN leagues
I hesitated on recommended Frazier when he first got the call. He was on a two-week slide in the minors and I predicted struggles early on. So far he has three home runs, eight RBIs and a .292 average in 24 at bats. I would feel better recommending him if I knew what the Yankees had planned when Matt Holliday returned this weekend. I know Holliday rarely plays in the outfield now, primarily a DH. But if the team slides Holliday over to first base, slots the slumping Jacoby Ellsbury at DH, then Frazier has a clear path for playing time.
This will become a little more complex once Aaron Hicks returns from the DL. You can pick up Frazier now, or wait until Holliday returns and see how things play out. Either way, add him to your watch list and act accordingly.
Byron Buxton (Twins)
Available in 66% of CBS, 76% of Y!, and 87% of ESPN leagues
We are now in year three of what has been a disappointing start to Buxton’s career. I’m actually surprised his ownership is as high as it is considering the numbers. Since the beginning of July Buxton has quietly started hitting, going 11 for 29 (.379) with a home run and three steals. He also has just seven strikeouts giving him a strikeout percentage a few ticks below 25 percent – that’s a huge accomplishment for him.
Maybe it is just a hot streak, or maybe… just maybe, Buxton is slowly (and finally) figuring things out. He should be monitored closely in 12-team leagues, and might be worth a speculative add in larger leagues.
Jesus Aguilar (Brewers)
Available in 95% of CBS, 97% of Y!, and 98% of ESPN leagues
All year I’ve been saying that all Aguilar needs is an opportunity. With Keon Broxton in a major funk and Hernan Perez pushed back to a super utility bench role, could we see more of Eric Thames in the outfield and Aguilar at first base moving forward? Pure speculation on my part, but it could happen.
He has made the most of every at bat so far, hitting nine home runs with a .296 average over 170 at bats. The average hasn’t been below .280 since the middle of May, and he has the highest average on the team against lefties (.367) and on the road (.346). He also shows power against both hands. Should Aguilar receive more playing time he could be a sneaky sleeper pick in the second half. Monitor things here closely.
Pitching Stream of the Week
Jhoulys Chacin (Padres)
Available in 59% of CBS, 79% of Y!, and 81% of ESPN leagues
Upcoming Opponents: vs SF (Sat) @SF (Thurs)
Next week: vs NYM (Tues), vs Pittsburgh (Sun)
I recommended Chacin as a potential long-term addition a few weeks ago. Apparently my words fell on deaf ears, or most of you are bias (as was I) due to his less than impressive track record. Well, in the last three starts Chacin allowed a total of three earned runs over 18.1 innings, recording two wins, two quality starts, and 16 strikeouts. For those of you who hesitated, squat or get off the pot.
Chacin is a machine at home (1.68 ERA, 0.92 WHIP), with Colorado being the only team to score more than two runs (three earned over six innings). He even has quality starts in his two most recent road games against the Phillies and Cubs, and has held teams to two or fewer runs in seven of his last 10. Given the opponentsm, there is no better time to own Chacin than now.
Anibal Sanchez (Tigers)
Available in 74% of CBS, 94% of Y! and ESPN leagues
Upcoming Opponents: vs Tor (Sun), @MIN (Fri), vs KC (Wed)
If the name Jhoulys Chacin turns you off, there is no way you would consider streaming Sanchez, right? I can’t blame you, but I wouldn’t recommend him if I wasn’t willing to roster him myself. Since returning from the minors Sanchez, has been a different pitcher. He now has three straight quality starts with one walk, zero home runs, and 18 strikeouts over 18.1 innings. Granted, San Diego and San Francisco are easy matchups, but he also defeated Cleveland.
None of his next three opponents rank in the top-half of the league offensively for the season. Minnesota has made a little noise in July, but playing in the dome should neutralize some of that. Overall I see little reason Sanchez shouldn’t come away from each of these matchups with (at least) a quality start. I would not even rule out the potential of him returning to 2013-2014 form. That may be stretching it, but you never know.
For those of you forced to play the waiver wire.
I will stand behind my previous recommendation to roster both Manny Pina and Stephen Vogt. Since arriving in Milwaukee Vogt has four home runs in 22 at bats along with a .273 average. During that same span Pina has a .286 average (.287 for the season) and a home run. If you have daily moves and an extra bench slot I would own both and play whoever is starting each night. Combined you could get top-5 catcher production for the second half.
Another duo to consider would be Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki in Atlanta. Many dismiss Flowers due tot he time share and limited power (six homers), even though he’s batting over .300. Suzuki is on the wrong end of the time share, also has limited power (seven homers), and is batting .250.Individually they are nothing to look at, but together they have power (wonder twins power, Activate!)
Combine their lines and you get 13 home runs, 52 RBIs, 47 runs scored, and a batting average north of .275. Putting that into perspective, they are tied for second in home runs, second in RBIs, and first in runs scored. If you’ve been streaming the catcher position all year, it’s time to start thinking outside the box.
Previous Waiver Wire Recommendations
This is the last week Starling Marte will appear here. His ownership rate is over 70% everywhere 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 Orlando Arcia and Carlos Gomez.
The average bottomed out since I last recommended Randal Grichuk, but he did crack a couple of homers before the break.
Hold – Do not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible
Stephen Piscotty slumped right after I recommended him. I still like him for the second half, though, so continue to monitor him weekly.
The hot streak appears to be over for Curtis Granderson. Drop him if there is someone better, but give him another week if the waiver wire is thin.
That five game run from Jason Hammel was fun while it lasted.
Need more waiver wire recommendations and free agent pick-ups, check out Fantasy Rundown daily for that and more.