Welcome to week 19 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.
Derek Dietrich (Marlins)
Available in 96% of CBS, 95% of Y!, and 98% of ESPN leagues
This is why you need to ignore the season long number this late in the season and concentrate on weekly and monthly totals.Over the past two weeks Dietrich is batting .302 with three home runs, nine RBI, and six runs scored. He recorded hits in every August game until Wednesday, and still managed to score a run in that game on a walk. He is playing every day, qualifies for second and third base, and depending on your eligibility rules could also qualify for first base and outfield. Dietrich makes a handy plug and play option while he is hitting.
Ketel Marte (Diamondbacks)
Available in 90% of CBS, 98% of Y!, and 97% of ESPN leagues
He was robbed of a job this preseason, tore up the minors with little recognition, and when finally promoted he was lucky to get a spot start. Now, with Chris Owings on the shelf, Marte will be the regular shortstop moving forward. Marte hit .338 at Triple-A with six homers, seven steals, and a .389 OBP. Just last year many considered him a sleeper when he was in Seattle. Could Marte have a Jean Segura type impact? I would not rule it out, albeit with a little less power and speed.
Jarrett Parker (Giants)
Available in 98% CBS, Y! and ESPN leagues
The Giants need offense in the outfield, and this week Parker has answered the call. He is 10 for 24 (.417) in August with a homer and eight RBI. He has a decent minor league track record in Triple-A showing a solid average, 20 home run pop, and enough speed to steal 10 bases. However, he fail to display any of that last season after impressing during his 2015 cup of coffee. Parker is 28 so he’s not a kid anymore and the prospect tag no longer applies. He could be a late bloomer and this could be the beginning of something. Then again, he could fall on his face next week. Keep a close eye on him.
Eddie Rosario (Twins)
Available in 85% of CBS, 95% of Y!, and 94% of ESPN leagues
I see this as more of a solid option than a player you count on for a hot streak. For the season Rosario is batting .288 with 14 home runs, four steals, and 40 RBI. Not the type of numbers that impress; they leave you wanting and always looking for someone better. Still, they are solid nonetheless. He is also, like most players featured here, on a hot streak with a .333 average and three home runs over the past seven days. As a fourth outfielder you can do much worse than Rosario, and maybe this hot streak will continue for another week or so.
Jose Pirela (Padres)
Available in 87% of CBS, 92% of Y!, and 91% of ESPN leagues
He was hot when first promoted, cooled down some, and is now picking things up again. The .298 season average is nice, but the .342 with three home runs over the past two weeks is even better. Pirela can hit lefties (.271) and righties (.306) as well as home (.284) and away (.311), and his power comes regardless of the hand or venue. I would not use him in the outfield, but at second base or as a middle infield he makes a nice under the radar pickup.
Rhys Hoskins (Phillies)
Available in 72% of CBS, 89% of Y!, and 96% of ESPN leagues
Hoskins made his debut for the Phillies last night, and to the surprise of many, he played left field. Prior to his promotion Hoskins batted .284 with 24 doubles, 29 home runs, and 91 RBI in 401 Triple-A at bats. He hit for a similar average and power last year at Double-A showing consistency, and erasing some doubt that his 2016 power surge was a fluke.
At first I was skeptical of the promotion.The team still had Tommy Joseph, and while he has been a disappointment he hasn’t been all bad. Joseph hits righties adequately (.255), is decent at home (.270), hit .300 and .281 in May and July respectively, and shows power against both hands.I assumed some sort of timeshare, but Hoskins playing left field give the Phillies a way to get his bat in the lineup while giving Joseph a chance to continue working on his hitting – possibly increasing his trade value going into the offseason.
My hesitation regarding how many at bats Hoskins would receive left me out in the cold in several leagues, but I own him in my keeper and dynasty league so I can live with that.
Keon Broxton (Brewers)
Available in 56% of CBS, 69% of Y!, and 83% of ESPN leagues
The batting average for Domingo Santana continues to drop while Broxton is seeing positive regression. Granted he has only hit .241 the past two weeks, but that’s a far cry better than the .216 he was sitting at just one week ago. The average is never gong to be pretty, but as long as it is in the .240 range that will play given his power and speed. Broxton is the new Melvin Upton – you accept the bad average because he fills the counting stats nicely. He’s also hitting .100 points higher than his teammate Santana over the past two weeks for those looking for a slight boost.
C.J. Cron (Angels)
Available in 93% of CBS, 91% of Y!, and 98% of ESPN leagues
It feels like every week I am discussing an Angles player or Mike Scioscia. With Cron I get to kill two birds with one stone. He is back in the good graces of Scioscia after hitting .290 in limited July at bats, and is 10 for 26 (.385) with three home runs and eight RBI in August. Cron is good for a few streaks a year, and since he has been dormant all season we could see one nice long stretch.
I consider Cron the Justin Bour of the American League, and on any other team he might be given more of a chance to prove himself against lefties like Bour. This year he has done fairly well in limited at bats in both average and power so maybe he’ll get more opportunities moving forward. Then again, one 0-4 night against a lefty will put him back in the dog house on planet Scioscia.
Brent Honeywell (Rays)
Available in 70% of CBS, 92% Y!, and 96% of ESPN leagues
This is a complete dart throw as there has been no indication he will get the call, but it’s one worth taking if you have the bench spot. Honeywell appears to have struggled over the first three months, but a good portion of that was due to a .380 BABIP. His 2.69 xFIP is more indicative of the type of pitcher you can expect. Honeywell posted a 1.23 ERA in July with 31 strikeouts over 22 innings and has continued to pitch strong into August.
He has already matched his innings from last year so it is a question of how much past that Tampa want to extend him. The Rays are still hanging in the wild card race, and how close they are if/when Honeywell gets the call will determine if he’s a starter, bullpen arm, or just put on hold until 2018. I hesitated on Hoskins because I thought he would not start; I will not make the same mistake here.
For those of you forced to play the waiver wire.
I will keep repeating the fact that owning the catcher combo of Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers is more beneficial than owning almost any single catcher. You rarely see one being subbed for another mid-game so you get the numbers for whoever starts. Combined they are hitting .285 with 21 home runs, 70 RBI, and 58 runs scored. Those totals are first or tied for first among catchers. They also surpass the 400 at bat mark, something no single catcher has done.
Tucker Barnhart has been drawing the majority of starts in Cincinnati and hit .333 with a home run this past week. He’s basically doing what he did last year. That means nothing special, but an extended hot streak build off this past week could be a boost for fantasy teams.
Kevan Smith is an interesting name to watch. He’s batting .277 for the season with six homers in 177 at bats. Offensively he has pulled away from teammate Omar Narvaez batting .321 with a pair of home runs the past two weeks. He has limited pop, and his Triple-A average is nothing special, but he did hit .282 or higher at every other level.
Manny Pina had a one week slump but is still batting .292 over the past 30 days – no power, but he’s hitting.
Lightly owned Alex Avila could see a boost in playing time should Willson Contreras require a DL trip due to his pulled hamstring. Like his former teammate McCann, Avila can be useful in stretches, but he wasn’t hitting well before being shipped to Chicago so don’t run out and grab him just yet.
The James McCann train may be coming off the tracks. He hit .235 over the past seven days and John Hicks stole 10 at bats. With Hicks batting .313 we could see a shift in playing time or a flat-out timeshare. Christian Vazquez is also back to being a part-time backstop with the return of Sandy Leon so you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Previous Waiver Wire Recommendations
This is the last week Joey Gallo will appear here. His ownership rate is over 50% everywhere and he should be owned in all competitive leagues. If he is still available in your league – Last Call!
Continue to add Garardo Parra, Josh Bell, Carlos Gomez, Matt Chapman, Cesar Hernandez, Wilmer Difo and Jhoulys Chacin.
Ozzie Albies arrived, but didn’t hit right out of the gate. These are the risks we take with youngsters. Continue to add, but monitor his day to day stats. Fellow Rookie, Dominic Smith, will be promoted today – hopefully you added him in advance.
Bradley Zimmer, Manuel Margot and Marcus Semien are in a week-long slump – give them a chance to hit their way out of it. The same goes for Cory Spangenberg, but he could lose playing time if he doesn’t step it up. Shin-Soo Choo is also in a slump, but he has been on again, off again all season.
A left thumb bruise has halted the production for Lucas Duda. Monitor the situation and add/hold/drop accordingly.
HOLD – Do not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible
Maikel Franco avoids the drop column after hitting .280 over the past seven days with a homer. Ditto that for Orlando Arcia and his 11-25 week with a pair of homers. And the same goes for Nick Williams with an 8-20 performance. Even though they are hitting, the cold streak prior to this should not be forgotten.
The arrival of Yonder Alonso could negate the fantasy value of Danny Valancia. If he doesn’t draw more than one start through the weekend he’s gone.
As I feared, Kaleb Cowart had the day off after each hittless night. It’s tough being on team Scioscia.
That’s two poor weeks in a row for Ben Gamel and Jose Reyes. Start looking for alternates as we enter the stretch run. The same goes for Randal Grichuk who is now 7-42 over the past two weeks.
Matt Davidson hits the DL with a right wrist contusion. If you have the DL room stash him; otherwise toss him back.
Byron Buxton isn’t hitting great since returning from the DL, but he did steal two bases which signifies hope. Personally I would move on, but I’ve never been a big fan of his.
Stephen Piscotty was demoted to the minors and is not worth being owned in 27% of Yahoo leagues. Clint Frazier is 13 for 64 over a three week stretch. Even if you have a DL spot I’m not sure he’s worth holding. With a 2-25 performance over the past seven days, Nick Castellanos is now 20 for 101 over the past 30. He does have six homers, but that’s the only thing he has contributed.
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