More Waiver Help for Injured Studs

I know a lot of you are probably hurting. Quite a few of my teams are banged up right now. One of my playoff teams featured every single one of these guys: Paxton, Wood, Altuve, Santana, Conforto, Cespedes, Rosenthal, Brantley, and Gallo. All of them, along with countless others, have gone down for either a few games or maybe for the season. That doesn’t matter.  Now is the time we need to dig in and work the wire for players that can help replace this production.

Rhys Hoskins: Phillies
Ownership: 73% Y!, 69% ESPN

It’s probably too late to add this guy. Lucky for you he was a recommended add prior to his promotion on a previous waiver wire article and featured again shortly afterwards. There are a lot of dead leagues where most folks are out of it and not active.  I would expect him to be owned, but make sure you double-check.  Hoskins hit a bomb in 7 straight games, so you would expect that if he is out there, he won’t be for much longer.

I’m in love with Hoskins as a fantasy option.  I was a bit late to the party on this one, but I will be targeting him a lot next year and in keeper/dynasty formats.  He was a prospect coming into the year, though not as exciting or highly touted as potential Rookie of the Year winner, Cody Bellinger.  I see a lot to like from Hoskins’ minor league career numbers.  He had a great approach in the minors, and that is following him to the major league level.  There was only one time that Hoskins had a K rate above 20%.  He also always paired that with a solid walk rate, generally in the 10% range.  On top of that, he had monster power with a 29  and 38 home runs the past few seasons.  All of this has continued in his MLB debut.  He will cool off a bit at some point, but the base skills here are off the charts.  

Hoskins is now dual eligible, but first base and outfield have been so deep this year that it’s slightly possible he was overlooked.  It will be interesting to see how he finishes the year and where he will get drafted next year.  He has the makings of a fantasy stud.  Moreover, he could be a points superstar with the power upside being paired with the low Ks and aptitude for drawing walks.

Josh Bell: Pirates
Ownership: 64% Y!, 48% ESPN

This is another guy I would have expected to have a higher ownership rate. He was a reasonably hyped prospect that I was actually pretty low on.  I didn’t see the power potential and thought he was going to be more of a James Loney type, which is not particularly sexy for fantasy purposes.  The power has been there all season, but the recent batting average boost is completing the package.

Like Hoskins, Bell has an awesome approach at the plate.  His K rate is only 17.8% while his walk rate is 10.8%.  Those are some great numbers, especially for a young kid that is showing far more power upside than I thought he was capable of.  He’s another potential points league darling for this reason.  Over the past 30 days, he has an OBP well over .400, and his counting stats have been pretty good as well.  He hits too many balls on the ground (50%), and also has been a bit lucky with a 20% HR/FB rate at PNC Park, which generally favors pitchers.  Still, he’s really hot right now.  Ride the wave.  

Come January, I will argue that the 25-ish homers he’s going to hit this year might not repeat.  Even if he cools off, he should still be useful in points leagues.  He could be a great fill in for your Miggy suspension and is a fine option at CI in roto or Util in points.

Luke Weaver: Cardinals
Ownership: 35% Y!, 26% ESPN

I had mentioned Weaver in the past, and he was also a highly recommended add in this weeks waiver wire article. I didn’t do a deep dive on him because Adam Wainwright was blocking his path to a rotation spot.  now there’s a chance Weaver is just so good over the next few starts that they have no choice but to keep him in the rotation. He had a gem against the Padres this past week and draws two starts this week against the Brewers and Giants. He is still widely available on Yahoo and ESPN and I would be clamoring to add him wherever possible.

Weaver has had an ERA under 2.00 each of the last two years in the minors.  I fell in love with him last year around this time because of his strikeout potential.  His stuff doesn’t seem “wow” worthy, but he has been effective both in the minors and now the bigs. He has now logged around 60 major league innings and sports a wildly impressive 27.3% K rate thanks in part to a 94 MPH fastball.  That’s what fantasy dreams are made of, and that’s what we need to help replace losses of James Paxton and Alex Wood.  He also has a good home park and a competent enough supporting cast that have been heating up of late.  

I would be liberal with my FAAB to get him as well.  He, along with Hoskins, are the kind of difference makers you pray to find on waivers this late in the season.

Blake Snell: Rays
Ownership: 28% Y!, 20% ESPN

There might be something happening here.  August has been a really good month for Snell.  He was considered a top pitching prospect by many and came into the season very highly touted – his stuff is nasty.  His ugly season long ERA is the likely culprit of his low ownership percentage. Fantasy owners also have a tendency to quit on overhyped prospects after they disappoint once or twice.  Snell has a great pedigree, though, and there’s a chance he’s breaking out.

The big issue with Snell has always been the walk rate.  Walks are obviously a pitcher’s worst enemy as they also lead to higher pitch counts and shorter outings. Short outings also make it harder to come away with a win or quality start.  Innings are in some ways one of the most important stat a pitcher can give you; even more so in points leagues, but it also holds water in cats and roto.  

Over the past month, Snell has gotten the walks under, pardon the pun, control, down to around 6%, which is roughly half of his season long number.  His K% has stayed at a very useful 22% as well, and his FIP seems to support a potential breakout here as well, sitting at 3.24 for August.  

I would look to add Snell everywhere at this point.  Between allegedly juiced balls and injuries on top of injuries, we could all use some help bolstering our staff.  Also, there’s a chance this former 1st round draft pick is coming into his own.  If he can sustain this for the rest of the season, he will be a breakout pick for me next year.

Mike Montgomery: Cubs
Ownership: 27% Y!, 10% ESPN

This one is more for deeper leagues as well as leagues where you might be looking for a widely available two-start pitcher.  With Lester on the shelf with an injury, it is looking like Montgomery will fit that bill this coming week facing the Pirates and Brewers. The Cubs have disappointed this season, but they still have a good team which gives Montgomery some decent win potential. He picked up a win on Wednesday against a solid Reds lineup. For that reason I like his start against the Pirates, but I don’t love his second matchup.

I think Montgomery is more of a league average type pitcher. He isn’t sexy like Snell or Weaver; the strikeout percentage is just shy of 20 and he has lost some velocity, but he could have some short-term success. I like his situation this week overall and would roll him out there if I needed pitching help. What I lack in enthusiasm for Montgomery I make up for in hope for the team as a whole and think almost any two-start pitcher in a Cubs uniform warrants consideration.

Delino DeShields: Rangers
Ownership: 15% Y!, 17% ESPN

With all the injuries to stud outfielders like Bellinger, Conforto, and Cespedes, DeShields could be a useful replacement.  All of the hurt players I mentioned are sluggers, which DeShields obviously isn’t.  He has been getting regular playing time, though, with Gomez and Gallo out and has made the most of it.

Here’s what he’s done this year in August:

72 .300 12 1 3 6 9

DeShields is likely to be a non-factor in the power department.  He does have game changing speed, though. Statcast’s sprint speed chart tells us that DeShields is the 8th fastest guy in the league. He pairs that game changing speed with a solid average and run scoring opportunities. A potential 3 tool boost is a pretty good find on waivers this time of year. If your roster construction can handle the lack of power then I think this is a pretty nice add.

He should continue to play as long as Gallo and Gomez are out, and if he continues to produce at this rate, he may just stick in the lineup even when they return.  He’s only a year removed from being a borderline fantasy stud, so I would pull the trigger here.


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Mike Sheehan

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Comedian, Powerlifter, and most importantly a Cum Laude graduate of the fantasy baseball school of hard knocks. Double major in points and categories with a minor in roto. Happy to be doing my Postgraduate work here at the Fantasy Assembly.