Welcome to week-5 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 on ESPN and Yahoo). 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.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario
He wasn’t given much thought this preseason – a replacement level player at best. Over the past two weeks he has been a top-10 hitter batting .354 along with 4 homers, 9 RBI and 11 runs scored. A quick look at his plate discipline and batted ball profile reveal solid numbers across the board. There is little to suggest he cannot sustain his current .290 average (or close to it) or match the 18 home runs he hit in 2017 between the majors and minors. He is also hitting second so the runs will be plentiful. There will be struggles, but it appears Candelario is a solid long-term pickup for fantasy owners.
- C Kurt Suzuki
I can see doubting Suzuki in 2017, but the guy has carried things over to 2018 with a .333 season average (.371 over the past two weeks). He has 4 home runs (tied for third), 12 RBI (fifth) and 11 runs scored (third), yet his ownership doesn’t reflect that. Yes, he doesn’t receive full-time at bats, but he is producing better numbers than those who are. Maybe when Tyler Flowers returns from the DL they can reproduce the dynamic-duo tandem from 2017. That’s down the road. For now Suzuki needs to be owned, even in 10-team formats!
- OF Leonys Martin
I recommended Martin two weeks ago, but apparently some of you (OK, all of you) didn’t get the memo. Since that time he has hit .295, knocked 3 home runs, driven in 8, and scored 11. For the season he is ranked 25 on Yahoo and 22 on the ESPN player rater among outfielders – with an availability over 80%. He is showing the same walk, strikeout and contact rate we saw in 2014 when he hit .274, albeit with a slightly elevated hard hit rate and an ISO over .200 (good for power). A few less fly balls would be nice (and some stolen bases), but until this new approach becomes an issue Martin should be rolled out on a regular basis. I’m not only an advocate, I am also an owner.
- OF David Dahl
With Carlos Gonzalez on the DL Dahl should see somewhat regular at bats for the next few weeks or so. He has hit safely in his first four games, even batting cleanup. The former first round pick had a successful debut in 2016, but injuries and opportunities limited him last year. Since some fantasy owners have the mind of a goldfish, forgetting his impressive resume and moving onto the next shiny trinket, he may just be available. This may only be temporary, but if Dahl impresses the Rockies will have an interesting dilemma once Cargo returns.
- OF Mac Williamson
To be honest I’m not sure what to make of Williamson. The 27-year-old hit well in the low minors, but struggled between Double-A and the majors since 2015. We’ve seen glimpses of power, walk potential and contact skills, but rarely all at the same time – until this year. He got off to a scorching hot start in Triple-A this year batting .489 (19 for 39) with 3 doubles, 6 home runs and 13 RBI. Since being recalled he has hit safely in each game, launching 3 more bombs over six games with a .316 average. An unlucky BABIP and poor line drive rate should improve, and with a stronger contact and hard hit rate we could see sustained production. The sample size is small, but it is encouraging. Williamson could be a one week/month wonder, but the underlying improvements suggest he could be a long-term add. Time will tell.
- OF Jacoby Jones
There are too many outfield options available on waivers in 12-team leagues for owners to consider JaCoby Jones. For 15-team leagues, though, he might deserve some attention. Jones doesn’t have much of a resume, major or minor. The batting average is spotty, and he has just enough power and speed to crack double-digits in each. Strikeouts have been one of his biggest issues, but this year his percentage is at a manageable 24.1%. Walks have also improved (6.9%), the GB% is below 40 for the first time, the hard hit rate is an ungodly 50%, and he is showing improved contact skills. He is batting .289 over the past two weeks (.275 for the season) and has a pair of homers and a stolen base over the last seven days. Another week like that and he could enter the 12-team conversation.
- OF Michael Taylor
A .286 average over the past two weeks has raised his season total to .224. He has also kicked in 2 home runs, 12 runs scored and 5 stolen bases (9 for the season) over that time.Taylor still strikes out too much and the contact hasn’t improved giving little hope to the batting average (a big issue for his career). An ISO, hard hit rate and fly ball percentage in line with 2015-16 suggest a low double-digit home run total as a best case scenario. However, with a walk rate about 10 percent for the first time in the majors he could easily surpass his career high 17 steals – maybe even my the end of May. With the exception of 2017 Taylor has only been good in spurts – like now.
This is the last week Marcus Semien 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
- Nick Pivetta,Tyson Ross, Eduardo Rodriguez, C.J. Cron, Mark Canha, Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis should all be owned right now.
- Bartolo Colon goes today at Toronto. I’m one of the few supporters, but a few more rough outing could change that.
- Kevin Pillar had an off week, but I’m sticking with him as an add.
- Curtis Granderson has been downgraded due to playing time, but he is still hitting which makes him a deeper league add. Ditto that for Steve Pearce.
HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)
- Preston Tucker is starting to see some bench time and is very close to being waiver fodder. Brian Anderson is not losing at bats, but a 9 for 42 two-week stretch has him in danger of joining Tucker.
- Colin Moran does just enough to trick you into thinking he is heating up and preventing you from dropping him. Like Tucker and Anderson he is wearing out his welcome.
- Stephen Piscotty did an about-face after appearing here last week. I’d probably drop him, but I’ll temporarily list him as a hold. The same goes for Mallex Smith who saw his value rise due to three consecutive multi-hit games. There are better adds right above.
- I get the feeling Eduardo Escobar will hover between add and hold all season given his hot/cold ways. His eligibility is the true value (2B/3B/SS).
- Brandon Drury (on rehab assignment) is still a DL stash, but playing time could dictate his future upon return.
- Yonder Alonso was listed as a drop last week, but I did receive a few questions regarding him. I stand by the drop despite the few home runs the past seven days.
- Luis Valbuena goes from add to drop in just one week. That is the danger of limited plate appearances from a part-time player.
- Over the past two weeks Derek Dietrich is 8 for 50 with just 2 RBI, Jose Pirela is 11 for 54 with just one steal, both Amed Rosario and Joe Mauer have an empty 7 for 31, and Howie Kendrick is 10 for 44 with 2 homers and 3 RBI. Rosario is the only watch list worth player of the group.
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