2018 Waiver Wire Report: Week 21

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 – CBS and Fantrax are higher due to more keeper leagues). 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. Be sure to check out the previously recommended section as there are a number of under-owned players that should still be available in your league.

  • Logan Forsythe

Again, Hunter Denson’s Stock Watch article and I have crossed paths. I’ll let you click over and read Hunter’s analysis. For those too lazy here is the cliff notes version. In August Forsythe is batting .415 (22 for 53) with 7 multi-hit games, 8 each in runs and RBI and 1 stolen base. If you  are looking for power or speed then look elsewhere. However, if you just want a strong batting average to slot into your MI slot then grab Forsythe while he is raking.

  • Harrison Bader

Bader is getting an extended look for 2019. His current extrapolated line seems on par with what he did in 2016 and 2017. The strikeout rate continues to grow, but he is also drawing more free passes. Currently Bader is batting .286 with 9 home runs, 12 stolen bases, 23 RBI and 47 runs scored. In the month of August he is batting .365 with 3 home runs, 3 stolen bases, 8 RBI, and 13 runs scored – close to one-third his entire production over a two-week period. He hit .270 or higher at every level so there is no question he can be at least an average bat. He also averaged 20 home runs and 14 stolen bases so he is a nice power/speed player; that’s something we all love in fantasy. If Bader has finally figured out how to produce in the majors he could be a solid long-term addition.

  • Nick Williams

I recommended Williams a few weeks ago after a strong July. Well, you may not have listened to me then, but you better now because Williams hasn’t slowed down. To refresh your memory, Williams batted .311 with 5 home runs, 13 RBI and 11 runs scored in July. So far in August he is hitting .300 with 10 RBI and 11 runs scored – in 30 fewer at bats I might add.  Production wise he is sitting there with Juan Soto and Whit Merrifield over the past 30 days, ranking just outside the top-12 outfielders. I did undersell him though, tagging him as a solid OF4. He is putting up OF2 numbers and is owned 15% of Yahoo leagues. What are you people waiting for??? I can’t put him on your team for you.

  • Todd Frazier

Well hidden on waivers thanks to a .229 average and years of regression, Frazier is showing signs of life. This month he is batting .278 with a pair of home runs, 11 RBI, 12 runs scored, and he has even chipped in a few stolen bases. This is the first month since April he has hit over .200 and his best monthly total since September 2016. That doesn’t inspire confidence this hitting will continue so if you roster Frazier there is a strong chance you’ll be tossing him back in a few weeks. For now he makes a solid CI option and/or injury replacement.

  • Jackie Bradley Jr.

Like Frazer, Bradley is well hidden on waivers thanks to a .222 batting average. He actually hit below that over the first three months so nobody really noticed when he hit .260 in July with 17 RBI and 14 runs scored. Well, Bradley has improved yet again, batting .273 so far in August (4 multi-hit games in his last 6) with 3 home runs, 8 RBI and 11 runs scored. He even has his strikeout rate below 25% this month. Like Frazier it’s hard to trust Bradley, and given his track record there is little hope that this will last long. I think he can continue this for another few weeks, though, which could help some of you get into the playoffs.

  • Joey Wendle

I added Wendle a while back in my 15 team league thinking he would make a nice stop-gap injury replacement. Well, everyone is healthy now and Wendle is still on my team and still active. For the season he is batting .295 – it’s his lackluster power and speed numbers that has him on waivers (6 HR, 8 SB, 40 each in runs and RBI). Like Forsythe above you’re not rostering Wendle for homers and steals, you want him for his average. In July he batted .360 and he carried that over into August with a .362. We’ve even seen a bump in counting stats with 18 combined runs and RBIs last month and he has reached that total already in 28 fewer at bats. The bonus is he qualifies for 2B/3B/OF which makes him (at the very least) a MI/CI option for days off and injuries you can plug right in off your bench.

On the Mound

  • Joe Musgrove

I stumbled upon Musgrove while writing up streamers this week, and after looking at the surface stats and a little digging I still can’t figure out why he isn’t owned more. His 3.49 ERA and 1.23 WHIP for the season are solid enough. Those numbers were slightly better in July (3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), and through three August starts he holds a 2.25 ERA with a 0.85 WHIP. He has gone at least six innings in seven of his last eight starts with six starts of seven-plus innings.

While Musgrove doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts, he does get a lot of swings outside the zone, generates a lot of ground balls and soft contact, limits the free passes, keeps the ball in the yard, and generally goes deep into games (good for quality start leagues). His FIP says he’s doing everything right. The xFIP and SIERA put his ERA a point higher, but that’s still in streaming and quality start range. The Pirates have a rich history of revitalizing pitchers and it appears that Musgrove has joined that list. He is more than a streaming option – he is a must own.

  • Trevor Hildenberger

The so-called committee issue in Minnesota has been settled with Hildenberger getting and converting the last three save opportunities. I can’t say I’m too happy about this given his numbers (4.58 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 10 HR/18-BB/59-IP). It’s like owning Fernando Rodney – good for saves and you’ll get close to a strikeout an inning, but he can hurt your ERA and WHIP on a weekly basis. Still, if you need saves this late in the game beggars can’t be choosers.

  • Trevor Williams

Another Pirate and another arm that probably shouldn’t be available. A 3.53 ERA and 1.22 WHIP has his ownership levels at a respectable level, but still under 50%. It has gone up thanks to a 2.33 ERA in July, and in three August starts he owns a 1.42 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Williams has won four of his last six starts with four of those being high-quality (2 or fewer runs) and all six could have been high quality with just another inning of work (just two runs combined in those two five-inning starts). The Cubs, Indians and Nationals were some of his latest victims so it’s not like he’s just beating the bottom of the barrel.

The reason people are hesitant is because Williams pitches to contact, has an equal ground ball/fly ball split, does little to help out with strikeouts (5.95 K/9), and only does an average job limiting free passes and home runs. He does have a four-pitch arsenal, but outside his fastball the other three offerings are average at best. Even the xFIP and SIERA place his ERA a few points below 5.00. Williams is getting lucky – there’s no doubt about that. But, I’ll repeat that old saying I’ve done many times over the years, “sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good”. We’ve seen luck run out quickly and we’ve seen lucky carry a player through the season. Not sure which side Williams will fall on, but he’s hot now and could be a nice stretch run addition.

Catcher Streaming Options

Francisco Cervelli owners my want to clear a bench spot for backup Elias Diaz who went 9 for 26 with a pair of home runs and 4 RBI over the past 14 days. We learned last year with Flowers and Suzuki in Atlanta how a strong catcher combination can pay dividends. If you combine Diaz and Cervelli for the past two weeks you get a .293 average with 3 home runs, 11 RBI and 8 runs scored. If you have daily roster moves you’d be silly not to own both.

Speaking of tandems, those that stashed Wilson Ramos on the DL all these months might want to consider Jorge Alfaro for the same reason. Ramos will not start everyday and Alfaro has done a fairly good job this year. Their numbers combined from the additional at bats will give you that added edge over your opponent.

Matt Wieters has been strong for the Nationals this month with a .295 average and a pair of home runs. You may not get a lot of counting stats here, but he’s hitting for average and playing almost everyday. There are about a half-dozen catchers who had a hot week (or two in some cases) like Austin Wynns, Kurt Suzuki, Erik Kratz, but with limited at bats and no real production from their platoon mate I couldn’t recommend them.

Previous Recommendations

Graduated

This is the last week Carlos Rodon 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 Williams, Nick Pivetta, Mike Fiers, Tyler White and Hunter Renfroe should all be owned right now. Denard Span, Austin Jackson, Mark Trumbo and Derek Holland are also solid adds, but only if the previous players are gone.
  • Manuel Margot and Aledmys Diaz each had an off week but have been productive long enough to have faith they will bounce back – just like Johan Camargo did this week (he’s an add again).
  • Kyle Gibson moves back up to add with a strong outing, but he is someone to monitor closely and a dump candidate if he falters down the stretch. The same goes for Michael Conforto, but I am more confident in him ROS after the past two weeks.

HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)

  • Eduardo Nunez and Steven Souza quickly go from add to hold with a quiet week and a few days off. Monitor and add/drop accordingly over the next week. Randal Grichuk and Nick Ahmed are not getting days off, but their bats have also gone cold.
  • Mike Minor will have the occasional off day, doesn’t always go six innings, and the strikeouts are sporadic. He is better than most guys on waivers, but I’m not sure that’s enough for a permanent roster spot anymore.
  • That’s two weeks of horrid numbers and now a lot of bench time for C.J. Cron. I think he is a safe drop, but in larger leagues you may want to wait one more week.
  • I want to stay positive on Trevor Richards and can make arguments to add him, but just as many to drop him as well. Do what you will here.
  • Every time I move Trey Mancini to add he slumps, and when I move him to hold he heats up. That’s what you can expect for the rest of the season.

DROP

  • Joc Pederson is officially a bench guy now and not even worth a hold in deeper leagues.
  • A DL trip takes Ryan Madson off the board and he isn’t worth holding.
  • Hildenberger has emerged as the go to man in Minnesota so Addison Reed can be tossed back.
  • Franmil Reyes is one or two O’fers away from hitting the bench.
  • It looked like Adam Frazier was going to hit his way into a full-time role, but things appear to be going in the opposite direction now.

 

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Jim Finch

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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. You can also find me at FanRagSports.com