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. And just like in years past, I will be tracking previously recommended players and if they are still worthy of a roster spot. Now on to what you came here for.
- Jesse Winker (OF)
He’s coming around. Finally. If you took a flyer and drafted him last year (like I did) you knew he would. Winker is 9 for 21 with two HR in his last seven games with a .429 batting average. Unfortunately the lineup around him is still struggling. He’s hitting out of the three hole, and those two HR only resulted in three RBI. If you dropped him during his struggles, get him back while you can. This week he improved his BA from .172 to .238. His BABIP is still a paltry .189 so we know Winker’s elevator is only going to go up. He’s no streamer; he’s a keeper, so get him and hold on tight. Better hurry. His ownership is up to 47% and climbing.
- Ryan McMahon (1B, 2B, 3B)
After a great spring training, the concern with McMahon this season was playing time. The group-think was the best we could hope for – Garrett Hampson was going to steal at bats from him, and the worst case scenario was that the Rockies would have them in a platoon at 2B. Hampson has gotten off to a bad start and has not played in a game since 4/21. Except for his stint on the IL, McMahon has started every game for the Rockies and continues to do so now that Daniel Murphy has returned from the IL.
McMahon is hitting the ball hard (43.9 Hard Hit% and 90.4 Exit Velocity) but hasn’t had much to show for it with only two HR and two doubles. He’s going to be playing half his games at Coors Field so now that we can be reasonably sure he’ll be in the lineup, I think we can also be reasonably sure the power will come and he’ll improve on his .250 BA.
- Max Kepler (OF)
There is a lot of red and pink on Kepler’s 2019 MLB Rankings chart on his baseballsavant page. Exit Velocity, Hard Hit%, xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG are all above league average. With almost a quarter of the 40 most owned outfielders on the IL or listed as day to day, Kepler is a player who can help keep your team afloat if it has been hit with a Yankees-sized injury bug. And he’s hot! He’s leading off for the Twins, hitting .250 with a career high ISO of .197 and three HR in his last seven games.
- Nick Senzel (OF)
Yes, I know… he hasn’t been called up yet. That call is coming soon folks. What’s that old saying? Necessity is the mother of early May call-ups? Well, that necessity has got to be painfully apparent to the Reds. They thought they’d be contenders in the NL Central this year, but they currently find themselves five games back and in last place. Their outfield and offense need a spark, and Senzel can provide that. Matt Kemp is on the IL with a broken rib and Scott Schebler is hitting .132 with a 27% Hard Hit rate and a 30.3 K%. Senzel showed off his hit tool and speed in spring training this year where he hit .308 and stole four bases. If you find yourself in need of batting average and speed, Senzel will soon be here to help. He’s finally healthy and has started the last four games in AAA Louisville. He is almost 50% owned, so get him while you can.
- Brad Peacock (P)
There was a lot of buzz surrounding Peacock leading up to the 2019 season, but there was also quite a bit of concern regarding his role. He already proved he could be a successful starter for the Astros in 2017, but there were two things tempering our enthusiasm when he won the fifth starter job coming out of spring training: Forrest Whitley and Josh James. The prevailing thought about Peacock this year was that when either one (or both) of those young guns proved themselves worthy of a starting role, he would be once again relegated to the bullpen and the long relief role in which he thrived in 2018.
Peacock struggled in his first two start this year, but pitched a gem for the Astros in his last outing (6 innings, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, and 7 K). You probably know all that. You might also even know that Josh James is struggling so far this year (7.90 ERA and 4 HR given up in just 13.2 innings). But do you know Whitley is also off to a cold start? In three starts at AAA Round Rock he has given up 10 H, 8 ER, and 5 BB in 11 innings saddling him with an 0-2 record, a 6.55 ERA, and 1.36 WHIP.
Sure, Peacock will get skipped along the way. But when he does, he will likely throw several quality relief innings as he did last week (4.1 innings, 7 K, 1 ER, 2 H, and 2 BB) which should help your ratios and keep you climbing in the K category.
Continue to ADD
- Renato Nunez is the hottest hitter from last week’s list. He was 8 for 26 this week with three HR.
- Shin-Soo Choo continues to be underrated and under owned. He is still hitting over.300 and had a HR and SB in his last seven games.
- Brian Goodwin is still playing every day and still hitting. And he’s still under owned while he’s on this hot streak.
- Dwight Smith hit two more HR in his last 7 games.His ownership is climbing and the skills are such that these numbers are sustainable. Get him while you still can.
HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)
- C.C. Sabathia was roughed up for five runs (three HR) in his start against the Angels last week. He remains a streaming option because of his high floor, but I understand this start has you looking elsewhere.
- Cole Tucker had a good first week in the majors, but if you picked him up you were looking for speed, and you didn’t get any of it since his appearance in this column last week. I believe the steals are coming, but he’s going to have to hit better than he did last week to get them.
- I’ll understand if you drop Sabathia or Tucker, but I’m not going to tell you to do it.
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