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.
- Randall Grichuk (OF)
For a guy who’s calling card is his power, Grichuk is having a hard time barreling anything up so far this year. The good news is he’s hitting for a decent (for him) .254 average and is driving in and scoring runs (14 RBI and 17 R). In a year where power seems to be up everywhere, it is strange that it’s down for Grichuk. His barrel %, launch angle, and hard hit % are all down from previous years. He’s only barreling balls up at a 8.5% clip which is down from 14.4 and 16 in the last two years. Last year’s launch angle was 18.5 and so far this year it is 14.4. Prior to this year, his hard hit % averaged just shy of 44% and this year it’s down to 39%. I’m expecting these numbers to stabilize at his career rates. Pick him up now so you can own them as they climb.
- Nate Lowe (1B)
The Rays called Lowe up this week and he started every game until Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles in which lefty John Means was supposed to start. The game was rained out, but not until after lineups had been announced. Though a platoon is possible with Lowe, it’s too early to read too much into him not being in the lineup against Means. He did start against lefty Danny Duffy on Thursday and went 1 for 2 against him (he’s 1 for 3 against lefties since the call up). Lowe was also 5 for 20 with 8 walks to just 6 Ks against lefties in AAA Durham before debuting with the Rays. That minor league split isn’t screaming “platoon me” so I think this is just a day off for a kid in his first week in the big leagues.
Now that I’ve calmed your platoon fears, let me remind you that Lowe was killing it in Durham prior to his call up (.300/.438/.543 with 3 HR, 16 R, 14 RBI and a steal in 18 games). It’s early, but with a AAA line like that he should be able to help your fantasy team with HR, RBI, and runs without hurting your batting average.
- Jake Odorizzi (P)
Don’t pretend you haven’t noticed. I mean, honestly, I’ve tried really hard not to notice. But after Saturday’s gem against the Yankees (6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 8 K, 4 BB), it might be time to think about picking Odorizzi up if you need pitching help. Sure, it was a Yankees lineup without Judge and Stanton, but Andujar is back, Voit is still hot, and Sanchez is heating up. Odorizzi is 4-2 with a 2.78 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and 38 K in 35.2 IP and he is up to 43% owned. And did I mention he has also beat the Astros twice? Go get him if you need him. You have my permission.
- Franmil Reyes (OF)
I know. You drafted him, he was horrible early, and you dropped him. Reyes had 16 hits in April. It is May 5thand he has 7 hits so far this month. As bad as he was, the Rays have continued to let him play and now they are being rewarded for their patience. He hasn’t just been hot in his last 7 games (.379/.367/.759 with 3 HR, 5 R, and 5 RBI); he’s been simmering for 30 games and now he’s sizzling. His numbers in his last 30 games (.278/.327/.611 with 9 HR, 12 R, and 14 RBI) aren’t as gaudy as those in his last 7, but they’re more representative of what you will get from him if you pick him up. And have you seen his statcast data? My gracious, the statcast data. Reyes is top 5% in the league in Barrel % (18.4), Exit Velocity (94), XBA (.317), XSLG (.648), and XWOBA (.421). If he’s available in your league, go get him.
- Yordan Alvarez
I told you about Senzel here last week. I’m not saying I’m the only one who saw that call up coming, but I figure since I’m on a roll I might as well take another shot. Alvarez is on fire at AAA Round Rock (.418/.505/.923 with 12 HR, 28 R, and 36 RBI in 91 AB across 25 games). Besides his normal OF spot, he’s played 6 games at 1B this year so Alvarez could help the Astros heat up production in both those positions. And they desperately need that help.
In a combined 277 ABs this year, Josh Reddick, Yuli Gurriel and Tyler White have a total of 5 HR, 34 R and 20 RBI and are batting .333, .253, and .283 respectively. Alvarez is breaking out and Reddick, Gurriel, and White aren’t doing anything for the Astros that would give them any reason to keep that breakout confined to AAA.
Although the current roster isn’t doing much to keep him down, his age (20 y 10m) and service time considerations might conspire against his promotion. But what fun is it to believe that? He’s currently owned in 30% of leagues, and I say nothing ventured, nothing gained.
This is the last week Dwight Smith, Jr., Brad Peacock, Max Kepler, Jesse Winker, Shin-Soo Choo, Jorge Polanco, Hunter Dozier, and Nick Senzel will appear here. Their ownership rate is over 50% and they should all be owned in all competitive leagues.
Continue to ADD
- Brian Goodwin is still playing every day and still hitting. And he’s still under owned while he’s on this hot streak.
- Nick Margevicius had some BB trouble in his last two outings (8 BB in 10.2 innings), but he still has 3.23 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. He isn’t going much longer than five innings a game, but the ratios will help it that’s where you’re hurting.
- Alex Verdugo should see more playing time now that AJ Pollock is on the IL for elbow surgery. He had a steal and a home run last week and is hitting over .300 which is pretty good for a guy who is only about 25% owned. Expect more of the same with increased plate appearances.
HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)
- CC Sabathia had a better start this week but took the loss against Arizona. He still has that high floor I wrote about last week, but still understand if you’re looking elsewhere.
- Ryon Healy– I’m still holding on Healy. He’s had a decent last seven games — .280 BA, 4 R, and 4 RBI — but no HR.
- Ryan McMahon is still playing almost every day (6 of the last 7), but in that stretch his BA is below the Mendoza line and he doesn’t have a HR. Move on if you can’t bear to have him on your team as he squanders the best opportunity he’s had in the bigs.
- Renato Nunez appears to be coming back to earth – 5 hits, 2 R, 1 RBI, and nothing else in his last 30 AB (7 games). He’s still playing every day, but that’s about it.
- Cole Tucker had another meh week. Last week I believed the steals were coming; this week I’m down to hoping they are. If you’re desperate for steals and you’re out of options, go ahead and keep him. If not, cut him.
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