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.
- Kyle Gibson (SP)
Yes, THAT Kyle Gibson. The Kyle Gibson who never seemed to give you what you needed last year, but who somehow ended up with pitching 190+ innings with a 3.62 ERA. Well, the Twins are winning games this year and so is he. Gibson is 5-2 in his last seven games with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. His K% is up over 25 – probably as a result of relying less on his fastball (-6%) and more on his changeup (+3%) and slider. (+1%). Playing in the abysmal AL Central and that potent Twins offense (league leading 315 runs scored) ensures continued opportunities to win games.
- Kyle Schwarber (OF)
Yes, another hot Kyle. Schwarber is heating up, and I’m a sucker for Schwarber on a hot streak. He has hit four of his eight home runs in his last 15 games. Of course he’s only hitting .200 in that span, but you didn’t expect anything more from him where batting average is concerned, did you? Schwarber has spent 10 of these last 15 games that comprise this hot streak leading off for the Cubs. As their leadoff hitter, Schawarber is hitting .263 with 3 home runs, 11 runs, and 8 RBI. Apparently Joe Maddon is going to ride this wave, so why shouldn’t we? Hurry though, his ownership is on the rise.
- Jake Marisnick (OF)
Marisnick hasn’t been an every day player for the Astros this year, but he has been in the lineup for 42 of their 54 games. George Springer went on the IL with a grade 2 hamstring strain which means Marisnick is (theoretically) likely to see every day playing time until Springer gets back. Marisnick is quietly having a decent year at the plate, slashing a respectable .278/.340/.886 on the season with 6 home runs, 3 steals, 19 runs, and 13 RBI. These aren’t Springer-type numbers, but you’re not going to find Springer-type numbers on the waiver wire. He’s been hitting out of the 8 hole, so even with more playing time his run scoring opportunities will be limited, but you probably have someone worse on your bench than Marisinick is going to be while he has this opportunity.
- Bryan Reynolds(OF)
Is it time to start paying attention to what Bryan Reynolds is doing in Pittsburgh? I think so, my friends… I think so. He has started 9 of Pittsburgh’s last 10 games, and it looks like he’s starting to take time away from Melky Cabrera who has only started 5 of Pittsburgh’s last 10 games. In 31 games so far this year, Reynolds owns a .313/.364/.930 slash with 5 home runs, 13 runs, and 16 RBI. He’s been consistent, too. Those season numbers aren’t front loaded. In his las 7 games he is slashing .292/.370/.1.037 with 2 home runs, 5, runs, and 8 RBI.
Fangraphs has him as a 50 grade hit, power, and speed prospect so what we are seeing so far appears to be sustainable. We haven’t seen the speed yet (0 steal attempts so far this year) and a closer look at the hit tool reveals a .373 BABIP so far this season, but have no fear, folks, Reynolds hasn’t had a BABIP below .362 in any of his five minor league stops. I’m buying.
- Clint Frazier(OF)
Frazier was having a heck of a year until he went on the IL with a sprained ankle on April 23rd. He was hitting at the top of the Yankee lineup and slashing .324/.352/.984 with 7 home runs, 10 runs, and 17 RBI average. He came back on May 6thand struggled until May 19thto the tune of a .259/.298/.761 with 0 home runs, 3 runs, and 1 RBI.
Frazier appears to have his groove back and looks a lot more like he did at the beginning of the year than the guy who battled through the second and third weeks of May. In his last 7 games, Frazier’s slash line is .385/.448/1.371 with 4 HR, 10 RBI and 8 runs scored. He’s only 40% owned so if you had to drop him when he went on the IL or during his struggles upon return, he still may be available. Go get him if he is.
- Kyle Seager (3B)
Cory’s older brother returned from the IL on Sunday and went 2 for 4 in his season debut. If he is truly healthy we should see numbers from him somewhere closer, if not better than, than his 2016 season (.249 batting average with 72 runs and 88 RBI) as opposed to his abysmal 2018 (.221 batting average with 22 HR, 78 RBI and 62 runs). If you’re a Ryon Healy owner and looking for someone to replace him while he is on the IL, take a chance on Seager coming out hot and maybe even being able to sustain it..
This is the last week Hunter Pence will appear here. His ownership rate is over 50% and he should all be owned in all competitive leagues.
Continue to ADD
- Willie Calhoun went on the IL this week with a strained quad. Before he went on the IL he started 6 of 7 games since being called and is hitting .435 with 2 home runs. The quad injury doesn’t seem to be serious, so I would continue to add him.
- Keston Hiura has started 10 of 11 games since he was called up. Travis Shaw is struggling in a rehab assignment, but he will soon be back. Hiura is doing enough to stay in the lineup (.256 average, 2 home runs, 1 steal) even after Shaw returns and might be just what you need if you are having trouble with production from the 2B spot on your roster.
- Brendan Rodgers has played 6 of the 9 games since he was called up. He struggled out the gate, but in his first full week he’s hitting .308 with 4 runs and 5 RBI. I say keep adding him…but be careful, Daniel Murphy is heating up and could eat into Rodgers’ playing time.
- Randall Grichuk had another week of Randall Grichuk type things. A home run and more sub .200 batting average. I told you last week that it probably wouldn’t be easy with him. The home runs will come in bunches and, if your luck is anything like mine this year, the first bunch will come right after you drop him. I’m holding, but I understand if you don’t.
- GregoryPolanco is still under 50% owned. He’s hit all five of his home runs in his last 15 games and is hitting .263 on the year. Maybe owners are waiting for him to crack the steals category before they pick him up (he’s 0/1 so far this year). I still say get him while you can.
- Oscar Mercado missed two games this week with hip injury. He came back Sunday and the Indians put him in the 2 hole (he hadn’t hit higher than sixth previously). He went two for four with his first home run of the year. No steals yet (which is the contribution I was hoping to get from him), but if the Indians continue to play him and he continues to get on base (.387 OBP), he will steal bases.
HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)
- Alex Verdugo had another rough week. I was pumping the brakes on him in last week’s article but still had him in the Continue to Add section. After another subpar week in the batting average department (.200) and zero home runs or runs, it’s time to proceed with caution with Verdugo.
- Yordan Alvarez is still raking in AAA. The problem is that the aforementioned Kyle Tucker has heated up. Almost to the point of surpassing what Alvarez is doing. The problem for Alvarez, though, is that he is not on the Astros’ 40 man roster and Tucker is. This makes the logistics of calling Tucker up much easier and I highly doubt they would call up both.
- Nicky Lopez is hitting .200 in his last seven games and has yet to steal a base since he was called up. Um, Nicky, we need you to start stealing bases. If you can afford to hold onto a player who you picked up for average and steals, and he isn’t giving you either, then continue to hold. If not, drop him.
- Christian Walker has disappointed me immensely this week.He is still hitting the ball hard (when he’s not striking out) but it is getting him nowhere (3 hits and a .120 batting average last week). I’m calling this a slump. For at least this week, anyway. And the good thing about slumps is they end. I can’t bring myself to drop him yet and I can’t recommend you do it either. The promotion of Kevin Cron complicates the matter for Walker as well.
- Ryon Healy hit the IL this week with a back issue and it sounds like it might be for more than just the minimum. The aforementioned Kyle Seager returned from the IL this week and I believe there’s a good chance he’ll get off to a hot start. If he does, he’ll cut into Healy’s playing time when he does return. If he doesn’t, Healy will still be on the waiver wire and you can pick him back up.
- Willians Astudillo had another less than stellar weekat the plate. He hit just .200 and Sano is still cutting into his playing time and will continue to do so as long as he stays hot. At this point, I’d rather ride what Sano is doing than what Astudillo is.
- CC Sabathia hit the IL this week. Let’s be real – just like Healy, Sabathia will still be there if you want to pick him back up when he’s off the IL. Give someone else a shot this week.
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