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.
- Framber Valdez (SP)
Valdez had another strong start this week. Granted, it was against Toronto, but last I checked they’re still a big league club (albeit a big league club with a 26-45 record) with mostly big league players so, it was a strong start in my book. He pitched 6 innings of 4 hit ball, giving up 2 earned runs. He walked 2 and struck out 8. Valdez is 3-2 on the year with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. The advanced metrics say this start is legit though they indicate regression of about a run in ERA (3.30 FIP and 3.67 xFIP). He’s up to 44% owned and if he’s available in your league, now is the time to get him.
- Jeff McNeil (2B, 3B, OF)
A player with a .333 batting average and an .861 OPS should be more than 44 % owned, shouldn’t he? McNeil has hit leadoff for the Mets at least three times more often than any other spot in the lineup on your roster. But for a player hitting so high in the order he’s not scoring many runs (26) or stealing any bases (any as in zero). But he can hit and when we’re still a few weeks from the all-star break, adding a player who can hit like McNeil to your lineup can help you gain a couple points in the standings. If your offense is producing in the counting categories and hurting in batting average, McNeil can help.
- Ramon Laureano (OF)
In his last 30 games, Laureano is slashing .294/.325/.514 with 5 home runs and 5 stolen bases. That makes 10 home runs and 8 stolen bases which is dangerously close to a 20/20 pace. He’s another one of those players, like McNeil above, who you can posit right there at the end of your bench and forget about until you look up one day hand see his contributions to your squad’s stats helped place you squarely in contention come crunch time. Week to week he isn’t going to be special (unless you get points for laser throws to home plate from the centerfield wall resulting in a spectacular put out), but over the long haul he’ll contribute and sometimes that’s all you need off the waiver wire.
- Ian Desmond (1B, OF)
Yup… I said it, Ian Desmond. As pleased as you’ll be by Laureano’s 20/20 season with a .250 batting average, you’ve been a hundred times more frustrated by the same dang end of season stats from Desmond. He’s not going to get to 20 stolen bases this year, but I’ll be danged if he’s not on pace to hit .265 with those 20 home runs I mentioned previously, 72 runs, and 83 RBI. He’s been on fire his last 30 games, slashing .333/.391/.606 with 5 home runs, 19 runs, and 19 RBI. Desmond is not going to continue at that pace, but while he’s on it (even hotter in his last 7 games – .500/.500/.962 with 3 home runs, 9 runs, and 13 RBI) pick him up and ride it out.
This is the last week Didi Gregorius, Kyle Gibson, and Nick Pivetta will appear here. Their ownership rate is over 50% and they should all be owned in all competitive leagues..
Continue to ADD
- Willie Calhoun is 2 for 6 (.333) three games into his rehab stint in AAA Nashville. The Rangers could call him up any day now. I’m slightly concerned about playing time if DeShields continues to stay hot (.325 batting average with 3 stolen bases in his last 15 games) and Joey Gallo comes off the IL, but I don’t have enough faith in DeShields to keep me from adding Calhoun.
- I probably don’t have to tell you Kyle Tuckeris still at AAA Round Rock and Yordan Alvarez is in Houston. But I still believe Tucker’s time is coming. In his last 10 games he’s hitting .383 with 5 home runs and 3 steals. I know Alvarez is tearing it up so far and George Springer will be back from the IL soon, but Tucker is coming. Continue to stash him if you have room.
- Oscar Mercado hit another home run and stole 2 more bases this week. He’s still hot and still doing what we need him to do so let’s keep adding him.
- Bryan Reynolds continues get on base and hit for a high average. Not a lot of power, but if you need help in the batting average category, he’s playing almost every day and he’s going to continue to hit.
HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)
- Holding Keston Hiura is as much about Travis Shaw’s performance since he was recalled from the minors as it is about Hiura’s before he was sent down. Shaw went 2 for 3 his first game back on June 4th. He’s been 2 for 14 since and has only started 6 of the 10 games since his return. Meanwhile Hiura is hitting .326 with 5 home runs, 14 runs, 13 RBI, and a stolen base in his last 10 games at AAA San Antonio. Hold on to him for a while longer if you have room.
- Alex Verdugo is playing more and is getting hot in the process. He sat against a lefty on Sunday, but he slashed .292/.393/.458 on the week with a home run. Still not a whole lot filling up the stat sheet besides that average and OBP, but if you need that, keep him. If not, let him go.
- Christian Walker looks a lot better in the alerts I get on my phone than he does when I check his stat line at the end of the week.Seems like I get Diamondbacks updates about every other day alerting me to some good Walker has done. Then I check the stat line and it looks like this week’s does: .200/.304/.350 with 1 home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs. I’m only holding because of all the pink and red on his statcast page (91stpercentile in Exit Velocity and 98thpercentile in Hard Hit %). I’m a sucker for red and pink on a statcast page so I’m holding him.
- Niko Goodrum cooled off at the plate but stayed hot on the base paths this week. He slashed .200/.286/.360 but he swiped two bags. He will be up and down at the plate but at least he’s running. If you need the steals, and most of us do, I think he’s worth holding.
- Griffin Canning was decent this week against Tampa Bay.He took the loss giving up 4 earned runs in 6 innings, but he did strike out 7. He scattered 6 hits (two of them were home runs) and didn’t walk anyone. There’s potential here for a good enough fourth or fifth starter, but right now I could take him or leave him.
- Clint Frazier was sent down to make room for recently acquired Edwin Encarnacion. Frazier had barely done enough to stay out of the Drop section of this column when he was up with the big club. I’m not going to tell you to hold on to him now that he’s not.
- Brendan Rodgers was sent down this week. Ryan McMahon and Daniel Murphy are both playing well and Rodgers continued to struggle to the tune of .209/.292/..233. He’ll get plenty of playing time at AAA Albuquerque, but it’s not going to help your fantasy team.
- Gregory Polanco is the definition of droppable. I’ve been slow to come around, but I’ve seen enough. And by “seen enough” I mean I haven’t seen much of anything. I’ve been holding on hoping for some steals, but he’s not providing enough of those to warrant keeping him, let alone playing him.
- When the reddest thing on Randall Grichuk’s statcast page is his sprint speed, it’s time to move on. .071/.133/.143 last week. Got. To. Go.
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