When searching for players on the waiver wire, we usually have a mental prerequisite of what we’re looking for. The problem with that is, you can sometimes overlook a player that can be helpful because his overall stats don’t fall into your preconceived notion of a useful player. He could be hitting for power but his average is in the basement. Maybe he’s an RBI guy but the limited home runs turn you off. You also have those speedsters that run but do little else. Sometimes, when you need help in a specific category, you need to ignore some of those other numbers to get the help where you really need it.
The following players may be available in your league. If you are looking for a little boost in a specific category, one of them may be for you.
Mike Olt (Cubs): I mentioned him last week, but his all or nothing approach falls into this weeks theme. Olt is one of a dozen players with 9 home runs and ranks in the top 25 for the category, but he is widely ignored because of his batting average. He has hit 4 home runs in the past two weeks along with a .229 batting average, an improvement over the .187 you see when looking at his final line. He’s doing everything Adam Dunn is doing and yet Dunn is owned in a larger number of leagues. If you’re batting average can take the hit or you’re already losing BA in your roto league, Olt might be worth rolling the dice on.
Currently available in 65% of CBS, 63% of Fantrax, 95% of ESPN and 94% of Yahoo leagues
Adam Dunn (White Sox): Dunn has swung for the fences for most of his career and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Dunn has 7 home runs this year and is sporting a .248 batting average. Most years you would cringe when looking at Dunn’s average, but he’s been sitting against most lefties so the extra points are real and appreciated. He’s usually good for 30 home runs and at age 34, this might be the last time you see that from him. Remember, you’re buying power here so don’t panic if/when the average drops out.
Currently available in of 51% CBS, 36% of Fantrax, 84% of ESPN and 66% of Yahoo leagues
Colby Rasmus (Blue Jays): A perfect DL stash if you’re looking for power. Just like Olt, Rasmus is sitting in the top 25 for home runs with 9. He doesn’t possess the type of power of the two players above, but he is hitting like both of them this year so a career year for home runs isn’t out of the question. Rasmus is only hitting .222 so he’s another batting average killer, but he has shown the ability in the past to do better (although I don’t see that happening this year). If you’ve got an open DL slot and need an extra outfielder, you could do worse.
Currently available in 49% of CBS, 37% of Fantrax, 64% of ESPN and 68% of Yahoo leagues
Mark Reynolds (Brewers): Starting to see a trend here? There is power on waivers, but it will come at the price of a lame batting average. Reynolds is no exception sporting a .202 batting average but with 9 home runs. Of all the players mentioned, Reynolds comes with the most risk as he has been benched or released in the past because of his hitting. The power is for real though if given the playing time needed, and he’s getting that time in Milwaukee. He’s hitting better and with more power on the road so keep that in mind when setting your lineup if you decide to roll with Reynolds.
Currently available in 71% of CBS, 57% of Fantrax, 91% of ESPN and 87% of Yahoo leagues
Brandon Hicks (Giants): Hicks is tied for third in home runs for shortstops and just outside the top 10 for RBIs; just like everyone else on this list, he’s barely hitting his weight. A .198 batting average is not what you want from a shortstop, but the rest of his numbers are better than Andrelton Simmons who is rostered on more teams. If you have a bottom of the barrel option for short or play in a league that uses a MI slot, Hicks might be your man. There is a chance he could lose playing time as the year goes on if the average stays where it is, but for now he’s a safe option (just not a pretty one).
Currently available in 90% of CBS, 80% of Fantrax and 96% of ESPN & Yahoo leagues
Casey McGehee (Marlins): McGehee currently ranks in the top 20 for RBIs and is fourth among third basemen. He’s also a two trick pony as he’s batting .294, that puts him in the top 10 for qualifying third basemen. You’re not going to get any power here and his runs total is anorexic, but if you’re covered in those two categories and need an RBI boost, this is the first place to look. He’s batting cleanup for the Marlins, and they aren’t half bad this year (who saw that one coming).
Currently available in 43% of CBS, 36% of Fantrax, 45% of ESPN and 75% of Yahoo leagues
Kurt Suzuki (Twins): Who would have guessed that Suzuki would be the league leader in RBIs for catchers. He is also just outside the top 25 for the league which is impressive for a catcher not named Posey. Just like McGehee, Suzuki is also sporting a nifty batting average (.303). Normally when I look for a catcher, I want someone who can either hit for power but more importantly, won’t kill my batting average. There isn’t
much any power here, but with the way he’s driving in runs…who cares. Suzuki should be owned more than he is, but because he doesn’t have the name brand or track record to back it up, owners are still gun-shy on him. I know the catcher position is deep this year, but compare Suzuki to your current option. Now ask yourself, who are you better off with?
Currently available in 46% of CBS, 41% of Fantrax, 80% of ESPN and 78% of Yahoo leagues
James Loney (Rays): When Loney signed with Tampa Bay, something clicked with his batting average. That spike in average last year (and this year) put him in a prime position in the lineup to drive in runs. He leads the Rays in RBI (ahead of Longoria & Myers), is 15th among first basemen and his total puts him in the same neighborhood as Adam Jones and Robinson Cano. That’s some nice company to be in, but the lack of power lowers his value and increases his availability (at least on some sites). Just like the players above, Loney is here to drive in runs for your team and he won’t sink your average doing it. For standard leagues I can see you taking a pass, but if you have a CI slot or need an injury fill in (looking at you Joey Votto), Loney could fill it nicely.
Currently available in 34% of CBS, 28% of Fantrax, 42% of ESPN and 73% of Yahoo leagues
Carlos Ruiz (Phillies): Suzuki may be the man for RBIs, but Ruiz is the man for runs when it comes to catchers. He ranks second in the category tied with Yan Gomez. The Phillies have been batting him second on occasion which isn’t typical for a player like Ruiz, but it’s hard to ignore someone with a .383 OBP. He should continue to score a higher than average number of runs as long as he is receiving time in the two hole, but it will cost him some RBI opportunities. Like I stated with Suzuki, the catcher position is deep. Ruiz may not be better than your current starter, but he should be one of the top options to look at should your starter go down.
Currently available in 47% of CBS, 36% of Fantrax, 80% of ESPN and 79% of Yahoo leagues
Geraldo Parra (Diamondbacks): He has a little power and speed, the RBI totals won’t impress you and neither will a .264 batting average. What might impress is the fact that Parra is in the top 15 for runs scored among outfielders. He has scored the same amount of runs as Carlos Gonzalez and is one ahead of Justin Upton. While not one category (besides runs) stands out, the overall package is playable as a fourth outfielder or injury fill in. Arizona is in the middle of the pack for driving in runs. Once Trumbo returns next month those run totals could inch up a bit more (or if some of their other players start hitting). Parra isn’t the best option, but he is one of the best of the rest.
Currently available in 47% of CBS, 41% of Fantrax, 60% of ESPN and 78% of Yahoo leagues
Dexter Fowler (Astros): Fowler is in the same boat as Parra He contributes a little everywhere, but with the exception of runs he doesn’t do anything special. He does possess a little more power and speed than Parra which makes the overall package more appealing. What is surprising is the fact that Folwer ranks 11th for runs scored among outfielders (even last place teams score runs). Fowler is on a hot streak right now, batting .318 with 10 runs scored over the past two weeks. Unfortunately his .267 average, 3 home runs and 5 steals make him look ordinary on waivers which is why he might get overlooked. Fowler is owned in a good number of leagues, but that ownership could be a little higher. I’m not a Fowler fan, but I can’t argue with what he’s doing now.
Currently available in 41% of CBS, 28% of Fantrax, 55% of ESPN and 57% of Yahoo leagues
Dayan Viciedo (White Sox): The White Sox are no longer the top scoring team in the league, but they are still in the top 3. Viciedo has been batting anywhere from 4th to 6th in the lineup so you would expect higher RBI totals then runs, but that isn’t the case. He is currently ranked in the top 20 among outfielders and just outside the top 40 among all hitters for runs scored. Viciedo has no discernible splits (slightly lower average at home) and is hitting over .300 with runners on and in scoring position. If he continues to hit for average you could see an uptick in his RBI totals making for a more complete package. His ceiling is not more than a third outfielder; for now though, he makes a pretty decent play as a fourth outfielder.
Currently available in 40% of CBS, 40% of Fantrax, 67% of ESPN and 79% of Yahoo leagues
Eric Young (Mets): Young is ranked in the top 25 for runs (top 10 among outfielders), but he is also top 5 option for stolen bases. He is available in leagues because of the .220 batting average along with zero power and minimal RBI production. Still, if your team is lacking in runs and stolen bases, Young is one of the more widely available sources of both. It’s not easy to carry an outfielder that produces like a shortstop, but if you have a shortstop or second baseman that produces like an outfielder it could balance things out. If Young can bring his average up to a respectable level (.238 the past two weeks) you could have something here.
Currently available in 49% of CBS, 40% of Fantrax, 59% of ESPN and 63% of Yahoo leagues
Eric Young (Mets): see above.
Rajai Davis (Tigers): David is a right-handed specialist so he doesn’t receive full-time at bats, yet he ranks in the top 5 for stolen bases. He is highly owned as it is, but that ownership could be higher given his overall numbers in part-time play. His numbers mirror those of Jose Altuve but with a lower batting average. Like I said with Eric Young, second base/shortstop numbers are not what you want in the outfield, but if you are getting your power and RBI numbers filled elsewhere, it shouldn’t matter. Odds are he’s gone in your league, but if he’s out there he can help you in stolen bases (especially in roto leagues).
Currently available in 37% of CBS, 25% of Fantrax, 11% of ESPN and 38% of Yahoo leagues
Ben Revere (Phillies): Revere can be a 3 category player, but right now he’s only contributing in stolen bases. The .266 average is below what he’s capable of and the .282 OBP is 50 points below what you would expect. Once those start coming up, the runs will increase along with the stolen base chances. That makes Revere a good player to stash now or to buy low on from a frustrated owner. Granted if the average doesn’t come up you’re left with a once trick pony, but that horse will finish in the top 10 for stolen bases.
Currently available in 56% of CBS, 47% of Fantrax, 49% of ESPN and 47% of Yahoo leagues
Jonathan Villar (Astros): He showed off the speed last year stealing 18 bases in 58 games. This year he has 11 in 44 games but is also showing a little power. The batting average is at an unacceptable level (.221), but that should come up some. Villar is a top 3 stolen base option for shortstop with a little pop and run scoring ability. Players like Asdrubal Cabrera, Everth Cabrera and Jed Lowrie are owned in more leagues than Villar and that’s a crime. He makes a good shortstop option and a very good MI selection.
Currently available in 43% of CBS, 37% of Fantrax, 27% of ESPN and 51% of Yahoo leagues
Seth Smith (Padres): Smith’s .339 batting average places him second in the league among qualified hitters. Not what anyone would expect from a career .269 hitter. He’s hit .394 over the past 30 days and .436 over the past two weeks. He’s in a platoon, but he’s on the positive side hitting against right handers. He’s also carrying a .437 OBP; while all of those numbers are unsustainable, sometimes you just have to ride the hot hand until it collapses. This may only be a short-term add, but if you need a batting average boost and are in a daily league to take advantage of his splits and days off, go grab smith now.
Currently available in 44% of CBS, 35% of Fantrax, 34% of ESPN and 66% of Yahoo leagues
Derek Norris (A’s): Norris is actually hitting better than Smith (.343), but 99 at bats falls short of being a qualified hitter. Regardless, only Devin Mesoraco has a higher average among catchers with at least 50 at bats. Norris is also 7th among catcher for RBIs with 20 so it’s not like he’ll just contribute to one category like some of the others on this list. He’s a .250 hitter (major and minor league) so this won’t last long. He also plays at a deep position so odds are he might not be better than your current option. I wouldn’t drop my current catcher to pick up Norris, but I might be willing to drop someone else and bench my guy to ride Norris for a while.
Currently available in 40% of CBS, 31% of Fantrax, 64% of ESPN and 53% of Yahoo leagues
Eduardo Escobar (Twins): There is speed here, but it hasn’t shown its face in several years. Until it does, this is a true one hit wonder because all Escobar is good for is batting average. His .337 average (.333 the past 14 days) would rank him 2nd at shortstop if he had a few more at bats. He didn’t become a full-time player until the end of April as he forced his way into the lineup. A career .268 hitter (both major and minor combined), Escobar looks to be in over his head, but he did hit .307 in AAA last year so maybe it could last (doubtful, but maybe). For now, if you need an average boost and use a MI slot, plug-in Escobar until the bat cools off.
Currently available in 92% of CBS, 81% of Fantrax, 95% of ESPN and 94% of Yahoo leagues