I hope you all enjoyed your little breather during the all-star break. Some of you walked away from your team to rest your brains while others used that time to catch up on some much-needed football research. I used to do the latter, but after 8 years (give or take) of getting my butt handed to me I faced the reality that maybe football wasn’t my thing. Maybe in a casual league I could have finished in the middle somewhere. Unfortunately I played with guys that watched college football and knew the rookies there as well as I knew them in baseball. It’s kind of hard to compete when your opponent is one (or three) steps ahead of you.
In football, you not only have to know who the offensive players are, you have to know defenses as well. It’s not like baseball where you see your hitter facing off against Adam Wainwright or Ricky Nolasco, you’ve got to know who the corners are, free safeties, defensive ends, linebackers. Now for football guys, people who are into the sport and are avid followers, this isn’t a problem. That’s just not me, I know my Dolphins (and disappointment). Baseball, on the other hand is all about the offence. much more direct. Sure you have more positions, but your analysis doesn’t change from position to position, it’s either all about the hitting or the pitching. Plus in baseball, if you make a mistake in the draft, you’ve got 6 months to fix things. In football, you make a mistake in the draft, you might as well start preparing for next year.
So what does this have to do with the waiver wire, nothing really, other than the fact that I spent my break looking at players while others were looking at football or watching TV. I’m all about the baseball.
Joaquin Benoit (Padres): With Houston Street off to the Angles, Benoit is the heir apparent for the lowly Padres. Ignore the team and look at the man, his ERA has been under 2.01 since last season. He also filled in admirably at closer last season in Detroit. Strikeouts…check. Low WHIP…check. I know it’s the Padres, but Street racked up 24 saves in the first half. If you’re in need of a closer (and a Joe Smith owner), well, hopefully you didn’t wait for me to tell you. RUN.
Stephen Vogt (A’s): Talk about a guy who came out of nowhere. In just over 100 at bats, Vogt is batting over .350 with 4 home runs. Splitting time between catcher, first base and outfield (and he qualifies for all 3 on Yahoo), the A’s have worked to keep his hot bat in the lineup. His minor league numbers suggest he can hit in the .290-.300 range, but until this year he hasn’t been able to accomplish that in the majors. Vogt’s power is suspect as he only has 60 home runs in a little over 2,200 at bats in the minors, but he does have 145 doubles and 22 triples. Vogt makes a decent play as a fourth outfielder or catcher if he qualifies. Just like all hot bats, enjoy it while it lasts.
Available in 46% of CBS, 48% of Fantrax and 65% of Yahoo leagues.
Santiago Casilla (Giants): In the two weeks prior to the all-star break Casilla received 3 save opportunities. He converted all 3 without allowing a hit and only one walk. Sergio Romo is still lurking about but if Casilla continues like this, he won’t have to worry about looking over he shoulder. The closer job is his, but it seems prospective owners are wary that he’ll keep the job or are unaware a change has been made. Considering how hard quality save options are to come by, it surprising to see Casilla available in approximately 50% of CBS, Fantrax and Yahoo leagues. If you need saves go grab Casilla. And, if you don’t need saves, add him anyway and use him for trade bait.
Kevin Kiermaier (Rays): Kiermaier stole 86 bases in 1448 at bats; other than that, his numbers are nothing to write home about. Where this power surge came from is anyone’s guess. Just like Vogt he had a good number of doubles and triples and is only 24 years old so maybe he just figured things out. He’s batting over .300 but was closer to his minor league average of .278 before catching a hot streak right before the break. With 8 home runs and 24 RBIs in just over 150 at bats, Kiermaier would like your attention. 10 team leagues can probably hit the ignore button as can 12 team leagues that only use 3 outfielders. Everyone else might want to consider giving Kiermaier a whirl if you’re in need of outfield help. This may only turn out to be a short-term add so if something better comes along, don’t hesitate to make the switch.
Available in 69% of CBS, 62% of Fantrax and 92% of Yahoo leagues.
Jacob deGrom (Mets): 12 starts into his major league career and deGrom looks promising. He’s gone 6 or more innings in 8 of those starts (all quality starts for those that use them) and has allowed more than 3 earned runs just twice. deGrom is a control pitchers and while his major league BB/9 sits at 3.42, his minor league BB/9 was a full point lower at 2.28. His 8.80 K/9 is higher than what he put up in the minors so expect that to come down some. Even if it settles into the 7.5 range he’s still above average. He’s on pace to surpass last years innings total but not by much, so if you’re worried about fatigue as the season draws on, don’t. deGrom was an early streamer options by in my world, he’s graduated to a trusted roster addition.
Available in 49% of CBS & Fantrax and 72% of Yahoo leagues.
Brett Anderson (Rockies): I’ll admit I’m throwing a dart at the board on this one. Anderson does have talent, but injuries have been his achilles heel. Fortunately last year it was a fractured foot and this year a broken finger so his arm and shoulder are fine (for now). The big question for Anderson is, can he pitch in Colorado? Many have pitchers have come in and tried in the past, but the success stories are far and few between. He’s had success in the past, but that was pitching in the spacious Coliseum. Anderson was hit hard in his first game back from the DL so there is a little rust, but once the rust shakes off….well, your guess is as good as mine. He could be successful, get hit hard or land someplace in the middle. Anderson is only 26, holds a major league K/9 of 7.01, is good at limiting walks and home runs and has decent upside. While his home park won’t do him any favors, his division (and the NL overall) will help him some. If you’re looking for someone who has the tools to help your team over the final 2 months of the season, Anderson could be your man. You could take a wait and see approach, but be ready to act fast if he strings together a few good games.
Available in 91% of CBS, 78% of Fantrax and 97% of Yahoo leagues.
Edinson Volquez (Pirates): He hasn’t had an ERA this low since 2008 and has never registered a WHIP below 1.30. A 3.0 Walk rate isn’t great but it is for a guy with a 4.55 major league average. Edinson Volquez has always had strikeout potential but he has never been a good pitcher. That doesn’t mean that he can’t have or isn’t due for a career year. Last year owners shied away from Ricky Nolasco and his career numbers are eerily similar to Volquez. The last time Ricky had a year like that was in 2008. The last time Volquez had a year like this…2008. He’s not doing anything drastically different from past years and the only thing new in his repertoire is a knuckle curve (not enough to account for what he’s doing). Volquez is in the midst of a career year and it time owners start ignoring what he has done in the past and look at what he’s doing now.
Of his 18 games started, he’s allowed more than 3 earned runs in 4 of them (NY, TOR, CIN, STL). He’s gone at least 6 innings in 11 of those starts (10 quality starts). Only 3 earned runs over his last 4 games (30 innings), the last being a 9 inning 6 hit game on the road verse the Cardinals. The strikeouts are rather pedestrian this year compared to others, but everything else is there. I understand your hesitance when it comes to Volquez, but it might be time to put aside your feelings and roll the dice.
Available in 48% of CBS & Fantrax and 80% of Yahoo leagues.
Conor Gillaspie (White Sox): There is nothing special here if you look at the overall numbers. Gillaspie is very similar to Casey McGehee in that he’ll hit for a very good average but not much more. He’ll get you the occasional home runs and contribute in runs and RBIs, but nothing substantial. That means you’ll have to catch him when he’s on a hot streak. In 27 at bats prior to the all-star break, Gillaspie hit .407 with 3 home runs, 5 RBIs and scored 10 runs. There’s a chance that hitting could carry over for a week or two after the break, worst case scenario is that he just hits for average. Gillaspie ranks 16th among 3rd basemen on Yahoo and 18th over at CBS, not good enough for a starting 3rd baseman but definitely a decent play at CI. With games against Houston, Kansas City and Minnesota, this might be a good short-term gamble.
Available in 64% of CBS, 50% of Fantrax and 84% of Yahoo leagues
Chris Carter (Astros): I know, the batting average is atrocious, I’ll give you that. I’ve avoided Carter for that very reason just like I’ve avoided Adam Dunn and similar players. Just because I want no part in Carter doesn’t mean that he can’t be of use to you. For the season he has 19 home runs, 6 of those coming in July (accompanied by a .333 batting average). Yup, Carter is on a hot streak and while I don’t think it will last, might as well get in on it while it lasts. Even if he doesn’t keep the average up, he’ll still get you some home runs and RBIs (those of you who have rostered Dunn in the past know how valuable that can be). The Astros have road games against the A’s next week, but then play 16 of their next 19 games at home (with a 3 game series at Philly in between). I may not like Carter, but if I needed some help in home runs or had a weak play at corner, I just might be willing to give him a shot.
Available in 62% of CBS, 44% of Fantrax and 74% of Yahoo leagues
Previous Waiver Wire suggestions.
- Domingo Santana: I said take a wait and see approach in leagues with less than 16 teams. Continue to do so.
- Odrisamer Despaigne: If Despaigne is still available in your 12 team or deeper league, he deserves to be rostered.
- Mookie Betts: I still don’t believe he will be worth much in redraft leagues this season, but Betts does have a few multi-hit games under his belt. I would still take a wait and see approach but feel free to make a speculative add if he continues to hit and acquire more playing time.
- Oscar Taveras: He’s still not hitting but still worth a gamble in 12 team leagues or deeper that use 4 outfielders. If you have a shallow bench and there are other more productive options on waivers, nobody would blame you for throwing him back.
- Zach Putnam: With a few bad outings under his belt as of late, taking a shot at him might not seem like the smartest gamble. Disregard my previous suggestion and maybe take a shot at Casilla (above) if he’s still out there.
- Arismendy Alcantara: Judging by his increasing ownership and extended stay in Chicago, this one could be a winner for the rest of the season. Act now if he’s out there and you’re in need of help at second or middle infield.
- Joe Smith: Poor Joe “Ho Hum” Smith goes back to the setup role (and the waiver wire) with Huston Street on board.
- Brock Holt: His ownership is going up on CBS but he is still under owned in Yahoo. See if you can do something about that.
- Steve Pearce: I still don’t like him but still recommend picking him up. Just keep a close eye on him. His numbers look good but if you don’t monitor him every few days, you might not notice when he starts to regress.
- James Jones: The average is still there but runs and steals are slowing. You may be able to find better but you can do worse.
- Dan Straily: I said Straily is not a must add but he’s a definite watch, continue to go with that.
- Taijuan Walker: My recommendation was to get him now, did you? Walker could be recalled soon.