Fantasy Baseball

Waiver Wire Report: Here comes the Kids

Waiver Wire Report LogoHopefully you took my advice last week and picked up Wilson Contreras who was called up yesterday. I know those of you in one catcher leagues may be a little slow to roster him, but believe me he is the kind of difference maker you want hidden away now before he starts getting more at bats. I also recommended Peter O’Brien, and while he’s been slow to start, he did go 2 for 5 on Friday with two home runs – I told you the power would be there. He’s worth a roster spot as well; just hope he puts up a better average than Corey Dickerson.

Blake Snell has been listed below since his demotion after his first taste a month ago, and now he looks to be up for good. I don’t recommend many prospects here, but when I do it will be guys that can help you this year. Alex Reyes, Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell and Alex Bregman have all been featured here in the past and remain listed below under players to stash – in case you missed out on the players above. And there will be a good number of additional minor league call-ups over the next few weeks/months.

We’re past that super-two deadline which means clubs will start giving some of those youngsters a shot while shuffling those struggling bats to the bench (looking at you Ryan Howard). Below are a few of those players, along with the smattering of veterans who might deserve your attention.

Cody Reed (Reds)
Available in 77% of CBS, 69% of Y! and 91% of ESPN leagues

Reed got his first taste of the majors yesterday against the Houston Astros. An Evan Gattis home run in the top of the seventh ruined what would have been a fantastic debut, but still 9 strikeouts over seven innings with nine combined hits and walks still isn’t bad even with the four earned runs.

Prior to his promotion he had a 3.20 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 11 starts (64.2 innings) with a 8.77 K/9 and a 2.37 BB/9. The walk and strikeout numbers were right in line with what he did in High-A and Double-A. He did have a little trouble with the long ball at the higher levels (and yesterday – two home runs), but it wasn’t an issue earlier in his career so maybe he can correct this.

Yesterday was not a one shot deal and Reed should be up to stay. He does have a few tough matchups coming up, but a few easy ones as well (Padres, Marlins) and a potential nice schedule after the all-star break. There will be a number of pitchers making their debut in the coming months, but this one is worth picking up for the long-haul – his spike in ownership since the other day should testify to that.

Kolten Wong (Cardinals)
Available in 74% of CBS, 72% of Y! and 84% of ESPN leagues

I was hoping to recommend Wong prior to his recall, but the Cardinals front office failed to notify me – again. I was going to mention how he could easily find playing time in the outfield with Randal Grichuk struggling, but they sent him down clearing a path for Wong – yet again stealing my preemptive thunder. I guess the only thing left to do is talk about Wong – thanks St Louis.

Wong made sure his minor league demotion was a quick one, batting .429 with four home runs and 11 RBIs – he even chipped in a stolen base. I know he got off to a slow start, and he collapsed in the second half last season with just two home runs and a .238 batting average, but let’s not forget the first half of 2015. Last season he hit .280 with nine home runs and 10 stolen bases in the first half.

Sure he collapsed; it’s called a sophomore slump, but he had three solid months before that. If Wong can do what he did in the first half last season over the second half this season you’ve got a great 2B/MI option – potentially a top-10 option. He was on sleeper lists for a reason; don’t hit the snooze button now.

Jefry Marte (Angels)
Available in 3% of CBS and 99% of Y! and ESPN leagues

This may only turn out to be a one or two-week plug and play option, but Marte is definitely worth considering. He impressed when he was recalled on May 31st going 4 for 4, but he rode the bench as a pinch hitter for the next week. On June 8th he went 2 for 5 with a home run, came up the next night as a pinch hitter and hit a home runs, and since then he has been playing almost every night.

He showed enough pop in Triple-A to suggest he could hit 20 home runs, and he spent his Triple-A time last year in the international league so he’s accustomed to the large home park. We have yet to see the walk and strikeout numbers he displayed in this small major league sample, but he is capable of putting up respectable numbers in both.

The reason this might not last long is Marte hit .272 in Triple-A and .260 or lower right up through Double-A. If the average drops he’s no better than C.J. Cron. Right now his fantasy value is different for each site, as he’s a third baseman on CBS and first base on Yahoo and ESPN, but he has played at both positions this year and is seeing reps in the outfield. Someone that could eventually qualify for all three could make a great bench bat. You don’t need to run out now and grab him, but he should be on your watch list and monitored closely.

Didi Gregorius (Yankees)
Available in 80% of CBS, 90% of Y! and 91% of ESPN leagues

Gregorius has made some nice improvements from last season. From the higher contact rate (85.3% – first time over 80) yet similar Swing%, the lower strikeout rate (11.2%) and SwStr% (7.6%), an improved batting average (.279) with a similar BABIP. The only part of his game that has really regressed is the walk rate for the third straight season. His batting average has kept him in fantasy conversations, but talk time is over after viewing his recent body of work.

Over the past two weeks Gregorius has hit .327 with two home runs and 12 RBIs with seven runs scored. Those numbers would rank him 5th on the ESPN player rater. That’s better than numbers produced by more popular owned shortstops like Brandon Crawford, Addison Russell and Elvis Andrus, and much better than lesser names who are more widely owned like Alcides Escobar and Eugenio Suarez. If you’ve got a solid shortstop who is producing that’s one thing. If you’ve got one of those guys listed above you may want to find a way to roster Gregorius – even if it turns out to be a short-term addition.

Rajai Davis (Indians)
Available in 53% of CBS, 61% of Y! and 67% of ESPN leagues

I was originally going to harp on the fact that Davis ranks inside the top 10 outfielders on the ESPN player rater over the past two weeks. Then I saw he ranked 14th among outfielders for the entire season, and now I’m left with one simple question for all of you. “What the hell are you waiting for?” Seriously, if he is on waivers in your league, tell me why? I know his average slumped in May, but it’s been June for two weeks now.

His 33 runs scored isn’t great, but good enough for a third outfielder. Seven home runs isn’t a lot, but when you factor in the 18 stolen bases (3rd most in the league) – who cares that he only has seven homers. The .250 batting average ranks 40th among qualified outfielders, but looking at the list I see seven players that have either been demoted, are in a part-time role now or are on the DL, which pushes him into #3OF territory.

Davis isn’t sexy, but he is an asset in the stolen base department who will contribute solid numbers in the other three categories. Stop looking for the next big thing and roster the stable cog that’s sitting right in front of over half of you.

Mitch Moreland (Rangers)
Available in 75% of CBS, 73% of Y! and 89% of ESPN leagues

Moreland is a lot like Ryan Zimmerman in the sense that he is only useful in spurts – like now. Over the past 14 days he is batting .333 with four home runs and eight RBIs. In 2015 he hit .323 in June with nine home runs and 25 RBIs before falling tailing off in July. That means you’ve still got a little time to take advantage of his hot streak. Once it ends and his bat cools I’d be looking to drop Moreland for his eventual replacement Ryan Rua, who right now is looking for a home now that Shin-Soo Choo has returned from the DL.

Zach Eflin (Phillies)
Available in 92% of CBS, 99% of Y! and 98% of ESPN leagues

Eflin got blown out in his first start with the Phillies, so he should be well hidden on waivers and off the radar right now. Prior to his promotion he had a 2.90 ERA and 0.88 WHIP over 11 starts (68.1 innings) in Triple-A. His 1.45 BB/9 is right in line with his 1.57 BB/9 last season in Double-A showcasing his great control. After posting a H/9 over nine for two straight seasons it was just 6.45 this year – mostly due to his sinker which has shown even more improvement.

The K/9 was up considerably from last year (7.24 compared to 4.65), but I would not count on it going much higher and expect it to eventually settle in the high six range with the occasional game above that. Finally he gave up just two home runs this year, and a total of 30 home runs over 454 minor league innings.

Citizens Bank Park isn’t the best home for a young pitcher, but for a player who can induce ground balls it should not be a problem. Monitor his start today versus Arizona. If all goes well he could warrant a roster spot with upcoming games at San Francisco and home against the Royals and Braves. Eflin should be here to stay even when Vincent Velasquez returns from the DL. I like him as a short-term lightning in a bottle play, and am cautiously optimistic that he might turn into more than that.

Daniel Mengden (A’s)
words Available in 89% of CBS, 98% of Y! and 99% of ESPN leagues

Another potential lightning in a bottle play here. Mengden has quietly made two successful starts so far with just three earned runs and 12 strikeouts over 12 innings. There were no wins to be had as the A’s could not muster any offense, but it’s hard to complain about the rest.

Prior to his promotion he had a 1.39 ERA and 0.84 WHIP through seven Triple-A starts. He started the season in Double-A, but after four starts he had just a 0.78 ERA and 10.96 K/9 so they moved him up. He lost some strikeouts in Triple-A (7.74 K/9), but the K/9 was above eight at every other level. Other than his short tenure in Double-A walks have not been an issue. This year he had a BB/9 of 1.99, down from the 2.74 in High-A but in line with the 1.85 BB/9 in Class-A prior to that.

Mengden went right from college in 2014 to the minors so he only has 200 innings of minor league experience, but those 261 innings of NCAA ball more than prepared him endurance wise. He has four pitches in his arsenal; a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. The speed varies nicely from one to the other which is nice, and he did a good job mixing them all in his first few starts, but they all need work so he could run into trouble as the season wears on and he is more exposed.

His next start is Wednesday at home against the Brewers – a game I highly recommend streaming him in. If you like what you see then hold on because he gets a road start against the Giants next followed by a home game against the Pirates before finally being tested on the road at Houston. Things look a little tougher after the all-star break, but if he does well against Houston that might not matter much. Give Mengden a quick test drive and decide if you want to buy him later.

Finding their way to Waivers

The waiver wire isn’t just about finding hidden and under owned talent, it is also about figuring out who to drop. With two months of numbers to analyze, you should have a pretty good idea of who’s who and what to expect, but as fantasy owners we sometimes need a little extra push in jettisoning a player. Maybe this will give you some added incentive.

Prince Fielder‘s highest batting average this season was .213 on May 5th after going 2 for 4. He has had five multi-hit games since that time and just three home runs. The ISO (.112) is in the toilet, the hard hit rate (27.1) is far below the 36.2% career average, the 77.5% contact rate is the lowest we’ve seen since his days in Milwaukee, and his average fly ball distance is 263.81 feet. He may have one good month in him, but that’s no reason to hold him,

Shin-Soo Choo was a major disappointment in 2011 and 2014. Both years he dealt with injuries; both years he claimed to be healthy when he returned from the DL, and both years we found out after the season that he was not 100% but wanted to fight through in an attempt to help his team. Here we are in 2016 and Choo has dealt with numerous injuries, and now he’s off the DL claiming to be healthy, but I’m not buying it and neither should you. Trust me, nobody will run out and pick him up if you drop him.

David Peralta was a popular sleeper this year; I wonder if anyone told him he was supposed to be good. The walk rate is way down (5%), the strikeout rate is up (23.9%), the power and stolen bases haven’t been there and his batting average is down. Right now there is not much difference between Peralta and Rickie Weeks; how’s that for a slap of reality. Peralta will be 29 in a few months so he’s not a kid. That means the upside and potential card doesn’t apply here. Let’s just agree everyone got caught up in the hype of what he could be and look at what he is – a borderline bench bat. How many outfielders have been picked up that you would love to have now, but you were stubbornly holding out hope for Peralta? Stop waiting and cut the cord.

Previous Waiver Wire Recommendations

I like to hold myself accountable for past recommendations so I will monitor my hits and misses from the previous weeks and adjust the players accordingly.


This is the last week Adam Duvall and Matt Shoemaker will appear here. Their ownership level has reached a point to where they should be owned in all competitive leagues.

Continue to add

  • Hitters: Tim Anderson, Wilson Contreras, Jonathan Schoop, Michael Saunders, Robbie Grossman, Jake Lamb, Melky Cabrera, Dae-Ho Lee, Mark Reynolds, Wilmer Flores, Joe Mauer
  • Pitchers: Blake Snell, Trevor Bauer, C.C. Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Carlos Estevez, Matt Bush and Kevin Gausman (zero wins and all).
  • Matt Adams, Trayce Thompson and Tyler Naquin had an off week, but I would not panic.
  • Tommy Joseph did a pretty good Ryan Howard impersonation this week (two homers, .125 average). If it happens again it might be time to bail.
  • Tim Lincecum wasn’t dominant in his first start, but he looked good enough to own.
  • Jose Reyes is interesting stash and could have value with the right team.

Stash Minor league players to stash prior to their promotion

  • Alex Reyes, Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, Alex Bregman

HoldDo not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible

  • Peter O’Brien has great power potential, but I’m questioning if he can handle major league pitching. He’s still worth an add if you have the room IMO.
  • Ryan Zimmerman has hit a major cold streak. One more week of this and it’s back to the wire until the next one comes along. The same goes for Mike Napoli; he’s useless without the home runs.
  • Brandon Guyer should only be stashed if you have room on your DL.
  • Devon Travis hit for average this past week but did little else. I would hold, but let your waiver talent dictate what to do here.

Drop ’em

  • Corey Dickerson Continues to tease. While I would say drop him, the power is still there so if he Ever turns the average around – Yahtzee!
  • Matt Andriese has zero value in the bullpen.
  • Logan Morrison stopped hitting for average, and now the power has faded. Buh bye.
  • Jeremy Hellickson has dropped down to streamer levels. He’s not worth the roster spot.


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By Jim Finch

The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball.