Fantasy Baseball

Waiver Wire Report: Keep Digging

Waiver Wire Report Logo

We kick off this weeks waiver wire with a quote from my buddy, and fellow fantasy writer, Seth Klein.

Sadly, many people don’t adhere to this, and more often than not they play the part of Captain Hindsight in September. It doesn’t matter if you are fighting for a playoff spot or staunchly sitting in first place; you need to pay attention to the waiver wire – and in turn, your inactive or bench roster.

And don’t just look at the surface stats as they don’t tell you the whole story. Monitor their month to month numbers; look at what they have done recently, and compare those players production to what is available on waivers. Remember when Jeremy Hazelbaker was hot in April? How many of you kept him in an active roster thought May just looking at the pretty bottom line.

Now is not the time to be complacent. Start clearing out the dead weight and start playing some hot hands. Even if you don’t believe the player will keep it up (like the first guy on our list today), pick him up and play him until he stops hitting. This is basically what I’ve been preaching all year, and last year, and the year before that.

Tyler Naquin (Indians)
Available in 44% of CBS, 51% of Y! and 54% of ESPN leagues

How and why he is still available in over half of fantasy leagues is beyond me. He hit .328 with six home runs and 15 RBIs in June, yet only created a little buzz. Now it is July, and he is hitting .327 with six home runs and 12 RBIs, but for some reason his ownership levels do not reflect his production. Even a top-10 ranking on the ESPN player rater over the past 30 days hasn’t helped.

I realize his .423 BABIP screams regression, and outside of his incredible hard hit rate none of his underlying metrics say he can sustain this – but who cares. Fantasy baseball is all about production. Well, Naquin is producing! Stop looking at what his numbers say he should be doing and start paying attention to what he actually Is doing.

Corey Dickerson (Rays)
Available in 43% of CBS, 67% of Y! and 68% of ESPN leagues

Don’t look now, but Dickerson looks to be adjusting to life outside of Coors field. After failing to reach the Mendoza line over the first three months Dickerson is batting .345 in July. The one major difference between this month and last is that he is hitting to opposite field more, 45% compared to 34% or lower the previous months.

Doing this has had some positive and negative effects. Dickerson is striking out less, 17% compared to 25 plus percent the previous months. He is also hitting for less power; the ISO is down to .172 after being over .200 for three straight months, and the hard hit rate has drastically dropped down to 25%. Maybe he is adjusting to his new surroundings, or maybe it is luck as his BABIP this month is over .400. The improved average is nice to see, but if the power reappears you’ve got a strong sleeper for the final two months. It might be worth exploring his asking price if he is not on waivers.

Jayson Werth (Nationals)
Available in 41% of CBS, 74% of Y! and 72% of ESPN leagues

This one is pure speculation on my part, but that is what fantasy baseball is all about. Werth hit his first and second home runs for the month on Wednesday and Friday, both of them solo shots. He has just two RBIs this month after reaching double-digits the previous three months. The law of averages says he is due for a little streak, and the only time Werth has had any worth this year was during those streaks. He does have a hit in each of his last six games, and the walk rate is still steady. I think he could be on the verge of producing some nice short-term numbers and should be monitored closely – if not stashed on your bench.

Eddie Rosario (Twins)
Available in 91% of CBS, 98% of Y! and 97% of ESPN leagues

On July 9th Rosario was batting .206, but two weeks later we are looking at a .248 average. That still won’t get him noticed if you’re looking just at surface starts, which is one of the reasons he is so readily available. Rosario increased his average over the past two weeks by .042, batting .429 with a couple of homers. A lot of the damage came at Texas, but he still continued hitting after the Texas series so maybe there is more to this. Rosario doesn’t hit lefties and struggles at home, but on the road and against righties he could be serviceable – maybe even as a streamer option for weeks that the Twins are away.

Jedd Gyorko (Cardinals)
Available in 86% of CBS, 80% of Y! and 89% of ESPN leagues

Gyorko’s average shot up 30 points over the past two weeks, and he nearly matched his home run total for the season during that span. His .419 average, five home runs, nine RBIs and eight runs scored during that run ranked 5th on the ESPN player rater. Just like Rosario above, most of Gyorko’s damage came in one series – in this case it was against his former team, the Padres. He has continued to hit so there is a chance (albeit a slim one) he can keep this going. Gyorko qualifies for second base and shortstop, and depending on your league eligibility could also qualify for first and third base as well. That’s some nice coverage to have from a bench guy – that is if he can keep hitting well enough to warrant a bench role.

Howie Kendrick (Dodgers)
Available in 61% of CBS, 59% of Y! and 62% of ESPN leagues

Speaking of eligibility, Kendrick qualifies for second base and outfield universally, but on some sites he also qualifies for first and third base. That said, Kendrick is on fire this month, batting .382 with two home runs, eight RBIs and 12 runs scored. I know he is not going to continue hitting like that, but there is a reason to be optimistic that the average will remain strong.

Kendrick is currently batting .272, and since he has been in the majors he has only finished with an average below .285 once – that’s once in 10 years. Even with a slow start to the season he is on pace to meet or exceed last year’s numbers, and last year he finished as a top-20 second baseman. Kendrick is boring and he has zero upside, but he delivers solid dependable numbers – the difference is this year it looks like he has saved that production for the stretch run.

Hernan Perez (Brewers)
Available in 96% of CBS and 97% of Y! and ESPN leagues

It took several years and a change of scenery for Perez’ numbers to finally reflect what he has done in the minors. Perez hit .301 in Double-A and .293 in Triple-A, and now finally with the Brewers he is hitting .285. He’s hitting .273 with most of his power versus lefties, but .296 with most of his speed against righties. The 3.6% walk rate is less than desirable, and the 24.4% strikeout rate needs some work, but his batted ball profile is solid and the contact rate has shown improvements.

The 12 stolen bases are for real as he did display enough speed in the minors to steal 20 or more bases annually. His five home runs (six total including his brief minor league stint) is almost a career high, and it’s not surprising the power is starting to develop now at age 25. In a lot of ways he is similar to Matt Duffy, and he turned a lot of heads last season seemingly coming out of nowhere.

Hernan is starting to generate more at bats, and in turn we could see a bump in counting stats. He qualifies for third base, but on some site he qualifies for second base and outfield as well. If you’re looking for a potentially sneaky CI/MI bench bat for the stretch run, Hernan could be your guy.

Cheslor Cuthbert (Royals)
Available in 77% of CBS, 92% of Y! and 91% of ESPN leagues

Like many of you, I was skeptical when Cuthbert was called up in May to replace the injured Mike Moustakas, and his .253 average that month did little to change my mind. In June Cuthbert quietly hit .283 with six home runs, 15 RBIs and 11 runs scored – which bumped up his ownership levels some, but not nearly enough. Now it is July and he is batting .377 with two home runs and 13 RBIs. Just like Tyler Naquin, it’s time fantasy owners start to take notice.

His GB% is staring to decline while both his FB% and LD% are increasing. The strikeouts are down this month as is his soft contact rate. He showed decent pop in the minors and holds a .284 average in Triple-A, so maybe this is sustainable. Over the past 30 days he is a top-10 third base option according to the ESPN player rater – just in case you don’t want to take my word on how useful he has been, or could be.

Sandy Leon (Red Sox)
Available in 70% of CBS, 74% of Y! and 75% of ESPN leagues

In a time when most teams play the catcher carousel, targeting the hot hand off waivers, Leon makes the perfect pickup. He hit .467 when called up in June, and this month he is batting .381 with two home runs and nine RBIs. The average is strong both home and away and against lefties and righties so as long as he’s in the lineup, he should be in your lineup.

Make no mistake: Leon is not your savior; he is just the flavor of the month so don’t get too attached. His .255 career average in Triple-A is the highest he hit at any level, and he has never hit more than six home runs in any year. When the bottom starts to fall out, move on to the next guy and don’t get caught up in his inflated bottom line. Until that day comes, enjoy the pretty numbers.

Yulieski Gurriel (Astros)
Available in 68% of CBS and 97% of ESPN leagues

How good can this guy be? Good enough that the Astros are considering moving Alex Bregman, who was slated to play third base upon promotion, to the outfield. The 32-year-old Cuban import has never finished a season with an average below .291, and only finished below .300 twice. Given his home run totals compared to at bats, he should be expected to hit at least 20 home runs in a season – although more than that is expected. You can see all of his numbers on Baseball-Reference. He is a true impact bat and should be stashed in all leagues regardless of whether or not you need a third baseman.

Yahoo players will need a high waiver priority to claim Gurriel since he is not available yet, but those on CBS, ESPN and Fantrax can freely add him now.

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 monitor their progress until they either graduate (over 50% ownership on all three sites) or are listed as drops (sometimes you’ve just got to cut a man loose).


This is the last week Anthony DeSclafani will appear here. His ownership level has reached a point to where he should be owned in all competitive leagues.

Continue to add

  • Didi Gregorius, Melky Cabrera, Yangervis Solarte, Ryon Healy, Tommy Joseph, Javier Baez, Max Kepler, Wilmer Flores, Lonnie Chisenhall and Seth Smith continue to hit well and are worthy adds.
  • Ryan Rua becomes an immediate add now that Choo is back on the DL.
  • Jose Reyes is slowly turning into a quality SS/MI option. His ownership is rising so you may want to act now.
  • Tim Anderson and David Freese had an off week, but I would not read too much into it.
  • Zack Cozart, Randal Grichuk and Travis Jankowski stopped hitting after I recommended them last week. Coincidence? Give them another week, unless you have better options available on waivers.
  • Andrew Benintendi, Alex Bregman, Hunter Renfroe and David Dahl should be up at some point and could have an immediate fantasy impact. The same goes for Josh Bell who is now playing the outfield in order to crack the Pirates lineup.
  • Justin Bour makes an excellent DL stash for the second half.

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

  • Brett Lawrie may need a trip to the DL due to a recent hamstring injury. Feel free to drop him if your disabled list is full.
  • Devon Travis, Mark Reynolds and Yasmany Tomas all appear to be breaking out of their slump, but not sure I’m ready to recommend adding them yet.
  • Bartolo Colon‘s recent struggles make me question his future value. If he falters again this week you can start looking for a replacement.

Drop ’em

  • Colby Rasmus is batting .056 this month. It’s safe to drop him now, but keep him on your watch list in case he goes on a tear during the stretch run.
  • Kolten Wong hasn’t been as bad as Rasmus (.229 in July), but bad enough to not be held onto any longer.
  • The Astros demoted A.J. Reed on Friday. He has a bright future, but I would not bother with him again in 2016.

Fantasy Rundown BannerNeed more waiver wire recommendations and free agent pick-ups, check out Fantasy Rundown daily for that and more.

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.