Welcome to week three of the waiver wire report. Each week I will dig through the f/a pool to find the best potential free agents on waivers. 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.
For the most part I will deal with hitting; my colleague Marc Goldstein will run down streamable pitching option each Sunday along with listing some of the best under-owned pitching options available. I will, though, on occasion, step on his toes if there is a pitcher that deserves some much-needed attention.
Jayson Werth (Nationals)
Available in 69% of CBS, 73% of Y! and 75% of ESPN leagues
Health declines in 2015 combined with a drop in production in 2016 has left many fantasy owners skeptical of Werth. So far in 2017 he is doing his best to win back his fan base, batting .303 with three home runs, seven RBIs and six runs scored. The strikeout rate doesn’t bode well for long-term production, but for now he is healthy, hitting, and can be a boost over many fourth outfielders right now.
Lucas Duda (Mets)
Available in 67% of CBS, 88% of Y! and 89% of ESPN leagues
In 2014 Duda hit righties well and smacked 30 home runs. In 2015 he hit lefties well and ended the year with 27 homers. In 2016 he couldn’t hit anyone, and all that work he put in to build his power reputation has been thrown out the window. This year he is back on the left power kick (limited sample size), and overall is batting .286 with three home runs over 28 at bats. The jury is still out on this one; things are so hard to gauge in the early weeks of the season. He’s worth a dart throw in leagues with more than 12-teams that use a CI slot.
Marwin Gonzalez (Astros)
Available in 84% of CBS, 71% of Y! and 93% of ESPN leagues
Yuli Gurriel and A.J. Reed put on a heck of display this spring. Reed was sent to the minors where he has flounder, and Gurriel – the winner of the first base job, has done little to prove he belongs in the majors. Meanwhile, Gonzalez has three home runs and six RBIs. The batting average is below the mendoza line, and the strikeouts hint in will not get much better. He did show some power and speed last year, and he qualifies at every position other than catcher. He could make a nice plug and play off the bench in deeper leagues.
Michael Conforto (Mets)
Available in 67% of CBS, 82% of Y! and 85% of ESPN leagues
His manager hates him, the outfield is full, and he has no clear path to playing time. Still, Conforto impressed this spring and continues to make the most of every at bat he is getting. Through Thursday he was 4-10 with two home runs, five runs scored. Curtis Granderson is off to a slow start, and while Jay Bruce is hitting for power he will eventually hit a slump. Despite Terry Collins, the upper brass love this kid and will find a way to free up space in the outfield. Conforto is a speculative add for deeper leagues and someone to monitor closely in 12 and 14 team formats.
Cesar Hernandez (Phillies)
Available in 58% of CBS, 86% of Y! and 75% of ESPN leagues
Given the depth of the second base position it is no surprise Hernandez has gone unnoticed. A .308 batting average with one home run and four RBIs does little to move the fantasy needed. However, he has scored nine runs so far – only Wil Myers and Mitch Haniger have scored more. Batting average and runs are two of the five basic scoring categories in fantasy, right? Hernandez makes for a quality middle infield player while he is swinging a hot bat.
Steven Souza (Rays)
Available in 53% of CBS, 84% of Y! and 70% of ESPN leagues
He wasn’t on many radars this spring. He has some power and speed, but the lack of batting average, low walks and high strikeouts made him an injury replacement off waivers at best. Where did the guy we are seeing now come from? Souza is batting .344 with six walks and five strikeouts. Like all players early on, sample sizes need to be considered, and success over 32 at bats does not mean he is fixed. For now he should be viewed as a band-aid to replace that slumping outfield start you drafted. If this continues beyond April be grateful; if not you toss him back.
Bradley Zimmer (Indians)
Available in 73% of CBS, 96% of Y! and 98% of ESPN leagues
If you are looking to speculate instead of filtering through the early hot hands, Zimmer is a good player to start with. Last year’s 15 home runs and 38 stolen bases over two levels shows the type of player you are investing in. This spring Zimmer went 19 for 53 with five doubles, three home runs and four stolen bases. He is batting .259 at Triple-A so far with no home runs, but he does have two doubles, two triples, and three steals. There is little standing in his way at the major league level, and very little reason to doubt we will not see Zimmer sometime in June. Stash him now.
James McCann (Tigers)
Available in 71% of CBS, 87% of Y! and 86% of ESPN leagues
Buster Posey and Gary Sanchez are on the DL, Yasmani Grandal can’t break .200, Russell Martin is not even playable in a two-catcher format, and sleeper Cameron Rupp hit the snooze button. Welcome to the wonderful world of catchers. McCann is only a quick fix, but right now that is all some fantasy owners need. The batting average is nothing to write home about (.200), but he has three home runs, five RBIs, four walks to one strikeout, and is currently the 6th best catcher on the ESPN player rater.
Jason Castro (Twins)
Available in 58% of CBS, 75% of Y! and 67% of ESPN leagues
Take everything I said above when discussing McCann and apply it here. The only difference is that Castro may be more than a quick fix. Not too long ago Castro was a quality backstop to own, and there is nothing preventing him from having another solid year – all players have a few in them. A .316 batting average with one home runs, six RBIs and five runs scored puts Castro and #4 on the ESPN player rater. Did I mention he has nine walks and is also batting 5th/6th in the order as opposed to being a bottom feeder?
Joaquin Benoit (Phillies)
Available in 67% of CBS, 52% of Y! and 75% of ESPN leagues
Jeanman Gomez is out; Benoit is in, and yet the fantasy community is slow to react. Most are taking a wait and see approach thinking either this is a temporary thing or that Hector Neris will swoop in and steal the job. Neither one of those things are going to happen any time soon so you might as well accept the fact Benoit is the closer. It’s not like he doesn’t have experience. If you are worried about the ratios look at his numbers from 2013 to 2015. He got off to a rocky start last year, but did post a 0.38 ERA after being traded to Toronto. Neris may get the job one day, but that will be closer to the trade deadline.
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 Mitch Haniger appears here. His ownership rates are high enough that he should be owned in all competitive leagues. If he is still available in your league – Last Call!
Continue to add
- Continue to add Corey Dickerson, Travis Shaw, Asdrubal Cabrera, Chris Owings, C.J. Cron, Maneul Margot, Ryan Zimmerman,
- After a slow start Aaron Judge is starting to look like the guy we saw this spring.
- David Peralta is also starting coming around this week.
- Bradley Zimmer is still a quality prospect bench stash.
- Jesus Aguilar continues to push his way into the lineup giving him value in deeper leagues. A few more at bats and some signs of power will give him 12-14 team relevancy.
Hold – Do not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible
- Chase Headley is on the border of ad and hold. He is slowing down after a hot first week so this may be the end, or just a pause in the action.
- Hernan Perez is getting the at bats, but he is not doing much with them. If you own him give him another week before making a decision.
- Tyler Saladino draws intrigue due to his multi-position eligibility. Just like Perez, he is not looking like the player we saw last year or this spring.
- You know you’re in trouble when Marwin Gonzalez steals at bats from you. I’m giving one more week to Yuli Gurriel, but feel free to act sooner if here are better options out there.
- Raul Mondesi is stealing bases, but that’s about it. Second base is deep making the slow start less tolerable.
- It appears that Ben Revere is officially the odd man out in Los Angeles. Drop him, but be ready to scoop him back up when Cameron Maybin goes down.
- Ditto for Delino DeShields in Texas how has garnered just one start. We can readdress things if he ever gets a full-time role.
- It’s starting to look like the hot spring from Pablo Sandoval was a lot of hot air. Rafael Devers is warming up in the minors as we speak.
Need more waiver wire recommendations and free agent pick-ups, check out Fantasy Rundown daily for that and more.