Waiver Wire Report: Week 6

Welcome to week six of the waiver wire report. Each week I will dig through the f/a pool to find the best potential free agents on waivers (under 50% ownership). 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.

Yonder Alonso (A’s)
Available in 85% of CBS, 94% of Y! and 91% of ESPN leagues

It appears Alonso went to the Chris Davis school of baseball, needing many years and multiple venue changes before finally realizing his potential. He has six home runs over 75 at bats and is four away from surpassing every home run total since 2012. That was his first year with the Padres, and coincidentally the beginning of his demise.

Now in Oakland, Alonso is looking like a viable fantasy candidate. His power is backed up by a .293 ISO, 40% hard hit rate, and 49% fly ball rate. His 25% ground ball rate is nearly half of his career line – and all of those are career best. His success has come at the expense of plate discipline with a 23.8% strikeout rate and 76.2% contact rate (both career worst).

Maybe this new “swing for the fences” approach works for him, and maybe it will be short-lived. The fact of the matter is Alonso is currently a Top-12 first baseman and deserves to be rostered on more teams until he proves otherwise.

Jose Reyes (Mets)
Available in 61% of CBS, 73% of Y! and 00% of ESPN leagues

On April 25 Reyes’ batting average sat at .104; it is now up to .186 just nine days later. Over that time he has two doubles, three home runs, two steals, 10 RBIs and eight runs scored. That production is only third to Kris Bryant and Miguel Sano at third base, and behind Chris Owings and Trea Turner at shortstop.

I can’t deny his declining numbers over the years or dismiss the injury concerns. However, there is still enough in the tank to put up a respectable average along with double-digit home runs and steals. Reyes is healthy and hitting; take advantage of that while it lasts.

Aaron Altherr (Team)
Available in 82% of CBS, 88% of Y! and 90% of ESPN leagues

There is some BABIP love (.417) holding up that .327 average. That may affect the future, but now he is raking. Altherr has two home runs and two steals over the past two weeks. He’s hitting lefties as well as righties, and there are no home and away splits either. He is also contributing nicely to runs and RBIs, and that should only continue now that he has worked his way into the top-half of the lineup.

In 2015 he had 21 home runs and 22 steals so there is 20/20 potential here. I am not confident that batting average will hold up, but for now Altherr deserves a look as a speculative fourth outfielder – a bench role at the very least.

Michael Taylor (Nationals)
Available in 86% of CBS and 97% of Y! and ESPN leagues

With Adam Eaton done for the year, somebody has to step up, right? I’ll admit this is a bit of a homer pick – Taylor is one of those guys I just can’t quit. The power/speed combination is intriguing. Given the proper spot in the lineup he could put up some nice counting stats as well.

The two things that have held Taylor back to date are contact and strikeouts. The early 2017 sample size says nothing has changed. However, Taylor did hit .315 this spring (17 for 54) with two homers, six steals, and a strikeout rate under 25%. Since taking over for Eaton he is 9 for 19 at the plate with two steals, three walks and four runs scored. Five strikeouts, while high, is also encouraging going by Taylor standards.

I’m not rushing out to pick up Taylor in 12-team leagues, but I am watching him closely.




Leury Garcia (White Sox)
Available in 93% of CBS, 99% of Y! and 97% of ESPN leagues

This is someone who not many even considered prior to the season. Given the Adam Eaton trade and Garcia’s .295 average and 63 steals over 882 at bats in Triple-A, maybe we should have looked his way.

Garcia is batting .275 for the season and .300 over the past two weeks. He also has five doubles, two home runs and two steals to his name over 72 at bats. The Sox had him batting 5th last night so there is potential for decent counting stats. He is struggling against righties (small sample) which will need to be corrected to give him mixed league relevance. There is a little pop in his bat, but it’s the 30 stolen base potential you are investing in here.

The best waiver wire adds are the ones you scout out weeks ahead of the competition – this could be one of them… or not.

Tim Beckham (Rays)
Available in 82% of CBS, 78% of Y! and 89% of ESPN leagues

I want to like Beckham, but I’m hesitant to do so. Over the past two weeks he has batted .333 with two home runs, eight RBIs and six runs scored – he even threw in a stolen base. The hard hit rate is obscene (50%), and combined with an ISO over .200 support both his power and higher than average BABIP (.368).

I hesitate because I hate high strikeout, low contact hitters. Beckham is striking out 33% of the time with a 68.5% contact rate. He is chasing pitches less and is more aggressive in the zone, but I’m still not buying it long-term. Beckham qualifies for shortstop, second base, and first base (Yahoo). Ride him while he’s hot, and bail out at the first sign of trouble.

Kolten Wong (Cardinals)
Available in 78% of CBS, 94% of Y! and 91% of ESPN leagues

Wong is not hitting for power, he’s not running much, and he isn’t piling up the count stats. However, he is hitting recently – .378 over the past two weeks. A few other interesting little tidbits. Wong has a career low strikeout rate (12.9%), career high walk rate (11.8%), career low soft contact rate (16.1%), and career high ISO (.194).

I would not rush out and add Wong, but I would monitor him closely. A slight increase to his 13.8 line drive rate, an ever so slight reversal in his ground balls and flies, and Wong could be a useful commodity once again. I would be just as happy with a move up in the order and some additional counting stats, and with the cardinals lacking offense I can see that happening soon.

Jose Berrios (Twins)
Available in 61% of CBS, 93% of Y! and 94% of ESPN leagues

Now is the time to start stashing those potential super-two prospects. Berrios could (and should) actually arrive before that deadline. If you gambled on Berrios last year and lost, wash the bad taste out of your mouth and get over it.

Last year after his demotion to Triple-A Berrios put up a 2.51 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and a 10.10 K/9. That is almost a carbon copy of what he did in 2015 in Triple-A. This year over five starts he has a 1.09 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP, and a 9.55 K/9. Berrios is readily available in most Yahoo and ESPN leagues. Don’t think, just pick him up.

Yoan Moncada (White Sox)
Available in 57% of Y! and 80% of ESPN leagues

Moncada was thoroughly hyped during the preseason so he may not be available (looking at you CBS people). If he is, though, go get him. He is currently batting .330 with five home runs and six steals over 94 at bats. The strikeout rate is still high (29%), but the walk rate is holding strong above 10%.

Tyler Saladino’s average is down to .211, and whatever Matt Davidson did to earn the job this spring has disappeared over the past two weeks (.143). It is a matter of when, not if, for Moncada’s arrival.

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.

Graduated

This is the last week Corey Dickerson, Michael Conforto, Ryan Zimmerman and Travis Shaw will appear here. Their ownership rates are high enough that they should be owned in all competitive leagues. If they are available in your league – Last Call!

Continue to add

  • Continue to add David Peralta.
  • Steven Souza and Brandon Phillips had a rough week; give it another week before you sour on them.
  • Marwin Gonzalez and Hernan Perez are making the most of every at bat given to them. Their multi-eligibility makes them nice plug and play options from your bench if you have room.
  • Aaron Hicks is another player putting up strong numbers in a part-time role.
  • Bradley Zimmer and Rafael Devers should be stashed now in advance of the super-two deadline.

Hold Do not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible

  • Asdrubal Cabrera had just four hits this week and four hits the week before. You may want to start looking for a temporary or permanent replacement.
  • I warned you that Chase Headley would come to an end. We’re getting a taste of it now, and by next week I’ll be advising you to jettison him.
  • I also told you Mitch Moreland would be on again/off again. He’s off right now, and a week away from joining Headley on waivers.
  • Jayson Werth is running hot and cold. Let your league waiver wire determine his fate.
  • Yuli Gurriel is not hitting for power, but at least he is hitting now. Have a little more patience, but drop him if there are better options.
  • Lucas Duda is still on the DL. Hold him if you can, but drop him if you need the DL space. The same goes for C.J. Cron who I rank over Duda.

Drop ’em

  • Tyler Saladino has lost all the mojo from last season and the support he garnered this spring.
  • Taylor Motter has (sadly) outlived his usefulness in Seattle.
  • Trey Mancini gained outfield eligibility and soon after forgot how to hit. He is still a good hitter so he may have value again somewhere down the line.
  • Matt Davidson made an early case for additional at bats. Now he is making a case to be sent back to Triple-A.
  • Joaquin Benoit can be dropped in all leagues that don’t count holds. Maybe hold him in deeper leagues that roster a lot of future closers.

 

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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. You can also find me at FanRagSports.com
Jim Finch

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