Welcome to week 17 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.
Matt Chapman (Athletics)
Available in 88% of CBS, 98% of Y! & ESPN leagues
A .205 batting average screams “avoid me” at all costs. In case you haven’t been paying attention (that’s what I’m here for), Chapman has a .286 average over the past 14 days with all five of his home runs. Strikeouts are still an issue, but at least he is spacing out those multi-strikeout games by a few which shows some improvement (or luck). If he can maintain an average in the .250 range going forward the power he could provide will make it all worth while. For now, enjoy the hot streak and keep your fingers crossed.
Ben Gamel (Mariners)
Available in 73% of CBS, 84% of Y!, and 82% of ESPN leagues
The knock on Gamel is he has now power at a position where even the mediocre guys hit 20. Nobody will deny he can hit, with a .321 for the season, .315 over the past two weeks, and over .300 home and away as well as against lefties and righties. The one category that gets overlooked is runs. He has 52 runs scored in 305 at bats. In comparison, Wil Myers, Mekly Cabrera, Marcell Ozuna and Adam Jones have similar run totals with 70-80 more at bats. He is 9th in runs scored since the All-Star break.
Gamel is now firmly entrenched at the top of the Seattle lineup so he should continue to score at a high rate. If you are lacking in runs this is the perfect investment.
Corey Spangenberg (Padres)
Available in 84% of CBS, 85% of Y!, and 87% of ESPN leagues
He has been coming in quietly under the radar. Spangenberg hit .290 in June with three home runs and two steals. Over the past two weeks he has hit .349 with three home runs giving him four for the month along with a stolen base. He also has 13 RBI and 12 runs scored this month. That’s pretty good production for a second baseman. He also qualifies for third base and outfield making for a nice plug and play option off the bench. Even bad teams have decent fantasy options on them.
Mike Napoli (Rangers)
Available in 64% of CBS, 71% of Y!, and 82% of ESPN leagues
Full disclosure: I do not trust Mike Napoli and would only roster him in a 30-team AL West only league. That being said, he is hitting .282 with four home runs and eight RBIs over the past two weeks. That makes eight this month and 22 for the season. When Napoli can produce a solid batting average he can be quite useful. The problem is he doesn’t sustain a high average for long. Maybe he can keep this up for a few more weeks, or he could very well turn back into a pumpkin once the calendar turns to August. Do what you will here; I’m just reporting the facts.
Victor Martinez (Tigers)
Available in 68% of CBS, 71% of Y!, and 73% of ESPN leagues
Martinez is another player I’m not too high on, but I will not let my personal bias stand in the way of his production. Over the past 14 days he is hitting .311 with a pair of home runs and nine RBI. Maybe the 38-year-old still has something left in the tank, or we just might only see flashes of this for the remainder of the season. I think you can do better in 12-team leagues, but in leagues with 14 or more teams he is worth taking a flyer on in case he recaptures some of last years mojo.
Bradley Zimmer (Indians)
Available in 51% of CBS, 85% of Y!, and 89% of ESPN leagues
Unlike the players above, Zimmer is not on some kind of hot streak. He has, however, put up solid consistent numbers since his arrival. Zimmer is batting .277 with six home runs, 12 stolen bases, 33 RBIs and 26 runs scored in under 200 at bats. He only hit .243 over the past 14 days, but a home runs, three steals, eight RBIs and seven runs scored fill the rest of the score sheet. I can’t think of a better fourth outfield option to own. OK, maybe I can, be Zimmer is solid and deserves more respect than his current ownership indicates.
Odubel Herrera (Phillies)
Available in 45% of CBS, 48% of Y!, and 59% of ESPN leagues
I don’t usually recommend players when their ownership goes over 50%, but I’ll make an exception this time since it is just a few points. Since the All-Star break Herrera is batting .400 with three home runs, seven RBIs and 11 runs scored. A 16 point boost in batting average is something to pay attention to. The downside is it appears that Philly has given him the red light so you’ll be depending on power and average from here on out. If you pick him up and see either falter then move on to the next hot bat.
Jason Heyward (Cubs)
Available in 59% of CBS, 85% of Y!, and 82% of ESPN leagues
Heyward has been such a disappointment I’ve lost track of him this season until now. Since the All-Star break he has two doubles, two triples, a homer and stolen base, and has struck out in just two of 11 games. Oh, and he’s batting over .300 during that span as well. Like Herrera above, it looks as if the Cubs have taken away his gren light, so you will be depending on the batting average and counting stats for value. I’ve been down this road before so I’m cynical, but maybe Heyward is coming around and will finally start paying off that huge contract.
Joey Gallo (Rangers)
Available in 39% of CBS, 69% Y!, and 78% of ESPN leagues
It’s a baby step, but Gallo has a .261 average over the past 14 days. He also only has two multi-strikeout games since the break (a huge accomplishment for him) along wiht four home runs, bringing his total up to 25. I was never an Adam Dunn fan so I normally dismiss players like Gallo. However, if I were in a roto league and needed power I would seriously consider him. If, like Chapman above, he can put up an average north of the mendoza line that power can be a huge asset for someone. That’s a big if, but like I said, he has already taken a few baby steps.
For those of you forced to play the waiver wire.
With Austin Hedges on the 7-day DL Hector Sanchez has gotten a chance to shine. Over the past two weeks he has hit .382 with four home runs, nine RBIs, and eight runs scored. That brings his average up to .264 for the season. His overall production this year is in line with what he did last year between San Diego and Toronto and a welcome surprise after flaming out in his final two years in San Francisco. Don’t be surprised if he continues to steal playing time from Hedges when he finally returns.
The Kurt Suzuki/ Tyler Flowers combo is still in play. Over the past two weeks Suzuki is batting .353 and Flowers has hit .258. They have five home runs and 11 RBIs combined over that time. Those with daily roster moves should highly consider this.
Manny Pina has the job all to himself in Milwaukee with Stephen Vogt ruled out for the next month. He only has one home run over the past 14 days, but he is 11 for 27 at the plate (.407). Sometimes all you need from a catcher is someone that will not kill your batting average. Ditto that sentiment for Francisco Cervelli with his 15 for 43 performance over the past two weeks (.349).
Welington Castillo owners may want to go the two-catcher route and invest in Caleb Joseph. He is hitting .299 for the season, .409 over the past two weeks, and over the past two weeks he has received 20 at bats to Castillo’s 30. Start whoever is in the lineup each night and pad that batting average.
Last week’s catcher combo of Andrew Knapp and Cameron Rupp is still going strong with with a .292 (Knapp) and .313 (Rupp) average over the past two weeks.
Previous Waiver Wire Recommendations
Continue to add Gerardo Parra, Nick Williams, Clint Frazier, Josh Bell, Danny Valencia, Orlando Arcia and Jose Reyes.
Randal Grichuk has several multi-hit games and four home runs sicne returning from the DL. He’s streaky, but worthy of ownership while the power is showing.
Nick Castellanos and Maikel Franco hit a major slump since they appeared here last week. Give it another week and don’t overreact.
Carlos Gomez is slowly coming back around. Not sure if he is an add in 12-team leagues, but he could be with four or more active outfielders.
HOLD – Do not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible
Jhoulys Chacin had his two month long hot streak put on hold by a trip to the DL. Considering all the pitching injuries this year you would be wise to stash him.
Matt Davidson is starting to show signs of life and hit a homer last week. It’s a baby step, but an important one.
Stephen Piscotty began his minor league rehab assignment. We’ll know within a week if he is an add or drop. Byron Buxton is back and has the same one week time frame as Piscotty.
Curtis Granderson and Raimel Tapia are drops for two different reasons, but keep your eye on both. Granderson could be on the move, and players sometimes find new life with a new team. As for Tapia: he will not be traded, but Carlos Gonzalez is in his walk year and could be moved by the deadline.
Need more waiver wire recommendations and free agent pick-ups, check out Fantasy Rundown daily for that and more.