Welcome to week 21 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.
Luke Weaver (Cardinals)
Available in 48% of CBS, 70% of Y!, and 80% of ESPN leagues
I sent this out on twitter the day Adam Wainwright went down.
If you have not added Mike Montgomery and Luke Weaver this morning, stop what you’re doing and do so now!
— ⚾ Jim Finch ⚾ (@TheJimFinch) August 18, 2017
That was over a week ago so I’m assuming everyone but those that play in CBS leagues were on vacation or something. Weaver has a guaranteed rotation spot for at least two weeks, possibly three, and maybe the remainder of the season depending on how long old man Wainwright takes to heal. He threw a seven-inning three-hit shutout on Wednesday with 10 punchouts. Yes, it was the Padres, but that is along the line of what Weaver has done in the minors this season.
Weaver owns a 2.00 minor league ERA through 275 innings and a 2.31 ERA through six major league games this season. It doesn’t matter if he is only starting for a few weeks or the rest of the season – pick him up now. I mean now; stop reading and pick him up.
Mike Montgomery (Cubs)
Available in 70% of CBS, 80% of Y!, and 78% of ESPN leagues
Montgomery was the other player mentioned in the aforementioned tweet, and he is just as much of an add Now player as Weaver. Again, go do it now – I’ll wait. Montgomery also started this past Wednesday and also tossed a shutout, four hits over six innings. That was his ninth start for the Cubs and 26th game he has appeared in this season.
Overall he owns a 3.43 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. If you take out that rough patch from early in July the ERA is below 2.50; that’s an average between his 2015 and 2016 total. Granted that isn’t sustainable over a season; there will be some hiccups, but on a whole Montgomery is better than average and far superior to most, if not all, the starting pitchers available on waivers.
Weaver’s shelf life is limited as Lester should return sometime in September. Until then, enjoy the ride.
Neil Walker (Brewers)
Available in 50% CBS, 77% of Y!, and 78% of ESPN leagues
Through Thursday Walker was batting .280, but he left New York with a .264 average. Since arriving in Milwaukee he is 12 for 28 with a home run, and five walks to just two strikeouts. He hit .282 last season and holds a .273 career average which gives us a baseline to work with for September. September is Walker’s best month for home runs, with an average of one homer ever 26.9 at bats. Now he has a friendly home park which could slightly increase those odds.
It remains to be seen where Walker fits in with the Brewers. He has had a few games at first and third base this year, and Villar was auditioned in the outfield last week adding to the positions he could cover. Plus Orlando Arcia is in a major funk so shortstop is an option for Villar as well. Walker’s bat is forcing the issue, and with Milwaukee in the hunt for the NL Central or a wildcard birth, production trumps all.
Brandon Phillips (Braves)
Available in 48% of CBS, 65% of Y!, and 57% of ESPN leagues
His season numbers are solid enough; double-digit power and speed with a .289 batting average. A 17 ranking among second basemen on the ESPN player rater is certainly worthy enough for a middle infield slot, right? His production the past two weeks (.316, 3HR, 13R) ranks 10th among third basemen. Phillips is on pace to match or exceed last season’s totals making him a borderline top-12, yet he is not owned or perceived as such. Put aside whatever bias you may have for Phillips and pick him up. I would consider him over Walker for what it’s worth.
Kolten Wong (Cardinals)
Available in 76% of CBS, 80% of Y!, and 83% of ESPN leagues
Given his disastrous 2016 season and failed hype of seasons past it’s easy to understand why Wong is out there. The fact he has just two home runs and six steals this year is also a contributing factor. But the Cardinals have been heating up, and Wong is one of the beneficiaries. There still is no power or speed. However, over the last 14 days he has seven RBI and nine runs scored with a .378 average. That puts him a few spots behind Brandon Phillips.
Wong owns a .315 season average – over .300 against lefties and righties. He’s hitting, but now with the rest of the team doing the same he is collecting counting stats. If your team has power and speed covered and you need a boost in the other fantasy categories (he has a .396 OBP as well) then Wong is your guy..
Howie Kendrick (Nationals)
Available in 68% of CBS, 64% of Y!, and 70% of ESPN leagues
The one positive thing about Kendrick is that in almost any given year he has been solid. He is a career .291 hitter, and prior to 2016 that’s what you got; a solid average with a nice mix of power and speed with acceptable run and RBI totals. However, he is now in his 30s, we’ve seen a decline in past years, and most fantasy owners write off guys like this in favor of younger players with upside. If this were the draft that would be the correct course of action. But this last in the season age and upside go out the window with production being the only thing that matters.
Kendrick is bating over .300 for the season, against both lefties and righties, and with the exception of a 40 AB/.250 June he has hit .300 each month. He was dismissed while on the Phillies, but now he’s with the Nationals getting regular at bats. His five home runs in August and 12 steals in June shows there’s still life in those old bones. In addition to second base he also qualifies for first and third base as well as outfield giving your roster some flexibility.
Amed Rosario (Mets)
Available in 35% of CBS, 74% of Y! and ESPN leagues
I honestly didn’t think Rosario would be up this year, and never expected him to get enough at bats to matter even if he did make it. Well, he’s here, and his 28 at bats over the past seven days speak for the playing time. He had a six-game hit streak prior to Friday with three multi-hit games bring his average up to .269. He also homered and stole two bases during that time frame. With Neil Walker gone and Asdrubal Cabrera splitting time between second and third that at bats will be there.
One of two things will happen. Either Rosario will take off and replicate his minor league success over the past month or he will deal with the typical rookie struggles like most youngster. The upside is too high not to gamble here, especially with him showing signs of breaking out.
Curtis Granderson (Dodgers)
Available in 61% of CBS, 62% of Y!, and 64% of ESPN leagues
Granderson is a black hole for batting average. But, if you can absorb his O’fers and need power he might be worth a look. He has three home runs in 23 at bats since joining the Dodgers and six over the past 14 days. During that time he has scored 10 runs and driven in 14. That’s production in three of the four major scoring categories.
I know it’s tough to look past the .225 average (.174 with the Dodgers). If ou can there is some solid production here. Your opponent will laugh at you for rostering him, but you might be the one laughing by weeks end.
Nicky Delmonico (Padres)
Available in 65% of CBS, 80% Y!, and 79% of ESPN leagues
I am right there with the rest of skeptics. Delmonico holds a .255 average and .152 ISO over 638 Triple-A at bats. The power is average, walks are good, strikeouts are acceptable, but the overall package is mehh. So, seeing a .307 average with six home runs, 12 RBI, 17 runs scored and two steals (another shocker) has me wondering where did this come from, and how long will it last?
Honestly, I don’t care what the answer is to either question. It’s almost September – that means playoff time. If you are fighting for a playoff spot or are close on a category or two in roto, you need immediate production, and it doesn’t matter who gives it to you. Little Nicky has gone cold the past few games so maybe the flame is already burning out. If he hits this weekend then maybe there is a little more left in him. If you pick him up you’ll need to monitor his production daily so you can bail out quick. Delmonico is a band-aid, not a long-term cure for the outfield.
For those of you forced to play the waiver wire.
The Tyler Flowers/Kurt Suzuki train keeps on rolling with four home runs and 11 RBI over the past 14 days. Yes, they hit a combined .222, but they are a combined .279 for the season. This is the best, and widely available catching combination, to won for those with daily moves.
From August 14 to 25 Robinson Chirinos raised his average from .224 to .253. During those nine games he had hits in all but one with multiple hits in four of them. He also had two home runs bringing his total up to 15.
Similar praises can be sung for Wilson Ramos who saw his average go from .170 to .258 during the last 10 games. He had six multiple hit days prior to last night along with a pair of home runs. His ownership levels are on the rise so act now. This could be the best one-catcher option available for the stretch run.
Mike Zunino, James McCann, and former teammate Alex Avila hit over .300 the past two weeks with a pair of home runs. Avila feels like the more stable of the two for continued production, but might not be an option with an ownership rate over 50 on Yahoo. McCann makes for a nice consolation prize if Avila and Ramos are gone.
Manny Pina and Christian Vazquez are still hitting well enough, but Stephen Vogt and Sandy Leon are cutting into their at bats. A Vogt/Pina combination down the stretch is something to keep in mind.
Previous Waiver Wire Recommendations
This is the last week Josh Bell, Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton will appear here. Their ownership rate is over 50% everywhere and they should be owned in all competitive leagues. If they are still available in your league – Last Call!
Continue to add Rhys Hoskins,Keon Broxton, Garardo Parra, Jhoulys Chacin, Nick Williams and Jarrett Parker. Shin-Soo Choo is also an add, but remember he will be hot/cold from week to week.
Jose Pirela is still useful in deeper formats, but the low counting stats of late limited his value in 12-team formats.
Matt Chapman was homerless the past week; that is his primary value. If this continues through the weekend he goes from add to drop.
The bat for Ozzie Albies started to come around this week. Maybe the calls to add him were too soon, or maybe his hot week was just overdue.
Brent Honeywell is still a worthy stash even with the uncertainty of a call up or guarantee of a rotation spot.
HOLD – Do not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible
C.J. Cron runs hot and cold, and worst of all he is at the mercy of Mike Scioscia who will bench guys without warning or reason.
Carlos Gomez should return from the DL this weekend. Continue to stash, but let his production upon return dictate his fate on your team.
Cory Spangenberg came around last week only to collapse this week. While he has been streaky, I’d probably consider him over the five players below.
Ketel Marte, Wilmer Difo and Derek Dietrich had an off week, and while they were hitting the week prior they are providing little for fantasy teams. Let the depth of your waiver wire determine his fate. A similar case can be made for Cesar Hernandez who has a stronger track record, but the current production is lacking. Finally, Orlando Arcia has several bad weeks in a row. I’ll give him one more week based on his pedegree and previous production, but the leash is short.
Manuel Margot rides the fence between hold and drop. He is barely doing enough to be useful but teases us with the occasional strong outing. I would drop him, but can see the appeal to hold him.
Maikel Franco, Lucas Duda, and Ben Gamel are all below .200 in August. Since the Break Franco has four home runs and Gamel has four combined home runs and steals. Duda still shows power, but provides nothing else. Danny Valencia is not getting enough at bats to matter even in deep league formats.
Matt Davidson could return soon, but wrist injuries tend to sap power which is what we need him for. Jose Reyes hits the DL with an oblique injury, and it’s too late in the season to gamble on holding such a mediocre player. I love Bradley Zimmer, but even I can’t make any more excuses for his recent slump. Unless you are in a keeper league he is unownable.
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