Welcome to week-3 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 on ESPN and Yahoo). 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.
3B Colin Moran
Those that drafted Suarez, Longoria, or any other slumping/injured third baseman late should turn their attention here. The former first round pick acquired from Houston is delivering early with a .343 average, one homer, 8 RBI, and K/BB ratio of 1/1. That last part is important since Moran struggled with strikeouts at the higher levels. He did improve greatly last year so it’s nice to see whatever changes he made stuck. Moran has 20 home run pop, and now with the K’s under control and the batting average resembling his minor league resume he might finally live up to expectations.
Sadly I missed out on Moran, but there is plenty of stock available out there. Just make sure you have a replacement for when there is a lefty on the mound – it’s a third base version of Justin Bour.
SS Marcus Semien
A .246 career average and .250 for the season hardly makes for a worthy waiver add, right? Well, that depends on how you look at it. Semien is one year removed from a 27 home run campaign. His current ISO isn’t up to par, but his hard hit rate is a career high (33.3%) and his fly ball rate (45.2%) is the highest it has been since 2013. Semien also has double-digit steals in the past three seasons, is batting at the top of the lineup so plenty of run scoring opportunities, is still drawing walks at a solid rate (9%), and he is at that magic age (27) that hitters generally break out in.
Expect the strikeouts to decrease, the power to increase, and Semien to slowly sneak into the top-12 shortstop ranks.
OF Jose Pirela
I’m having a hard time believing in the 23/12/.300 season Pirela produced between Triple-A and the majors last season. Then again, he was a solid hitter with both power and speed through 2014 so maybe he is just a late bloomer. Pirela walks at a decent clip and strikes out less than average. A ground ball lean plays well for the steals as does batting second half the time. He has also seen time at cleanup so both run and RBI stats are in play. The contact (small sample) has also improved, particularly outside the zone with a decrease in swings.
He has zero homers and just one steal, but a .297 average and career high hard hit rate suggest good things could be on the way – or as good as things can get for a guy wearing a Padres uniform.
OF Leonys Martin
Martin has had his moments, like his .274 with 7 home runs and 31 steals in 2014 and his 15 home runs, 24 steal season in 2016. Outside of that there is nothing to look at. HE gets yet another fresh start with Detroit and is currently batting .271 with a homer and a steal both occurring over the past 7-days along with going 8 for 25 at the plate. Small sample size rules apply, but the contact is up with fewer swings, the K% (18.5) is at its lowest point since AAA in 2012, the walk rate (11.1%) is the best we’ve seen from him in the majors, the approach has changed as he is hitting twice as many balls the opposite way, and leading off should see some solid run numbers (8 so far).
Martin is hitting far too many fly balls for a guy with a decreased ISO and hard hit rate, but if that comes down and the line drives stick he could be a sneaky 4th outfield option.
OF Curtis Granderson
The average has been above .237 once in the past 6 seasons so buying the current .324 may be hard to swallow. One of the few positive attributes for Granderson is power; he has 26, 30, 26 the past three years. he is also still drawing walks (11% or higher since 2011). That has helped him score at least 82 runs since 2015 despite the poor bat. The batting average will crater once the obscene line drive rate drops, but a huge spike in hard hit rate could make the fall a little lighter than most expect.
Granderson is by no means a long-term solution, but while he is hitting I recommend you take full advantage – who knows how many good at bats he has left in him.
SP Nick Pivetta
Pivetta is someone Hunter Denson discussed in the preseason as a late round flyer. While his first start was rough (most are) he has thrown two gems since, totaling 16 strikeouts over 12.2 innings. Granted, two earned runs total against the Reds and Marlins isn’t a feat, but it is a start. The control (1.08 BB/9) which was a problem has been spot on. The strikeouts are in line with what he has produced since 2016. Both the FIP and xFIP suggest things are for real. The fly ball rate is below 30% while the hard hit rate is just 20.9%. The extra curveballs have turned all three of his pitches into positive values (almost, his fastball went from -9.2 runs to -0.5 so it’s a win to me.
I don’t know if this is just April luck, but ride it while he’s delivering. His next start is Tuesday at Atlanta followed by a Sunday start at home versus Pittsburgh. What better time to kick the tires than in a two-start week.
3B/OF Derek Dietrich
This is more of a Yahoo play since Dietrich also qualifies for first and second base making him a terrific plug and play option for days off an injuries. Prior to his Saturday night start he was batting .310 with seven runs scored out of the top-two spots in the lineup. History suggest the average will not hold, and a lower contact rate with increased swings along with a .386 BABIP agree. This is not one of my proudest recommendations, but he is hitting now so he is here – for now.
2B/OF Howie Kendrick
Kendrick went 0-4 Friday, but he had a six game hit streak going and dropped his average to a somewhat realistic .319. The average has always been there (career .291), it’s the power and playing time which has fallen off. Well, he’ll be in there every day until Dan Murphy returns so one issue down. He still has speed (double-digit steals in last 3 of 4 seasons). The RBI opportunities are there batting 5th. As for the power – well, there’s not much to say here – be happy if he gets to 8.
As a middle infielder or injury replacement (looking at you Jonathan Schoop owners) you could do worse right now.
1B Joe Mauer
It seems every year I need to give an obligitory mention to Mauer – might as well get it out of the way. He has hit safely in every game through Friday (reaching the 2,000 hit milestone Thursday) and is now batting .412. Zero home runs and only 6 each for runs and RBI – not exactly totals to write home about. He did manage to hit .305 last year, averaged 69 runs the past three years and 70 RBI in two of those three – albeit with zero power.
Mauer is an emergency CI/Util option right now while he is hot, but that’s it.
This is the last week Chris Owings and Cesar Hernandez will appear here. Their ownership rate is over 50% and they should be owned in all competitive leagues. If they are still available in your league – Last Call!
Continue to ADD
- Brian Anderson (will move to RF when Prado returns) and Kevin Pillar should both be owned right now.
- Preston Tucker lost some average (as expected), but still think he’s a viable 4th outfielder, as is teammate Nick Markakis right now.
- The season debut for Eduardo Rodriguez didn’t go well, but he rebounded on Friday and the K’s were there in both games.
- Minor League Stash: Kyle Tucker (all he needs is an opening).
HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)
- Yonder Alonso hasn’t carried that spring average over, but I still think the average will bounce back and he still has solid power.
- Every time I think Kole Calhoun is coming around he returns to replacement level status. Do what you will – I’m holding out a little longer.
- I was unsure of what to make of Eduardo Escobar last week, and am unsure of what to do after a poor week at the plate. He’s in a holding pattern if there isn’t anyone better on waivers.
- Amed Rosario is still getting the at bats, but not doing much with them. Another week of this and I’m done.
- Ryan McMahon gets a 5 day audition at third base. What he does now will dictate (somewhat) his future at bats so keep holding.
- Brandon Drury is still a DL stash (unless your DL is already full or overflowing).
- Brandon Finnegan showed definite signs of rust Saturday, but I still have faith in him. He deserves a watch list add at the very least..
- Lewis Brinson is only for keeper leagues at this point. Everyone else can move on.
- Chalk the early success for Aledmys Diaz up to luck.
- Jacob Barnes only has value in holds league – damn you Milwaukee!
- I was iffy on listing Yolmer Sanchez last week. Let’s just pretend I recommended him (halfheartedly) and move on.
- The early power surge is over for Joe Panik – hope you enjoyed it.
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