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. And just like in years past, I will be tracking previously recommended players and if they are still worthy of a roster spot. Now on to what you came here for.
- Hunter Pence (OF)
Pence is as hot as they come right now, and the Rangers rewarded him by making him their starting right fielder. When he’s not in RF, they plan to have him DH. Last week he was 8 for 21 with 4 HR, 5 R, and 12 RBI. He’s slashing .316/.389/..658 and his statcast page is practically painted red indicating that he’s hitting the ball so well and so hard that all this power and average just might be legit. Pence is in the top 5% of the league in Exit Velocity (93.1), XBA (.346), XSLG (.602), WOBA (.461), and XWOBA (.428). And at 36 years old, he’s still in the 87th percentile in sprint speed!
I know, I didn’t believe any of it either, but he’s doing it and everything is pointing to him being able to sustain most of what we’re seeing. He’s still only 33% owned, but with that he’s now starting, that number will quickly climb.
- Willians Astudillo (C, 3B)
Astudillo is back from a 10 day IL stint for a hamstring issue. In 16 games prior to the injury he was hitting .327 with 2 HR, 11 R, and 7 RBI. In his first game back, the Twins put him behind the plate and had him hitting out of the leadoff spot. He went one for five in his return, but immediately inserting him in the top spot in the lineup tells you how highly the Twins think of this kid. I don’t think playing time will be an issue for him going forward even though Mitch Garver is currently enjoying a hot streak of his own. Garver will probably see most of the time behind the plate, but the Twins can also play Astudillo at 3B or 1B, not to mention DH.
If you need help in AVG and runs, Astudillo might be your man. The Twins are scoring a lot of runs, and with his hit tool he should score his share, especially if he continues to hit at the top of the order. Astudillo is only 30% owned and didn’t exactly knock our socks off in his first game back, but I expect him to get hot quick. Don’t miss out by waiting too long to pick him up.
- Gregory Polanco (OF)
Polanco’s first game in 2019 was approximately 3 weeks ago on April 22nd. If you were able to stash him in an IL spot all this time, good for you. If not, it’s time to go get him. His BABIP and AVG are a little elevated so far (.333 and .304, respectively) compared to his career numbers (.290 and .254), but you don’t pick Polanco up for the AVG (though it won’t really hurt you with AVG being what it is these days). Pick him up because he’s seeing the ball well and has the highest Exit Velocity of his career at 90.7 (88.6 career) and the power is going to come with it.
Small sample, I know, but if you think last year was his break out (and I do) then you’ll want to be along for the ride this year. In 130 games last year he hit 23 HR, scored 75 R, drove in 81, and stole 12 bags. He has 2 HR in 15 games so far this year, but is 0/1 in steal attempts. I’m not nearly as concerned that he was caught as I am heartened by the fact that he seems to want to run. He’s 45% owned and if he’s available in your league, he won’t be for long.
- Corbin Martin (P)
I watched Martin pitch against the Rangers today. I’m sure by the time you read this you’ll be able to find a GIF of each of the strikes he threw (swinging and looking), and you’ll be able to see for yourself how filthy his stuff was. Like all of you, I thought Forrest Whitley would be the first pitcher from the Round Rock Express (Houston’s AAA affiliate in the Pacific Coast League) to be called up for the Astros and throw a gem like Martin did on Sunday. He gave up two earned runs on three hits and a walk while striking out nine in 5.1 innings. I know it’s a small sample, but he had a 29.8 K% in his five starts in AAA this season. He has a good prospect pedigree (picked by the Astros in the 2nd round in 2017 and ranked 50thoverall by Fangraphs) and now hehas pitched a gem in the bigs. If you need pitching help, get him before he’s gone.
- Brendan Rodgers
Rodgers is off to a great start at AAA Albuquerque. His .333/.406/.587 slash line is probably what the Rockies were hoping to see from Ryan McMahon and/or Garrett Hampson this season. They’ve both fallen woefully short of those numbers which is the reason you’re reading about Rodgers in this article. Rodgers also has 7 HR and 9 doubles so far. PCL parks are power friendly, but considering he’ll play half his games in Colorado I believe the power will translate. His great start alone might not be enough to get him called up, but combined with McMahon’s and Hampson’s numbers, and the fact that the Rockies thought they would be contending this year and currently find themselves 3.5 games back in the NL West, and it’s a recipe for a late May/early June call up for Rodgers.
This is the last week Jake Odorizzi and Franmil Reyes will appear here. Their ownership rate is over 50% and they should all be owned in all competitive leagues.
Continue to ADD
- Alex Verdugo is still just over 30% owned but is playing most days and slashing .319/.389/.383 in his last 15 games.
- Yordan Alvarez continues to make it difficult for the Astros to justify not calling him up. He’s hitting .447 with 3 HR, 9 runs, and 12 RBI in his last 10 games.
- Randall Grichuk has hit 4 HR in his last 30 games – two of them came this week. I told you last week the power is coming and I continue to believe it. You should too.
- CC Sabathia is 2-1 this season with a 3.26 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He hasn’t pitched over 5.1 innings in a game yet, so look elsewhere if your league uses quality starts. But if you need a ratios stabilizer, you could do worse.
HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)
- Ryon Healy is still a hold for me. He continues to play everyday and is doing Ryon Healy type things (hitting around .240 with a HR and 3 RBI in his last 7 games).
- Brian Goodwin is slowing down, hitting just .235 without a HR through 9 games in May. It might be time to start looking to replace him.
- Nick Margevicius is in the process of giving up 5 earned runs in 4 innings in Colorado as I write this. It is Colorado so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but if his next outing is a clunker we might need to transfer him to the Drop category next week.
- Nate Lowe had a relatively uneventful week while he was up with the Rays and has already been sent back to AAA. He’ll be back, but he’s not worth stashing.
- Renato Nunez is in a tailspin. He was just 1 for 27 this week, and if you were riding the wave… it’s time to get off.
- Ryan McMahon is as much the reason it’s time to start stashing Brendan Rodgers as Brendan Rodgers is. Time to let him go.
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