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.
- Franklin Barreto (2B)
According to Fangraphs, Barreto has 55 grade game power, 60 grade raw power, 60 grade speed, and a 55 future grade. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown any of it in the big leagues yet. He was having a career year in AAA Las Vegas (.296/.379/.926 with 12 HR and 13 SB over 73 games). The A’s called him up a week ago and announced he’s the full time second baseman (much to the chagrin of Jurickson Profar fans and fantasy owners) and he has started the last seven games. The A’s look like they want to give him time to work the kinks out, so he should continue to see a starter’s share of the time at second.
He’s off to a slow start where his slash is concerned (.115/.148/.533), but he has two home runs and a stolen base in the week he’s been up. Playing his AAA games in Vegas pads the stats a bit, and even though he’s fast he’s not going to carry that .372 BABIP up from AAA to the bigs, but you can count on it being much higher than the .071 it’s been so far. Barreto was (maybe still is) a highly touted prospect, and I’m betting that he figures things out sooner rather than later. If he does, he could help a team at crunch time.
- Bo Bichette (SS)
Bichette continues to be on a roll in AAA Buffalo and he’s making an appearance in this article strictly as a high upside play for teams who have room to carry him until (if) he gets called up. He’s slashing .313/.386/.883 with five home runs and 15 steals. The Blue Jays are 25 games under .500 on the year. Freddy Galvis has done a fine job at SS for them this year, but Bichette has nothing left to prove at AAA. We would all love to see him up, but I can’t tell you what the Blue Jays are going to do. All I can say is I believe IF they call him up, he’ll have a better showing than Vlad Guerrero Jr. has had so far.
- Emilio Pagan (RP)
Including today (Sunday), the Rays have called on Pagan for their last two save opportunities and he has converted them. Jose Alvarado is on the IL and will miss at least six weeks with an oblique strain. Diego Castillo is back from the IL and might also see save opportunities for the Rays, but Pagan has been much better than Castillo this year and I believe he will get the bulk of the save chances with Castillo serving in the setup role. Pagan has a 1.69 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 50 Ks in 37.1 innings. Those are closer numbers. Pick him up if you need saves.
- Scott Oberg (RP)
I’m going to give you two sets of pitching stats – you tell me which one you would rather have closing games for you.
Since I’m writing about Scott Oberg, current setup man for the Rockies, you probably guessed the better set of stats belongs to him. That means the worse set belongs to Wade Davis, current closer in Colorado. The Rockies are probably never going to catch the Dodgers to win the NL West, but they are in the hunt for the NL wild card. However, they probably can’t take too many more four run outings from Davis and remain in that hunt (he’s had two such outings in his last 10 appearances). The problem for Davis owners is that he has a few more of those kind of games in him. Which is what makes now the time to go out and get Oberg.
This is the last week A.J. Pollock, Jay Bruce, and Ramon Laureano will appear here. Their ownership rates are over 50% and they should all be owned in all competitive leagues.
Continue to ADD
- Bryan Reynolds rebounded a bit in the batting average category (.261) while continuing to get on base at an amazing clip (.414), and he hit a home run. And he’s playing every day.
- Cavan Biggio had a rough week, but I still believe. He has six home runs and six steals in his first 41 games in the majors. His .363 makes it a no brainer if you’re in an OBP league, but a .235 average could be hard to roster for some.
- Keston Hiura is still hot. He had a .346/.452/.608 week with two home runs and three stolen bases. He’s 43% owned as I write this so this might be your last chance to pick him up.
- Alex Verdugo continues to start regularly (eight of nine games so far in July) and he had another decent week at the plate (.304 batting average) even if it was pretty much devoid of counting stats (3 runs, 3 RBI, 1 HR). He’s steady, and every team needs a little bit of steady.
HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)
- Dinelson Lamet had another shaky start this week (4 earned runs – that makes 7 in 10 innings), but he struck out seven in five innings (that makes 14 Ks in 10 innings). I think he’ll get better at suppressing runs and continue to strike folks out at a high rate, but if you think it’s time to look elsewhere, I get it.
- Zac Gallen got another start over the weekend and he’s scheduled to pitch Friday in L.A. against the Dodgers. He’s been decent so far and it looks like the Marlins plan to keep him in the rotation, but five walks in five innings in his last outing (against the Mets) has me concerned.
- You’re getting the same Kyle Tucker story this week that I gave you last week. Hold on to him if you have room and if you believe in the upside…and if you believe he’ll be up soon enough (and play enough) for all that upside to help you.
- Christian Walker rewarded you again if you held on to him last week (4 HR, 10 RBI). He went 3-20 in his previous seven; that’s just an example of the hot/cold tendencies of late.
- Niko Goodrum had himself a week. Almost makes me want to put him back in the Continue to Add section of this article. If he has another .323/.364/.454 week with a home run and three steals like he did last week, that’s where you’ll find him in my next article.
- Corey Dickerson had another bad week (.130/.136/.318).If he’s done hitting and getting on base, he’s done being useful.
- Willie Calhoun started only six of the last 10 games for Texas and is struggling at the plate (.231/.259/.404) in his last 15 games. It’s time to let him go.
- Oscar Mercado appears to have come back to earth (he’s one for July at the plate so far). You might want to take a look at the guy who’s been stealing time from him (Greg Allen) if you need an outfielder.